Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Updated Illusionist Spell: Chromatic Orb

This spell was featured in the expanded illusionist spell list in AD&D Unearthed Arcana. I like the effects, but it's always struck me as weirdly balanced: almost useless at low levels and very powerful at high levels. This isn't a feature I'm fond of, so, as part of the work on my Complete Illusionist, I decided to try to come up with a version more to my taste. Here you go:

Chromatic Orb

Level: 1
Duration: Instant
Range: 60’
Cost: 25gp - 1,000gp (gem of appropriate colour)
This spell harnesses and amplifies the pure hue and intrinsic properties of a gemstone, which must be in the illusionist’s possession. Light is conjured in the heart of the stone, refracted, and amplified, conjuring an orb of pure colour in the illusionist’s hand. The orb may be hurled at an opponent within range, requiring a normal attack roll, with a +2 bonus. If the orb misses, it dissolves without effect. Otherwise, the orb inflicts damage on the target and another effect depending on its colour. The illusionist may conjure an orb of one of the following colours, depending on his experience level:

Level
Colour
Damage
Effect
Gem Value
1st or greater
Pearlescent
1d4
Light
25gp
2nd or greater
Ruby
1d6
Heat
25gp
3rd or greater
Flame
1d8
Fire
25gp
4th or greater
Amber
1d10
Blindness
250gp
5th or greater
Emerald
1d12
Stench
250gp
6th or greater
Turquoise
2d8
Magnetism
250gp
7th or greater
Sapphire
2d4
Paralysis
250gp
10th or greater
Amethyst
None
Petrification
1,000gp
12th or greater
Ashen
None
Death
1,000gp

The gemstone must be of at least the value listed and must be of an appropriate hue. It is consumed by the spell.

Chromatic orb effects:

  • Light: Light in a 60’ radius for one round per caster level.
  • Heat: If the target fails a save versus spells, they suffer -1 to attacks and AC for one round. The heat of the ruby orb may also be used to melt ice -- up a cubic yard.
  • Fire: All flammable objects within 2’ of the target are set alight. If the target fails a save versus spells, flammable objects (e.g. clothing, hair, etc) on its person are also set alight. This inflicts 1d3 damage for three rounds, unless the target spends a round extinguishing the flames.
  • Blindness: The target is blinded for 1d4+4 rounds, unless it makes a saving throw versus spells.
  • Stench: A 5’ radius cloud of stinking vapours erupts around the target. Any within the cloud (including the target) must save versus poison or be overcome with nausea -- unable to act except to move at half movement rate. Once leaving the cloud, the nausea subsides after 1d4 rounds. The cloud is permanent but usually disperses after one turn.
  • Magnetism: The electrical energy of the orb strongly magnetizes any metal objects on the target (e.g. armour, weapons) unless a save versus spells is made. The magnetic charge lasts for 3d4 rounds and causes metal objects to stick together, typically making attacking impossible and causing a -2 penalty to AC.
  • Paralysis: Unless a save versus paralysis is made, the target is paralysed for 5d4 rounds.
  • Petrification: The target must save versus petrification. Failure means that it turns permanently to stone. Success means that the target is slowed for 2d4 rounds -- only able to move at half the normal rate and attack or cast spells every other round.
  • Death: The target must save versus death. Failure means that it dies instantly. Success means that it is paralysed for 1d4 rounds.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

New Vivimancer Spell: Divide Ancestry

Want to rid yourself or your friend of that embarrassing goblin heritage? Not averse to murder? Then try this vivimantic procedure!

Divide Ancestry
Level: 4
Range: Touch
Duration: Instant
Casting Time: 1 day
Cost: 150gp (drugs)

Cast upon a creature of half-race (e.g. a half-elf, half-goat, half-goblin, etc), this unusual procedure causes the subject's body to split permanently into two halves: one pure-blooded being of each parent race. The resulting beings are fully independent and begin their divided existence with identical memories and mental faculties, though the former diverge immediately -- there is no telepathic bond between them. Any talents related to one side of the ancestry are possessed only by the corresponding being.

During the procedure, the subject must be kept under the influence of deeply soporific drugs to the value of 150gp.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Wormskin Sale! / Issue Four PDF

For anyone who has heard rumours about Dolmenwood -- the weird fairytale woodland setting spawned from the brains of myself and Greg Gorgonmilk -- now is a great time to get into it.

The first three issues of the Dolmenwood zine, Wormskin, are on sale. A mere $1.99 for the PDFs and $4.99 for the print + PDF combos. A steal.

Also: issue four is just out! (PDF only for now. Print edition coming in a few weeks.)

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Complete Illusionist? (Plus New Spell: Unreal)

Since I started collating the illusionist spells that I've developed over the last few years and discovered that they number "quite a few", I've not been able to stop thinking about doing a proper Complete Illusionist book. I've looked at the spell lists and it looks like I actually only need a couple of dozen spells more in order to reach a nice number of spells per level. (I'm looking at 30, 24, 24, 18, 18, 18, 12, 8, 8 -- from 1st to 9th level.) Seems eminently doable! So, two things:

Firstly, call for contributors! If you have some new illusionist spells written up, send them my way! (Either to the email address in the sidebar of the blog or in g+.) I'm especially looking for spells of level 3 or above, up to ninth level.

If I include a contributed spell in the book, you'll be credited and I'll send you a free copy of the PDF. If someone sends me loads of spells that I'm into and I include four or more in the book, I'll also send you a print copy.

Get those illusionist thinking caps on! (Fez's I suppose.)

Secondly, here's a new spell:

Unreal
Level: 8
Duration: Permanent or 1 turn per level
Range: 60’

Rather than creating an illusion of a something real, this spell creates an illusion from something real. A non-living, non-magical object of up to 10’ cube in size or a single creature may be affected. A creature may save versus spells to resist.

If the spell successfully takes effect, the target ceases to be real, becoming an illusion of itself. It may be seen, heard, smelt, etc, but is completely intangible. For example, a solid section of wall made unreal may be passed through, though it appears solid; a person made unreal continues to act freely, but cannot physically interact with anything.

Objects targeted by this spell become permanently illusionary. Targeted creatures return to their normal state after one turn per level of the caster.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

New Illusionist Spell: Imaginary Companion

This spell popped into my head just after waking this morning. Illusionists have been on my mind a bit, recently, as I recently started collating all of the expanded illusionist material which I have -- some from the original Theorems & Thaumaturgy and some as-yet unpublished spells -- and discovered that I have a total of 48 new illusionist spells. I've always wanted to do a proper expanded illusionist class, so this might be the catalyst.

Imaginary Companion

Level: 2
Duration: Permanent
Range: 0
Casting Time: 8 hours
Cost: 100gp

Inhaling the smoke of a mixture of rare, psychoactive herbs (cost 100gp), the illusionist falls into a deep sleep lasting for 8 hours. During this slumber, the illusionist’s spirit wanders in distant regions of dream where denizens of the Dreamlands may be contacted. The illusionist experiences a dream of great vividity and significance, wherein he encounters a kindred spirit in the dream world and enters into a soul-binding pact with it. Upon waking, the presence of the dream spirit remains with the illusionist at all times. The illusionist can see and speak with the dream spirit as if it were physically present. The entity cannot, however, normally be perceived by others. Thus, depending on how openly the illusionist interacts with the dream spirit, others may be led to question his sanity.

Despite being normally imperceptible to others, the imaginary companion is, in fact, semi-real and should be treated as an NPC companion of the illusionist, present wherever he goes. It is able to interact with the physical world as follows:
  • The imaginary companion may freely interact with inanimate objects, having the force to carry up to 20lbs or drag up to 40lbs (equivalent to a STR rating of 3). Any who witness the companion interacting with objects may save versus spells. Failure indicates that the companion becomes faintly visible.
  • If directed to interact with a living creature, the target may save versus spells. If the save succeeds, the imaginary companion is not able to interact with the target. If the save fails, the target becomes faintly aware of the dream spirit and two-way interaction is possible.
  • Creatures which can see invisible and the like are always aware of an imaginary companion, though may save, as above, to prevent it from interacting with them.
  • The companion has an Armour Class of 7, 2d4 hit points, and an attack doing 1d3 damage. It may be damaged by non-living forces (fire, cold, crushing, etc) and by any living creature who is aware of it (see above).
  • It has a movement rate of 90’ (30’), either walking or flying up to 10’ above the ground. The companion may not move more than 90’ away from the illusionist. If forced to do so, it suffers 1d4 damage and disappears entirely, reappearing only after the illusionist gets a night’s sleep.

The nature of the soul-connection between the illusionist and the imaginary companion is such that the illusionist’s hit point maximum is increased by the number of hit points the companion has. However, if the companion dies, the illusionist instantly and permanently loses these additional hit points.

Many types of dream spirit may be summoned by this spell to become the illusionist’s imaginary companion. In the waking world, they are typically intelligent entities of human size or smaller with capricious, mischievous, or contrary personalities. The following chart provides some ideas, but many more creatures are possible.

  1. A small cat with swirling, yellow/purple eyes and violet fur.
  2. A transparent owl, apparently made of crystal.
  3. An opposite-sex replica of the caster.
  4. A miniature, creeping bear with human mouth and hands.
  5. A slender, albino child.
  6. A miniature, black wyvern.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Dolmenwood Hex Crawl Procedure: Playtest One-Pager

In preparation for my Dolmenwood/Barromaze games, starting next week, I've been tidying up some of the ideas I've had about hex crawl procedures, which I wrote a bit about here and here. I'm still working on a nice, printable version of the Dolmenwood encounter tables (the latter link), but I've got a one-page hex crawl procedure finished up. I'm pleased with how much of the procedure and associated tables fits on a single side of A4 (it's laid out as two sides of A5).

The system is not yet complete, but it should be pretty usable. The tables of mishaps and hazards are missing, as are the more detailed charts of random locations. (The chart of lesser stones is finished and will be published in Wormskin issue four -- coming soon!)

Click here to download the hex crawl procedure.

(This has been a kind of back and forth with +Sándor Gebei, whose post on the hex crawl procedure for his Grim Tales was both inspired by my own previous blog posts and has fed back into the system in my PDF.)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

My Dolmenwood House Rules

I'm running my first Dolmenwood / Barrowmaze session next week, so have worked up a quick house rules one-sheet.

I thought it might be of interest to others. Download the PDF here. (Dolmen art by Matthew Adams.)