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Mike’s Run: Weather

Posted in Mike's Run by Michael LaBossiere on July 30, 2013

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Unpublished Spells

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on December 4, 2010
The original Dungeons & Dragons set.
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While I have written for various game companies, I have never gotten anything published for the game I have played the most (D&D in its various versions). I have tried a few times, but always ended up getting odd rejection letters. While this bothered me a bit, the vast amount of writing I did for other games made it easy to handle such rejections.

I happened to be thinking about this while running and decided to look through some of my old writing. In the course of this, I came across some D&D material I had written that almost got published. I had written some spells in 2004 and went through the process of revision with an editor at Dragon Magazine and then…nothing. This was the same year in which I got divorced,  and I never got around to following up. I did, however, see spells rather like mine appear in various books (check out, for example,  Create Pit in Pathfinder’s Advanced Player’s Guide). Naturally, I don’t think anyone copied my work-these ideas probably occurred to other writers.

Since Dragon is no more and I won’t play 4th Edition D&D (I play Pathfinder instead), I suppose that I will never get anything published for D&D.  Since I do not want the work I did to go to waste, I figured I’d “publish” the spells here. They won’t work with the 4th Edition D&D, but they are fine for 3.0, 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Vellinis’ Spells

An implacable foe of the Drow, the elven wizard Vellinis was vexed by the ability of his foes to resist magic. Investigating the properties of this resistance, he could at first find no principle behind it-some spells, such as fireball, could be resisted while other spells that worked in the same medium, such as flame arrow, were unaffected. While he never hit on the secret principle behind the resistance, his studies revealed a way to craft spells that would be unaffected by magic resistance. Naturally, these spells proved to often be less powerful than spells that could be resisted, but he accepted this as part of the mysterious and largely unknown laws of magic.

This article provides several spells developed by Vellinis and his successors. All of them are such that they are unaffected by spell resistance. However, this advantage comes at a price-the spells are generally less powerful and less damaging than spells that can be resisted.  As such, the spells give a caster a plausible choice when facing magic resistant beings: do I risk all for greater damage, or do I settle for something weaker yet more certain?

While Vellinis’ spells are quite useful, some casters worry that using them might provoke the Drow. After all, while Vellinis’ exact fate remains a mystery, it is known that one of the best Drow assassins went to his tower one night to put and end to his research. While the ultimate outcome of that encounter is known only to Vellinis and the assassin, there is now a mysterious dimensional rift where the top of his tower used to be.

Spells

Arrow Storm

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 1

Components: V, S, M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Touch

Target: One arrow per two caster levels, all of which must be in contact with each other at the time of casting.

Duration: Instantaneous.

Saving Throw: No

Spell Resistance: No

This spell magically hurls a (small) storm of arrows or bolts (one arrow or bolt per two caster levels to a maximum of five projectiles) at the chosen target(s). The caster rolls to hit using her base attack bonus for each arrow or bolt and adjusts for dexterity, range, feats, magic items, etc. as if she were actually using a long bow (arrows) or heavy crossbow (bolts). However, do not apply any non-proficiency penalty. The projectiles have the standard damage and critical statistics for normal arrows and bolts.

The spell only provides the energy to hurl the projectiles, after that they function as normal arrows or bolts. Hence, while spell resistance has no affect on the projectiles, damage reduction would.

The arrows can have special heads (silver, for example) and can be otherwise enchanted (with flame arrow, for example).

Material Component: A tiny (2 inch) bow or crossbow that is touched to the arrows or bolts while the spell is being cast.

Bounding Sphere

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 2

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Touch

Target: A tiny metal sphere

Duration: 1 round/level

Saving Throw: None

Spell Resistance: No

A tiny metal sphere grows in size and bounds off in whichever direction you point, smashing into foes and obstacles. It moves 40 feet per round. As part of this movement, it can ascend or jump up to 15 feet to strike a target. If it enters a space with a creature, it can be directed to attack the creature by slamming against it. The attack is treated as a ranged attack-the sphere acts more as a missile than a melee weapon. If the attack hits, the sphere inflicts 1D8+1 points of bludgeoning damage.

A bounding sphere rolls over barriers less than 4 feet tall.

The sphere moves as long as you actively direct it (a move action for you); otherwise, it merely bounces up and down harmlessly in its square. A bounding sphere reverts to its original state if it exceeds the spell’s range.

The sphere can be made out of any metal, such as silver or cold steel and can also be further enchanted (by magic weapon, for example) prior to the casting of the spell. For spells, treat the sphere as a melee weapon rather than a projectile. The sphere can be reused.

Material Component: A finely made sphere of metal with a base cost of 2 gp for an iron sphere.

Crushing Sphere

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 4

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Touch

Target: A tiny metal sphere

Duration: 1 round/level

Saving Throw: Reflex half

Spell Resistance: No

A tiny metal sphere grows until it occupies a ten foot square and then rolls off in whichever direction you point, smashing into foes and obstacles. It moves 20 feet per round. As part of this movement, it can attempt to roll through or over obstacles. If the sphere rolls into or through a square occupied by a creature or object, the target sustains 4D6 points of bludgeoning damage (half on a successful reflex save).

A crushing sphere rolls over barriers less than 5 feet tall.

The sphere moves as long as you actively direct it (a move action for you); otherwise, it merely stays at rest. A crushing sphere reverts to its original state if it exceeds the spell’s range.

The sphere can be made out of any metal, such as silver or cold steel and can also be further enchanted (by magic weapon, for example) prior to the casting of the spell. For spells, treat the sphere as a melee weapon rather than a projectile. The sphere can be reused.

Material Component: A finely made sphere of metal with a base cost of 2 gp for an iron sphere.

Dimensional Pit

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 2

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels

Target: A surface

Duration: 1 round/level

Saving Throw: Reflex Negates

Spell Resistance: No
When this spell is cast on a surface (typically a floor) it opens a pit-like extradimensional space that is outside the multiverse of extradimensional spaces (“planes”).

The opening to the space is a ten foot square. The space has an initial depth of ten feet. For every two caster levels beyond 1st it gains an addition ten feet- 20 feet deep at 3rd, 30 feet deep at 5th, 40 feet deep at 7th and a maximum of 50 feet deep at 9th level or higher.

Any creature standing on the surface where the dimensional pit is created must make a reflex save to avoid falling in. Creatures failing their saves fall into the pit, sustaining 1D6 point of damage per 10 feet fallen. A creature that makes its save must leave the square occupied by the dimensional pit’s opening on its next turn. If it fails to do so, it falls into the dimensional pit.

While a dimensional pit’s opening is clearly visible, it can be hidden, if time permits, like any normal pit by covering or concealing the fact that it is present. It is also possible to add damaging items or substances to the bottom of a dimensional pit.

The “walls” of a dimensional pit are perfectly flat and impenetrable. A perfectly flat, vertical surface cannot be climbed using the climb skill. Spells, area affects and attacks cannot pass through the walls of a dimensional pit. Attacks, spells and area affects can enter a dimensional pit via the opening-treat the dimensional pit as a mundane pit in this respect.

When the spell’s duration expires, creatures within the pit appear on the surface where the dimensional pit’s opening was created.

Note: Because the extradimensional effect is weak, it is not hazardous to create an extradimensional space within a dimensional pit or to take an extradimensional space into a dimensional pit.

Material Component: Powdered corn extract and a piece of parchment rolled into a cylinder.

Ferocious Firefly

Conjuration (Creation)

Level: Sor/Wiz 3

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)

Effect: A phantom firefly

Duration: 1 min/level (D)

Saving Throw: None (see below)

Spell Resistance: No

This spell creates a magical being that resembles a rather abstract firefly. For the duration of the spell, the ferocious firefly plagues the creature you designate with flashes of light and generally annoying behavior. The creature must be within range of the spell and you must be able to see or touch the creature. Once the creature is designated the firefly sticks with it; you cannot switch the firefly to another creature.

The firefly constantly flashes and interferes with the creature in a way that makes it difficult for the creature to concentrate. The subject takes a -10 penalty on all Hide and Concentration checks. Creatures that cannot see do not suffer the penalty on Concentration checks and the penalty on Hide checks only applies when the check is made against creatures using sight to locate the subject. If the subject attempts to cast or maintain a spell, it must make a DC 10 Concentration check even if there are no other distractions (which can be treated as having a base DC of 0, hence DC 10 with the penalty). The presence of the firefly illuminates the target, thus negating any concealment created by darkness (including darkness but not deeper darkness). It does not, however, help against other forms of concealment such as that created by obscuring mist. The presence of the firefly also gives away the location of an invisible subject (so the square it occupies is known), but does not negate the miss chance for attacks.

In addition to its normal annoying behavior, the firefly can, on the caster’s initiative, create a powerful flash that targets the subject’s visual organs. The subject must make a Fortitude save or be dazzled for 1 minute. Creatures that are already dazzled or lack sight are not affected by the flash. The firefly can generate a total of one flash for every two caster levels of its creator.

The firefly has a fly speed of 180 (perfect). It remains with the subject despite darkness, invisibility, polymorphing, cover, concealment and all other attempts at disguising or hiding. The firefly remains until the spell’s duration expires or the subject moves out of range.

The firefly cannot be attacked, but it can be dispelled. If the firefly enters an area of deeper darkness it is not dispelled but the effects of its light are suppressed while it is in the area. The firefly can also be countered by the target creature closing its eyes, but the creature will be effectively blinded while it does this.

Material Component: A firefly or a bit of phosphor.

Ground Spike

Conjuration (Summoning)

Level: Sor/Wiz 1, Drd 1

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels

Area: The surface under one medium creature

Duration: Instantaneous

Saving Throw: See text

Spell Resistance: No

Casting this spell summons a mindless elemental force from the plane of earth. Commanded by the caster, the force hurls the ground or floor under a single target creature (medium sized or smaller) upwards. If the target creature fails its reflex save, it is hurled ten feet into the air and lands ten feet away from its original location. To determine its exact landing position, use the Missing With a Thrown Weapon chart in the Players Handbook. Assuming the creature lands on a suitably hard surface, it will sustain 1D6 points of damage from the fall. The creature also needs to make a reflex save to avoid falling prone.

Since it relies on elemental force form the plane of earth, the spell is only effective when the surface in question is earth or stone or in direct contact with earth or stone.

Material Component: A piece of stone or small clump of earth.

Groundswell

Conjuration (Summoning)

Level: Sor/Wiz 3, Drd 3

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: 60 feet

Area: Cone-shaped emanation

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round/level

Saving Throw: Special (see text)

Spell Resistance: No

Casting this spell summons a mindless elemental force from the plane of earth. Commanding this force, the caster causes the ground or floor to ripple in a cone shaped area extending outward from the caster. This rippling makes it rather difficult for creatures to remain standing and impedes their movement. Creatures in contact with the rippling surface must make a Reflex save.  Creatures that fail fall prone. This check must be made each round on your turn. Creatures that cannot be tripped cannot be knocked prone by this spell.

Since it relies on elemental force form the plane of earth, the spell is only effective when the surface in question is earth or stone or in direct contact with earth or stone.

Material Component: A piece of stone or small clump of earth.

Iron Box

Conjuration (Creation)

Level: Sor/Wiz 6

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)

Area: A 10 foot iron cube

Duration: 2 hours/Level

Saving Throw: None

Spell Resistance: No

This spell creates a cube of iron around the target creature(s) with no way in and no way out.

Creatures within the area are caught and contained unless they are too big to fit inside, in which case the spell automatically fails.

The walls of the box are 1 inch thick. Each five foot square of the box has 30 hit points and hardness 10. A section of the box whose hit points drop to 0 is breached. If a creature tries to break through the box in a single attack, the strength check is 27.

Like any iron, the iron box is subject to rust, perforation, and other natural phenomena.

Material Component: A small iron box plus gold dust worth 25 gp ( ½ pound of gold dust).

Iron Thorns

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 2

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels

Target: A creature or point in space.

Duration: 1 round/level

Saving Throw: None

Spell Resistance: No

You hurl an etched piece of metal that shatters and expands into swirling metal thorns.  You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to hit your target. If you succeed, the thorns swirl about the creature, slashing for 1D6 points of damage per round until the spell expires (the thorns move along with the creature if it moves). If the target is missed, the thorns spin within the center of the target’s square for the duration of the spell. The caster can also intentionally cast the thorns on a point in space.

If not ‘attached” to a creature, the spinning thorns occupy a five foot square. A creature that enters (or remains in) the square sustains 1D6 points of damage from the thorns.

The metal used to create the thorns can be made out of any metal, such as silver or cold iron and can also be further enchanted (by magic weapon, for example) prior to the casting of the spell. For spells, treat the thorns as a melee weapon.

Material Component: A finely made etched piece of metal with a base cost of 2 gp for one made of iron.

Shards

Conjuration (Summoning)

Level: Sor/Wiz 3, Drd 3

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)

Area: 20-ft.-radius burst

Duration: Instantaneous

Saving Throw: Reflex half

Spell Resistance: No (see text)

Utilizing elemental force, the energy of this spell shatters a portion of a suitable surface (such as stone floor, ceiling or wall) sending a jagged shards exploding outwards, inflicting 1D4 points of damage per caster level (maximum 10D4) to every creature within the area. Half the damage is slashing and half is piercing. Unattended objects also take this damage.

If the shards encounter a barrier but break through it, they continue out to the limits of the area of effect. If they fail to break the barrier, the shards shatter against it.

Once the shards fall, the area of effect is filled with sharp shards of stone that can easily pierce a boot or slash a foot. Treat the area as if it were full of caltrops.

The spell creates similar effects if cast on a rocky area with a sufficient density of stones.

If the spell is cast on earth, sand or similarly soft material, it causes an outward explosion of dirt and debris, inflicting 1 point of damage per caster level (maximum 10 points). Creatures in the area of effect have total concealment for a full round and those with eyes must make a Fortitude save to avoid being blinded for 1D4 rounds.

If the spell is cast directly on a stone or earth creature, it takes 1D8 points of damage per caster level (maximum 10D8). If used in this way, the spell produces a 10-ft-radius spread instead of a 20-ft. radius spread. The creature can make a Fortitude save for half damage. If successful, the damage inflicted by the spread emanating from the creature is also halved.

Material Component: A tuning fork which is struck against a rock.

Steam Burst

Conjuration (Summoning)

Level: Sor/Wiz 2, Drd 2

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)

Area: 20-ft.-radius burst

Duration: Instantaneous

Saving Throw: Fortitude half

Spell Resistance: No

The caster calls up a portion of elemental fire and elemental water and forces them together at the center of the intended area. The effect is a burst of superheated steam that scalds creatures in the area for 1D4 points of damage per caster level (maximum 5D4).

While the steam ceases to scald after the initial effect, vision is obscured in the area for 1 round per caster level (treat the effect as an obscuring mist). At the end of this time the elemental substances separate and return to their respective planes.

Material Component: A flame (such as produced by a lantern, torch or candle) and a few drops of water. The water is sprinkled on the flame as part of the casting.

Stone Bite

Transmutation

Level: Sor/Wiz 2, Drd 2

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels

Target: A stone surface

Duration: 1 round/level

Saving Throw: Reflex Negates

Spell Resistance: No

The caster selects a point on a stone surface, typically a floor or the top of a large rock, and transforms it into a fanged mouth of stone. The spell requires at least a five foot square of stone, otherwise the spell fails. The stone surface appears perfectly normal until a creature steps within the 5 foot square it occupies. The mouth then opens, attempting to bite the victim’s foot.

The bite attempt is made as a melee touch attack at the caster’s base attack bonus +2 (for the mouth’s strength of 14). If the hit succeeds, the creature takes 1D6+2 points of damage and the mouth then attempts to hold the foot in place. Treat the mouth as having Improved Grab-if it succeeds in its bite, it attempts to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. For the purposes of this ability, treat the mouth as a large creature.

If the mouth is attacked, treat it as a small animated object, as per the Monster Manual (except it cannot move and can only attack creatures that enter its square).

The spell can also be cast on earth or sand, but it is much less effective. The attack deals 1d4 points of damage.

Stone bite is a magic trap that cannot be disabled with the Disable Device skill.

Note: Magic traps such as stone bite are hard to detect. A rogue (only) can use the Search skill to find stone bite. The DC is 25 + spell level, or DC 27 for stone bite.

Material Component: A bit of clay indented with a mouth-like shape.

Water Sphere

Conjuration (Summoning)

Level: Sor/Wiz 5, Drd 5

Components: V,S,M

Casting Time: 1 standard action

Range: Close 25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels

Target: A single creature

Duration: 5 rounds/level

Saving Throw: None

Spell Resistance: No

You summon forth a mass of elemental water and shoot it in a stream at a creature. If you succeed at a ranged touch attack the creature is encased in the water. The water attempts to form a sphere shape and will extend at least three feet outwards from the creature, lifting it off the floor. The elemental nature of the water imbues it with an unnatural vitality: it attempts to stick with the creature and drown it. The creature within the sphere is under water and hence subject to the relevant effects (as per the under water combat rules in the Dungeon Master’s Guide).

Unless the creature can breathe under water or does not need to breathe, it will eventually begin to drown (as per the drowning rules in Dungeon Master’s Guide). The creature can be saved by magic that can grant it the ability to survive (such as a potion of water breathing), that removes it from the sphere (such as teleport) or by the use of Control Water. The creature can also be saved by mundane means-provided that a suitable breathing tube (at least three and a half feet long and solid enough to avoid being bent or crushed by the water) can be acquired (a creature using a breathing tube will need to hold it with at least one limb).

Material Component: A small quantity of water.

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