Open Game Content: New 2nd Level B/X-OSE Arcane Spells, and Twists on Existing Spells
|"The Kichi Family Have |
Magical Scrying Pools,"
by BiPiCado is licensed by
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I got a lot of good feedback as well as views on my list of 12 new 1st-level B/X (and Old School Essentials) D&D spells. I posted those just one week ago, and yet that post already has more views than any single post I made in 2019 and more than half of the posts I made last year. As I mentioned last time, writing (and reading about) spells is not really my favorite thing with regard to RPG writing and creating, so this was a bit surprising to me.
Interestingly, during this past week, a creator in a D&D Facebook group to which I belong asked when writing, if creators write straight through, even when they get stuck or are writing something they don't particularly enjoy, or whether they skip around. I mentioned that, for the project on which I'm currently working (a Sorcerer supplement for Old School Essentials, with a new sorcerer class, new spells, and notes on new magic stuff for an OSE or B/X D&D game), that I'm forcing myself to write each section in order, because right now in going through the spells, it's been slow going and I keep looking at the things toward the back of the supplement that I'm more excited about, but I'm using those sections as a "reward" for finishing writing the spells. My instincts tell me that if I skipped past the spells to write the sections I'm more looking forward to, that I would never come back and finish the spell sections, and the supplement would end up sitting on its virtual shelf, never to be published. The person who posed the question mentioned that he does the same thing, but wasn't sure if it was the best approach.
For this batch of 2nd level spells, I did include some variations on some spells that are now common in D&D, but aren't actually part of the standard B/X spell list. That's why you'll see a version of the spell Spider Climb in my list, but since it doesn't exist in B/X or Old School Essentials, I re-named it and switched up some of the effects of the spell. Those who are well-versed in the history of D&D spells may notice a few other spells in my new list that have similar origins, whereas others I created without any existing inspiration.
In a different D&D-related Facebook group just yesterday, someone else asked where designers and creators got their inspiration for creating aspects of their campaign worlds, and whether those inspirations went beyond the fabled "Appendix N" from the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Of course, long-time readers of my blog will know that gaining inspiration from a variety of non-standard sources has been a main theme of my blog since the beginning - in addition to world history, I've also been inspired by comic books, 80's TV shows, movies, non-fiction books about holidays, beer, and how six different beverages changed the world, and even a custom set of action figures created by a guy who placed Star Wars into a Victorian setting that he calls "Steam Wars," among others.
I bring this up because one of the inspirations for one of the spells I'm posting below came from driving to grocery store earlier this week and an old 80's song by Tears for Fears, "Broken," coming up on the radio. At the time in my head I had been going over the new spells I wanted to write, and the song inspired me to write a spell about magic being "broken."
MAGIC: OPTIONAL WEIRD EFFECTS
One last thing before getting to the spells - I've been thinking a lot about the "flavor" of B/X and Old School Essentials spells, mainly that it's pretty non-existent. This is really a feature, not a bug, as I've always felt that the intent it to keep the spells more generic so that a referee can change the flavor to suit the campaign world that's being used. As such, I plan to slightly re-write the 1st level spells I wrote last week and put some of my "consequences" into a separate section of the spell that I'm going to call "Optional Weird Effects." The flavor text will still be there, but it will be separated from the main description of the spell so that a referee could use the spell without the "baggage" of my flavor text and instead replace it or change it as desired. These effects are mainly to introduce interesting complications and role-playing opportunities. As with the 1st level spells, I'm going to present twelve new 2nd level spells first, and then show a few altered standard spells.
As always, I really appreciate people's comments, suggestions, and even criticisms. These are sort of like a "first look" beta-test for things that I'm working on, and I'll keep revising and improving them as needed.
2nd Level Arcane Spells
Duration: 1 turn
Range: The caster
The caster gains spider-like features (eight eyes, additional limbs up to eight total, and fine hair all over the body).
- Climbing: May climb vertical surfaces and travel along ceilings at half normal movement rate
- Hands and feet: Must be free
- Objects: Cannot wield weapons or use items in this form, and objects weighing less than 50 coins stick to the caster's hands and feet
- Spider understanding: Understands the language of spiders
- Charisma penalty: Suffers a temporary -4 penalty to Charisma
Duration: 4 turns
- Arcane spells: Casters must save versus spells each time they attempt to cast a spell in the radius
- Failed save: The spell the caster was attempting is removed from memory as if it had been cast
- Leaving the radius: Casters who move outside the spell's radius may cast again normally
- AC bonus: +3 to the caster's AC
- Summoned chaotic creatures: Appear fearful of the caster and must save versus spells to attack
- Threatening: -2 penalty to NPC reaction rolls against lawful creatures (see Encounters in Core Rules)
- Magic weapons: Are required to hit the subject of the spell
- Disappear: Into a mass of fog or smoke
- Combat: May not cast spells or attack
- Movement: Cannot slip through cracks but has the weight of fog, so will drift gently down if stepping off a cliff or ledge
- Wind: Can move or push the subject against the subject's will
- Control weather spell: The subject must save versus spells or be killed by a magical tornado effect
- Blindness: 1d4 +1 rounds
- Damage: 1d6 +1 HP
- Sleep: 1d4 + 1 rounds (can be awakened by jostling or shouting in the ear)
- Sluggishness: Movement is at half speed and always goes last in the round for 2d4 rounds
- Demi-human abilities (pick one only): Infravision, detect construction tricks (as Dwarf), detect room traps (as Dwarf), listening at doors (as Elf), detect secret doors (as Elf), immunity to ghoul paralysis (as Elf), hide in undergrowth (as Halfling)
- Ability score: Any ability score that is higher than the caster's current score
- Saving throw: Any single saving throw that is higher than the caster's current save
- Movement: The caster's soul form can pass through solid objects but is block by magical barriers
- Senses: The caster's soul can view things but cannot hear, speak to, or interact with them
- Encountering other spirits and souls: The caster's soul can interact as normal, including combat, but death during the soul journey traps the soul, killing the caster's physical form
- 2 or less: the entity haunts the caster. hating having been called forth to do the caster's bidding, and the caster suffers a -1 to attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks for 1d4 rounds
- 3-5: The entity curses the caster, inflicting a -1 penalty on the caster's next roll, and then disappears
- 6-8: The entity returns to its home dimension
- 9-11: The entity bestows a boon upon the caster, granting a +1 bonus to the caster's next roll, then disappears
- 12+: The entity remains for 1d4 rounds and opens any other stuck or locked doors during that time