What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Wizard's work continued: ANIMALIA

Artist Matt Cavotta
Following up on the post from last week, I though it would be good to provide a short and broad snapshot of how this Black Magic spell system could work.

First I'll start with the ANIMALIA spell concepts. There are two basic header columns to start. The first is a TYPE and the second column is the EFFECT.

The TYPE choice will be limited/ impacted by the sorcerer's IQ.  Insects and rodents require a low IQ to manipulate and it gets harder to effect (requiring higher sorcerer IQ) these animals as the Animalia types get smarter and or larger.

So the base ST of a spell is 1 ST to cast. Then it becomes more expensive with the spell shaping (range, time, power of effect).  You can cut the cost and time of casting by writing it all down in a scroll or spell book and then casting from it, but of course scrolls and spell books can be stolen or destroyed. That sort of arcane knowledge would be very valuable...the work continues.


Insect Calm
Rodent Enrage
Avian Shrink
Aquatic Grow
Bovine Banish
Reptile Summon
Canine Speak with
Feline Silence
Equine Control
Ursine Sense
Pachyderm See like
Simian Shape Of


  1. So if I'm understanding this, you rank-order the type of creature by some sort of category scheme, and then affect the chosen category via your word of power. The category scheme for Animalia is apparently a combination of size and IQ of the creature... Do you have a firm mechanism in place for rating creatures (e.g. IQ of the creature plus the size in hexes)? Something like that would make it extremely easy to calculate the requirements for any new creature that a GM introduces to the world. That would also make tiny animals (normal sized insects, for example) extremely easy to affect, I would presume (or allow you to affect massive numbers of them -- the swarm effect).

    Turning to the words of power themselves, do they have some kind of rank order as well (i.e., IQ required to learn, for example)? Also, should I assume you have some sort of mechanism in mind allowing Sorcerers to create new Words of Power (like inventing a new Spell in TFT, for example) in the game? (Again, if so, I would presume this would not be a simple or quick process...)

    What about plants? Can they be affected by magic? Would they have different words of power? What category of magic would they fall into? Animalia? (I guess Animalia would be more practical than Elemental or Spiritual would be...)

    This is all pretty exciting to read about!

  2. Thanks Jeff for the question --In quick summary:
    Your IQ level determines what type of creatures you can affect. Still working out a formula on this.

    Second your IQ will determine what "power word" you can use to effect that creature or to create the spell(Banish, summon, control, etc.) will be ranked by IQ as well.

    Plants/ trees will fall under elemental spells (Earth/wood)as they are non- sentient but still natural--and I want to insure some uniqueness between spheres/ sorcerers

    In essence each of the three spheres of magic will have a list of preset "types" that fall into the influence of that school of magic.

    Then there will be a separate list of power word "effects" that could be used by any sphere: Command, banish, jet, burst, splinter etc.

    So someone with the ELEMENTAL SPHERE could "Command Fire" while someone with the ANIMALIA SPHERE could "Command Bear" and someone with the SPECTRAL SPHERE could "Command Undead".

    One note, in a play test Sunday--the magic did feel too "magical" and not difficult/ limited enough for a S&S setting. The Advantaged/ Normal/ Disadvantaged triangle made the sorcerer powerful in 2 spheres and only penalized in one. Will adjust and play test as: Chosen Sphere roll "Normal (3/IQ)" and two other spheres roll as disadvantaged. Then ritual magic casting of spell would allow you to "bump" a spell chance of success up. So your chosen sphere would be come advantaged and spells of the other two spheres could be come normal if cast from a ceremonial/ritual. I think that will better fit an S&S or low fantasy concept.

  3. I like those answers. Another thing you may want to consider is to limit access to magic in the first place, by making learning it much more expensive in terms of XP (but that's a bit of a meta technique which you may or may not think is appropriate).

    But yes, I strongly agree that magic use should be tough to do, uncommon, and possibly as dangerous to the user as it is to the target in an S&S game.

  4. When shall we see the BM and then the B&BM combo in B5?

  5. It's been a couple of months since we heard anything. I hope you and your family are doing okay!