Magic Item

Gift of the Ancients and the Shield of the Faithful

Nanietharil – Gift of the Ancients

A vest of Masterwork Leaf Armor made of overlapping layers of Ironwood carved into the form of tiny leaves. It’s dark hue is broken by a leaf-and-branch pattern of bronze and gold.


  • Proficient in Medium Armor
  • Survival Skill
  • Elven or Half-Elven Blood


  • +2 Ironwood Leaf Armor Vest (AC 13)
  • Resistance to Non-Magical Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning Damage
  • Considered Enchanted
  • Treated as Light Armor
  • May re-roll any Survival skill check, 1/day.
  • When wooded or grassy areas, the leaves shift in shape and hue to match the native flora.

Level Bonuses:

  • 5th: One with the Wild – Characters with the Animal Handling skill may use it with non-domesticated animals.
  • 6th: Walk Unseen – The character has Advantage on Stealth checks in natural surroundings.
  • 7th: Walker in the Wild – The character has Advantage on Survival checks.
  • 8th: +3 Ironwood Leaf Armor Vest (AC 14)
  • 10th: Voice of the Wild – 3/Day – May Speak with Animals as the spell.
  • 12th: Armor of the Wild – A character wearing this while using the Wild Shape class feature gains all the benefits of the armor.
  • 13th: +4 Ironwood Leaf Armor Vest (AC 15)
  • 14th: Predator’s Dash – Base speed increases by 10′ per round.
  • 16th: Shape of the Wild – A character with the Wild Shape class feature gains one additional use of this ability per day.

The Aegis Inviolable – Shield of the Faithful

A Kite Shield of Fine Quality and sized for a Medium creature made of fire-blackened steel. It is bordered in bright sunsteel, with the sunburst symbol of the same metal in the center.


  • Proficiency with Shields
  • Proficiency with Heavy Armor
  • Religion Skill
  • Good Alignment


  • +1 Kite Shield (+3 AC)
  • Considered Enchanted
  • The wielder is considered one level higher for the purposes of Turning and Destroying Undead as long as they already have that class feature.
  • When strapped onto the wielders arm, the sunburst symbol glows brightly. While not bright enough to provide any illumination, it makes it impossible to hide or sneak about unseen.

Level Bonuses:

  • 5th: Light Fortification – 25% to negate Critical Hits or Sneak Attacks
  • 6th: Energy Aegis – 1/Day – Can choose Resistance to a single type of energy as a Reaction, this last 1 round.
  • 8th: Holy Vessel – For Clerics and Paladins of Good Alignment, the Aegis Inviolate functions as their Holy Symbol.
  • 9th: +2 Kite Shield (+4 AC)
  • 10th: Protection of the Gods – 1/Day – The wielder may use the Shield of Faith spell.
  • 11th: Energy Aegis Inviolable – The Resistance (q.v.) becomes Immunity.
  • 12th: Medium Fortification – 50% to negate Critical Hits or Sneak Attacks
  • 13th: +3 Kite Shield (+5 AC)
  • 16th: Divine Ward – 1/Day – The wielder may invoke a Death Ward as a Reaction.
Categories: Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Druidic Foci and Tools (5e)

Druids as a character class actually cover a wide range of related, even similar but still quite different religions, commonly referred to as the Old Faith. Similar to Priestly Vestments, the tools and instruments of the Druids are a sign of their religious status as well as being regular ritual tools and foci. Of these, only the Torc, Crane Skin Bag, and Cloak are possible to be found used by related classes (such as Rangers or Bards of the College of the Old Faith) and the Druid’s tend to keep their secrets close. All of these items must be attuned, and while Druid’s themselves are not generally punished for losing such items – the uninitiated and thieves are often cursed or worse by the Old Powers.


Druid’s Cloak – Woven to be warm in cold weather and cool in the heat, the Druid’s Robes grant them Advantage on Survival Checks, these robes mark the wearer as a Druid. The robes also grant the Druid Advantage on Stealth Checks when in the wilderness. It also provides Resistance to damage from Beasts, and allows the Druid personal use of Invisibility to Beasts once between rests.

Druids Boline – Druids are steeped in tradition, and the boline is an ancient design – a curved, bronze blade that are used primarily for ritual work (Archdruids often have one made of Orikalkium). Enchanted to be as hard as steel, it is a Bane to Aberrations, Demons, and Lycanthropes. It is also used to harvest herbs and perform sacrifices – it is not to be used against mundane foes or for profane tasks. It can function as a Druidic Focus.

As Druids gain levels, they often increase the magical power of their tools and instruments, as in the following examples:

Druid’s Torc – An often ornate neck ring of bronze or precious metals with a variety of animal motifs worn by women, warriors, and those of higher social station. They are meant to be worn at all times, and are invariably damaged removed. The Druid’s Torc allows them to cast spells while wearing it in animal form during Wild Shape. It also increases the Spell Slots by one of each level. It also allows the use of Animal Friendship once per Long Rest.

Druid’s Crane Skin Bag – Traditionally made of crane skin in the Heartlands, the bag is a small repository of various small items of personal, mystic and spiritual significance for the Druid that must remain secret from all others. Of all the Druid’s Tools, this is the most precious as if it is held by another the Druid has Disadvantage in all things and the bearer has Advantage against the Druid in all things. If opened and scattered, the Druid loses all spell-casting abilities until the next new moon, and creating a new one (which generally does not remove the power of the old one) takes about two months per level of the Druid. It has a number of abilities:

  • It grants the Druid Inspiration, once between Rests.
  • It grants the use of the Guidance cantrip for the sole use of the Druid.
  • It allows the recall of a single Spell Slot, no higher than half the Druid’s level, once between Long Rests.
  • It can function as a Druidic Focus.
  • The Druid always knows where their Crane Skin Bag is.

Druid’s Anguinum – A small construct or occasionally a natural stone or crystal in the shape of an egg containing precious herbs and the essence of serpents, it is an aid to healing and herbalism. It provides Advantage on all skill checks related to healing and medicine (and, poison lore). It also allows the use of the Detect Poison and Disease ritual. It can be used as an Druidic Focus.

Druid’s Cauldron – Sometimes plain but more often ornate, the Druid’s Cauldron is a large container used in various rituals. In addition to these uses, it also has a number of other abilities.

  • It can Purify Water as a Ritual.
  • It can create a refreshing draught that can heal each member of the party once between Long Rests. This heals 2 Hit Dice worth of damage (without costing Hit Dice), removes a single level of Exhaustion, and cures Poison and grant Inspiration.
  • It can cast Scrying as a Ritual.
  • Grants Advantage to Alchemy Checks when used during the process.

Druids Staff – Traditionally two handspans in length taller than the Druid, the Druid’s Staff allows the use of the Shillelagh Cantrip on itself at any time. At its most basic the staff has the following characteristics.

  • Treated as an Enchanted, +1 weapon per five full levels of the character.
  • The staff does additional damage of an elemental type chosen by the Druid equal to their Proficiency bonus.
  • When held and planted on the ground, the Staff provides Advantage on Saving Throws against and Resistance to Arcane damage.
  • It increases their Spell Slots by one of each level.
  • It can function as a Druidic Focus.
  • The Druid always knows where their staff is located.

Archdruid’s rarely have any special items that mark them as being particularly different from lesser Druids. They are far more likely to simply have more puissant magic, and just generally more items at their disposal. Archdruids is less the actual term of strict hierarchical rank in this instance and more a term denoting the higher ranking Druids in their orders.

In the Heartlands, the Old Faith is a relatively structured with matching orders of male and female Druids and related groups of Rangers and Bards – with occasional Paladins and Warlocks in the mix, not to mention the occasional solitary Druid out in the woods, disconnected from any hierarchy. In Kistath there is a similar Old Faith that is focused on the Old Powers of the deserts, and in Ith you can find occasional, isolated shaman who follow their own path based on the spirits of the jungle.

Wood Elves are primarily Druid in spirituality, but like all elven spirituality it is often a more personal matter rather than an organized religion in the way that humans practice – but also with a strong connection to their Berserkers. That said, those E’lin who practice Druidry are highly respected and their Tools are often similar to those of human Druids – suggesting a strong connection. Instead of a Staff that are quite likely to use a Warspear instead.

Gnomes are also highly Druidic, worshipping a Great Mother and a Green Man with a respect for the Old Powers. Their tools are similart though instead of a Staff they common use a Wand of some sort it it’s place. They do not have the highly structured religion of humans, but do have an organized structure along clan lines.

Finally, some Khazan follow the Old Faith as well. Often a more bloody and dire sort, with Hunstman Archtype Rangers in attendance. Again, their Tools and Foci are often quite similar to other Druids, but they do not have an structured hierarchy or an organized religion.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Priestly Vestments and Foci (5e)

While the details and forms of the foci and instruments of clergy will vary considerably from religion to religion, there have developed a common set of vestments that different priests and priestesses use. These Vestments mark the wearer as clergy or as one of the related professions. Depending upon the religion it will likely even identify specific orders as well as a ranks and roles. Those who wear Vestments can include Paladins, and certainly there is the potential for some Archtypes with Divine magic to use them as well. These items require Attunement – and any divine servant that loses, mistreats, or misuses their vestments suffers Disadvantage at the very least until the wrong is righted, often Curses and other punishments plague such misfortunate priests. The creation of vestments is included in the training of most clergy, though examples abound of them being created simply be strength of faith and devotion itself. Similarly, the vestments of the most devout (or wealthy) priests may have additional abilities beyond those listed here.

All of the items are considered magical and have Advantage on all of their saves.

The Priest’s Holy Text – Most priests carry at least a basic copy of their religions Holy Text. The length and breadth of this can vary considerably from religion to religion, and the beauty and ornateness of the copy or edition can also vary – much like a Holy Symbol. The primary use of the Holy Text is as a teaching aid, and as a source of Inspiration. During a Short or a Long Rest, a any sufficiently devout individual can grant themselves Inspiration by reading and reviewing their Holy Text, a priest can do it for themselves and any other members of the same faith that are present.

The Priest’s Book of Rites – Many priests also keep a copy of their Book of Rites handy, as this is required to cast Ritual Spells. For many religions it also has the information for the proper ceremonies when performing marriages, last rites, naming and dedications, along with the creation of holy water, holy oils, etc. At their most basic, a Book of Rites contains only a handful of Ritual Spells as well as basic community rites, at great temples or seminaries these may be a huge tomes with Ritual Versions of each and every spell that a cleric could cast.

The Priest’s Holy Symbol – The most basic of a priest’s vestments, the Holy Symbol is a cleric’s basic Divine Focus. Some spells may require additional components, but the presence of a Holy Symbol is necessary for all Divine magic. The appearance of a holy symbol can vary considerably depending upon the wealth and social class of the cleric or temple it comes from. Unlike a Wizard’s Wand however, any of the devout may carry a Holy Symbol, and it’s mere presence does not confirm the bearer as a priest. A priest merely openly bearing or presenting a Holy Symbol benefits from Protection vs Good & Evil (and this is a common enchantment on Holy Symbols for the devout). A priest presenting a Holy Symbol and Concentrating, may invoke Sanctuary for themselves.

As Priests gain higher levels it is not uncommon for them to gain increased magical items such as the following:

The Priest’s Robes – The most commonly visible and obvious of the vestments, these come in many different version. From the cassocks of the Church of the Lords of Light, to the robes of the En Khoda Theos Kirk, to the mask of the priest of the Midnight Sun or even the blackened splint mail of Khazan shamans. Aside from clearly marking them as clergy, a priests robes allow the priest the use of the Shield of the Faithful once between Long Rests.

The Priest’s Prayer Beads – A length of beads, usually with a set number according to doctrine and faith, often of particular materials. They may be worn as a necklace, a bracelet, or even simply hanging from the belt or kept in a pouch. The faithful use Prayer Beads to guide their individual worship, both prayers and mediation. Priests may also use their Prayer Beads in two special ways. First, it allows them to maintain Concentration on one additional spell if held in the hand. Second, using it allows them a Divine Recovery after a Short Rest if that is all that they focus on. They may recover spell levels equal to half their level, none of them higher than 6th level.

The Priest’s Girdle – Generally in the form of a belt or cincture or some sort to wear around their Robes, the Priest’s Girdle is another of the Vestments that commonly mark the wearer as a priest – and the absence of which (much like Robes) may cause some to question the authenticity or veracity of the claimant. When worn, the Girdle allows the personal use of the Resistance cantrip if they do not know the it, and also grants them the effect of an Aid spell once between Long Rests.

The term “Archpriest” in this context means that the following items, as Vestments, are often reserved for specific ranks within a religious hierarchy – or that they can only be created and gifted by higher ranks. They are often reflective of the greater divine mandate that these priests have, and are often reserved for Clerics of 10th level or greater. Exceptions have been made in some cases, and for the particularly devout but lower ranked priests, they may find that their “lesser vestments” may take on some or all of these abilities as well. These are the equivalents of Bishops, Cardinals, Abbots, and similarly ranked religious figures.

The Archpriest’s Medallion – Often an ornate piece included in either a set of Prayer Beads, the Archpriest’s Medallion often commemorates some special event or personage. In the Church of the Lords of Light it might be one of the Elect, while in the En Khoda Theos Kirk it might some special crystal or stone from the site of a significant manifestation of one of the Great Dragons. When included as part of a set of Prayer Beads, it does not require separate Attunement. This is the one Archpriest item that is most commonly found in the possession of non-Archpriests – often gifted to favored priests and other members of the Faithful.

  • Can hold Concentration for one spell cast by the Cleric.
  • Can use a Bless once before requiring a Short or Long Rest.
  • Can use an Aid spell once before requiring a Short of Long Rest.
  • The Cleric gains one additional use of their Channel Divinity

The Archpriest’s Cloak – Often a more ornate and elaborate addition to the Priest’s Robes, this is often a short cloak or mantle such as chasuble or alb – though for some religions it can be nothing more that a veil.

  • Provides a bonus to AC equal to +1 per five full levels of the Cleric class.
  • The Cleric may use a Hellish Rebuke, but the damage is Radiant and the Save is Wisdom, once between Rests.

The Archpriest’s Pectoral – A large and ornate Holy Symbol that is worn on the chest as a reminder of the status and power of the Archpriest in question.

  • +2 to Armor Class (it is treated as a Breastplate)
  • Protection vs Good & Evil at all times
  • With Concentration can invoke Sanctuary as desired
  • The Cleric has Divine Favor.
  • The Cleric also radiates a Crusader’s Mantle

The Archpriest’s Signet – Essentially the religious version of a noble’s seal, an Archpriest’s Signet is a worn by those priests that hold high rank within their religious organization. These are commonly destroyed on their death of the priest that they were made for, though some faith’s pass them along to the next holder of the office. Using one without sanction is a guarantee of getting the attention of the church authorities – not top mention the Divine Power who sanctioned the item’s creation in the first place.

  • With members of their Faith, may issue a Command as a Standard Action.
  • Can use Bless as a Standard Action.
  • May use a Guardian of Faith once per day
  • The Cleric gains one additional Spell Slot for each Spell Level.
  • The Cleric gains one additional use of their Channel Divinity.

The Archpriest’s Crown – Like the Archpriest’s Signet (q.v.) the Archpriest’s Crown is a physical symbol of the priests spiritual and temporal might using a familiar secular symbol.

  • Members of the Faithful have Disadvantage on saves against the Clerics magic
  • The Cleric has Advantage when making Charisma check with members if the Faithful
  • Advantage on Saves against Enchantments.
  • The Crown gains one additional Spell Slot for each Spell Level.
  • The Cleric gains one additional use of their Channel Divinity

The Archpriest’s Sceptre – Often a symbol of both divine and temporal power, the Archpriest’s Sceptre is usually an ornate rod of office – though in some more blood-thirsty religions it may be an actual weapon and may then share some characteristics with a Sanctified Weapon (q.v.).

  • Treated as a Holy Symbol for purposes of casting spells.
  • Always treated, at a minimum, as an Enchanted Weapon.
  • Weapon damage can vary from that of a Club to a Warhammer.
  • Treated as a+1 weapon per five full levels of the Cleric class.
  • Does additional Radiant Damage equal to the Proficiency Bonus of the Cleric
  • Weapon Bonus also adds to Spell Strike and Spell Save modifier.

The Sanctified Weapon – Some faiths, as well as most religious orders of warriors (including Paladins), have deities which are closely associated with a particular weapon. These are actually able to be used by any member of the faithful, but holy law often reserves their use to Clerics & Paladins, or a few select others who are deemed the most worthy. Considered a Holy Weapon, these are often relics and highly prized by the Faithful.

  • Always treated, at a minimum, as an Enchanted Weapon.
  • Treated as a+1 weapon per five full levels of the character.
  • Does additional Radiant Damage equal to the Proficiency Bonus of the character.
  • Some are able to Smite as a Bonus action a number of time per day equal to their Channel Divinity (and recovered in a similar manner). Smiting a foe means that the wielder may add their level to the damage done (Radiant). On a Critical, this damage is doubled.

The Church of the Lords of Light uses all of these vestments, their Robes being a simple cassock (often in specific colors and design as guided by Rule and Rite), their Girdle is the typical triple-braided cord worn by all members of the faith, the Holy Symbol being an Argentos, and the Prayer Beads being simply that (and made from a variety if materials). Their Sanctified Weapon, commonly made of sunsteel, is either a fighting knife or a broadsword (less commonly a longsword and very rarely a battlesword or greatsword).

As befits the somewhat disorganized nature of the En Khoda Theos Kirk they are not particularly organized in their use of vestments. Their Holy Symbols, a Scale (usually of a drake, but rarely that of an actual dragon) combines the functions of both the Holy Symbol and the Girdle. Similarly, while some Dorje wear Robes with the standard effects, for others they wear a sash that (confusingly) combines the abilities of the Robes and Girdle (effects do not stack) – this is an ancient style preferred by the Dragonborn. Prayer beads are commonly carried, most commonly made of stone. Sanctified weapons are commonly mainly with the military religious orders of the Kenza, and are not nearly as common within the ranks of the Dorje. They do not, however, have holy texts, and while there are a series of philosophical treatises that can function in the same way as Holy Text there are no Books of Rites.

While the Heptarchy uses all of these vestments, the individual style depends upon the actual deity, few generalizations being able to be made. Holy Symbols are the solar and lunar symbols noted in the specific descriptions, and while Robes are worn by most of the clergy, for the priests of the Midnight Sun this is a Black Mask, while for the Daughter of Blood they a considered Robed if nude and covered with a least some freshly spilled blood. The Sister of Bone only has prayer beads of bone, while Mother of Pearl uses only pearls. Sanctified Weapons are most common among the followers of Sol Invictus (usually sword, spear, or lance), Sister of Bone (bone dagger), and Daughter of Blood (battle axe of some sort).

A Note On Damage: While the damage done is generally Radiant for religions that are Good or Neutral, some Neutral and most Evil will do Necrotic damage instead. For some Deities, especially those with an Elemental or Nature portfolio, the damage may be Fire, Thunder, Lightning, or even Poison. This is determined by the Dungeon Master.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kingmaker and Queen’s Brooch

So, just to throw some content out there – here are my conversions for the Legacy Magic items from Barrow of a Forgotten King and The Sinister Spire. It is interesting because of the lack of Feat progression in 5E, so I basically dumped that entire mechanic. I was also not much of a fan of the special ritual “unlocking” mechanic because I think it creates more work for the DM rather than opportunities for the player.

Yeah, there are at least a couple more coming along here once the players aquire them, and I’ll be sure to post those stats as well.

Merthúvial – The Kingmaker

A masterwork longsword made of shining adamant, with the runes of Aleph in spelling out Merthivial (or “Kingmaker”) along the blade. It has a plain hilt set with a single large pearl in the pommel.


  • Good or Neutral Alignment
  • Persuasion Skill
  • Proficiency in Longsword


  • +2 Adamant Longsword
  • Considered Enchanted
  • Has Advantage against all non-Adamant Armor
  • Does double damage dice (2d8, or Versatile for 2d10)
  • Has the Finesse Quality (weighs half normal)
  • When drawn and held, it glows with white light equal to a torch in strength. In combat this light becomes distinctly reddish in hue, though the brightness and intensity stay the same.

Level Bonuses:

  • 5th: Detect Thoughts – 1/Day
  • 7th: Strength of Kings – (+2 Strength while worn)
  • 8th: Loyal Servitor – (Continual Unseen Servant)
  • 10th: Merciful Redress – 3/Day – “Your Strength Shall Return” (Lesser Restoration)
  • 11th: +3 Bonus, Plus Keen (Doubles Chance of Critical)
  • 13th: Lordly Orator – Advantage on Charisma Skill Checks while Targets have Disadvantage to Resist
  • 14th: Expel From The Realm – 1/Day – “Begone!” (Banishment)
  • 16th: Loyal Minions – 1/Day – “To Me!” – (Monster Summoning V)
  • 17th: +4 Bonus, Adds Shocking (+1d10 Electrical Damage, doubled on Critical)
  • 20th: Kings Command – 1/Day – “Hear and Obey!” (Dominate Monster)

Spell Save DC’s are equal to 8 + Proficiency Bonus + Charisma Modifier + Weapon Bonus

Banrhialorg – The Queen’s Brooch

A Masterwork Brooch of unblemished gold, it features a draconic head with sapphire eyes and ruby tongue. Close examination reveals that faint lines and joins in the brooch and it’s chain form a sequence of arcane runes.


  • Arcane spellcaster
  • Arcana skill
  • Female


  • When an arcane spellcaster uses the brooch, the sapphire eyes flash with lightning and the ruby tongue burns with fire, shedding light like a candle. The wielder can suppress this effect with a reaction, but must do so each time the brooch is used.
  • The wielder may also double the duration of up to three spells each day as a Reaction.

Level Bonuses

  • 5th Level: Arcane Cipher – Can use Detect Magic, Read Magic, and Arcane Mark as a normal Action.
  • 6th Level: Arcane Alacrity – The wearer can memorize and prepare spells in a third of the normal amount of time.
  • 10th Level: Arcane Resistance – The wearer has Advantage on saves vs. Spells.
  • 13th Level: Arcane Persistence – The wielder can double the duration on up to an additional three spells that they cast as a Reaction daily.
  • 14th Level: Arcane Repulsion – The wielder has Resistance to magical damage.
  • 16th Level: Arcane Reserve – The wielder can store up to three levels of spells in the brooch.
  • 17th Level: Arcane Acumen – Grants a +6 to Spell Save DC and Spell Attack Modifiers. In the event that the wielder has multiple arcane classes they must pick one class that the bonus applies to.
  • 20th Level: Arcane Empowerment – The wielder can increase the power of up to three spells that they cast per day. This increases the range, damage, area-of-effect, and duration by 50%.
Categories: Campaign, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Song of Samael

Of course, the other joy (and Lovecraftian tradition) of Call of Cthulhu is making up your own eldritch tomes full of mind-shattering cosmic horror. The following is what I came up with as an alternative to the Necronomicon for a multivalent “ultimate tome of horror” – I generally prefer a game that is more focused on the Elder Gods rather than the Great Old Ones, and even when I focus on the GOO’s I shy away from Cthulhu because he tends to be done to death.  In any case, as with the Oer Linda Book, part of the fun with doing this sort of thing is detailing out the various versions of the book through the ages. With a Necronomicon-like book this is (as you see below) much more than the simple editions (which is essentially what the Oer Linda Book was written up as). This is a collection of closely related tomes which all deal with the same eldritch mystery across both time and cultures. I actually have notes on three or four more related texts (including at least two more modern ones, this was originally written for a Classic Era campaign) that I haven’t detailed yet, those will form a new post in the future.


The Song of Samael

Song of Samael is a complex allegory poem that is considered one of the great lost Gnostic source materials. It discusses the great song of creation and destruction that the Demiurge, the great blind God, sings as surrounded by his servants at the center of Creation – in the chaos that comes without awareness or wisdom. Portions deal with the place of humanity in creation, the nature of the four-fold world, and the multiple emanations of the Demiuge that both plague and inspire humanity, through the Fall of Man as well as the hope of his Apotheosis. Some scholars have recently questioned a possible connection between the Song of Samael and the Massa di Requiem per Shuggay though no definitive proof has ever been unearthed. Similar relationships have been posited with the Dhol Chants.

Singing Across the Centuries: A Historical Analysis of the Song of Samael.

Produced shortly before the Great War in 1911, this text was derived from the doctoral thesis of Dr. Samuel J. Wight, who is currently associated with the newly created Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Obscure in nature, it is generally only found on the shelves of university libraries, though a few have found their way into private hands.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d3, Unnatural: +1/+2, Occult, Anthropology, & History Checks, 3 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 9)
  • No Spells

Joachim Feery’s Notes on the Canticum Yaldabaoth:

One of Mr. Feery’s last pamphlets, this was published in English in 1903. Similar to his Notes on the Necronomnicon, this consists primarily of translated portions of the Latin text with a series of annotations and footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d6, Unnatural: +1/+3, Occult: +2, 6 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 12)
  • No Spells

The Song of the Creator

Translated in 1900 from the Greek Āisma Dēmiourgos by Dr. W. J. Spencer-Knowles, it was the culmination of a twenty project on his part at the end of his career. Considered a brilliant and accurate translation, though often disturbing due to bleak projections on the nature of the universe, a freak fire destroyed most of the copies at the printers and there has been little demand for another printing run. Thirteen copies are thought to have survived, which are found in university libraries for the most part.

  • (English: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +2/+3, Occult: +2, 12 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 15)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Vorvados, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

The Song of Bind God Sammael – Hear the Roar of the Lion-Faced Serpent

Privately published in London in 1898, the author remains unknown. The run of one-hundred and one volumes bound in black leather and printed in a curious silver ink is difficult to read and a comparison of the different volumes shows subtle differences. It is unknown if this is purposeful or if it is a printing error. Given the generally high quality of the printing it is thought that there is some meaning to the differences though no-one has ever managed to gather to enough of different volumes together to manage viable a textual analysis. This translation seems to derive from a combination of the Greek and Latin texts, and there is little else in the text other than a somewhat terse introduction and some fragmentary footnotes.

  • (English: Sanity: -1d6, Unnatural: +2/+6, Occult: +5, 12 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 24)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Vorvados, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Voorish Sign

Ballade du Dieu Aveugle

Transcribed in 1354 by the Comte de Montange, the “Ballad of the Blind God” during the terrible times of the Black Death after listening to cries of the dying in the rural regions around Langeudoc. This octavo was barely published before being denounced by the church, with all copies banned and then many burned. A significant number survived however in the hands of the Inquisition as they searched out similar sources of heresy, and a similar number remained in private hands as well.

  • (French: Sanity: -2d4, Unnatural: +1/+2, Occult: +3, 20 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 9)
  • Spells: Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Testament des Zeichens der Löwe-Gesicht Schlange

This 917 version is a handmade copy of a now lost version that dated from the time of Charlemagne. The “Testament of the Sign of the Lion-Face Serpent” was ordered by the Holy Roman Emperor himself. It records the tale of the destruction of a pagan cult of blind singers by the warriors of Charlemagne and the interrogation of the few survivors. Replete with details of human sacrifice, sexual perversity, and bestiality it has always had an unsavory reputation. Only three copies are known to exist, one in private hands and one each in library of the University of Munich and Heidelberg. Rumors persist that the original is contained within the Z Collection of the Vatican Library.

  • (Old High German: Sanity: -2d4 Unnatural: +2/+4, Occult +6, 30 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 18)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Canticum Yaldabaoth

This version, the “Song of the Son of Chaos” dates to the Crisis of the Third century, and was recorded by members of Imperial Cult who saw the changes and chaos of Imperial Rome and its court as endemic of the Emperors. It’s authorship is attributed to Vibius Lartius Priscus, a black magician and sorcerer of that time period. The earliest known manuscript has been dated to the reign of Philip the Arab (244-249 C.E.), and is usually dated to 248. Speculation remains rampant among scholars as to the possible association of the Philip the Arab in the establishment of the Yaldabaoth Cult. Secret and hidden, some scholars suggest that it is a resurgence or survivor of the Imperial Cults associated with Caligula and Nero while others insist that Philip brought it to Rome from Persia. The British Museum and the Huntington Library in California are known to have copies, as does the Z Collection of the Vatican. At least two copies are known to be held in private collections. There was an excellent copy at the University of Prague prior to the Great War but it disappeared during the conflict.

  • (Latin: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +3/+6, Occult: +4, 36 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 27)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling

Āisma Dēmiourgos

Fragments of this version, which translates as the “Song of the Demiurge” date to the chaos of the Persian invasions around 500 B.C.E. Contemporary accounts speak of the hymns of damned priests from Persia in the vanguard of some of the Persian armies, as well as their unholy rites and orgiastic frenzies that they indulged in. Written and recorded by scholar Argyros the Delian with a series of commentaries on the Greco-Persian Wars, this work is a gigantic and complex text that includes a significant alternate history of the Delian League and elements of the Persian Court. Hints at terrible alliances within the Greeks and foul bloodlines among the Persians run concurrent with the Argyros’ rendition of the Song of the Demiurge. Copes of this are exceedingly rare, the only complete one known being held at the British Museum.

  • (Ancient Greek: Sanity: -2d6, Unnatural: +3/+7, Occult: +5, 52 Weeks, History Check – Mythos Rating: 30)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call Vorvados, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Vorvados, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling, Elder Sign, Eye of Light and Darkness, Vach-Viraj Incantation, Voorish Sign

Shir Ha-Samael

The original and lost version of the Song of Samael, there are several scholars who are positive that this version is forever lost though fragments have been found that confirm its existence. There are obscure references to this song throughout many obscure texts and it scholars believe that the original Shir Ha Samael dates to roughly 1000 B.C.E. Abd al-Azrad mentions in the Kitab Al-Azif to listening to a choir of 666 blind monks and nuns who sang “hymns to the daemon sultan” accompanied by unseen flautists who piped with maddening monotony in the nights of the Empty Quarter. Knowledgeable occultists agree that this is a reference to the dreaded Song of Samael.

  • (Ancient Aramaic: Sanity: -2d8, Unnatural: +4/+9, Occult: +6, 64 Weeks – Mythos Rating: 42)
  • Spells: Call/Dismiss Azathoth, Call/Dismiss Daoloth, Call/Dismiss Nyarlathotep, Call/Dismiss Tulzscha, Call/Dismiss Yog-Sothoth, Contact Azathoth, Contact Daoloth, Contact Nyarlathotep, Contact Tzulscha, Contact Yog-Sothoth, Summon/Bind Dimensional Shambler, Summon/Bind Servitor of the Outer Gods, Dread Curse of Azathoth, Shrivelling
Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A different or additional resource management for magical items

I’ve been reading the new Dr. Strange comic (which I highly recommend if people like either comics or Dr. Strange) and then saw a splash panel elsewhere of the comic book character Ilyana Rasputin holding the Eye of Agamatto and thought about how many magic items are described as having a cost, or are exhausting to use. Now, currently D&D uses some combination of the X/uses between a Short/Long rest to describe this and that’s certainly a reasonable way to do so, but it also doesn’t capture the sense of “exhausting” that I’m thinking of.

One way to do this is by activations or uses casting Hit Points. The problem with this is that there is also a trope about some magic or magical items needed blood or wounds to be used and for all the talk about Hit Points representing more than physical damage, they are still closely linked to that in most players minds. So again, the flavor is off.

So, how about Exhaustion? There is actually a condition mechanic for this in 5E – my problem with this is that the Exhaustion condition is very debilitating to characters and with six levels of it you simply die. So while this is a valid use of the Exhaustion condition, I would want to save it for the most powerful (or cursed) of artifacts or effects because the penalties are likely to cause many players from using the item or effect in question.

What I had actually thought of was using Hit Dice!

This makes Hit Dice a multi-use resource (always a good thing in my mind) that forces a player to choose between “useful effect now” and “healing later”. It increases as levels go up (so high level characters have more uses, something that I’m a fan of). I also think that Hit Dice as a concept is removed enough from Hit Points in that it can be equated to “endurance” or “exhaustion” as opposed to damage – especially since Hit Dice are regained through Long Rests.

Hit Dice are also generic enough to conceptually valid for Arcane Magic, Divine Magic, and Psionics. The cost can even be scaled if the DM desires so that smaller effect costs 1HD while a large one might cost 5HD or whatever (also neatly creating a minimum level for certain uses). This also opens up the idea that some items might allow (or even require) multiple characters to contribute HD to create an effect (especially for those big and flashy ones).

There is also nothing preventing a DM from using both Hit Dice and Exhaustion for really powerful items – or simply as the limiting factor in low magic campaigns. One could create items that have a Hit Die cost over multiple Long Rests. Something like a 1HD cost each day while a multi-day effect is running, or a 5HD cost that decreases by one after each Rest (or Long Rest).

In any case, I hope someone out there can get some use out of this. I’m certainly going to experiment with it myself!


Categories: Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Fun Piece of old Cthulhu Lore – The Oera Linda Book

There is a long and proud history of using real-world occult texts (and mystery texts, and plain old cypher texts) in the Call of Cthulhu RPG – as well as people using the titles of Lovecraftian tomes for real world texts in return. What this means is that it is actually relatively hard to find a book that hasn’t been used already. I stumbled over the Oer Linda Book years ago and found it perfect for a game I was running at the time. Links are included at the bottom for more information on the real-world editions.

The Oera Linda Book

An ancient manuscript that was held in the family of Over de Linden family for generations, its existence was revealed in 1867 by the master shipwright Cornelis Over de Linden who inherited it from his grandfather via his aunt. The book describes the destruction of Atland (Atlantis) in 2194 BCE, and the subsequent history of the Frisian people.

The book describes the history of a matriarchal culture of folk-mothers who rule over celibate priestesses of goddess Frya. This goddess generated through a series of virgin births twelve men and twelve women who formed the progenitors of the Fresian race. After living with the Fresians for seven generations and giving them a series of laws to live by, Fyra ascended to the stars of heaven while a terrible flood and nearly wiped out humanity and civilization. Favored by Heinrich Himmler, and sometimes referred to as “Himmler’s Bible” it posits a Northern European origin for several Middle-Eastern civilizations and includes a doctrine of racial purity.

The complete known text is comprised of three primary parts, the letter of Hidde Oera Linda (dating to 1256), The Book of Adela’s Followers (dating to the 6th Century BCE) which is compiled of contemporary and ancient writings, and Frya’s Tex (dating to 2194 BCE), which gives the laws as set down by the Goddess Fyra. Two additional sections are included towards the end of the book, the writings of Konered and Beden, but these are often incomplete and the book itself breaks off mid-sentence.

The Various Editions:

The Lost and Complete Version: A collection of loose pages in a folio, it is written in the same Old Fresian cipher as the 1256 Manuscript. Suitable to be found and used in Cthulhu: Dark Ages game…

  • (-1d6 Sanity; +0/+2 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 21 weeks – Mythos Rating: 6)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra), Fryra’s Blessing (Perfection), Fryya’s Mead (Brew Dream Drug), Fryya’s Message (Dream Vision)

Thet Oera Linda Bok (1256): The original manuscript consists of a series of loose pages, written in a cipher of Old Fresian. It is currently held in Tresoar, Frisian Historical and Literary Center in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, 16 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)
  • Contains: Contact Fryra (Yidhra)

In 1872 the book was first translated and edited in Dutch as Thet Oera Linda Bok. Naar een uit de handwriting dertiende Eeuw by Dr. J.G Ottman, a prominent member of the Frisian Society for History and Culture, after being rejected by Eelco Verwijs, the provincial librarian of Friesland. It was published by H. Kuipers.

  • (-1d3 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +4 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Shortly thereafter, in 1876, William Sandbach translated the book into English, The Oera Linda Book: From a Manuscript of the Thirteenth Century, but worked strictly from the Dutch translation by Ottema, evidently never referring to the original, and having some heavy Christian biases. It was published by Trübner & Co.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +3 Occult, no spells, 2 weeks – Mythos Rating: 3)

In 1933, Herman Wirth translated a version of the book into German, Die Ura-Linda-Chronik. Übersetzt und mit einer einführenden geschichtlichen Untersuchung. More propaganda than scholarship, this version is rife with additions and interpretations to support his already existing theories of Atlantis and Aryan origins. It was published by Koehler & Amelang. Note that rumors abound regarding the personalized and annotated copies of Wirth, Himmler, and other Nazi leadership.

  • (-1d4 Sanity; +0/+1 Unnatural, +5 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: 3)

In the aftermath of World War II, the work was largely left alone until Robert Scutton translated a new abridged version in 1977, The Other Atlantis: Astounding revelations of the secrets of Atland, long-lost imperial capital of the North. In English with a lengthy commentary and introduction.

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

Finally, since 1983, there has been a cheap and easy to find translation by Frank H. Pierce IV, commonly found and used by various and sundry occultists and Neo-Aryans as a research tool and support as it supposedly a complete and unbiased translation of the original. The Oera Linda Book: Translated from the Frisian

  • (-1d2 Sanity; +0 Unnatural, +2 Occult, no spells, 1 week – Mythos Rating: N/A)

The Wikipedia Entry:

Excellent site, with pictures of the entire original manuscript:

The 1872 version:

Interesting site with pictures of the 1933 Wirth edition – and with an amusing bit of DGML connection…

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Waystones, Leygates, and Mageports

There are the three somewhat ubiquitous forms of instantaneous magical travel available, Waystones, Leygates, and Mageports. Each of these have their unique and limitations and advantages, and they can be found scattered throughout the Mortal Realms. Wizards and Priest certainly have individual spells that allow for magical transport such as Teleport and Word of Recall but these were



Waystones are large rune-inscribed monoliths situated along the various Dragon Paths and other sites of magical power. The runes that adorn the Waystones glow with the eldritch energies that power them in hues of brilliant sapphire blue. Several different networks have been created over the ages by various empires, kingdoms, and organizations, most notably the time of the Serpent Kings, the Fae, the Great Cities, the White Empire, Albion and the Wars of Binding, etc. All of these groups and time periods have seen the rise of Waystone networks that have allowed fast and stable travel by those with a either certain basic level of skill and who own a Waykey, or both. Their creation involves a huge investment of skill, time and Essence which has insured their rarity. With a few very notable exceptions, Waystones are limited to transport within the same Realm.

At the most basic, any individual may own and use a Waykey to travel by Waystone. Touching the Waykey to the Waystone, they and whomever they are physically touching are instantly transported to whatever destination Waystone is encoded into the Waykey assuming the following three conditions are met:

  • Both Waystones belong to the same network.
  • Each person so transported must use Arcane energy equivalent to a single first-level spell, plus another first-level spell per total number people transported. E.g. two people equals three spell levels each, three people means four spell levels each, and so on. This Arcane energy can come from any combination of different level spell slots as long as the correct number of spell levels is supplied. Distance or size is not a factor in any way, and this can be supplied via Heartstone or other extrinsic source.
  • For every 50 lbs of non-living matter that a person is carrying it costs 1 spell level of Arcane energy, and this cost is born by each individual being transported equally. E.g. Two people have a total of 100 lbs of gear, it will cost each of them 2 additional spell levels to transport (a total of 5 spell levels apiece when including the cost for a two person jump). The material to be moved must be carried.

Waykeys may have multiple Waystones encoded into them (and they may be added at later dates), and networks may have “Masterkeys” which allow access to any Waystone in the network. Finally there are various and sundry smaller networks of Waystones that make up the larger networks. Rumors also exist of Waykeys that allow the use of any Waystone, irrespective of its network, and the Navigator Guild is reputed to have built “Multi-Keys” that have access to multiple networks. It should also be noted that there are various spells which allow for the locking and trapping of Waystones. Most kingdoms require maintenance of the local Waystone networks to be part of the duties of the Mage’s Guild or the Navigator Guild.

Cost for a Waykey is generally in the neighborhood of 100 Gold (2000sp), and they can be purchased in most cities and large towns with a mage’s guildhouse. The cost for adding another destination to a Waykey is roughly 10 Gold (200sp) and requires that the mage have a thorough understanding of the runic inscriptions on the destination Waystone something which usually requires travel to that location if an exemplar is not already in their possession.



Easier to create than a Waystone, though considered slightly more dangerous, Leygates are also connected to the web of Dragon Paths as well as the Aethyrs. Leygates can be of any size, though the greater the “door size” the more expensive they are to create in terms of Essence and time. The size is defined by a frame of two pillars, stones, or some such, with stone or other item defining a lintel and sill (the essential piece is to define four points. Permanent Leygates are among the most memorable of sights, often created of pillars of rune-inscribed stone and metal, or even such sights as the Gates of Horn and Ivory that link the city of Harrow to the Shadowlands, created from the bones of dragons, gods, and angels. Temporary Leygates can even be created by mages through spells and ritual though it usually requires the sacrifice of both of their kris and their wand in the process.

Travel by Leygate is similar to that of Waystones. Leygates have a single destination, though some rare spells allow for a mage to step in a Leygate and arrive at a some different destination than normal. Some Leygates are timed to specific circumstances that allow travel, or may have different destinations depending upon the circumstances in which travel is attempted (this is actually the creation of multiple Leygates with specific limitations using the same frame rather than a single Leygate with multiple possibilities). Unlike Waystones, Leygates can “easily” be linked to the other Realms – assuming the creator has the skill and knowledge.

There is minimal in Arcane energy to the use of a Leygate, and it merely requires a Very Easy Arcana and Wisdom checks and a flicker of Arcane energy equivalent to a Cantrip in order to activate it (incidentally restricting their use for the most part to mages, though there are Leykeys which will open a Leygate). The problem is that the Leygate only remains open for a one round, though in that time period anything that can pass through the gate is allowed. It takes three rounds for a Leygate to open, and this is accompanied by displays of crackling energy and the tang of ozone – it is anything but stealthy. Anyone may also “hold the gate open” for additional rounds, but each additional rounds requires another roll on each skill, each increasing in difficulty by one factor. After opening, for any amount of time, a Leygate remains shut (save through the exertion of significant magic) for at least 10 minutes of time for every round that it was open.



The term “mageport” describes a set teleportation device, usually in the form of a flagstone or other flat service that is inscribed with visible or invisible runes. Permanent mageports require a fair amount of skill and Essence to create, and require nothing more than the expenditure of five spell levels of Arcane energy (in any combination of spell slots) and an Easy Arcana check in order to operate (they are, for all intents and purposes, a matrixed Teleportation Circle spell). Mageports can have as simple or as elaborate of restrictions on their use beyond the basics needed to operate them – but operate in an instantaneous manner, rather than over two rounds. At the moment of activation all things within the boundary of the Mageport, up to a ten foot diameter, but more commonly sized for a single person, travel instantaneously. The travel is always safe with no chance of a mis-teleport – the permanent nature of the enchantment and location providing the safety.

Mageports are generally utilized only by mages or those with an appropriate magical item and unless somehow limited, a mage can use any mageport to travel to any other mageport. The cost in Arcane energy is the same, no matter what the distance, as long as the mage knows the destination. An Arcane spellcaster merely needs an Very Easy Perception check to discern a mageport after searching an area. A Mageport is Nearly Impossible to notice in passing.

Categories: Campaign Development, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Tools and Instruments of the Wizard (5e)

Humans wizards and those trained by them or in their traditions, have developed a selection of tools and instruments that even beginning wizards start their careers with. This includes Sorcerers and Warlocks, as well as Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters – though only Wizards use Grimoires and Codices or gain any benefit from the spells contained within. Their training represents quite an investment of time and energy on the part of their Master, and the world at large is often even more hostile to wizards than it is to other adventurers. As a result, part of the training of a Wizard involves the creation or attunement to their Foci. This investment has the unfortunate effect that any opponent who holds a Wizard’s Wand, Kris, or Staff (or Orb or Wizard Blade) gains Advantage against that Wizard’s spells and other magical effects. Any Wizard who has their Wand, Kris, or Staff broken or destroyed suffers 1d4 Psychic damage per level – these items have an AC of the appropriate material, Hit Points equal to 2x the Wizard’s level, a Damage Threshold equal to the Wizard’s level, and Resistance to non-magical weapons. A Wizard’s Wand, both Kris, and Staff must be Attuned items. The same is true for Orbs, Wizard Blades, and Wizard Aegis or any other similar or related item.

The Wizard’s Grimoire – All Wizards maintain a Grimoire in which they record their spells and other arcane formula. In appearance it can vary immensely, from a collection of loose papers and scrolls to the most impressive of tomes, bound in dragonskin and with black adamant bindings. Learning a new spell and transcribing it into a Grimoire takes two hours and 50sp per level of the spell, copying a spell you already know into a new Grimoire only takes 1 hour and 10sp per level of the spell. A standard Grimoire has roughly 100 pages, and each spell take up one page per level of the spell.

The Wizard’s Codex – These are the basic instructional manuals of magic, with a selection of easy to understand and basic spells of varying levels depending upon the Codex itself. The spells and other arcane secrets contained within them reveal the beliefs and attitudes of the creator about the proper development or practices of a wizard at the various levels. There are numerous examples of a Codex, from the ponderous and ubiquitous, ten-volume Codex Magic, to the Sefer Ratziel of the Church of the Lords of Light, or even the classic Book of Seven penned by the great mage Dulain. A wizard always begins play with a basic Codex as determined by the DM.

Both the Grimoire and Codices are Resistant to all damage types, and they are Immune to Fire and Arcane damage. They have Advantage to save against all spells or spell-like effects.

The Wizard’s Wand – The Wizard’s Wand is their primary arcane focus (Components are a backup). It can have a variety of appearances, from a simple wooden implement to an ornate creation of adamant and diamond to a solidified creation of elemental fire. In any case, a Wand as an Arcane Focus replaces the need for Components and the possession of one invariably marks the bearer as a Wizard.

The Wizard’s Kris – A wizard’s kris are two double-edged daggers, they could be bodice knives, they could be fighting knives, the style depends upon the wizard in question. There is a white-handled kris and a black-handled kris, the white is for physical and mundane threats, the black is for spiritual and magical threats. They can be used for offense and defense, in combat or otherwise. Each are specifically enchanted against those threats (the white is treated as Coldsilver Enchanted Blade, the black grants the wizard the effects of a Protection vs Good & Evil spell while drawn and held). A Kris is also an Arcane Focus, and can substitute for a Wand if need be. It is quite common for wizards to layer enchantments upon their Kris, increasing them in potency as they advance in level – it also common for a wizard to replace them over the years with more substantial creations.

It is not uncommon for higher level mages to have even more puissant resources such as the following.

The Wizard’s Staff – The Wizard’s Staff is, in some ways, their most puissant instrument aside from their spells themselves. It combines the abilities of the Wand to aid in the casting of spells and those of the Kris to protect the mage and act as a weapon. This potency and utility comes with a price however, a wizard who has created a Wizard’s Staff but does not hold it or another Arcane Focus (other than Components) has Disadvantage when casting spells and saving against magic. The benefits:

  • Allows use of the Light Cantrip.
  • Treated as a+1 weapon per five full levels of the Wizard class.
  • Provides an AC bonus equal to half the Proficiency Bonus of the Wizard.
  • Can hold Concentration for one spell cast by the Wizard.
  • The Wizard gains one additional Spell Slot for each Spell Level.
  • The Staff may be summoned to the Wizard’s hand if the Wizard is 9th Level or greater.
  • The Wizard always knows where their staff is located.

The Wizard’s Orb – Similar to the Staff, the Wizard’s Orb is a puissant magical instrument in its own right. It functions quite similarly to a Staff, and has the same potential problem. A wizard who has created a Wizard’s Orb but does not hold it or another Arcane Focus (other than Components) has Disadvantage when casting spells and saving against magic. The benefits are as follows:

  • Allows use of the Light Cantrip.
  • Act’s as a Crystal Ball.
  • Can hold Concentration for one spell cast by the Wizard.
  • The Wizard gains one additional Spell Slot for each Spell Level.
  • The Orb may be summoned to the Wizard’s hand if the Wizard is 9th Level or greater.
  • The Wizard always knows where their Orb is located.
  • Is always controlled as if under the effects of a Mage Hand cantrip.

A Wizard Blade – A rarer instrument, a Wizard Blade is a combination of a Wand, Kris, and Staff, usually in the form of a Shortsword or Longsword. Much like a Staff or Orb a wizard who has created a Wizard Blade but does not hold it or another Arcane Focus (other than Components) has Disadvantage when casting spells and saving against magic. The benefits of using a Wizard Blade are the following:

  • Allows use of the True Strike Cantrip.
  • Always treated, at a minimum, as a Coldsilver, Enchanted Weapon.
  • Treated as a+1 weapon per five full levels of the Wizard class.
  • Does additional Force Damage equal to the Proficiency Bonus of the Wizard
  • Can hold Concentration for one spell cast by the Wizard.
  • The Wizard gains one additional Spell Slot for each Spell Level.
  • The Wizard Blade may be summoned to the Wizard’s hand if the Wizard is 9th Level or greater.
  • The Wizard always knows where their Wizard Blade is located.

A Wizard’s Aegis – A term for a somewhat ubiquitous magical item that has protective and occasionally offensive properties. The most basic forms consist of a broad gorget, commonly made of precious metals in a serpent- or dragon-scale pattern or motiff with a stylized representation of some fearsome, supernatural beast on the front. More advanced forms of the Aegis also include a cuirass of shining, metallic scales that cover the chest and upper arms of the wearer (AC11). Occasionally an Aegis includes a matching ephaptis (fighting cloak) made of a similar leathery and metallic scales (AC12) that can be used by Wizard.

  • The Wizard is under the Effects of Blade Ward Cantrip at all times.
  • The Wizard has Resistance to Force damage.
  • Provides a bonus to AC equal to +1 per five full levels of the Wizard class.
  • The Wizard has Advantage on saves versus Spells and Magical Effects.
  • The Wizard may use a Hellish Rebuke, but the damage is Psychic and the Save is Wisdom.
  • The Wizard may cast Fear once, with 15’ radius Area, usable again after a Short Rest.

Elves do not use or create Wands, either not needing them or preferring to use a piece of jewelry as an Arcane Focus. Their Wizards have Longknives that operate as both Kris combined, and while some use Staves, others (especially their Eldritch Knights) have a sword or occasionally a spear that functions as a Wizard Blade. Instead of Grimoires they use Crystals that record the formula, and many of their Codices are in similarly strange and wondrous forms.

Sh’dai do use and create Wands but invariably create and use Wizard Blades rather Staves early in their career. Their most powerful Wizards often craft a full complement of instruments and tools, unlike human wizards which often omit a Wizard Blade. Rather than Kris, they create a dark weapon known as a Fellblade that functions as both Kris combined.

Dragonborn have a long history of Arcane study, and live and breath Arcane energies as part of their essential nature. As a result of this, both Sorcerer and Monk levels count for purposes of determining the power of their Staff (and these are commonly used). They use a peculiar tri-bladed form of Kris that are otherwise identical in function (though they are also known to make them in a Shortsword format), and as noted in their description they have no need for an Arcane Focus so they rarely if ever make or use Wands. The Dragonborn record their spells in a variety of idiosyncratic methods (scrolls and tomes, flame sculptures, wind chimes and mobiles, etc), making it difficult to make any statement about Grimoires in specific.

Categories: Campaign Development, Game Design, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sefer Ratziel and the Cherev Enoch (5e Codices)

Continuing in the vein of the Codex Magica, these are the two most common tomes for those mages from the Society of Light and who study within that tradition:

The Sefer Ratziel: Also known as “The Book of the Lord Sc. Ratziel”  this codex is reputed to be the transcribed words of the Lord Sc. Ratziel, Archangel of the Supreme Mysteries and Preceptor of Enoch. It is considered the most basic and at the same time most complete book on magic that is used within the Society of Light. Comprised of seven tractates, the book covers a series of basic instructions on not just magic, but the nature of the Heaven and the organization of the Host, and a variety of other esoteric subjects. Most commonly found as series of scrolls, there are printed versions in books that are often organized differently. (Cost – Special)

  • Cantrips: Light
  • 1st Level Spells: Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Conjure Fetch (aka Find Familiar), Protection from Evil & Good
  • 2nd Level Spells: Arcane Lock, Continual Flame, Darkvision, Gentle Repose
  • 3rd Level Spells: Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Magic Circle, Remove Curse
  • 4th Level Spells: Arcane Eye, Banishment
  • 5th Level Spells: Contact Other Plane, Planar Binding
  • 6th Level Spells: Sunbeam, True Seeing
  • 7th Level Spells: Project Image, Symbol

The Cherev Enoch: Also known as the “Sword of Enoch” this is a small but dense text that is available to those mages of the Society of Light that also act as the warriors of the Light (as opposed to more cloistered mages). It is not considered a replacement for but rather a supplement to the Sefer Ratziel. Terse in text, the Cherev Enoch is focused on incantations of personal offense and defense, and almost bereft of the sort of spiritual and ethical guidance that is contained within the Sefer Ratziel, as such it is only granted to those members of the Society who are deemed to be suitable for its teachings.  (Cost – Special)

  • 1st Level Spells: Mage Armor, Shield, Blaze
  • 2nd Level Spells: Magic Weapon
  • 3rd Level Spells: Journeyman’s Hauberk
  • 4th Level Spells: Blade of Light
  • 5th Level Spells: Spiritual Blade
  • 6th Level Spells: Master’s Lorica
  • 7th Level Spells: Sword of Light

The tomes of the Society of Light are written in complex coded allegory, itself in a mixture of Enochian and both Istarian and Kistathian depending upon the source. As such they also depend upon the mystical and occult revelations that come from advancement in the Society of Light to truly understand. Mages cannot gain the access to the spell formula until they would normally be able to cast it, and deciphering the tomes takes double the time as it normally would. For mages who are not members of the Society of Light they must be able to cast the next spell level (so if attempting to learn a 3rd rank spell they would need to be 7th level rather than 5th) and the time needed to decipher the tomes is doubled again.

Categories: Campaign Development, House Rules, Magic Item | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at