Until Deep Magic comes out, James Eder continues to provide us with groups and more to help satisfy our craving for magic. Take a look…
The Deep Delvers
The Deep Delvers began their existence as a small group of magic-users, somewhat drunk, who’d wondered what they would actually do with their magic. One of them, in a burst of inspiration, noted that a lot of animals somehow detected things by using sound, so what if they did the same thing? Except instead of finding their way around, they figured out how to “hear” different materials through sound magic and started looking for treasure and valuables? The idea turned out to be oddly successful as a few of the members went up to the mountains to look for gold (and other valuable minerals) while others of the group decided to try to map dungeons from afar by using a sort of magical echolocation. It quickly proved to be impractical to totally map a dungeon from the outside, but they could usually manage at least the first few rooms. The end result was a surprisingly detailed mapping system for the early parts of ruins and the like. Money started to trade hands, and though the Deep Delvers have never been very numerous, they’ve done quite decent business by alerting adventurers to early traps that could be found by discovering the shapes of areas (pits, hidden boulders, and so on). Like many magic-users, the Deep Delvers jealously guard the details of their spells, and few outside their group know precisely how they manage to do what they do. They usually get along fairly well with dwarves.
Here’s a rundown of things you lose by allowing teleportation magic in a tabletop game world.
The Heroic Journey
Sure, it’s a cliché to say that one plucky little hobbit or a ragtag band of heroes can somehow get through the Empire’s defenses and save the world. But it’s a story of travel and the journey, of obstacles on a grand scale over miles. Maybe that story is easier to tell in film or in novels than it is in tabletop games or video games. But I like having the option to say, “You need to get this princess to that tower before the winter solstice or the Lord of the North Wind will be most displeased with your kingdom” and not have the party just teleport and call it done. There are volumes of wilderness rules and wilderness character types who are denied a chance to shine. Aragorn and rangers generally should be a little put out that a wizard eliminates their role in tales of high adventure. Eliminating time required eliminates the conquest of distance, the raw heroism of getting over the mountains, across the trackless desert, through the badlands, and past the volcano. The physical effort required to get where you are going and be heroic in the Marco Polo mold is gone.
It’s not actually that difficult to create magic items if you have the knowledge, experience, and base materials. The Wyrmforgers are something else entirely; a small enclave based high in the mountains, they work with metallic and Imperial dragons to use the magical powers of these creatures while forging the tools intended to be given to heroes who advance the causes of good (or at least an acceptable degree of multiversal balance). Short of the gods themselves, the Wyrmforgers are some of the greatest artisans and creators of enchanted items to be found. Many of the younger ones embark on a quest to find a rare material to bring home and use, but the forces of evil are always watchful and looking for ways to disrupt the creation of such potent artifacts.
The Right Honorable Historical Ley-Event Tracing Society
In a world where demons really could leap out to get you at any time, it’s hard to be too crazy, but that’s how most people view this society, which is of the firm belief that all historical events (and ruins, and other sites of interest) are based entirely on the location and actions of the world’s ley-lines, and that future events can be predicted if they can properly understand the pattern. Most people believe that this is entirely bogus, but the problem is that, frequently, the society is correct about how ley-lines and events have intersected. Or perhaps it really is coincidence; after all, when you get enough wizards over a well of power, something interesting is going to happen sooner or later. Unfortunately for everyone else, the society has recently begun to predict a major event involving the ley-lines, with the potential to cause a catastrophe wherever it occurs. Members have recently been sent out into the world to measure changes and look for signs that can hopefully be used to minimize the extent of the damage, but it’s hard to say whether or not they’ll succeed.
In magic-rich worlds, even a small church is likely to have at least some capability toward dealing with injuries and the like, but for a select few people, their calling is much higher than that. The Order of Saint Reinya accepts only the virtuous and dedicated, and generally speaking, only lawful good or neutral good will truly feel comfortable within its constraints. The members of this order often wander the world, providing healing a step above the average—powerful restorative magic, curse-breaking of the higher orders, and similar effects normally too expensive for the average citizen to enjoy, all done charitably. Like many religious orders, they survive primarily off donations by patrons (usually nobles, either because of honest religious convictions or a desire to appear virtuous to the public), though tradition in smaller towns is that members of the order (and, occasionally, their companions) are offered free lodging and meals whether or not they heal someone in the town. The symbol of the order is a giant outstretched finger, reaching down from the heavens to touch the forehead of a man.