Thieves' World, The Shared Fantasy World

Thieves' World is a series of anthology books featuring thieves (for the most part) set in the same shared world, with a variety of authors contributing to it.

Created in 1978 by Robert Lynn Asprin, Thieves' World is a shared world fantasy series that gained popularity during the 1980s and has since garnered a following. The original series comprised twelve anthologies, but new anthologies have been coming out in recent years.

All of the stories take place in the city of Sanctuary, which is  located at the edge of the Rankan Empire. Many of the people in Sanctuary are downtrodden and as such many people have turned to thievery to make ends meet. Religions are competing for supremacy, invasions of the city happen over the course of the various anthologies, and at one point the city is conquered by the snake-worshipping Beysib when the Rankan empire collapsed. Some of the characters are basically demigods (similar to Hercules), being the offspring of various gods from the different religions.

The first anthology was published in 1979, the series continued until it went on hiatus in 1989 after the twelfth anthology. In addition to the anthologies some authors have published novels and novellas in the setting of Thieves' World.

Starting in 2002, Lynn Abbey, who co-edited several of the original anthologies, relaunched the series with the novel Sanctuary, which was followed by the anthologies Turning Points and Enemies of Fortune (see my video above). Some of the older authors returned and several new ones were added. Abbey also oversaw the republication of the original anthologies in omnibus editions because the original books were out of print and difficult to find.

The Anthologies

  1. Thieves' World (1979)
  2. Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn (1980)
  3. Shadows of Sanctuary (1981)
  4. Storm Season (1982)
  5. The Face of Chaos (1983)
  6. Wings of Omen (1984)
  7. The Dead of Winter (1985)
  8. Soul of the City (1986)
  9. Blood Ties (1986)
  10. Aftermath (1987)
  11. Uneasy Alliances (1988)
  12. Stealers' Sky (1989)
  13. Turning Points (2002)
  14. Enemies of Fortune (2004)

There are also novels, novellas, short stories and comic books set in Thieves' World. So there is a lot more out there to potentially read if someone wants to.

Book Review: Bastion by Mercedes Lackey

The following video is a book review of Mercedes Lackey's book "Bastion".



And my phone started to get full so the video was cut short... so here is part 2 of 2. 


 

Twas an enjoyable book, but the lack of action during the first 300 pages of filler / fluff was rather disappointing. I was expecting more from Mercedes Lackey.

The lack of a central villain (with a name) was also problematic. Twelve nameless assassins just felt like the book was missing a villain which the reader could really love to hate.

Eg. Voldemort is a good villain that people love to hate (as opposed to Severus Snape, whom readers just plain love now that we know his full backstory, who only felt like he was villain during the first 6 books of the Harry Potter franchise.)

The Collegium Chronicles series of books isn't going to be made into a TV show or a film series, that much is certain. It isn't boring. It is technically enjoyable, but there is a lot of fluff.

As a fan of Mercedes Lackey this ended up being a disappointing read.

2nd Edition AD&D Exorcist Class

Okay, so let me start by saying I have a rather unusual problem that necessitated me making an Exorcist class for 2nd Edition AD&D. I am writing a novel titled "The Exorcist's Dagger" in which one of the main characters is an exorcist, and I realized that I need to define exactly what her powers are as an exorcist.

Furthermore in my world exorcists are not priests. They're not wizards either. So this is not a wizard class or a priest class, but something different. As different as druid is to cleric, except more so. They're just something "different", just like the Taltos class is different from bards or druids. (You can find the Taltos class in Dragon Magazine 247.)

Thus I realized that I needed to create an Exorcist character class for AD&D just so I knew what the abilities and limitations of the character would be in my book. Thus the character class listed below is NOT meant for gaming. It is meant for a book.

So to create this character class I am going to go through the steps outlined in pages 22 and 23 of the 2nd Edition DMG (more or less in order) and see what abilities make sense for my version of the Exorcist class.

#1. What races can be an Exorcist?

Well, I can't really imagine dwarves, gnomes or Habbels (my version of halflings) being exorcists - and the class can do a sort of "spirit magic", so I don't see them doing this. I also don't see elves or minotaurs doing this either. To me the elves and minotaurs would just use clerics if they're having a problem with evil spirits or demons.

So just humans. That gives a class modifier of 0.

#2. What combat value should the Exorcist have?

I imagine they should suck at combat, but not as badly as wizards. So rogue Thac0 works for me. That gives a class modifier of -1.

#3. Saving Throw Table?

I think the Exorcist should be good at saving throws versus possession, so their save versus spell should be fairly good. But they should suck against things like Poison. So the Wizard saving throws is the only one that truly makes sense. Class modifier is 0.

#4. Hit Dice per Level?

I think d6 makes sense. I see an exorcist as being tougher than a wizard, but not as awesome as a priest. Class modifier of 0.75.

#5. Hit Points Beyond 9th Level?

 Not as squishy as wizards, but not as robust as fighters. So 2 hp per level. Class modifier of 1.

#6. Armour allowed?

With their spirit magic in mind I think Exorcists should be able to wear some armour, but not a lot. So the limited AC of 5 or worse makes sense. Class modifier is -0.5

#7. Weapons allowed?

Hmm. Limited sounds good. 4 weapons of my choice that do d6 damage or less. So dagger should be one of them obviously (my book is called "The Exorcist's Dagger" for a reason). I think crossbows also makes sense for an Exorcist, who is a bit of an undead hunter. Quarterstaff, sure, why not... and war hammer (becomes relevant later for the Spiritual Hammer spell). So dagger, quarterstaff, crossbow, war hammer. None of them do more than d6 damage (thanks to crossbows sucking in 2nd Edition... See my custom rules for Crossbows in 5th Edition to see what I mean) and the Exorcist is very limited in their choices. Class modifier is -1.5.

#8. Optional Abilities?

Okay, now we get to the fun part... What abilities should the Exorcist in Korovia have???

Let's make a bucket list of abilities...

  • 3 skill proficiencies (cleric or wizard)
  • 1 weapon proficiency
  • Priest spells (a limited spell list)
  • Wizard spells (a VERY limited spell list)
  • Turn Undead
  • Can use magical items allowed to clerics.
  • No other abilities. No thief skills. Nothing especially useful in combat.

The total class modifiers for this bucket list is... 10.

#9. Restrictions?

Must be lawful, must destroy undead/exorcise demons (even if not being paid for it), cannot own more than 10 magical items (because otherwise it interferes with the spirit magic). Class modifiers is -2.5.

#10 Adding Time...

Adding up all of the class modifiers we get a total of 6.25. So the Exorcist goes up levels at the same speed as a Rogue.

Their primary abilities is that they can use spells and Turn Undead, which means that because Rogues level up faster than Priests that the Exorcist's ability to Turn Undead goes up at a faster rate than clerics, and their spells also go up at a faster rate... But they are very limited in their choice of spells.

So what spells can my Korovian Exorcist actually do?

  • 1st Level: Bless (to create Holy Water), Detect Undead, Exorcism*, Invisibility to Undead, Magical Stone (for destroying undead), Protection from Evil/Good.
  • 2nd Level: Detect Evil, Detect Possession*, Spiritual Hammer.
  • 3rd Level: Hold Undead, Remove Curse, Speak with Dead, Speak with Demon*.
  • 4th Level: Abjure, Protection from Evil/Good 10' Radius.
  • 5th Level: Dismissal, Dispel Evil/Good, Magic Jar, Reverse Magic Jar*.
  • 6th Level: Banishment, Control Undead, Trap the Soul.
  • 7th Level: Astral Spell, Holy Word.

* New spells! See below.

NEW SPELLS

Exorcism - Upon casting this short ritual the Exorcist gains the ability to Turn Demons using their Turn Undead ability for the next 24 hours.

Detect Possession (similar to the 2nd level spell Detect Charm).

Speak with Demon (similar to Speak with Dead).

Reverse Magic Jar (exactly what it sounds like. Automatically reverses the spell when cast. No save.)

NOTES

You may have noticed that the Exorcist has very few wizard spells in their repertoire, but that doesn't mean that the DM/player (or me, the writer) cannot create new spells which are Exorcist specific.

This class isn't very good in combat, as you have probably noticed. This is deliberate. It has some useful spells that are handy at low levels (Magic Stone, Spiritual Hammer, etc), but many of the spells are really only good for dealing with curses, undead or demons.

Exorcists don't actually need a holy symbol to do their magic, nor do they need a spellbook. Instead they learn their knowledge of Exorcism Magic/Spirit Magic from other exorcists (often people who instructed them in the profession), books, conversing with priests and wizards, and building their knowledge gradually over time.

For descriptive purposes in my book the exorcist will be using Ard symbols instead of holy symbols, which they can sketch in the air in front of them using their fingers (similar to Doctor Strange and wizards in the Marvel franchise).

Is the Exorcist's magical abilities divine or arcane? A bit of both. They're spirit magic. The exorcist believes in the existence of various gods, but their power primarily comes from the spirit world, much like how a druid's magic comes from nature instead of from a specific god.

Thus there are different kinds of magic in Korovia.

Arcane Magic (usually used by wizards etc)

Divine Magic (usually used by clerics or priests or the gods themselves)

Nature Magic (usually used by druids, unicorns, fairies, etc)

Spirit Magic (usually used by exorcists, ghosts, etc)

But there are other kinds too like Eldar magic (used by the Eldar Noramir, the entities who created the universe and the world of Aoerth). Eldar magic is so powerful that even the gods have limited ability to use such magic. Only the Eldar Noramir can use it to the fullest extent.

And Ard Magic, which is magic based on symbols, pentagrams, hex markings, evil eye wards, lucky charms, etc. This is a very simplistic form of magic that in theory almost anyone can use if they have the materials needed for making such symbols. However Ard magic is very basic and weak.


Exorcist Class Creation Notes

0    Human Only
-1    Rogue Thac0
0    Wizard Saves
0.75    D6 HD
1    2 hp per level after 9th
-0.5    Limited AC of 5 or worse
-1.5    Limited to 4 weapons of d6 or less
10    Optional Abilities (see list)
-2.5    Restrictions

6.25    Total

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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