Tombpunk: Arcana – Moar 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!).

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
2Wherever you goes, strange, dark ambient music follows you, echoing throughout the tunnels, corridors and hallways you walk. This makes it impossible to hide and lasts for 2d8 days.
3Your body shifts, becoming a vegetative green, riddled with mushrooms and toadstools. Your hair is akin to grass, and the faint odor of dirt, earth and marshlands follows you. This is permanent.
4Blood-fear. Anytime you take damage, you must test Courage.
5Shadow-hunted. Your shadow seeks to kill you. Roll a d10 at the start of every session. On a ‘1’, your Shadow will try to murder you at some point during the session. (The Narrator will figure out what this means.)
6Emerald Eyes. Your eyes become glittering emeralds worth 2d3 Treasure apiece. Everything looks green, and you will likely be killed for your eyes. While you have them, you can see perfectly in the dark.
7Blackened Steps. Your feet scorch the earth, leaving blackened and burnt out footprints behind you. You’re every easy to follow.
8Nectar of the Gods. Anything you drink tastes like the juices of heaven. You crave it, constantly. Before you take any action, roll a d12. on a ‘1’, you must stop and drink.
9Phaseskin. You randomly phase and become incorporeal. You may spend an action to try to phase through walls or doors. Roll 3d4. On an even result it works. On an odd result, you suffer damage equal to the 3d4 die total.
10Jealous-Youth. If you meet someone younger than you, you must test Will. If your Will goes to 0, you must attack them.
11Fire-fear. You are deeply afraid of fire. If you encounter a flame larger than a candle, you must test Courage. If your Courage is 0, you must flee the fire.
12Raspy Voice. Your voice becomes coarse, raspy and grating. You suffer Disadvantage on any social tests or tests based on interaction.
13Your entrails swell, becoming gorged with beetles, worms and grubs. You can only subsisted on rotted and decaying meat and vegetation. If you cough or vomit, creepy-crawlies come out. You have a ‘1 in 12’ (1 on a d12) chance of coughing or vomiting once in each social interaction.
14Your fingernails grow rapidly, becoming Brutal 1, Armor-Piecing 1 weapons. You always have Disadvantage with this weapon and on a failed attack instead harm yourself (any failed attack you make.)
15Strange antenna grow from your forehead, making you appear more crustacean like. Each chaos magick effect that impacts you causes this to accelerate.
16Weeping Tar. Your tears become hot boiling tar. This doesn’t harm you, but you can’t stop crying due to the effect.
17Lasting Impression. Anything or anyone you kill morphs to look exactly like you.
18Acid Rain. When it rains within one mile of you, the rain is instead acid rain, dealing 1d10 damage to anyone caught out side (each round they are outside.) There’s a 1 in 12 chance it will rain any given day (The Narrator can adjust this as they see fit.)
19You become very twitchy. you have a 1 in 6 chance of dropping anything you’re holding at a random time. (The Narrator will call for this check 2d3 times per session….)
20You grow coarse fur on your flesh, becoming like a canine or feline. Each chaos magick effect that impacts you causes this to accelerate.
21You are immune to any and all diseases, but anyone you come into physical contact with has a 1 in 12 chance of catching a fatal disease and dying within 1d4 weeks.
22You lose one finger and toe on each hand and foot. This is randomly determined (use a d5.) These lost fingers and toes crawl after you, following you wherever you go. They cannot die or be destroyed and often show up, just lurking near you.
23You grow a third eye, in your throat. This eye can only see the future, and sees the worst possible blasted landscape and out come for everyone and ever action taken. Every day, you must make test both Will and Courage when you awake.
24Chaos-Blessed. For each chaos magick effect on you, you gain +1 Damage and +1 Lifeblood. This is permanent. If you roll this result twice, you die in an explosion of chaos magic, blood, and guts.

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