Interlude – Grand Master Transition

So – Lone Wolf has become a Kai Grand Master!

Cool, huh?

Full disclosure – as someone who was a pretty serious chess player in my youth, when I hear the words ‘Grand Master’, I pretty much always first think of the chess title.

Aside : One of my favourite ever movies is Searching for Bobby Fischer, a ‘based on a true story’ film about a young chess prodigy.  The below clip, where his stern teacher (a fantastic Ben Kingsley) tells the protagonist how proud he is (right before a game against the top-ranked player) gives me the sniffles every time.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the background (or ‘how Lone Wolf spent five years between adventures but still doesn’t seem to have a social life’) there are some game mechanics that need to be considered, with numerous ‘rules lawyer’ decisions to be made.

For starters, the background section states that new readers can calculate Combat Skill by using the formula of R10+25 and Endurance through R10+30.

This is, remember, in contrast to the formulae of R10+10 (CS) and R10+20 (E) that have prevailed through the adventures up to this point.  The book says that you ‘can’ keep your old scores, which implies that you have the option of taking the advantage of the higher possible results available from the new calculations.

My decision : I’ll instead keep the bonuses from the various Lore-Circles (remembering that with the completion of Book 12 I now have all 10 Magnakai Disciplines and all 4 Lore Circles).  The four Lore Circles give a total bonus of +5 of Combat Skill and +11 to Endurance.  Together with the +8 to Combat Skill conferred by the use of the Sommerswerd, I think that the (starting) skills of 30 (Combat Skill) and 31 (Endurance) will be enough to go on with.

I of course will also get certain bonuses due to my Magnakai skills of Weaponmastery and Psi-Surge / Mindblast.  This means that, in combats where I use the Sommerswerd I will get a further bonus of +4 (Weaponmastery) and +3 (Mindblast).

The twelve (!) possible Grand Master Disciplines (of which, at this stage, I get to choose 4) are as follows :

Grand Weaponmastery (improved Weaponmastery)

Basically the same as Weaponmastery, except you choose two weapons to start with and the Combat Skill bonus is +5.

Grand Masters have considerable control over hostile, non-sentient creatures. Also, they have the ability to converse with birds and fishes, and use them as guides.

Animal Mastery (improved Animal Control)

Lone Wolf gets ‘considerable control over hostile, non-sentient creatures’, along with an ability to converse (!) with birds and fishes, and to use them as guides (!)

Deliverance (improved Curing)

Lone Wolf gets the power to, once every 20 days, restore 20 points of Endurance (if his Endurance has fallen to 8 or below).

Assimilance (improved Invisibility)

If I choose the prize behind this window, I can camouflage myself, even in an open landscape, and also change my physical appearance for several days.




Just saying.

Grand Huntmastery (improved Huntmastery, duh)

I’ll be able to see in total darkness, with the added benefit of greatly enhanced senses of touch and taste.

Aside : This brings to mind one of my favourite song quotes lamenting lost love :

“This taste is not quite of you

This scent seems strange to me too

Your touch is so cold, What sacrifice

Made for this to be you…..”

If you’re in the mood, this is the song :

Grand Pathsmanship (improved Pathsmanship)

I can resist entrapment by hostile plants (!!) and have a super-awareness of potential ambushes in woods and forests.

Kai-Surge (improved Psi-Surge)

Basically the same as Psi-Surge, except the bonuses (+8 for Kai-Surge, +4 for Mindblast) are increased.

Kai-Screen (improved Psi-Screen)

Improved ability to construct protective screens during psychic combat.

Grand Nexus (improved Nexus)

Ability to withstand contact with substances such as flames and acids for up to an hour.

Telegnosis (improved Divination)

My ‘spirit-walking’ ability will be greatly improved if I choose this discipline.

And now!

We get to the two sexy and completely new options!


Aside : Did I say sexy?  ‘Magi-magic’ is about the lamest possible name.  Not worthy of you, Mr Dever.

This is the skill to cast rudimentary spells, as are practiced by the battle-mages of Dessi.

Hang on – battle mages of Dessi??  PAIDO???



In a blatant example of false advertising, this has nothing whatsoever to do with either the quasi-scientific attempts to turn base metals into precious ones or the classic Dire Straits live album.

It rather describes the learning, from Banedon, of basic spells as used by the Guild of Toran.  This includes “Lightning Hand”, “Levitation” and “Light Hand”.

In choosing Disciplines, this is where my possession of the Magnakai version of 10 of the 12 Disciplines comes into play.  The Project Aon version of these books makes it quite clear that I am free to enjoy full benefits of pre-existing Disciplines, even if I don’t have their Grand Master equivalent.

That severely reduces the benefits of choosing Kai-Surge, Deliverance and Grand Weaponmastery.

Just for the novelty value, I pick Magi-magic and Kai-Alchemy.  Pretty randomly, I also go with Grand Huntmastery and Grand Pathsmanship.

What could possibly go wrong?

Next post – Equipment and exposition!



10 thoughts on “Interlude – Grand Master Transition

  1. A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation says that, by following the optimal path, you have something less than a 30% chance of completing The Plague Lords of Ruel with those Disciplines and your current equipment. My usual advice for book 13 is to take a couple of Potions of Alether and as much healing as you can fit in your Backpack, but you only seem to have one Potion of Laumspur left and none in Safekeeping, so that’s out. I must admit that I’ve never been tempted to use the loophole that allows you to re-roll CS and EP, but since you don’t have the Silver Helm or Kagonite Chainmail and have the minimum Endurance, I wouldn’t blame you for bending the rules in this way.

    More importantly, how are you going to deal with the archery bonus for Weaponmastery with Bow? I don’t think the Project Aon notes are entirely correct here and see two possibilities.

    1: The book is already taking into account the +5 for high level Weaponmastery and the bonus for Grand Weaponmastery (either +5 or whatever is stated in the text) is additional.

    2: The +5 bonus you already have is the same as the global one for Grand Weaponmastery and can always be applied. In addition, the text sometimes gives an extra bonus which only applies if you have Grand Weaponmastery with Bow. So, if you had a section which read “Pick a random number. If you have Grand Weaponmastery with Bow, add 3 to the number,” then you would add nothing if you didn’t have that Discipline and hadn’t played the Magnakai series, you would add 5 if you didn’t have the Discipline but had played the entire Magnakai series or add (5+3=)8 if you did have Grand Weaponmastery. I have never used this interpretation, but it is consistent with the letter of the rules.

    Also, whilst I agree that Grand Weaponmastery and Deliverance are not much better than their Magnakai equivalents, Kai-surge can affect many enemies which are immune to Psi-surge and Mindblast, so it isn’t quite so dispensable. In fact, I tend to take it as a starting Discipline for the Grand Master series, along with Assimilance, Grand Huntmastery and Kai-alchemy, although Magi-magic, Grand Nexus and Grand Pathsmanship are all very tempting, too.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That page isn’t very clear about what bonus (if any) you should get from Weaponmastery with Bow. It seems to be suggesting that you should get exactly the same bonus as if you take Grand Weaponmastery with Bow, but I don’t think that makes much sense. As I said before, I only see two logical possibilities, but I was just wondering how you were going to handle it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Together with the +8 to Combat Skill conferred by the use of the Sommerswerd, I think that the (starting) skills of 30 (Combat Skill) and 31 (Endurance) will be enough to go on with.

    I’m guessing you haven’t played the Grand Master Series in a long time. Even the first book contains at least one opponent worse than the Chaos-master.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, a player who picked up The Prisoners of Time having never played a Lone Wolf book before, and who rolled an average Combat Skill of 15, and who picked Psi-surge and Weaponmastery in Broadsword and Huntmastery (for the Lore Circle bonus), would still have to face the (nerfed) Chaos Master at a combat ratio of -7. So figure this book is going to be similarly unreasonable for an “average” player. Maybe Joe Dever was channeling Ian Livingstone.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s as if Joe Dever got mixed up and assumed players would have an average of 30 CS as well as +8 for the Sommerswerd, although even that would put you at -11 for quite a few fights. Book 13 is really quite tough on a starting character.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. “how Lone Wolf spent five years between adventures but still doesn’t seem to have a social life”

    He has a man cave for himself dug 100 feet below ground and its lit by the light of terminals, I mean Lore Stones. I think we know exactly why he doesn’t’ have a social life.

    “Lone Wolf gets … an ability to converse (!) with birds and fishes, and to use them as guides”

    Basically you’re now Gandalf but without the Beard (which is copyrighted by Lord Rimoah.

    “battle mages of Dessi?? PAIDO???”

    Now now. When allowed to Paido fought with “panther like ferocity”.

    Um, moving along to the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

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