Magnostorms

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Big Mac
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Magnostorms

Post by Big Mac » Sat May 04, 2013 10:30 am

Tellene sometimes gets hit by something called Magnostorms. These are briefly mentioned on page 230 of the Kingdoms of Kalamar Campaign Setting Sourcebook, although there are no actual rules for them:
Kingdoms of Kalamar Campaign Setting Sourcebook wrote:Magnostorms: These are weird magnetic storms of extra-planetary origin that disrupt dwarf, gnome, and halfling direction sense, as well as teleportation spells and devices. They are invisible and strike without warning. The effects usually last several days.
These extra-planetary storms seem like a pretty interesting concept to me. I don't think I've seen another campaign setting that has anything like this.

Has anyone that already plays Kingdoms of Kalamar ever used Magnostorms? If so, how did you use them and how did the random disruption work out?

But how does this actually work? What does "disruption" actually mean? What I'm wondering is does a dwarf, gnome or halfling have to make some sort of saving throw to use their direction sense or it it totally unusuable? The same goes for teleportation. Is there a chance of failure (or going to the wrong place) or does teleportation just stop working?

Has anyone seen any rules or random weather tables for deciding when Magnostorms should happen?

Does this get used in any Kingdoms of Kalamar adventure (or sourcebook)?

From the description it seems like K&C were basing this on solar flares. Has anyone ever looked at solar flares to see if they can use the way that real-world solar flares work to create some plot hooks (or fanon) for Magnostorms? Or do you think that some other sort of space effect is more like a Magnostorm? The Brightstar is a double-star (with one star and one black hole). Do you think it is supposed to be a flare star that periodically sends out Magnostorms in various directions (some off which hit Tellene)?
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George.Fields
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Re: Magnostorms

Post by George.Fields » Sat May 04, 2013 3:39 pm

I don't recall seeing them used in any other Kalamar books.
I'll be at ACEN in a few weeks with the K&Co guys. If I can remember, I'll ask them about it.

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Re: Magnostorms

Post by Greylond » Sat May 04, 2013 4:51 pm

Some things in K&Co books are meant for GM to adjudicate. From reading K&Co stuff and talking to the D-Team I gather(and it is ONLY my personal opinion) that they believe that sometimes the GM has to use his best judgement and some things aren't meant to have actual game stats. Things like this are left open for the GM to say when it happens and what the exact effects are. Jolly for one has said that things like this add to the mystery and wonder of the game. And I happen to agree with them. :)

As for previous major Solar Flares in history check out this story of the Big One that happened in 1859;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

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Big Mac
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Re: Magnostorms

Post by Big Mac » Sun May 05, 2013 9:35 pm

George.Fields wrote:I don't recall seeing them used in any other Kalamar books.
I'll be at ACEN in a few weeks with the K&Co guys. If I can remember, I'll ask them about it.
Thanks George. If you get a chance to ask about that, it would be great.
Greylond wrote:Some things in K&Co books are meant for GM to adjudicate. From reading K&Co stuff and talking to the D-Team I gather(and it is ONLY my personal opinion) that they believe that sometimes the GM has to use his best judgement and some things aren't meant to have actual game stats. Things like this are left open for the GM to say when it happens and what the exact effects are. Jolly for one has said that things like this add to the mystery and wonder of the game. And I happen to agree with them. :)
Oh sure. You can't have rules for everything, otherwise you will create stats for gods and some gaming group are going to say "if it has stats, we can kill it".

But at the other end of the scale, if you don't provide any information to a GM and they don't know what to do with it, it doesn't actually get used.
Greylond wrote:As for previous major Solar Flares in history check out this story of the Big One that happened in 1859;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859
Thanks. I'm not sure how that would carry over to a fantasy setting, but from the bottom of the article, it would seem that they have two events of that type per centuary. the Coronal mass ejection article says there are 3 CME's per day at solar maximum and one every 5 days at solar minimum. IIRC, the our sun has an 11 year cycle so two big events per 100 years is something like a 2 in 9 chance per cycle. Maybe that would suggest that the Magnostorms of Tellene are not that frequent. :?

I'm still thinking on how this might be used in a campaign.

Mostly I can see players thinking their PCs have had their abilities robbed from them. I wonder if any other sort of direction sense (either monster direction sense or direction sense created by magic) would also be disrupted. Perhaps this sort of event could create a level playing field that some PC groups could try to take advantage of.

Maybe even the lack of teleportation (as an escape route) could be useful for some groups. If there is a wanted criminal known to teleport away to escape from the authorities, they could possibly be captured a bit more easily during a Magnostorm.

Perhaps there would be certain factions that are aware that Magnetostorms would create a temporary advantage for them, and who would want to quickly hire any adventurers they know can move immediately.
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Re: Magnostorms

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun May 05, 2013 10:25 pm

Disrupted teleportation isn't necessarily the same thing as lack of teleportation. Maybe someone who teleports during a magnostorm risks being diverted thousands of miles from where they intended to go, or even to another planet or plane of existence. This risk need not be a great one. Likewise, the storm might make direction sense less reliable without making it worthless; there might just be a chance of it being off by a bit (or more than a bit, depending on the severity of the storm, but players who figure out exactly how far off it is could learn to compensate).

Players are less likely to complain if the DM is perceived as playing fair, using NPC warnings and possibly physical symptoms (static electricity, a glowing aura around metal objects) to make the risk evident in advance and rolling from a chart to determine the result of a disruption rather than relying on DM fiat. Once in a great while it might be okay to pull "thanks to an unexpected magnostorm you have wandered into the Lost Valley or been teleported to the Isle of the Ape" as a springboard for a vacation from the usual campaign themes. It seems like it's mainly an excuse to keep the players from getting too confident that they're always going to go where they intended to go.

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