Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some spells from the world of Zu

Note: these come with a bunch of heavy houserules which I'm not going to explain right now. Suffice to say, 5th is the maximum spell level, some spells can be cast at different levels for a different magnitude of effect, and Hit Dice go up to 5 for PCs. Just go with the flow and if you like the idea, twist the rules as you will.

Abject Flight

Casting this spell for the first time is typically an unforgettable experience for the apprentice wizard, and not in a good way. As soon as the incantation is finished, he will experience nausea and the feeling of something living moving upwards in his windpipe. Within a few seconds, one or several unsettingly large dark grey moths crawl out of his mouth and take flight. The moths will follow simple orders (along the lines of which way to go and in what general manner to behave) and emit a weak aura of despondency. When cast at higher levels, a larger number of moths is conjured and the aura grows in strength proportionately. This is a variable level spell, with the following modifiers:

Level 1- 1d4 moths
Level 2 - small cloud (~man-sized)
Level 3 - large cloud (engulfs a group of people)
Level 4 - engulfs several houses
Level 5 - engulf a village
+1 level (so harder to cast) - The caster can see the world through the moths’ eyes, perceiving it in fragmented, multi-angular images.
+1 level - Instead of hopelessness, the moths emit an overhwelming aura of fear and panic.
+1 level - The moths gain the ability to follow highly specific orders. (E.g.: "Fly down that street, at the square enter the big grey building through the third window from the left on the second floor, and flutter around anyone who wears a shiny headdress, but keep clear of people wearing blue.")
-2 levels (so easier to cast) - Whenever the weather is overcast.

Critical failure: The caster becomes a six foot long moth for 1d6 hours.
Double critical failure: The caster summons a humongous (carriage-sized) moth from a realm of greyness. It has 5 HD, an energy draining touch, emits an aura of fear and every round it shoots a death beam from its eye that causes 1d6 points of damage. It is hostile to all, especially the caster and whoever stands close to him.

Harbingers of the Waning Sun

A more directly violent version of Abject Flight, this spell conjures up a cloud of middle finger-sized red hornets. These also manifest through the caster's mouth but will not harm him. If spread loose, the cloud will cause 1 HP per round of damage to everyone inside it; if kept in a tight swarm, the damage will be 1 HP per round for each level of the caster. The spell is of a variable level, with the same basic levels as above and the following modifiers:

+1 level - Stung victims must make a save or temporarily be driven mad by the hornet poison. Poisoned victims will attack everyone and anyone in sight for a few minutes.
-2 levels - Whenever the spell is cast during sunset, since the harbingers are easier to summon in the presence of the Waning Sun.

Critical failure: the caster becomes a six foot long hornet for 1d6 hours.
Double critical failure: the caster summons a giant hornet with 5 HD, an aura that causes everyone nearby to save or go berserk, deadly poison, and a 2d6 damage bite attack. If the setting sun is visible, the hornet will attempt to snatch the caster and carry him away through the solar disk into a corrupted segment of th Empyrean Realm.

Malediction of Ruin

This slow-acting but inexorable spell has been responsible for the destruction of fortresses and even entire cities. The caster pronounces an alien word of ruinous power, whose echo will linger on in the area of the casting indefinitely - possibly for centuries or even millenia - and can be heard by an astute listener when the area is otherwise silent. The echo accelerates the natural disintegration of structures, statues and other man-made constructions tenfold. So great is the power of this word that the caster must instill some of his own life essence into it, losing 2 points of a random attribute; this can be regained later by unspeaking the word in the same location and thus halting the process of quickened decay. A risk-taking wizard might be able to unsay another caster’s malediction, thus gaining the life force originally expended in the spell and adding those two points to his own attributes. This, however can only be tried once with a single occurence of malediction. If the attempt is a failure, that wizard must gain a level before trying again.

Level 1 - Affects a roughly house-sized area.
Level 3 - Affects a village, a small town, or a single quarter within a city.
Level 5 - Affects an entire city-sized area.
+1 level - The disintegration process is quickened a hundredfold instead of tenfold.
+1 level - When unsaying a previously cast spell.
+1 level - When unsaying another caster’s spell (cumulative with the above).

Critical failure: The spell s stuck inside the caster, causing him to lose 1 HP per day and age unnaturally fast, with any sort of healing magic only being half effective. No sure cure is known other than the intervention of sufficiently powerful Blood Demons or Astral creatures - and such are hardly ever helpful.

Double critical failure: The caster accidentally pronounces an entire sentence of ruinous power, summoning the Astral Horror called The Dweller Among Ruins. This creature looks like a giant winged humanoid comprised of immaterial substance, like an elaborately shaped blind spot filled with mind-aching static. It has 15 HD and four attacks per round which cause 2d6 HP damage each. It is one hair's breadth away from attacking outright, and a wizard who knows how to distract Horrors might be able to engineer an escape... maybe.

More later, along with a few paragraphs on the setting of Zu.

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