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!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Wizard's work

May or may not be actual photo from my writing and game room
Well I hope with your BLADES you have done a little FROSTCRAWLing. Behind the scenes I have been noodling the BLACK MAGIC.

Some very fine suggestions have been sent to me regarding looking at some unique magic systems that offer some creativity to spell casting.  Notably the ZERFS system, but I also looked at Fantasy Hero which sort mimics CHAMPIONS for Fantasy.

Herein lies the struggle though, as to my knowledge none of the "make your own spell" systems have had much traction.  Absolutely they have fans and are good and creative systems--yet with the standard set by D&D and its follow on clones--it seems more player friendly to simply pre-create the spell lists.

This has all been in my mental blender for months and I have read multiple RPG book magic systems to the point where my lovely wife is finding 4 or more RPG books open on the kitchen table at a time like place settings for warlocks.  Except it is just me jumping chair to chair reading them and scribbling notes.

In the end I think I have determined I like both concepts.  I think it is necessary to have a predefined list of ready made (common) spells.  I also like the creativity of the player in the moment giving rise to something unique--and thus memorable.

I can hear it now, "Okay fantasy heart breaker game dumb-ass nerd--how do you plan to do it?"

Glad you asked! (Though your manners could use a little refresh my friend!)

First I am looking at there being 3 broad schools of magic (working names not final):

Animal (spells targeting/effecting natural living creatures: growth, speed, healing, increased ST, etc)

Elemental (spells using & effecting water, fire, wind, earth, wood and metal)

Spectral (spells effecting the strange, undead and space/time like teleport, raise dead, speak to dead, mutations, etc.)

In BLACK MAGIC a Sorcerer can learn and use spells from all 3 schools--BUT One spell school is advantaged when rolled to cast, one is normal and one is disadvantaged when rolled to cast.

A Mercenary could learn a spell from any school, but all rolls are always done (regardless of school) as disadvantaged.

Within each school is a list of common spells, plus a list of power words or power symbols for a sorcerer to get creative with in conjuring their own unique spells.  The cost of casting a unique spell is based on a combination of power words used and desired effect (time/range/power)

I am working to make this as EASY and fast playable as possible and not devolving figuring out the cost to cast a spell "on the fly" into a Squad Leader consultation of charts, tables and modifiers. I know that some of you LOVE that idea, bless your hearts, but that's not what I am making.

So for better or worse, that's where the magic system currently stands in structure. Filling in the details is the challenge, but nothing good came from anything easy--so the work continues.

As always your feedback is welcome--even if you think I am way off base, that's no problem

Side note: My lovely wife is working on her own covers for both BLADES book and for BLACK MAGIC book--and has a unique idea for a cover for the eventual "one book to rule them all" BLADE + BLACK MAGIC hardback

When Black Magic is finished and up for purchase then both of her covers (BLADES book + BLACK MAGIC book) will be made available simultaneously.


  1. First, let me say that it's GREAT to hear from you! ;-)

    Second, OMG! I think I'm in love! I LOVE what you've laid out here! And I think you may have actually managed to simultaneously square the circle AND have your cake and eat it too! I hope that the spending ST to cast spells idea is still in there (and that you can draw ST from either yourself or from others -- via sacrifice, presumably -- since that still seems extremely important in Swords & Sorcery forms of magic in the literature... (I'm also hoping that ritual magic makes an appearance, but that may not work with everything else!)

    Third, since everyone always has a "better" idea; I'd like to propose (purely for your consideration) the possibility of players electing to ignore the "common spell lists" (i.e., the list not being REQUIRED for play) and instead just go with the words of power concept! I think that for more experienced players, that option might just be what they are looking for in an S&S style game!

    Again, I REALLY like where you're taking this so far! Also, I very much look forward to seeing your wife's art work! She's done a great job with your other covers and I have no doubt she'll hit these out of the park too.

  2. Hey Jeff--as always THANKS for the inspiration and great feed back. To quickly answer a couple points:

    1) YES- Powering magic still requires ST drain
    2) YES- ST may be yours or someone/something else's
    3) NO- you do not have to choose any common spells

    While not discussed in detail above, this also makes things like finding a scroll or a spell book a potential treasure trove. What sort of "power word" might be unlocked. What if some ancient sorcerer cracked some mutant spell uniting 2 or even 3 of the magic schools? From a Referee and players point, there is a lot of creativity possible and some very unique treasures to create.

    1. That is just completely awesome! REALLY looking forward to seeing this!

  3. Replies
    1. very high praise Marc, and I hope in the end it is merited. We will see how it all works fist if I can write it out clearly enough and second in actual play-testing

  4. Have you ever checked out FGU’s Swordbearer rpgs magic system? I’ve always felt like it could be fixed or tweaked into a more usable system. It’s kind of organized by elemental then spirit humors .