Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some New Spells And A Question About Them

I am thinking these spells should be as low level as possible and I am using LOTFP:WFRP as the standard. What level do you think for each? I think a lot of them should be level 1.

No save unless indicated.

Duration is permanent or instantaneous unless otherwise indicated. Remove curse will get rid of the thing where appropriate.

Sacred Contest

Range: Touch

So it's like two creatures agree and you cast this spell and they have any kind of contest they agree to for any stakes they agree to but the magic makes it so they have to do it or the not-agreeing creature melts.

Grief to Steel

Range: 20'

So you're not sad any more but/and your sadness becomes a cage. GM rates the target's grief on a scale of 1 to 10. 10 being like your civilization was just destroyed, 1 being you lost a decent sized investment or a pet you were just getting to like. Cage has d8 times that many hit points. The cage can be any design the caster likes and any size up to 20' x 20' x 20'--so it can be used offensively or defensively.

Affects all sad targets adjacent to main target.

Laughter to Pain

Range: 30'

How funny was that? On a scale of 1-10? Well that's how much it hurts. d8 times that damage. If it is unclear how funny the thing is (the GM laughing is a good sign it's in the 8-10 range) then you can ballpark a number by having the target a will-based save. Spell can be cast instantaneously.

Affects all laughing targets adjacent to main target.


Range: Touch

Caster touches target and an object. Target saves--a failed save means the target becomes obsessed with the object. The target must do things like make a will or spell save to get away from the object and otherwise avoid acting all Gollum about it in any other circumstances. The target is at -4 in combat if not touching the object on account of being distracted unless it is actively fighting to secure the object in which case it is at +4.

Drunk Reversal (this is an old one)

Range: 20'

Switches the blood alcohol levels of two targets in range. Both switchees must be able to stand and the actual reversal happens when they touch.

Total Empathy

Range: 20 feet

Two targets are chosen: a "donor" and a "receiver". The receiver becomes completely aware of the donors struggles in life on the most visceral level. The receiver knows the donor's most powerful desires and fears but will not consciously act to exacerbate the donor's situation. Unless the donor creature is suicidal, the receiver cannot harm the donor in any way. The receiver may, if s/he desires, make a will/spell save to stop the feeling once every 24 hours but the knowledge gained remains.

Tenzill's Metabolic Distortion

Range: Touch

Target can no longer metabolize ordinary food but can eat a substance chosen by the caster as if it were food. The caster must freely present a meal's worth of this new "food" to the target in order for the spell to work (the caster cannot willing impose any obstacle between target and food).

Aura of Corpulence

Area of effect: 15' radius from caster

Duration: d6 rounds

Anyone entering the spell's radius becomes enormously overweight and must make a strength check to take any action requiring movement. Armor may burst. If the targets escape the spell's radius, they can start making will/spell saves each round to regain their previous shape.

Cursed Utterance

Range: 20'

Caster chooses a word. The target takes d10+(caster level ) damage each time s/he says it (unless the word is used as part of a magical incantation and is essential to that incantation, in which case the word is temporarily protected). The target will sense the word it cursed after the first instance.

Cursed Action

Range: 20'

Caster chooses a target secretly (writing it down if necessary). Whatever action that target next takes occurs. However, thereafter that action is cursed and doing it again (ever) will cause d6+(caster level ) damage to the target. The category of action then cursed will be generally be defined by the act (attack or speak, etc), the tool used (specific weapon or spell or words) and the target. So it could cover "attacking Phil with an axe" or "casting magic missile on Leroy" or "saying Fuck Off to Annabelle". However, the caster may choose one of the categories and extend it to cover that class generally if s/he can roll under his/her level on a d20. A curse on "Attacking Phil with an axe" could be extended to "Attacking any human with an axe" "Attacking Phil with anything". "Saying Fuck Off to Annabelle" could be extended to "Saying anything to Annabelle" etc. The target will sense the action is cursed after the first instance.

Telepathic Feast

Caster prepares food. The caster may then see through the eyes of any who eat that food for 24 hours after they eat it.


Range: 20'

A 'seed' target is chosen and an invisible aura surrounds the target for 5 minutes. No creature that attacks the seed target while the aura is present may ever attack any other creature that attacked the seed while the aura was present. Like, ever.

Ildiko's Hideous Minstrels

(Caster level) x 20 minstrels appear within 40' of the caster, gamely clutching their instruments. They are unaligned, obey no-one, and cannot be reasoned with. They will all play and none will play well. With luck, they may disperse.

Advantageous Fowl

The caster transforms one or more of his/her hit dice into a small plover or thrush. This bird then flies away and hides, the caster's hit dice are lowered by the appropriate amount. Should the caster be slain or reduced to zero hit points, s/he will not die. The bird will immediately seek the caster out, gives back the remaining hit dice and dissolves.

Depressing Cow

Range: Touch

Caster touches a hog, heifer or other piece of livestock. All who gaze upon it thereafter must save or become despondent (-2 to all saves) for one week.

Fruit of Ruination

Range: 10'

Caster designates a fruit. The first creature to eat of that fruit will immediately begin behaving as if his or her Charisma and Wisdom are 3 toward the first ally s/he sets eyes on thereafter. All of his or her negative traits will be exaggerated in any conflicts with the unfortunate ally.


Range: 20' radius around caster

Anyone except the caster within the radius will have all of their negative personality traits exaggerated and will behave as if their Charisma and Wisdom were 3 in terms of interpersonal behavior.

Annihilating Chain

Range: 20'

Caster secretly designates a target. As soon as the target touches something old, then new, then borrowed, then blue s/he takes d10 damage per caster level. Objects the target is in contact with when the spell is cast do not count, and no object counts for more than one category.

Warsong of The Avoider

Range: touch

Target rolls a d20. Target can be knocked unconscious but cannot be slain until s/he rolls that number again or an attacking enemy does.

Warsong of The Despised

Range: touch

Target treats damage as healing and healing as damage. Once out of combat, the target will slowly begin to die due to natural healing. (Yes, you can live forever if you keep stabbing yourself. Totally intended.)


bombasticus said...

Fabulous! Sadly I can't see either Laughter to Pain or Grief to Steel under 3rd level but I would urge you to make both spells reversible.

Zak Sabbath said...

Steel to Grief seems like it's be hard to track mechanically in an interesting way, Pain to Laughter really same issue unless you made the laughter into Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous--so it'd heal damage but have side effects. Might me a decent contingency spell if the cleric was dead but i can't see people choosing it much.

bombasticus said...

Yeah, PTL would resolve to a special flavor of healing that screws up the patient's concentration for awhile. Not essential, but reverses tend to be for those oddball contingency situations in general.

STG would disintegrate so many cubic feet of metal and leave the caster incapacitated 3d4 turns from the sad (symbol of hopelessness). Good way to punch through armored troops or fortifications at personal cost -- maybe a good druid curse effect.

Chance said...

I would have to say that these remind me of a 12 or 13 year old playing Arduin as far as the style goes.

All of these are way , way overpowered for first level spells, the minimum for most of these is 3 or 4 . Most of these spells are curses which puts their level at least equal to Bestow Curse / Remove Curse.

No saving throw AND permanent durations ? No.

A first level Death Curse -Warsong of The Despised that makes you invulnerable for one fight - is totally broken. How would your players react to the local evil mage who has charmed 10-20 townsfolk , armed them and then put this on them ? Not to mention the caster throwing point blank fireballs to heal his minions and or himself. Totally broken . The spell is basically a Polymorph to Nilbog spell.

They area of effect continual polymorph to fattie is just broken.

Drunk reversal as written is a Slay Living.

I have similar power level questions about all of them.

Zak Sabbath said...

I don't really see how most of those objections apply. All you seem to be saying is they require players to be smart.

Aura of Corpulence only works for d6 rounds.

Drunk reversal totally can be slay living. Absolutely. But you need to get the drunk there. I should, however, write in that both targets need to be able to walk.

Zak Sabbath said...

Oh, wait I see the confusion about Drunk Reversal--it doesn't turn .06 to .60% it takes two people and switches their drunkness levels

Zak Sabbath said...

And the warsong spells should be relatively high level. But not 9 Idon't think

NaldoDrinan said...

Aura of Corpulence could probably be level 2 since its sort of close to stinking cloud in power level, with the added kick of having armor potentially burst off.

Caricature is my favorite of the bunch, though. Maybe depressing cow

Roger G-S said...

Laughter to Pain should key off the *players'* laughter.

I like Advantageous Fowl the best, but yeah, it should be about the level of reincarnation spell or 1 lower.

biopunk said...

Does Aura of Corpulence have some speed penalty to slow the affected from leaving the spell radius?

If it did, I don't think I'd have it lower than 3rd level.

Same for Annihilating Chain.

Cole said...

reversibility is always more interesting if it's spontaneous - i'm not sure if it makes no sense or perfect sense if you consider the metaphysics as full-on Dying Earth "it's in your brain"

DaveL said...

I would definitely put a few scrolls around with some of these on them. C'mon guys, this is supposed to be fun!

Telecanter said...

Sorry, I'm not good at the level thing myself. I will say I really like the advantageous fowl, too. It doesn't seem too powerful for a low level Mu to become more likely to get knocked out in exchange for not dying. It's for higher level mages that this seems quite powerful. Maybe you *have* to put a quarter of your hp into the thing. Or maybe each level of the caster requires one bird, so high level mages would have flocks of these things that foes might find.

Telepathic feast is nice, I might make it that the target has to eat with the caster for a little more of a challenge.

John said...

If it's a Polymorph to Nilbog spell I guess that makes it level 4, or 5 since it's easier to pull off than Polymorph Other.

Aura of Corpulence is similar to Slow, so level 3. Obsession is like a 2, 'cause it's kinda like that one itching spell. Telepathic Feast is a 3 or 4. Depressing Cow is a 1. Et cetera - so long as the players don't get to pick them off a list, I don't think it matters if some spells are more powerful and desirable than others. Also, making them permanent probably screws the players way more than it does their enemies in the long run, assuming enemy spellcasters are using these.

Gus L said...

I am going to go with the mostly 1st level - except I think the Warsongs might be 3rd, along with Obsession. Maybe Second for the obesity spell. Really though it doesn't matter, assuming that these spells are hard to come by. Casting level is just one way to control spells - availability is another.

I don't think that the power levels of the more spectacular spells are that high - sure you can imprison someone in a cage - but only if they're really depressed. Likewise most of them have a gimmick that limits their effect or utility.

Also - I do like that cow curse - not enough livestock curses in games, and they're such a staple of fairy tale.

Trent_B said...

Depressing Cow. Best.

richard said...

Grief to Steel makes me think about converting great works of social theory to DnD spells - Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is "Status Anxiety to Steel." Other candidates: "Panopticon" (forces the target to Lawful behaviour), "Poison in the Gift" (you give the target a gift; at the next great festival the target has to give you a gift of greater value or they get transformed into a kobold/other low-status creature, or become 0 level), "Monsters from the Id/Superego" (the former is a ravening beast, the latter an automaton).

Witold Krawczyk said...

Actually, maybe just get rid of spell levels? This stuff is amazing and I think it would kinda suck if players found, like, Grief to Steel, and could not cast it.

Chance said...

The stat changing spells should have a lower reduction level - ray of enfeeblement is a second and it is only a major reduction not a drop to legal minimums. I don't like no saving throw spells and I despise permanent spells with major game effects. Make them all say 1 turn duration , give them a save , or some difficult or expensive components and they might be playable , but by and large I don't like the obvious curses being lower level than Bestow Curse (level 3 for clerics) or Curse (level 4 for MUs) . In a type III or IV game they might be normal or even balanced from what I have seen , but I am only viewing the spells from a Type I game viewpoint. They are about par for Pathfinder Witch Spells , excepting the warsongs which need to be higher level. Also the .06 to .60 was what I was thinking . IF it just swapped inebriants statuses I would totally call it a first level alteration spell , with a component of each getting a single sip of each others drink. Bloodfriends I needs some serious balancing to use , I would add that I don't allow sanctuary for clerics in my game except for followers of gods such as Issac of the Jug or Mitra (a peaces goddess in my world) . I didn't hate the spells by any means , but they remind me of early Arduin or the original Tome Of Mighty Magic (a little black book edition with an insane number and level of spells) they are very much old school style spells ;) just off level to my way of thinking. I would still not allow Warsong of the Despised unless the component was something very rare - the target must be rubbed with the essence of a will o the wisp , or shards of a broken magical mirror in which his image was caught before breakage. Something so the mage doesn't have a charmed Nilboging army more than once. After all a Nilboged Red Dragon or Cloud Giant is very do-able .

Chance said...

You know , you sir are being far wiser than I , make these one shot spells , found on scrolls and un-copyable (cursed copyright ? hmm) and I would totally allow them. *doffs hat*

Folmac said...

WARNING: under no circumstances accept food from; fight a monster with; pee, look at a farm animal, or touch blue shit in the presence of a Magic-User in Zak's campaign.

Sacred Contest - cool, maybe level 3-5
Grief to Steel - level 3, Q: Can I escape a cage if I stop being sad?
Obsession - lvl 2-3, depending on degree of obsession... if I magic this urinal cake and fling it into a river, will the 'gollum' follow? Into a lava pit?
Tenzill's Metabolic Distortion - Maybe rename it 'school food'?
Aura of Corpulence - Hrm, lots of potential. Targets should be more buoyant in water, so it's a PFD spell. Leaping into spell radius to land on a see-saw... Similar to Enlarge, so lvl 1
Cursed Utterance - level ?, d10/lvl is rough once, but repeating the word?? (Nih! Nih!... how many times per round???) Repetition = more fun, so d3 (no lvl mod) is more than plenty, and even 1 pt per utterance might suffice.
Cursed Action - lvl ? Cool, but as is, I need only stake out my nemesis' bathroom and victory is mine.
Ildiko's Hideous Minstrels - lvl 1 for fun. Maybe target can pay them to go away and caster can collect? Think Hijras and Junkaroos.
Advantageous Fowl - lvl 2+ (due to HD & make mine a crow)
Annihilating Chain - Are the conditions strictly old-new-borrowed-blue?
Warsong of the Avoider - level 3+
Warsong of The Despised - level 3+

Damage too massive: Laughter to Pain, Cursed Utterance, Annihilating Chain

Duration too long/unclear: Total Empathy, Telepathic Feast, Bloodfriends, Depressing Cow, Fruit of Ruination, Caricature

Reasonable candidates for level 1 (assuming above are tweaked): Laughter to Pain, Drunken Reversal, Total Empathy, Tenzill's Metabolic Distortion, Aura of Corpulence, Telepathic Feast, Bloodfriends, Ildiko's Hideous Minstrels, Depressing Cow, Fruit of Ruination, Caricature

Great stuff overall, though.

Zak Sabbath said...

Grief to steel turns Grief into steel so you immediately stop being sad but your sadness is now metal so NO you can't escape if you stop being sad.

Obsession-your question is answered int he spell description. If the object goes into lava, you need to save to not chase it.

curse utterance you do not WANT to repeat the word, it hurts you.

Cursed action: yes. Things like that are the point.

Damage too massive: I disagree, all those things should do more damage than a fireball as they require more rigamarole than a fireball.

"duration too long/unclear" is, itself, an unclear statement. I don't see any where the duration is unclear, and I don't know what, by you, makes a duration too long.

Anonymous said...

At the top of these comments, you typed "Steel to Grief" instead of "Grief to Steel." I actually like that much better --- you're free from your cage, but at the price of becoming a prisoner of sadness.

Zak Sabbath said...

That was intentional--we were talking about reversed versions of the spells.

Folmac said...

Sorry, my bad. I forgot your statement about duration at the top of the post. I also misunderstood whether it was the caster or the target repeating the word in Cursed Utterance, in which case the damage seems fair enough and I'd say level 1-2. If high damage you like, I'd put Laughter to Pain and Chain of Annihilation at level 3. I'm not sure how to figure in rigamarole with regard to level, but I do like rigamarole which encourages more complex interactions and thus a richer RP experience. I wouldn't rate any spells here over level 5 because I've never played a campaign where a PC could cast anything higher than that.

Unknown said...

that was genius. I am jelly, so I will just make my usual acronym joke.


Lord of the Fuking Pings: Worgs form Raiding Party???

Simon (formerly Johnny Sorrow) said...

I absolutely adore Advantageous Fowl, and it definitely doesn't need to be a high level spell, given the built-in disadvantages of putting one's HD in a separate package that can easily be captured, killed, or separated from its "owner."

gdbackus said...

love advantageous fowl also. it's fine as a 1st level spell IMO, but maybe it should not be available as a starting spell since they would have to be lvl 2 before they could use it. Perhaps it's something arrived at by advanced research on find familiar?