On a Guide to Illusions: Figment Creativity

This was originally published in April of 2014. Hack & Slash compendium III is available in print in  from Lulu and in PDF from DTRPG, and contains this series of articles on illusions, as well as many other class ideas. 

General Guidelines

A good rule of thumb is that a figment effect has its subdual damage limited by caster level.
Phantasmal Force (or Silent Image) might be limited to 1d4 subdual damage per two caster levels.
Improved Phantasmal Force (Or Minor Image) Might be limited to 1d6 subdual damage per two caster levels.
Spectral Force (or Major Image) might be limited to 1d8 subdual damage per two caster levels, or a minor or temporary status effect.
Having a Spectral Force of a Medusa would cause a save versus spell because seeing a Medusa is interacting with it. But if that saving throw failed, a viewer would save versus the gaze and believe themselves turning to stone perhaps actually acting as if they are being held. Even on a success, the victim would avert their eyes. Of course a shout from their friends that "it's an illusion" would quickly reveal it to be nothing more than an image. (Hold Person is a third level spell, requiring a third level illusion for this to work)
Often players will attempt or want to use a figment to mirror the effect of a more powerful spell, e.g. making a stairway appear infinite so the person just keeps stepping on the same step. But that spell is Maze and figment isn't designed to replace other spells. Figment spells make non-solid holograms and that is their strength and weakness.
The original intent of Figment spells was to create illusionary soldiers and troops (the apocryphal 'force' from Phantasmal Force)—so using it for that purpose should be encouraged and successful.

Other Creative Figments

Figments, even if disbelieved, still generate or block light, sound and temperature. An illusionary fire can light a room or keep you warm. Out of light? Phantasmal Forces works in a pinch. A Phantasmal Forces parasol won't protect you from the rain, but it will cast a shadow.
An impromptu wall can hide an entire party.
An image of a bucket over a monster's head might give him some problems (first level light can grant a -4 to hit, which is equivalent to blindness)
Pits, crevasses, brambles, and walls and other obstructions can provide battlefield control that is rarely tested. Even better if the battlefield is split, allowing you to make ranged attacks with impunity.
A low level image of silent roiling gasses can appear both mobile, threatening, and obscuring.
Outside, a shadow of a dragon or a bird of prey is all that is needed to spook most humanoid groups. You don't even need to bother to create an illusion of the creature.
An illusionary bridge won't be disbelieved until it's interacted with, but by that point it might not matter to the target.

Making it appear that doors and walls are further away than they are could cause people to run or walk into walls, seriously creating chaos during a retreat.
A combination of Change/Alter Self and one of the Figment spells can create halos, glowing lights, subtle music, glowing eyes, etc. providing excellent bonuses or triggering morale rolls.
An Illusionary opponent can engage with someone, but when hit, a save must be made for interaction. (Concentration allows the illusionist to make the creature appear to react realistically). A good rule of thumb for the maximum AC of such an opponent is 10 - the illusionists level - the level of the spell (or + for ascending AC systems) Or armor class 0 (20) whichever is worst. Most require at least some auditory components to be believed, requiring an Improved Phantasmal Force (Minor Image) or greater.
Creating an illusion of a dangerous creature (dragon head, tentacle, giant hand) reaching out from a door or pit to scare opponents, into an actual dangerous area.

The Figment spells are specifically used to enhance things that are already happening. You can trigger a morale roll earlier by making the party and number of attacks appear greater than they are (archers or people throwing javelins). You can use it to make it appear that more enemies (illusory ones) are dying, or that the players are more powerful or dangerous than they are making the morale roll less likely to succeed.

A visual only spell can make an existing force look larger or more dangerous. A visual spell with sound can convincingly create opponents. A figment with visual, sound, and other qualities can create extremely convincing opponents. Making it look like the creatures are summoned provide a good excuse for them to be on the battlefield.

Silent or unusually dangerous opponents (shriekers, undead, or hazardous plants) often make good subjects for an image illusion.


In 1st edition, illusions are more powerful then the guidelines given in this series. There is precedent for the illusion turning characters to actual stone (ToEE, Page 86), and stories from older games contain instances of illusionary dragons breath burning people alive. The DMG specifically notes illusionists creating illusions of  monsters the caster has never seen.

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On a Guide to Illusions: Spell Types

This was originally published in April of 2014. Hack & Slash compendium III is available in print in  from Lulu and in PDF from DTRPG, and contains this series of articles on illusions, as well as many other class ideas. 

A FLAILSNAILS and Campaign guide

Illusionists are the most powerful class in the game bar-none, but you won't play them because your Dungeon Master will screw you.

Well, it's 2014, and it's past time for illusions to be screwing over players and dungeon masters. It's powerful, but it's not nearly powerful enough to unbalance a campaign, any more than any other kind of wizard. Illusionists have their power limited by locality. An illusion has to be seen, after all, to be believed. And in order to be one, you're giving up the fireball/teleport/ real ultimate power path of the traditional mage.

Shouldn't you actually be good at illusions?

The cardinal rule of the illusionist is this: An Illusionist can be more flexible, but not more powerful than a Magic-User of his level.

There are literally hundreds of spells to use as guidelines for power levels. What the illusionist gains in battlefield control and target influence, they give up in utility and raw damage. ("I can summon an illusionary ladder you can't climb?")

An Overview of Illusionist Magic 

Example Spells: Phantasmal Force, Audible Glamer, Spectral Force
These use light and force to trick the senses. They may create sensations of light, heat, sound, or touch. However, they are not real. It is like a hologram. They are images and cannot be touched. They cannot change the nature of something -- A real sound cannot be altered, though a figment could make noise.

In order to produce a figment you must be familiar with the creature, object, sound or whatever you are producing. Familiar means you've experienced it with the sense you're trying to trick in real life.

Being unreal, means that they cannot damage creatures, support weight, feed people, or various other effects. This does not mean people cannot believe they are hurt, but any damage they think they have taken is simply subdual damage.

Example Spells: Change Self, Invisibility
Glamours use light and force to affect an object, making it somehow look, feel, or taste differently. Otherwise it works as a figment that appears to change the nature of an object. Like figments, they are not real. It changes appearance and sensation only.

Example Spells: Color Spray, Hypnotic Pattern
Patterns create visual displays of light and color, but these directly affect the mind. Belief is a non-factor in these spells -- they are handled much like charms.

Example Spells: Fear, Phantasmal Killer
A phantasm creates an illusion that exists only in the mind of a target. It is a magical effect targeting their mind and is not perceivable to anyone in the real world, other than by the effects it has.

Example Spells: Shadow Monsters, Shadow Magic
These spells are not entirely illusions, but are partially real! They have real effects just like normal magic user spells, as noted in their description.

Concentrating: Some spells last as long as you concentrate on them. This prevents you from casting spells or making attacks [Standard Actions], but allows you to move or take other actions [Move Actions].

Adjudicating Illusions (Figments and Glamours)

Most illusions are simple to adjudicate. Shadow spells, phantasms, patterns, and more traditional magics all have their results spelled out in the spell.

But the pièce de résistance of the illusionist is the Figment and the Glamour: The spells most open to creativity and most likely to be shut down by the Dungeon Master. What is a fair way to adjudicate these spells? (Figments below refers to figments and glamours in every case). Super simple guidelines and rules follow:

Figments look real: Any creature (player or monster) that can perceive a figment or glamour receives no saving throw and believes that it's real and acts accordingly. If a player casts a phantasmal force of a 20' x 20' pit that's 20' deep in a room, and then a bunch of hobgoblins enter the room, each hobgoblin will treat the pit as if it is real.

Figments can't do real damage: If one of those hobgoblins is knocked into the "pit", that hobgoblin would receive a saving throw versus spells to disbelieve the illusion. On a successful save they would disbelieve the illusion. On a failed save, they would take 2d6 subdual damage from the "fall" and then realize after that the pit was an illusion, because even though they can see it, they are still clearly lying on the 'floor' level.

Figments continue to exist after being disbelieved: All the other hobgoblins see the hobgoblin "fall" and just hit the floor, they don't need a saving throw to disbelieve. At this point, every hobgoblin can clearly tell that the pit is an illusion. The figment is still visible as a translucent outline to those that know it is false.

Often people might descend into arguments like "The hobgoblins were fighting! They wouldn't see!" or trying to get very specific about the fictional reality. The important fact is we are playing a game. Figment spells are usually low level (generally 1-3) and exist primarily for the purpose of battlefield influence and control or trickery. Generally they are not expected to last much beyond their first interaction. The trick is in creating a situation where their influence won't be tested and will continue to assist the party.

Figments and Glamours inhibit behavior: If the figment is believed, then the subject will act as if the figment is real. If there is some question about taking a risk versus an illusion a morale roll is a good method for adjudicating the subject behavior. This is especially useful because this method means that undead and constructs are generally unlikely to let illusions modify their behavior.

Figments are not mind control: If a figment does not successfully duplicate the effects of its representation, then it is disbelieved without a saving throw. I can use Phantasmal Force to create the illusion of a wall of fire across the room, but anyone approaching within 10' will instantly disbelieve the illusion because there is no thermal component. Creating an illusion of a pit falling open in front of a monster with no sound? Instant disbelief for everyone in hearing range of the pit. Pits don't fall open with a clatter or bang.

Figments can trick the target: You can create an illusion of a wall over a hallway, and unless touched the illusion will be believed. If your illusion of fire is a Spectral Force, then getting close enough to feel the heat forces a save, not automatic disbelief. On a failed save, passing through the fire causes subdual damage from the imagined pain. If you fail a save versus a figment, you believe it, until you are provided new evidence to the contrary or told that it's an illusion, both forcing new saves.

Figments are expected follow normal rules: A Spectral Force of a fire subject to a deluge of water will be automatically disbelieved if the fire continues to burn.

Figments cannot duplicate spells: You cannot create a figment of a 'fireball', for several reasons -- primarily because fireball is instantaneous, consisting of heat and force (which figments cannot produce). Figments and glamours produce primarily images, along with sounds, smells and temperature changes. The illusionists ability to mimic magic user spells are covered by the shadow spells. Attempting to use a Figment to do so will fail.

Interacting with Figments provides a save: Whenever you have an opportunity or chance to interact with a figment a saving throw is made. This saving throw may be modified by a number of factors, but is usually only modified from -4 to +4. Factors that may modify a save include:

  • +1 for every hit die the subject has higher than the level of the illusionist
  • -1 for every level the illusionist is higher than the subject
  • +4 (or more) if the illusionist is not familiar at all with the image produced by his illusion
  • -1 to -4 for the degree of familiarity the illusionist has with the image produced by the illusion 
  • No modifier at all if the illusion is familiar (i.e. has seen or studied for a turn) the subject of the figment. 
  • Situational modifiers that may increase or decrease the likely-hood that the illusion is believed. 
  • Dumb or gullible creatures are more likely to believe illusions. Smart, genius, canny, or skeptical individuals may be less likely to believe illusions, though they are not immune. (reference wisdom defense bonus)

Illusionists are skilled at producing figments: This means that, in general, reasons that the DM might think of that the illusion won't work outright are also things that the illusionist is aware of. The illusionist is assumed to be skilled. When the illusion is being described, the players and DM should discuss any obvious problems or issues with the illusion. The object is not to 'trick', stymie, or remove the power of the illusionist -- the goal is to understand what is being produced so it can be adjudicated fairly.

These should provide clear guidelines for adjudicating illusions fairly.

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On a Practical Guide to Playing D&D with Children

A lot of people have been talking about introducing their children (6-12) to Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.

This is like discussing quilt crafting by examining the threading of the needle. Who cares how the needle is threaded if the quilt is completed?

Threading the Needle

When you are playing with children, you are playing with people. React to them as people first not as children.

Yet they are children. Do not let this contradiction confuse you. It is empowering.

There are physical constraints for children, they have a drive to move. Sessions should be short (2-3 hours) and have frequent breaks to get needs met. Some will want to play act. Others will want to run around. Still others will want to sit still and pay stoic attention. As people first, respect this and acknowledge that that is the fun for them.

Learning to manage these types of conflicts is how one grows into an adult.

Do not over-explain. As the adult, they already expect you to have all of the answers. It will not surprise or impress them that you know the answer to their question. What they need is time to think about what they have been told. Answer the questions they have, even if you know it to be the wrong question. If they are asking it, it is the right question for them.

Sometimes children will complain. "This isn't fair" or "I wanted the magic sword" or "Why didn't the baby dragon like me?". And the thing they complain about, being children, is almost always a true thing. The best response to hearing such a complaint is to agree. If it is true, shouldn't it be recognized as such?

Children in this age range are still learning how to express their thoughts and feelings. Your statements should be designed in such a way to guide them to a place where they feel comfortable doing so. This often involves saying things and waiting longer than you feel is comfortable before moving on. 

"The Ogre roars and threatens you with the club. Julie, it is your turn. You can do anything you like, is there anything you would like to do?"
Long Pause
[continues] "You can pull out your bow and fire an arrow at him. Or you could draw your sword and shield and guard Thomas, or you could run away. If you can think of any other ideas those might be good too! Would you like to do one of those?"
Often they will have crazy ideas or want to do things that aren't covered by the rules. Those rules weren't written to make children sad. This doesn't mean they should get everything they want either. Letting them try and succeed on a success, and partially succeed on a failure with some creative drawbacks will be an interesting pattern to add.

Qualities of the Fabric

Children want to accomplish things as well as testing their values and beliefs! They are focused on learning and applying skills, dealing with peers, competition, and self-control.

Obviously individuals will vary.

Children 8 to 9 years old:

  • Will make faces and noises and be silly: Accept it and don't take it seriously 
  • Will want to know why things happen: Answer all their questions.
  • Will tend to overestimate their characters ability and internalize all failures: Point out what they can actually do without removing the challenge and focus on the fact that learning and trying are what's important.
  • May also be really hard on themselves and overly dramatic: Encourage them and point out that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Also like immediate gratification: So frequently find some small way to reward them immediately in the game. 
  • Have shorter attentions spans and need more physical activity: Limit game time to 90 minutes with frequent breaks.
Children 9 to 10 years old:
  • Suddenly discover their development is unequal between genders: Don't compare the boys and girls during the game. 
  • Are at the point where they can focus and sustain interest and gain more abstract reasoning skills: Longer games, but it's important that you give them time to think and respond to problems.
  • Sometimes they may act out if the feel ostracised: If this happens reiterate their importance, their role in the group, and that you accept them, even if the acting out isn't appropriate.
  • They may have an obsessive focus on fairness: Acknowledge that things are unfair. Talk to them about how it's ok not to succeed and win because that's part of playing. 
  • Children at this age are into group adventures and social activities!
Children 10 to 11 years old:
  • You are going to need food at the table.
  • They will begin to argue with you using logic: Engage them in discussion and encourage them to use logic. Think about what they say and if it makes sense go with it. 
  • Becomes even more focused on justice and morality. Really focuses on things that aren't right and aren't fair: Acknowledge this inequity. This is a great way to motivate these children ("Something is wrong in townsville!"). Sometimes their sense of justice or rightness will be personal, subjective, and quite rigid. Accept this and support the feelings about the rightness and wrongness.
Children 11 to 12 years old: 
  • Much more likely to challenge what you say: This is not an attack. Don't become defensive, you're the adult. They aren't attacking you, they are trying to figure out why.
  • May seek to become more independent of the party: Encourage them to support their teammates and point out that helping them will allow them to help the player. Allow and encourage opportunities for them to take their own actions in the game. 
  • May engage in exaggeration or be subject to unreasonable or frequent worry: Understand and be supportive, don't overreact to sudden mood changes or exaggeration.

Stitching the Quilt

Allow setbacks to happen. These can often focus a group and allow them the enjoyment of working as a team to overcome a problem.

If you're playing with children, you should consider kid friendly tropes. A small child crying. A noble quest given by a trusted authority figure. A small animal in trouble ("Wonder pets, wonder pets, we're on the way. . .")

Monsters generally attack the person with the highest hit points, because that's the toughest looking player! 

The worst thing that can happen is that a player is knocked out, unless you judge that it shouldn't be.

Remember that the description in this case is both more important and more powerful then it would be in an adult. Keep this in mind as you use your words, for you are literally constructing the framework that allows the children to feel empowered via their confidence in their imagination. 

Everyone should have a chance to feel important. It isn't cheating to make sure everyone gets spotlight time. Doesn't the spotlight feel nice? Who doesn't like to feel nice? If you listen very closely, you can augur where they want the spotlight to be. 

Props, battlemats, pictures, and physical objects are so cool. BE COOL.

Quilt Patterns

For ideas and frameworks that communicate working imagination paradigms, watch episodes of Adventure Time, Spongebob Squarepants, Power Rangers, and Yo Gaba Gaba. See at least 1 episode of Wonder Pets.

Finishing the Quilt

This is not advice for Playing 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons with children. This is advice for playing games that allow freeform exploration of fantastic spaces with children: 4th edition, Pathfinder, 13th age, FATE, whatever you like.

The rules, what would really happen, and playing the game "correctly" are secondary in first experiences to Dungeons & Dragons. 

Did the players enjoy themselves? This does not mean that the quilt keeps you warm, only that they will use the quilt again.

After all, we are all children. Now we are just children who know better. 

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On the Effects of Magic, 9th Level

This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

The magical energies contained in the brain cause side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit, there are risks. When a wizard memorizes a 9th level spell, she gains the ability to take on a specific named aspect. This replaces part of her soul with the soul of the spell and has the effects listed below. Once taken, this aspect can only be dismissed with a successful save versus paralyzation, which at first can be attempted at the end of a turn. The next time is the end of an hour. The time after that is at the end of the day, then a week, then a month, then a year. If the wizard fails at that point, his essences has been subsumed by the spell itself and rejoins the weave of magic.

View the entire series here. When reading these, recall the caster must be at least 18th level to even memorize one of these spells.

  • Astral Spell
    • Aspect of the Star: Casters body becomes translucent and surrounded by a glowing outline. The interior appears filled with galaxies and star stuff. Caster can fly and is immune to normal weaponry. When struck, star material pours from the gash, damaging all targets in a 3" x 3" cone for 2d8 damage in a random direction. 
  • Bigby's Crushing Hand
    • Aspect of the Fist: The caster doubles in size and his muscles grow to huge proportions. Her Strength is raised to 19, and her intelligence and wisdom decrease by the same amount her strength increased. Her armor class improves 4 places from natural armor and her fist attacks do 1d8 damage as a base. She may jump up to 4 times her normal jumping distance. Her skin may turn a different color. 
  • Gate
    • Aspect of the Overworld: The casters skin turns either obsidian or ivory colored, and her eyes become pools of a solid color. The wizard gains the ability to open up portals between locations in time a space. She may summon small objects or open up a pair of portals that link to each other.
  • Imprisonment
    • Aspect of the Warden: The casters body becomes more dense, gaining an increase of 2 to armor class and doubling in weight. Spending a round concentrating the caster can raise a permanent stone wall 5' thick, 10' high, and 20' long.
  • Meteor Swarm
    • Aspect of the Meteor: Caster gains a fire aura that does 3d6 damage to adjacent creatures and acts as a fire shield (hot). She can throw balls of fire, one per round, doing 5d6 damage to any target she hits. 
  • Monster Summoning VII
    • Aspect of the Summoner: The caster has a number of floating arcane symbols that act as satellites. They can be used to attack a monster within 40', doing 4d8 damage, or they can be used defensively protecting the caster from ranged weapons and raising the casters armor class by 8 as a shield bonus, or they can be used to support the caster allowing her to walk through the air. 
  • Power Word, Kill
    • Aspect of the Black Bolt: The casters voice is a wave of destruction. She may shatter any object with her voice up to 100 pounds per caster level using the spell in this way expends the spell. Using the voice to harm a creature kills it as the definition of the spell. Otherwise the caster may not speak.
  • Prismatic Sphere
    • Aspect of the Universal Shaman: The caster gains a limited ability to transmute objects into other objects. Rain can be turned into flower petals, fire can be turned into streaming paper, blood can be changed into insects. Doing so takes a full round, but the caster is limited to changing small objects into other objects. 
  • Shape Change
    • Aspect of the Mutable Form: Your form becomes liquid and malleable. You may spend a turn to form part of your body into a certain trait, gaining you an animals or creatures natural ability. Attacks against you do 3 points less damage than normal because of the nature of your body. 
  • Temporal Stasis
    • Aspect of the Eternal Form: Your skin becomes gleaming and speckled and you lightly glow a golden color. You do not age while this spell is prepared and your touch causes sleep to all creatures of 4 hit dice or less. Higher level creatures receive a saving throw versus the sleep effect. 
  • Time Stop
    • Aspect of the Hourglass: While this spell is prepared, you instantly experience the moment it is cast, and then live backwards from that moment. at any given time you have no idea what has just happened, but have a clear understand of what will happen. The Dungeon Master informs you of what is ahead privately and any attacks or actions you take have a +4 bonus on the roll. 
  • Wish
    • Aspect of the Quantum: This aspect is too powerful to be maintained for long. If the spell is not cast, every molecule of the casters body vibrates with energy with appropriate effects. 

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On the Effects of Magic, 8th Level

This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

The magical energies contained in the brain causes side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit, there are risks. As these are eighth-level side effects, they are quite powerful.

This makes wizards somewhat more unique based on the spells they know and can prepare. It also can make them more useful or somewhat of a liability.

View the entire series here.

  • Antipathy/Sympathy: The wizard exerts a strong influence on anyone nearby. If a reaction roll is made and the wizard is visible, any result over 7 adds 2 to the reaction roll, and any result under 7 subtracts 2. If the wizard actually deigns to speak, the increase for any rolls above 7 increases to +4 and the penalty for any rolls under 7 increases to -4.
  • Bigby's clenched Fist:  The casters hands double in size, and his arms become larger to support them. He is considered to have a strength of 18, as normal for thrusting damage and bludgeoning damage, but has his normal strength for slashing weapons.
  • Clone: While this spell is prepared, the caster frequently hallucinates that he is talking and seeing himself. 
  • Glassteel: The caster turns completely transparent, looking much like a crystal statue of himself while this spell is prepared. This effect is intermittent. His armor class is improved by 1 while the spell is prepared.
  • Incendiary Cloud: Smoke billows out from beneath the casters robe and sleeves. His eyes, mouth and nose glow when he breathes. A strong smell of sulpher permeates the space around him.
  • Mass Charm: The wizard becomes influential. Add 1 to all bell curve social rolls that the wizard attempts, and add 2 to all flat die rolls to influence, bluff, lie or convince someone.
  • Maze: The pupils of the casters eyes become a shifting maze. Anyone who locks eyes with the caster for a segment or more must save versus Paralyzation or become confused.
  • Mind Blank: While this is prepared the caster gains a +2 bonus to resist all attempts to mentally, psychically, or otherwise charm, damage or influence her. Also, it makes detecting and scrying on the caster more difficult.
  • Monster Summoning VI: The caster is surrounded by free-floating glowing pentagrams. They shed light to 30' and hum. Anyone attacking the wizard will take 1d6 + 2 damage from the electrical energy discharged by the pentagrams.
  • Otto's Irresistible Dance: The wizard can no longer walk normally. She either floats, dances, glides, or in some way travels unnaturally when she attempts to move. 
  • Permanency: There is a 1% chance while this is memorized that any spell the caster casts never ends. Note that this can be very bad and usually is.
  • Polymorph any object: Objects that the caster is holding or wearing change shape without warning. Once released or given away, they usually return to their basic form.
  • Power Word, Blind: The casters voice becomes loud, raising in volume by 30-40 decibels (About the level of a chainsaw). Even if attempting to whisper, her voice is loud.
  • Serten's Spell Immunity: While prepared this grants the caster a +2 bonus versus the spells it protects against.
  • Symbol: When speaking or attacking, there is a 1% chance that a random symbol floats from the casters mouth, affecting a single target. 
  • Trap the Soul: The caster makes everyone uneasy.

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    On the Effects of Magic, 7th Level Wizard

    This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

    The magical energies contained in the brain causes side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit, there are risks. As these are seventh level side effects, they are quite powerful.

    This makes wizards somewhat more unique based on the spells they know and can prepare. It also can make them more useful or somewhat of a liability.

    • Bigby's Grasping Hand: The casters hands double in size, and his arms become larger to support them. He is considered to have a strength of 18, as normal for thrusting damage, but has his normal strength for bashing and slashing weapons.
    • Cacodemon: While prepared, the caster is connected to the planes of hell. This has many and varied effects, causing a penalty versus saves from extra-dimensional entities, to being overheard by extra-planar creatures. 
    • Charm Plants: Plants are drawn to the caster, turning towards him as if he is the sun
    • Delayed Blast Fireball: Caster can shoot out bolts of flame to 20'. These require a normal to hit roll, take a full round to aim and fire, and do 2d8+2 points of damage
    • Drawmij's Instant Summons: The planar connection makes the wizard easy to locate using scrying spells. 
    • Duo-Dimension: The casters dimensions are somewhat unstable while this spell is cast. At any given moment, their girth, weight, and thickness is between 20% and 200% of normal
    • Limited Wish: Powerful energy is trapped in the casters mind. Electricity arcs off their hair and body, and their eyes glow with power. Various unusual magical phenomena manifest nearby. 
    • Mass Invisibility: The casters skin and clothing fades in and out of sight.
    • Monster Summoning V: The caster is surrounded by free-floating glowing pentagrams. They shed light to 10' and hum. Anyone attacking the wizard will take 1d4 + 1 damage from the electrical energy discharged by the pentagrams
    • Mordenkainen's Sword: The sword struggles to manifest. While memorized, it appears, phasing in and out on the casters body. Nearby swords drift and tug on their scabbards, pointing to the sword of force. Anyone attacking the caster with a sword has a +1 to hit and damage with such a weapon due to the pull of the magic. 
    • Phase Door: Space near the caster bends and twists, other dimensions slightly different then this one fade in and out nearby. Often walls, doors, or corridors appear where another is. 
    • Power Word, Stun: The casters voice becomes loud, raising in volume by 20-30 decibels.Even if attempting to whisper, his voice is loud
    • Reverse Gravity: The caster floats, and can levitate and "fly" as long as she remains within 8" of a solid surface
    • Simulacrum: The wizards features become waxy and indistinct.
    • Statue: The wizards complexion become stone like, and her armor class is increased by 1
    • Vanish: Objects appear and disappear near the caster. 30% chance anyone within 10' finds whatever they are holding has gone missing, only to re-appear a few moments later.

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    On the Effects of Magic, 6th level Wizard

    This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

    The magical energies contained in the brain could cause side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit, there are risks. As these are sixth level side-effects, the results should be noticeable.

    This makes wizards somewhat more unique based on the spells they know and can prepare. It also can make them more useful or somewhat of a liability.

    The list of side effects follows:

    • Anti-Magic Shell: The wizard receives a +4 bonus on saves versus magic or spells, but has a 10% chance of spell failure any time she casts a spell
    • Bigby's Forceful Hand: The wizard's hands elongate to three times their normal length. The wizard is unable to wear rings while his hands appear this way, unless he keeps them closed in awkward fists.
    • Control Weather: The sky rumbles and cold winds blow. When the caster speaks lightning may flash, clouds may roll, and thunder may punctuate his sentences. This gives her a 20% bonus on any social intimidation rolls. Occasionally a small cloud may appear and rain over the caster or someone nearby
    • Death Spell: The casters eyes become tiny skulls and anyone touching or being touched by the caster must save or lose a life energy level. 
    • Disintegrate: Any normal, unmagical object held or used by the wizard must save versus disintegration or crumble apart while being held or used. The wizards clothes are immune to this effect until removed (when they likely will be destroyed). The wizards pack, weapons, and equipment are not.
    • Enchant an Item: Emotions and events are enhanced around the user. Scary events are terrifying, critical hits are more critical, wounds are greater, and healing is more powerful. Everyone within 120' of the wizard gets +1 to all rolls, ally, enemy, and neutral alike.
    • Extension III: Spells cast by the caster last an additional 3 rounds while this is memorized.
    • Geas: The wizard's voice is more influential, any statement he makes has a 50% chance to be treated as a command, as the cleric spell. The target receives a saving throw. 
    • Glassee: The wizards skin becomes translucent, becoming ghoul or ghast-like in appearance.
    • Globe of Invulnerability: While prepared, spells the wizard casts have a 4 - level chance of failure on a d6, i.e. a 2nd level spell fails when the wizard casts it or has it cast against them 2 in 6 times. A 3rd level spell fails on a 1 in 6 chance.
    • Guards and Wards: The wizard causes bad luck to surround him. Bedpans and flowerpots fall from windows, mud splashes bystanders, people trip and fall, horses go wild, adventurers slip on stairs, etc.
    • Invisible Stalker: Objects nearby float in the air, move of their own accord and dance wildly. Occasionally nearby objects will smash into a wall or the ground. While concentrating for a round and taking no other action, the wizard can control this force as the spell Unseen Servant.
    • Legend Lore: The wizard constantly has a voice explaining and describing things to him in his head. It talks about what happened, what the past was, who has died in this place, what their lives were like, untold, uncounted, useless information. This affects the wizard causing him difficulty hearing and giving him a 20% of spell failure (excepting the Legend Lore spell itself).
    • Lower Water: The caster causes water to run down nearby surfaces, leaving the entire area damp.
    • Monster Summoning IV: The pentagrams now float free of the wizards skin and body. They provide no protection but they glow providing light out to 2" and his and hum. The spark slightly as other planes come into contact with this one and the smell of ozone is strong in the air.
    • Move Earth: When the mage walks, dirt is kicked up, and stone cracks and crumbles, leaving a trail of rough and difficult terrain over both stone and earth.
    • Otiluke's Freezing Sphere: All water within 10" of the caster freezes over the course of 1 round.
    • Part Water: The caster and the space around him is hydrophobic. Small droplets and dampness will be banished, but larger bodies of water will just move away slightly. Any exposure to water will not cause the caster to become damp.
    • Project Image:The appearance of the wizard trails a second ahead or behind of the caster whenever she speaks or moves. The effect is unnerving like feedback and makes it difficult for the caster to speak. 
    • Reincarnation: Occasionally when speaking to the caster, they appear to be a different race or creature. The caster may find his hands have become hooves for a few moments, or that he has difficulty speaking as his form shifts transitionally to that of another creature.
    • Repulsion: The caster is repugnant to nearby creatures, -4 on all social rolls. Even if the caster isn't speaking, this grants the party speaker a -2 on all rolls due to the intense dislike of the caster.
    • Spiritwrack: The caster attracts demonic attention. Any random encounter has a 1% of being a demon while this spell is known.
    • Stone to Flesh: Nearby rock and stone seems to writhe and shift. In addition to being disturbing, it causes all stone terrain within 3" of the wizard to be considered difficult terrain.
    • Tenser's Transformation: The wizards strength if less than 17 becomes 17 and he gains a slight Austrian accent.

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    On the Effects of Magic, 5th level Wizard

    This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

    The magical energies contained in the brain could cause side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit, there 
    are risks. As these are fifth level side-effects, the results should be noticeable.

    This makes wizards somewhat more unique based on the spells they know and can prepare. It also can make them more useful or somewhat of a liability.

    • Airy Water: The wizard emits bubbles when he speaks, that only release his words when they pop. 
    • Animal Growth: This has a side effect of increasing the size of all skin parasites and bacteria between 10 and 100x their normal size. This causes the skin of the wizard to appear to crawl and large disgusting parasites constantly fall off the wizard.
    • Animate Dead: The wizards face appears to be a skull with two glowing points of light where the eyes are. He smells of freshly turned earth.
    • Bigby's Interposing Hand: The casters hand increase in size 50% and his grip strength increases as if he had a Strength of 17. This doesn't affect any damage, only the casters ability to grapple and hold on to things
    • Cloudkill: A noxious odor and haze surrounds the caster. Anyone within 5' must save or become ill.
    • Conjure Elemental: Elemental forces affect the casters clothes. A patch may catch aflame, another might become wet, some are covered in dirt, others in salt or ooze.
    • Cone of Cold: This allows the caster to fire a ray of freezing cold at any target within 20'. It requires a normal to hit roll and does 1d6+1 damage. This can be done once a round. Also, anyone within 5' of the caster takes 1 point of freezing cold damage a round.
    • Contact Other Plane: The caster is subjected to voices while this spell is memorized. They command him to do things and disrupt his concentration. Space around the caster seems to bend and warp. 
    • Distance Distortion: The caster's movement speed doubles.
    • Extension II: Spells cast by the caster last an additional 2 rounds while this spell is prepared.
    • Feeblemind: The caster must save versus spell when casting any spell, otherwise they forget what they are doing and stand confused for 1 round.
    • Hold Monster: Ghostly chains surround the magic user. When the spell is cast they lash out towards the targets, binding them
    • Leomund's Secret Chest: While prepared, the magic user is able to smell valuables, as well as disturbances in the astral and ethereal plane.
    • Magic Jar: The casters eyes are unable to focus, and she takes a -2 penalty on any attack rolls that must be made. Her skin also takes on a glassy sheen.
    • Monster Summoning III: Pentagrams begin to exude themselves from the wizards skin and clothing. They hum and hiss making it impossible to move silently.
    • Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound: The caster smells like a wet dog, and happens to arouse all nearby canines
    • Passwall: The caster becomes translucent.
    • Stone Shape: Any stone within 2' of the caster begins to bubble and turn to liquid, hardening in it's new shape as soon as the caster moves on.
    • Telekinesis: Objects nearby the caster unexpectedly rise up and float. The caster may fling one nearby object up to 1/10 the maximum weight the caster can move with the spell a round at a target doing 1-4 through 1-8 damage. The damage is dependent on the type and size of the object.
    • Teleport: The caster will occasionally teleport a few inches in a random direction. There is no danger of being high or low, but occasionally the caster will stumble or become a little stuck in the ground or air.  
    • Transmute Rock To Mud: Any rock within 5' of the wizard maintains it's hardness, but changes color and texture to that of mud. the casters clothes look filthy.
    • Wall of Force: The caster's clothing becomes translucent and exudes a purple light.
    • Wall of Iron: The caster's clothing appears to be made from iron.
    • Wall of Stone: The caster's clothing appears to be made from stone.

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    On the Effects of Magic, 4th level Wizard

    This series was originally published in April of 2014.  This is part of an effort to update and archive these posts on the "Links to Wisdom" wiki. It is also available for a free download at DTRPG.

    The magical energies contained in the brain could cause side effects. When the wizard acts as a conduit there
    are risks. As these are fourth level side-effects, the results should be noticeable.

    This makes wizards somewhat more unique based on the spells they know and can prepare. It also can make them more useful or somewhat of a liability.

    Here is a listing of those side effects:

    • Charm Monster: All reactions with non-sentient creatures are improved by 1, however sentient creatures detect something monstrous within you, and have their reaction penalized by the same amount.
    • Confusion: There is a 1 in 6 chance per spell cast while confusion is memorized, that the lowest-level spell memorized is actually a different spell then the one the wizard prepared.
    • Dig: Where the wizard walks dirt is kicked up leaving holes. These holes make rough terrain. Stone is unaffected, but eventually cracks and crumbles if repeatedly crossed
    • Dimension door: When objects are retrieved by anyone standing near the wizard, there is a 1 in 6 chance that it is any random object, and there is a 2 in 6 chance that it is a random object possessed by the party. This roll is made any time the Dungeon Master wishes to roll, not every time an object is retrieved.
    • Enchanted Weapon: Any weapon held by the wizard for a single round, acts as a +1 magical weapon for the purposes of damaging monsters only damaged by magical weapons. This lasts 1 turn after the wizard releases the weapon.
    • Extension I: All spells possessed by the wizard last an additional round while cast while this is memorized.
    • Fear: The caster no longer has a penalty when engaged in social combat and attempting to scare an opponent. Alternately, the caster receives a a +4 bonus versus fear saves, while those around him receive a -2.
    • Fire Charm: The magic user's eyes turn into fire. This allows them to either cast 10' of light, or see 30' in the dark. It does not otherwise affect vision
    • Fire Shield: Flames lick from the bottom of the wizards robe or pants. They will unintentionally catch things on fire.
    • Fire Trap: A flaming tattoo of a magical rune floats underneath the caster's skin.
    • Fumble: Any one rolled on an attack causes a critical failure.
    • Hallucinatory Terrain: Strange weather follows the caster, covered in sunlight in the dungeon, snowing when at the inn, etc.
    • Ice Storm: The caster's clothes are covered in frost. When they walk, the leave little patches of ice. This does not alter the terrain, but does create puddles of water that trail after the caster. They receive a +1 to saves versus fire effects.
    • Massmorph: The caster becomes stiff and loses 1" of movement. Everyone nearby constantly finds leaves in their clothing and armor.
    • Minor Globe of Invulnerability: While prepared, spells have a 3 - level chance of failure on a d6, i.e. a 1st level spell fails when the wizard casts it or has it cast against them 2 in 6 times. A 2nd level spell fails on a 1 in 6 chance.
    • Monster Summoning II:  Pentagrams float on the surface of the wizards clothing and flesh, moving freely between them.
    • Plant Growth: When near plants they visibly move to face the caster. Sprouts and grass grow up in the footprints of the wizard.
    • Polymorph Other/Self: The casters form becomes unstable. He may smell like a elk, have claws momentarily, have his hair turn into feathers, or various other transitory effects. These have the side effects of attracting predators and unnerving sentient opponents. +1 on wandering monster checks and -1 on reactions.
    • Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer: There is a 4-level chance per spell cast on a d10 that a spell when cast will not be forgotten. A first level spell has a 3 in 10 chance of being retained, a third level spell has a 1 in 10 chance of being retained.
    • Remove Curse: Caster receives a +1 bonus on saving throws. Magic items and spells have a 2% malfunction/mishap chance.
    • Wall of Fire: Caster's clothing appears to be coated in licks of fire.
    • Wall of Ice: Caster's clothing appears to be coated in sheets of ice and frost.
    • Wizard Eyes: The wizards eyes begin to bulge, and occasionally float out of their sockets.

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