Tombpunk: Arcana – Chaos Magick

Tombpunk is my lo-fi, lightweight, fantasy roleplaying game, published under license by Outland Entertainment. You can find it here on DriveThruRPG.

Tombpunk: Arcana is a series of articles written by me expanding content for the game with “playtest” material (I don’t think I can call it homebrew if I’m the official writer/creator!). This is the first article in the series.

Chaos Magick

In strange dungeons where grim deeds have occurred, foul places where dark rituals have been enacted, or sites of exceptional supernatural power, magick itself can warp and change when enacted.

What follows is an alternate set of rules that allows the Narrator of a Tombpunk game to evoke the wild fluctuations of magick in a chaotic environment. These rules are best applied in specific situations (rather than every scenario or possibility – though the context of a campaign setting where all magick is governed by this is interesting…..)

When Magick Goes Awry

When a Ritualist is casting a spell in a locale touched by chaos magick, there is a risk of the spell getting fouled up.

When the Ritualist makes their Will check to cast a spell, they compare the die result of their Will Check to the table below, using the current Darkness Rating to determine if their spell goes awry. If the Will Check Result is equal to or less than the number shown in the Chaos Magick column below, they must roll on the Chaos Magick table, replacing the potential spell effect.

Example: If Validar the Cunning is casting an effect in a Chaos Magick locale with a Darkness Rating of 5, if the die result on Validar's Will Check to cast the spell is a 1 or 2, he must instead roll on the Chaos Magick Table, rather than implementing the normal spell effect Validar was striving for. 

If the Darkness Rating were to be 3 or less, it would only happen on a die result of a '1'. 

Chaos Magick Probability

Darkness RatingChaos Magick

Chaos Magick Effect

The spell effects of the Chaos Magick are deliberately dark, painful and cruel. Chaos Magick only occurs in darkness, places of evil, and havens of terror. It takes a brave soul to utilize sorcery in a Chaos Magick-tainted locale.

A caster may always lower their Courage by one to avoid rolling on the Chaos Magick table. Instead, their spell just fails.

2d12 RollChaos Magick Effect
2The intended target of the original effect grows a pair of curved rams horns. These horns can be used as a Brutal 1 weapon and are impossible to hide.
3The spell fails. The caster of the spell screams, as their eyes erupt with blood, pus and bile, streaming in tears of disease from their face. They lose their next action or turn. However, after that lost turn, their eyes have been replaced with dancing green candle flames, flickering in the now bloody and reddened sockets. They can see perfectly in the dark, but suffer Disadvantage on any Tests made while the caster is in bright daylight.
4The spell goes off as intended, but the Caster must spend 1 Will or lose 3d3 lifeblood
5The spell fails. The intended target of the spell becomes wreathed in dancing purple and pink flames, granting advantage on all attacks made against them.
6The spell fails. The caster’s fingers on their (d6: 1-3) left or (d6:4-6) right hand, fall off, leaving only bloody stumps. 1d4 days later, new rusted iron talons grow there. These talons are a Brutal 2, Armor-Piercing 1 weapon. However, if the caster doesn’t kill something sentient with them once per day, they will rust and fall off, leaving the caster with only one hand.
7The spell works. The caster’s hair falls out and bright teal feathers grow in it’s place. This is permanent.
8The spell fails. 1d3 goberries appear, agreeing to serve the caster for 3d3 days as best they can. After that, they flee, stealing 1d3 coin from the caster.
9The spell works as intended, but the caster can no longer gain succor from food that isn’t bloody, raw meat.
10The spell fails. Instead, the target of the spell is teleported to a location 1d100 yards away, in a random compass rose direction (use a d4, assigned to the four points of the compass to determine if need be.) This cannot cause the target to die, instead, they will be deposited in the safest place near their random destination.
11The spell works as intended, but the caster finds their life-force drained. They become sunken and gaunt. almost corpse like in their appearance.
12The spell works as intended, but the caster loses 1 Might and 1 Deftness permanently and a random ally of the caster gains a +1 to Might and Deftness.
13The spell fails, but the target’s blood becomes acid, dealing 1d3 lifeblood damage every turn to them, until they die in horrible agony.
14The spell works as intended. However the caster suffers from painful visions of an apocalyptical future, their vision being overlaid with scenes of death, decay and a world devoid of life. Whenever they look at everything, they see the worst possible future for it. Friends and allies appear as the darkest, most corrupted versions of themselves, buildings are decaying and sand-swept, and the world is cloaked in ever-present flame and smoke.
15The spell fails and time slows down, stretching out for the caster. The caster may immediately take three actions that cannot be casting spells or making attacks.
16The spell fails. The intended target of the spell regains 2d3 Lifeblood and may immediately take an action.
17The spell fails. However, the target automatically dies, exploding into a shower of blood and gore covered goal coins worth 2d3 treasure. However, this treasure is cursed (Narrator’s discretion as to what that means.)
18The spell fails. A cursed spectral sword appears, attacking the caster with Advantage and dealing 2d4 damage. It makes one attack and then vanishes.
19The spell fails. Something is wrong….
20The spell succeeds. Something is coming….
21The spell fails. However, the intended target sprouts an extra limb, causing them to suffer 1d4 damage and collapse to the ground in pain for one turn.
22The spell succeeds, but the caster knows that somewhere in the world, an innocent soul is destroyed due to the spell working. They must live with this guilt.
23 The spell fails. The caster’s limbs become hobbled and emaciated, functionally useless. They no longer may walk or carry items, instead requiring assistance. However, they are functionally immortal. They may never be reduced below 1 Lifeblood, and any spells they attempt to cast automatically succeed with no dice roll needed.
24The spell goes off as intended, and the caster gains +2 Will.

Tombpunk and the text above © 2020 Alan Bahr. Tombpunk is a trademark of Alan Bahr.