Inspiration for Travel-Oriented Spells

Michael O. Varhola

At this writing I am nearing the end of my four-week Aegean Odyssey through Greece and should be home in just a few days. One of the things my journey has inspired are a number of different spells, many of them directly related to travel and others simply things that have occurred to me while traveling through unfamiliar places. Following are a number that I will be developing for the Game Content section of d-Infinity Online once I am done with my trip and back into a regular routine. 

Clamber: This 1st-level arcane and divine spell would be intended to help its beneficiary to more adeptly cross rough terrain and grant him or her a bonus on Balance, Climb,  and Jump skill checks. This bonus would increase with caster level (e.g., start off at +1 and go up by +1 at every level divisible by three). Inspiration for a spell of this sort and its "Mass" variant was most recently our precarious descent through the Samaria Gorge of Crete, which required various combinations of the referenced skills. 

Clamber (Mass): This 5th-level spell would have exactly the same effects as Clamber but could be extended to multiple beneficiaries (e.g., one per caster level). 

Megaphone: This low-level arcane spell would allow a caster to project his voice much further than usual and allow him to be heard by everyone within a certain area, which could effectively extend the range of some spells. It would also enhance the effects of sonic attacks of various sorts (e.g., +1 per damage die, +2 to DC of their saving throws). This spell was inspired by a couple of encounters Brendan Cass and I had with small trucks prowling through the villages of Kos Island, blaring out announcements for something. Civil defense? Religious proselysation? No, just itinerant vendors traveling from village-to-village and hawking their wares! 

Phantom Sails: This spell would allow a vessel to move as if under sail for a time, such as one hour per level of the caster. My sense is that the Phantom Sails would not require wind to function and that they might in fact draw their power from the Elemental Plane of Air. My sense is that this spell would function only on a vessel, however, outfitted to take sails (or maybe only be half as effective on those that are not). Size of the vessel would be determined by level of the caster (e.g., a small four-person sailboat at 1st level, a merchant vessel at 10th level). Inspiration for this spell was the traditional sailing vessels of Santorini, Greece, that moved only under motor and did not even have sails rigged to their masts! Clearly being able to travel without them is convenient enough that anyone who could would. 

Transform Drink: This spell would allow a caster to change a single dose of a drink from one sort to another for the amount of time it would take to drink it. It might make sense to allow the number of doses to be affected by the caster level (e.g., one/level). Use of a material component, perhaps half the original dosage, might allow the results to be permanent. This spell was inspired by an episode that occurred when a waiter on Santorini brought our group small complimentary cups of an amber-colored liquid after our dinner. We asked him what it was, to which he replied "Vinsanto," a type of sweet dessert wine that is vinted on the island. Quite possibly not hearing what he had said and not liking vinsanto anyway, my wife responded by picking hers up, declared "This is honey-flavored raki!," slammed it on the table, and then downed it in one gulp as the rest of us were beginning to sip ours. This prompted me to reflect that a traveler who had the ability to swap out undesirable local drinks for ones they preferred would certainly do so; this spell probably does not have much facility under tactical conditions, but could have some use in role-playing situations. 

Walking Stick: Offhand the only spell I can think of that enhances a normal walking stick is Shilleglagh, which makes it better at beating things to death. In reality this is less useful when traveling than one might think and a magical walking stick that had things intended to aid one's journey might be more useful. This low-level arcane and divine spell could be cast on a piece of wood conforming to the characteristics of a standard club or staff and thereafter allow its bearer to Take 10 on Balance checks while moving at normal speed. It would also grant a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks (making it useful for scaring off dogs and local miscreants in cases when killing them outright seems a bit extreme). Furthermore, the stick could be sacrificed to allow its user to take a 20 on a single Balance, Climb, or Jump skill check. My sense is that it would be 1st level and have a duration of one hour per caster level. This spell was inspired by the things I actually carry a walking stick for and on what would have been useful to my wife during our descent through the rugged Samaria Gorge on the island of Crete. 

Comments on these spells and suggestions for other travel-oriented ones are welcome!