On the Wizards Panoply: Servants, Pacts, and Sanctums

A few years ago +Benjamin Baugh created a post about the accoutrements of wizards on Google+. It's a great idea and I wanted to examine the suggestions in greater depth.

The objects presented are talismansfocifamiliarscabalsraiments, servantspacts, and sanctums, in order of difficulty of acquirement.

Humans themselves are relatively poor conduits of magical or elemental energy.

The basic conceit of this system is that humans are incapable of safely wielding any magic beyond the first level of power. 


  • Attempts to cast magic of a level higher than 1st require a roll on a retribution table. 
  • This limit can be increased by the acquisition of accoutrements. They may be acquired in any order.
  • Each accoutrement acquired increases the level of spells the caster can cast by one. 
  • No type of accoutrement can be applied more than once, even if you own more than one. Each one only counts towards spell levels you can cast once. 
  • These are generally acquired and lost during play. 
  • If lost or destroyed, that type of thing can't be used again until you have gained a level or a year and a day have passed. 

Creatures from other planes can greatly increase your power. There are two primary methods to bind extra-planar entities. You can either bargain for a pact or capture a weaker creature. The way spell levels are used in the two forms varies.


Make a magical agreement with some otherworldly power, demon lords, demigods, ancient alien entities like mountains made of meat and mouths.  Pacts grant you power in exchange for service.  When you patron makes a demand, you must act to accomplish it or you lose its magical support and will never again be able to form a pact.  Each spell invested in the Pact gives you the power to demand a direct intervention from your patron once per month.  

Bargain for Service: Each spell level granted to such a creature shows your devotion. As long as you adhere to the general ethos of the creature in your service, the creature can grant you static boons. This could be an inspiration use, a small permanent bonus, access to a special spell like ability, or other power within the purview of the patron. 

Solar: Assuming you can capture their attention (which is the primary difficulty in acquiring a Solar as a  patron) and you are pure of heart, a solar may accept your devotion. Examples of boons a solar might provide include: granting the caster the ability to detect any time a lie is spoken, the ability to detect evil at will, the ability for your spells to do radiant damage instead of fire damage, The ability to use Shield of Faith once a day, or the ability to restore 8d8 + 4 hit points to any creature once a day. The direct intervention is generally either asking the solar to restore someone to life, or the solar appearing and taking a shot at an opponent with a Slaying Longbow (if a target is hit, they must save or die). 

Dragons: It is not difficult for a magus to form a mutually advantageous relationship with a dragon. The danger is that the dragon may turn on you. Examples of boons dragons might provide include secret dragon magic, acting as defender of a building or property within its domain, a magical bonus to your charisma, the ability to utter a Suggestion three times a day, or the equivalent of a Legend Lore spell, once per week. 
Dragons grant their owner rods, which are designed to call them. 85% of the time(5 out of 6) when held, the dragon will teleport to the bearer when the bearer calls for aid, once weekly. They will assist with one battle or task before leaving. 

Kraken: Wizards who travel amongst the waves will frequently serve a monster of the deep. The disadvantage being that the influence of such creatures doesn't extend far on the land. Boons provided include the ability to control the weather while on the surface of the water, the ability to extend an obscuring cloud out to 60' in every direction once a day, In the water, the actual creature itself will come to the aid of the wizard weekly, but on land the aid is restricted to a Call Lightning as an 11th level caster (with a sixth level spell slot).

Pit Fiend/Devil: Wizards find that devils are only too eager to grant them service. The devil is able to grant a wide range of boons, access to spells, arcane tomes, problems solved. They are eager to extend their services, and they only ask for such small things in return like your soul, or the corruption of your friends. It's a small price to pay. When requesting boons from a devil, the character may bargain his soul as if it were equal to half his level in spell slots. This has no effect, except that if the caster dies, the soul becomes the possession of the devil and he cannot be raised. 


Form an agreement of service with a creature -  demons, angels, elementals, dragons, fairy, and similar naturally magical creatures.  The creature must agree to serve you as a retainer - or be intimidated, threatened, bribed, or similar - and after, you can use its magical nature to reinforce your own.  Each spell level invested in the servant gives you one service you can request of it each day which it must obey.  A servant may agree to perform actions on your behalf, but only with investment can you ensure they obey in good faith.   

These creatures will act as a hireling with the investment of a spell level. They will follow the caster around, and during combat, the caster may use his action, move, or bonus action to cause the creature to take an action, move, or bonus action. 

Hell Hound: These beasts are excellent servants. Having one of these increases your bond to the infernal planes and the fire elemental plains. This grants you +2 damage on any spell that does fire or necrotic damage. 

Shadow: Famously Venger, son of Tiamat had a shadow servant. This creature is an excellent spy. It increases the power of ice, cold, and shadow spells, all acting as if they were cast a level higher then the slot used to cast it. 

Fairy: This category includes nymphs, slyphs, and other delicate fragile forest creatures. Because the very nature of these creatures is that they already have a bond with another being, the only way to secure their aid is to capture and imprison them. Only by imposing your will upon them can you make use of their power. Unlike normal servant relationships, they do not travel with you, and instead of investing levels in such a creature, they provide an additional spell slot of a level equal to their hit dice. Note that abusing and torturing such a creature is an inexorably evil act. 

Quasit: Such a creature loves spell energy and will willingly serve any master who provides it. Though they provide no special bonuses, invisible, flying, intelligent creatures who can shapeshift make excellent servants.

Mounts: Although few wizards choose too, this also allows them to secure the service of magical beasts, such as an Owlbear, Winter Wolf, Phase Spider, Giant Scorpion or Griffon.


Fortify a place of power, and stock it to your requirements.  This can be done earlier, but you get this gratis when you level enough to found your stronghold.  So long as your sanctum remains secure, you can draw on its power even at a distance. Spell levels invested in a sanctum grants you the ability to cast a chosen spell of level equal to the investments at will when you reside in your sanctum, or to put such spells on a conditional release so they 'go off' when conditions are met.  

This requirement is frequently described by your system of choice. If your system has no rules, then simply requires the expenditure of 100,000 gold pieces to create a sanctum will function. Any spell levels invested may be used to create permanent enchantments that do not require material components. For example, a Wizard could enchant a room with a Identify spell, obviating the material requirement of a pearl. This would allow them to identify items within their sanctum. Spells of up to 6th level can be enchanted in this way. 

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