CV Altered Spells

Altered Spells

 

Invisibility

There are a couple of types of invisibility effects in the game: a spell or two for the PCs, and a monster power or two for the GM. We will be using the version of invisibility that 13th age uses which is a lot less fiddly than most D&D games. If you want to sneak around invisible outside combat, you get advantage and additionally get a big modifier to any sneaking around skill checks, +5 at least unless you’re dealing with creatures who can smell or otherwise detect you as soon as look at you (i.e., the ones that have keen senses, smell and hearing for example).

But once you start a battle, or once enemies know you are in the area, our invisibility powers aren’t perfect. You’re hidden, but once people know you are around, they are able to see disturbances in the air and in the aether, a sign that someone is roughly . . . about . . . there. . . .

So attacks against invisible enemies have a 50% chance to miss completely, before the attack roll. Attacks that miss in this fashion don’t deal any damage or have effects on the invisible creature, though other effects on a miss might occur. This replaces the guess what square the creature is in mechanic. Additionally, when you attack a target that you can’t see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll. When a creature can’t see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it.

  • 50% miss completely (before attack roll)
  • disadvantage on attack roll
  • invisible creature has advantage on attack rolls

We don’t believe in long-lasting invisibility that lets you attack without fear of becoming invisible, not for the player characters and not for the monsters. Yes, we know long-lasting invisibility is a staple of the genre thanks to the special ring that hairy-footed little guy won playing the riddle game, but that’s a one-of-a-kind ring. Save long-lasting invisibility for once in a campaign stories rather than commonly available spells or powers. All invisibility powers end when the invisible creature attacks or uses some uses some ridiculously flashy action. Invisibility powers above 8th level have a 25% chance of keeping the person invisible for a single attack or get flashy, but fail on the second attack.

  • invisibility ends after 1 attack
  • 8th level+ power invisibility 25% chance of lasting after 1 attack, ends after 2nd attack

Utility Spell

When you choose spells during a full heal-up, instead of taking a standard spell, you can choose to give up a spell slot to memorize the utility spell at the same level. When you take the utility spell, you gain access to a range of useful non-combat spells of the level you memorized it or below. The variety of utility spells you have to choose from increases as you give up higher-level spell slots. You cast all utility spells at the level of the spell slot you gave up for them.

Choose from among the following utility spells:

  • 1st level detect magic
  • 1st level illusory script
  • 1st level disguise self
  • 1st level feather fall
  • 1st level unseen servant
  • 1st level tenser’s floating disk
  • 1st level identify
  • 1st level comprehend languages
  • 1st level alarm
  • 2nd level arcane lock
  • 2nd level knock
  • 2nd level enlarge/reduce
  • 2nd level locate object
  • 2nd level detect thoughts
  • 2nd level magic mouth
  • 2nd level gentle repose
  • 2nd level darkvision
  • 2nd level gust of wind
  • 2nd level levitate
  • 3rd level clairvoyance
  • 3rd level leomund’s tiny hut
  • 3rd level phantom steed
  • 3rd level sending
  • 3rd level tongues
  • 3rd level water breathing
  • 4th level arcane eye
  • 4th level control water
  • 4th level fabricate
  • 4th level hallucinatory terrain
  • 4th level locate creature
  • 5th level scrying
  • 5th level passwall
  • 5th level contact other plane
  • 5th level legend lore
  • 5th level creation
  • 5th level seeming
  • 6th level move earth
  • 6th guards and wards
  • 7th level mirage arcane
  • 7th level mordenkainen’s magnificent mansion
  • 8th level control weather

For example, if you memorize the Utility spell slot at 3rd level, you can cast one of the following 25 spells at 3rd level as your action: disguise self, feather fall, detect magic, illusory script, disguise self, feather fall, unseen servant, tenser’s floating disk, identify, comprehend languages, alarm, arcane lock, knock, enlarge/reduce, locate object, detect thoughts, magic mouth, gentle repose, darkvision, gust of wind, levitate, clairvoyance, leomund’s tiny hut, phantom steed, sending, tongues, water breathing. You don’t have to decide ahead of  time which utility spell you will cast. You can also memorize the utility spell multiple times by giving up a spell slot for each use.

You can discuss with the DM, swapping out other utility spells from the above list for your character.

Note: This spell does not remove any costly material requirements that may be necessary for the utility spells.

Raise Dead

Works as described if the death was from magical means, otherwise it will only raise someone from the dead who has been dead 1 hour or less.

The caster takes the ordeal penalty. Recipient looses whatever is most dear to them as a cost.

Rituals

Most spells available to clerics, sorcerers, and wizards are either combat spells or useful in combat. But our vision of the world is that many spellcasters use magic outside of combat for varied effects that aren’t properly handled by a literal reading of the spell lists.

Our solution is to allow ritual casting of any spell known by a character who can use ritual magic. Clerics and wizards learn ritual magic as part of their training. Other spellcasters can learn ritual magic by taking the Ritual Casting feat (page 169).

As a rule, ritual casting is an elaborate sequence of magical actions. The usual process and complication of a ritual comes across something like a combination of staging a puppet show (where the puppets are magical servitors) and cooking a five course meal (where the final product is a desired magical effect).

To cast a spell as a ritual:

  •  Choose the spell that will be used and expended by the ritual.
  •  Tell the GM what you are trying to accomplish and gather ingredients for the ritual that feel right or that the GM tells you are necessary. This can turn into a mini-adventure in itself if the GM or player wants to take the story in that direction.
  •  Spend 1d4 minutes/quarter-hours/hours preparing and casting the ritual. You can’t cast other spells during this period. A PC taking damage won’t necessarily end the ritual, but it will be ruined if a character falls unconscious or launches an attack of their own. Note that we’re not telling you exactly which time period you should use because we think that pace varies greatly campaign-by- campaign. Some rituals feel right taking hours. Others seem like they could be accomplished in minutes. The important thing is that rituals ordinarily can’t be cast during combat, or if they are, it’s a very dicey proposition as enemies try to take out the caster before the ritual is complete.
  •  Make a skill check using one of your magical backgrounds and the ability score the GM deems appropriate. Use the standard DC targets (or a special DC set by the GM), depending on your tier and the results you’re hoping for. The higher the level of the spell consumed by the ritual, the greater the effect.

Determining results: Choose outcomes that seem like logical (or magical!) outgrowths of the spell’s normal effects. The effects don’t have to play within the usual constraints of the magic system, and they don’t have to be taken as a precedent for future rituals. Performing a magic ritual once actually makes it less likely that the same caster can perform the same ritual for the same effect again, because the world builds resistance to being broken. That’s how we play it, anyway, since we think that great magicians like the Archmage and Priestess are more limited in what they can accomplish with mighty magic than it would first appear. Examples of some ritual effects appear below. Failure means life gets interesting: As usual, use the fail forward mechanic: most rituals “work,” but failure may get you results you had not properly bargained for such as side effects that send the story careening in a direction no one intended, complications with spirits that aided in the ritual but fail to disperse when the ritual is done, and coming to the attention of enemy spellcasters who note the disturbance of a partially botched ritual as a disturbance in the aether.

Rituals expend the spell: No matter what outcome the ritual has, ritual casting expends the spell until your next full rest.

Faster rituals: The High Arcana talent of the wizard allows you to cast a ritual in a matter of rounds instead of minutes. The elaborate preparations of normal rituals aren’t used during fast high arcana rituals, but they should still require some type of component and unusual elaboration. Note that ritual casting in combat doesn’t usually let you make a combat spell into an even better combat spell. Rituals aren’t meant to be used to blast enemies into smithereens, though one could imagine a ritual aimed at a tower or a magic portal—destruction is an option. But not the type of destruction that occurs during a battle.

Summary: Use the spells already in the PCs’ arsenals as the basis of free-form magic that accomplishes non-combat effects. Part of the fun is setting the scene and explaining the ritual in the context of the world’s magic; don’t stint on your special effects budget.

Example ritual 1: The PCs acquire a fearsome bow created by the Diabolist. Simply carrying the bow threatens to overwhelm the rogue who has no intention of using it. No NPC with an ounce of good-intention is willing to take the risk of disposing of the bow.

So the wizard improvises a magic item destruction ritual using acid arrow, the perfect spell for disintegrating a demonic bow.

Example ritual 2: Two of the PCs have been thrown in irons and dragged into a gladiatorial pit that serves one of Axis’ arenas.

The PCs actually want to be there, but they need their weapons and armor, which will enable them to accomplish their mission in the arena instead of the gladiators’ weapons that are designed to get them killed. So the group’s wizard uses a sleep ritual on the guards watching their gear so that the rogue can sneak the PCs’ real weapons to them, while the ritual casting bard executes a glamor ritual to hide the switch. The plan is a lot of trouble, perhaps, but when it’s time to assassinate an archduke in the arena, two spells is a small price for creating such a set up.

Resurrection/Clone

Limited Casting: The first time in your life that you use the resurrection/clone spell you can cast it quickly, with a single standard action. Using the spell removes one of your spell slots until you gain a level (you get one less spell per full heal-up). Additionally, the person you are resurrecting/cloning looses whatever is most dear to them (this cost is paid each time the spell is cast).

The second time in your life you cast the spell, it takes longer, at least three or four rounds, and costs you something like half your hit points and daily powers/spells. The person you are Resurrecting/cloning also comes back at something like one-quarter strength.

The third time you cast the spell it has to be as a ritual. The spell chews you up and leaves you with only a few hit points, then gnaws at the person you have resurrected/cloned, who takes days to recover well enough to qualify as an adventurer or combatant.

The fourth time you cast the spell it nearly kills you. The Resurrection/cloning succeeds but the person you’ve resurrected/cloned is going to be a mess for a month or more, regardless of any other magic tricks ya’ll got going.

The fifth time you resurrect/clone someone (thanks to a boon from an icon, a powerful magic item, or some other method allowed by the GM that lets you use resurrection/clone beyond your normal limit), that’s the end of your story and you die. There’s only a 50% chance that the resurrection/clone spell works on the target. You’ve used up your quota of resurrection/clone magic. You’re not coming back via this spell, either.

Surprise, that was the good news. The bad news is that if the target of your resurrection/clone spell has been resurrected/cloned more times than you have cast the spell, there is a nasty 50% chance that the experience will play out using their higher number of resurrections/clones instead of the number of times you have cast the spell.

Life and Death in the World

The icons don’t live forever because there is always a limit to magic that can bring you back from the dead. What’s true for icons is equally true for heroes. Even if you’ve become invaluable to an icon, it’s unlikely that the icon will be able to resurrect/clone you personally if things go horribly awry. It’s safe to assume that most of the icons are well on their way to using up their Resurrection/clone quotas, particularly long-lived icons like the Sorcerer Supreme. The current Emperor? The Priestess? They might have a resurrection/clone to give, but will your PC be able to prove that they are the being most deserving of a second chance in the 13th Age? There may be a few NPCs capable of performing Resurrections/clones. They would be wise not to advertise their power. Beings capable of performing resurrections/clones are sometimes the victims of hostile takeover attempts, as powerful beings seek to assure themselves of a Resurrection/clone in reserve.

Note: using a Wish does not get around the number of times limitations, nor the effects. It just lets you cast the spell using the wish magic instead of the resurrection/clone spell.

Teleport

As described, however the mishap table is replaced with a d20 roll. On a 1 something weird/bad happens with the results being worse the less familiar you are with the destination.

Also, any effects of spells or items cast before teleporting are dispelled and no longer function on arrival (e.g., you can not maintain concentration while teleporting even if you are not the one casting teleport), so it’s best to wait and use such spells after you arrive.