Saturday, March 10, 2018

Catch You, Catch Me

Cardcaptors are people who aren't competent at normal spellcasting, necessarily, but discovered the workaround of befriending spells instead of creating and casting them. A Cardcaptor not only needs to be everything else expected of a magician or adventurer, but they must also be an empathetic and kind person if they want to go far. Their spells, their cards, are all full individuals with personalities, wills, temperments, and desires. Should they be sensitive to them and believe in the heart of the cards, they have potential to be one of the strongest spellcasters in the realms.

Hit Die: d6
To-hit progression: As Cleric
Saves: As Cleric (using Charisma instead of Wisdom where applicable)
Weapons and armor: Simple Armor, Shortswords, Staves, and other simple, wand-shaped weapons.
XP per level: As Wizard

SEALING WAND: A Cardcaptor's first willworking is the creation of their Sealing Wand. It has the hidden form of a simple key, trinket, pendant, pen, or some other such thing, and the Cardcaptor can transmute a Wand into the revealed Sealing form assigned at its creation; a staff, a sword, or some other appropriate implement. A Cardcaptor can only have one Sealing Wand at a time, though using the same rules for spellbooks, they can create a new one if destroyed, or abandon their old one and bind a new one. It's possible to bind a pre-existing valid object as a Sealing Wand, such as a +1 staff or magical sword or what have you. This provides no benefits to Cardcasting, but hey, it sure is nice to have a better weapon if you need to use your Wand as a blunt instrument. A Cardcaptor cannot perform Cardcasting without their Sealing Wand. This final restriction is removed at level 20.

CARDCASTING (CON/CHA): Cardcaptors do their magic by conjuring spell-spirits from their cards. Cards created by a Cardcaptor are generally part of a deck named after the creator, such as "The Clow Cards" or "The Sakura Cards." When a loose Card (see below) is encountered and then defeated, a Cardcaptor is capable of using their Sealing Wand to bind it back into a Card form; this is done only when the encounter is resolved with the Card's defeat or subjugation.

A Card without a living Creator has finite magic; they can hibernate indefinitely, but otherwise have an active magical lifespan of a year and a day; if exhausted, the card will cease to exist. Additionally, using someone else's card can possibly draw on their own magic (see below), and thus, it's often in the best interests of a creator to sever a card if they can't retrieve it. A Card with no valid master can be Converted, reincarnating it into a member of its new master's deck. This follows the same rules as copying a scroll into a spellbook, using Charisma.

Creating a Card is similar to Converting one; if a Cardcaptor gets their hands on a a spell scroll, they can destroy it to reincarnate (one of) its spells into a sentient, free-willed living spell entity with a heart and mind of its own, which is then bound into a Card. A Wand, Staff, Potion, or other temporary magic item can also be destroyed in this way, for this purpose. Mechanically, treat it as copying a scroll into a spellbook each time, same as Converting a card.

To actually use a card, the Cardcaptor need only use their Sealing Wand, and spend the appropriate Card Points. A Cardcaptor has Card Points equal to their level plus their Constitution modifier, and casting a Card requires the card's spell level in Card Points. Yes, this means a Cardcaptor could hypothetically blow their entire spells-per-day to cast Time Stop once at level 6 if they have 18 Constitution. Why the fuck did you give them a Time Stop scroll, though? Idiot. You're stupid.

When a Card is cast, it transforms into its more elemental, personified living form. This entity should be treated as an elemental, fey, or spirit with its spell level in HD if you need to reference stats, though honestly they're just a spell with a roleplaying personality, so it shouldn't come up much. Cards remain summoned theoretically indefinitely, and can use their powers freely. Except they have free will. So your Cardcaptor needs to actually roleplay befriending them, and make Charisma checks (with a level bonus) to convince a card to act if it goes against their themes, nature, or general personality to do so. Even then, they usually only stat out for the Cardcaptor's level in rounds; a Reaction check can push them beyond this if you make it every round, but even with a success you'll need to make a major concession to the card in some way to compensate. As a general rule, however, the cards aren't dicks; if you ask a Feather Fall card to get someone to the ground safely, it will do so no matter how long it takes.

Stronger cards generally have more arrogant and unruly personalities, and cards you created yourself are naturally inclined to obey and like you. Converted cards also prefer you to a lesser extent, since you're feeding them mana to exist. Foreign-deck Cards have no level bonus, but should still at least not get a penalty to most requests, since you're an honorable Cardcaptor that did acquire them legitimately (....right?).

SIDEBAR: Cardcasting for Everyone Else

Other people besides you can use your Cards. If they do, they technically draw on your mana. This doesn't use your Card Points, technically, but it does fuck with your general magical feng shui. It's likely you have psychic dreams about the missing card and what it's been up to, and the fitful sleep prevents you from recovering Card Points with rest, or something. In fact, yea, that's cool, let's do that. Card Points are usually required with rest but if a card is being abused in this way, the only way you can recover Card Points is by passing a saving thow after each night.

To use a Card, you must have some sort of magical potential. Someone capable of reading scrolls, and/or has spell-like abilities can use a Card as a 1/day scroll, making a Reaction Check with no level bonus. On a failure, after a single use the card shoots off and becomes a Loose Card, adopting their personified form to act freely. A normal spellcaster (or psion, or whatever the fuck) can do this, or they can also bind the Card to a spell slot of appropriate level, allowing them to use it as a prepared spell. They still need to make Reaction checks with no level-bonus, but as long as they cast it from a spell slot, there's no risk of the card flying off on a failure. Only going apeshit and defiant, like for a Cardcaptor. Oh well. That said, a Spellcaster cannot unbind it from a spell slot without making the Reaction Check that might send them off flying. A Card is only truly loyal to a Cardcaptor, in the end.

The Cards have a non-trivial resemblance to Tarot cards, and this is intentional. If a Cardcaptor has at least nine cards, they can do a reading with them. various spreads and draws you can do, but for those without, just make a table and roll nine random cards from your list. You may perform the effects of the Contact Other Plane spell, save that you can only ask questions regarding the themes of the drawn cards. For instance, if your cards include a Fireball card and a Cure Wounds card, you can ask questions regarding fire and healing.

A secret reaction roll determines the honesty of the cards, though they will always be 100% honest on the Full Moon, and will allow twice the number of questions. This reading can be done whenever, but takes an hour of meditation to perform.

TWIN GUARDIANS: A Cardcaptor automatically creates two familiars, which are similar to a wizard's for all intents and purposes, save for the differences listed here. They're free to define the form of both familiars, and can even make them appear to be ordinary 0-level humans, so long as they are 1-HD creatures. They must be associated with opposite elemental affinities,such as Sun/Moon, Light/Dark, Ying/Yang, Fire/Water, etc., and once determined this cannot be changed. Like Cards, they are dependent on their Master to continue existing, and follow the same rules for what they must do if they lose their Master.

When a Card is created or bound to your service, it must also be assigned to one of your two Guardians. You cannot bind a card of opposing themes to a Guardian (no water cards to the Fire guardian), and you must keep the cards roughly evenly distibuted between the Guardians. Failure to do so can cause the cards to revolt from a magical feng shui imbalance. Cards treat the

Guardian they're bound to as extensions of you, for all purposes of reaction checks. A guardian has a 'true', alternate form. It has to resemble their hidden form in some way (like a kitten becoming a giant celestial lion), and the true form has an extra HD for every three cards bound to it; a Guardian with 30 cards to its name thus has a 10 HD alternate form. When a True form is reduced to 0 HP, they remain conscious, but are forced back to their hidden, simple form. Despite being conscious, any further damage can kill them according to the rules of your game.

If a Guardian dies, the cards under their name will revolt and be uncooperative. You will need to create a replacement Guardian, with the same mechanics, affinity, and basic nature, and is created using the same rules as casting Find Familiar. However, this is not actually the original Guardian revived, but a new individual.

Even though you create and sustain them, the Guardians are free-willed creatures. They're naturally inclined to like and serve you, but if you haven't noticed this whole class is basically being a spellcaster using Follower/Henchman mechanics. So, yea.

TRUE FEELINGS: At 20th level, a miracle happens. The Cardcaptor's heart is so full from their relationships with their Cards, and their magical power so refined, that they can create a single card ex niliho. This card can have any spell effect, including one entirely custom and unique of the Cardcaptor's design, and can be of any spell level. They need never make a reaction check for this card's loyalty and cooperation, though it can only be used once a day (but doesn't cost Card Points). This card is bound to neither Guardian, but is directly bound to the Cardcaptor's heart. No one else can ever use it, under any circumstances, unless the card's master gives it to someone else after they die. Finally, if the Master is ever about to die (or suffer an event they consider worse than death, like the death of their true love or some other sort of intolerable suffering), the card can permanently sacrifice itself to negate the event as a Wish-level miracle.

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