Category Archives: Spells

Deed Die for Wizards? Why not?


Yep, another little house rule tweak that popped into my head for Dungeon Crawl Classics. It’s simple and can makes things a little more interesting.
Instead of the normal wizardly spell casting bonus of the character’s level, replace it with a Deed Die. Just look at the Fighter progression table to see what die type a wizard of equal level would get and there you go. This really underscores the chaotic nature of magic. That fifth level magic user rolls a one on the Deed Die and poorly on the d20. Well, tough luck.
Going along with the Deed Die theme, why not add in some Mighty Acts of the Arcane. Want a small side or special effect for that spell? GO FOR IT! And it works the same way as Mighty Deeds of Arms.
What about that Natural Twenty roll? For that the gets to roll and additional Deed Die and add that onto the total.
Now, this is just an idea and I haven’t play tested it and who knows somebody probably smarter and prettier than me has already thought of this idea. Heck, this idea will probably be tweaked and twisted a few times before it makes it to the table.

Making Healing Dangerous

This is one of those strange ideas that popped into my head as I was getting ready to fall asleep. What if healing wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be? What if it was addictive? Generally, healing spells are defined as using positive energy to mend up damage or some other condition. So what if filling somebody with positive energy felt good. I mean really good. This is supposed to the ultimate in life energy in the universe so shouldn’t it? And shouldn’t mortals get a little bit of sensory overload when they’re hit with it?
To the crunchy bits:
Characters can received magical healing once per day without any danger. Each time after the first, the character must make a Saving Throw versus Magic with a cumulative -1 penalty. If the character fails the save then they are addicted to healing and the feeling of being filled with positive divine energy. The character must receive a number of spell level’s worth of healing equal to their level daily or suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws. The -2 penalty increases by – for each day that the character doesn’t received enough healing energy. Healing potions do not fulfill the craving. The character will go as far as inflicting injury upon themselves just to get healed.
OK. Now that’s pretty nasty. But wait there’s more.
Less than honest clerics have been known to intentionally get some poor souls addicted to positive energy as tool for material gain, power, or coerced conversion. But then sometimes this scheme will backfire when the cleric can’t provide enough healing and then gets ripped apart by an angry mob of addicts going through withdrawal.
There you go some food for thought and little crazy nasty idea to throw into a campaign.

Raise Dead for Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Hey, there isn’t a Raise Dead spell for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. There’s no reason there shouldn’t be but it’s still got to have that special something that makes it Flame Princess worthy. So here’s my modest attempt.
First, here’s a couple of my thoughts this spell. Death is natural (cause of death might not be). Death is one of the laws of the universe and everything dies eventually. Cheating death unbalances the universe and is a Chaotic act. So in this case the spell is a Magic-User spell rather than a Cleric spell. Also, returning the dead to live should be time consuming, expensive, and dangerous. So here you go.

Raise Dead
Magic-User Level 5
Duration: Permanent
Range: Touch

The Magic-user attempts to defy the laws of the universe and return a fallen being to life.
Fist, the dead body must be as whole as possible. Missing limbs and organs are not replaced. The caster must acquire rare oils and spell components with a value of 1,000 SP per Level/Hit Die of the target. Additionally, the caster must perform a long and precise ritual lasting 1 hour per Level/Hit Die of the target. As part of this ritual, the caster must attempt to bring some sort of balance to the universe by sacrificing a number of sentient beings of the same race as the target. The total Levels/Hit Dice of the sacrifices must at least equal the Level/Hit Dice of the target.
Once the ritual is completed, both the caster and the target attempt a Saving Throw versus Magic. If both succeed then the spell was successful and the target returns to life with 1 Hit Point.
If either of them fail so does the spell. Roll 1d20 on the following chart. If both fail then roll 1d10+10 on the following chart. The spell may not be attempted again.
A cleric will not witness or partake in this ritual. Also, a cleric cannot be the target of the spell.

1: The body is consumed in a divine fire leaving nothing but ash.
2: The body shows all the signs of life but no soul has entered it. It will expire from dehydration in a matter of days.
3: The target’s soul reenters the body but the transition was too much. The target has total amnesia and is now a Level-0 character.
4: The target’s body explodes with necromatic energy causing Level/Hit Dice D6 of damage to every thing in a 30 foot radius. Save versus Breath Weapon for half damage.
5: The caster accidentally summons the spirit of wrong person. This can be any dead person from history as determined by the GM. But chances are that it will be some historically insignificant person.
6: The soul of the target ends up in the nearest animal no smaller than a rat.
7: The caster’s and the target’s souls switch bodies.
8: The target’s soul ends up in a random item. That item is now magical and has powers based on the class and level of the target and GM’s discretion.
9: It looks like the spell worked. The target will live for 1d100 days (GM rolls secretly) then target drops dead, his corpse rotting away to nothing in seconds.
10: The target’s soul does not enter his body but is turned into a vengeful ghost which attacks and haunts the party.
11: The caster accidentally summons some otherworldly entity that now possesses the body of the target.
12: The ritual fails but summons forth 2d6 angry ghosts which immediately attack any present.
13: The target’s body explodes in a shower of flesh eating maggots. Save versus Breath Weapon or take 1d6 damage each round until the character makes a successful Save versus Disease.
14: The spell mostly fails. The target’s soul reanimates the body but as a form of free-willed, intelligent undead.
15: The caster loses a number of levels equal to the Level/Hit Die of the target. If this drains the caster to 0-Level then the caster is killed.
16: The spell weakens the veil between the mortal world and the Underworld. The area will be haunted by ghosts and become prime habitat for undead creatures.
17: The spell loosens the connection between body and soul. Each being within a 30 foot radius must Save versus Magic. Those who fail their Saving Throws have their souls switched to another random body. If only one character fails the saving throw then his soul is ripped from this body.
18: An Angel of Divine Retribution descends on the area killing every sentient being in a radius of the target’s Level/Hit Die x miles. Save versus Death or die.
19: Every dead creature in an area in radius equal to the target’s Level/Hit Die x 100 miles is re-animated as zombie.
20: An area in radius equal to the target’s Level/Hit Die x 100 miles is drained of life. All creatures 4 HD or less are instantly killed. Those with more than 4 HD are allowed a Saving throw versus Death or die. This effect lasts in the area for one year. For one 100 years, no plant life will grow in this area and animals will avoid it.

Free Form Spell Components

hand
I was thinking the other day that spell components need to be cooler. I’ve never really liked the long list of specific things that normally come along with the listing of spells. I wanted something cooler and creepier. So here it is.
Magic-Users routinely gather odd bits and pieces and use them to enhance their spell casting. It doesn’t matter if it is some organ or other bit from a monster or a special or unique item. The Magic-User doesn’t have to determine which spell that the component will be used at the time of collection only when a spell is cast. They can use these to enhance a spell that this thematically connected to the spell. For Example:

The hand of of thief: Knock
The lips of a succubus: Charm Person
An arrow head used to kill a dragon: Magic Missile
The ear of a deaf person: Silence
The eyes of a Drow: Darkvision

You get the idea. It’s up to the the creativity and imagination of the player to come up with what works. It’s up to the GM to be fair whether it works or not. Once the component is used so its mojo.
Effects: For each unique component used the caster gains a “+1” benefit. This will depend on each spell. Start by modifying the Saving Throw (if there is one). If not, increase the caster’s effective level for duration or effect. Just use common sense.
It’s up to the player to maintain a detailed list of what he has collected. This may prove to be a little interesting in the case of a player character’s death and the Magic-User starts harvesting bits and pieces of his fallen comrade.

Turning Undead

It’s October and so I’m thinking about Undead. OK, I think about a lot of things. This time it’s about tweaking Turning Undead. I like things simple and sometimes not exactly easy for player characters. So two ideas crashed together in my head. One from Lamentations of the Flame Princess and the other from Pathfinder. So here we go.

Turn Undead
Spell Level: Cleric 1
Range: 0
Duration: Concentration
The cleric brandishes his holy symbol and repels all the undead within a 20 foot radius. The undead creatures are allowed a Saving Throw to negate the effect. This Saving Throw is modified by the difference between the cleric’s level and the HD of the creature. For example: A 1st level cleric repelling a 4 HD undead, the creature would have +3 bonus to its save. If a 4th level cleric were attempting to repel a 1 HD undead then the save would be at -3. The undead may attempt to save each round.
The cleric must concentrate to continue this spell. He may not cast any other spells, use an item, or shout orders (other than one or two words in a round). He move but only at half his normal rate. If he is attacked he must make a Saving Throw or lose concentration.

Destroy Undead
Spell Level: 3
Range: 0
Duration: Instant
The cleric brandishes his holy symbol and attempts to destroy any undead creatures within a 15 foot radius. The undead are allowed a Saving Throw to negate this. If the undead HD is great than the cleric’s level then the difference is a bonus to the Saving Throw.

OK, so that was very rough and just spilled out of my head. Thoughts.

Turning Undead

Here’s another undead horse that’s been beat to death and back again. But I’ve been thinking about things that have never quite set well with me. And guess what one of those things is?
First I understand the origins of the ability. Really, haven’t you seen any Hammer horror flicks? But what the ability became is kind of annoying. For every other ability it requires preparation. Clerics don’t automatically heal (expect in later editions) or have other nifty tricks. But then turn undead. Yeah, they got that. Plus there’s always this Keystone Cops routine when Undead show up. Everybody runs back and pushed the cleric forward.
Personally, I think one of the best takes on this is from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It’s pretty simple and works with well with your game of choice. Turning Undead is a First Level Cleric spell. Simple. Of course, there will be some whining but oh well.
Fighter: Why the hell didn’t you pray for Turn Undead!
Cleric: Because I need to keep fucking healing you!
Right now, I’m playing around with all sorts of ideas for a crazy little home brew game and this is the way I think I’ll go. Just want to put that little bit of fear and desperation into the hearts of the player characters. It makes thing more interesting and makes simple zombies and skeletons more of threat.

Familiars Shouldn’t Suck

familiars
There’s lots of cool things about playing a Magic-User. Unfortunately, one of those is not having a familiar. Let’s face it. Familiars suck. In Old-School games, the risk generally isn’t worth the reward. In newer (Pathfinder/3.x) games, you many get a little boost but once again I think it’s pretty damned lame. Think about. Master of the Arcane. Summoner of Demon Lords. Here’s my familiar. A Toad. Really? Yes, I know there’s historical precedence on familiars. But screw that. You want to be cool.
This is one of those things that’s just brewing in the back of my head and not yet a complete thought but we’ll see how it goes.
First, let’s ditch all the mundane animals as familiars. Let’s stick to some the more cool ones like the imp, quasit and pseudo-dragon. Brownie is a possibility too but personally, it just never clicked with me.
Here’s some more basic thoughts:
It is what it is. Familiars have all the special powers and abilities according to what they are.
Adviser & Spy: A Magic-User and familiar will have a telepathic bond. The Magic-User can perceived through the senses of the familiar. Familiars should grant a bonus for magical research and the like. Not only should a familiar be able to spy for the magic-user. The familiar will also keep tabs on the magic-user for a powerful demonic/supernatural entity.
Free Will: Familiars should have a bit a free will. Almost like a hireling or a henchman. That means they should also have a personality with their own unusual quirks. Plus they should have their extra spell casting abilities.
Hit Points: At higher levels, familiars tend to get squashed quickly. A quick and dirty method. Familiars have the same amount of HP as the Magic-User.
Losing a familiar: This is where things usually suck. Generally, it ends draining the Magic-User of HP, permanently. This really does nothing to encourage the acquisition of a familiar. Instead, it just gets harder and harder for a Magic-User to replace the familiar. And subsequent familiars become more and more free willed.
So that’s it. A few system-neutral quick thoughts. I’ve got a couple of other ideas rolling around in my head but those are for Part 2.