Castle Elegia Hacks (Initial Notes)

Steel engraving (993 x 71mm) for frontispiece ...
Image via Wik

Instead of actual blogging today, I’ll just post a bunch of notes I’ve been writing down while I was ill over the past week or so. I give to you Castle Elegia.

This is a pile of “hacks” to Elegia, meant primarily as a series of notes for a game I have in mind. For those who don’t know, Elegia is a “retro-cool” fantasy RPG intended to evoke both old-school RPG sensibilities and 8-bit console gaming. The original Elegia is meant to feel more like the original Final Fantasy games. Castle Elegia, on the other hand, is meant to evoke a more gothic flavor — a mix of Final Fantasy, Castlevania, and Ravenloft. Rather than reinvent the wheel (at this stage), I just decided to put together a series of notes on how I would reskin Elegia to run such a game. If these hold up, I might flesh these ideas out into a short “campaign setting” for Elegia. The core book is free on PDF, and you can download it here:[ebook]/8282153

Chapter 1 – Characters

• Attribute and skill checks are now combined. All checks are done similar to attack rolls – add the attribute modifier to the skill rank and a 2D roll, against a DN of 9 (typical), 13 (difficult), or 17 (very difficult).
• All characters are considered to be “Men” (i.e., humans). As such, no character gets the +15% bonus to XP, but they do have the base Movement of 5” per round and an encumbrance limit of 5 stone (modified by STR).
• The classes are reskinned – Soldier (Knight), Holy Warrior (Paladin), Priest (Monk), Alchemist (Abbot), Sorcerer (Wizard), Scribe (Warlock), Hunter (Rogue), and Marksman (Ranger).
• The Soldier’s Power Attack is not expended if the attack misses, but the player still has to declare it before the dice are rolled.
• Magic is handled completely differently in Castle Elegia.

  • All spell-using classes now roll for Mana Points (MP) in a similar fashion as HP – all classes get +1D to MP each character level.
  • Each character level, the magician can pick a new spell of any level that is no greater than one-half their character level (so only first-level spells at character level 1 and 2, first and second-level spells at character level 3 and 4, and so on). Holy Warriors and Marksmen subtract nine from their character level before calculating what spells they can access.
  • Whenever a magician wants to cast a spell, they simply expend a number of MP equal to the level of the spell in question, and it happens.
  • Thematically, white magic is related to prayer and order, and black magic is related to destruction and chaos.

• All money in the game are silver coins (S) instead of gold (G). The rules are otherwise the same – a silver coin is worth the same as a gold piece.
• Gunpowder weapons are available in Castle Elegia, as per the rules on p. 14. A pistol costs 50S, a musket costs 80S, a blunderbuss costs 100S, and grenades cost 5S each.

Chapter 2 – Monsters & Relics

• Common monsters in Castle Elegia are banshees, giant bats, black puddings, giant centipedes, Chaos (a good end boss), demons, devils, gargoyles, ghouls, ghosts, golems (usually some kind of living statue), gray oozes, green slimes, hell hounds, Kraken, Lich, Marilith, men, mummies, ochre jellies, phantoms, purple worms, giant rats, revenants, robber flies, shadows, skeletons, giant snakes, spectres, giant spiders, vampires, wights, wolves, wraiths, yellow molds, and zombies. Other monsters can be reskinned or reintrepreted to fit the flavor of Castle Elegia, and the occasional surprise monster adds some flavor, but in general monsters tend to be embodiments of evil and death as well as cursed animals, rather than evil races or mythological creatures.
• Most Relic weapons and armors are just reskinned versions of existing weapons, and often come in more varieties than just swords. Mythrill weapons and armors are now “blessed,” for example, and the the Sun Sword is now a Vampire Killer whip. The difference between white and black magic shows up more in the backstory behind Relic items as well. Mechanically, however, they are identical to the ones in Elegia (including how ensorcelled clothing works – it’s unrelated to MP).

Chapter 3 – Adventures & Battles

• While the same variety of terrain types exist, there is a distinct slant towards forests. The same with “dungeons” – they are slanted toward castles, crypts, and catacombs.
• Generally, characters don’t hire henchmen. It’s possible (and the rules are all still in effect), but generally speaking a henchmen is just a zombie waiting to happen.
• Monsters are almost never friendly.

Chapter 4 – Worlds & Campaigns

This is the part that is most in need of a revision, and probably deserves its own document. However, here are a few key points to consider.

• Instead of “ancient technology,” think “lost magical practices” or “once every hundred years.” Generally, the monsters horde knowledge.
• Instead of “crystals,” use darker and more aggressive symbols – blood, stone, obsidian, bone.
• Key item exchanges are still very important, but the scale is different – they unlock a new floor of the castle, a new village, or a different forest. In fact, having just one castle as a huge sprawling “megadungeon” with different floors and wings locked behind key items is very much in line with background.
• Other dimensions are likely to be the homes of demons and the undead, rather than elemental. In fact, elemental forces are downplayed as thematic tropes in general.
• Bards work just fine (usually reskinned as “nobles” for a purely human-centric game, or as “dhampyrs” or “half-vampires” for a game that’s a little more fantastic).
• The “Light Warriors” campaign model is much more appropriate, and is assumed to be the default.

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