Fantasy Technology- Ways of Enhancing The Lyre of Building

Derek Holland

I posted the idea of an enhanced lyre of building a few minutes ago, under the title Complex Magic Items, and I want to take a closer look at ways of making one of the most useful magic items moreso. Since I have posted this to the Skirmisher Blog, I have added a few ideas, including one spell that really should be in all Lyres of Building.

First I would triple the price and allow the construction function to work once per day. For an additional tripling (so 6X), I would double the amount of work done.

The two most common spells to enhance a lyre are Stoneskin and Resist Energy. The former doubles the resulting structure's hardness and the latter adds X energy resistance 10, 20 or 30. Fire resistance 20 and Stoneskin should allow for making ice infrastructure that will not melt even in the hottest natural weather. It wouldn't be as tough as wood, but it would look cool. Cold resistance and Stoneskin should make buildings that are effectively immune to avalanches and shifting glaciers. Sonic resistance could be used to help mine solid stone. Just make the supporting columns sonic resistant 20 or 30 and then blast the walls as needed. Other than dealing with pigeons or acid rain, I don't see much use for acid resistance. For a different kind of structural enhancement, Wall of Stone could be used as a form of mortar or as core like rebar. It would add to hit points rather than hardness.

The next most common spell would be Reverse Gravity. This would not make buildings that float or fly (that is Levitate or Fly), but rather make buildings that can not stand otherwise because of their unusual design. For example a castle standing on top of a tower or a horizontal tower coming off a mountain peak. Those wanting to make lighter infrastructure for cheaper, Floating Disc is the way to go. It can also make gravity breaking buildings but has a much more limited weight limit (though if placed in the lyre 100 times, it can make up for that some what). Floating Disc can also be used to make buildings that will float on water. Cities and towns that sit in regions without currents or bad weather could become common.

And then there is Make Whole, something that might be in every lyre. It gives the finished building Fast Healing 1. The downside is it makes demolishing the building that much harder. A higher level version of the spell might even give the building Regeneration 1 and allow it to regrow like a troll (so acid and may be fire get through the regeneration).

For more domestic uses, Purify Food and Water, are used in aqueducts and buildings for grain storage. The amount of food for the masses as well as reduced amounts of disease would be significant. Light would be very cheap to add and illuminates the structure on activation.

For airships, Fly is a must but Solid Fog could be handy in acting as a bumper. It automatically activates when the ship is about to strike (or be struck by) something, reducing the damage by 6d10 (or 30 or 60) points (as it is 60 feet deep). Makes navigation a pain, but the damage resistance is well worth it in most cases. Fog Cloud could be used to make air so that the ship can leave the atmosphere (and allow spelljammers to not worry about their air envelope).

For those castles underwater, Water Breathing makes visiting surface dwellers' lives easier. A reverse form does the same for aquatics wanting to visit the surface world, though Create Water might be needed for those with fins rather than legs.

Rope Trick should be the base spell for bags of holding and portable holes. For a lyre, it makes structures that can move into their own extradimensional space upon activation. A higher level version of the spell should allow buildings that are partially within the space. A combination of Reverse Gravity and a higher level version of Rope Trick can be used to make Escher-esk architecture.

For raw materials, Plant Growth can be used on tree seeds to provide lumber; Transmute Mud to Rock can turn soil to stone and if you need something special and aren't worrying about the cost, Polymorph Any Object is the spell for you.

And then there is the druid version of the lyre, which uses Plant Growth, Wood Shape, Transmute Mud to Rock, Produce Flame, Quench, Stone Shape, Control Water and similar spells in place of Fabricate. Of course it isn't a lyre- a drum or bone flute might be more appropriate.


Edit- here are some more ideas. I want to thank Lewd Beholder at for the first one.

Dimensional Anchor keeps wanted teleporters and plane shifters from entering the building.

Telekinesis is handy in at least two applications. The first are command word driven elevators. The second is a form of aqueduct that not only can defeat gravity but can also move solid objects. Used with Purify Food and Water, it could move grain from farms into cities.

Though Purify Food and Water is a must for dealing with food quality, one that I should have mentioned above is Repel Vermin. Combined, the spells should increase the quantity of useable food to almost 100%.

There are two kinds of defensive spells I should have included. Detect X can be used with Alarm or with Faerie Fire (or both). Protection from X keeps the unwanted from entering in the first place. Stone Tell could also be used to help identify intruders and their actions. The problem with the Faerie Fire spell is that it affects something other than the building. If you allow that, then there are a few other spells, some from d20 sources as well as the SRD, that might be handy.

Tongues allow communication within the building's walls, a garden's paths or anything else the lyre builds.

Free Movement is an odd one, but it is handy in buildings placed in odd places (other planes, underwater, etc.). Spider Climb is handy for those who want the gravity bending architecture built by Reverse Gravity.

Kabaz's Revitalizing Rest (from Advanced Arcana) allows people who sleep within the building to heal d8 points of damage per 2 caster levels. The spell also allows some additional spell memorization, but this does not apply to the lyre. [5th level wizard spell]

Create Useful Item (Advanced Arcana II) makes basic tools as needed and thus is used in making workshops. With a caster level above 6, it makes masterwork tools. [2nd level wizard spell]

Spirit Sight (Advanced Arcana II) is used when building cemetaries with a lyre. It allows people to see and communicate with the dead. Those cultures who venerate their ancestors should find this spell an important part of their society. [1st level wizard spell]

Network of Ears (Advanced Arcana III) allows the owner of the building to listen in all the rooms of the building upon command. If the owner dies, the next to speak the command word gains the benefit. [6th level wizard spell]

Adaptive Glamer (Advanced Arcana II) has two uses. One it can be used on the building and the other on its inhabitants. The illusion makes the target appear differently for each viewer. [8th level wizard spell]

And now for something really bizarre, Stone to Flesh can be used to make living buildings. They require food and hygene, otherwise they will starve to death. The second edition spells Teratism I-III from Dragon Magazine 237 allow the lyre user to add a CR +1-3 monster template to the structure.


Edit 2- I missed a couple in my notes.

Peace Aura is an 8th level cleric spell from The Book of Divine Magic and makes combat difficult to even contemplate while in the building.

Phase Door allows hidden doors and passages that allow people to walk through solid walls.


Edit 3- a spell I should have included in the first place.

Special Effects is from the 2e Wizard's Spell Compendium. It permanently alters the sensory qualities of an object, creature or location. All the senses can be affected...