Crucible of Souls
This section will be broken down later into separate pages for each individual spell that has been amended.
A little bit about how spells function. Firstly, their actual duration. Precedent is that spells end their function when the caster dies – even “permanent” spells. So, building a castle out of wall-of-stone spells is certainly possible but it’ll collapse dramatically when the caster dies (not just below 0 hit points, or petrified, but completely dead). You just have to keep in mind when dealing with PC’s they may not die just once! Any caster should be able to willingly end the duration of a spell they are maintaining. There’s just very few times when they will want to do so.
Permanent effects should otherwise indeed be permanent. They should not be normally dispelled (because words mean things). If a spell calls into existence a permanent wall of rock or iron then you have a wall of rock or iron – not a wall of magically maintained rock or iron whose existence can be discontinued by a successful Dispel Magic. The magic was used to call it into existence or put it into place, but once there it’s normal rock and iron; it can be and indeed must be dealt with as such. The same should be true of any permanent effect. Permanent means something. It means you can’t just huff and puff and blow it down. Even Continual Light should be significant in that regard (see the description below). You shouldn’t be able to just dispel it as you would ongoing effects – effects that are perpetual (as opposed to permanent). Many effects listed with a duration of “permanent” need to be re-written with a duration of “perpetual”, indicating that the manifestations of the spell can be either voluntarily ended or involuntarily dispelled. Perhaps even a few spells that are currently NOT permanent actually should be.
Another issue is material components. The original rules made the point that substitutions are possible. This has repercussions for both using lesser components to achieve lesser effects as well as greater components for greater effects. If this is going to be widely used then I think it actually needs to be quantified to some degree – but that could get very complicated for little end results. Meanwhile, we must simply make arbitrary determinations about the effects of different material components.
Identical spell effects do not stack unless noted as combining.
Spells with a limited duration will not dissipate with the death of the caster unless otherwise noted.
Casters can discontinue the effects of any non-permanent spell they have cast as their action for that round, no more than one such action per round. This changes only if it’s specifically noted, such as a description stating that it can be discontinued with no effort.
All ranges/areas should be given in feet, rather than scale inches.
Casting a spell from a scroll incurs an initiative penalty of 1. Casting from scrolls can be interrupted but the spell is not lost and can be started again. This makes them a bit more durable, and gives them a combat advantage regular memorized spells don’t have.
SPECIFIC SPELL CHANGES
Animate Dead: The caster can animate 1 hit die of skeletons or zombies per level. The animated creatures must be of the same type – you can’t raise a mix skeletons and zombies with one spell. This spell creates animated dead, not undead (it does not impart the curse of undeath but merely animates the remains and in many ways is more like a grisly kind of golem). It can be used on any kind of animal or monster corpses but the HD of the resulting monster is not necessarily based directly upon the HD of the original creature. Instead it will be based upon size and if applicable, stronger bone or tougher flesh. Similarly, damage done by natural attacks is likely to be reduced. A skeletal tiger will do less damage with claws without the muscle and ferocity of a living animal behind them. Humanoid animated dead can be equipped with armor and weapons though the latter will generally be less effective than they would be if used by living creatures and will use the next lower die type.
Even without cursing creatures with undeath it is still basically a non-good act and will have alignment implications. When cast upon recently deceased individuals or those who have been formally buried it has an especially abhorrent connotation and can be considered Evil.
Barkskin: Bestows a minimum natural AC 6.
Bless: The spell affects only individuals not already engaged in combat. The spell can remain “in effect” for 1 hour, but the benefits will only apply to the first 6 rounds of actual combat. Note that this still requires that it be cast outside of ongoing combat. “Bruce Lee, patron saint of self-defense – pray for us!”
The spell can also be used to impart supernatural abilities or protections upon objects or materials, but generally only in combination with additional ritual or requirements. The benefits of such a blessing vary according to the purpose and will be subject to the DM’s arbitration (keeping in mind the level of this spell and the far greater efficacy of more purpose-crafted spells). For example, a crossbow bolt can be blessed in order to slay a rakshasa, but that won’t give it any bonus to-hit or damage or other effects – it’s a very specific vulnerability of that particular monster. This spell is used along with Chant and Prayer in creating holy water but used alone it will have minimal and temporary effects along those lines. It might also impart some minimal degree of protection, such as by blessing a structure for relative safety of its occupants (again, note the level of the spell…), or even cast upon a mount or cart as a minor ward for traveler safety.
The combat effects stack with both Chant and Prayer.
Blur: Added to the Magic-user list of spells from the Illusionist list. It’s still 2nd level and replaces Invisibility (which is bumped a level to being a 3rd Level spell).
Call Lightning: If a storm is actually present, casting time is 1 round. If storm is not present, casting time is 1 turn (10 rounds) during which MINIMAL and localized storm conditions are created by the casting within about 1 mile radius. Usually this is just a cyclone of dark clouds, a solid wind and moist air. After casting is complete, duration of conjured conditions will last only 10 rounds per level. Lightning can only be called within a duration of 10 rounds per level even in natural storm conditions. Damage of the bolts is 3d8 plus an additional 3 points per level above 3rd. Only 1 bolt per 10 rounds can be called.
Chant: Casting time is 1 round – NOT 1 turn. The other effects remain the same. The effects stack with Bless.
Charm Person (or Mammal): Note again that this is not domination. This makes the target your friend, not your puppet. It is also your new friend – but not the friend of everyone else as well. Be mindful of the difficulties of trying to use this spell in combat! Don’t expect the reactions of your new “friend” to be predictable. Certainly your new friend won’t attack you, but NOTHING about his attitude towards everyone else around him will have changed a whit. Explaining why he should stop attacking people who he still sensibly sees as mortal enemies is NOT the sort of thing you can generally do effectively in combat. He will leave you alone instantly, but he won’t pause a moment as he shifts to your nearest ally as an alternate target until the combat is over. It will be very like having instantly unarguably convinced him that YOU, the caster, switched sides and not that it opens up the possibility to convince the target that THEY should suddenly switch loyalties in the middle of combat.
Color Spray: Ignore the line reading, “The spell caster is able to affect 1 level or hit die of creatures for each of his or her levels of experience.” The spell becomes too powerful at higher levels otherwise given its other effects. In a mixed HD situation it will affect lowest HD first.
Command: If a drill sergeant you were terrified of were to bark this one word, or a hypnotist whose spell you were under were to whisper it, you would do it. As long as the command would be somewhat reasonable under those circumstances and the action is physically possible without in and of itself being directly self-destructive it will be followed. Under RARE circumstances an unusual command might call for a save, but mostly if a command is questionable it will simply fail.
Therefore, “drop,” “sleep,” and “freeze,” all make sense and would incapacitate the target for at least a round while they comply (or try to in the case of sleep). “Die,” and, “suicide,” would not unless it is in the very nature of the creature to attempt to do so (and I can’t think of a single example where it would be). A command like, “burn,” would likely just lead to “burn what?” and in any case could not compel the target to attempt to use a torch to set himself or anything else on fire. A command to, “run,” would certainly work, but naturally leaves targets the choice of what direction to run in, especially when PC’s may have cut off practical options. If the target has nothing in front of him to prevent his running he’ll just do that, but if there’s a wall of armed PC’s or an open pit in front of him he’ll likely turn and run back the opposite direction.
The challenge of the spell should not be in simply finding a word in the first place that can’t be “misinterpreted”, but in giving a PRACTICAL, one-word command that will produce the most useful result in the present circumstances. [A DM should be in the position of simply ruling how a spell succeeds, rather than being obliged to find a justification of why it won’t.]
Continual Light/Darkness: The intensity of light is close to that of full daylight although the effective radius is 60’. The duration is 6 days + 1 day per level of the caster. The clerical version of the spell can be reversed to create Continual Darkness of the same area and duration – a complete absence of light, including preventing use of infravision or ultravision. [Designer’s Note: The magic-user version does not have a reversed form, instead requiring a separate spell entirely. While this could have been changed to achieve a more complete and simpler symmetry it wasn’t really worth it. In any case, the form which the clerical spell will take must be decided upon memorizing it, it can’t be delayed until casting.] The range for the clerical version is 12” and casting time of 6 segments, the magic-user version has a range of 6” but a casting time of 2 segments. The light can be cast upon an inanimate object, at a fixed point in space, or at a creatures eyes as an attack. Despite the relative intensity of the light, when used as an attack the blindness is temporary: 2-8 rounds if a save is failed. If the save versus the attack is successful the spell will center upon a fixed point in space behind the target’s head. If the save fails it will remain centered upon the victim even after they recover from the shock to their sight, but it will no longer be an issue for the victim. While blinded, the victim has a -4 to all to-hit rolls, saving throws, and armor class. A clerical Continual Darkness spell can be cast to directly cancel out any Continual Light spell and vice-versa. A Continual Light spell will similarly be canceled by the magic-user spell Darkness 15’ Radius. These spells will also cancel out the lower level Light/Darkness spells of opposed effect. In all such cases both the darkness and light spell effects will cease to exist and leave natural lighting conditions to cover the associated area. The lower level spells cannot, however, cancel out the higher level spells. The spells do not have to center on the target point of the original spell to cancel, but it should be declared by the caster that the spell is being cast for that purpose. In all cases the duration is considered perpetual, not permanent, so it can be freely discontinued by the caster and easily dispelled by others.
Cure Blindness: This spell will remove any and all blindness effects whether caused by spell or physical injury, so long as the victim retains some vestige of visual organs. Damaged eyes as may be caused by acid, fire, hot pokers or just punctured with a sharp stick will be regenerated. Blindness caused by a Light spell, hysteria, Cause Blindness spell, or cataracts will be cured, discontinued or otherwise reversed. Cause Blindness creates a permanent magical effect that is not itself removed or reversed by Dispel Magic, although it might work if combined with a Remove Curse if Cure Blindness is not available.
Cure Disease: By means of this spell the caster can cure nearly any disease, infection by parasite, bacteria, or virus, as well as cure other maladies. [Note that this simply means we are not going to get hung up on clinical definitions of “disease”. The scope of what it can potentially cure should be considered very wide indeed within the limitations outlined below.] The more virulent the disease and the greater its state of advancement the more difficult it is to cure it. Diseases caused by and/or perpetuated through magic, including curses, are even harder to cure. These difficulties are represented in requiring a caster of higher level, a more involved curing procedure (of which this spell may only be a part), and even risk to the life of the caster.
Even with this spell it takes time for a victim to recover (from 1 turn to 1 week) depending on the disease and its advancement. Once the spell has been cast all further damage or degradation of condition ceases. Recovery time listed assumes a mild case. If the case is serious then the recovery time is doubled (1 week max). If the case is terminal then recovery is tripled (still 1 week max). The level of caster required to cure any disease varies according to the type and severity of the disease.
Level of Caster Required
Type/location Recovery Mild Serious Terminal
Blood 1 day 4 6 8
Bone 1 day 4 6 8
Brain 1 turn 5 7 9
Cardiovascular-renal 1 turn 3 5 7
Connective tissue 1 turn 3 5 7
Ear 1 turn 3 5 7
Eye 1 turn 3 5 7
Gastro-intestinal 1 day 4 6 8
Generative organ 1 week 5 7 9
Joint* 1 turn 3 5 7
Mucous membrane* 1 turn 3 5 7
Muscle 1 week 5 7 9
Nose-throat 1 turn 3 5 7
Respiratory 1 week 5 5 7
Skin 1 day 4 6 8
Urinary 1 day 4 6 8
* Joint and mucous membrane effects can involve permanent point loss. The victim is allowed a save vs. PPD to avoid this loss being permanent.
Note that because druids can obtain this spell at just 3rd level there are some odd dynamics in comparing to clerics who get the spell at 5th level. Although druids get it notably sooner there are fewer diseases they can cure with it. Clerics get the spell later in their progression but can cure more with it at the outset when they do.
Curing diseases is an empathy effect and the caster must take upon themselves some of the pain and suffering of the victim in forcing out the disease. After curing a mild disease the caster suffers a nominal 1d4 points of damage. This becomes 1d6 damage if the affliction is chronic. After curing a severe disease the caster suffers 1d4 damage per level or hit die of the victim. This becomes 1d6 damage per level or hit die of the victim if the affliction is also chronic. Curing a terminal disease is particularly dangerous, inflicting 1d8 damage per level/HD of the victim. A successful saving throw vs. PPD will reduce that damage by 1 point per level of the caster. This damage to the caster cannot be cured by fatigue recovery, but can be dealt with by any other healing method.
The process of being cured will also begin the process of recovery of lost ability points at a rate of 1 point per week. Numerical damage to the victim like lost hit points is not subject to fatigue recovery, but can be cured by other normal means. Non-numerical damage such as hearing loss or vision loss typically requires other, possibly magical, cures.
The reverse of this spell still works the same, inflicting a randomly generated disease upon the victim.
Cure ‘x’ Wounds: Note the changes to the rules (given elsewhere) of how healing generally works in the game. The various “cure” spells give the recipient an amount of hit dice worth of healing (1, 2, or 3 dice for light, serious, and critical respectively), but each character also has a limited amount of certain kinds of healing they can benefit from in a day. Recipients of these spells with lower or higher wisdom scores will adjust the amount of healing received.
Darkness, 15’ Radius: Despite the reduced area for this magic-user spell it is equal to a clerical Continual Darkness spell for purposes of canceling out light and darkness effects. The duration of this spell is perpetual until dispelled or canceled by a Continual Light spell cast for the purpose.
Detect Evil: The original spell description states that, “evil alignment will radiate evil,” but it’s just not intended to be as simple as that. This isn’t really instituting changes, but simply incorporating and emphasizing limitations given in the DMG. It makes key points about how the spell/ability is supposed to work, with paladins in particular being flatly prevented from perpetrating abuses of what for them is an at-will class ability.
To rephrase the DMG: only know alignment should generally be able to determine, “the evil or good a character holds within,” and it is important to distinguish between actual alignment and some ‘powerful force of evil’ when this detection function is considered. Characters MIGHT radiate good or evil accordingly if they:
are “strongly aligned”
do not stray from their faith
are at least 8th level or higher
are intent upon appropriate action
Simultaneously, it specifies that use of the paladin ability requires no less than one round of effort, stillness and concentration. That is, the paladin, “must stop, have quiet, and intently seek to detect the aura.” In short, it is just not possible for a Paladin to stand on a street corner “pinging” passersby and executing NPC’s who merely happen to be of evil alignment.
Even a 9th level evil character who is casually murdering a random innocent on the other side of a wall ought not to be detected by a paladin actively detecting evil. “Strongly aligned” was originally undefined terminology, but from here on out you can take it to mean being of the alignment extremes of LE or CE, with the further caveat of ,“not straying from their faith,” meaning that still more specific circumstances are required than merely being of an extreme alignment. They must be actively dedicated to that alignment and what it stands for. Even then they furthermore have to be high enough level. No mere lieutenant of evil, nor even a captain, but a commanding general of Evil at the least! Then, too, the target to be detected must be engaged in some deed or course of action that is not just casually abhorrent, such as a murder, but Evil in the cause of the furtherance of the aims of Evil itself – as perhaps a sacrificial murder intended to open the gates of Hell. Fulfill all those conditions and then… MAYBE you can detect the character with the Detect Good/Evil spell or ability.
None of this is actually intended as a complete denial of the ability (though it can easily be misread that way by a cavalier DM – it is intended to place the power to interpret what is detected and why into the hands of the DM and not at the whim of a meta-gaming player looking for easy justification to leap into battle. The DM should endeavor not merely to prevent detect evil from accomplishing anything useful, but to retain it as a tool to help move his campaign forward.
Most of the time, detection of evil is going to be unnecessary anyway because PC’s will grasp just from the circumstances that what’s being done is indeed evil and done by evil people or creatures. The spell is then rendered more appropriate for circumstances where PC’s can’t see what’s happening or at least have better reasons to be “fishing” for evil things to fight.
The problem with the spell used to be that all this “must-have” information was buried in the DMG and chronically overlooked. It is now in the “PH” under the spell description itself and the paladin class ability refers back here as well.
Dispel Magic: Do not be misguided by Dispel Illusion limitations. This spell still affects illusions normally, including those cast by illusionists.
Enlarge: Does not affect to hit, but damage increases by the % of the spell, rounded up.
Entangle: 6 HD of creatures being held is the maximum that the druid can entangle, regardless of save. Creatures of size L, or those which are described as having high strength in particular, are able to more easily break free. They get to save every round until they succeed, or continue to suffer 1/2 move restrictions. Unless the entire targeted area is completely devoid of plant life enough plants will spontaneously grow and animate to provide the desired spell effect (and then whither and disappear to return the area to its initial state after the spell expires). A single houseplant in the area of effect might be enough. Plants outside a window, doorway, or other opening might be enough, but no ability is given to break through barriers, only go around them within the area of effect.
ESP: Can affect 1 creature per round, so it can be used to count the number of opponents beyond a door, say. If the magic user wishes, they can use this spell to try to anticipate the attacks of an opponent in melee. There is a d20 check adjusted by the difference in level between the caster and opponent. If the die roll is above 10 the magic user gains a +2 on saves and 2 point AC bonus against that opponent only for that round, but also uses his rounds actions in concentrating on obtaining this benefit.
Find Familiar: The caster may choose his familiar. Familiars are variations of “normal” real-world animals though possibly either giant or miniature versions. Familiars, unless possibly stated in the description of the abilities they impart to the caster, do not increase the magic-users hit points. If the familiar dies the caster takes 2d4 damage, but this is not permanent hit point loss. Familiars gain a level whenever their master does. Their hit dice increase by 1 hit die (1-4 hit points per level) and their natural AC increases by 1 every two levels.
bat Caster can hear noise as thief of same level
cat Caster can sense presence of ethereal undead or other creatures
crow Enemies save at -1 against death spells, caster saves at +1
hawk Caster has longer distance vision
lizard Caster can climb vertical wall (cf. Spider Climb) once per day, 1r/2 levels
owl Caster surprised 1 less, surprises others 1 more.
toad Caster receives the effects of a Jump spell once per day
weasel Casters intelligence is 1 higher for most effects but charisma is 1 lower
badger Caster has +3 htk, +1 to hit w/melee wpn., penalty on RP reactions
Other such special abilities for unlisted familiars are negotiable but should emphasize the familiars innate abilities or superstitious reputation. Possibilities include but are not limited to: rat, snake, rabbit, raccoon, giant spider, skunk, squirrel, possum, monkey, turtle, canary, dog, dove, hedgehog, etc. just to give some more ideas. Players should feel free to negotiate with the DM regarding the desired familiar and the associated benefit from having it around – the original legendary point of a familiar is a deal between the caster and “supernatural powers” where the caster receives benefits but with some cost.
If you want one of those special familiars with all kinds of great attacks and resistances and more HD than the whole party put together… Well, it’s good to want things. Let’s all just forget about that as a possibility at 1st level. Maybe when you’re no longer low level but still interested in having a familiar then you’ll put forth some time and effort to get one and make it faithful to you, and maybe then the DM will have fewer qualms about letting you succeed as well.
Fireball: The spell will expand to fill its full spherical volume as noted in the description. This will generally be manifested as 33 cubes of 10′×10′×10′ if the spell is cast into an area of limited volume, especially height. The DM should attempt to make the fairest and most consistent determination possible of what is enveloped in an expanding fireball. I could write up an extensive, recommended procedure for the DM to use for that determination, but frankly it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Similarly, for purposes of facilitating smooth play, if the displaced volume is limited (such as being cast upon flat, open ground with no height restrictions) the DM can simply rule that the volume is not substantially affected and the radius of effect will not be altered. Players MUST accept that when they cast this spell under such circumstances of limited volume they willingly sacrifice any real claim to fine control over its boundaries and similarly should not expect that the DM need grant them any larger area of effect by “gaming the rules”. The alternative is to simply disallow the spell to expand beyond its stated radius of effect. DM’s may wish to allow players some say in the matter, but that choice should be made once and then followed for the remainder of the campaign.
Damage increases by caster level, but at a diminishing rate:
15+ 9d6 (max possible)
Flame Arrow: Duration is 1 rd/level. Caster is able to imbue one missile per level when the spell is cast (can be applied to most any missile whether arrow, quarrel, or even thrown weapons). Each missile imbued becomes surrounded by flame and is considered “magical”, although it gains no bonuses “to hit”. All missiles must be discharged by the end of the spell’s duration or lose the effect. Any creatures hit by an enchanted missile that are not immune to fire damage will take regular missile damage +1. If the target wears or carries combustibles they will ignite and the target will take an extra 1-4 damage. So, a 7th level caster can imbue 7 missiles with this fire effect and it will persist for 7 rounds or until the missiles are used.
Hold Person: “Immobile” is not at all the same as “defenseless,” or even “paralyzed”. It just means your movement rate is 0 – you are rooted to the spot; a person held in place. This will be considered to eliminate any Dex bonus to AC and obviously makes you vulnerable to attack from behind. It does not, however, allow you to walk up to held victims and cut their throats or otherwise execute them, though the idea of automatically hitting and doing maximum damage is not unreasonable. [Designer’s Note: The issue here (and the reason for the changes) is not with PC’s “assassinating” NPC’s with the spell but the reverse – PC’s finding they failed the simple save and are now utterly helpless and may as well break out the dice to roll up a new character. It’s still just a 2nd level spell after all and it was simply way too powerful in rendering PC victims as frozen statues to be easily ganked. Moreso because they had no practical ability to reduce or avoid the effect – just the random die roll for a save, and that just wasn’t sufficient to prevent abuses and undesired difficulties.]
Heal: Because of the way it was originally worded this spell actually could have the effect of not being able to provide ANY healing to a low-htk, 1st level character. Never seen that happen, but I can’t fathom why it shouldn’t or wouldn’t just top you off entirely – that 1-4 point “can’t quite do it all” margin is ridiculous. Therefore this spell simply heals any character to 100% of their normal hit points and health. Note the changes to rules (given elsewhere) to how healing generally works in the game: This spell will automatically use up any and all of a characters DHL. Characters must still have at least 1 hit die of DHL for this spell to have any effect. As a matter of course it also cures any normal disease the target has (as Cure Disease spell but without damage risk to caster) and other non-hit point afflictions, such as deafness or blindness, so long as the organs do not require actual regeneration. At the DM’s discretion, very specific and traumatic injuries and maladies may require a dedicated casting of this spell to repair.
Identify: Identify assists in the full identification of items by enabling it to be done more rapidly. As a baseline, without the spell an item would have to be experimented with and used for at least 1 day. More valuable items, those with more and greater abilities take longer – 1 day per 1000 g.p. of sale value listed in the DMG. Any character can do such an appraisal if the item being appraised is one which would be usable by them, but magic-users can identify any item even if they couldn’t eventually use it. A DM may (rarely) wish to adjust that amount of time. While an item is being “appraised” in this manner (without the spell) the item will not exhibit any of its magical functions in a reliable or usable manner.
So, a fighter would practice with a sword and could even use it in dedicated combat, but even if it were a +5 sword it would not add to the characters chance to hit, damage, nor even strike creatures that require magical weapons in order to harm them. [The reason for this is strictly a meta-game issue – it means that neither the DM nor the player needs to track what properties of the item he can use and which he can’t use because he doesn’t yet know about them. That makes little to no sense in-game but that’s the price to be paid for a little more sanity and convenience for players at the game table.] Only after an item is fully appraised will a character be able to make use of any of its magical abilities. However, a sword would still function as a sword, chainmail is still chainmail, and you may not be able to have your magical rope obey commands but you can still tie knots with it.
There are obvious exceptions to the above mostly due to the descriptions for the items themselves which indicate that they will reveal their true nature, if not at least make it clear who the item CANNOT be used by. That aside, if you sit down and start to appraise a Book of Infinite Spells then the baseline amount of time it will take before you can actually start to use it is 50 days. A vanilla +1 sword will take 2 days to appraise (hardly worth the 100gp cost of an Identify spell anyway at that point); a Cloak of Elvenkind will take 6 days; a bronze Horn of Valhalla 30 days (?!).
Certain classes or races will be able to identify items closely associated with their class/race more rapidly. No character can normally appraise more than one magic item at a time, though interruption of a very long appraisal to complete another much shorter one should be possible without penalty.
So how does the Identify spell make all that faster and easier? Firstly, it allows identifying more items at once. The Identify spell would be cast by a magic-user but its effects and benefits may be targeted upon any character attempting to appraise an item. Magic-users themselves using the spell would now be able to appraise any number of items at any given time as long as an Identify spell has been cast for each item. If the DM feels it is appropriate for the campaign then characters might be able to identify more items at a time as they gain levels.
All characters reduce the time needed for appraisal by 5% per level of the magic-user casting the Identify, while magic-users reduce appraisal times for themselves by 10% per level. Even with the spell that still leaves a LOT of in-game time that magic will sit around unused because it’s still “unidentified”. Longer time frames for the more costly and more powerful items can be cut further still with additional expenditures of money and effort through mundane research.
That means PC’s visiting libraries, consulting sages, seeking bards for “lore”, and of course seeking anyone who may have once owned or seen the item in use. Players would be seeking command words or shortcuts to familiarization with the magical energies that actually allow the item to be used to its full capability. These efforts can not only reduce “appraisal” time by as much as the DM cares to allow (the DM would retain control over the reductions simply by declaring that the item in question is not unique enough nor legendary enough to have a traceable history), but it can particularly be used by the DM to provide increased flavor and background for his campaign by actually filling in the blanks on the history of items. Players can be told not only who made it but where it was made, when it was made, why it was made, who its former owners actually were, where and how they used it and so forth. Even if that information is just randomly generated from lists it is the sort of thing that players often enjoy having.
Why would that be? Because a player whose PC owns a vanilla +1 sword does NOT care about it beyond the fact that it gives him that +1. It’s a bland, meaningless tool, barely a whit better than a NON-magical item – just 5% better to hit and an additional point of damage. On the other hand, if you give that same +1 sword three former owners, a full page of history, and the ability for the player to have his character add to its legend – well, that’s the sort of thing I always thought that D&D was supposed to be aiming for between the melees.
Illusionary Script: Target has to read the script for at least a round, generally negating its use in ongoing battle.
Invisibility, Lesser: This is the equivalent of the original Invisibility spell but the level of this spell on the magic-user list is bumped to 3rd level. Its effects remain much the same despite the fact that this can be a problematic spell. It just wouldn’t be D&D without it but it needs some tweaks/discussion.
Note well that this spell does not make you undetectable! It still leaves subtle visual traces that can be spotted by intelligent creatures. It also does not mask sound or odor, nor does it prevent evidence of interaction with the surrounding environment. It only makes you unable to be directly and easily seen. If you move silently, don’t breathe, disturb no dust, leave no muddy footprints, don’t bump anybody or anything, stay clean and washed but not perfumed (no odor), don’t open any doors, don’t walk near any candle flames, don’t cause other objects to move or prevent their normal movement, and of course if you make no attacks – then you can remain reasonably confident of being undetected because you can’t be readily seen. However, this very rarely is the case. PC’s and NPC’s of 7th level or higher, as well as intelligent creatures will have a chance to detect you even without special factors noted above.
PC’s and NPC’s use their level on the table below to determine the base chance for detection. Monsters can, at the DM’s discretion, use their Intelligence score to determine their chances of detecting invisible opponents. DM discretion must be used to adjust these chances according to circumstances but the DM should not be attempting to aggressively prevent the spell from being useful. Player characters should be given some benefit of doubt about their chances of being detected and of detecting others.
Level/HD 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15+
Intelligence 0 1 2-4 5-5 8-10 11-12 13-14 15-16 17-18+
Detect Chance 5% 10% 15% 20% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50%
If you’re looking for an invisible foe and factors are playing in your favor you can make a detection roll every round until you actually verify that someone invisible is indeed nearby. Otherwise, detection attempts might only be fairly made each turn, or perhaps even just once.
All equipment and objects carried by the character become invisible when the effect begins. Objects picked up afterward are NOT made invisible. Substances such as dust, snow or rain falling on the character will also NOT become invisible and can easily reduce the effects to that of a Blur spell (again, DM discretion applies). If you’re standing in the rain, even though you’re invisible the rain spattering upon you and running down your cloak is still fully visible and you end up making a vaguely person-shaped “dry space”. If you stand in water you leave leg-shaped holes where water should be and you’ll make waves. If you’re walking a dusty trail you will gather dust upon your clothes and feet or just leave a blank space in the air where a dust cloud doesn’t penetrate.
Even without any of the above the spell furthermore leaves a faint shimmering or haze that can be seen. Short of being dunked in a vat of paint the spell will still provide some benefits for not being seen but again, it is NOT undetectability. The DM must use his discretion to apply adjustments (good or bad) in the chances of detection.
If players don’t expect too much of the spell and don’t try to abuse it, DM’s should not have cause to aggressively try to nullify it. Oh, the effect only lasts 1 hour per level and it is canceled by violent movement, spell casting of ANY kind, and of course physical attacks or defense.
Invisibility, Improved: This is a 4th level spell. It is like Lesser Invisibility but the illusion is stronger. It is NOT canceled by violent movement, spell casting of any kind, or physical attacks or defense, but otherwise lasts only 1 turn per level. Detection chances otherwise remain the same so the caution is repeated – this spell is still NOT undetectability.
Invisibility, 10’ Radius: This is a zone of effect centered on one designated target which may or may not be the caster. No creatures in the zone may see each other. Creatures leaving the zone lose the benefits as do those who take violent or “disruptive” actions, such as combat attacks or casting spells. Movement as a group requires a certain amount of spacing and yet maintaining physical contact. Speed is ½ of the slowest member of the group at best. At most 50 M size creatures can fit in the area and still move. Up to 100 M size creatures can fit but NOT move or take any actions. Fitting larger or smaller creatures, more or fewer creatures will require adjudication. Once again, this isn’t undectability. If anything it increases difficulties of staying “unobserved” as the number of creatures affected increases.
Know Alignment: Use of any spell upon others can be considered extraordinarily rude if not overtly threatening unless you first obtain permission or explain what you’re doing. Even attempting to explain what the spell does can be interpreted as saying, “I don’t trust you no matter what you say, so I want magical verification of your morals, ethics, philosophy and degree of religious zealotry.” Use of the spell surreptitiously is no less potentially offensive. Detect Evil is difficult to use effectively but also carries less stigma simply because it can’t pry so deep. With this spell, however, all is revealed short of very deliberate attempts at deception. Think of this as a right-to-privacy issue. PC’s are simply warned to proceed with appropriate tact.
Light/Darkness: The amount of light is otherwise equal to a torch in intensity and area of illumination (40’ radius.). The duration is 6 hours + 1 hour per level of the caster or half that duration if it is reversed to create darkness. The spell can be reversed to create darkness of the same area and duration – a complete absence of light, and also preventing use of infravision or ultravision. The range for the clerical version is 12” and casting time of 4 segments, the magic-user version has a range of 6” but a casting time of only 1 segment. It can be cast upon an inanimate object, at a fixed point in space, or at a creatures eyes as an attack. When Light is used as an attack the blindness is very temporary: 1-3 rounds if a save is failed. If the save versus the attack is successful the spell will center upon a fixed point in space just behind the target’s head. If the save fails it will remain centered upon the victim even after they recover their sight, but it will no longer be an issue for the victim. While blinded the victim has a -4 to all to-hit rolls, saving throws, and armor class.
A Darkness spell can be cast to directly cancel out a Light spell and vice-versa. A higher level Continual Light spell or Darkness 15’ Radius spell will similarly cancel out their relative opposites of lesser intensity. In all such cases the canceled darkness and light spell effects will cease to exist entirely and will of course leave natural lighting conditions to cover the associated area.
Lightning Bolt: Damage is 5d6 +3pts per two levels of the caster:
Better damage than fireball perhaps, but obviously the area of effect is more difficult to make good use of. Note that there is some geometry at play in determining the course of deflection. It is similar to measuring the angle of a billiard ball and the side of a billiard table; the angle between the path of the lightning bolt and the surface it strikes doesn’t change – the angle after the strike is simply measured between the path of the continuing bolt and the surface past the point where it struck the surface. Put another way; lightning bolts are deflected not reflected.
Mending: Non-magical objects only. Up to 50gp/level weight for the object to be repaired. Complicated repair is possible so long as all the parts are present. A magic user could repair the broken bar on a door or fix padlocks, or put back together the shattered sacred stone tablets of Hoobamajoo, once again providing holy guidance for the Flumph villagers.
Polymorph (in its several variations): Where polymorph went wrong is not actually with the save that’s involved, it’s with having a poorly drafted spell in general. It has to have different effects defined for different purposes – and none of them should be permanent (not for a 4th level spell anyway). That really means it needs to be split into several different spells, each having its own means of accomplishing a task by changing the form of its target.
So, borrowing sensible hierarchy used elsewhere in the game, we have Polymorph Self, Polymorph Person, Polymorph Animal, and Polymorph Monster. These are each individual 4th level spells, not variations of one spell, so they must be found, learned, or researched separately.
Polymorph Self needs just one addition to prevent potential abuse, but otherwise functions as the existing spell of the same name. When you change back into your own form the spell effect (or potion) ends. The point being that you only get the healing effect once per spell. For clarification purposes it needs to be stated that despite changing forms you get no abilities of the new form except locomotion. NONE. Strictly and technically, strength may be increased but only insofar as may be necessary to gain the movement form in question. The PC’s stats do not otherwise change in any way and even the strength change would not apply to any other activity but movement. AC does change to that of the new form. If no MM data can be found for the creature in question the AC will be 8.
Polymorph Person is the most complex form of the original Polymorph Other spell. It affects the same kind of creatures that Charm Person would. The effect turns them into some other humanoid, animal, or monstrous form albeit with the same size limitations given for Polymorph Self. Duration is only 1 turn per level of caster. The final form can have no more hit dice than the original form of the creature being transformed. Use of this spell upon any unwilling target allows a saving throw to negate the effect.
There is also the change in mind/personality. Anyone who is being transformed has a chance to retain their normal mind/personality for the duration of the spell using the formula from the original Polymorph Other (100% – 5% per pt. of Int, + 5% for each hit die of difference between forms). When the spell ends the target returns to their normal form and their normal mentality – any and all changes caused by the spell end with the spell duration.
You can change someone into a form with only 8 hit dice or less, unless the target has more levels/HD than that to start with. You can otherwise change someone into a form with equal or fewer HD. So, smaller and less powerful forms are always possible, but forms more powerful than the original creature are not always possible. [NOTE: A hippo has 8 HD and is the stated maximum size given in the original spell. That’s why the 8 HD max if the target doesn’t have more. Otherwise you’d have the odd effect of not being able to polymorph a 0-level lackey into a hippo simply because the hippo has more hit dice. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to polymorph a 0-level target into much of anything.]
This spell still requires some adjudication by the DM. The new form should gain no special magical or supernatural abilities, but physical attacks should certainly apply. So, if you change someone into a bear, the bear gets the possible hug attack even if the mentality of the target doesn’t change. A leopard can still “leap”. Change someone into a roper and they still get the bite attack for 5-20 – but the 6 sticky strands won’t have the weakness poison. A giant scorpion form would similarly have claw and sting damage, but not poison damage. A shambling mound could still suffocate a victim; fire and cold would still be resisted as described because those abilities are attributed to its wet/vegetable nature, respectively; but lightning would have normal damaging effects because the growth effect on the actual creature is a supernatural one.
The caster can only transform targets into the form of some creature he has personally encountered before. That doesn’t just mean having seen from afar either – it means he encountered it up close and personal for a sufficient period to be able to understand what it can do. This means both that the player might be advised to keep a list of possible forms, and that the DM will need to use judgment as to whether the form is allowed for the caster to utilize and what abilities it will have (and should keep records of those decisions regarding abilities for future reference).
This is not generally intended to be a spell to enable someone to be a better combatant (though that’s possible, and a common enough use), but to actually incapacitate or render inoffensive with. The commonly used change of form is into entirely inoffensive animals like sheep. [And further justifies why there is no association of system shock with the transformation.]
It is a common alternative to use the spell to create a powerful creature of some kind to fight for you (or provide some other service/benefit), however the mentality change still tends to make that a little dicey.
It IS possible to kill with the spell outright, but it’s difficult to do. If, for example, you turn someone into a fish without putting them into water then they’ll asphyxiate. However, turning a target into a form which cannot naturally survive the environment it currently occupies allows a second saving throw to negate the effect (however, failure of that save means the detrimental effects apply). A form which would naturally avoid the environment it finds itself in, but can nonetheless survive there, simply gets a +1 bonus to the first save rather than being granted a second save. For example, turning a fish into a common cat doesn’t mean the cat is drowning – it means the cat is swimming. It is not the natural environment for a cat, but it can survive there just fine so it gets the bonus to the save, not a second chance to avoid the effect entirely.
The change in forms, however, does not change the actual HD of the target, even if it does change AC. If you polymorph a 10th level fighter into a toad he’ll still have the hit points and HD he had as a 10th level fighter. He’ll just be in the SHAPE of a toad.
Equipment worn or carried by the target is also transformed and generally ceases to function as it normally would for the duration of the spell, even magical items. Turn someone clad in plate mail into a toad and they’ll have the AC of a toad (AC7?) and not someone in plate (AC3). Protective devices that add to saves will generally still apply and may even be seen on the polymorphed form in some hinted fashion (a ring of protection showing up as a discoloration on a toe, for example) but everything else morphs into the new form. If you turn someone into a different race of humanoid (turn an elf into a dwarf, or a halfling into a bugbear) the equipment will STILL become part of that new form and cease to work as before. That is, you can turn a dwarf in platemail into a derro, but the derro won’t be wearing plate mail because the dwarf’s equipment will have become part of the new derro form.
Polymorph Animal can be used to transform normal animals into normal animals of other types. Duration is 2 turns per level. Sizes and hit dice of either original or new form are largely irrelevant. The only caveat is that the caster cannot transform an animal of more than half-again his own level in hit dice. The new form is automatically mentally transformed as well (you don’t get dragons who think they’re sheep, or canaries who think they’re elephants – it’s amusing enough, even hilarious in the right circumstances, but it’s problematic to run it that way because that gets abused).
Polymorph Monster is the most difficult to attempt. It can affect any size or hit dice of creature but the caster can only transform it into the form of some creature he has personally encountered before. That doesn’t just mean having seen from afar either – it means he encountered it up close and personal for a sufficient period to be able to understand what it can do. This means both that the player might be advised to keep a list of possibilities and that the DM should use judgment as to whether the form is allowed for the caster to utilize.
The most common thing to attempt against a monster is still to just turn it into a harmless, normal animal – sheep, pig, chicken. The downside is that the duration of this transformation is also quite short – 2 rounds per level. Changing a lesser monster into a greater monster is certainly possible but again, even though the original form can be physically much larger, the form the caster turns it into cannot be of greater hit dice than his own. For each special ability of the new form add 1/3 hit die equivalent, and for each exceptional ability add 1 HD for purposes of this determination. DM’s will want to go over possible forms with casters ahead of time to avoid spending time during play in calculating. The AC of the new form will be appropriate to the form – turn a dragon into a sheep and it’ll have the AC of a sheep, not a dragon. Actual hit points of the new form will be appropriate to the new form OR those of the original creature, whichever is higher. You can turn the manticore into a dog and he’ll have the AC of a dog, but he’ll still have the manticore’s hit points. Turn a toad into an owlbear and it will have the hit points and AC of an owlbear. Damage will remain relative when reverting back to original forms. If a dog has taken 50% damage when turning back into a maticore it will still be 50% damaged. The subject will always assume the personality/mentality of the new form for the duration of the spell.
No system shock is associated with any of these versions of the spell. Players of 7th level magic-users wishing to polymorph kittens into huge, ancient red dragons to assault their opponents should be looking at the 8th level spell Polymorph any Object. No 4th level spell should reasonably be accomplishing that sort of thing.
Prayer: The effects stack with Bless.
Protection from Evil: Hedges out undead as well (as “enchanted” creatures or creatures created by magic). Note that protection from bodily contact does not prevent weapons from being used – even 10’ radius can be bypassed with long enough pole arms or missiles.
Raise Dead: This spell does apply to elves. Returning from the dead is a choice made by each individual character. In the case of player characters it will almost never, ever be refused (obviously). In the case of non-player characters (controlled by the DM) the reverse is true – the choice will almost never, ever be accepted. Should a player need justification/explanation for that, they should know this: Upon their irrevocable deaths, NPC’s are on their way to an afterlife (as PC’s are too, actually). For practical game-play intents and purposes this is an afterlife that NPC’s want. They will not willingly give up blissful immortality in the afterlife to return to the harsh and laborious burden of a mortal life. Even if the afterlife of the NPC is not blissful immortality, it will still be better than what they wanted or expected and it will be what they ACCEPT. Worst case scenario is that the deities holding sway over that NPC’s afterlife will refuse to allow them to leave the afterlife. Player characters are exceptions.
Characters who choose to return to mortality are viewed a bit differently by almost everyone else in the world who hears about it. It’s rarely a truly negative or fearful view; more a matter of vague misgivings and confusion. This is generally only overcome by knowing the individual concerned; a matter of getting used to the idea of resuming a “normal” life after death and the person/persons that this spell has actually brought back. NPC’s, whether good or evil, are reasonably unlikely to ever return from the dead. There will be (and are) exceptions, but they’ll be notable for valid in-game reasons.
As noted elsewhere there is still a time limit for reaching a caster of 1 day per level of the caster. The spell then requires 1 day per level of the deceased of preparation and a 1 turn ritual.
Read Magic: This is a passive, inherent ability for magic-users and is not a spell that needs to be cast in order to understand magic-user written works like scrolls or spellbooks. Such writing is immediately recognizable by a magic-user but what it actually says or does requires translation of sorts. The magic-user can do this innately and quickly but it can be dangerous (Explosive Runes, etc.). The spell can be used to read any such writings without activating any inherent spells or effects and actually learn what the magical consequences of reading the text would be, if any.
Reincarnation: There is understandably some question as to why anyone would resort to this spell. The simplest answer (but not the only answer) is that Raise Dead and especially Resurrection are not always available or timely. Reincarnation is at least then a possibility even if it isn’t a superior choice. To make it somewhat more of a sensible, or at least viable option, I’ve changed the time limit to 1 week per level of the caster. This spell is therefore available well after the 1 day/lvl time limit of Raise Dead. It can be obtained from a level 12 druid (or magic-user) which is easier to find than a 16th level cleric for Resurrection.
The resulting incarnation will always be permitted to be a playable PC, because there isn’t any point to the spell if it isn’t. PC’s MIGHT need to start over as a 1st level character if the player chooses to have his new PC be a different class, or if the DM decides that the character’s existing class and new physical form are, in fact, simply incompatible. However, there is very little reason for a DM to even require a random roll on the chart because it only makes the spell undesirable to players even as an easier option than Resurrection. If you are going to allow reincarnated characters of all forms on the list anyway, why not let the player choose the form that they might actually be interested in playing from that point forward?
Animal forms will be sentient animals with some vague but acceptable amount of anthropomorphic abilities. They may have difficulty making use of oversized weapons. Armor in particular may need to be custom-made.
If you want your character to continue in some form, this spell makes it possible in circumstances where the alternative is rolling up an entirely new character anyway. Clearly, details of the new PC will very often need to be worked out between player and DM, but this can be taken as a vow from me, as DM, to be as accommodating as possible. Other DM’s should either be fully willing and prepared to be just as accommodating or else just disallow the spell. It is NOT intended to be some kind of curse or unwanted affliction, and never was. It is supposed to be an opportunity for a PC to continue play, even if his physical form is radically changed, or if the character starts over from 1st level it will be something new and interesting that BOTH the player and the DM want, and accept.
Reincarnation does not actually carry the same stigma for roleplaying NPC interactions as does Resurrection or Raise Dead. Although the character retains memory of nearly all their previous life the change in physical form is emotionally and intellectually easier for others to deal with. Given the recommended changes in how death is handled from a roleplaying standpoint it’s conceivable that the spell would become a preferable option just for that reason, although I suspect it might be the speed of handling the issue that appeals as much or more.
Remove Curse (reversed): This can be used to curse the recent dead with Undeath. If the victim has not died later than 1 day per level of the caster the caster can create one undead of any type he knows of which is of HD no greater than his own. This act will instantly change the casters alignment to Evil if it isn’t already. It does require some research to learn how to create any particular kind of undead in this way (the research itself is highly questionable though not inherently an evil act).
Resurrection: See the description above for Raise Dead for an explanation of how this spell will affect NPC’s. There is still a time limit for reaching a caster of 1 year per level of the caster. This can be extended to 10 years per level of the caster if the recipient accepts and expects to be brought back and prepares for it, however, they must then REMAIN dead for at least 10 years before they can be resurrected. Like Raise Dead the spell requires 1 day per level of the deceased of preparation and a 1 turn ritual.
Shocking Grasp: Any “to hit” score discounts metallic armor and shield (giving opponents armor class 10) but not plain leather or wood. Magic bonuses on metallic armor do not affect armor class, but such items as a ring of protection do. ALSO NOTE: having this spell on “standby” is blatantly obvious and cannot be used for “surprise” attacks. The spell may also be discharged through liquids, at a maximum distance of 1” per 4 levels of the caster.
Sleep: Affects a number of creatures whose totaled hit dice do not exceed 3, ” above +2 equals a higher HD. Creatures of less than a full hit die equal ¾ a hit die (e.g., goblins); creatures of 1-4 hit points or less (e.g., kobolds) equal ½ a hit die. The caster does not get to choose among multiple targets when a sleep spell is used. One creature is usually chosen as the central target and is the first affected. Creatures adjacent to the central target are then affected in order of distance from the target. If the spell is targeted at a point in space rather than a target creature then it goes by distance from that point. If distance is equal in either case when finding the next creature affected, the first affected will be the lowest hit die creatures. If multiple creatures of equal hit dice are potentially affected roll randomly between them. Creatures are checked in this order until HD limit or area of effect limit is reached, whichever comes first. Effect does not respect friend vs. foe, nor even the caster himself (!). Otherwise conforms to PH entry.
Telekinesis: Two possible effects: Moving objects around, and “violently thrusting” them. Range is 1”/level. When cast against an individual to move them, they would get a save, but not when thrust. Moving objects can be telekinetically manipulated as if with one hand. For example, a lever can be pulled, a key can be rotated, an object can be turned, etc. (as long as the force required is still within the limits of the spell). You might even be able to untie simple knots. Objects moved this way would be at 2"/round in any directions within range. Violent Thrust/Pull is considered a <1>t mean you should.