Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Greyhawk A-Z: More Spells

Welcome back Greyhawk wizards! Last month I did an A-Z article on spells that was so well received, we ended up discussing Greyhawk spells on Legends & Lore. Amazingly, there is so many spells published that can be tied to the setting, across many editions, that even after the stream, I had many many more obscure spells that didn't get mentioned! For your reading pleasure, here is another A-Z on spells. Enjoy!

Andrui's Baneful Backfire: (Wiz 5) This spell is a hidden gem, found in the short adventure, Bigby's Modest Home by Jack Barker in the anthology book Treasures of Greyhawk. The spell was created by an apprentice of Bigby, but he perfected it, hence the 5th level tag. Simply, it prevents other spellcasters from using Dispel Magic on your effects by causing a backfire that burns memorized spells. Clever stuff!

Bubka's Superior Identification: (Wiz 5) One of my favorite parts of the 2E City of Greyhawk boxed set, is the details concerning the Guild of Wizardry. This used to be a popular destination for my players because Kondradis Bubka ran a magic item exchange. No item was too powerful to trade or buy here. Bubka of course was THE authority on identifying and pricing magic due to his Superior Identification spell also in this publication. He charges 350 g.p. per casting. Why? Because his spell gets results faster, more reliably, and I had forgot this, but in 1E/2E the regular Identify spell temporarily drains a wizard of 8 Con! Not 1d8 Con, a whole 8 Constitution points! Bubka found a way around this loss and pretty much made a career out of it. Smart guy!

Corpse Candle: (Wiz 2) This spell can be found in another sequel adventure, Return to the Tomb of Horrors by Bruce Cordell. Created by a group of necromancers called the Black Academy, this is an interesting permanent spell. It enchants a special candle that when carried into magical dark or light, temporarily negates the effect. Never heard of corpse candle until now, but I could see this getting a lot of use!

Disc of Concordant Opposition: (Cl 6) James Ward's seminal source book, Greyhawk Adventures is packed with many Greyhawk original spells. Most are Circle of Eight wizard spells, however the early chapters cover specialty priest spells of various gods. The Disc is for clerics of Boccob the Uncaring. What does it do? Oh it blasts creatures 6 HD or less into nothingness, those higher take 75 damage. Gotta love the save or die era. Boccobites don't mess around.

Erythnul's Slaughter:
(Cl 5) This is a specialty cleric spell from the Power of Faith by John Ling in Dragon#342. It's also one that a DM can drop into the middle of combat to both excite and scare players. Every weapon within 30' of the caster has twice the chance to critical hit. Also, creatures dropped do not stabilize without assistance. Slaughter could be deadly even in player-friendly 5E! Oh that Erythnul loves a good TPK.

Footsore: (Cl 4) Another specialty spell from GHA. Footsore is a curse thrown by worshippers of Fharlanghn to slow down a creature or group of creatures travelling farther than three miles. Its says they drag their feet, walk in circles, take extra rests which doubles travel times. The spell lasts 1 day/level, with no saving throw, so yes, don't offend strange wanderers you meet on the road.

Globe of Radiant Invulnerability: (Cl 5 lesser, Cl 7 greater ) Here's a pair from Core Beliefs: Wee Jas by Sean K. Reynolds in Dragon #350. Wee Jas is a favorite, and as a goddess of magic I expect her priests to have access to more magic than an ordinary cleric. This Radiant Globe is cool because its a variation on the wizard spell Globe of Invulnerability. This globe however, sheds light and when dispelled can cause damage to enemies in a radius, even more damage to undead, fungi, oozes and molds. The great version just does even more damage. This would be a fun spell for a high-level cleric to bring into a dungeon to clear out musty old, undead haunted rooms quickly.

Hungry Gizzard: (Drd 6) Here is an oddity I'm sure no one remembers. In the article, Arcane Lore: Rune-Skulls of the Abbor-Alz by James Jacobs in Dragon #292, the author posits a faction of halflings druids who following an earthquake, discovered a cache of dinosaur skulls marked with runes. This find leads to new druidic magic spells with a dinosaur theme. Fun! One is the hilariously gross Hungry Gizzard which conjures a disembodied organ to engulf a target. This poor creature then takes crushing and acid damage until it escapes. Kind of like being swallowed by a dinosaur, but its just a bulbous blob of flesh on the battle field. If the rest of the spells are this strange it's worth checking out!

Infuse With Element: (Cl 4) This is a domain spell for evil clerics of Elemental Evil, tied to the sequel, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. Author Monte Cook also wrote this companion article in Dragon #285, Four in Darkness A Guide to Elemental Evil and it is full of nasty elemental themed spells. Infuse is kind of self-explanatory, the effects depend on which elemental evil you worship. Air makes you fly and gives lightning resistance, Water lets you breathe underwater, increases Con and cold resist, Earth makes you stronger, damage reduction and acid resistant, and lastly Fire increases Dex, movement speed and gives fire resistance. How did I not use these before?!

J: I'm going to punt on this one. J is not popular. I know a spell that should go in "J" but it'll wait till later in the list, muahaha. 

Keraptis' Fantastic Famulus:
(Wiz 1) This spell s from the Pyronomicon found in Dragon #241 in the article Greyhawk Grimoires II by my favorite spell-crafter, Robert S. Mullin. The Famulus is a variation on Unseen Servant in that its job is to prevent the accidental spread of flames by snuffing them out. Handy for a wizard's study when you are a fire elementalist!

Living Pages: (Wiz 2) Vecna should have dozens of named spells, lucky for us there is some lost lore in The Secret Library of Vecna by Steve Miller in Dragon #272Living Pages turns paper into flesh that is resistant against damage and the ravages of time. It requires blood of the caster, which implies that Vecna's DNA is probably all over his library. Eww.

Murlynd's Ogre/ Murlynd's Void: (Wiz 4/Wiz 6)This entry pleases me so much I made it a pair. The two spells by Murlynd (a rarity) come from the 1E module, Land Beyond the Magic Mirror! His first spell conjures a plume of smoke and a hideous ogre that causes fear in low level creatures and does some minor damage (1d4) since after all, it's an illusion. Void conjures a black hole on any surface that vacuums up anything and everything, including air, for 1 round/level. Everything that isn't nailed down or fails a save goes to an "extra-dimensional non-space" for what I assume is eternity? It's an offensive version of Portable Hole. Wow!

Nystul's Magic Mask: (Wiz 2) Okay this one isn't from GHA, and I'm not even sure it's meant for Greyhawk, but it sports Nystul's name so yeah it counts. Quite simply this quirky spell is the opposite of Nystul's Magic Aura, it covers a magic aura from detection. Even Identify only has a 50% chance of spotting that the enchanted item is not normal (sorry Bubka). This is such an obvious variation of a well-known named spell that I'm surprised it was never made previously. At any rate, you can find this useful spell in Dragon #229, Illusions of Grandeur by Rogers Cadenhead.

Othnal's Spectral Dagger: (Wiz 4) This spell though created by someone named Othnal, was presented by Mordenkainen in the first The Wizards Three article by Ed Greenwood in Dragon #211. What does it do? It creates a glowing force dagger (Mordy's favorite type spell) that attacks twice a round like a dancing +3 weapon. Not too shabby for a mid-level combat spell!

Plague: (Cl 4) Pop quiz, what do we know about the priesthood of Incabulos? Probably not much out side the boxed set. However in the indispensable Greyhawk Adventures, we get a specialty priest spell dedicated to the Dark Rider. The aptly named Plague hits one target, who then becomes contagious to those around him. The spell is nasty and given the losses to STR and CON, it can kill! Incabulos still has nightmares, droughts, famine, disasters, etc in his portfolio. His cult needs more spells like this!

Q: Anybody got a Quaal spell handy? I'll make one up, you detail it for me. Quaal's Feather Duster.

Rary's Replay of the Past: (Wiz 5) Another Co8 classic from Greyhawk Adventures. I don't recall ever using this spell in game before, but re-reading the text it made my jaw drop: "This spell enables the caster to read the residual psychic impressions in a room or area, replaying a past event as an illusion that everyone in the area can see clearly. When an especially unusual or violent event occurs, it leaves behind psychic vibrations that remain for years."
Wow, Rary could theoretically go back to Greyhawk City and replay killing Tenser and Otiluke for fun or spite if there is others there to watch. Even better, in the Bright Desert where he rules, Rary can go to an ancient Sulm site and easily see what was once there. This spell may be OP for 5th level!

Sunfather's Face: (Cl, Drd, Pal, Rgr 1) This low-level spell can be found in Core Beliefs: Pelor by Sean K. Reynolds in Dragon #346. It causes the casters face and hair to become golden and shiny like Pelor himself! Yes, your character's hair stands out like rays of the sun. The PC is now effectively a candle light and undead turning/wild empathy rolls are increased. An easy, but quite roleplay friendly spell.

Tsylin's Wondrous Carriage: (Wiz 4) Okay one more from Mr. Mullin in Dragon #241. This spell comes from the spellbook, Exalted Dweomercraft and is the only known spell attributed to Tsylin San the exiled dark elf guardian of the Valley of the Mage. The Wondrous Carriage does not disappoint. It's a translucent force-vehicle than glows emerald green. It can be anything from a chariot to a stagecoach. A team of 4 illusory horses pulls the wondrous carriage at the caster's mental command! Interestingly a force carriage gives good protection from attacks and can be affected like other force type spells. Pretty fancy for 4th level I say!

Unmask: (Wiz 3) Speaking of Tsylin San, here is the J spell I promised! Unmask is found in the Vale of the Mage by Jean Rabe. Yes, it's a spell by the Black One himself, "Jason" Krimeah (sorry folks!). The spell allows the caster to see through all disguises, illusions, polymorphs, etc in a 30-foot cube. That's all. Nothing special! The funny part? The material component is a black piece of cloth with two eye holes cut in it. Okay, putting that mask on before looking at a disguised enemy is meant to distract them with laughter I guess?

Vecna's Courier: (Cl 4) This is a wicked spell for those worshipping Vecna specifically. Another unique spell from Power of Faith in Dragon #342, this one is quite fun. A message of up to 25 words is implanted into the mind of a creature who cannot recall the message. Once a password is spoken, the "courier" goes into a trance and speaks the message, again forgetting what he just said when coming out of the trance. This spell is so manipulatively evil and cool, I can see Vecna cults using it all the time to keep their secrets. I highly recommend this spell for any campaign where "killing the messenger" could inadvertently derail a story.

Weight of the Wait:
(Wiz 9) Here is one more from Cordell's Tomb of Horrors. Acererak is a devious villain creating this long-burning 9th-level spell that is cast on a scroll. The scroll slowly drains time around it, for months, years, decades, until it is disturbed, and then it unleashes the full "weight" of stored time upon those in range. A human PC can easily die of old age because of this spell. You're welcome DMs. Enjoy!

X: Sorry, I don't have a good spell starting with X, but the very, very, mad archmage Xenous Zenpour is who I nominate. She is found in Treasures of Greyhawk and I'm guessing she is probably a necromancer given she makes a certain deal with Nerull. 

Y: I still don't have a Y spell either. Let's pretend Yagrax's Wave of Woe is a 9th level evocation spell from the ancient days of the Flanaess.

Zagig's Gender Change: (Wiz 3) This last spell is from Zagig's Comedicon by Robert S. Mullin, in Dragon #270. Good old Zagig likes to pull pranks and what is more old school than a gender-swapping magic spell? There is a saving throw, but being polymorphed into the opposite gender brings out great RP possibilities. 

Thanks for reading, that's all for now!

1 comment:

Ancientgamer said...

Nice. Guess X and Y are something to be worked on. :) thank you Mike.