To compliment the Atlantean race in our campaign, Mike and I finished up working on the Stygian.
Where the Atlantean focused on fighting and thievery, the Stygian's focus is either on Magic or thievery. I wanted to have an magic mechanic option besides the Vancian magic-user. The Stygian would be more of a natural sorcerer tapping directly into the mystic powers of the cosmos, at a cost of his sanity of course. The magic bit was a bit difficult to work up and I ended up borrowing from both Akrasia's Magic house rules from his Akradic Wizardry blog and Cyclopeatron's Oranjian Wizard.
I thought a blending of both of these concepts would work nicely but perhaps it's too complicated. I'm not sure. As of yet, this race has not been play-tested. As soon as it is, I'll post an update. I may have over-complicated this a bit but we'll see. Also, if anyone sees any glaring issues please let me know.
Like the Atlanteans, Stygians are a very ancient race seeped in the archaic mystic lore of cosmic spell-crafting. Where Magic Users and Illusionists think of magic as a science to be learned, Stygians see magic as their cosmic right, thus, as a Magic-User, they have a different mechanic for spell casting symbolizing their direct connection to this force (see below).
Prime Attribute: Depends on class
Hit Dice: As per class
Armor/Shield Permitted: As per class
Weapons Permitted: As per class
Alignment: Neutral or Chaotic (preferred)
Class: Only Magic-user (Sorcerers) or Thief
Stygians gain a -1 to Strength, +1 to Intelligence and +1 to Charisma.
Stygians gain a +1 against to save against cast spells of a divine nature.
Stygians can be either Magic-users or thieves only. They do not gain any experience bonus.
Stygian Sorcerers do not use the standard Magic-user spells per level chart. Stygian Sorcerers can cast any number of times per day, but spells cost exhaustion (Magic Points), and possibly corruption (if a ‘black magic’ spell is cast) A Stygian Thief gains a +1 to both Move Silently and Hide In Shadows.
Stygian Spell Casting:
All spells can be learned by Stygians in the same way that magic-users do (i.e., by recording them in spellbooks, and ‘preparing’ them to be cast later). If a spell has both a ‘cleric’ and a ‘magic-user’ version, use the ‘magic-user’ version. Each spell has a magic point (MP) casting cost that corresponds with the spell’s level (see table). Hit points may be spent in place of MPs to cast spells. As well, extra MPs may be generated by permanently spending 1 point of Intelligence per 10 MPs. MPs naturally recharge at the rate shown (1 turn = 10min).
Note: For the most part, the following is borrowed from the above mentioned sites as both bloggers have done a much better job than I could have on my own.
There is no ‘read magic’ spell for Stygian Sorcerers. Instead, Stygian Sorcerers know the ancient eldritch language in which all magic is written. First-level Stygian Sorcerers start with a spellbook that contains three first-level spells (player’s choice) and one second-level spell (player’s choice). All other spells must be found, learned from a tutor (usually for a steep fee), or purchased (also usually for a steep fee).
Spells are divided into White Magic (spells that promote or maintain life, protect against harm, and generally are ‘in tune’ with the natural laws and forces of the universe), Grey Magic (spells that typically involve the manipulation and/or alteration of objects and/or minds), and Black Magic (spells that typically are destructive and/or ‘contrary to nature,’ say, by being necromantic in character or by drawing on forces beyond this universe).
Spell Casting: Exhaustion, Corruption, and Sanity
When Stygians cast ‘white magic’ spells they suffer MP exhaustion equal to the spell level magic point cost so a Stygian who casts a third level white magic spell would use 10 Magic Points).
When Stygians cast ‘grey magic’ spells they suffer MP exhaustion equal to the spell level magic point cost plus 1 HP per level of spell (so a Stygian who casts a third level grey magic spell would use 10 Magic Points and 3 Hit Points).
When Stygians cast ‘black magic’ spells they suffer MP exhaustion identical to that caused by ‘grey magic’ spells (spell level magic point cost plus 1 HP per level of spell). In addition, Stygians casting ‘black magic’ spells must make a saving throw in order to avoid corruption. If this saving roll is failed, the Stygian is corrupted slightly and suffers a loss of temporary Wisdom points equal to the spell level (e.g., 3 points of temporary Wisdom for a third-level spell). Temporarily lost points of Wisdom can be recovered at a rate of one point per complete day of rest and meditation (no other action possible). The spell ‘Restoration’ will restore instantly all temporarily lost Wisdom points.
Furthermore, if a Stygian casting a ‘black magic’ spell fails his/her saving throw by rolling a ‘1,’ then that Stygian loses one point of Wisdom permanently (so if a Stygian fails his/her saving throw casting a third-level black magic spell by rolling a ‘1,’ he/she would lose one permanent point of Wisdom and two temporary points of Wisdom). The spell ‘Restoration’ will not restore any permanently lost Wisdom points.
A Stygian whose permanent wisdom score is lowered to 2 becomes insane, and possibly the thrall of an extra-planar demonic force. He/she henceforth is a non-player character!
Again, a special thanks to Akrasia and Cyclopeatron for their creative and innovative efforts.