Sunday, August 20, 2017

Magical Girls? In my OSR? It's More Likely Than You Think!


Aww yea. Lookit that. What cute, innocent little kids full of hope and idealism and love and justice. Don't you just wanna run them through a death funnel adventure or a meatgrinder dungeon, or just generally destroy everything that made them beautiful inside?

Of course you do. That's why we DM.

So I've written multiple Mahou Shoujo/Magical Girl classes, for various subgenres of the archetype. I'm absolutely obsessed with the genre, having grown up on it and having had all my major childhood heroes that inspired me come from works generally based on it. I like Noblebright. I love Romantic Fantasy. I adore the power of Love overcoming everything in the end.

This first class is not that.

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If you could have any wish, what would you trade your soul for?

That question is the birth of every Puer and Puella Magi, the slave-children of magic. Everyone who can call themselves such was approached in their adolescence, typically between 9 and 16 years old, though there are exceptions to every rule. 30-year olds with children of their own have heard the call, rarely. Gender is technically no object, but a majority of girls are approached.

The Incubator, normally calling itself "Kyubey" is a Messenger of Magic from another world. Although magic is born of emotional power, it has no emotions or true magic of its own, being a servitor of a higher Lawful force. Incubators exist only to form Contracts with potential Puella Magi, and in so doing grant them a wish in exchange for the duty and power of what they are to become.

The more hopeful and idealistic, the better. A good-hearted, innocent Puella Magi can shine like the noblest of Paladins. For hope is the greatest spice to create despair...

Puella/Puer Magi

To-Hit and Hit Dice: As Cleric

Save: As Cleric; however depending on your system, anything that references Wisdom should be replaced with Charisma.

Weapons and Armor: As Magic-User. Additionally, a Puella Magi can select one weapon to be their Magical Weapon (see below). Weird options are encouraged; if you want to have a trumpet that shoots magical damaging soap bubbles or a cute magic wand that shoots heart lasers or something that's only entirely appropriate. See below, also, for Henshin in regards to armor.

XP per Level: As Elf, or Magic-User if you don't use racial classes.

Prime Requisite: Charisma 13

The Wish: In exchange for the birth of your Soul Gem and a life of hunting Youma, you are given one wish. This wish can be absolutely anything, according to Kyubey, and it always comes true. More importantly, this Wish is born of your own inherent magical, emotional power, so it is based on your own intent rather than your wording. You technically don't need to say anything at all!

It's not quite that easy, though, as Kyubey selects his clients based on their karmic potential. Simply put, this is your character's cosmic relevance to the universe, the strength of their own hopes and emotions, and the despair they are fated to bear in the future. Mechanically, Kyubey tends not to consider anyone with less than 13 CHA, and you're always guaranteed the standard effects of a Limited Wish spell without any chance of failure or wish-twisting. However, the higher your Charisma score, the bigger a wish you can make. A girl with Charisma 18 should be able to make a truly powerful Wish (atleast everything the normal Wish spell can do, maybe a bit more depending), while a someone with something ridiculous like Charisma 30 or some absolute bullshit it should be able to rewrite all of time and space or slap a god or whatever the hell. I mean obviously just eye-ball this sort of thing, but keep this in mind; the force of your heart and soul reflects your magical potential, and thus the scope of your wish. Two people with wildly different Charisma scores making the same wish should expect different results.

 Whatever the wish is and whatever you decide the scope of it is, it will effect the magic of the Puella Magi. Not only do you get the actual benefit of the wish, but your spell list changes to reflect it. That means if you make a wish related to healing a loved one, you're basically getting nothing but healing and recovery spells, though you can also justify spells to protect someone you care about, like Shield Other or something. Follow the emotional intent of the wish, not just its literal wording and outcome.

However, what happens if a Puella Magi makes a wish over what their potential should be? Well, you give it to them of course. Now you can twist their wish.

For example, consider a girl named Homura, who watches her girlfriend die against an unstoppable foe. Homura wishes to go back in time and be someone strong enough to protect her, and so she begins timelooping. Homura has Time Stop at level 1, the ability to go back and try over and over, as long as she still has hope that she can succeed. However, one little girl with Charisma 14 or something is not strong enough to change the fates, voices, and overall will of everyone involved in this sequence of events. Though she can rearrange the cards in the deck of the timeloop, so to speak, she is unable to get a winning hand under her own power. She changes the process, but never the ending. She can protect her beloved, but she cannot save her. The clock always returns to 1 after it strikes 12.

Naturally this shouldn't be very common; if a player makes a reasonable wish, work out how to roll with it. But also, don't shoot down a wish that seems overpowered. After all, they're handing you a plot coupon for the tragedy of when hope gives in to despair, and that's what this class is ultimately about from a narrative perspective.

Spellcasting: Your spellcasting progression as a Puella Magi is as a Magic-User, save that you don't need a spellbook. If your game has 3E-style Sorcerers or other spontaneous casters, use that instead. If ability scores do anything regarding this feature in your games, use Charisma. 

Your spell slots do not refresh on a rest, however, as normal spellcasters. Your slots remain expended, though you can pay a Corruption Point cost equal to the spell's level, with cantrips only costing 1/2 a point if they exist in your game (Or At-will, if you're playing 5e or something). Using a Grief Seed, aside from its normal benefits, also refreshes all your spell slots as if you had a proper rest.

0-level/Cantrip and 1st level spells can be used outside of Henshin.

Soul Gem: Your contract grants you a small magic beacon known as a Soul Gem. They never quite said what your Soul Gem really is, but it takes a no-brainer to know why it's called that. If your Soul Gem (that is, you) is more than 100 feet away from your body, you lose consciousness and can take no actions until it touches your body and re-establishes connection. Additionally, you can survive as a Soul Gem even if the body is destroyed. That being said, if your Soul Gem is ever destroyed, you die no matter what. So if your GM likes "All Shields Shall Be Splintered" rules then you can go eat shit I guess.

Soul Gems, being magical items, have some resistance to shattering despite their glass-like qualities. They're about as hard as a ruby.

Detect Despair: This ability functions as Detect Evil for all purposes, except that it only detects supernatural evils, such as undead, fiends, and especially the Youma they are meant to hunt. This is an at-will ability, used by reading the glow of their Soul Gem. This ability does not require Henshin to be used.

Henshin!: The standard transformation sequence of a Puella Magi. Although this can be as flashy and purple prose-y as desired, it is actually an instantaneous transformation that cannot be interrupted. Once a costume is decided upon by the player, it cannot be changed, but this costume is always pristine and perfect. A Puella Magi must be in her transformed state to use her class features unless otherwise noted, but if they're in their untransformed states, they are treated as a normal civilian in all regards. Magic does not detect them as magical beings (though the Soul Gem still has an aura), and Scrying spells to find "That Magical Girl who shot me" or what have you do not show the Puella Magi's untransformed self. For this reason, many Puella Magi take on false names or superheroic alter egos to give themselves additional protection from scrying.

In addition, a Puella Magi's base AC becomes identical to their Charisma score (assuming ascending AC, otherwise calculate the equivalent) when they are transformed. They don't benefit from Dexterity bonuses or any other armors, but magical modifications can still apply.

Magical Attacks: All attacks by a Puella Magi count as magical for all purposes and considerations, when they are transformed.

Create Magic Weapon: You peer into the Soul Gem and find a vicious weapon ready to take shape once you pull it out of your Gem. If they are lost or broken, they can be recreated. At 3rd level, the weapon possesses a +1 bonus.

None save the Puella Magi can use the weapon, and they have proficiency in whatever weapon they choose it to be, which cannot be changed later.

Telepathy: You can establish a telepathic communication with someone, regardless of where they are, as long as they are on the same plane as you. However, this telepathy can only be used with other Puella Magi, or Potentials that Kyubey is considering contracting with. This ability can be used without needing Henshin.

Bodily Improvement: You are able to veer into the Soul Gem's true limits and in doing so, realize that you can push your own limits.

For the price of 1 Corruption Points, you can heal yourself for 1d8 + your Constitution modifier of hit points. This applies even if your HP is at -10 (or 0 HP, or whenever people become corpses in your game).

For the price of 2 Corruption Points, you can cure yourself of a disease, though it will be 4 Corruption Points if it's brought on by a spell or otherwise supernatural. Alternatively, you can temporarily increase one of your Ability Scores (excluding CHA) by 2 for 1 hour. This can stack with itself.


For the price of 4 Corruption Points, you can regenerate lost limbs or any other severe handicaps, as well as give yourself rerolls on saving throws.

For the price of 9 Corruption Points, you can recreate a destroyed body. This will take a few minutes, because it's basically either recreating a body from scratch or rotting a corpse in reverse.

This ability can be used outside of Henshin, save for the ability-score enhancement feature.

Name Level: At Name Level, you become known as a Prince or Princess of Magic, and have demonstrated enough competence and luck to have lived this long that Kyubey has made you less of a target for harassment, and now uses you as a poster child for recruitment. Pick a settlement, and you become the de facto leader of it in the Puella Magi world, claiming it as your exclusive hunting grounds. You attract 1d6 novice Puella Magi who look up to you and see you as their senpai. Due to the lack of reliable information-durability due to the Puella Magi life being full of secrets and isolation, rumors about how you treat your new teammates don't spread very far. Indeed, if one of them dies and they didn't have a very public presence, most won't realize they had ever gotten involved with you at all.

Corruption Points: Throughout the class, you noticed how the words "Corruption Points" have been uttered. This is something that you gain when you make the Contract. You start with 0 Corruption Points in a pool known as a Corruption Pool, but with each use of your abilities as listed, you gain Corruption Points. Your Corruption Pool can only take so much Corruption before it exceeds its limit. Its Limit starts at 10 Corruption Points, with an additional 2 added for each level above 1. You also add your Charisma modifier to your Corruption Pool at every level including first.

The Corruption of a Soul Gem represents grief and despair, so aside from magic use, intense negative emotion can also cause it. If anything prompts an intense episode, such as a roleplaying scene, losing a dear loved one, or anything like a Save Vs. Madness or a Crushing Despair spell or whatever, have them make a saving throw (whichever correlates closest to a Wisdom/mental stability-based save), and if they fail, they gain a Corruption Point.

For every 10% of your Corruption Pool that's filled up, you take a -1 penalty to saves against future despair-induced Corruption saves, to reflect your darkening mood and imminent grief-spiral as the hope within you flickers and dies.

If your Corruption Pool reaches its limit, your Soul Gem bursts and becomes a Grief Seed, as you turn into the very Youma you've been hunting. Oh my god, what a twist! If your players are somehow unfamiliar with the reference material, hide this part, it'll be fucking awesome.

The only way to lower Corruption is to use Grief Seeds. Every defeated Youma drops a single Grief Seed, which refreshes Corruption Points as if they had a Cleansing Pool equal to the Corruption Pool of a Puella Magi of its HD, minus any Charisma bonuses . Excess points are not lost when a Grief Seed is used, so a Puella Magi can hold on to a half-spent Seed. A fully spent Seed can be used to cleanse a Soul Gem, but going over the Cleansing Limit causes the Grief Seed to hatch into a Youma, which will have 'leveled up' from the extra Corruption.

Sidebar: In certain universes, a girl sold her soul to save Puella Magi everywhere from the fate of becoming a Youma. In those campaign settings, those with fully Corrupted Soul Gems instead disappear into thin air, purportedly taken to a higher plane of existence. With no Youma in this reality, there are instead Akuyo, wraith-like figures of gloom that take their place. These creatures drop 1d3 Curse Cubes per HD, which work as Grief Seeds, except they only heal 1d6 Corruption Points each. Curse Cubes never hatch.

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, I've been wanting a Magical Girl OSR game for so long...

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    Replies
    1. I plan to write Magical Girl variants for different concepts and genres, so stay tuned.

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