Showing posts with label spells. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spells. Show all posts

Monday, October 29, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 3 "Sweet Tooth" (and Battle of the Network Witches)

It's a Charmed Halloween and we get a few more bits of Charmed lore.  First Maggie needs to win big with her sorority so she throws a party in the Vera Manor (which looks really big on the inside) and uses a Glamour spell to make the Halloween decorations extra special.  We learn from Harry that such uses of magic have consequences.   In the original series, the Charmed Ones could not use magic for personal gain as well, but the consequences were usually more immediate and pronounced.  in the new series Maggie has her magic spaz out on her.

Mel really wants to tell her girlfriend she is a witch.  We learn that Mel was always accepted as gay by her mother so she was never "in the closet" now having to hide that she is a witch is killing her.  She has also mastered some sort of spell akin to Eldritch Blast or Fireball that is dangerous to everyone around her when she casts.

Macy has to reveal a secret of her own. The demon of the week, the Harbinger, feeds on virgin blood.  So far she has eaten a Nun, a girl in charge of the "Purity Patrol", and a right-wing podcasting incel (ok, so two human and a community service kill).   While trying to cast a protection circle around the house they discover the demon is inside.  So to lure it out they need virgin blood.  Macy steps up as a potential source (we have seen Maggie and Mel already have sex). Macy claims she never got around to it.

The Elders still seem to be about as useless as always, but we learn that Harry had another witch he was protecting but she told someone she was a witch and ended up in a mental asylum.  He feels it is an honor to be able to serve the Charmed Ones.

The title comes from the notion that this demon can't digest sugar.  More of Macy's "there is science in this magic stuff."

I love how both Maggie and Macy commented on their mother's collection of hebs and candles and say how could the girls not known she was a witch?

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Over on Netflix (though it has a solid CW feel thanks to having  Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Greg Berlanti as producers) we are getting The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is soooo good.  I am not going to get into it that much right now (have a post for later in the week) but I do want to comment on the Charmed connection.


In Episode 6 Sabrina wants to hold an exorcism of another's character's uncle (yes I am trying to avoid spoilers).  The episode is very, very reminiscent of The Exorcist, what was completely intentional.  We learn through that witches (at least these witches) can't and are not allowed to perform exorcisms.   Indeed even going through my own database of spells I don't have exorcism on the list.  As it turns out Sabrina's father had worked one out that does not rely on the power of the Catholic Church or the Christian God.
And it sounds really, really, really similar in tone to the Vanquishing ritual the Charmed Ones used to destroy the Source of All Evil and later Cole.






In every instance (I could not find a video for Sabrina) the witches gather and call upon the power of other witches to aid to defeat an evil.  In Charmed it is the witches of their family starting with Pru, their mother, grams and working backward.  In Sabrina, they invoke the names of Lilith, Aradia, Diana, Marie Laveau among many others.  I'll go back and rewatch it for all the names, it's like a witch's who's who.



How would this work in your games?
The spell has similar features to the Clerical/Divine Exoricsm and the Arcane Banish.

Banishment
Level: Cleric 6
Range: Creatures within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
A banishment spell is a more powerful version of the dismissal spell. It enables the cleric to force extraplanar creatures out of their home plane. As many as 2 Hit Dice of creatures per caster level can be banished. The cleric can improve the spell's chance of success by presenting at least one object or substance that the target hates, fears, or otherwise opposes. For each such object or substance, the cleric gains a +2 bonus vs the creature’s saving throws. Note: a holy symbol is always assumed and does not add to the saving throw adjustment. For example, if the creature’s save is 13 and the cleric presents the appropriate symbols, say such a bell or candle then the creature’s save is now 15. Spell resistance (if applicable) is reduced by 5% per item.
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a Saint that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At minimum a holy symbol and prayer book. Other items can be added.

Vanquish
Level: Witch Ritual 8
Range: One Creature within visual range
Duration: Instantaneous
This ritual doesn’t just banish an extra-planar creature, it destroys it. However, to use this spell requires three or more witches to cast and even more witches to power.   Three or more witches will cast the spell focusing all their attention on the creature to be vanquished. The gathered witches now must call upon their ancestors, past witches of their coven or the names of powerful patrons to lend support to vanquishing of this creature.
Each witch beyond three adds a +2 bonus to the spell vs. a Saving throw (and +5% against any roll to overcome magic resistance, if used).
Certain rare items might work twice as well as a normal item for the purpose of the bonuses each providing a +10% bonus against Spell Resistance and increasing the save by 3 or 4 depending on the Game Master.  Such rare items could be the relic of a witch that opposed these creatures, an ancient weapon forged to destroy them or even a special time of day or place.
If the creature fails the save they are dead and no resurrection can bring them back.
Any creature failing to save is sent back to the realms from which they came.
Material Components: At the minimum the witch’s ritual tool and the names of the witches they are calling upon for power. Other items can be added.

Tonight we also get NBC's "A Very Wicked Halloween" for more Witchy Goodness.



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Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Charmed Season 1, Episode 2 "Let This Mother Out"

Last night's Charmed episode felt like a "proper" Charmed episode in tone, but not one we would have ever seen on the Original Series. 


The girls, still grieving for their lost mother are also dealing with new sister issues.  While in the original series it took Piper a while to really accept Paige as her sister, since her and Prue were so close, here we see Mel as the one more reluctant to "replace" her mother with Macy.  Maggie, the empath, is the one that acts as the bridge much the same way Phoebe did.

Of course Original Charmed would not have used Grams or Patty in the same way they used Marisol here.  And in the case of Prue they really couldn't have done it nor I think would they have tried.  In this way, the New Charmed ups their horror game a little.  These are demons and they will play dirty; no one is off limits.

We also get some very-Charmed like shenanigans of the truth potion getting mixed up and Maggie hearing every thought whether she wants too or not.

Also, the plot here of not trusting the Whitelighter is something you not have seen in Charmed before.  Leo was immediately trustable. Plus I don't see Harry falling in love with any of the Charmed ones anytime soon.

I would call this one a step up from last week, though last week was still a good showing.  Last week's was Macy's spotlight (though all the girls shined) and this week was Maggie. 

Next week look downright scary!

RPG Applications
I figure if I am going to do Charmed reviews each week I might find something in every episode to use in my games. Here are a few things I was working on.

Veritas (Truth Spell)
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch*
Duration: 1 hour per level
By means of this spell anyone touched by the witch will be forced to speak nothing but the truth for the duration of the spell.
Material Components: The south facing bark of a willow tree, the pin feathers of a migratory bird, and the moss from the north side of a stone.

Spirit Boards
These boards, sometimes known as spirit boards, witch borads, or even Yes/No or Yes/Yes boards, are used to contact the spirits of those departed. Using one a witch or other spellcaster gains a 5% or +1 to any roll that may be required or -1 or -5% on any roll used to oppose the contact.
There is always a chance that a trickster demon known as an Imposter will answer the call instead.

Trickster Demon, Imposter
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Attacks: 2 claw (2x1d4)
Saving Throw: 15
Special: unique kill, +1 better to hit.
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: 1
Challenge Level/XP: 5/240
Trickster demons are notoriously chaotic and never appear the same way twice.  Imposters though are Tricksters that appear as a recently passed loved one.  Despite how they may look they are not undead. These demons usually find ways into our world via spirit boards.  (Trickster Demons that attach themselves to spirits coming through are known as Travellers.)
These demons are immune to all non-magical weapons.  The only way to permanently destroy these demons is to reduce them to 0 hp and then show them their own reflection.

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Don't forget the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box is now out! Featuring the White Witch Tradition.  It is 100% compatible with my other Swords & Wizardry witch books.  Each one with a new tradition, occult powers, magic items, spells, and rituals.  Many even include new monsters.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Spells for the Deathwitch and Mara Witch Tradition

The Little Book of Adventuring Classes Vol. 1 was just released by Jason Paul McCartan.  It is for Swords & Wizardry but can be easily adapted to other games.  I will get a review out on it soon, but I want to wait on reading it since it has a class and race very similar to something my son and I have been working on and I don't want any undue influence.
(spoiler, what I have read is great and worth every penny!)

But the one class I did read was the Deathwitch. She also appears to be the cover girl of this book, so it has my attention. Also, the book was released on Walpurgis Night so many kudos to Jason for planning ahead.   

The deathwitch fills the same niche as my Mara witch Tradition.  They share enough similarities that ideas can used for one or the other almost equally, but both still retain their uniqueness. 

Both witches have very strong associations to death and the undead.  The deathwitch maybe a little more so.

I was already working on a big spell-related project and as it turns out necromancy spells really don't fit in well to it.   They do however fit in well here.

So here are some spells for both the Deathwitch and the Mara.  All are 100% open content.
(email me for a full section 15 if you want to reuse any.)

"Witch" refers to both the deathwitch, the Mara tradition of my witch class or a warlock
Note: Mara Witches, and other witches from The Witch, require material components. Deathwitch and warlocks do not.

Black Fire
Level: Witch 1
Range: 15’
Duration: 1 hour + 10 minutes per level
This spell allows the witch to create an immobile source of heat with black fire, emitting no light but providing warmth equivalent to a small campfire in a 10-ft. radius.  The fire is a diffuse source of heat that is not sufficiently focused to ignite combustible materials.  It can be used to slowly cook meals or boil water, although doing so always requires double the amount of time required with a normal campfire.  The flames are uncomfortable to the touch, but they will not cause any burn damage.  They can be extinguished in the same manner as a normal fire. 
Material Components: A piece of lampblack and a 1-lb lump of coal. 

Blight Growth
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 week
This spell can be used in three ways.
Blight Garden - Growth is decreased by 20% during the duration of the spell When used on a natural garden, it will produce 20% less food.  This can be used to affect gardens up to 10 square feet per caster level. 
Blight Body - If cast on a living creature, they will recover one less hit point for each full night of rest.  
Blight Mother - This spell can also be used to decrease the chances of a woman getting pregnant, though it’s up to the GM to decide exactly how it’s affected.
Material Components: A drop of fetid water.

Bone Cage
Level: Witch 4
Range: Any 25' radius the witch can see and is within 100'
Duration: 1 round per level 
This spell is favored by evil witches, warlocks, and necromancers.  Upon uttering the command a cage of bones will erupt from the ground and trap up to 5 man-sized creatures in a 25’ radius.
The material component for this spell is a bone of a man that died in captivity.

Command Undead
Level: Witch Ritual 1, Deathwitch 2
Range: Undead within Sight
Duration: Instant
This spells summons the divine power of the Witch’s patron and gives her the ability to affect undead as if she were a cleric one level lower. This special ritual requires only one witch, but she must use a specially consecrated altar item such as her athamé or pentacle. 
If she is joined in the spell by another witch or a like-minded cleric then she can add one effective level for each additional participant.
Material Components: A concencrated athamé or pentacle.

Death Armor
Level:  Witch 2
Range: Self
Duration: 1 round per level
This spell causes the witch’s skin to become highly acidic.  Anyone touching the witch’s skin, via an unarmed attack or otherwise, receives 2d6 points of Acid damage (save for half).  The witch can make a touch attack with this spell.
Material Components: 100 gp worth of special creams, which must be rubbed over the witch’s arms.

Feel My Pain
Level: Witch 1
Range: 50’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch transfers pain and damage to another target in line of sight.  She invokes the spell and either cuts herself or causes damage in some way, such as putting her hand in a torch fire.  She takes 1 hp of damage (regardless of how much would have been dealt normally) and she turns and magnifies that on her target causing 1d6 points of damage.
Material Components: The material components for this spell are the witch's boline or dagger or whatever she uses to cause herself pain.

Ghostly Slashing
Level: Witch 1
Range: 25’ + 5’ per 2 levels
Duration: Instantaneous
This spell creates what seems like a ghostly attacker that attacks the target.  In fact, the spell only causes an open wound on a person.  This spell deals 1d4 slashing damage +1 per level (max +20).  The placement of the wound is random.  This spell has no effect on the Undead or construct creatures like golems.
Material Components: A small flake of any kind of metal.

Hecate’s Spiritual Dog
Level: Witch 1
Range: 10’ per level
Duration: Special
This spell summons the spirit of a dead dog to act as the necromancer wishes for the duration of the spell.  The dog has one Hit Die for every odd level the caster has (1 HD for levels 1 and 2, 2 HD for levels 3 and 4, etc.) to a maximum of 5 HD. 
A non-combative dog is useful mostly for warning and will vanish after one warning or 1d4 hours + 10 minutes per level, whichever comes first.  A combative dog fights as a dog with Hit Dice as generated by the summoning and lasts until killed or 1d4 rounds + 1 round per level.  Both have an Armor Class in inverse proportion to caster level up to level 10 (level 1, AC 9. level 2, AC 9, … level 10, AC 0).  Past level 10, the dogs have AC 0. 
Material Components: The witch’s Athamé, dog fur (for a non-combative dog) or a dog tooth (for a combative dog).

Mimic
Level: Witch 2
Range: the Witch herself
Duration: 1 hour
The witch uses this spell to mimic any voice she has heard.  She can’t use any of the languages spoken by the voice unless she knows them as well, but can mimic the voice perfectly.  A saving throw (modified by Wisdom bonus) allows a victim to notice the truth.
Material Components: The witch brings her hands to her mouth.

Shadow Monsters
Level: Witch 4
Range: 30’
Duration: 1 round/level
The witch may create phantasmal pseudo-real monsters in an area of 20’. The monster or monsters created cannot exceed the witch’s level in HD. Monsters created in this fashion must all be the same type. They have 2 HP per the creature’s normal HD. Victims are allowed a Wisdom check to realize the creatures are only partly real. The phantasmal monsters are able to attack and deal damage as per a normal creature of their type to any being that fails this check. If the check succeeds, the phantasmal monsters damage is halved. 
Material Components: The witch makes a shadow of a monster with her hands while casting the spell.

Skull Guard
Level: Witch 3
Range: One Skull
Duration: Until sunrise (8 hours)
The witch casts this spell on a normal skull and sets it out to guard at night. Any creature that approaches the skull causes it to glow. If a creature moves past it closer to the witch it will begin to cackle, howl or otherwise make a noise to awaken the witch.  The noise is magical and will always wake the witch. The witch can enchant one skull for every 2 levels.
Material Components: A skull, preferably of a hanged man.  If the witch plans on casting for multiple skulls then she will need those skulls as well.  The skulls are not consumed in the casting. 

Tears of the Banshee
Level: Witch 4
Range: 100’ + 10’ per level)
Duration: 1 minute + 1 minute per level
This spell calls a thick green mist to roll forth from the earth, completely obscuring darkvision/infravision and reducing regular vision up to 5 feet.  All those within the mist are shielded and are at a -5 to hit. Furthermore, those within the area of effect must make a saving throw (fear-based) or be scared by the eerie qualities of the fog, as strange sounds such as wailing, laughter and screaming persist for the duration of the spell.  Affected creatures suffer a –2 to all attacks and saves, but do not have to flee as if they were panicked.
Material Components: Water from a bog where a childless woman has killed herself.

Waves of Fatigue
Level: Witch 5
Range: 30’
Duration: Instantaneous
The witch sweeps her arms in a long arc and a wave of negative energy renders all living creatures in the spell’s area fatigued.  Fatigued characters can’t run and they take a -2 penalty on any Strength and Dexterity rolls (including attacks and damage).  Fatigued characters require 8 hours of rest.
This spell has no effect on a creature that is already fatigued. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Return of Nibiru

Nibiru, the Crossing Star, is back.  With the same results that we had back in September.

So in honor of this apocalyptic repeat here is the original article!

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

Today is the day that some conspiracy theorists believe that the planet Nibriu will destroy the earth.
Interestingly enough the Babylonian "star" of Autumn was called Nibriu.  Of course, the tin-foil hat crowd will claim that this is because the Babylonian's and the Aztecs were in contact with the same aliens (the Zetas according to one group).



Of course, this is all great stuff for a game.
Nibriu could be a sub-brown Dwarf, a body with 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

With a name like Nibru it could be some Clark Ashton Smith-like god, a fatal star whose invisible light shines down bringing woe and destruction.  Worshiped by insane warlocks and blind abominations whose milk-white eyes can see the foul light.

Witches and warlocks can forge a pact with Nibiru for more magics.

Nibiru's Crossing
Level: Witch/Warlock 2
Range: 1 person
Duration: Instantaneous
By means of this spell, the warlock can instantly transport himself instantly 10 feet + 5 feet per level to any unoccupied space of five feet square. So a 4 level warlock can transport 30 feet away.   The warlock does not need to see the area he is transporting too, but he must know if it is occupied or not.

Winds of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 3
Range: 40 feet from the warlock
Duration: 1 round + 1 round per 3 levels
With ancient incantations, the warlock summons the foul winds of Nibiru. The winds blow from the warlock in a cone shape and terminate 40 feet away.  Creatures in the area of effect are blown outside of it. Those outside cannot enter the cone area in front of the warlock.  Missle weapons and spells are also ineffectual in area.  Such is the concentration required that the warlock cannot move during the duration of the spell.

Dreadful Gravity of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 4
Range: 100 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round
With this spell the warlock summons the dreadful gravity of the planet Nibiru and can pull one Small, Medium or Large creature to it to stop five feet from the Warlock.  The creature is pulled and immobilized for 1 round.  After this it may attack normally.

Eclipse of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 5
Range: 50 feet radius sphere from warlock
Duration: 5 rounds
This spell summons a piece of dread and invisible Nibiru to block all magical attacks directed at the warlock. Any spell directed at the warlock is deflected or is stopped at a distance of 50 feet from the warlock.  Magical weapons are also likewise deflected.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

New Ritual: Reunification of Life

It's almost October and naturally, my thoughts turn to vampires.



A while back, many years now, I had a player who played a ranger (back in 2nd ed).  This ranger was later killed and turned into a vampire by no less than Strahd von Zarovich himself.  I thought that was the end of the character (the player had left school by then).   Years later I brought the character in as an NPC vampire. I wanted a vampire that had a backstory and some history as a human first.
At some point though near the end of my 3rd Edition game, I thought about bringing back this character as a recurring NPC.  Then something interesting happened. I got in contact with the original player via the then new thing called Facebook and I changed my mind.  I want to bring her back as a human now.

This got me started on an idea for a MacGuffin to bring a vampire back to full life.  We have seen things like this before in media. I know it happened on "Angel" and I am pretty sure it happened on "True Blood" and in other shows.  The one thing though they have all had in common is that to make it happen requires something really, really special.  Yes at this point someone will say "but what about 'Near Dark'?" well, I liked Near Dark, but that was the biggest problem I had with the movie.  It turned vampirism into a blood disease, and not even a very powerful one.  Plus don't you think if a blood transfusion could have fixed it then others would have done it already?

Also at this point, someone might bring up the spells "Raise Dead" or "True Resurrection".  We always ruled that these spells would kill any undead creature.  Clerics are known for two things in most editions of D&D; healing and turning undead.  Both are power investitures by divine agents.  So the ultimate expression of that power, the ability to bring the dead back to life, would follow the same logic and cause harm to the undead.   Plus in my games, we house ruled that it could not bring the dead back from undeath.  Vampirism is also a curse.

Now depending on your point of view the victim of vampirism has either lost their soul (the "Buffy" vampires) or their soul is trapped in their vampire bodies (the "Dracula" or "White Wolf" vampires).  Either way, the soul of the person is in peril.   (Consequently, this is also why I don't let Elves become vampires in my game; they have spirits, but not souls. Dark elves have connections to demons that allow them to become vampires.)

For this spell, I knew I wanted it to be difficult. So only the highest level spellcasters could cast it. I wanted it to be the magical equivalent of brain surgery.  So like surgery, it is not performed alone.

I also knew I wanted "three" to be a part of it.  Three is a magic number. Mind, Body, and Soul. Three types of magic; Arcane, Divine, and Occult/Witchcraft. And in many of my games three principal types of spellcasters.

Also known as "The Glorious Ritual of Reunification of Life, Soul, and Body by means Divine, Arcane, and Occult", but more commonly known as "Reunification of Life".

Reunification of Life
Level: Witch Ritual 8 (Magic-User 9, Cleric 7)
Ritual Requirements: At least 3 spellcasters; A witch, wizard, and cleric.
Range: One Vampire
Duration: Permanent
This ritual is a rare one, not just in terms of its availability, but also in its nature. The ritual is known to be part of the Malificus Necrologium (aka "The Book of Dead Witches ('dead witch names')").  Included in the ritual are the invocations needed to be made a witch, the evocations needed by a wizard and the prayers required of the cleric.  The ritual only details the means to restore a willing vampire to life, not an unwilling one.
As part of the ritual, the vampire must not partake in blood for three days prior to the ritual. This begins during the last nights of the new moon. In many cases, this will make the vampire difficult to control.  On the first night of the waxing crescent, the vampire must take a ritual bath in purified (but not sanctified) water.  Preferably this is from a natural spring. If the water is warmed from the earth, this is better.
On that night at Midnight, the ritual begins.
The vampire, wearing only a simple white linen robe lays on a simple wooden altar within a Thaumaturgic Triangle.  The points of the triangle face east, south and west in a deosil or sunwise orientation.  The cleric must stand at the East and begin their prayer.  The wizard must stand at the south and begin their casting. The witch stands at the west and begins her spell.
During the course of the night (6 hours of constant casting) the casters will respectively summon up Air to represent the Soul, Fire to represent the Life, and Earth to represent the renewal of Body.

During the night agents of evil will attempt to stop the ritual as the loss of a vampire is a great blow to the forces of the night.  For this reason, the ritual also suggests an outer circle of non-casters (referred to as "Cowans") to keep the evil at bay so the casting can continue uninterrupted.

If all goes well the spell end right before dawn as the light of a new day shines on the former vampire for the first time.

Many witches have noted that the optimal time for this spell is during the waxing crescent moon on the Summer solstice.

Alterations to ritual have been recorded.
At least one attempt was made on a mummy, but the spell failed. It was speculated that this was due to lack of internal organs, or due to the different relationship, the mummy has with the negative material plane or even the age of the mummy.
A spectre was successfully returned to life, but only after a Remove Curse had been cast on it.
The spell has not been tried on a lich since no lich has volunteered to be returned to life of their own free will.

In other cases, a druid was used instead of a cleric and a necromancer instead of a wizard.  Both times met with success, though some sages doubt these are accurate claims. 
Most of these claims are difficult to ascertain due to most copies of this ritual are currently missing.

This ritual should not be something that the PCs have easy access to. Nor should it be something they hear a rumor about and then pop over to a forgotten library to get.  There should be an epic quest to retrive the book (or books! maybe it was split into three by the forces of evil). This needs to be epic quest, "season finale" stuff.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Witch's Tea Ritual

"You can find a witch just by figuring out who is drinking the most tea in the village."  
- Halfling saying

I read a lot of books on witches. An inordinate amount really.  The one thing that has seemed to have entered into the cultural zeitgeist of most modern witch authors is that witches, in general, are addicted to tea.   Good, bad, or somewhere in between these seems to be the brew of choice for many witches.

Any witch with the ability to Brew Potions (either as a class ability or feat) can also Brew Tea.

Often the materials needed for brewing tea are much less expensive than what a witch might need for a full alchemical workshop.  Even witches with no interests in alchemy as a science can and will brew tea.

Equipment
The tea brewing witch needs the following to brew any sort of tea; magical or mundane.
Full Tea set.  This includes
- Teapot, porcelain or silver, never copper.
- Pot, kettle, or small cauldron to boil water, this should be copper
- silver tea infuser
- cups, saucers, plates, spoons for 4-6
- urn for sugar
- small pitcher for cream or milk
- serving plate for cakes or cookies
- silver tea service tray
- Tea leaves of the appropriate type
This will typically run 100-150 gp for a quality set.

Many witches also prefer a small portable tripod to suspend their copper cauldron over a flame.
Depending on the tea the boiling water is either taken to the pot or the pot taken to the boiling water.

Types of Tea
The ingredients can vary from traditions, covens and even individual witches but all teas begin with tea and intent.  The teas vary also between black, green, white, herbal  or more exotic choices. Aromatics such a rose hips may also be added.  The make the tea the witch brews the tea as she would mundane tea, but adds her intent and her magic to change the tea to the direction she wishes. Once complete the tea must be drunk to get the intended results.

Awareness
Almost always a black or ginger tea. This tea will provide a +1 to any Wisdom-based roll (saves, skills or checks) for 1 hour after drinking.  Higher level witches can brew stronger brews adding 10 mins per their own level for others that drink it.  The witch herself builds up a tolerance to the brew effects and only gains 1 hour regardless of level.  This tea may only be drank once per two days.

Calming
Made with an herbal tea, this tea will remove the effects of a fear spell or similar condition. It will also contract the effects of a haste spell or potion and that of an Energizing or Envigorating tea.

Contemplative
Made with a green tea this brew will remove the effects of a charm spell or other similar magic.
Note: the Witch must be 5th level to brew this tea.

Energizing
Almost always a black tea. This tea will provide a +1 to any Strength-based roll (saves, skills or checks) for 1 hour after drinking.  Higher level witches can brew stronger brews adding 10 mins per their own level for others that drink it.  The witch herself builds up a tolerance to the brew effects and only gains 1 hour regardless of level.  This tea may only be drank once per two days.

Envigorating
Almost always a black tea. This tea will provide a +1 to any Constitution-based roll (saves, skills or checks) for 1 hour after drinking.  Higher level witches can brew stronger brews adding 10 mins per their own level for others that drink it.  The witch herself builds up a tolerance to the brew effects and only gains 1 hour regardless of level.  This tea may only be drank once per two days.

Fortune Telling
This is one of the more common tea rituals performed.  Once the rea is drunk the witch looks into the cup to see what message the tea leaves can give her.  This will function as a Divination spell where one question is asked, "What does the future hold?"
Note: A witch needs to be 5th level of higher to complete this ritual.

Friendship
This tea makes the participants more inclined towards each other.  Not a charm, but a sense of companionship and friendship.  Everyone is treated as if they had a +1 to Charisma rolls with respect to each other.

Healing
This tea usually begins as a simple black or green tea.  The recipient is healed of 1d4 hp of damage.

Kitchen Witchery
Sometimes called "utility tea" this helps the witch in preparation of other potions or crafting magics.  The witch may add +1 or +5% to her rolls for success.

Quiet 
This tea relaxes the witch so she is not disturbed by outside noises. She has great concentration and can get a full 8 hours of sleep in 6 hours (or 6 hours in 4.5) but will always be surprised if attacked in this period (8 or 6 hours).

Third Eye Tea
This opens the witch's third eye and allows her to be better at scrying.  Giving her a +1 or +5% to any roll she needs.

Witch's Tea
No special powers. It just tastes really, really good.

Teas can be combined with incense and other potions for added effects.  Mixing teas though will result in an inert, and even worse, a foul-tasting liquid.

Cake and Tea Ritual
Level: Witch Ritual 1
Ritual Requirement: At least 2 witches, full tea set, cakes and tea
Range: All Participants
Duration: 24 Hours
This ritual is often performed at the end of the proper worship ceremonies of a coven, but it can also be performed as a means of two unfamiliar witches to break the ground towards friendship.  Once complete the witches in the ritual will gain a +1 to all rolls for the next hour and will act as if they had a +1 to Charisma-based roll for the next 24.  The witches also may not harm each other in any fashion or loose all benefits from this ritual.
Material Components: Cakes or cookies and the tea to be served.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Nibiru: The Crossing Star

 If you are reading this then you know we survived.

Today is the day that some conspiracy theorists believe that the planet Nibriu will destroy the earth.
Interestingly enough the Babylonian "star" of Autumn was called Nibriu.  Of course, the tin-foil hat crowd will claim that this is because the Babylonian's and the Aztecs were in contact with the same aliens (the Zetas according to one group).



Of course, this is all great stuff for a game.
Nibriu could be a sub-brown Dwarf, a body with 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter.

With a name like Nibru it could be some Clark Ashton Smith-like god, a fatal star whose invisible light shines down bringing woe and destruction.  Worshiped by insane warlocks and blind abominations whose milk-white eyes can see the foul light.

Witches and warlocks can forge a pact with Nibiru for more magics.

Nibiru's Crossing
Level: Witch/Warlock 2
Range: 1 person
Duration: Instantaneous
By means of this spell, the warlock can instantly transport himself instantly 10 feet + 5 feet per level to any unoccupied space of five feet square. So a 4 level warlock can transport 30 feet away.   The warlock does not need to see the area he is transporting too, but he must know if it is occupied or not.

Winds of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 3
Range: 40 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round + 1 round per 3 levels
With ancient incantations, the warlock summons the foul winds of Nibiru. The winds blow from the warlock in a cone shape and terminate 40 feet away.  Creatures in the area of effect are blown outside of it. Those outside cannot enter the cone area in front of the warlock.  Missle weapons and spells are also ineffectual in area.  Such is the concentration required that the warlock cannot move during the duration of the spell.

Dreadful Gravity of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 4
Range: 100 feet from warlock
Duration: 1 round
With this spell the warlock summons the dreadful gravity of the planet Nibiru and can pull one Small, Medium or Large creature to it to stop five feet from the Warlock.  The creature is pulled and immobilized for 1 round.  After this it may attack normally.

Eclipse of Nibiru
Level: Witch/Warlock 5
Range: 50 feet radius sphere from warlock
Duration: 5 rounds
This spell summons a piece of dread and invisible Nibiru to block all magical attacks directed at the warlock. Any spell directed at the warlock is deflected or is stopped at a distance of 50 feet from the warlock.  Magical weapons are also likewise deflected.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monstrous Monday: Imp of the Perverse

"We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. ... It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow, and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. ... The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer-note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies—disappears—we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!"
- Edgar Allen Poe, The Imp of the Perverse

The Imp of the Perverse is a small invisible imp that can be summoned much as any other demon to cause someone harm.    The imp is small, no larger than a rodent really, and invisible to all but those with the ability to See*.
(*Eldritch sight, detect magic, detect curse, detect invisible, or other such magical sights.)

Imp of the Perverse
Basic-era stats
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaos (Chaotic Evil)
Movement:  120'(40')
    Fly: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d4
Special: Invisible, Suggestion of Harm, only hit my magic weapons
Save: W1
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 50

The Imp of the Perverse is a small demonic creature that can be summoned and attached to another victim. Once done so the Imp will sit on the victim's shoulder while holding onto their ear. The imp will then whisper in the victim's ear convincing it to harm themself.

The victim must first make a saving throw (vs. Spells, see below). If this save is made the imp does not latch on and is free to roam about to find another victim (those victims will then need to save) until it tries and fails three (3) victims or the magic-user that summoned it returns it.

If the victim fails to save the imp is latched on and becomes completely invisible.  No amount of detection on the part of the victim will reveal it attached. Others might.  The imp can only be removed with a Remove Curse, Exorcism or a properly worded Holy Word or Banishment spell.

Until then the victim makes a saving throw every day to see it they do something to harm themself. A failed save means that something occurs that seems natural that will cause them harm.

On the first failed save they will take 1d6 total damage. On each failed save after that they will take an additional 1d6 hp of damage; so 2d6, 3d6 and so on until the victim is dead or the imp removed.
Once an imp has been removed or it's victim is dead will it become visible once again and can be attacked.

Summon and Bind Imp of the Perverse
Level: Cleric 3**, Wizard 3, Witch /Warlock 3  (**evil/chaotic clerics only)
Duration: 24 hours
Range: Special
By means of this spell, the caster can summon an Imp of the Perverse from the Demon Realms to latch onto a victim.  The victim must be known to the casters and some item of the victim must be present when the summoning and binding are complete. The familiarity of the victim is helpful to the caster to prevent the victim from saving against the attack.

Familiarity Save Bonus/Penalty
Unknown +3 bonus to saves
Known by name +2 bonus
Know each other (can identify each other) +1 bonus
Know well -1 penalty
Know intimately -2 penalty
Same blood or kin -3 penalty

Material Components: The caster needs a personal item from the victim: clothes, a bit of hair, fingernail, drop of blood, and the like.  A bit of copper wire and loadstone.  The items are tied to the loadstone with the copper wire.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #82

Ok. So I know I just did issue #83. And in truth this could have been the next one in, some of them are in order, most are not and I pick randomly.  But I did choose this one on purpose for the Spell Research article.  More on that in a bit though.  In truth this was the one right next to #83.
So let's get to it. Put your VHS of Cronenberg's "Videodrome" on and curl up with This Old Dragon Issue #82.

Ever wonder what a "Dancing Sword"  looks like? Well this issue's cover might give you a good idea.  Or it is a magic spell being used by the wizard in back.

So let me think. February of 1984. I would have been a freshman in high school.  I had already moved over to AD&D proper by this point but was still using the "Known World". I knew of Greyhawk, of course, but didn't have anything for it yet.  In truth I was not doing much at this point since I had just come off of a 16-week sickness due to pneumonia. I had in this time read all of the Tolkien books that were out of the time and watched an obscene amount of Doctor Who and Space: 1999.

Moving on...Letters covers mistakes or typos from issues.

Big ad for the Dr. No supplement for the James Bond game.

The Forum covers some details about Ed Greenwood's Nine Hells Revisited articles (cant' wait to do those!) namely what to do about Lawful Evil gods.  Still a good question really.

Nigel Findley is up for our first proper article, The Ecology of the Peryton. My memory is fuzzy, but I do remember that this is one of the first Ecology articles I ever read and it was also one I really liked. It really made this creature into something more than a collection of stats and a weird picture in the Monster Manual.  Note that this Ecology article is not by Ed Greenwood.  Still, it is a fine read.  I challenge anyone to reread this and NOT want to use a Peryton in your game.

Wounds and weeds, Plants that can help keep characters alive is an AD&D game herbal from Kevin J. Anderson.  As expected it has a warning not to try these at home, these are AD&D game stats only.   What follows are six pages of various herbs, with some pictures, that have some uses in the game. These are various healing herbs that work when magical healing is no where around.  I think this is a good addition to any Druid or Witch class since healing magic is not their prime focus.  While long, even at six pages it feels short. Maybe because I have seen other articles and books like this that were much longer.



Enhancing the Enchanter by Craig Barrett is for the DRAGONQUEST game.  DQ was always "one of those games".  I saw it all the time at the bookstores and in Dragon, but I knew very little about it.  I picked up many times and flipped through it.  It looked complicated (to me, at the time) but more to the point I didn't know of anyone playing it.  Did you play this game? The article is largely rule changes. At five pages it is also a longer article.

We get another ad for "Riddle of the Ring" card game.  I share this because I KNOW no one ever thought the Balrog looked like this.


Speaking of rings.  Up next is an article about a baker's dozen of magical rings. Rings that do weird things:  Thirteen pieces of jewelry not from the DMG.  All these rings are by various authors (two by Ed Greenwood).   The Ring of Bladeturning eventually had to be banned in my games.

New Avenues for Agents is a preview of the Top Secret Companion. I never was really into spy games. Again, I'll admit a certain curiosity to play the James Bond game and I tried the Spycraft d20 game back when it was new.  But overall they never really grabbed me like fantasy or horror games do.

Our centerfold is a full game, The Baton Races of Yaz.   It looks like a kid's game.  Certainly that is true, but I have watched people bid on that old boxed set of the "Dragon Magazine Games" and people really seem to love it. I should point out that my copy does not have this. I only know about it because of my Dragon CD-ROM.

Curing the Monty Haul Malady by Roger E. Moore deals with a common problem of most D&D games. The article is an edited version of some letters that have come in.  Some of the examples given I just can't really take seriously;  "He decided his character would kill Orcus, and after that his character became the new prince of the undead, with an unlimited amount of any undead to control, even an unlimited number of liches. The character also has some star destroyers he uses to fly around in space or to destroy planets."  Yeah.  This was the 80s. Sad to say...but yes I knew a guy that claimed his character had a Star Destroyer.  Not a Star Wars character, a D&D character.
This though has been an issue in some games since the very beginning.  Star Destroyers? No, the Monty Haul problems and the ridiculously over-powered game (not the same thing mind you, but they usually go hand in hand.)
While we were encouraged to not go to crazy high levels, there was nothing in the rules to stop you.  Tim Kask's warnings in "Gods, Demi-gods and Heroes" read more like a challenge I think to many.  future editions of *D&D tried to make these limits more ingrained in the rules; usually stopping at 20th level (or ~30th for BECMI and D&D4).  But gamers will be gamers I guess.

A review of battle mats, dice towers and the "Dragonbone" computerized dice roller.  I always kinda wanted one of those, but every DM I ever had said they would not allow it.  Also rolling dice is still the best.   I still have and use a battle mat though.

Spells between the Covers is the big reason I grabbed this issue. +Bruce Heard does a great job of filling some of the gaps in our knowledge on how to do spell research.  While I think many players know now many of the points made here, this article did not have the benefit of years of the community playing Call of Cthulhu.  In that game a good occult library is worth more than gold and more dangerous than plutonium.

Speaking of dangerous.  This magazine's mildew is getting so bad I am switching over to a print out from my CD-ROM.


The costs associated with building a library really should hold up edition to edition.  There is a lot of great stuff here about purchasing books.  BUT the REAL treasure is the list of books and the sages that wrote them.  Here is a brief sampling that NO real wizard, mage, sage or occult scholar should be without.

  • Idioms & Rare Cryptographs by Elminster 
  • Legendry of Phantoms and Ghosts by Evard
  • Lore of Subtle Communication by Tasha
  • The Forgotten Arts of Oratory Magnetism by Leomund
  • Theory of the Invisible Forces by Tenser
  • Gazette of the Norse Climates by Otiluke
  • Epic Saga of the Great Conjurers by Mordenkainen
  • Repertoire of Illustrious Conjurations by Drawmij
  • Treatise of Universal Astronomy by Melf

And many more. Really worth the price of the magazine alone if you ask me.  Tips on appraising the books, special books and cursed books are also discussed.   
Looking over the list it is dominated, naturally, by Greyhawk wizards, though Elminster is there too.  Even then Elminster had a better publishing deal! 

This is also tucked away in a small corned of the article.


The fiction section is Windowolf by Earl S. Wajenberg.

We get some ads. Namely these two.


Yes. I will admit to own both that game and that dragon claw amulet.  Once again...it was the 80s.

We end with the comics.  Once again one of those rare issues with Wormy, Snarf Quest and What's New all in one issue.

This was another big issue and maybe one of the reasons we look back at this time with such nostalgia, or at least with the rose-colored bifocals of the 40+ something gamer.

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf at the same time?  Check out White Dwarf Wednesday #50.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spell Research

It's August and the theme of this month's RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Kobold Press is all about Magic!

Today I want to talk about something I am very much involved in right now. Spell Research.

One of the more nebulous rulings in *D&D covers research new spells.  Across all versions of the game there are spells named after various wizards and magic-users.  Some have real world significance such as Otiluke, Rary, Mordenkainen, and Melf.   Others represent historical or mythical figures.  But all have the implication that this spell was created by or named for these spell-casters.  So someone had to write them.

There are thousands of D&D spells. I think my 2nd Ed database (in Microsoft Access 97) has 3000+ spells.  I know the 3rd edition has to be more; there are about 2000 attributed to Pathfinder alone.  A project I am working on now tells me that my own OSR witch books have 700+ unique spells.

Someone had to write all of these.
Someone that is other the authors of these games and books.  Someone in the game itself. (But both are true).

So what are the hows and whys of Spell Research?

Why Should a PC Spell Caster Research a Spell?
This one is the easier of our two questions.  Why? Lots of reasons. The PC might want some new effect or magic not listed in PHB.  Say they want to cast "Frost Ball" instead of "Fire Ball" because they are more fond of cold based attacks and not fire ones.  Maybe the new spell comes about as part of other magical research. Maybe it was a total accident while casting a spell and not having the material components on hand or even a poorly memorized spell.
There are a number of in-game reasons.  In Ghosts of Albion, spells are cast based on Success Levels.  If a character casts a spell and gets really high successes on it then sometimes something new can happen.  I would give the same sort of ruling to D&D sorcerers and bards, they do something strange and a crazy new spell effect happens.  But that is an accident, what about doing that on purpose.

The most compelling reason, of course, is need.

Take a look at my witch (not important that it is a witch just yet) spell "Moonstone".  This spell stores moonlight.
Moonstone
Level: Witch 1
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 day per witch level
The witch can store moonlight in a small stone. The stones must be enchanted and then exposed to moonlight. Each stone will last 1 day per caster level unless discharged. Once invoked, the moonstone will shed soft light, equal to torchlight, and give off no heat. The moonstone does not affect low-light vision and does not cause damage to creatures that would normally be affected by light.
Note: Despite the wich's level, no Moonstone can last past the full cycleof the moon. So if moonlight is stored during a full moon then it will only last till the first night of the next full moon. If the witch's level is less than the number of days to the next full phase then the spell ends then.
Material Components: A bit of moonstone and the light of the moon.
(Special thanks to +Paolo Greco for pointing out some errors on this spell.)
Why do I need this spell?  I mean it's only first level, but a torch is cheaper.  Also, it is actually LESS effective than the first level spell Light.  You can't cast it into someone's eyes to blind them.
The reason here is need.  Moonstone is a fine spell all on it's own. But it's true value comes when paired with other spells.
Spells like Moon’s Heart (finding the time and direction, 1st level), Witch Writing (writing that can only be read by moonlight, 3rd level) Moonlit Way (finding the safe path, 4th level), and Moonbow (create a weapon out of moonlight, 6th level) all need moonlight to work.  Not something that can happen easily underground OR during the daylight hours.  Unless, of course, you have a fully charged Moonstone.

Another need is maybe less defined.  Back in the 3e days, I created a Prestige Class that had as a part of their requirements the applicant had to submit a new spell for the use of the other members of the Class.

Plus there is always the challenge and joy of discovery. Spells like Wave of Mutilation and Brigit's Flame Sheet were created just for the sheer joy of it.

I think this holds true for any sort of Arcane spellcaster.  What about clerics? druids? Heck, even witches!

Clerics & Druids
In the 3.5 SRD is says that Divine Casters can research a spell much like Arcane Spellcasters can.   But that section only says "A wizard also can research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one."
That's not really a lot to go on.
More to the point why would they do it?  I mean aren't clerics supposed to be given their spells by their gods?  Does it make sense that a cleric would tell his god "hey, look I know you are busy, but instead of light can you give me a spell that casts moonlight instead?"

It does if you think of clerical spells like a liturgy or even a sermon.  Think of modern day priests, preachers and other people of the cloth.  They have their holy books. They have some sermons and prayers they have always done (common book of prayer for example), some hymns that have been used since the middle ages and so on.  But they also write a sermon, sometimes a new one, each week.  The purpose is to take divine inspiration, common language, and new ideas to make something new.
Now. Truth be told Clerics (and Druids) should get a set amount of "spell levels" of power to work with an then they can perform their miracles as needed.  That might be a little too much like Mage for most D&D players' taste (but it would be fun to try it!).  From this perspective, even a tradition bound "old" class like the druid could invent new spells.   In theory, an all knowing god should know which spells to give when.  For this reason, I do allow clerics and druids to swap out spells on the fly.  Much like how D&D 3 introduced the idea of spontaneous healing magic.

But what about witches?

Witches
This is an 8th level Ritual Spell for witches.
Depending on my mood and the book in question witches can either be Divine or Arcane spellcasters. Typically I think of them as Witches.  The magic they use is Witchcraft. It has both Divine and Arcane aspects.  They learn their magic from their Patron, via a familiar, but record the spell formula in a spell book.   The underlined terms can have various meanings.  Take the girls from Charmed (why, you will see later).  Their Patrons are the past witches in their family line.  Each one learning more and more than and from the witches that came before. Their familiar in this case is their Book of Shadows.  Their spellbook is also their book of shadows.   In my Pathfinder Warlock book I have rules for a Book of Shadows that is spellbook AND familiar.

At one point in the show Charmed, the witches learn that they can also create new spells rather than just relie on the ones in their Book of Shadows.  It actually becomes a feature of the show where Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) is the sister with the best ability to come up with new spells. It is this ability they have that allows them to tap into greater and greater sources of their power.  One such spell summons the power of all their family witches to destroy what is essentially the Devil (Source of All Evil. But not without cost.)

Given this would I allow "10th level" spells?  That's a good question.  Most spells of significantly high level do a lot. A spell that powerful would need to be limited in other ways.

So that's the why, what about the how?

That depends on the edition.

1st Edition starts with some advice on page 115 of the DMG.  The hardest part of this is determining the level of the spell in question.  This is done only by comparing the spell to be created to others in the Player's Handbook.  +Bruce Heard expands on this in Dragon magazine #82 (more on that tomorrow!), but it does cover somethings not in the DMG that are important. Namely to properly stock your occult/arcane library.

An occult library.
For the moment let's assume that your character has the tools and books needed.  The time needed for research and materials is 200 gp per level per week.

2nd Edition covers much of the same ground, but with less information to be honest.  Even the amount spent is now only given as a range of gp.

3rd Edition and 5th Edition have similar advice on pages 95 and 283 (respectively). So similar in fact that it felt like I was reading the same text. Though they both give good advice on setting levels based on the amount of damage caused.  The numbers differ, but the logic is the same.

I could not find any Spell Creation or Spell Research rules in BECMI or 4th Edition.

So really. The level of the spell is largely a matter of guesswork and tradition.  I spend a lot of time, maybe too much time, trying to figure these things out.

Yeah. A lot.

Creating a Spell

I wonder if we can use what we know already to create a new spell.  This is one I am actually working on right now.  As I type these words the spell is not written, but it will be by the end of this post.

The spell is one I have thought about for a while. It allows a caster to make a perfect copy of another spell into a specially prepared spellbook.  I have decided that the spell needs the following.
A specially prepared but blank spell book. This will be 200 gp per the level of the spell copied. Following the rules above.  The quill used to scribe the spell has to come from the rare Giant Mimid Bird (or Dire Mockingbird if you prefer) and the ink is a rarer distillation of the ink of an octopus (not a squid).

The spell makes a duplicate so it is beyond Mirror Image or even Minor Creation since the creation is magical (in a sense).  It is less than Wish.  It is permanent, but more so than Permanent Image.
It can reduce the time needed to copy a spell down to hours from weeks, that is pretty powerful.
8th Level feels right, but I could go as low as 6th and maybe, just maybe up to 9th.

It's a new spell, so let's give it a name. My iconic witch is named Larina. I always imagined this was her spell.  Since it deals with the copying of spellbooks some form of Liber should be used. After all, aren't all spell books written in Latin?   Liberum works and that is a call back to my d20 Witch book.  Since the words are being set free then Libre is also good.  Alliterations are always fun.
So let's go with Larina's Liberum Libre.

Larina is a witch, but this would be good for wizards too.
Let's try it in Basic-Era/S&W/OSR format.

Larina's Liberum Libre
Level: Witch 8, Wizard 8
Range: 1 Spellbook
Duration: Permanent; see below
This spell was named for the first witch to successfully use it to make a copy of another spellbook.  The spell requires a book of the same size, shape and page numbers of the spell book to be copied. The base cost for this book is 200gp per spell level copied.  Also needed are a special quill of a Giant Mimid Bird and distilled ink of an octopus. Both may be purchased, base cost of 100 gp, or prepared by the caster ahead of time.  The ink is used up in the spell casting, the quill can be used for 1d6+6 uses.
The blank book, quill, ink and the spell book to be copied are placed on a specially prepared cloth (not rare, just clean and white). The spell is cast and the cloth covers both books.  The spell will take 1 hour per spell level to copy.  Once complete the spell will create a perfect copy of the book in question.  If the spell is interrupted during this time; the cloth removed or either book opened, then the spell is canceled and the new book, ink, and quill are destroyed.
Note: Normal non-magical books may be copied as well, but only require normal ink and a regular book with the same number of pages.

Ok. So I like the spell, might tweak it a bit before publication. Still not happy with the guesswork involved with the levels.
I would love to develop a system like I did for Ghosts of Albion but that would take a time and the return might not really be worth it.

How do you go about researching spells? Both in game and in real life?



Monday, August 14, 2017

Monstrous Monday: The Olitiau

The Olitiau are giant bats. Large enough and strong enough to serve as a steed for those that know how to summon them. Most often witches, fey, and goblinoids.
Orcs will sometimes use the larger and more monstrous varieties as steeds in battle. These are often called "Orc War bats".

Olitiau (Monstrous Riding Bat) 
Basic-era stats
No. Enc.: 1d12 (4d6)
Alignment: Neutral (Chaos)
Movement: 180' (60')
            Fly: 360' (120')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1 (bite) or Sonic shriek
Damage: 1d8 or see below
Save: F4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 135

Olitiau are giant bats. Found in deep, dark caves these creatures can be used as steeds for those that know the secrets of summoning them or for subterranean races that speak their language.
Like Giant Bats (qv) these creatures can also be vampiric, though the percentage is much higher, 45%.  The bite of an Olitiau will not cause a living creature to rise as a vampire though.
The Olitiau have a bite attack and sonic shriek.  They can use one or the other once per round.  The sonic shriek is a cone 5' at it's base (mouth) and extends 120' long and 40' wide.  Creatures caught in this area take 1d6 points of damage and must save vs. Paralyzation or be stunned (unable to attack) for 1 round.  The Olitiau can extend this range to 360' long and 120' wide, but only creatures of less than 1 HD are affected then.
Olitiau do not fare well in sunlight and are at a -2 on all attacks.  They are unaffected by darkness of any sort including magical darkness.


Summon Olitiau
Level: Druid 2, Wizard 2, Witch /Warlock 2
Duration: 24 hours
Range: 60 miles
By means of this spell, the caster can summon one* Olitiau to serve it for 24 hours.  The olitiau must be treated well and given its body weight in fresh meat to eat.  The olitiau will operate as the steed for the caster and even attack whomever the caster directs it to attack.   Most often the olitiau are summoned as steeds and can carry 300lbs of weight.
The olitiau can only be summoned at night or underground where it is dark.
At higher levels the caster can summon more Olitiau.
At 7th level the caster may summon two, at 9th 3 may be summoned and so on for every other level to a maximum of 8 olitiau at level 19.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

New Spell: Forget Me Knot

The witches of the Aiséiligh tradition have a few spells they are well known for. Typically these spells deal with protection or often an offensive spell designed to harm the witch's enemies or those who attack the witch first.  This spell, ironically enough, is usually forgotten about.

The spell is believed to be the root of the practice of tying a string around your finger to remember something important.  For the witch, this practice is part of a spell.

Forget Me Knot
Level: Witch 1
Range: 1 person
Duration: special, see below
The witch casts this spell and can remember anything said to her or anything she reads roughly equal to a page of information; 600-800 words. She commits the spell by tying a bit of string into a knot. She can then keep the knot safe for any amount of time. If she wants to recall the information perfectly she merely unties the knot. This spell can be used to deliver information to another of the witch's choice, but it cannot be used to remember spells or scrolls. If the knot is destroyed the information is lost.
Material Components: A bit of normal string, thread or yarn the witch can tie into a knot. The thread disappears when it is untied and the memories released.

The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry is on sale now with all profits going to the ACLU.  This spell is one of the 70+ spells in the book.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Strange Brew: Book of Shadows - On Sale Now

Welcome 2017!
A reminder that Strange Brew: Book of Shadows is for sale at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.


Over 100 new witch spells for your Pathfinder game!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Strange Brew: Book of Shadows

My next book out for Pathfinder is now out!

Strange Brew: Book of Shadows


From the blurb:

Legends say that witches keep their spells inscribed into a Book of Shadows that holds their accumulated wisdom and power.

Here, in Strange Brew: Book of Shadows, you’ll find magic drawn from real-world legends, mythology, and folktales, as well as pure flights of fancy. Within Strange Brew: Books of Shadows, you will find over 100 spells and a half-dozen rituals, enough to delight your characters, bedevil your foes, and make your witch (or other spellcaster, whether arcane or divine) a formidable opponent.

Witches are magical creatures.

All for your Pathfinder Role-Playing Game!

50 pages, full color.
Again. Special thanks to +Rich Howard  and +Robert Hudson  for helping me get this together. And of course my editor/publisher +Christina Stiles The cover art is by +Jacob Blackmon,  whom I have featured here many times.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: Spellbook Gaming Boxes

I love seeing things on Kickstarter that I have never seen before.   Today's feature certainly qualifies.

Spellbook Gaming Boxes


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1584169644/spellbook-gaming-boxes/

I mean seriously.  These look so cool.
I particularly love the one that can hold the four minis and the dice.  My first though went right to my iconic witch character Larina.  I have four different minis to represent her at different power levels, and I always have some nice dice.



Now if they only had a pentagram for the cover!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Witch spells for Nox

I have expanded on my write-up on Nox, Goddess of the Near Dark, for the Petty Gods project.

Here are some new spells for followers of Nox and a new minion.

As always the material below (except the art) is released as Open under the terms of the OGL.

Section 15: "Witch Spells for Nox" Copyright © 2015 Timothy S. Brannan.

Summon Fyre Fae
Affiliation: Nox, Goddess of Near Dark
Level: Cleric (Nox) 3, Magic-User (Wizard) 3, Witch 3
Range: 150’ + 50’/level
Duration: Special (see below)
By means of this spell the cleric or witch may summon a Fyre Fae, a small pixie like creature the glows much in the same way as a Will O’ The Wisp.  The cast beeches a boon from Nox, who knows the location of hidden things, and summons the fyre fae to find what they seek.  The caster must be specific in what they are looking for and it must be within the range of the spell.  So for example a caster can ask “please help me find the key to unlock the door to the Dungeons of Dragoth-umar” if the key is within the range, then the fyre fae will find it and return to the caster. Requests like “help me find the safest route” or “help me find the way home” may not always have the most direct route, but they will lead the caster in generally the correct direction.
The duration of the spell is equal to 10 minutes plus 1 minute per level of the caster.  The spell though will always end once the last rays of the sun are gone and true night has started.  When the spell ends the fyre fae will disappear.
Attacked fyre fae also disappear.  Casters that summon the minions of Nox and attack them will also discover that they will no longer be allowed to summon a fyre fae.

Summon Gloaming
Affiliation: Nox, Goddess of Near Dark
Level: Cleric (Nox) 5, Magic-User (Wizard) 5, Witch 5
Range: 50’
Duration: Permanent/till dispelled
The followers of Nox know that her power lies not in light or dark but in the shadows and near dark in between.  While many know of the playful fyre fae that serve Nox, few know of her other servitors, the Gloamings.
A gloaming is a shadow-like creature that often takes the shape of a large, but indistinct animal. The gloaming summoned will attack a group of creatures that the caster chooses.  The gloaming will attack until the creatures or itself are dead.
The caster may summon 1 gloaming + 1 per every other level.  A summoned gloaming does not have the fear causing effects of a naturally occurring one.

Gloaming*
Armor Class: 14
Hit Dice: 5*
Alignment: Neutral
No. of Attacks:  2 claw / 1 bite + Fear
Damage: 1d4/1d4 1d6 + 1 point Strength loss + Fear
Movement: 45'
No. Appearing: 1d6, Wild 1d10
Save As: Fighter: 6
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
XP: 660

A gloaming is a shadow creature that is typically found in wild, untamed places.  Mostly discovered in the time between sunset and the full dark of night these creatures appear to be large, but indistinct shadow creatures. They are on four legs and stand about 3’ to 4’ high with a massive head. The only features that are distinct are their eyes which glow amber, red or green.  Sometimes confused with hell hounds, a gloaming is an undead creature. It is the undead creature of a large predatory animal, but it does not attack on sight.  Typically a gloaming will radiate an aura of fear (as per the spell, cast by a 5th level caster) to scare off interlopers.  Failing that they will attack with a claw/claw/bite routine.  Only on a successful bite attack will a gloaming drain 1 point of strength.
A gloaming is an undead creature and can be turned as a 5 HD creature (or as a Wraith, depending on your system of choice).

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