One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
In Dragon 294 appeared the 3E stats for Iuz, and though it wasn’t bad I felt a bit disappointed because the Old One could never use an epic spell because he lacked the proper requirements. However, I tried to arrange for a compromise between its official sheet and a way to let him use epic spellcasting:
a) 25 Patchwall is the most important holiday in Iuz’ faith. With thousands of worshippers focusing their devotion toward the Old One, it is conceivable he can gain unusually strong abilities that normally are unavailable to him. This includes the capacity to create and launch an epic spell with the proper ritual. In game terms, if Iuz casts a miracle spell (5.000 xp cost) in his most profane holiday with the purpose to gather all devotion dedicated to him and convert this heightened belief into power, he acquires the epic feat “epic spellcasting” as a virtual feat for 24 hours. He doesn’t need to fulfill the prerequisites, BUT his ranks in Knowledge religion still limit how many times he can cast the spell, or 4/day in the case of Iuz.
b) Only during these 24 hours, Iuz may research, create and cast epic spells. An epic spell takes one day to create for every 50.000 gp it costs, and the total cost of such spells is 9.000 gp x Spellcraft DC (after applying all its modifiers). So, Iuz isn’t able to create an epic spell with a final DC higher than 5, because a higher difficulty would extrapolate the 50.000 gp limit and thus, taking more than a day to complete. And after 24 hours, the Old One’s holiday is over and he loses the virtual feat, becoming unable to progress and all the gold, experience and time used to create the spell is wasted. Even if the spell has a DC lower than 6, his casting time must still obey the 24-hour limit. Using the DMG guideline which states that one day dedicated to the creation of any magic item uses 8 hours, the maximum casting time for a feasible epic spell is 16 hours.
c) All the requirements (gold, xp, etc) and mitigating costs of the epic spell (extra time, number of participants, spell slots sacrificed, damage, xp burn…) must be obeyed.
Dread Message – Epic Spell
Divination, Illusion (Pattern) [Mind-affecting]
Spellcraft DC: 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 11 minutes
Range: Area where the primary target is located; caster must know the target
Area: 120 x 120 x 120 ft cube, centered on primary target; anyone also in the area is a secondary target.
Duration: Up to 200 minutes
Save: Primary target Will negates, if failed all targets in the area must make a Will save to disbelief.
Spell Resistance: Yes
To develop: 9000 gp; 360 xp. Seed: Contact (base seed, DC 23), Pattern (new seed, DC 14). Factors: change target to area (+10), change area to four 10 x 10 x 10 ft cubes (+2), increase area by 500% (+20), includes audible thermal, tactile, olfactory, taste aspects (+10), illusion follows script (+9), makes area appear completely other thing (+4). Mitigating factors: increase casting time by 10 minutes (-20), three additional casters (Null, Althea, Halga) contributing 9th level slots (-51), burn 2000 xp (-20).
Note I: The Contact Seed is used at its most basic level. Iuz becomes aware the spell reaches the primary target but instead of establishing a telepathic conversation or determining the target’s location, it instead triggers an illusion in a 120-ft cube, centered in the target and everyone else in the area (called secondary targets). This illusion is not a telepathic effect, but an effect of the Pattern Seed (described below), which is brought by the Contact Seed when it reaches the primary target.
Note II: To create the illusory effect, I had to devise a new spell seed, Pattern. The Delude Seed was based on the figment’s sub-school of illusion, which was unable to create the desired effect. According to the Player’s Handbook, while figments cannot make something appear to be something else, the pattern sub-school can do that, affecting the minds of those who are caught by it. The Pattern Seed has DC 14 because its lowest related spell, color spray, is of 1st level, just like the silent image spell is the base for the Delude Seed.
Note III: When the Dread Message is cast, it reaches the primary target, who is allowed to make a will save to negate the contact. If he succeeds, the spell is interrupted and the illusionary message isn’t delivered. If he fails, the contact is made and the message is activated in the area (120 ft cube) and everyone in it, including the primary target, must make another will save or be affected by the illusion. Anyone who succeeds will perceive it’s not real and won’t see anything nor receive the other sensory feelings transmitted by the illusion, though he will see the targets who failed the save in a state of distress, pain and confusion.
Note IV: Anyone who is not immune to mind-affecting effects and failed the save will accept all the effects described as real, even if he actively tries to disbelief. However, this illusion cannot inflict damage, kill or cripple, though a DM is free to roll the damage and assume those who “die” fall in an apparent unconscious state. In game terms, all who failed the save are in fascinated condition, which is broken if any real monster or threat appears. It’s possible that some targets may try to flee from the illusionary effects of the Dread Message, but he cannot move physically because of their condition, while in their minds they’ll see some effect that explains the lack of mobility (described below).
The following description is an example of the Dread Message, which the Terrible One sent to the party in my campaign. The primary PC failed the 1st will save (contact successful) and everybody failed the will save for the illusion (which, to avoid metagaming, I lied to them, telling it was a fortitude save; it didn’t matter, because the DC was so high for their level that only a natural 20 would suffice).
“It’s twilight. While you are preparing the campsite in this desolate clearing, Callister suddenly feels there is something watching him. Like an invisible presence, perhaps. This presence is soon felt by everybody. Not only there is someone watching you, everybody feels an enormous feeling of unbridled wrath, echoing in your heads. Like the whole Oerth was screaming with you. This pressure grows to such stage that you begin to cry in pain. With these tears, join the bodily sweat of tension and fear. For an instant, the pain escalates to such heights then you finally perceive you are not sweating. The water of your bodies is quickly leaving through your pores, with such violence that it lacerates tissues and brings some blood along, inflicting excruciating lesions. The ice mephit of Naila is clearly suffering most. From his icy body, tiny droplets form and evaporate in great speed, until the mephit dissolves, almost sublimating. While the unpleasant smell of water mixed with your blood is unpleasant, it turns to a nauseating stink when a sulfurous, yellow gas rises from the soil, which not only makes your stomach heave but also thickens the air, resisting every effort of yours to move though it. You cough, throwing more blood from your mouths, and stumble in this fog, barely seeing the outlines of each other. When one of you tries to stand as tall as possible, trying to reach for clearer air away from the ground, it’s easy to note the weather change. Not longer a partially overcast sky, a coal-black cumulus-nimbus covers the sky. Nobody needs to know magic to deduce the supernatural origin of the stormy clouds.”
“Looking at these clouds, you got a definite impression there will be a mighty rainstorm to come. In fact, thunders resound with great violence, but there are no lightning, wind or rain. When the intensity of the thunder rises to a deafening level, in the middle of the black clouds opens a space, like the eye of a tornado. From its interior appears an image from somewhere else, brought here by this ominous storm. A great rocky hall is represented and the terrible pain you felt returns when you realize it is a throne room, whose seat is occupied by a fragile old man, with long, unkempt, hair and beard. His skin is yellow and shriveled, like ancient parchment. However, his appearance does not hide his dangerous nature. His once-pale eyes now glow with ruby intensity, betraying his abyssal origin. While you have never seen him before, there is no doubt you are in front of Iuz, the demigod, the Old One, the Terrible One, the Emperor of Flanaess. And he sees your suffering and does not even smile. His face is a mask of pure hatred. Next to him, there is a court of humans of different races, who gaze upon you with expressions of malice, sarcasm, cruelty and anger. At each side of the throne stands a woman, of age between thirty and forty. The woman at the right dons a simple black robe over a full plate armor, ready for battle. Her short black hair clash with green eyes, exhibiting a cold and haughty posture. The woman at the left is a bit taller, but possesses a more frail body. But this did not impede her wearing a full plate armor below her blood-encrusted black robe. With straw-blond hair, sallow skin and baggy grey eyes, there is an aura of almost paranoid tension around this woman, whose hands tremble a bit while holding a black, silver banded, wooden staff, possessing a rune-carved skull at its tip.”
“Next to the throne, three men of different features and clothing stand apart from the others at the court. The first is the shortest of them, 5’ tall, possessing brown, thin, straggly hair and a deeply-acned skin, undisguised by his black robe. The second man is the quintessence of contrast. Measuring 6’4” tall and very thin, he has the coppery skin of a flan and the blue eyes and golden locks of a suelite. While he appears to be surprised, he stands smiling, sardonically. His clothes clashes even more: besides the common black robe, he wears sickly-purple boots, a sky-blue silk jacket, a pastel girdle, and a golden headband. The last of the trio is a dark-haired, swarthy man, most likely a baklunish, judging by his turban. As tall as the second man, this one has dark-brown eyes, which are almost swallowed by his bushy eyebrows. While he glares at you, he seems to say something, but you can’t discern what. The four last courtiers of the throne room stand in the periphery of vision. The first is the shortest of the quartet, with a balding head and grey eyes, donning a dark blue, almost black, robe, adorned with blood-red and gold patterns. The second man is 6’ tall, red-haired and green eyed, having a strong build, but wears just a black robe. There is no unusual feature or behavior in him. The third man is as tall as the second one, but much thinner. With a curly brown hair, green eyes and a cropped beard, he wears a chain mail below his black robe and is noted by the grisly object held in his hand: a shriveled, yellow, skull. The last man of the court is also 6’ tall, possessing hazel eyes and brown hair, forming a widow’s peak at the front, clashing with his pale complexion. Gazing a little more time upon him, you saw his eyes acquire a scarlet hue and two large fangs erupt from his smile.”
“The moment of contemplation ends when Iuz addresses you, glaring upon Callister: “HOW LONG DID YOU THINK YOU COULD HIDE FROM ME, LITTLE BRAT? I AM TIRED FROM YOUR GAMES, AS YOU CAN SEE”. The Old One turns to the corner of the room and everybody see a baklunish woman, around her thirties, whose good looks were destroyed by her tortured state. Somehow she stands upright, rigid and unmoving, while glimmering, thorny branches of silver erupt from her body like rose bushes, only to descend back and penetrate her skin. From her mouth, emerging from her eyes, trespassing her back and belly, these thorny branches are everywhere. As an excruciating detail, you can see droplets of clear liquid blooming from each silver thorn, falling toward the body, burning at contact. Just after this acidic liquid makes effect, the wound closes, just leaving a slight scar. Callister is the only one who recognizes her, and cannot avoid exclaiming: “Mother!” Iuz readdresses the fighter in furious tone, and his decrepit body gives way to a strong, demonic, form, wearing a full battle armor, shouting: “YOUR PARENTS DIDN’T AMUSE ME. NOW, IT IS TIME TO YOU JOIN…ME!” – clenching his fist.”
“The demigod, his throne room and his court, all disappear. But when the black clouds close the image in the sky, they also thicken and begin to descend at great speed. When it reaches 30 ft above the ground, the foggy column has its tip changed to a great fist, a mass of 10 feet in diameter, ready to slam and crush all who stand beneath it”
Dm’s Notes: While this entire scene isn’t real (i.e fascinated condition), in their minds they’re in nauseated, can’t move more than 10 ft per round (illusionary solid fog) and each round, all characters in a 10 ft diameter are pummeled, as the spell Crushing Fist of Spite (cf. Book of Vile Darkness). According to the programmed illusion, Callister is the last target. When everybody else is “killed” by the battering fist, then it turns upon Callister.
“When the large fist descends upon Callister, its fingers open and the hand closes around the fighter. Without great effort, it takes him off ground and quickly rises toward the black clouds, which begin thundering anew while Callister is conducted toward the sky, toward Iuz.”
The programmed illusion ended here, awakening the screaming characters who received the Dread Message of the Old One.
Conclusion: This was an epic spell of the smallest caliber, and even with a minor effect (two saves, causing fascinated condition for the duration or until threatened from outside) a demigod can have some fun. The idea of epic spellcasting as a virtual feat can be applied for any god who lacks the feat in his stats, provided he receives a significant amount of worshipping in his holiest day and is able to use a miracle to channel this devotion. Of course, an epic spell DC 5 would never do anything truly epic unless there is a lot of mitigating costs. _________________ Kneel before Rahu!
Thanks Duicarthan. For now, it was the only epic spell I devised for Iuz. I created another IMC but it was for a slaad from an adventure of the old Tales of the Outer Planes. _________________ Kneel before Rahu!
First, a question for the moderators/admin: I will post a non-Iuz spell here. Instead of creating a topic for each different epic spell, I figured it would be easir to edit this topic's title to "Examples of Epic Spells" or something like that. Is this ok?
The following epic spell was created by a slaad. This creature, named Wartle, appeared in the adventure “An Element of Chaos”, one of the stories of a 1E book, “Tales of the outer planes”. In this story, the party of pcs is approached by Arelsis, an astral deva, whose citadel in the Seven Heavens of Celestia was taken by a chaotic force, warping many of its denizens and changing their behavior. The deva is pretty sure the source of this corruption was a meteor that fell from the sky into the ocean nearby and was taken to his lab for custody, where he didn’t discover anything about it. After leaving his citadel for a mission in an upper layer of the plane, the “meteor” woke up. It was no meteor, but a white slaad, metamorphosed into this condensed shape and later banished from Limbo by Ssendam, Slaad lord of Insanity. I have left out pretty much the details of the background, but the fact is this slaad manifested as a spell-like ability, an epic spell able to induce chaos in the minds of those susceptible (i.e. those who are not immune to compulsion or are protected from being compelled to act in a certain way) or at least instill madness in those who are unable to cope with such change (such as those with permanent protection from evil, like the archons). In the case of the lawful denizens of the citadel, this madness manifested as an overreaction of their original alignment, extending their lawful mentality beyond reason.
Enchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-affecting] [Chaotic]
Spellcraft DC: 37
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: 0 ft
Area: a 30 ft high, 40 ft-radius cylinder centered on caster
Duration: 20 hours
Save: Will negates
Spell Resistance: yes
To develop: 333000 gp; 7 days; 13320 XP. Seed: Compel (DC 19). Factors: Follow outright unreasonable courses of action (+10), change target to area (+10), change area to cylinder (+2), increase area 4 times in radius (+16). Mitigating factors: Increase casting time by 10 minutes (-20 DC)
Any victim who enters the area of chaos bloom and fails the save has her alignment temporarily changed to chaotic neutral for twenty hours at least, when she will be either free of this condition or allowed another save, if she is still in the area of effect. A successful save guarantees immunity to the spell effects for the duration likewise. Those who are changed to CN alignment also have their personality traits most linked to lawfulness radically altered, generating an aberrant trait which is commonly the antithesis of their original behavior (for example, one who was extremely loyal toward an organization could turn into a fervent rebel). It’s advisable for a DM to have in mind the most noted characteristics of the victim’s personality, in order to devise how her new behavior will be, instead of just labeling her “chaotic neutral” or just saying she is an ex-paladin or monk. Targets that were originally chaotic neutral are immune to this spell. Anyone who is warded by a protection from evil or similar effect avoids the alignment change, but needs to make the save anyway. If this victim fails and stays exposed in this invisible chaotic aura, a behavior change will occur but, overstressing her original alignment. For example, a chaotic evil target may turn to be especially violent while a neutral character may become obsessed with the balance or just plain indecisive. After 20 hours, those who have left or made the second save return to their former alignment, though the reversal is gradual, with the chaotic traits slowly dissipating in a matter of a hour or two, which may baffle the target as why she did chose to act in such way nearly a day ago. Finally, a dispel chaos spell has the same chance to dispel chaos bloom as dispel magic. _________________ Kneel before Rahu!
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