Friday, April 25, 2014

Review and PWWO: The Complete Vivimancer

I recently downloaded The Complete Vivimancer the new book from Necrotic Gnome Productions, the same folks that gave us Theorems & Thaumaturgy.

+Gavin Norman, of the City of Iron blog, gives us a new(ish) class, the Vivimancer.  The book is 88 pages and advertised as Labyrinth Lord compatible with both Basic and Advanced stats (more on that in a bit).
The class was introduced in Theorems & Thaumaturgy.  The basic class is a type of Wizard/Magic-User and detailed on two pages.  The experience per level, saves, spells, and attacks are not too different from the Magic-user normal.
For the Advanced option elves and half-elves can also be vivimancers.  Interestingly enough elves can advance to 11th level and half-elves to 10th.  I would have expected it to be the other way around.

The next substantial chapter is on Spells and Laboratory procedures.
The biggest expense in gold and time for the vivimancer is his laboratory.  The vivimancer according to the rules needs to spend 6 hours per day in his lab.  I wonder how much time this leaves for adventuring, eating and sleeping. Update:  This is only when a magical procedure is underway, so not something the vivimancer does everyday. Upkeep costs is 10 gp per spell level, so about 1980gp per month at 20th level. Not unreasonable really.

The next 65 pages detail spells levels 1 to 9.  Like most Labyrinth Lord compatible products the spells are compatible across a wide variety of products.  You could use these with any old school product wizard, magic-user and yes witch.  Though to do so I think robs the class of some it's charm and power.
The spells are a varied sort.  There are some very useful, some are variations on a theme and others will have limited utility to the adventuring vivimancer.  But all have a lot of style.  If you prefer your games a little more G-rated then this isn't a book for you.  While not as over the top as Carcosa or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, there are a lot of cutting things up and putting them back together.

The chapter on magic items is nice varied lot as well, with attention paid to things the vivimancer needs to perform his craft.

We also get Appendices on Psionic Powers and Mutations.  Both are fine and work but in use I might swap out the same rules in the Labyrinth Lord compatible Mutant Future.

Overall I really liked it.  Like the book said why let Necromancers have all the fun.  There is a lot here that can be used in any game really even if you never use them as a class.  Personally I wonder what a bad guy team of a Vivimancer and Necromancer might produce.   Heck with the Advanced rules, a Vivimancer/Cleric.

There are couple of places where Insanity is mentioned but not a lot of details on how insanity would work in a game.

The art is somewhat sparse, but it is all original and unique to this book (ok maybe 1 or 2 are in T&T).  So that gives it a sum positive in my mind.

The book is 88 pages, as mentioned above, and lists at $10.00 for the PDFs.  Maybe a bit higher $/page ratio, but I'll be honest I am not sure where to price these things. I think $7.50 would have been best, but I am not judging.

I have to admit I was set to like this book.  "The Complete Vivimancer" reminds me of the old Bard Games "The Compleat Spellcaster" and "The Compleat Alchemist".  Not just in terms of title and feel, but in terms of content.  This is the sort of thing I enjoy from the OSR/Old School publishing realms.  I like something I can drop into my games with no issues.  Plug and Play gaming.

I would like to recommend this book.  I particularly recommend it as a change of pace from the evil Necromancer NPC.

There is a lot to love about this book.

Plays Well With Others: The Witch and The Vivimancer

Since The Complete Vivimancer is designed for Labyrinth Lord overtly and Basic Era game in general it should theoretically drop into any Old-School D&D game.  Well as it turns out, it does and it does so rather nicely.  Limit the spell levels to a max of 6 and you have a great new class for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea and one that fits right in really.  It is also a nice compliment to Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts.   It also plays really nice with my own Witch class.

There are several spells that both Witches & Vivimancers can use from their respective books.  These are just my ideas, your GM would have to choose their own and it is possible that Vivimancer author +Gavin Norman might have some different ideas.

Vivimancer Spells for the Witch
First Level: Entangle, Hormone Control
Second Level: Arcane Sight, Insect Messenger, Pair Bonding, Bleeding Wounds (reverse of Staunch Blood Flow)
Third Level: Accelerated Reproduction, Anthropomorphism (perfect witch spell), Paralysis
Fourth Level: Immunity to Disease, Insanity
Fifth Level: Nature's Secrets, Psionic Awakening (for Aquarians only), Transfer Pregnancy (as a Witch Ritual)
Sixth Level: Impregnate
Seventh Level: none
Eighth Level: none
Ninth Level: witches can't cast ninth level spells.

Witch Spells for the Vivimancer
*Cantrips: Analyze Fertility, Daze, Detect Curse, Detect Poison, Detect Pregnancy, Flavor, Freshen, Inflict Minor Wounds, Irritate, Quick Sleeping, Sobriety, Summon Vermin
First Level: Analgesia, Bless Growth, Blight Growth, Block the Seed, Drowsy, Endure Elements, Far Sight, Fey Sight, Sickly, Silver Tongue, Sour Stomach, Vertigo
Second Level: Agony, Broca's Curse of Babel, Delay Poison, Fever, Mind Obscure, Weaken Poison, Youthful
Third Level: Aphasia, Body of Eyes, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Lesser Strengthening Rite, Remove Blindness/Deafness, Toad Mind
Fourth Level: Abomination, Confusion, Elemental Armor, Narcolepsy, Neutralize Poison, Polymorph, Vomit, Bount/Strength to the Unborn (Ritual)*
Fifth Level: Baleful Polymorph, Dreadful Bloodletting, Gnawing Pain, Steal Youth, Control Outcome of Birth (Ritual)*
Sixth Level: Evaporate Fluids, False Memory, Mass Agony, Repulsion, Crossbreed (Ritual)
Seventh Level: Insanity**, Magickal Conception (Parthenogenesis),  Wave of Mutilation
Eighth Level: Mind Blank
Ninth Level: There are no 9th level witch spells.

*Ritual spells should be cast by a lone Vivimancer at one level higher.
**(Called Greater Insanity to differentiate it from the 3rd level Vivimancer spell)

In both cases I am just listing the level of the spell as it appears in it's respective book.  Some spells might need to be shifted up or down a level depending on the GM.  Also there is some overlap in the spell effects but the casting and mechanics might be different

New Spell: Magickal Creation (Thaumatogenesis)

This new spell is usuable by either Witches or Vivimancers.

Magickal Creation 
Latin: Thaumatogenesis
Level: Vivimancer 9, Witch 8
Casting Time: 2 hours
Range: Touch

By means of this spell a new life form can be created purely from magic.  Unlike Magickal Conception, which takes exsiting life force and shapes into a new life, Magickal Creation uses only magic.
This spell maybe used to impregnate a female or even a male subject. Typically a female subject is used since is most cases (95% of the time) the impregnated male dies in the birth process.

The casting of this spell takes two hours, during which time the caster must be not interrupted. The casting witch must be able to see the target of the spell, either directly or by scrying.  The target, if willing, gains no saving throw, but an unwilling target if aware of the spell can make a save vs. Spells.  A target unaware of the casting must become aware of the situation before they can save.  Many charlatans play on the paranoid nature of many and sell talismans that protect against this spell.

Since this is using the stuff of magic to produce a life, the spell always works and produces a living life form.  What sort of life form produced is indicated by the table below.

d20 Outcome of birth
1-5 The child is born with only the mother’s traits.
6-10 The child is born with both the traits of the mother and the caster
11-12 The child is born a Chaotic outsider, with both the mothers and casters traits.
13-14 The child is born a Chaotic outsider, with only the mothers traits.
15-16 The child is born a Lawful outsider, with both the mother and casters traits.    
17-18 The child is born a Lawful outsider, with only the mothers traits.
19 The child is born as a half fiend, with only the mothers traits.
20 The child is born as a half-celestial, with only the mothers traits.

Gestation depends on the species of the mother, but time in months is often reduced to time in hours.  So if the mother is human then nine months of pregnancy is reduced to nine hours.  The minimum gestation time in any case is two hours. The Caster may also impregnate themselves in this manner producing a clone.

Material Components
Vivimancer: A tissue sample from either the gestating mother or the caster. The tissue is placed in a vat where it is boiled with Agaric, Basil, Figs and Mandrake root till forming a loose, liquid ooze. This ooze is placed onto the gestating mother (or caster).
Witch: Root Agaric, Basil, Figs and Mandrake root (harvested only by the new moon) are combined into a paste, dried and burned.  An athame and a cup, symbolizing male and female powers to direct the spell are required as the focuses. 

Section 15: Magickal Creation (Thaumatogenesis) Copyright 2014 Timothy S. Brannan.
All text of this spell is considered Open for terms of the OGL.


Chrys Fey said...

I love anything to do with witches and magic! And the cover for The Complete Vivimancer is neat. :)

Jolie du Pre said...

I love the cover!

Precious Monsters