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Spells

Spells and Spellcasters

Spells are powerful invocations that use esoteric hand gestures combined with eldritch spoken words to bring about otherwise impossible effects. Like characters, spells have levels that measure how powerful they are. For instance, some spells are 1st level spells, and some are 2nd level, and so on. Lower level characters can learn only lower level spells, while higher level characters can access more powerful, higher level spells.

Spells may be cast only by characters of special classes, collectively called spellcasters or casters. There are two types of spellcasters: divine spellcasters and arcane spellcasters. The divine spellcasters described in this rule book are clerics, bladedancers, and dwarven craftpriests, while the arcane spellcasters are mages, elven nightblades, and elven spellswords. Some rules will apply only to one type of spellcaster, while others apply to both types. If a rule does not specify a particular type of spellcaster, it applies to both divine and arcane spellcasters.

Casting Spells

During any single day, spellcasters can cast the number of spells of each level indicated on the Spells Progression table for their class. Unlike other fantasy games, in Adventurer Conqueror King, spellcasters do not have to “memorize” or “prepare” their spells in advance; they can choose which spells to cast at the time of casting from among any and all the spells in their repertoire (see below). Once spellcasters have cast all of their available spells for the day, they must have 8 hours of uninterrupted rest and one hour of concentrated study or prayer before they can cast again.

All spellcasters need to be able to move their hands and speak in order to make the gestures and say the magical phrases that bring magic effects into being. As a result, a spellcaster cannot cast spells if he is gagged, his hands are tied, or he is in an area under the effects of a silence spell. Spellcasters may take no other actions during the same round they intend to cast a spell. As described in the Initiative section, a PC must announce the intention to cast a spell prior to initiative being determined at the beginning of a round. Should an opponent successfully deal damage to the character or if the character is required to roll a saving throw and fails prior to casting a spell, the spell is disrupted and fails. The spell still counts against the character’s spells per day as if it had been cast. Finally, in most instances a spellcaster must have the intended target of a spell within visual range (unless otherwise noted), whether the target is a specific monster, character, or area of effect.

Spell Repertoire

The spells available to a spellcaster are called his spell repertoire. Despite the similarities in how they cast spells, arcane and divine spellcasters have very different spell repertoires and learn their repertoire in very different ways.

Divine Spell Repertoire

Divine spellcasters receive their spells directly from the deity they serve. Their spell repertoire automatically includes each spell of each level they can cast from the spell list made available to them by their deity (but not necessarily every divine spell in existence). Each day, generally in the morning, a well-rested divine spellcaster simply needs to pray for at least one hour in order to be able to cast these spells. Of course, the divine spellcaster may be expected to pray more than this in order to remain in his deity’s good graces!

The Cleric Spell List represents a general list of spells that might be provided to clerics of powerful gods with broad spheres of influence. Because clerics gain their spells from a specific deity, however, the exact spells available for any given cleric could instead include a variant selection from this list combined with spells drawn from other sources; for instance, a deity devoted to healing may refuse to grant their cleric’s reversed healing spells, but might offer special curative spells available only to her clerics. Just because a spell is listed below as a divine spell does not necessarily mean it is available to every cleric. The Judge will determine which spells are appropriate for any given cleric based on the power he serves.

The Bladedancer Spell List is an example of a spell list for a divine spellcaster designed around a specific deity (the Goddess of Love and War).

Arcane Spell Repertoire

Arcane spellcasters have only a limited repertoire of spells. The base number and level of spells in an arcane spellcaster’s repertoire is equal to the number and level of spells he can cast per day. The number of spells of each level in the repertoire is increased by the caster’s Intelligence bonus. For instance, a 3rd level mage is able to cast two 1st and one 2nd level spell per day. His repertoire is two 1st and one 2nd level spells. If he has 16 INT (+2 modifier), then his spell repertoire is increased to four 1st level and three 2nd level spells.

A formula for each spell in an arcane spellcaster’s repertoire is recorded in his spell books. Periodically the caster reviews his spell books to refresh himself on the various taboos, rituals, and star signs he must remember about each spell in his repertoire. A blank spell book costs 20gp and has 100 pages. Each spell formula in the repertoire takes up one page per spell level in a spell book. Spell formula are accumulated over time and are useful if the caster wishes to change his repertoire (see below).

While a mage generally has the formula for every spell in his repertoire, the reverse is not true; an arcane caster might have possession of a spell formula without having it in his repertoire. For an arcane spellcaster to have a spell in his repertoire, he must keep track of complex astrological movements and star signs that are constantly changing; he must daily appease various ghosts and spirits that power certain dweomers; he must remember and obey special taboos that each spell dictates. All of these strictures, and they are many, can vary with the season, the lunar cycle, the caster’s location, and more. Having a spell in the repertoire is thus an ongoing effort, like maintaining a friendship or remembering a song. Mages may collect spell formula from many sources, but only the most intelligent and learned arcane spellcasters can maintain a repertoire of more than a few spells at a time.

Starting Spell Repertoire

A 1st level arcane spellcaster starts the game with a base of one 1st level spell in his repertoire. The Judge should select an appropriate spell for the arcane spellcaster to begin with. Charm person, light, magic missile, protection from evil, or sleep are good choices. If the mage has an INT of at least 13, he may start the game with additional 1st level spells in his repertoire, up to his Intelligence bonus. For each point of Intelligence bonus, the player should roll 1d12 to randomly select another other spell from the arcane spell list. If the character rolls any duplicates do not re-roll; he will begin play with less than the maximum permitted spells in his repertoire.

Example: Quintus is a 1st level mage with INT 16. His spell repertoire can be up to three 1st level spells. For Quintus’ first spell, the Judge selects sleep. Quintus then rolls 1d12 on the arcane spell list and scores a “9”. He adds read languages to his spell repertoire. Quintus then rolls 1d12 again and scores an “11”, learning sleep. Quintus already knows sleep, but he doesn’t get to roll again. Instead, Quintus will begin play with just sleep and read languages in his repertoire. He can add the extra 1st level spell to his repertoire once play begins.

Adding New Spells to the Repertoire

As they advance in level, arcane spellcasters can add new spells to their repertoire in a few different ways. All mages and elven spellswords are assumed to be members of the local mages’ guild, or apprenticed to a higher level NPC. When they gain a level of experience, they may return to their masters and be out of play for one game week per spell while they are adding new spells to their repertoire. Their masters will teach them spells equal to the number and level of spells the caster can use in a single day. Characters of 9th level or above do not have masters to teach them spells, so they must find or research them. When a master is not available, mages and elven spellswords depend entirely on finding spell scrolls, finding other spell books with new spells in them, or conducting spell research.

If a new spell is found on a scroll, or another arcane spellcaster’s spell book, it may be added to the arcane spellcaster’s repertoire if the character can still learn new spells of that level. If the spell is of too high level to be cast, it cannot be put into the repertoire, but it may be saved to be put into the repertoire in the future. It takes one week of study to add a spell to the character’s repertoire. Scribing a spell from a scroll uses it up in the process, but copying spells from a spell book does not erase spells from the book.

Scrolls and spell books are complex and esoteric, and usually written in obscure or dead languages. A scroll or spell book can be read only by the spellcaster who created it, or by an arcane spellcaster who can read the language the scroll or spell book is written in. An arcane spellcaster can use read languages to read a scroll or spell book in an unfamiliar language.

Example: Quintus can understand the Common, Classical, and Archaic languages. While on an adventure, he finds two scrolls, one written in Draconic and one written in Archaic. Quintus can read the scroll written in Archaic, but he cannot read the scroll written in Draconic except through the read languages spell. Quintus gives the Draconic scroll to his friend Thord, a dwarven craftpriest who reads Draconic. Unfortunately, Thord cannot read the scroll either, because he is not an arcane caster.

Sometimes an arcane spellcaster’s spell book will either be lost or destroyed. Each week he goes without access to his spell books, an arcane spellcaster loses one spell level from his repertoire, until eventually he knows none at all. An arcane spellcaster can rewrite the spells through research and memory at a cost of 1 week of game time and 1,000gp for each spell level. For instance, if two 1st level spells and one 2nd level spell are replaced, it will take 4 weeks and 4,000gp. This activity requires complete concentration, and a character doing this work may not engage in any other activity for the time required.

An arcane spellcaster who already has a full repertoire of spells may sometimes wish to replace one spell in his spell repertoire with another of equal level. It costs 1 week of game time and 1,000gp for each spell level to replace a spell in the repertoire with another. For instance, if one 3rd level spell is replaced, it will take 3 weeks and 3,000gp. This activity requires complete concentration, and a character doing this work may not engage in any other activity for the time required. The mage must have a copy of the spell formula for the new spell. Replacing a spell in the repertoire does not cause the character to lose the formula of the replaced spell.

This practice commonly occurs when a spellcaster gets access to more useful spells than what he currently knows, or when a particular adventure requires a spell the caster doesn’t normally use. Powerful arcane spellcasters generally build large libraries of spell formula and scrolls so that they can replace the spells in their repertoire with new spells when the situation calls for it. For instance, an arcane spellcaster confronting a pack of gorgons might wish to learn stone to flesh in preparation for the encounter. Given enough time, an arcane spellcaster can prepare for almost any challenge.

Example: Quintus is a 1st level mage with INT 16. He is eligible to have three 1st level spells in his spell repertoire. Over time, he has added read languages, shield, and sleep into his repertoire. He finds a grimoire holding magic missile and decides to replace shield with his new find. (That is, Quintus decides to stop actively monitoring the various stars, spirits, or taboos associated with shield so he can instead pay attention to those associated with magic missile). This costs 1 week of game time and 1,000gp. In game terms, he now has read languages, magic missile, and sleep in his repertoire, but no longer has shield in his repertoire, and therefore cannot cast it. However, he still possesses a copy of the formula for shield, so should it prove necessary he can replace one of his 1st level spells with shield at a later time following the same procedure by which he just replaced shield with magic missile.

The Arcane Spell List, below, is a sample of the more common spells known to the practitioners of the arcane arts. It is by no means a complete list, for arcane spellcasters are a secretive lot that do not share their knowledge easily; and many spells that were once known have been forgotten, existing only in dusty tomes and rare grimoires, or in the minds of slumbering undead lords.

Reversible Spells

Some spells, marked with an asterisk (*) on the spell lists, can be cast reversed. A reversed spell results in an effect that is opposite to the effect the spell normally causes. For example, when a mage casts flesh to stone, he can turn a flesh-and-blood creature into stone. But when a mage casts the reverse spell, stone to flesh, he can restore a creature that has been petrified back to life. Where it is not self-evident, the spell descriptions below will explain what reversed spells do. If a spell name is not marked with an asterisk, the spell is not reversible.

Mages and other arcane spellcasters treat the normal and reversed version of a spell as separate spells. In general, divine spellcasters will know both the normal and reversed form of any spell on their spell list. However, Lawful divine spellcasters prefer to cast spells in their normal form, e.g. favoring bless over bane, and restore life and limb over finger of death, and will use the reversed forms only against Chaotic opponents. Conversely, Chaotic divine spellcasters will freely cast reversed spells such as finger of death, while using the normal version only to aid comrades and followers. Some divine spellcasters may be restricted entirely by their deity from using normal or reversed versions of particular spells (Judge’s discretion).

Spell Signatures

While spells have general effects that are common to all who cast them, the specific sensory effects associated with the spell will vary from caster to caster. This specific sensory effect is known as the spell signature. A spellcaster should write a short description of the signature for each spell he can cast. For arcane spellcasters, the signature may be based on a particular school or style of magic, or simply be a reflection of the spellcaster’s personal taste. For divine spellcasters, the signature reflects the caster’s relationship with his deity. A character’s choice of proficiencies can be suggestive of appropriate spell signatures.

Example: Sargon pursues necromantic magic and has the Black Lore proficiency. His player decides that all of Sargon’s spell signatures will revolve around death. His magic missiles appear as shards of bone. His sleep spell places targets into a nightmarish slumber where they dream of Hell. His lightning bolt is crackling blue-black energy. His wall of stone has the appearance of tombstones graven with the names of the dead.

Characters with the Sensing Power proficiency will sense the spell signature of arcane casters up to 24 hours after a spell has been cast. Characters with Collegiate Wizard or Theology proficiency may be able to identify particular schools or faiths by their spell signature (proficiency throw 11+).

Arcane Spell List

First Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Charm Person
2Detect Magic
3Floating Disc
4Hold Portal
5Light*
6Magic Missile
7Magic Mouth
8Protection from Evil*
9Read Languages
10Shield
11Sleep
12Ventriloquism

Second Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Continual Light*
2Detect Evil*
3Detect Invisible
4ESP
5Invisibility
6Knock
7Levitate
8Locate Object
9Mirror Image
10Phantasmal Force
11Web
12Wizard Lock

Third Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Clairvoyance
2Dispel Magic
3Fireball
4Fly
5Haste*
6Hold Person
7Infravision
8Invisibility 10′ radius
9Lightning Bolt
10Protection from Evil, Sustained*
11Protection from Normal Missiles
12Water Breathing

Fourth Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Charm Monster
2Confusion
3Dimension Door
4Growth of Plants*
5Hallucinatory Terrain
6Massmorph
7Polymorph Other
8Polymorph Self
9Remove Curse*
10Wall of Fire
11Wall of Ice
12Wizard Eye

Fifth Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Animate Dead
2Cloudkill
3Conjure Elemental
4Contact Other Plane
5Feeblemind
6Hold Monster
7Magic Jar
8Passwall
9Telekinesis
10Teleport
11Transmute Rock to Mud*
12Wall of Stone

Sixth Level Arcane Spells

d12Spell
1Anti-Magic Shell
2Control Weather
3Death Spell
4Disintegrate
5Flesh to Stone*
6Geas*
7Invisible Stalker
8Lower Water
9Move Earth
10Projected Image
11Reincarnate
12Wall of Iron

Divine Spell List (Cleric)

First Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Command Word
2Cure Light Wounds*
3Detect Evil*
4Detect Magic
5Light*
6Protection from Evil*
7Purify Food and Water
8Remove Fear*
9Resist Cold
10Sanctuary

Second Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Augury
2Bless*
3Delay Poison
4Find Traps
5Hold Person
6Resist Fire
7Silence 15′ radius
8Snake Charm
9Speak with Animals
10Spiritual Weapon

Third Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Continual Light*
2Cure Blindness
3Cure Disease*
4Feign Death
5Glyph of Warding
6Growth of Animals
7Locate Object
8Remove Curse*
9Speak with Dead
10Striking

Fourth Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Create Water
2Cure Serious Wounds*
3Dispel Magic
4Divination
5Neutralize Poison*
6Protection from Evil, Sustained*
7Smite Undead*
8Speak with Plants
9Sticks to Snakes
10Tongues

Fifth Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Atonement
2Commune
3Create Food
4Dispel Evil
5Flame Strike
6Insect Plague
7Quest*
8Restore Life and Limb*
9Strength of Mind*
10True Seeing

Divine Spell List (Bladedancer)

First Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Command Word
2Cure Light Wounds*
3Detect Evil*
4Detect Magic
5Faerie Fire
6Fellowship
7Light*
8Protection from Evil*
9Remove Fear*
10Resist Cold

Second Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Bless*
2Charm Animal
3Find Traps
4Hold Person
5Holy Chant
6Resist Fire
7Silence 15′ radius
8Shimmer
9Speak with Animals
10Spiritual Weapon

Third Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Continual Light*
2Cure Blindness
3Cure Disease*
4Glyph of Warding
5Growth of Animals
6Locate Object
7Prayer
8Remove Curse*
9Speak with Dead
10Striking

Fourth Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Create Water
2Cure Serious Wounds*
3Dispel Magic
4Divination
5Neutralize Poison*
6Protection from Evil, Sustained*
7Smite Undead*
8Speak with Plants
9Vigor
10Tongues

Fifth Level Divine Spells

d10Spell
1Atonement
2Commune
3Create Food
4Dispel Evil
5Flame Strike
6Insect Plague
7Quest*
8Restore Life and Limb*
9Sword of Fire
10True Seeing