The Spellcaster’s Bible, Part VI
The Undiscovered Country
I Probably Used That The Last Time I Got To Part VI of Something
If You’re Looking For Originality (Or A Regular Update Schedule, Or Actually Funny Jokes, Hoo, Boy, Are You In The Wrong Place)
OK, so, wow, it’s been a while, even for me. While you may think this means I’ve been slacking off (well, more than usual), the opposite is true: Overall, this has been a productive (checks non-existent watch) six weeks. I did some actual paid freelance work! I did a bunch of stuff on Earth Delta! (New stuff is not in that link, mind you, that’s just the most recent I posted, back in October 2022) And I’ve been very busy on my Worldbuilding23/Dungeon23 https://www.worldanvil.com/w/breach-lizardky/a/dungeon232Fworldbuilding23-article project, where I try to produce a world a day for the GURPS game I will never get a chance to run. These are intended as ‘background’ or ‘fluff’ worlds, meaning, my original plan was to just dash off a paragraph, two at most, and be done with it. Unfortunately, as you can tell, I am inclined to severe graphomania (google it), and so, they do tend to go on. I also get lost on deep dives into history for a single sentence or concept, like researching early (1910s/20s) Japanese animation to see if there was someone I could team up with Walt Disney, deciding I couldn’t make it work, and dropping the idea after about 20 minutes of inhaling articles and monographs. He went to England instead.
But you’re here because you
hit a very wrong link on Google want to read the finale of my walkthrough of the Spellcaster’s Bible, a very early (1979) and very unofficial supplement for “role playing games”, meaning, “Dungeons & Dragons”. Some more background is in Part I, and just in case you care, which you don’t, here’s Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
Twelfth Level Spells
So, let’s dive right in to the 12th level spells! We have…. yes? You in the back? “Spells stop at 9th level”, you say? Or 6th level (for magic-users) in the original rules, the only ones untainted by impurities such as ‘thief abilities’ and ‘variable weapon damage’ That’s old school, not this comic book video game stuff that happened after WOTC took over from St. Gary!”
If that’s what you think old school was, kid, you weren’t there. Go take a look at galactic dragons, and get back to me. That’s old school, not playing “Kobolds and Copper Pieces” in fantasy fucking Vietnam.
On to the spells!
Advanced Disease Gives the target a random disease which kills in rounds, not days. Saving merely halves the progress rate, and it must be dispelled, not cured. Another “cool idea, poor balance” spell, as there’s so many more things that kill instantly. Perhaps useful if someone is immune to most magic and weapons, but not to diseases, but a magically-induced disease ought to fall under “immune to magic”. It might also be a good way to get someone to talk, by letting them suffer a few rounds of leprosy. (But again, there’s plenty of ‘compel truth’ type spells. On the other hand, you might just prefer sadism.) Either way, I’d put this at 5th or 6th level at most.
Advanced Prismatic Wall It’s “advanced” by creating only a single color(?) and affecting a smaller area? (1000sf cube, instead of ~4200sf globe) Well, it affects an additional cube for each level over the minimum needed to cast, so after three more levels, you get some additional effect, but still… why only one color? There’s no harm done by having the others; at worst, they might not affect a given creature. (Now, for prismatic spray, choosing the color of each beam instead of randomizing, that would be advanced!) I’m going to guess this is ‘advanced’ compared to some house-ruled prismatic wall that was used at the time.
The Binding Raise Of The Dead A permanent version of the temporary version of this spell, which was discussed in Spellcaster’s Bible V. In short, you can raise a dead ally (that is, some other PC) and they will obey you permanently, and not even know they’re being controlled! Well, the character won’t. The player will, leading to said player ‘interpreting’ the caster’s orders in the worst way possible, leading to table flips. Ah, that’ll never happen. I’m well informed all RPG players are rational people with good social and human interaction skills, which is why you don’t need complete ‘rules’, and designers shouldn’t worry about ambiguities! Everyone will just calmly and politely agree to the interpretation that’s the most logical and fun, as all humans agree on what’s logical and fun.
Constitution Effect Doubled You’ll notice there’s a trend in old-school spell names towards being either ridiculously grandiose (“The Splendiferous Spell Of Sublime Sorcerous Stupefaction”) or, well, this. A statement of game mechanics. This doubles the hit point bonus (if any) for the caster’s Constitution, until dispelled by a mage “twice the level of the caster”. So, since you’ve got to be around 24th level to cast 12th level spells, that’ a 48th level caster. I got your “heroic not superheroic” right here, pal.
Explosions Induced Makes everything near the target explode for 1d6 per caster level. It is considered “thump” damage, and so, there is no saving throw. Uhm. Sure. I remember that rule, don’t you? Also spell resistance, spell turning, etc., do not apply, which is a more common rule regarding “indirect” damage. (Being immune to spells doesn’t keep you from being immune to someone using telekinesis to hurl a big boulder at you, as it’s the boulder doing the damage, same as if a giant hurled it.)
Kiss Of Life Brings undead to life, turning them to “first level living men”. No word on what this means if they were originally a female elven lich, for example. Also, despite the name, there’s no indication you need to actually get all freaky with that barrow wight, especially since it affects multiple targets. But there’s also no indication of range. So maybe you just gotta kiss a lot of vampires?
Original Sphere of Sonic Containment Not to be confused with the Famous Original Sphere, the Original Famous Sphere, the Famous (but not Original) Sphere, etc. This, uhm… well.. OK. So, this creates a sonic explosion and everyone in the area must save. Those who fail the save take 1d6 sonic damage/caster level, while those who succeed are…. shrunken, trapped in 6″ white spheres and can do nothing but talk to the caster. Because, uh, that’s what sound does? I guess? I mean… why sonic? There’s no duration, and the victims are “frozen in time” (except they can talk to the caster, somehow). It’s… unique. I’ll give it that.
Wall of Spells Creates a shimmering golden wall that does 1d6 sonic (again with the sonic? Was one of the writers a music major or something?) damage, but also lets the caster specify up to 9 spells that take effect simultaneously on anyone passing through. And it’s permanent until the caster says otherwise.
Thirteenth Level Spells
Effectiveness Tripled Incorporating this spell into another spell (there were quite a few such ‘add to another’ spells in the book; these are perfect early forms of metamagic!), triples the caster’s effective level. Now, look at all those “d6 per level” or “plus X for each level above that needed to cast” spells, consider that you’d be at least 26th level to cast this spell, so you’d be casting those others at 78th level(!).
The Neutron Effect Everyone in a 2 mile radius surrounding a point “within line of sight” must save or die. On a save, a random limb falls off, because, why not? This will “affect the caster the first time it is cast”, and they are henceforth immune. Does this mean even if they’re not in the AOE? And that they must save or die vs. their own spell? Totally not worth it, if you ask me.
Search For Destruction Target takes d6/caster level in damage from one of several types (including the old school fave, alkali), whichever they’re not immune to. If they’re not immune to more than one, whichever they’re vulnerable to. If they’re immune to all of them, run.
Fourteenth Level Spells
Rebirth So, yeah, Imma leave this right here:
Fifteenth Level Spells
Blackstone’s Pills Creates a small red pill containing the mage’s current spell points, then keeps them from casting for 1d4 days. When a pill is consumed, it restores that many spell points. (As written, it simply adds that many, so if you haven’t spent all your points when you take the pill, you keep the surplus.) If you take more than one pill a day, you have a chance of overdosing. Sounds like, if you’ve got some extended downtime, you make about one of these per week and take a bunch with you. After you drain most of your daily spell points, you refresh, effectively doubling your points/day. Look for a sadistic DM to carefully track time and exploit any errors the player might make recalling how long ago, in game time, they last dosed themselves. (Or just have a low-level thief pickpocket the magic-user and steal their pill bottle.)
Lo, There Shall Come An Ending!
Phew! Finally done with this one! Next time, whenever that is, either I get around to finishing my GI Joe character, or I post some of what I’ve been doing for Earth Delta, or I stumble over some random book I forgot I had and get inspired to do a walkthrough on it. All things are possible, except me sticking to a reasonable schedule.