Category Archives: Savage Spells

Two Years of Magic Words in ORWA

My games use a system called “Magic Words,” which replaces how Magic Users get their spells. Basically, instead of learning fully formed spells, MUs learn individual words. During downtime, they can put some of their words together in whatever arrangement sounds best to them. Whatever they end up with is the name of a spell their character has created. Then, in between sessions, I come up withe some suitable effects for a spell of that name. I’ve been using the system since I came up with it back in 2015, and I love it.

Last year, I posted a list of all the spells my ORWA players had come up with so far. And, in the year since then, they’ve come up with a whole bunch of new spells, so I figured it was time to turn them into another post.

This year, my players used the words they found to create several spells that are well established staples of the game. Stuff like Mage Armor and Feather Fall. Obviously I can’t really take credit for writing these spells, but I’ve included them here anyway since my versions are slightly altered to scale with the player’s level, and to include spell failure results.

The words my players had to work with this year were: Hold, Missile, Portal, Fairy, Ball, Spider, Fire, Feather, Fall, Cling, Balance, Gas, Cloak, Dog, Form, Sleep, Magic, Person, Rock, Web, Mage, Glare, Animate, Armor, Corpse, Imbue, Teapot, Hate, Blood, Ape, Pain, Fist, Cone, Cold, Star, Spectral, Snake, Pierce, Execute, Moose, and Time.

Spider Ball

Causes a tiny rift to form between this world and the spiderverse. The rift appears at an empty spot within the caster’s line of sight. Spiders from the other side pour into the rift, and become trapped there. This pocket of spiders becomes denser and denser, until it explodes outwards in a 20′ radius. Spiders will completely cover every surface without that space, and any living creatures therein must save versus Poison from the thousands of spider bites they receive. On a failed save, anyone with 4 fewer hit dice than the caster will die. Others within the sphere who fail their save will take 1d4 hit points of damage per level of the caster. Anyone who succeeds on their save takes half damage.

After the explosion, the rift will close. The spiders who burst through will remain, and slowly find their way out of the immediate area over 1d6 turns. Until then, anyone who enters the 20′ radius area where the spell was cast will need to make a save versus poison as if they had been within the blast’s range. (Though they get a +4 on their save.)

Aside from the deathly deathiness, this spell is also very scary and will scare people.

Failure:
1. The spell functions normally, but bad luck, none of the spiders are poisonous. Still creepy as fuck though.
2. The spell functions normally, but is centered on the caster.
3. The spell functions normally, but is pathetically small. Only those within a 5′ radius are affected.
4. The spell functions normally, but you’ve accidentally connected to the slugverse, rather than the spiderverse. Slugs fly everywhere. Their mucen is slightly acidic, and deals 1 damage to everyone within the area.

Mage Armor
Causes spectral armaments to appear around the caster for 1 minute per caster level. This armor is completely non-encumbering. At first level, the spectral armor improves the caster’s armor rating by 1. This amount increases at every odd numbered level (2 at level 3, 3 at level 5, 4 at level 7, etc).

If the caster wishes, they may instead cast this spell on an ally. However, it’s much more difficult to maintain, and will require the caster’s attention in order for the armor to persist. While doing this, the caster may move, but can take no further actions, and must always remain within 1000′ of the spell’s target.

Failure:
1. Functions normally, but only provides +1 to armor class.
2. Functions normally, but only lasts for 1d4 rounds.
3. Functions normally, but creates an unintended warp in the mystic fields around the caster. While the spell is active, they cannot cast any other spells.
4. Functions normally, but the target is a randomly determined creature within 30′ of the caster.

Feather Fall

One human sized creature or object per level of the caster may be induced to fall through the air as slowly as a feather (about 5′ per round). This spell includes anything the target can carry. If the caster wishes to effect heavier creatures or objects, they count as multiple spell targets. So if a level 2 caster wants to cast Feather Fall on a horse, they may do so, but it would count as 2 objects, and they would not then be able to cast it on themselves. (They could, however, ride the horse, since the horse can easily carry them).

This spell can be cast with an instant utterance, quickly enough to save the falling target if the fall is unexpected. However, if initiative is in effect, it must be observed.

The spell ends immediately when the subject stops falling.

Failure:
1. Falling speed is only partially reduced, falling damage is rolled with d4s – 1, rather than d6s.
2. Spell can only be cast on a single target (though, heavy targets are allowed).
3. The rate of the fall is actually increased, and falling damage should be rolled with d8s instead of d6s.
4. Spell functions normally, but lasts for 10 full minutes, without stopping when the target touches ground. This makes them susceptible to being blown away by a light breeze.

Imbue Magic
Imbue magic is used to create temporary magic weapons, which last for 1 minute per level of the caster.

For each caster level, the magic user may imbue an existing weapon with a +1 to hit. These bonuses may be combined in a single weapon, or divided among multiple weapons. So a level 5 magic user can imbue a single sword with +5 to hit, or may imbue 5 swords with +1 to hit each, or any combination in between.

Failure:
1. Imbues the chosen weapons with penalties, rather than bonuses.
2. Spell functions normally, but the bonus can only be used against a single target, which must be designated by the caster.
3. The caster is filled with rage, and may not perform any action other than making unarmed attacks for the next minute.
4. The caster’s fists gain all of the bonus. Unarmed attacks can be made as 1d6, as a magic weapon.

Animate Dead
This spell energizes the faint memories of life that cling to the corpses and skeletons of people, allowing them to move and act in a gross mockery of their former existence. Because the entities inhabiting these bodies are chosen by the caster, these undead are under his total control. However, the faint memories of life retained by the corpse or skeleton constantly struggles with the invader introduced by the caster, a conflict that drives the host corpse or skeleton to destructive urges. The animated dead will always interpret any instructions in the most violent and destructive manner possible. They will also prefer to attack those that they knew in life, no matter their former relationship with the person in question. The bodies remain animated until they are destroyed.

When the spell is cast, the caster may divide a number of hit dice equal to their own among the corpses they wish to animate. At least one hit die must be spent on each corpse that is animated, making it a simple 1 hd creature with basic motor skills, that can obey commands from the necromancer. Additional hit dice may be spent to increase a creature’s hd at a rate of 1-to-1. Hit dice may also be spent to grant the undead creatures special abilities, at a rate negotiated between the caster and the referee.

For example, upgrading a zombie so that it can speak, wield a weapon, or move as fast as it did when it was alive might cost 1 hit die. More devious abilities, like energy drain, cost two. Adding special abilities does not increase the actual hit dice of the undead.

Intelligent undead can be created with this spell, by spending hit dice to give them that ability. However, intelligent undead cannot be commanded by their creator the way unintelligent undead can.

The bodies being reanimated must be touched for this spell to function.

Failure:
1. Spell functions normally, but every corpse animated by this casting immediately attacks the caster.
2. A paladin, or similar character is nearby, and detects the evil casting. They charge in to stop it.
3. The death energies backlash, and the caster’s hit points are immediately reduced to 0.
4. The undead are created normally, but their only interest is in forming a band, and playing music.

Snake Form
Over the course of 1 minute, the caster transforms into a snake that is 5′ long, + 5′ per level.

As a snake, they re-roll their hit points using d12 hit dice instead of d4s. If they are not currently at max hp, then roll a group of d4s as well. Take away a number of d4s whose showing faces can fully contain their current damage. Then, remove a similar number of d12s, to determine the character’s current HP.

While in Snake Form, the caster cannot cast spells, carry items (including clothing), or speak. They receive a bonus to their attack roll equal to 1/2 their hit dice, and their bite deals 1d8 damage. (upgraded to 1d10 at level 7, and 1d12 at level 14)

The real point of this form is to grapple, as the snake’s d12 hit dice make it a superb grappler. If a character is grappled, the snake can automatically deal 2d8 damage to it each round (2d10 after level 7, 2d12 after level 14)

Transforming back into human form also takes 1 minute of time.

Failure:
1. The caster becomes trapped in the body of a normal, boring garden snake for 1 hour.
2. The spell functions normally, but the character doesn’t receive any boost to their hit points.
3. Conan the Barbarian appears to kill the caster.
4. Instead of transforming into a snake, the caster just sheds a thick layer of dead skin, which they become tangled in for 10 minutes.

Animate Armor
When cast on a foe, they are entitled to a saving throw versus Magic. On failure, their armor will begin to resist their actions. For each piece of armor they are wearing, they will suffer a -1 to any rolls they make which require them to move their bodies.

When cast on an ally, the animated armor will levitate every so slightly off of their bodies, removing its weight from their shoulders. Characters in this condition do not suffer any encumbrance from their armor.

Animate Armor can be cast on a number of targets equal to the caster’s level. It lasts for 1 hour per caster level.

Failure:
1. The effects for friend and foe are reversed.
2. Instead of becoming animated, the armor is simply empowered, offering twice the normal amount of protection.
3. Instead of becoming animated, the armor simply disintegrates.
4. The caster’s own clothing becomes animated, pulls itself off of their body, and runs away, never to return.

Flame Cloak
If cast on a friend’s clothes, the clothing ignites in a cool fire that will not burn them. It will absorb an amount of fire damage equal to the caster’s maximum hit points, after which the clothing will fall off the wearer’s body, leaving nothing but ash.

If cast on a foe, they are entitled to a saving throw versus Magic to resist. On failure, their clothes burst into flames, dealing an amount of damage equal to the caster’s current hit points.

In either case, the spell requires that the caster touch the target’s clothing.

Failure:
1. The friend and foe results are reversed.
2. The caster’s own clothes ignite, destroying anything they’re carrying, and reducing them to 0 hit points.
3. Sparks fly out of the caster’s fingers, but nothing else happens.
4. The caster’s pockets are suddenly filled with Red Hots candies.

Mage Portal
Requires the assistance of at least one other person in order to cast successfully. The assistant does not need to be a caster themselves, but they must be a willing participant.
The caster must be within line of sight of their assistant. When casting is complete, both caster and assistant will open their arms wide, creating a portal which leads from one to the other. Objects can pass through these portals instantaneously. If either party moves, or is injured, the portals fail.

At level 4, the caster (but not the assistant) can move half speed while holding open the portal. They may move outside line of sight with their assistant, and the portals will not be effected.

At level 7, the caster (but not the assistant) has a 2-in-6 chance to maintain the portal if they are damaged.

At level 10, the caster (but not the assistant) can make normal move actions while holding the portal open.

At level 12, the caster (but not the assistant) has a 3-in-6 chance to maintain the portal if they take damage.

At every 2 levels after 2, the chance to maintain the portal after taking damage increases by 1-in-6.

Failure:
1. The caster and their assistant instantaneously switch places. There is no other effect.
2. Objects passing through the portals have a 20% chance to come out the other side mangled and broken.
3. The spell functions normally, but the assistant must make a saving throw versus paralyzation or be turned to stone.
4. The caster’s side of the portal has a vacuum effect, pulling any small objects nearby through it.

Mage Form
An illusion spell which causes the target to look like a wizard. While in this wizardly guise, the target will be able to perform the most minor of magical feats: creating illusory lights, picking cards out of decks, etc. Target gets no saving throw.
Failure:
1. The caster grows a beard, 1′ long per level.
2. Mage form is cast on everyone.
3. The target looks like a fierce, muscle-bound barbarian.
4. The target physically switches places with a real wizard somewhere in the world.

Magic Web

Allows the caster to create a web, up to 10’x10′. The potential size of the web doubles at every level that is a multiple of 5. So 20’x20′ at level 5, 40’x40′ at level 10, etc.

If anyone casts a spell while the Magic Web is between them and their target, the spell will become ‘caught’ in the web. A cocoon of strands will wrap around it, and the spell will not go off as intended. Later, the magic user who placed the Magic Web may collect these cocoons, and return the trapped spells to their lab. There, the spells can either add a value of 50 money per level of their caster; OR, the spells can be dissected and destroyed, allowing one of its magic words to be learned.

Spells cast by a caster who is higher level than the one who placed the magic web only have an X in 6 chance of being caught. Where X is equal to 6, minus the difference in the two caster’s levels.

A Magic Web lasts 12 hours for every 5 caster levels.

Failure:
1. The caster is just wrapped up in a cocoon of webbing, which lasts for 12 hours for every 5 of their caster levels. They will need help to escape.
2. The caster becomes very confused by the wording of the spell’s effect. This magical confusion has the same effect as being totally blackout drunk.
3. The caster has an emotional breakdown, and sobs in a corner until someone comes to console them.
4. The spell functions normally, but the web is woven so poorly that only spells cast by characters of level 3 or lower can be caught in it.

Magic Teapot
Causes any smallish liquid container to grow legs or wings. It will deliver its contents directly anywhere it needs to be delivered–whether into someone’s mouth, their wounds, or to the top floor of a 300 story building, or into the middle of the desert.
Range of the spell is 25′ per level of the caster. Once the container is animate, it can go anywhere, and will persist until its contents have been delivered or destroyed.
Failure:

1. The container explodes, scattering its contents.
2. The spell functions normally, but it also turns the liquid into a deadly poison.
3. The spell functions normally, but it also turns the liquid into boiling water.
4. The spell functions normally, but it dramatically reduces the effectiveness of whatever the liquid is, to the lowest imaginable effect. Determined by the referee.

Form Person
Allows the caster to create something kind of like a human. Casting the spell requires 1 month, 25,000cc, and access to a laboratory with creation vats. The resulting creature is shaped like a human, looks like a human, more or less thinks like a human, but has a completely flat personality, and is completely loyal to the caster, to an unnatural degree.
No matter how well-prepared the conditions for casting the spell are, the spell always has a failure chance.
Failure:
1. Creates a psychopath who hates its creator.

2. Creates a heap of pus and meat that is totally useless.
3. Creates a creature with 1 hp, and a 2d6 at best in all its stats.
4. Creates a complete body, but it’s entirely lifeless. A vegetable.

Missile Magic
(Distinct from Magic Missile)
Can be cast to duplicate a spell the caster already has prepared, and attach that spell to a missile of some kind. (An arrow, a bullet, or even a stone if it is thrown). This does not deplete the other spell. Only missile magic itself is depleted.
Wherever the missile lands, the duplicated spell will activate as if it had been successfully cast there.
Failure:

1. A random spell from the caster’s spell list is assigned to the missile, instead of the one the caster selected.
2. The referee picks the least advantageous entry from the spell list to be assigned to the missile.
3. The duplicated spell IS used up.
4. The arrow immediately leaps up to attack the caster, dealing whatever arrow damage would normally be.

Sleep
Causes a magical slumber to come upon creatures with hit dice equal to or fewer than the caster’s.
If the caster wishes, they may cast it at a specific creature, and so long as that creature does not have hit dice greater than the caster’s, they will be effected. If the caster attempts to target a group, then the creatures with the lowest hit dice will be affected first. The caster cannot prioritize who in a group will be affected.

Sleep lasts d4 adventuring turns, and has a range of 30′. It does not affect undead, constructs, or other creatures which do not naturally sleep. Hitting a sleeping creature awakens it, but noise will not.

There is no saving throw against sleep.

Failure:
1. Make the targets hyperactive instead, giving them a sort of Haste effect.
2. The spell reverses back upon the caster, putting them to sleep instead.
3. Restores 3 hit points to each person who would have been affected. They feel like they just had a good night’s sleep!
4. The caster’s hands fall asleep. It takes 1d4 rounds to get the pins and needle feeling out of them, and until that feeling is gone, no spells may be cast.

Imbue Time

This spell is cast on a jar of water, and requires one adventuring turn to complete. During the casting of the spell, the caster is technically in a sort of temporal stasis, where they are physically, but not mentally, present. When the spell completes, it will seem to them as though only a moment has passed.

At a later time, when the water is consumed, the imbiber (whomever that may be) will jump back in time to whenever the caster cast the spell, and will remain there for the duration of the casting. So if the water was imbued at 5am, and the water is consumed at 8am, then the consumer will jump back in time to 5am for 10 minutes.

Note that consuming water imbued with time does not transport a person spatially, only temporally.

Water imbued with time lasts for 1 hour per caster level, after which it loses its potency.

Failure:
1. Spell takes 1 hour to cast. Time travel only lasts 1 minute.
2. The water vibrates until the material of the container it’s in shatters, exploding out and dealing damage to the caster.
3-4. A Time Guardian has noticed your tampering with the fabric of reality, and is displeased.

Cone of Time

Everything in a 60′ cone must make a saving throw versus Magic, or become trapped in that moment of time for 1 round per 4 levels of the caster.

Failure:
1. The caster is stopped instead.
2. The whole cone goes backwards, getting the caster, and everybody behind her.
3-4. A Time Guardian has noticed your tampering with the fabric of reality, and is displeased.

 

David’s Painful Sleep

Causes a magical slumber, accompanied by deadly nightmares, to come upon creatures with hit dice equal to, or fewer than, the caster’s.

If the caster wishes, they may cast it at a specific creature, or on a group of creatures. If the target is a group, then the creature with the lowest hit dice are affected first. The caster cannot prioritize who in the group will be affected.

Subjects are entitled to a Saving Throw versus Magic to resist Painful Sleep. Any who fail will be accosted in their slumber by a terrifying dream beast, who will torment them with their own fears, causing them real injury. Each round they will take d6 damage from this creature, and may make another saving throw to attempt to wake up. If they fail, they remain asleep for another round, take another d6 damage, and may attempt another save to awaken.

Painful Sleep has a range of 30′. It does not affect undead, constructs, or other creatures which do not naturally sleep. Hitting a sleeping creature awakens it, but noise will not.

Failure:
1. Make the targets hyperactive instead, giving them a sort of haste effect.
2. the spell reverses back upon the caster, putting them to sleep instead.
3. Restores 3 hit points to each person who would have been effected. They feel like they just had a good night’s sleep!
4. The caster’s hands fall asleep. It takes 1d4 rounds to get the pins and needle feeling out of them, and until that feeling is gone, no spells may be cast.

David’s Spectral Form

The caster becomes completely incorporeal for 2 rounds per caster level. While in this form they have the ability to hover just slightly off the ground. Their visual appearance does not change in any way.

Failure:
1. The caster is stuck in spectral form until they’re able to memorize and cast the spell again.
2. The caster can’t touch things and can move through walls, but is still vulnerable to damage.
3. The caster is affected by double-gravity for the duration of the spell.
4. The caster stops existing for the duration of the spell.

Magic Words in Practice: One Year of Magic Words in ORWA

Ronnina the Magic User
Ronnie’s art of Ronnina, the Magic User

From inception, my ORWA campaign has used the Magic Words system. The game only has one magic user in it, but that M.U., named Ronnina, and played by my brother Ronnie, has been around since the very first session on January 6th 2016. Ronnie has been one of the game’s most consistent players, being present for nearly all 40 sessions of the game to date. That means I have something I don’t often get to share: practical data about the functionality of one of my game systems.

In the past year, Ronnina has gathered the following words: Cold, Fist, Blood, Imbue, Animate, Web, Magic, Dog, Balance, Star, Feather, Fairy, Missile, Cone, Pain, Hate, Corpse, Glare, Rock, Sleep, Cloak, Cling, Fall, Fire, Portal, & Hold.

With these, she has created the following 13 spells. Each of these spells has gone through some revision over time, as edge cases arise, and rulings are needed. Some have been buffed a bit here, others have been nerfed a bit there. A certain level of imprecision, and a constant need for fine tuning, are at the heart of Magic Words.

Fire Portal
Opens a portal in any surface which releases a gout of flame from some unseen place. The flame covers a 10’x10’x10’ space, and deals 1d6 damage, +1d6 for every 3 levels of the caster. The portal must be cast on a surface, and is one-way, nothing can travel from our side to the fire side. For each caster level, the distance the fire reaches from the portal increases by 10′. This does not increase the size of the portal, merely the how far the fire can travel from the portal.
If a space is not large enough to contain the full force of a fire portal, it will, the flames will follow the path of least resistance.

Alternatively, the spell may be cast to grant the caster the ability to conjure five smaller portals over the course of a 12 hour period. These smaller portals deal no damage, but are sufficient to light a candle, or burn a rope.

Failure:
1. The portal sucks all fire from the room.
2. Fire blasts from the caster’s nostrils, dealing no damage but being very painful.
3. The surface the portal is cast on catches on fire and is destroyed, even if that would not normally be possible.
4. The caster goes temporarily deaf for 1d4 hours.

Star Fire
A touch range spell which buffs one willing target for 24 hours. While the spell is active, any time the character successfully improves an NPC’s reaction, they gain one point per level of the caster. These points may either be spent to recover a lost hit point, or to add a +1 to any die roll. Points may be spent individually or in groups, at the discretion of the spell’s target. If used to improve a roll, the use of points must be declared before the roll is made.

For the purposes of this spell, “Improving an NPC’s reaction,” refers specifically to raising the results of an initial reaction roll (2-12). This is commonly accomplished with the converse, Perform, Grovel, Honor, and Threaten social actions.

Failure:
1.The target’s skin glows orange, but they gain no other benefit.
2. The target grows massive breasts for 24 hours.
3. The spell works as normal, but any time a reaction is lowered the target takes 1d6 damage.
4. The caster becomes face-blind for a week, and cannot recognize anyone.

Hold Fire
The caster’s hands gain the ability to pick up and hold fire for 1 turn per caster level. Doing this requires a pre-existing source for the fire, but does not extinguish or diminish that source. Once held, the fire can either be thrown (range of 10′) or used  as part of an unarmed melee attack. In either event the fire deals 1d4 damage per two caster levels. If the damage rolls in the upper 50% of its range, then the target has caught fire and takes another 1d4 damage per caster level the next round. This continues so long as the damage rolls in the upper half of its range.
Failure:
1. The caster believes the spell worked correctly, and is compelled to place their un-protected hand into the first fire they encounter.

2. The caster makes themselves particularly vulnerable to fire, and will take +50% damage from it.
3. The caster’s hand muscles lock up into a fist shape, and the hand is entirely useless for anything but punching for the next 1d6 turns.
4. The caster becomes transfixed by fire. If they see one, they must stare at it until someone yells at them. Minimum one full combat round.

Magic Missile
A missile of magical energy shoots forth from the caster’s fingertip and strikes a target within 60′ + 10′ per level, dealing 1d4 damage. The missile strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has cover/concealment. Specific parts of a creature cannot be singled out.
The caster is able to produce a number of missiles equal to their level. The full force of this barrage may be directed at a single target, or divided between multiple targets, as the caster desires. Missiles must be assigned to targets before any damage is rolled.

Each of Ronnina’s magic missiles look like tiny cartoon, jet-propelled missiles.

Failure:
1. The spell functions normally, but each missile is assigned randomly to a non-caster in the area.
2. The spell works as the caster intended, but only a single missile is produced, which deals 1d4 -1 damage.
3. A number of small glass pellets fly out of the caster’s fingers, plonking against their targets but dealing no damage.
4. A bouquet of flowers appears in the caster’s hand.

Animate Blood

A volume of blood is animated into an ooze like creature. The creature has one hit die, plus one additional hit die for every 3 caster levels, (3, 6, 9, etc). The ooze moves slowly, at only 90′ (30′), but is immune to piercing or slashing damage. (Bludgeoning damage, however, can be very effective at scattering the blood, and works normally). If not destroyed, the creature lasts for 1 hour per level of the caster.

The blood ooze attacks by exciting the blood within the victim, causing it to rush and clot irregularly. This deals 1d4 damage if the creature has 1 hit die, increasing up the dice chain each time the hit die increases. (1d6 at 2 HD, 1d8 at 3 HD, etc).

If cast on the living blood within a person’s body, that person is entitled to a Save versus Magic. On success, the casting failed, and no ooze is created. On failure, the ooze begins to run rampant within the victim’s body. They immediately take damage of a die type appropriate for the ooze’s hit dice. On each successive round, the victim may again attempt the save. If they fail again, they must again take damage. On their first successful save they will vomit up the blood ooze. Both victim and ooze will require a round to compose themselves before they can act normally. If the victim dies before a successful save is made, then the ooze exits of its own volition, and can act immediately)

Failure:
1. The caster mistakenly animates their own blood.
2. The spell instead animates the target’s snot. If there is no target, reroll.
3. Everyone within 60′ of the caster must save versus Magic or be afflicted by a bloody nose which takes friggin’ forever to stop.
4. The caster sets fire to the hem of their robes (or dress, or pants, or other lower body covering).

Animate Cloak
Causes a cloak (or cape) to become animate, moving and acting according to the caster’s verbal commands. The cloak moves by levitating, but cannot move in any way that would be impossible for it to move if it was attached to someone with arms and legs. It cannot fly, leap over melee, or squeeze itself through small spaces.
If the caster wishes, the animated cloak may attempt to visually emulate a moving human figure. As it has no limbs of its own, it can only really be effective if the target of the deception is at some disadvantage. This is used to best effect if it is dark, or if the cloak is at a great distance from the one being tricked.The cloak rolls stealth to succeed in this deception. The chance starts at 1-in-6, and improves by 1 at every 3rd caster level, and for each significant detriment to the target’s perceptions.
The cloak may also attempt to entangle the caster’s foes in combat, preventing them from taking any action. To do this, it grapples as a fighter of the caster’s level, but deals no damage. The target of the grapple must be appropriately sized. Any creature too large to wear the cloak, cannot be effectively grappled by it.

Animated cloaks have have 2 hit points per level of the caster, and last for 1 hour per level of the caster.

Failure:

1. The cloak attempts to grapple its own caster until it is destroyed.
2. The cloak becomes intelligent. It’s animation becomes permanent, and it leaves.
3. The spell functions properly, but is cast as though the caster were first level.
4. The spell cast is actually “Self-cleaning and folding cloak.”

Spectral Dog
Summons 1 dog per level, for a total of 2 hours per level. The dogs are translucent creatures of light and smoke, but solid to the touch. They look, feel, and act just like normal dogs, but have no scent. They will obey simple commands from the caster, but are not well trained enough to do anything fancy. “Sit,” “Heel,” “Fetch,” and “Sic ’em” are pretty much the extent of their abilities.

Each dog has an armor rating of 12, 1 hit point, and a +0 to their attack rolls. Each dog starts out dealing 1d3 damage with their bite. At level 5, this increases to 1d6. At level 10, it increases again to 1d8, but does not increase any further than that.The dogs may act for the first time on the round following the one in which they were summoned.

Failure:
1. The dogs are summoned normally, but are not “reasonably well trained” at all. They do not understand any commands, and will pursue only their own instincts and immediate needs.
2. A single real dog is summoned.
3. All the spectral dogs have the aspect of pugs. They are completely useless at any task, but will do their best to obey as normal.
4. The caster turns into a Labrador for the normal duration of the spell.

Hold Portal
Magically holds a passage either open, or closed, as the caster wills. It can effect a door, gate, window, or shutter of wood, metal, or stone. The magic affects the portal just as if it were securely closed and normally locked. Hold Portal lasts for 1d6 turns per caster level.

Failure:
1. Holds the portal the opposite way that it the caster intended: open if you wanted it held closed, closed if you wanted it held open.
2. The effect lasts only 1d4 rounds.
3. Instead of effecting the intended portal, the spell effects the caster’s own mouth for the same length of time.
4. Instead of effecting the portal, you affect the mouths of 2d6 creatures, randomly determined.

Cling to Rock
The person or object the spell is cast on will be stuck to the next stone or concrete their body comes in contact with. There are two versions of this spell: one which allows movement, and can be used to climb sheer stone walls without effort. The second does not allow movement, trapping the target against a body of stone. They are entitled to a save versus Magic to resist the effect.

The spell lasts for 3 turns per caster level.

Failure:
1. Which version of the spell the caster intended to conjure is reversed.
2. The caster must save versus Magic or contract some form of lycanthropy.
3. The spell cast is, instead, “Summon,” as written in the LotFP Rules & magic book.
4. The target of the spell transforms into a pebble for the duration of the spell. They are entitled to a save versus Magic to resist.

Cone of Cold
A cone shaped area extends from the caster’s hand, 5′ in length per level of the caster. Heat is suddenly drained out of this area, dealing 1d4 +1 damage per caster level to any living creatures within. Targets may save versus Breath for half damage.

Failure:
1. The cone deals damage equal to the caster’s level, rather than 1d4 + 1 per level.
2. The cone extends backwards from the caster’s hand, striking them, and anyone behind them within the cone’s area.
3. The caster’s hand freezes solid, and must be carefully warmed up again in order to free it. It takes 2 hours of dedicated effort to get the hand free.
4. A randomly determined target within the area of the cone must save versus Magic. On a failure, all heat is drained entirely from their body. Their internal temperature is reduced so dramatically that they are vaporized, becoming a chilling gas which deals 2d4 damage to everyone within 20′ of themselves.

Hold Missiles
The caster raises their hand. So long as they keep their hand up and take no further actions, they generate an invisible sphere with a radius of anywhere from 5′ to 15′, at the caster’s preference. Missiles entering this sphere are halted in mid air, and will remain suspended there until the caster stops channeling the spell, after which they will fall to the ground.
The sphere is able to stop 1 missile per round, per caster level. (Thus it may not be fully effective against automated weapons until the caster reaches higher levels). If the caster is level 5 or higher, they can make a half move action while channeling this spell. If they are level 10 or higher, they can make a full move action while channeling this spell.
Failure:

1. Missiles entering the sphere are accelerated, and deal +1 damage.
2. The sphere functions normally, but also prevents missiles from EXITING the sphere.
3. The sphere functions normally, but is opaque instead of invisible. No one can see in, or out.
4. The sphere functions normally, but the radius expands by 15′ each round, eventually becoming so large that the ones firing the missiles are inside of it, and thus immune to having their missiles stopped by it.

Hold Magic
After this spell is cast, the next spell cast by the Magic user will not go off as normal. Instead, the spell will hold in suspended animation at the first picosecond of its existence. It will remain in this state until the caster activates it with a mental command (or for 1 hour per caster level, after which the spell rots away into nothingness).
When activated by the caster’s mental command, the spell comes to life, and occurs from the same spot it was originally cast from. Activating a spell which has already been cast is a free action.
If the Magic user is level 4 or higher, Hold Magic may be cast as a free action. Thus, only the casting time of the spell that is being held is required. If the magic user is level 8 or higher, the held spell may be “carried” with the magic user. Thus a Magic Missile could be cast, held, and then carried around with the magic user, ready to be activated as a free action at-will.
At first, only one spell may be held at a time. At level 6, two spells may be held. At level 12, three spells may be held. Each held spell requires an additional casting of Hold Magic.

Failure:
1. The spell the caster intends to hold is simply destroyed.
2. The next spell cast is held appropriately, but when it is released, it must roll on its failure table.
3. The hair on the caster’s head immediately grows for 1 exploration turn, cascading down around their body until it reaches the floor.
4. The next spell cast is held appropriately, but its release is out of the caster’s control. Instead, it is a ticking time bomb. There is a 1 in 4 chance each exploration turn that it will go off.

 Magic Glare
Magic Glare may be cast subtly without need for wild gestures or loud speech. If the caster has a reaction of at least Neutral with the target, Magic Glare can be used to shame the target out of a decision they have made. The target is entitled to a save versus Magic to resist this effect. On a failed save, the target will announce their altered decision.
For every 4 levels, the caster may expectantly ask “AND…?” after each time the target finishes explaining their altered decision. For each “AND…?”, the target is entitled to another save versus Magic. If they again fail, they will add provisos to their new decision to make it even more pleasing to the magic user. If they succeed on the save, they’ll just say “And that’s it.”
Failure:

1. The target will realize a spell was attempted upon them, and will have their reaction lowered by 2.
2. The target goes temporarily blank from having someone mess with their mind. They forget the last 2 minutes of their lives.
3.The caster lets out a fart that just…will…not…stop. It lasts for 1 full exploration turn.
4.The target begins to dance. They will continue dancing until anyone mentions that they are dancing, after which they will sheepishly stop.

Yet More Magic Words

I gotta stay in practice, yo. If you’re unfamiliar with what’s happening here you can read the original system proposition. I also wrote not one, but two previous magic word lists similar to this one. Also, it’s relevant that I’ve actually been playtesting this idea in my current campaign. It’s going really well, and at present it seems likely that this will become a permanent fixture of my gaming. Most successful house rule I’ve ever written. Doctor Faustus

Tomorrow

Four

Wild

Tree

Slash

———————–

Fourth Tomorrow

A spell that can be cast instantaneously, without any of the normal gestures or verbalization which would normally reveal spellcasting to foes. The caster disappears into a state of non-existence which lasts four days. 96 hours later they will reappear exactly where they were when the spell was cast. To them it will seem as though only an instant has passed.

If the space they would reappear in is already occupied, the spell jerks them towards the nearest unoccupied space. The caster takes 1d6 damage for every 5′ they have to be dragged.

Wild Tomorrow

A ritual spell used to create a circle 15’ in diameter. A map is placed in the center of the circle with a drop of blood on the caster’s desired destination. Anyone who sleeps within this circle will enter a shared dream for 8 hours. There they will be tested together by a mysterious being called The Blue Coachman. The test will usually take the form of a maze which they must reach the center of before the 8 hours are up. There is no penalty for dying within the dream, though you will spend the rest of the dream in a black void, and wake up with a headache. When the dream ends, the characters awake.

If they were successful, they will appear in a convenient location at the planned destination. If they were not, The Blue Coachman will leave them wherever he finds the most amusing. Perhaps in the middle of a desert, or on a solitary island. He might still take you where you wanted to go, but will place you in the most inconvenient spot he can find. Perhaps right into chains in the dungeon beneath your foe’s castle, or in a deep gorge that is about to be flooded.

Tomorrow Tree

A spell which causes a tree to grow to its full maturity in a single night, even if it is only a recently planted seed in the ground. This growth happens along the natural course the tree would have taken, assuming it received ample sunlight, water, and fertilizer. It will typically grow around barriers, rather than pushing through them.

The caster must sleep for 8 hours during the night for the tree to grow. But other characters can remain awake to watch the tree, and may attempt to guide its growth through pruning and bending if they wish.

Tomorrow Slash

A subtle spell. It may be cast quietly in private, and is activated in one of two ways. Either the caster must touch the target’s clothing, or they must momentarily draw their target’s attention to themselves.

20 + 1d6 hours later, the target takes 2d8 damage. Save versus Magic for half. The spell leaves a dagger wound on the body.

The Wild Four

Summons four revelers. They appear from around the nearest corner and jubilantly approach the caster. They cheer the caster’s name, they dance, and they drink. They always seem to have whatever celebratory accouterments they need, though they’re unable to give any of it to anyone else. (For example, they’ve always got a beer in their hand, but if asked to give you one, they can’t do so unless there is real beer nearby).

People who see the revelers will be enticed to join in the party. No save is required, but unless they have some reason not to party (such as being on guard duty), they’ll probably join in for at least an hour or so.

The wild four will continue to party until the caster is so exhausted that he falls into an 8 hour sleep. They will then dance off into the night, and disappear once they’re out of everyone’s hearing.

Four Trees

A one hour ritual spell which causes an apple tree to grow 10’ to the north of the caster, a fig tree to grow 10’ to the east, a pineapple tree to grow 10’ to the south, and a cherry tree to grow 10’ to the west. The trees will reach full bloom at the end of 1 hour, with ample fruit, regardless of environment. They will persist in this state for as long as the caster concentrates, producing new fruit every hour. Once the caster stops concentrating, the trees will become subject to whatever environmental and climate conditions they are in, and either flourish or decay in real time.

Four Slash

A touch-range spell that can be cast on any friendly target. On the target’s next turn, they can make 4 separate melee attacks. They can move up to 10′ between the attacks, and these 10′ steps do not count as part of the caster’s movement.

This spell is unique in that it has only a 2-in-6 chance of failure if cast within an anti-magic field.

Wild Tree

In an instant, a target tree that is touched by the caster grows to twice its current size. The caster may direct the trees growth, causing it to form a bridge, or a barrier, or to crash through a nearby structure. The cater cannot direct the tree to grow in a way that will cause it to come crashing down under its own weight. 

Wild Slash

A single target within the caster’s line of sight must save versus Magic or be cursed. In any round where the victim of the curse makes a melee attack, their armor class is reduced by 1d6 for that round.

Tree Slash

When cast on a tree, that tree will sense vibrations in the earth using its roots. Anyone who approaches within 15′ of the tree will be attacked by swinging branches. They must save versus Breath or be struck for 1d6 damage each round.

The tree is indiscriminate in who it targets. Not even the caster is safe.

More Magic Words in Action

Rembrandt_Peale_-_George_Washington_-_Google_Art_Project_(721252)Magic Words in Action was a lot of fun to write. So I’m gonna be lazy and just do it again.

This time, I figure it might be interesting to try and theme the words more. So this time I randomly generated a body part, a verb, and 2 weird words. I also decided to throw a person’s name in there. In your game it would be some important caster in your game world, but I just finished studying the American Revolution, so lets all pretend that George Washington was a wizard. So our words are:

Nipple
(Yes. I swear this was randomly generated.)

Visit

Tune

 Mist

George Washington

I’m really tempted to change “Nipple” to something less ridiculous. Like “Fist” or “Heel.” How cool does “Washington’s Fist” sound as a spell? But Nipple is what the website gave me, and that’s what I’m stuck with. I’m going to interpret the meaning of nipples as a thing which provides succor, or a thing which releases a substance in small amounts.

Of course, after writing these spells, there are many of them that could be renamed to make a little more sense. But that’s not really in keeping with the spirit of the system.

In the previous post, all spells were 1st level. This time I’m just going to come up with the spells, and forgo spell levels.

Washington’s Nipples

Only a lawful character may cast this spell successfully. It is a ritual spell, requiring a full hour to cast. Once complete, 250 people per caster level will have their lives sustained for one day. They will still feel hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and cold. But these things will not kill them.

Visit from Washington

This is a ritual spell which requires a full hour to cast, and its casting must coincide with one of the high holy days of Washington’s faith. When cast, 100 people per caster level may travel up to 50 miles instantaneously and silently. However, their path must follow a network of established roads. A wide, oft-trodden dirt road counts, but a deer trail does not.

The Tune of Washington

A patriotic spell which must be sung by the caster. Any hirelings within earshot become inspired. If at any point during the coming day they are required to make a loyalty check, they make the check twice and take the better result.

Washington’s Mist

Affects a group of 100 people per level of the caster. If the group is retreating from battle, and this spell is cast, then determine who in the group has the highest stealth skill. That person makes a skill check at a -1 penalty. If their check is successful, then the entire group is able to stealthily remove themselves from battle.

Mists of Visitation

Spell summons a deep mist. The mist is weak, and so to last more than a single round, it must be cast in the proper conditions for mist. Near a body of water, in the cool hours of the day. If done properly, the mist will remain until it disipates naturally.

Anyone who enters the mist will meet someone interesting. Perhaps they’ll meet the man of their dreams, or the ghost of a long dead master willing to share a useful secret. There’s no way to control who you meet within the mists, but it is guaranteed to be beneficial.

Visiting Nipple

As part of preparing this spell, you must designate a body of liquid. It can be a jug you carry on your person, or an ocean. However, you must be able to touch the liquid when you prepare the spell. When cast, your nipples are replaced by 1″ diameter portals to that body of liquid. It will pour out of you at a rate of 2′ feet per round, for 1 adventuring turn, before your normal nipples return to your body.

Tune of Visitation

A spell which requires the caster to make music. The music can be made either by singing, or by playing an instrument. For as long as the caster is able to keep the song going, the spell’s duration will continue. The spell teleports a willing target to the location of one of their blood relatives. When the spell ends, they are teleported back.

Misty Nipples

Causes 1 protrusion to rise from a nearby surface per level of the caster. The caster has no control over where precisely the protrusions rise, other than “nearby.” The protrusions match the material of whatever surface they sprouted from. Immediately, each of the protrusions begins to leak a white mist that grows to fill the room. Each protrusion fills 10′ feet per round, for 6 rounds. The mist does not inhibit breathing, and in fact, breathing the mist is quite nutritious. Spending a turn in the mist counts as eating a full meal.

Tune in the Mist

A spell that must be cast on a pre-existing fog or mist. For the next day, anyone in the mist will hear an eerie song. A mix of human wailing, and the low bellows of wind and string instruments. This illusion will force a morale check in most creatures, and even those who succeed are likely to be shaken by the experience.

The Nipple’s Tune

An illusion spell cast on a single target. On a failed save versus Magic, the character begins to occasionally hear a strange singing. Investigation will lead them to discover that their own nipples appear to have grown mouths, which amateurishly sing their way through a variety of improvised songs. At first their singing is occasional and quiet, but over time it grows louder and more frequent. By the end of a week, the victim believes their nipples are constantly singing, at a volume loud enough to be heard clearly by anyone nearby, despite any attempts at muffling they may make.

This kind of delusion will obviously affect a person in a variety of detrimental ways, best determined by the referee.

Related Links:

The original Magic Words system proposal.

The previous Magic Words in Action post.

Another list of mix-and-match spells over at Built By Gods Long Forgotten.

Additional ideas, and a list of 100 spell words compiled by Ktrey Parker

Magic Words in Practice

07budaI thought I’d expand on the idea I presented in yesterday’s post with a demonstration of what I’m talking about. So I googled “Random dictionary word,” and clicked around on a few sites. I skipped past words like “Floriken” and “Antrum,” and settled on four  common words. Below, I’ve mixed and matched the words, and turned their various combinations into 1st level spells.

Star

Indirection

Fight

Seat

Stars of Indirection

The first person who is touched by the caster after this spell is cast becomes cursed. Any attempt to use the stars as a means of navigation will return a false result. The navigator will believe they have read the stars correctly. But any attempt to travel based on that navigation will lead in a random direction. This curse lasts one month, and a save versus Magic negates the effect.

Star Fighter

If cast during combat, a target within 100′ will be perceived as impressive by everyone who sees them. Even a bungling commoner with a sword they don’t understand how to use will be percieved as a peerless warrior. Weaker foes will become intimidated and may flee or falter before the Star Fighter. More ambitious opponents, meanwhile, will be drawn to the Star Fighter as a means of winning glory for themselves. This effect ends after the Star Fighter spends an adventuring turn out of combat. If the target wishes, they may make a save versus Magic to resist the spell’s effect.

Star Seat

A throne made of the night sky is summoned for 1 hour. Anyone but the caster attempting to sit in the throne will cause it to dissipate into a cold mist. When the caster sits on the throne, they percieve themselves to be miles above their own body, looking down at the world from the heavens. From this height, it’s impossible to discern any details. However, it can be used to make an effective map of the area within a 10 mile radius of the caster. The caster will also be able to see any sufficiently large phenomena, such as a town being on fire, or an army on the march. While sitting in the Star Seat, the caster will be completely unaware of anything happening to their body, including hit point damage.

Seat

A single human or human-like target must make a save versus Paralyzation or immediately sit down and remain seated for 1 turn per caster level. If there is a chair within arm’s reach, they may sit in that, but otherwise they must simply sit on the floor. Swimming, flying, or climbing targets don’t simply fall to whatever surface is beneath them, but may move themselves along the most expedient course to a seat that is not lethal to them. So long as the target’s butt remains in constant contact with a horizontal surface, they are otherwise free to move and act.

Seat of Indirection

This spell is cast on a chair or other sitting place, and lasts for 1 hour per caster level. Anyone sitting in that seat is more easily fooled than normal. They are not charmed, they are merely a little more gullible than they would normally be. If using the social system presented in “On The Non Player Character” by Courtney Campbell, treat this as a +2 to social action rolls. +3 if the social action is Gamble.

Indirect Fighting

A willing target within 30′ is able to attack indirectly for 2 rounds per caster level. They may use any weapons or techniques they possess to attack someone within 30′ of themselves, without actually touching them. On a successful attack roll, the target takes damage normally. The target doesn’t receive any AC bonus from dexterity.

==========

I couldn’t think of an interesting spell for Seat + Fight that didn’t feel redundant. (The Fighter’s Seat?, The Seated Fighter?, Seat Fighting?) If a player handed me that spell I’d probably ask for their input, or just rehash Seat of Indirection, allowing the caster to curse a chair to make whomever sits in it more likely to attack someone.

Related Links:

The original Magic Words system proposal.

Another list of mix-and-match spells over at Built By Gods Long Forgotten.

Additional ideas, and a list of 100 spell words compiled by Ktrey Parker

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