Tag Archives: Dungeons and Dragons

Weird Cleric Magic: Oddities

Augustine of Hippo was kind of a douchebag

The Glory from God system as established before now stands perfectly well on its own. If the stuff that already exists is all you want to play with, that works great. But, if you’d like the magic to be a little more chaotic, you can play with these casting oddities, which add an element of risk and reward to players considering rolling more dice than they need to in order to cast a spell.

When dice are rolled to cast a spell, if any of those dice share the same face, the player must roll on the oddities table. Which number is showing doubles determines which of the tables below the player must roll on. Each set of doubles must be resolved, so if a player rolls 4 dice, and they roll two 3s and two 4s, then they must roll on both of those tables.

In the event that the player rolls triples, treat that as rolling two sets of doubles of the same number. So if a player rolls three 1s, they must roll on the 1s oddities table twice. They must likewise roll three times for quads, four times for a quintet, and so on.

There are essentially three types of oddities. Good things, bad things, and things which may be good, bad, or irrelevant depending on the specific situation in which they occur. The subtables for lower numbered doubles are weighted more in favor of bad things, and the subtables for higher numbered doubles are weighted in favor of good things.

It should be noted that the success or failure of a spell is determined before any dice are rolled on the oddities table. Nothing that happens on the oddities table can change the fact that the spell did or did not succeed. (Though it can lower or improve the spell’s efficacy if the spell did succeed).

Snake Eyes (Double 1s)

  1. You have made a deeply offensive error in your casting. Your god curses you. Roll a random curse.
  2. Your interference in this matter has come to the attention of a rival god. Your deity and this one are now struggling for influence over this place, and clerical magic from either one of them will be blocked until the contest is resolved. (1-in-6 chance each round. 50/50 chance whose god will win.)
  3. Though it may not be immediately apparent to the caster, their religious superior (currently deep in prayer) has been told by god that the cleric is a disappointment. In the coming weeks they will be called before this superior, and it will be demanded that some failing in their character be corrected.
  4. The caster briefly experiences a nirvana-like state in which they cease to exist. To others, it appears that they simply disappear. They reapper 1d4 rounds later, with no memory of what they experienced, save for a vague sense that they ultimately proved unworthy of some great gift.
  5. The caster’s appearance changes slightly, and permanently. Their nose gets a little wider, their hair changes color. They grow taller or shorter, thinner or fatter. In rare cases they may even change gender entirely. The specific alteration is decided on by the referee.
  6. A special zeal was noticed in your casting. The spell goes off as normal, and is 50% more effective than it ought to be.

Double 2s

  1. Your faith is shaken. Treat this spell as though it were one level higher for the purposes of determining which spell dice are lost.
  2. The caster realizes they have made an error, and must seek penance. (1. They must go without food for a week, suffering any penalties that entails. 2. They must self-flaggelate, dealing 1d3 damage, each morning for a week. 3. They must publicly announce their sin to their companions. All of their hirelings have their loyalty reduced by one. 4. They must spend one entire haven turn in prayer, undertaking no other activity. )
  3. The caster has been deceived! The prayer they just uttered was taught them by a demon, and is deeply offensive to god. They may not attempt to cast this spell again until they’ve spent a week in prayer learning the proper version of it.
  4. Everyone in a 30′ radius feels their hands twitch and spasm, and they drop anything they’re holding.
  5. All animals within 100′ of the caster stop whatever they’re doing and kneel down in reverence to the god whose presence they are in. They will accept no commands until a turn has passed.
  6. A nearby NPC who is neutrally or better disposed towards you is inspired by your faith. Your reaction with them increases by 1, and they want to learn about your god.

Double 3s

  1. The white hot fire of your god exceeds your own zeal. Your holy symbol becomes too hot to touch. You must either drop the holy symbol (and cannot cast until you recover it) or take 1d4 damage.
  2. The vulgar nature of your god has disgusted some NPC. Their reaction to you is lowered by one.
  3. A nearby source of water becomes holy water.
  4. Nearby plants flourish and grow into their most vibrant selves, or wither and die, whichever is more appropriate to indicate your god’s presence.
  5. Your god grants you a moment of foresight. You’re meant to step slightly to one side. Next round you have +2 AC, and if you are hit, the damage taken is halved.
  6. Guided by the wisdom of a saint, a random skill is raised to 6-in-6 until it is next used.

Double 4s

  1. You are struck blind for 1d6 turns.
  2. The caster begins speaking in tongues. They babble nonsense that occasionally brushes with religious themes at the top of their voice for the next hour, and cannot say anything else. This doesn’t prevent them from casting spells.
  3. Everything the caster says echoes loudly, as if they are speaking with a dozen voices at once. This lasts for 1d4 hours. During this time they are incapable of whispering.
  4. The cleric’s body appears to catch fire, but no harm is done to them. The fire is not hot and does not burn anything, but provides light equivalent to a large bonfire. The fire slowly dwindles to nothing over the course of 1 exploration turn.
  5. If the spell cast was beneficial, the wearer gains the mark of the god. Anyone who loves the cleric’s god will do that person favors for 1 month. Conversely, if the spell was harmful, the target gains the mark of the god inverted. Anyone who loves the god will shun this person, and pelt them with stones, for 1 month.
  6. A soft veil of light descends over the cleric’s allies. They all get a +1 benefit to whatever their next roll is.

Double 5s

  1. The power of the spell knocks you off of your feet and you land flat on your back.
  2. The target of a beneficial spell becomes notably more attractive. The target of a harmful spell becomes notably less attractive.
  3. The earth shakes with the casting of the spell, felt by people up to a mile away.
  4. Along with the spell, a bolt of lightning strikes down from the sky dealing 1d6 damage to whomever the caster wants. They are branded with some appropriate passage from the god’s holy words.
  5. The cleric is affected by the serenity of being so close to their god. Their next reaction roll gets a +1 bonus.
  6. Your faith is strengthened. Return a lost die to your pool, or add an extra one for the day if one has not yet been expended.

Boxcars (Double 6s)

  1. A lack of zeal has been noticed in your casting. The spell works as intended, but is only half as effective as it ought to be.
  2. All damage taken and dealt by anyone this round is halved.
  3. A flash of insight allows the cleric to ask the referee one yes-or-no question, and receive an honest answer. This must be done immediately, and cannot be saved for later.
  4. An angel of god comes down and participates in the combat for a single round. They’re astonishingly effective. No one sees it except the cleric, everyone else is just a little baffled as to why something completely unexpected just happened.
  5. The spell is considered one level lower for the purpose of determining which dice are removed from the dice pool.
  6. The spell goes off twice, affecting the intended target, as well as a second target indicated by the caster.

And that concludes my foray into tinkering with Clerical magic. At least until I’m able to test the system a bit, or have some new idea. I hope you enjoyed it! Next week, I’ll be presenting you with a piece I am immensely proud of: Better Magic Wands + d100 Magic Wands. This is easily one of the best things I’ve written in the last couple months, and I cannot wait to share it. If you’re interested, it’s already available on my advance feed for anyone who pledges $5/month to my Patreon campaign. Hint hint.

Jumping on a 2-Year Old Bandwagon: Replacing +1 Swords

maxresdefaultIn 2014 it was fashionable to post evocative alternatives to +1 swords. Gus did it. Courtney did it. Arnold did it. Errybody did it. I wasn’t blogging much at the time, but I really enjoyed reading those. I miss reading them. So I’m gonna write one.

The Mugger’s Choice:  On a natural 20, the wound dealt to the target becomes a geyser of money! 1d100 coins spray across the room, making a terrible racket. Literal blood money!

Sword of Justification: If used to slay a human or human-like creature, the Sword of Justification will cause the corpse to undergo a gruesome metamorphosis. It will contort itself into monstrous shapes, growing horns or fur, oozing black blood, and reeking of sulfur and brimstone. The specific shape will vary, but no one looking at the result will imagine it was anything but an evil creature.

Immovable Sword – There’s a switch on the hilt which locks the swords position relative to its environment. It’ll stay floating in mid air if you tell it to. Like an immovable rod, but a sword. Useful for setting impromptu traps.

Self Preservation Sword – Anytime a save v. breath is required, both wielder and sword attempt the save. (Sword saves as a 1st level fighter.) If the sword saves and the wielder do not, the wielder can make a strength check to hold on to the sword. If they succeed, the sword pulls them along with it and effectively makes their save for them. If they fail, their sword flies out of their hands.

Chewing Sword: Each miss with this sword deals 1 notch of damage to the opponent’s weapon. Standard weapons can take 6 notches before they break and become useless. Does not work against unarmed characters, or characters using natural weapons.

The No-Blade: A hilt without any blade. When the crossbar of the hilt is tapped against a material, a blade of that material grows from the hilt, and lasts for 10 minutes. All blade materials are functional, but most have quirks. Dirt blades deal 1d4 damage and only work for one hit, stone blades deal 1d6 but break on a 1, wood blades can be lit on fire to deal +1d6 damage for 3 rounds until they’ve been burned to the point of uselessness, metal blades work normally. Be creative. What do blades of grass, bone, crystal, clay, or flesh do?

Binding Blade: On a successful attack the wielder may choose for the sword to become a pair of manacles binding the humanoid target instead of dealing damage. Target may save v. magic to avoid. On a successful save, the sword does not transform, and the wielder may continue using it.

Spelltning Swo-Rod: Comes with a special lead-lined scabbard. If this weapon is drawn, then the wielder becomes the target of any spell cast within their general vicinity. Every “Cure Light Wounds” and “Fireball” will be centered on the person holding the Spelltning Swo-Rod, even if they are technically out of the spell’s range. Note that casters may not immediately catch on to this fact. The cleric may notice that their healing spell didn’t work, but they won’t instinctively know that someone else nearby was healed.

Charming Sword: On a successful hit, instead of dealing damage, the player may opt to make a new reaction roll. If the result is better than neutral, the enemy will be willing to forgive and forget the battle up to this point. If the party then resumes hostilities, their foe gains a +2 to all attack rolls due to their outrage at the bad manners of the party.

The Sword of Second Chances: The blade of this sword is the shaved finger bone of a titan, with sharp bits of steel inlaid around the edge. When it cuts an intelligent living creature, noises come from within the wounds. There’s someone behind them. They might speak, voicing their confusion over what is happening.

If the Sword of Second Chances delivers the killing blow, then the newly dead corpse will shortly be torn apart. A person will emerge, like a chicken from an egg. Within the last 25 years of your campaign world, this person died an unnatural death within 100 miles of the wielder’s current location. Whether or not they deserved it may not be immediately apparent. They’ve been stuck in the afterlife for who knows how long, and now they’ve got a second chance. Perhaps they’ll run off to find their family, perhaps they’ll join the party out of gratitude, or perhaps the players just resurrected a serial killer. Who really knows?

The Wall-Slidy Sword: When the blade is touched to a wall, the character can slide down it at a rate of 20′ per round, allowing them to reach a safe landing below. Using the sword in this capacity causes a shower of sparks to illuminate the character’s descent, and elicits screeching sound that’ll make the rest of the party want to act passive aggressively towards the wielder for a few turns. Also it may mimic the mating squawk of the Biting Leatherhorn. So watch out for those.

The Reflection Holding Blade: A wide blade polished to a mirror sheen. By use of a command word, the reflection on the blade can be frozen, causing whatever image is currently being reflected to remain visible on the blade until the reverse command word is uttered. Will eventually be made obsolete by camera phones.

The Useless Sword: Damage dealt with this weapon only lasts 24 hours. After that, wounds will slowly knit themselves back together, even to the point of reversing death or decapitation. Note that it is only wounds dealt with this particular weapon that are reversed, So if the corpse is burned after being killed with the Useless Sword, it’s not gonna un-burn itself.

The Blage of Empires: If two turns (20 minutes) are spent striking at a piece of stone, that stone will catch on fire and burn like wood. This fire can spread to other stones of similar composition, but it will not spread to wood or other typically flammable material. Nor will it spread to different types of stone. The Blage of Empires is never dulled or broken by striking at stone.

The Sword which is Not Yours – The wielder may summon a 7th level fighter in gleaming armor, who will appear from around the nearest corner or through the nearest doorway. When the fighter sees her “squire” in danger, she will hold out her hand and call for the PC to give her her sword. Once she has it, she will join the fray with wild abandon. When the danger is passed, she will thank her squire for caring for her weapon, and depart with the sword.

The Sword of Weeping Mothers: Though it appears normal, out of the corner of your eye this sword sometimes appears to, for lack of a better word, “pulse.” Any time this blade deals damage, eyes look out from the wound it opens. They appear bloodshot, and afraid. If anyone with one of these wounds drops to 4 hit points or less, the eyes bulge, trying to press out of the body, and dealing 1d3 damage. If this damage kills the target, a dozen screaming shadows rocket into the distance and fade into nothingness. Something bad happens in the nearest community. The referee is encouraged to be creative, but to be clear, we’re talking “pile of dead children” levels of bad. Whether or not the players ever know about it, it does happen.

Bit of a tone shift from the rest of these, I know.

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