Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Death Magic Investigator

In Legend Quest, the spell casters that can learn the most via magic are the necromancers.  With Book of Wishes, they have spells like séance, clairvoyance, past vision, spirit call, and spirit sense.  These allow them to question the dead or see things that the caster never could have seen.  But these types of spells should have their limits.

Take the past vision spell - It allows the necromancer to see through the dead person’s eyes in order to figure out the last thing(s) they saw as they were dying.  Well, if you’re an assassin in this world, you should be aware that the “police” have spell casters who can do this, and you should assassinate your targets from behind.  Simple, right?

But it begs the question:  How much do the dead really know?  If you spirit called the same person who was killed from behind, would his ghost have seen the scene as it floated up and out of his body?  Could a spirit of the dead identify their killer, even if that killer was behind them?  I say no.

I think that spirits should only be able to know what they knew in life.  I have all these complicated reasons and theories, but basically in my game world, the soul has a bunch of parts.  The part that the necromancer is talking to is not your “immortal soul” that goes on to heaven (or hell).  It is more of a shadow of your life.  In my world (at least) death magic doesn’t have the range to reach the heavens, but only the “shadow” part.  So no divine intervention simply by casting spirit call.

This rule works pretty well in restricting the amount of information you can get from the dead.  If they didn’t know it in life, they don’t know it in death.  Also, if they wouldn’t tell you in life, why would they tell you in death?  There are some pretty good reasons for that including desecration of the body, threatening living family, etc.  But simply killing someone should not make them open up to you about everything.  One would think the spirit might hate its attacker.


  1. I had The Book of Wishes for years now. I've never paid it too much mind, as spells and magic other than clerics as NPCs have always been a bit cumbersome for me.
    However, I got the new Omnibus the day of release! And have been fervently rereading the books in their entirety as the one big book now, loving the Boxes as a breakup of the text by the way, and a super good clarifier (as well as some great sparks just in the boxes!)
    However, My point is that although I've been familiar with the D&D Et Al. Spells since my very first years of obsessive PHB and DMG reading. A few always stood out for me, but any time I had a character with magic it was always of the ranger / rogue utilitarian kind.
    So, that said, now that I spent a good part of my free time the last few days reading the Omnibus Edition, I have fallen in love with spells again! And boy, does LQ have a lot of cool ideas. The magicks system is so dynamic, with all of its facets and forms, and mentalism especially! Holy, there is some crazy sparks just flying when I read those things!
    It really is an ongoing process to divorce my mind from the bland sort of routine monogamy of my previous RPG worldview. LQ opens up whole new ways of doing things that I, a back country roleplaying in Canada (where ordering RPG materials is $$$, I mean, I used to work for a half day as a kid at the comic shop organizing just to barter for a Dragon mag or tube of dice). And with only a few friends into the games, and just really the internet as any kind of extended exposure to the culture of RPGs and the Fantasy genre in general, aside from fantasy novels of course, my picture of the whole is kind of skewed.
    One thing, my games, as player and GM, have always revolved around being (essentially) rogues that get caught up in heroism and good vs. evil or order vs. chaos campaigns. I never went what they call 'Murder Hoboing' now, which is talked about like it's the holy Holy Grail of OSR...I started with Rules Cyclopaedia' and 2e, in a time when paladin's and rangers were ideals, not drow antiheroes or White Wolf Vamps and Lycan I don't get a lot of the current OSR obsession with reinventing the perfect megadungeon crawl. Dungeons were always second to roleplaying heroes vs. the bad guys, mostly aboveground with maybe a lair at the end.
    Anyway, I'm rambling. Just having lots of fun with the Omnibus lately. I have many questions, but I hope to use the Patreon avenue for some of those!

  2. Really glad it's working for you. Creating sparks is what it is all about.
    Though we edited the book as best we could, >300 pages means too many opportunities to miss typos and other stuff, so if anyone sees any, please email me! ( We will be fixing anything we find and putting the newest version out (for free download to anyone who has already bought).