Shadow of the Weird Wizard
Paths of Adventure
A closer look at Paths in Shadow of the Weird Wizard
The path system presented in Shadow of the Demon Lord and later in PunkApocalyptic: The RPG “chunks” the mechanical widgets that describe the ways characters improve over time with experience and training. As popular as the mechanics proved to be in those games, I never had doubts about carrying them forward into Weird Wizard. People just love being able to start as one thing, choose to become something else, and become something else once more.
What are paths?
Simply put, a path describes the things your character knows how to do, and gives you talents, access to magic, and other resources that demonstrate your character’s capability. Weird Wizard has three tiers of play: novice, expert, and master. At the start of each tier, you choose a path and gain the benefits for the level that corresponds to the group’s current level.
The game has just four novice paths, each one being a common archetype found in most fantasy games. We have the mage, who’s best at casting spells; the priest, who can fight and cast spells; the rogue, who uses trickery and luck; and the warrior, who’s best at fighting.
When the group reaches level 3, each member of the group chooses their own expert path. Paths have no requirements; you can choose any path you like. The choice might build on a previous choice or take you in a new direction. For example, say you start as a warrior. You like fighting and you want to hit a bit harder, so you take the berserker path. However, if seeing cool spells being cast intrigues you, there’s nothing stopping you from choosing the wizard path instead. And best of all, you remain just as effective as you were regardless of the choice you make.
Expert paths tend to ground your character in the game world, giving you a place and, sometimes, a purpose. Example expert paths include the Inquisitor, the Druid, Gladiator, Assassin, and dozens more. Master paths, which you choose at level 7, describe the one thing at which you excel above all others. If you want to specialize in fighting with a chain-knife, there’s a path for you. If Pyromancy is more your thing, choose the Pyromancer path. Again, the master path plugs into your previous choices to enhance previous choices and make available new options for use in your effort to complete your quest.
Regardless of path tier, levelling up will increase your Health score and possibly your Defense, grant access to either combat or magic tokens, or both (which I’ll discuss later), and provide you with new spells and talents. Here’s a sample expert path to whet your appetite.
You joined a secret cabal of magic-users who have made their purpose to march civilization into a future of their choosing for thousands of years. The druids manipulate events to further their inscrutable goals. Their efforts sometimes put them in league with great heroes, and, at others, with despicable villains. For what purpose, only the Grand Druid who rules them all can say with certainty.
Membership requires undergoing secret rites that strip away loyalties to anyone other than the organization and to create pathways between you and the archdruids so that they might communicate their orders to you in the form of dreams, signs, and omens. For now, your place is with your group, to watch them, aid them, and report their doings to your superiors.
All druids wear distinctive hooded, black robes that seem to swallow their bodies. You receive the garb when you finish your training.
Level 3 Druid
Magic Tokens 1 Traditions One Spells Two expert
Languages Add two to the list of languages you know.
Sleep of Ages (action) You enter the Sleep of Ages and remain asleep for a period of time you decide when you use this talent. While asleep, you are immune to hunger and thirst, you grow no older, and you suffer no ill effects from exposure or infection.
During the Sleep, you have vivid dreams of things to come and from these visions you receive insights into your near future. For every 24 hours you spend in this sleep, you gain 1 insight token, up to a maximum number of tokens equal to your level. You retain these tokens until you expend them or you begin another Sleep of Ages. You can expend 1 insight token to grant yourself 1 boon on an attribute roll or luck roll that you make.
While you are asleep, any creature that can reach you can use an action to waken you. You also waken if you are harmed. Finally, you can come out of the Sleep early, at any time. If something pulls you out of the Sleep before the appointed time, you appear a decade older and you must make a Strength roll. On a failure, you lose Health equal to your level and become weakened until the end of your next quest.
Once you use this magical talent, you lose access to it until the end of the quest.
Meddler (minor) You help or hinder.
Level 4 Druid
Magic Tokens 1 Spells One expert
Emerald Flames (minor) Expend 1 magic token to cause Emerald Flames to erupt from your hands. The flames are warm, but do you no harm. They emit dim light. The flames burn for 1 minute and then gutter out.
While you are under the effect of this magical talent, you can use an action to shoot flames from your hands at one creature or object in your zone or an adjacent one. Make an Intellect roll against the target’s Agility. On a success, the target takes 3d6 damage. The damage increases to 5d6 at level 6, and 8d6 at level 9. If the result of your roll is 20 or higher and exceeds the target number by at least 5, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage.
Level 6 Druid
Magic Tokens 1 Spells One expert
Walker of Ways (reaction when an enemy attacks you) Expend 1 magic token to teleport to an empty space on a surface that can hold your weight in your zone or an adjacent one, and the enemy’s attack results in a failure. When you arrive at your destination, you become invisible until the end of your next turn.
Level 9 Druid
Magic Tokens 1 Spells One master
Signs and Portents (1/day) You can perform a ceremony to gain insights into the future by examining your surroundings. It takes 1 minute to complete the ceremony. When you finish, make an Intellect roll. You can expend 1 magic token to get an automatic success. On a success, you gain 4 portent tokens, or 2 portent tokens on a failure. You retain these tokens until you expend them or you use this talent again. While you have at least 1 token remaining, you can use a reaction to expend 1 portent token when a creature in your zone makes an attribute roll or a luck roll. You enable the creature to roll an additional d20 and you decide which result the creature uses.