Biblyon the Great

This zine is dedicated to articles about the fantasy role-playing game Gods & Monsters, and other random musings.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Get your mojo rising

Jerry Stratton, April 16, 2005

This is the final candidate for the training/practice rules. The original skill and ability advancement rules were placeholders until I could find something better. I was never a fan of the completely random and out-of-player-control system of gaining skills and increasing abilities on level advancement. The ultimate goal is a general advancement system that is easily positioned for any kind of advancement, including building things and finding things.

Mojo will also be used for certain specialties: any specialty that allows the character to make things, such as the various alchemical specialties, will eventually be converted to using mojo instead of their current complicated process. It may even be used for building things such as castles or bridges.

These rules are currently written for the proposed new field and skill system.

Character enhancements

There are several things that characters gain at the start of every new level which are optional, or which may be optimized according to the player’s wishes for their character. Things such as skills, abilities, and weapon familiarities are available for any character to gain through experience. Sorcerors may also research spells. Classical sorcerors may learn spells.

All of these are gained through the use of mojo. Characters gain mojo at 2nd level and every level thereafter. No mojo is gained at first level.

Each character gains 10 plus new level mojo every time they gain a new level, modified by Intelligence as a minor contributor. This mojo may be used for any purpose. A character of average intelligence will gain 12 mojo at 2nd level, 13 mojo at 3rd level, 14 mojo at 4th level, etc.

Players may allocate their characters’ general mojo as desired. Characters may also gain special mojo that must be used for a specific purpose.


It costs 11 mojo to gain a new archetypal field, 12 mojo to gain a general field, and 15 mojo to gain a skill that is neither general nor archetypal.

Enhancing a field (gaining a new bonus and a new skill in that field) costs 7 mojo, plus the new bonus. If the character chooses to specialize in a skill, the new specialization bonus will also be added to the cost of increasing that field.

The cost to gain and enhance fields is modified by the character’s score in the relevant ability, as a major contributor.


Weapon familiarities cost 7 mojo each.

Once they have a weapon familiarity, a warrior can specialize with that weapon through the use of 12 mojo. This gives the character a bonus of 1 to attack with that weapon. Further specialization costs 9 mojo plus the next specialization bonus. So, going from a specialization of +1 to a specialization of +2 will require 11 mojo. Going from +4 to +5 will require 14 mojo.

Warriors may not specialize more times than their level. This includes stacking specializations. In other words, their total specialization bonus across all weapons cannot exceed their level.

Charisma and Strength (Warriors) or Agility (Thieves) are each minor contributors to mojo costs for weapon familiarities and specialization.


Abilities cost ten mojo, plus twice the next ability score.


Remember that sorcerors who research and learn new spells will still need to determine if they and the spell are compatible.

Mnemonic sorcerors will still need to go through the inscription process after researching spell formulas.

Classical learning

Classical sorcerors may learn new spells, if they have the necessary information, at the cost of one mojo, plus three mojo per spell level, modified by Intelligence as a minor contributor.

If a classical sorceror discovers that they are incompatible with a spell that they have just tried to learn, they may attempt to relearn it, at later levels, at the cost of one mojo per spell level.

Classical sorcerors will need to have three times the basic spell components on hand for experimentation while learning spells. (Twice the basic spell components for relearning spells.)

Researching unknown spells

Sorcerors may research new spells unknown to the world at large (or unshared to the world at large) at the cost of six mojo per spell level, modified by Intelligence as a major contributor. At the end of the research period, mnemonic sorcerors will have a formula that they can inscribe, and classical sorcerors will have the spell information that they need to learn the new spell as normal.

There is a bonus of one to the mojo cost per spell level if the spell is a commonly-known spell in the area. There is a bonus of two to the mojo cost per spell level if the spell is one that practically everyone in the area knows.

When a sorceror does their own research to create a spell, they gain a bonus of three on the roll to see if they and the spell are compatible.

Researchers into unknown spells will need to have twelve times the basic spell components on hand for experimentation. Only half this is needed for commonly-known spells.

Archetypal mojo

Besides their general mojo, characters will gain some specific mojo at 2nd level and thereafter as well. Specific mojo is designated for a specific purpose related to the character’s archetype.

When advancing a level, each character gains five mojo that can only be used to advance their archetypal ability.

When advancing a level, Warriors receive five mojo which can only be used for weapon familiarities and weapon specialization. Thieves receive two mojo that can only be used for weapon familiarities.

When advancing a level, Sorcerors receive ten plus level mojo that can only be used for learning or researching spells.

Multiple Archetypes

Players whose characters have multiple archetypes will need to maintain a separate list of mojo for each archetype. Mojo gained for a new level of Thief may not be used to gain Warrior-only weapon familiarities, for example. On the other hand, because Warriors may gain any weapon familiarity, mojo gamed from levels of Warrior may be combined with Thief mojo to gain weapon familiarities that thieves have access to.

Practical mojo

Characters can practice to gain and enhance fields, learn spells, or research spells. Non-archetypal non-player characters will gain all of their skills through practice.

When practicing, all mojo is specific: it must be dedicated to a specific field or spell during the learning process. Practical mojo may not be used for other purposes, such as increasing ability scores, weapon familiarities, or specialization.

Normal study

Characters may practice or study in order to gain one mojo per week. Mojo points cost one monetary unit each for study or exercise materials and instruction. Training in this manner precludes adventuring or any sort of regular, full-time job.

Free-time study

Characters may also gain one mojo for every month of free-time study. Training in this manner precludes excessive travel, such as adventuring, but does not preclude any sort of a normal job that allows for free time of at least two hours almost every day in the same place. Mojo points gained in this manner cost two monetary units per mojo gained.


Days, weeks, and months of study may not be saved up. Only mojo may be saved. Characters may take a total amount of time off of one day (for normal study), half a day (for intensive study), or six days (for free-time study) per mojo.

Example of practice

For example, a warrior of average intelligence and charisma wants to learn how to read and write.

The warrior already has the field Native Culture at +1, with the Native Tongue skill. The warrior does not have the field Languages. If the warrior wants to learn to read and write only their Native Tongue, they can increase Native Culture to +2 and take Read/Write as their skill. This would require 9 mojo.

If the warrior wants to keep open the possibility of learning other, non-native languages, that will require getting the field Languages. For a warrior, this is a general field, so it would cost 12 mojo.

Let’s assume that the warrior wants to enhance their Native Culture field, which will cost 9 mojo. For normal study, it will take the warrior 9 weeks to learn to read and write, and it will cost 9 monetary units for materials and training.

For free-time study, it will take the warrior 9 months to learn to read and write, and it will cost 18 monetary units for materials and training.

Mojo resources

Resources such as books, libraries, instructors, and schools can provide bonuses to practical mojo. Resources are rated by their mojo rating and the field or fields that rating covers. This is the maximum number of mojo points a resource can provide to any one character.

For example, a really good magical library might have a mojo rating of 140 for researching or learning magic. This means that any one character cannot acquire more than 140 mojo from that library when researching magic. A highly-regarded and detailed book on Roman Etiquette might have a rating of 10. This means that any one character cannot acquire more than 10 mojo from that book while studying etiquette.

General (field) book1-7 mojo
Specialized (skill) book1-12 mojo
General library30-100 mojo
Specialized library50-150 mojo
Tutorlevel or bonus difference, times ten, mojo
School30-150 mojo

Mojo resources do not grant their mojo bonus all at once. They increase the rate at which practical mojo is acquired. The higher the mojo rating for a resource, the faster characters will gain practical mojo while using that resource.

Mojo TotalMojo Bonus
11 per 4 time periods
21 per 3 time periods
41 per 2 time periods
81 per time period
162 per time period
323 per time period
644 per time period
1285 per time period

If a character uses more than one resource, add the mojo for all resources together before determining the mojo bonus. The bonus is applied per time period. For normal study, this will be per week. For free-time study, this will be per month.

So, if a character were to study logical philosophy during their free time, using a library rated at 60 mojo for intelligence-based fields, the character will receive 4 mojo per month.

Besides the monetary cost for acquiring practical mojo, resources will also often have usage fees. Libraries may require payment to use their books, and tutors may require payment for their teaching services. The character above studying logical philosophy will be paying eight monetary units per month for the mojo, and will probably have library fees to pay also. A good rule of thumb is from zero to ten monetary units per mojo bonus that the resource would grant on its own.

When a character gains mojo from a resource, the resource loses that mojo for the character. If the character above studies logical philosophy for four months, twelve of their sixteen mojo will come from the library. That library is now a mojo 48 resource for that character.

Actively refreshed resources, such as libraries that continually acquire books, might refresh from one to ten mojo per year. Individual refreshed resources (such as instructors) might refresh from one to three mojo per year. This will not increase their overall resource value, but will prolong the usefulness of the resource for those who use it. If the above character’s library refreshes at two points per year, and they don’t use it for three years, it will become mojo 54 resource for that character.

Intensive study

Characters may gain zero mojo for every two days of intensive study. Mojo points gained in this manner cost three monetary units per mojo gained. Characters may not engage in intensive study for more than half Charisma days at a time. After a period of intensive study, no further intensive study may be done for six times the period of intensive study. Mojo gained through intensive study must be used within Wisdom days or they are lost.

Practical mojo example: spell research

Gralen Noslen wants to research a new spell that will cause two sleepers to unknowingly trade their dreams with each other. Sandy (Gralen’s player) and the Adventure Guide work out the spell and decide that it is a third level spell. This will require sixteen mojo: eighteen for the spell’s level, with a bonus of two for Gralen’s intelligence.

Gralen has the book “Morpheus Somnium” that he acquired in an earlier adventure. This book is a mojo 12 resource for sleep spells. He also has access to the Biblyon Library. This is a mojo 80 resource. He chooses to use both of these resources, giving him a total mojo 90 resource.

A mojo 90 resource gives him a bonus of four mojo per time period. Researching normally, he will gain five mojo per week. He will acquire the necessary sixteen mojo in four weeks, by studying with the library and book for three weeks (15 mojo) and on his own for one week (1 mojo).

This costs him sixteen monetary units beyond any library fees.

He acquired twelve mojo through his resources. He must reduce the mojo of either his book or the library by that amount, or some combination thereof. He could reduce the book to zero mojo, and never be able to gain mojo from it again, or he could reduce the library to 68 mojo. Or any combination that adds to twelve mojo lost.

If he reduces the library to 68 mojo, then it will only provide 68 mojo the next time he uses it (barring refresh).

Practical mojo example: field enhancement

Will Stratford has Survival at +1. He’d like to increase that to +2. This will require nine mojo. Training normally, on his own, this would require 9 weeks. Will, however, chooses to find a grizzled guide to show him the ropes. This guide has Survival at +4; this is three different from Will’s, so the guide is a mojo 30 resource for Will. This is a bonus of two mojo.

At three mojo per week, Will can increase his Survival from +1 to +2 in three weeks.

This will cost Will nine monetary units.

If Will ever uses this grizzled guide again, however, the guide will only be a mojo fourteen resource: Will has used six mojo from this guide already, and the guide (at +4) is only two different from Will (because Will is now at +2).

What practical mojo doesn’t cover

Practical mojo only covers fields and spells. (I may experiment with letting it cover weapon familiarities.) Advancement that is inherent to an archetype, such as fighting prowess and thieving skills, cannot be gained through practical mojo. The character must advance through the story--an adventure or other game-time conflict--in order to advance in archetypal abilities. This doesn’t mean that there will never be a way to practice in order to gain mojo to advance archetypal abilities or even actual levels. But any rules to allow for this will require that such advancement take place as part of the ongoing, in-game story.

Highland mojo

The library at Crosspoint is a mojo 40 resource for magic or any intelligence-based field. It generally refreshes at two mojo per year.

The Biblyon Library is a mojo 60 resource for any intelligence-based field, and a mojo 80 resource for magic. It generally refreshes at five mojo per year.

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