Occult Philosophy | A Sourcebook for Shadow of the Demon Lord RPGIf you haven’t yet heard, I’m launching a Kickstarter campaign in November (the 12th) to crowdsource the production for a new and sexy supplement for Shadow of the Demon Lord. So far, I’ve been able to produce a slew of high-quality digital products that shine lights on various ancestries and spots on the map, reveal details about terrifying creatures, to say nothing of the many adventures available for the game. However, Occult Philosophy is a different sort of beast.

What is It?

Clocking in at around 192 pages with about 800 spells, a dozen or so critters, plus twenty to thirty paths, it’s the biggest release for the game since Shadowcame out around three years ago. A book of this size has a pile of expenses, including art, editing, proofing, layout, and graphic design. And, if the campaign does well enough, we’ll do an off-set print run too.

Q&A

I’m going to make up a few general questions and answer them. In future installments, I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of the book.

Eight hundred spells? Have they been tested?

Yes. I ran a limited playtest with tons of respondents who took the spells out for a spin in their games. From the feedback along with the testers’ insights, I adjusted the design to ensure that they fit the game and work well alongside other spells.

Do spells cover ranks 0 to 5? Do they go higher?

Yep! One of my earliest goals for this book was to reveal magic’s true extent in the setting. Each tradition receives expansions to the basic rank 0 to 5 spells, but also includes a pair of rank 6 spells along with one of each for ranks 7 through 10.

Do we get any new traditions?

For sure. I included one new tradition to bring the tradition count up to 42 (the most important number of all). Madness joins the other traditions, offering ways for you to harness your Insanity and weave it into magic to produce spectacular effects. There’s an Elder Gods vibe to these spells too, and, as a result, raises a few new questions about the game’s cosmology.

How about paths?

Of course! We’re including some guidance for playing characters beyond level 10 (building on the method described in Forbidden Rules). I’m also including a slew of expert and master paths. Expert paths, as usual, ground characters in the setting but also speak to specific traditions or pairs of traditions. Master paths offer alternative takes to mastering the various forms of magic, while also offering options to players who concern themselves with the methods of casting—implements for example.

What about relics and enchanted objects?

I had planned to include a chapter on each, but I ran out of room. I have a product in mind called The Vault of the Demon Lord, which includes new options for enchanted objects, relics, and trinkets. This book gets unlocked as a stretch goal.

What’s your favorite spell in Occult Philosophy?

Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’m pretty partial to them all. Here’s a cool one from the Battle tradition.

God of War                                                Battle Utility 10

Duration 8 hours

Magical power flows into you, transforming you into a god of war. You become bigger, stronger, and far more menacing. Your eyes glow with malice and blood paints your body. Any creature that can see you when you transform must get a success on a Will challenge roll with 3 banes or gain 1d3 Insanity. Until the spell ends, gain the following benefits:

  • You gain a +50 bonus to Health
  • You cannot gain Insanity
  • You make attack rolls with 3 boons
  • Your attacks with weapons deal 5d6 extra damage
  • You impose 3 banes on the attack rolls made by creatures against you
  • At the end of each round, each creature you choose within your reach takes 3d6 damage

Aftereffect You must make a Will challenge roll with 5 banes. On a failure, you gain 3d6 Insanity and take a –1d6 penalty to Power that lasts for 1 week and 1 day. If you would go mad as a result of this Insanity gain, you suffer Battle Madness (see Shadow, page 118) as normal, but the madness ends only on a roll of a 6 and you take 2d6 damage at the end of each round until the madness ends.