Runequest Thursday #171 - Some New Sorceries!

Clint Staples

Some fresh, or not so fresh in one case, Sorcery spells for a Thursday. All of these are reversible, which is to say that they essentially are two spells in one, a feature of many of the most refined sorcery spells. Such spells are central to sorcery, with spells like Sharpen/ Dull, Light/ Dark , and Fire/ Frost. 

The spells below are less well known, but no less useful.  I added Mis/Communication to the Common Spells List. The others are in the Uncommon Spells List. Protection/Weakening is an alternate version of Protection, which has been a sorcery spell since the beginning. This one is reversible. I added it to the Common Spells, but it could just as easily be a uncommon variant.


Breathe/ Smother [Man, Air] Range – 30 Yards                POW Check – No/ Yes

Duration – 10 Rounds/ 1 Round per Magnitude

As Breathe, this spell allows a single subject a sufficient supply of breathable air, regardless of the environment or other factors. If there are airborn pollutants or poisons, the spell allows safe respiration. Ranks may be spent to add additional subjects to Breathe, to extend the range, or the duration from 10 Rounds.  

With a success on a POW contest, Smother makes breathing increasingly more difficult for a single target, forcing the target to make a CON check. Magnitude 1 Smother imposes a CON x5% success in order to breathe. Each Magnitude thereafter reduces the multiple of the CON check by 1, to a minimum of 1. Ranks may be spent to add additional targets to Smother, to extend the range, or the duration by 1 Round per rank.

Each round that a target fails its CON check or cannot breathe, it suffers 1 Damage to the Chest, and is at -20% on all skill attempts.


Mis/Communication [Truth, Mastery]   Range – Self/ Touch    POW Check – Yes/ No

Duration – 10 Rounds

Each rank of Communication grants 20% ability to communicate verbally with the subject (or beings if they share the language of the initial subject). A check against this percentage should be made for concepts that are more difficult than the chance should grant, but normal communication within the bounds of the percentage is assumed. Social skills other than Intimidate are limited to no higher a percentage than your spell magnitude.

            You may cast communication to converse with animals or creatures that have non-linguistic communication (telepathy, pheromones, etc) but your mode of communication does not change, it is simply rendered comprehensible to your subject, as its is to you. Subjects with limited, or alien minds, may limit the degree of communication possible.

            As Miscommunication, this spell must overcome a single target in a POW contest. Each rank then reduces that target’s ability to communicate or cast Sorcery (or other spells that require speech) spells by 10%. Social skills other than Intimidate are limited to no higher a percentage than your spell magnitude.


Ranks of Magnitude for Communication:

  1. Very Simple concepts expressable in one or two words
  2. Concepts expressable in a sentence without little or no nuance
  3. Normal conversation, with somewhat limited vocabulary
  4. Superior communication capable of significant nuance and subtlety
  5. Mastery of conversation on whatever subject matter is expressed

             Levels may be spent to increase Range or Duration.


Purify/ Corrupt [Life, Disorder, Water] Range – 10 yards POW Check – No

Duration – Instant

You can cause a subject (or a portion thereof) within range to become pure, or to rot or become rank with corruption, Each Magnitude you have in the spell allows you to affect up to 1 cubic yard of the substance or 20 SIZ (if referring to a creature). Purify can reverse rot, kill disease bearing pests, etc, and grants an immediate roll to a living subject suffering from a disease. It will also purify food or drink, removing pestilence and decay, and making the food or water safe for consumption. Note that any substance or subject upon which purify has been cast will not remain pure magically, but any decay must begin anew. Purify will not kill rats or other larger pests, but will destroy flies and similar ones.

Corruption Affects the same amount or SIZ as does Purify, but causes a substance to rot before one’s eyes, or attacks a creature with decay. In the case of food or water, the substance is no longer fit for consumption and will cause food poisoning or worse if ingested. The corruption is obvious to the eyes, nose, and tongue, such that it would be impossible to ingest unknowingly. Cast upon a living creature, the target reeks of decay and appears soiled and rank (-10% per Magnitude to Social skill attempts) until it can clean itself. In addition, The target creature must make a CON x3% success, or each wound a target currently has suffers a single point of damage immediately, as infection sets in. This damage will continue until the target makes a successful CON x3% (which may be attempted once per turn) or a wound has had Healing or First Aid applied to it.



Protection/ Weakening [Earth, Disorder, Stasis]   Range – 30 Yards   POW Check – No/ Yes

Duration – 15 minutes

As Protection, this spell works like armor. Each level adds one point to the armor protection of the caster. Protection works against Fire/ Frost and Blast. It does not work against Illusion or Lightning.


As Weakening, this spell reduces the Armor Points of a target by 1 per Magnitude, rendering metal temporarily malleable or brittle, and weakening tough hide. You must succeed on a POW contest to cast Weakening on a target that resists.

             Levels may be spent to increase Range or Duration.


As always, these have been added to the core Sorcery Document, which is available as a doc or pdf as attachments.