Friday, January 13, 2017

Revised GURPS Magic: Mass Zombie

Here is another spell I revised/tweaked/changed for my personal DF game.

So we have a wizard in my game who uses zombies and the Zombie spell. He'd like to get Mass Zombie but it requires Charisma 2+.

I get why - it's at least partly a legacy issue. Way, way, way back when that spell rolled out, it required Charisma 2+ or Strong Will 2+. But Strong Will 2 has no meaning in 4th edition GURPS, since Will is a secondary characteristic and not just your IQ plus or minus the effects of advantages. Therefore that got axed.

What we're left with is a spell most useful for misanthropic people-hating skeleton-loving death wizards but only likeable ones can learn it. Amusing to no end, but I'd like an alternative that doesn't involve Shortcut to Power. Or involve using a specific template (or Deathliness, DF9, p. 15) in order to have wizards with Mass Zombie.

Lucky for us, there is a way out - Talents. The Thanatologist (PU3, p. 16) talent has the right combination of cost (5/level, same as Charisma), effect (bonuses to mostly death-related skills), and flavor.*


Mass Zombie

As written, except:

Prerequisites: Zombie and either Charisma 2+ or Thanatologist 2+ (See Power-Ups 3, p. 16)

And that's that. Wizards and Evil Clerics and Unholy Warriors can add Thanatologist to their list of Power-Ups. Limit 4 levels.

* Just as an aside, it's worth considering if the alternate benefit of that talent - the bonus to certain Fright Checks - is worth trading back out for the reaction bonuses. Which fits better - the death-focused wizard is less frightened by scary undead? Or the scary undead like the wizard better? Tough call, and one I'm not prepared to make without talking to my players face-to-face. After all, they're both logical effects - "Ghosts love Gerry! He should talk to them." and "Everyone make a Fright Check from seeing the zombie spewing maggots all over Hjalmarr! Gerry gets a +2, it's nothing he hadn't seen before from the Lunch Lady Zombie from the Black College." Both would be too much, I think, unless you halved them (+1 to each per 2 levels.)


  1. "Both would be too much, I think, unless you halved them (+1 to each per 2 levels.)"

    Or alternate them? +2/+2 at the //full four levels// doesn't sound too bad does it?

    1. I wouldn't want to deal with explaining why it's +1 to one at level 1, and +1 to one and +2 to another at level 3, and so on. Or dealing with the headache of remembering.

    2. Maybe give the players the choice? Pick one +1 bonus per level. Allows a bit of variety in character concepts, but possibly a headache to remember which options they took.

    3. "possibly a headache to remember which options they took"

      Isn't that why humans invented writing stuff down?

    4. It's also why humans invented deciding ahead of time and applying it universally.

      I'll run the two ideas - normal benefit, or alternative benefit - past my players next game and settle on one. I'm not going to make it odd level/even level or "player decides" or some other allocation. Each level will be identical to the next and I'll apply that to everyone. That's how it works for everything else and will here as well.


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