Posts Tagged With: Arcane Magic

The Source(s) of Magic

I am now reminded of another key and significant difference between 5e and 1e – where “magic” comes from.

According to 5e, all magic is the same and the different classes merely represent three broad methods for manipulating it – “Divine Magic” merely means that you see the act of manipulating the supernatural in terms of worship or veneration, while “Arcane Magic” means that you see it in terms of a science, while “Mysticism” means you view it as a more of an superpower or inherent ability.

All magic is magic, drawn from the same well. It is what makes the multi-class rules spellcasting rules work, and over all creates a simplified vision of the metaphysics underlying the game universe.

This is fundamentally different from 1e, where Divine Magic, Arcane Magic, and Psionics are quite different things. In 1e, Divine Magic is divine energy or mana that the cleric or druid channeled for their Deity. In fact, in the old nomenclature of Demi-, Lesser, and Greater Gods there were restrictions on the level spell that could be granted based on the power of the Deity – plus the higher level spell were granted (by daily prayer) either by a powerful minion of the Deity or by the Deity Itself.

Arcane Magic in 1e is pretty much like it is described in 5e, the individual caster learns how to manipulate the supernatural energies of magic through the use of formula that involve material, somatic, and verbal components. It’s a science, and the magic-users have learned it, and they are limited merely by their willpower to advance in level.

Psionics in 1e isn’t magic at all, it’s psychic abilities and operated on an entirely different premise.

But all of this just reaffirms the core differences underlying the rules and engine of the game. Now unlike, the Heroic Character of last post which I can totally get behind this “all magic is the same magic, drawn from the same well” is something that I’m not very enamored with. For example, in my old friend SD’s game, clerics were at a disadvantage if they were in an area where there wasn’t any worship of their Deity or there where no shrines or temples in Their Name. It made for an interesting thread in one bit of his campaign.

Currently, I’m experimenting with KR and her Druid/Wizard to allocate her spell levels like 1e instead of 5e. So instead of being a 1th level spell-caster with access to all of those spell-levels (including levels beyond what she can nominally cast save as boosted spells of lower level) we’re trying her out as  5th level caster and a 6th level caster whose spells are tracked separately and cannot “cross pollinate” as it were. It seems like it is working fine and if we don’t find any hidden problems that’s what I’ll stick with.

In any case, that’s my thoughts on the matter,

TTFN!

D.

 

 

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Animal Companion (Druid Spell) and Familiar Bond (Wizard Spell) (DnD 5e)

Animal Companion

2nd-Level Enchantment (Ritual)

  • Casting Time: 1 Day
  • Range: 20 Feet
  • Components: V, S, M (100sp of Charcoal, Herbs, and Incense that must be consumed in a fire)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

The Druid gains the companionship of a Beast of no more than CR½ that is present during the course of the ritual, popular animal choices include, but are not limited to, Black Bears, Boars, Deer, Hawks, Owls, Panthers, Ravens, and Wolves. A Druid of 11th level of greater may gain the companionship of a Beast up to CR1.

The Druid may speak with their animal companion at all times in a way similar to the Speak with Animals spell (q.v.)

The animal companion acts independently of the Druid and is a “boon companion” rather than a familiar or other similar spirit aide. In combat it rolls its own initiative and takes its own actions. The animal companion gains hit dice such that it always has the same number of hit dice as their Druid companion, and they are allowed either Ability Score Improvements or Feats at the same time as their Druids gain the same improvement. Their proficiency score is always equal to that of their Druid, and they may use the Druid’s Intelligence and Wisdom saves instead of their own

The animal companion remains with the Druid until death or until it is released – while amazingly hale and hearty it’s lifespan is not greater than that of its wilder brethren. Released companions often stay near to Druidic places of Power and act as guardians as the Druids take care of them in their final years. Additionally, nothing prevents a Druid from Awakening (q.v.) an Animal Companion – often making these guardians quite dangerous.

A Druid may only have one Animal Companion at a time.

 

Familiar Bond

2nd-Level Enchantment (Ritual)

  • Casting Time: 8 Hours
  • Range: 10 Feet
  • Components: V, S, M (30sp of Charcoal, Herbs, and Incense that must be consumed in a fire in a brazier)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

Unlike the 1st-Level Find Familiar (q.v.) which summons a spiritual “Fetch” to aid the magic user, the spell Familiar Bond creates an oath-bound alliance between the Wizard and an allied creature. Often performed with infant animals (or possibly with the animals parents in some cases), the spell creates an intense bond that cannot be broken save by either the violation of the agreement by the Wizard – these creatures rarely exceed CR½. In exceedingly rare cases, bonds may even be formed with Fey, Celestials, or Fiends if the Wizard can contact appropriately powerful entities from the appropriate Court to negotiate with – these creatures can be CR1 or possibly even higher if the oath’s are worthy of it.

The Familiar rolls its own initiative and takes its own actions. The hit dice of the Familiar is always at least equal to their Wizard, and the Familiar may always use the Wizards proficiency bonus as well. If the Wizards saves are better the Familiar may also substitute those saves for their own. The Familiar also gains Ability Score improvements and Feats at the same time as their Wizard.

The Wizard may communicate telepathically with the Familiar if they within 100 feet of each other, and they may also, as an Action, “ride along” with one or more senses of their Familiar (being oblivious to their own matching sense at while doing so).

The Familiar can maintain Concentration for one spell that the Wizard has cast as long as they are within 100 feet of the caster. The Familiar may act as the “point of origin” for purposes of range for the Wizard as long as they are within 100 feet.

If the Familiar takes damage, the Wizard takes an equal amount of Psychic damage (that bypasses any Resistance or Immunity). The Wizard is also Stunned for one round (Charisma Save, DC15, for no effect). If the Familiar is reduced to zero hit points then the Wizard immediately takes Psychic damage equal to the Familiar’s Hit Points (Charisma Save, DC15, Half Damage, other bypassing any Resistance or Immunity). They are also automatically Stunned for one round. Both Wizard and Familiar have Advantage on Death Saves while the other is still alive. If the Familiar is slain, the Wizard is affected as if by a Feeblemind spell (DC10+ Familiar’s Hit Dice).

A Wizard may only have one Familiar at a time, though they may also have a Fetch as summoned by the 1st-Level Find Familiar spell.

 

NOTE: Yes, a multi-classed Druid/Warlock/Wizard could have an Animal Companion, a Pact of the Chain Familiar, a Fetch, and a Familiar. If they were also a Ranger with the Beast Master Archtype they could also have Ranger’s Companion as well.

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Casting spells and wearing armor (5e)

So, as I go through the list of things that I like about 5e as compared to 1e, and things I like much, much better in 1e the whole concept of wearing armor and casting spells comes up. In 5e, this is simply a matter of proficiency – if you are proficient in the armor, then it doesn’t interfere in your spell-casting. Now, in 1e spell-casting and armor was severely limited and was one of the great balancers for non-human races, fundamentally for Arcane Magic.

Now, truthfully, there are all sorts of different flavors of Arcane Magic now (and we’ll ignore my “historical game” switched all sorts of things up, like Druids using Arcane Magic, blah, blah, blah…) but, in the quest to nerf the idea of level-dipping, and continue to add back at least some of the verisimilitude that made my campaign world make sense…

Divine Magic has no inherent limits on armor (just like 1e), it is simply a matter of the armor training you get from your class. A character Deity is happy to pump divine energy into you, whatever you’re wearing, as long as you’re doing “the right stuff”!

Arcane Magic is where it gets wonky…

Wizards, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, and Sorcerers may only wear only wear Ultralight Armor.

Bards and Warlocks may wear Ultralight and Light Armor.

Elves, High Men, Half-Elves, Sh’dai, Dwarrow, the Old Race, and Gnomes (this could expand as additional races are detailed) may wear non-metallic Light and Medium Armor and cast Arcane Magic, they may also wear enchanted metallic armor of the same types.

This gets us back to the image of locking wizards into specially-made suits of armor as a way to neutralize them without having to cut their tongues out or cut off their fingers and hands… It’s also the reason why these races are likely to get targeted first by tactically knowledgeable opponents, they are going to be assumed to be spell-casters, no matter what they actually are, and are perceived as mysterious, dangerous, and the most significant threat sans any more obvious target.

D.

 

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Dwarven Bardic Spell List

So, I’ve been in the midst of trying to figure how a Ilda, the Dwarven Bard, successfully made a “God-call” to get her out of a seriously nasty jam. In the process I was taking a serious look at the Bardic spell list in the Player’s Handbook as was struck at how odd some of the spells were for dwarves in my game world. The nice thing about 5E is that there is a unified set of levels for spells – spellcasters get nine, lesser spellcasters get five, and the quasi-casters (archtypes) get four. Also unlike 1E, spells don’t change level depending upon what class they are.

So, looking at the list, and thinking about Dwarves, here is their modified spell list:

  • Cantrips
    • Remove Dancing Lights, Minor Illusion
    • Add Produce Flame, Magic Stone
  • First Level
    • Remove Longstrider, Silent Image, Unseen Servant
    • Add Absorb Elements, Bless, Earth Tremor
  • Second Level
    • Remove Phantasmal Force
    • Add Arcane Lock
  • Third Level
    • Remove Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Major Image
    • Add Glyph of Warding, Meld Into Stone
  • Fourth Level
    • Remove Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Polymorph
    • Add Conjure Minor Elementals, Stone Shape, Stoneskin
  • Fifth Level
    • Remove Dominate Person, Teleportation Circle
    • Add Passwall, Wall of Stone
  • Sixth Level
    • Remove Programmed Illusion
    • Add Move Earth
  • Seventh Level
    • Remove Etherealness, Mirage Arcane, Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion, Project Image, Teleport
    • Add Antimagic Field, Antipathy/Sympathy, Reverse Gravity, Sequester, Symbol
  • Eighth Level
    • Remove Dominate Monster
    • Add Earthquake
  • Ninth Level
    • Remove True Polymorph
    • Add Imprisonment

So, as you can see, less illusion and transport spells, more spells with a rune or earth focus. I also pulled out the Dominate spells because they didn’t fit either.

TTFN!

D.

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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!

D.

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Investiture of Water (5e)

Investiture of Water

6th Level Transmutation

  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: Self
  • Components: VS
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 10 Minutes

Until the spell ends, water drips from the caster’s body and they stand in a small pool of water. The casters gains the following benefits:

  • They are Resistant to Fire and Acid
  • The caster may breath underwater and may Swim their normal Movement speed.
  • The caster may use their Action to raise a mist that creates Light or Heavy Obscurement as the caster choose (Reaction to change).
  • The caster may use their Action to transform themselves into water, fluid and amorphous. They have a Speed of 20, and are Immune to Melee or Missile damage in this form. They may not cast spells in this form.
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Magical Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Magical Languages: Spoken in the first Ages of Creation. These languages require a strong spirit, their misuse can have dire consequences. They are not considered to be within the same family at all and knowledge of one provides no ability to speak or understand another.

  • El’aum1: A language of elementals and growing things, El’aum is spoken primarily by the Loremasters and E’lin of the Fae Folk. It communicates beyond words and into the hearts and minds of those that hear them, being more telepathic in some ways than spoken for the ear. Learning the language requires direct communion with the spirits of the elements and the Aethyrs, and they are much more likely to parley with a speaker of El’aum than any other language. Rare is the mortal who learns its secrets, though the greatest of druids and the mightiest of mages have been known to do so. There is no written form of El’aum, though there are some commonly held and understood symbols that hold mystical and psychic significance. (Special)
  • Enochian2: The language of the angels, both the Host and the Fallen, it primarily a telepathic medium the auditory component of which sounds like a great Song or Chorus. It has no written form, though all who speak Enochian can also speak and read Aleph at a +5DC – a fumble means accidently speaking Enochian, which may cause some obvious problems. Enochian is a language of command, of warcraft and it is both inspiring and fear-inducing for mortals to experience. (None)
  • High Kens1: A language like no other, High Kens is considered the language of the Great Gods Themselves. It is the language that the Unborn murmur in their endless dreaming death. Enochian is a pale shadow of High Kens, and it holds all within its bounds that El’aum and Sh’aur contain, and more. It is impossible to lie in High Kens, and where the True Speech is of making, High Kens is made of understanding. (None)
  • Sh’aur2: A language of dark and fell syllables, it is spoken by those with an interest in dead things and topics lost in blood and shadow. It is spoken by the Diabolists and Witches of the Shadowlands, and mages who have fallen into to the study of Necromancy and Goetia. Rife with mystic and psychic potence, its words can summon the spirits of the dead, and can cause Fear or worse among those that hear them – ears bleed and hearts stop. It, Enochian, and High Kens are the only languages used in the Realms of the Dead. (Special)
  • True Runes2: The written expression of the True Speech, the True Runes are a graceful written language of runes and glyphs with a supremely complex and elegant syntax that seem to quiver to the eye, ready to explode into being. Mastery of True Runes in no way allows an individual speak the True Speech.
  • True Speech2: The language of magic, mages and dragons, the True Speech is the language of Making and its Words make up the fundamental building blocks of the universe. It is impossible to lie in the True Speech. Its words pierce illusion, break space, and it exceedingly difficult to pronounce correctly or understand without the proper training. The written form, True Runes, is a totally separate language.

——

1 Similar to True Speech and High Kens, these languages require a greater than average magical and psychic power to actually speak and use effectively. Individuals with no Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels have a +15DC penalty to use them, those with 1-3 Levels have a +5DC, and those with 4+ levels have no penalty.

2 True Speech and High Kens require a deep wellspring of magical and psychic awareness to speak properly. Individuals with no Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels have a +25DC penalty to use the language in any way. For those with 1-3 levels, it is a +10DC, 4-5 levels it is a +5DC, and those with 6+ levels have no penalties.

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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

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.

 

Leygates

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.

 

Mageport

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.

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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

When Mage Armor and Shield simply isn’t enough… (5e)

These are two of the more ubiquitous spells for Wizards, found in many codices and grimoires across the Mortal Realm. Even if not found within a wizard’s current codex, they are often among the first researched, begged, borrowed, or stolen as they advance in level.


Journeyman’s Hauberk

3rd-Level Abjuration (Ritual)

  • Casting Time: 5 Minutes
  • Range: Self
  • Components: VSM (100sp of Diamond Dust))
  • Duration: 7 Days

Perhaps one of the most ubiquitous of spells for the adventuring mage, Journeyman’s Hauberk sits firmly between spells like Mage Armor and Shield, and Mantle or Master’s Lorica as a standby of personal protection and utility. The spell has the following properties:

  • Grants a benefit of +4 to Armor Class
  • Provides a phantom 15 Hit Points, that absorbs or ablates damage.
    • If these Phantom Hit Points run out, the spell is dispelled.
  • The bearer of the spell benefits from a Protection from Evil enchantment
  • Absorbs Force damage
    • This damage “recharges” the phantom hit points granted by the armour at a 2:1 ratio.
  • The bearer of the spell has Advantage to all Saving Throws
  • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Magic by touch
  • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Illusion by touch

This spell is notable in that it requires a rather unique and unalterable material component that is perhaps its sole restriction on use by many mages, and that is 100sp worth of Diamond Dust is needed for each casting. The spell itself produces no visible effect (unlike, say, Phantom Armour) but it’s effects can clearly be seen or perceived by others when they come into play.  No other spells of a similar nature (Mage Armor, Protection from Energy, etc) can be used while this spell is in effect. The spell cannot be Dispelled, nor is it removed by Globes of Invulnerability, and is generally only able to be removed by actual anti-magical effects.

At Higher Levels: When the spell is cast using a spell slot of 4th level of higher it last for an additional day and has an additional 5 phantom hit points, for each spell slot above 3rd that is used.


Master’s Lorica

6th-Level Abjuration (Ritual)

  • Casting Time: 5 Minutes
  • Range: Self
  • Components: VSM (100sp worth each of Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, and Amethyst Dust)
  • Duration: 7 Days

An advancement and a refinement of the Journeyman’s Hauberk spell, Master’s Lorica as a standby of personal protection and utility, for Master-class mages. It is often considered a far more useful spell than Mantle given it’s simplicity and blanket protections. The spell has the following properties:

  • Grants a benefit of +7 to Armor Class
    • The bearer is also Immune to non-Enchanted weapons.
    • The bearer has Resistance to Slashing, Piercing, & Bludgeoning Damage
  • Provides a phantom 30 Hit Points, that absorbs or ablates damage.
    • If these Phantom Hit Points run out, the spell is dispelled.
    • The bearer may spend 1d4 of these phantom Hit Points to Dispel Magic on single enchantment by touch
  • The bearer of the spell benefits from a Protection from Evil enchantment
  • Absorbs Force damage.
    • This damage “recharges” the phantom hit points granted by the armour at a 2:1 ratio.
  • The bearer of the spell has Resistance to Fire, Cold, Thunder, and Lightning.
  • The bearer of the spell has Advantage to all Saving Throws
  • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Magic by touch
  • Allows the bearer of the spell to Detect Illusion by touch

Much like Journeyman’s Hauberk, the Master’s Lorica requires unalterable material components that is perhaps the sole restriction on use by many mages, and that is 100sp worth each of Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald, and Amethyst Dust is needed for each casting. The spell itself produces no visible effect (unlike, say, Phantom Armour) but it’s effects can clearly be seen or perceived by others when they come into play. No other spells of a similar nature (Mage Armor, Protection from Energy, etc) can be used while this spell is in effect. The spell cannot be Dispelled, nor is it removed by Globes of Invulnerability, and is generally only able to be removed by actual anti-magical effects.

At Higher Levels: When the spell is cast using a spell slot of 7th level of higher it last for an additional week and has an additional 10 phantom hit points, for each spell slot above 6th that is used.

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

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