Odds and Ends 12

Derek Holland

Today I have a few comments on two old spells, Mutant Future zoos, new colors for prismatic effects and a new kind of spell.

The Golem spell is from the first edition Unearthed Arcana. It is a 5th level cleric spell and allows the creation of straw (at 9th level), rope (at 11th level), leather (at 13th level) and wood (at 15th level) lesser golems. What is odd about the spell is the duration differs between the types- the more powerful the golem, the longer it lasts. It is a nice spell and is easy to add new types at the missing levels (10, 12, 14) and more powerful ones as well. It can also be used as a template for new spells that make temporary monsters. It allows clerics to get into the monster creation business, something usually reserved for magic-users and illusionists.

In The Arcanum (an OSR game from long before the OGL), there is a spell that suprised me- Conjure Toxic Cloud. Unlike Cloudkill, the caster of this spell needs a sample of the toxin the cloud will be made up of. In other words, it can have a lot more applications than Cloudkill. Consider acidic, rusting, debilitating, flesh warping and other kinds of poisons. Very handy effect.

Zoos are important in Gamma World as they were the source of stock species of animals for PC creation. In Mutant Future, the Ancients may have populated their zoos with many different kinds of creatures- wild, engineered, alien, ultraterrestrial (i.e. from another universe), robotic animals synths (from Wisdom from the Wasteland 15), other synthetic life (as I have mentioned a few times in this blog) and even AIs in virtual zoos. Of course virtual zoos don't have escapes like others, but the results could be remoras (Wisdom from the Wastelands 16), new basic android PCs or buggy artifacts.

These colors for prismatic spells only replace the offensive parts of the colors they replace, not the defensive effects:

Black replaces Green and the effect is a combination of Finger of Death and Animate Dead. (In other words, those who fail the save become zombies.) It is negated by Neutralize Poison.

White replaces Blue and the effect is a combination of Finger of Death and Reincarnation. It is negated by Death Spell.

Grey replaces Indigo and the effect is Polymorph Other (the caster selects the form as the time of casting). It is negated by Find the Path.

Brown replaces Violet and the effect is Imprisonment. It is negated by Dispel Magic.

See what you can come up with for new colors and effects. It would be nice to see a more colorful prismatic family of spells.

Test spells are curses when broken by deed result in permanent positive effects. They are usually divine in origin/nature and may even be location based. Here are three examples:

Crawl the Desert causes paralysis in the legs. If the victim crawls 50 miles in a hot sandy desert, the grains are infused into the body. The curse is broken and the victim gains an armor class of 0 (or 20 in d20 terms).

Bobbing Cork keeps the victim from diving on their own. If they are kept below the waves with weights and use no magic to assist in breathing for one month, the curse is broken and the victim never needs to breath again.

Viper Bait draws serpents and puts a -6 penalty to the victim's saves. If the victim kills and consumes 50 hit dice of venomous snakes, the curse is broken and the victim gains the ability to Dominate mundane serpents (as Oriental dragons' scaly command with a 10 hit die limit).

Test spells are something I came up with last night and need some refinement. But I think the idea is a solid one. What might you use it for?