A Use For All the OSR Spell Lists

Derek Holland

Very long story short, I noticed I have a lot of spell lists, some with entirely new spells, in my library. I started to work up some new races and classes using them and the elf class from Labyrinth Lord and came up with a few decent ones. Then I went on to monsters, taking notes on a few that I think either need additional spells or magic use in general. So here are the best of the lot. They use some OSR sources, some 2e sources and some d20 sources (the joy of conversion is easy with most spells):

There is a world where there are several forms of necromancy, each dominated by a single race, though there are others that can learn scraps. The main races are the Jackals, actual humanoid canids who worship a twisted form of Anubis (Theorems and Thaumaturgy); the Black Yeti, an arctic race that uses undead and summons demons to survive extreme cold (The Arcanum); and the Starving Ones, humans that have been exposed to necromancy for so long, it has warped their bodies and minds (Complete Necromancer's Handbook). They live in very different places, so contact is limited at best. This keeps the lines of research and results separate and distinct.

Large lakes have fish that can only look up. These are the Heaven Gazers, based on a real variety of goldfish. They constantly look at the stars and thus have taken to Astrology (The Arcanum). On mountain tops, there are goat people who also look at the stars, but have a different method of determining the constellations (Occult Lore). You may wish to consider The Noble Wild for the fish race.

As for the elves, there are the Iron Born, a people of very advanced technology (The Fantastic Science); the Shadow Walkers, a people who speak to spirits and use their assistance to hide from an overwhelming orc presence (The Arcanum); and the Earth Speakers, a people who have taken a study of symbols and patterns to the extreme and now use and manipulate ley lines (Players Option: Spells and Magic). Another elven population on a different continent has also adopted the use of ley lines, but in a very different manner- one that can kill the weak (Dragon 229). And then there are the soldiers who use force spells to prevent fires in their home forests (PO: Spells and Magic).

As for monsters:

Lizard Kings are the result of demons mating with or otherwise influencing lizard men. This is perfect for Black Magic from The Arcanum. They get some spells to fling at opponents (using the trident as a focus), but much more importantly, they can summon demons and other evil creatures. If a Lizard King gets the chance to observe the party and see their casters in action, they can summon specific kinds of creatures that key in on the casters' weaknesses. Personally I would use grues to shut down casters who specialize in an element and or a chasme to put some of the party to sleep, but there are obviously many possibilities.

I have always thought krakens should have some actual spell casting ability ever since I read the 1e MMII. Like the elves, krakens can specialize and each can have its own spell list (plus any that it researches on its own). From The Arcanum, I think High Magic, the study of the words of power, and Sorcery, magic that is treated as science, work best. They can also be technologists (The Fantastic Science) that use reskinned devices that are organic, witches that use outsiders as tools for power (Darker Paths 2) or illusionists (1e) that use their magic to confound foes and direct them to slay other enemies. In any case, the DM should add at least a few new spells of that kraken's invention- they are too intelligent and long lived not to work on new magics to solve their problems.

Dragon turtles are another monster that is rather bland and could be made more interesting with magic. In this case, I would go with the druid, illusionist (1e) or enchantment (The Arcanum) lists as the creature can use the natural world to deal with foes or create mirages to draw food. Or, just to be strange, how about psionics? They are very intelligent, have plenty of time to work on psionic ability and it could make them much more formidable predators in a habitat that has a fair number of those (dragons, krakens, sahuagin).

Speaking of psionics and The Arcanum version thereof (called mysticism), other monsters that have time just sitting around and I think would make for more interesting encounters would include otyugh, minotaurs, ettercaps and mimics. Minotaurs that draw upon divine blood or their curse as a source of power may also have access to the force or geometry schools (PO: Spells and Magic). And all of them could also benefit from having access to the illusionist (1e) and enchantment (The Arcanum) spell lists because of their limited mobility- they are usually stuck in their lairs and have to be crafty to survive the ever appearing hordes of adventurers.

As for blood, the chimera and some of the dragon hybrids in the 2e Draconomicon and Cult of the Dragon supplements could have access to magic because of their ancestry (Mayfair's Dragons, 3e's Dragon Magic and a variety from The Wizard's Spell Compendium volume 4, not to mention the spells in the Draconomicon and Cult).

So there are plenty of creatures, those that can be used as PCs and monsters, that can benefit from an abundant source of spells and spell lists.