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Some old spells we came up with back in the day


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Thanks to the Lhankor Mhy search engine, I found this old set of spells that we came up with back in the days of the RuneQuest Rules Digest (1998). The intention was to give the elements other than Fire something to jazz up weapons in combat, and with the new focus on runes (even though they aren't used in the context of spirit magic) I think the sentiment is as valid as ever. The contributors were me, Tal Meta, Leon Kirshtein, Gavin McIntyre, Peter Michaels.

A few of them are a bit janky, I thought they were cool at the time but what can I say, I was young and easily impressed. They were written for RQ3 but I can't see any reason why they can't drop in to RQG as-is, except that armour and weapons are now described as having HP instead of AP.

Darkness Spells

Darkmaul
3 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell only affects blunt weapons. It causes the implement to visibly darken and slowly emanates waves of darkness that dissipate a couple of inches from the surface and leave a wispy trail in the air when wielded. When used in combat, any damage that penetrates armour is matched against the location's hit points (after damage from the blow is calculated), and if it overcomes, the location is disabled as if on zero hit points. The damage done is also matched against the general hit points of the victim, and if this succeeds, then they are knocked unconscious until healing or First Aid is applied.

Shadowstrike
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell only affects blunt weapons. It causes the implement to turn as black as the darkest night, bright lights or brightly lit objects can bee seen through it like through thick glass, and it becomes partially insubstantial. When used in combat, a minimum of one third of the total damage dealt will penetrate armour.

Water Spells

Spinestrike
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell only affects slashing or impaling melee weapons. It causes the weapon to start dripping water and smooth when stroked one way, but very rough when stroked the other. The weapon will continue to do normal damage, although it is considered magical for purposes of hitting magical things. It is when the weapon penetrates armour there the special effects become apparent.

   On any hit which penetrates, the weapon becomes stuck in the wound. The user then has the option to rip the weapon out, which will cause an additional 1d6 damage to the location, ignoring armor, or leaving the weapon in. Note, if the weapon is not removed the damage can not be healed and any further activity will cause damage to the location equal to damage of the weapon.

Flownet
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell effects only combat nets. Once cast, the net seems to drip with water, although it does not actually gain in weight. On a successful hit, the FlowNet entangles it's target and begins "flowing" and spreading along their bodies, enveloping and entangling new hit locations each subsequent melee round. Each melee round, the FlowNet will flow down 2 and up one hit location. (i.e. if it struck a human in the chest (on location 14) it would spread to envelope locations 15 and 13 - 12 the next round.) The FlowNet stops when it has covered a number of hit locations equal to it's SIZ. (Most combat nets have SIZ 15 - 20.) If, in it's travels, it envelopes the head of it's target, the net begins to force itself into the mouth of it's victim, attempting to drown him as an undine would.

        All normal net combat rules apply to a FlowNet, and the wielder must retain possession of the net at all times. Destroying the net's hit points in an area reduces the number of hit locations that it can cover.

Air Spells

Zephyrstone
4 points, Touch when cast, then Ranged; Temporal, Passive

   This spell must be cast upon a non-aerodynamic projectile such as a sling stone, bullet or rock of up to 1 ENC that the caster must touch. When the stone is fired or thrown and strikes a target, it deals damage normally and then returns to its point of origin - the hand of the thrower, or the sling that it was launched from, etc. If the stone travels beyond the spell's range, then it will not return. The shot may miss, but still return so long as it hits something that stops it within range. An impaled projectile will not return, even when removed. The benefit is that preparing a new projectile is unnecessary, reloading only takes 1 SR (the time to return) instead of 3. This spell is not stackable with Speedart or Multimissile, but may be stacked with SureShot, which only affects the first firing of the missile.

Wisperblow
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell only affects melee weapons. It causes the weapon to leave a visible trail after a strike for the briefest of moments and then disappears as it catches up to the weapon. The effect of the weapon is to deliver another attack 1SR affter the initial attack. This attack maybe parried but at half ability, unless the defender has chosen to take two defensive actions for this round and uses the second to parry this attack. The damage done is that of the weapon only, no strength bonus. This attack is at the same percentage as the original, it cannot impale but can do critical damage.

Bowslow
2 points, Ranged, Temporal, Passive

   Despite the name, this spell affects any missile firing weapon (bow, crossbow, sling, etc.). Once cast on the weapon, all missiles fired from that weapon do 3 less points of damage and subtract 15 percentiles from the attack chance. This effect is can be countered by the spirit magic spell Speedart for a specific missile. This spell will effect magical missiles created by the spirit magic spell Multimissile.

Hailstorm
Variable, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   Each point of this spell cast upon a rock, sling stone, bullet, throwing knife, or javelin creates a magical missile the instant that the original is fired. The magical missile does the same damage as the original. Each of the missile attacks are rolled separately. The first roll is the original, which is the only one that can impale. The magical missiles can still do critical damage. This spell is incompatible with Speedart, Firearrow, and Zephyrstone.

   Larger missile weapons require several points of this spell to create a single missile, but only manually projected missiles can be affected, no mechanically projected missiles such as ballista bolts or trebuchet rocks. As a rule of thumb, each 2d6 or fraction of weapon damage requires one point of spell.

   The temporal nature of this spell means that it can be cast onto a missile and the spell will work once only if the missile is used during the spell's duration.

Stormblade
4 points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   When cast on a blade the edge shows a a faint blue fire running up and down and there is a smell of ozone emanating from the blade. The spell increases the damage by 2D4 but the extra damage ignores all metal armour. If the target is wearing metal armour add 10% to your chance to hit as a near miss will still allow the electric energy to jump across the small gap and damage the opponent. Damage will also be done if the blade is parried by a metal weapon ( Sword) or a metal-covered shield. Magical defences work normally. Normal padding / gauntlets will not help reduce the damage although a pure wooden shield or parrying weapon would stop the additional damage.

   On a fumble, if the wielder hits themselves, the additional damage is dealt normally.

Earth Spells

Mighty Blow
4 points, touch, passive, temporal

   The weapon affected by this spell will always deal maximum normal weapon damage on a successful attack. If the attack is a special, any additional damage is rolled for as normal, rather than being maximum. For example, a rapier will deal 7 points on a normal hit, and 2d6+9 on an Impale. A critical success is as normal. The spell damages the very air that it passes through, making a low rumbling noise when swung. This spell is incompatible with other spells that affect weapon damage.

Sandblade
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   When cast on a bladed weapon, this spell gives the weapon a dusty, dirty sheen that seems to shift across the flat of the blade as if sand were flowing downhill. Whenever a SandBladed weapon strikes its target, it makes a hissing sound and raises a small cloud of dust.

   Anything struck by a SandBlade is eroded for 1 point of damage if the rolled damage can overcome the location's armour points. In the case of a shield or parrying weapon, the same effect applies. Rolled damage in excess of defensive armour is applied to the target's hit points as normal.

   Before any wound caused by a SandBlade can be healed, someone must succeed with a First Aid roll and spend five full melee rounds to remove the dirt and grit from the wound (no damage is healed in this circumstance; a second roll and time spent would be required). If this is not done, the healing rate of the injury is doubled (i.e. takes twice as long or twice as many points of Healing),

Red Moon Spells

Redblade
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell effects only scimitars or similarly curved edged weapons such as jambiyas, kukris, etc.. It causes the weapon to take on a reddish glow that waxes and wanes between melee rounds. On those rounds when the weapon is at it's highest ebb (full), the blade ignores all non-magical armour, and strikes for double damage. On those rounds that it is between extremes (half, crescent) it ignores all non-magical armour and strikes for normal damage. On those rounds when the blade barely glimmers (new, empty), it acts in all ways as a normal weapon, but provides no damage bonuses for strength. The blade enters a new phase with each new melee round, beginning in whatever phase the moon is currently in and cycling from then on.

Redshield
4 Points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell affects only shields. It causes the shield to take on a reddish glow that waxes and wanes between melee rounds. On those rounds when the shield is at it's highest ebb (full), the armour points of the shield are doubled, and all parries with that shield are counted as being one class better (i.e. a normal success counts as a special and a special as a critical). On those rounds that it is between extremes (half, crescent) the armour points of the shield are doubled (only). On those rounds when the shield barely glimmers (new, empty), it's armour points are halved. The shield enters a new phase with each new melee round, beginning in whatever phase the moon is actually in and cycling from then on.

Blue Moon

Annihilate
6 points, Touch, Temporal, Passive

   This spell may only be cast upon a missile weapon of pure silver. If cast on an arrow, the head must be silver. If cast on a crossbow bolt, the first inch of the bolt must be silver.

   When the weapon is fired, it is consumed, and if the attack roll is successful, deals the caster's POW in damage to the location struck. The missile cannot impale, but a critical will ignore armour as usual. The shot may be aimed as normal. The spell only affects projectiles fired from a weapon, not thrown weapons, unless the thrown weapon has Speedart cast upon it, but in this case the Annihilate supersedes the normal effects of the Speedart. This spell may not be stacked with any other weapon-enhancing magic.

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Detection spells are potentially great.

Detect Pigment/Ink is surprisingly useful, as it is more reliable than detect paper/parchment/papyrus/vellum/bark etc.  Where there are documents there is likely to be treasure stored.

Detect Air is great for detecting what is empty space, and by inference, what isn't empty space.  It can act as a de facto detect invisibility spell, as invisible people aren't air.

Detect Poison is a very good supplemental spell to detect traps, as well as helping you forage safely by not eating poisonous plants, and attend Lunar orgies without getting "darted" with a cup of bad wine.

Detect Silver is in many ways more effective than detect life and detect enemies.  Not only does it tell you where someone's purse is, it will tell you where they are, based upon their purse plus movement, or where the treasure is, if it is a pile too big to carry/not moving.

Detect Aldryami is particularly useful in areas where Aldryami are about.  All Aldryami are generally very good at stealth, and avoiding their ambushes.  It will also pick out runners in the underbrush and dryad trees in a way that Detect Life/Detect Enemies will not.

Detect Chaos.  Now your sword sage can sneer contemptuously at the Uroxi and tell them they are WRONG!  That their Bull-sense is Bull excrement, and their early onset arthritis acting up when the wind changes is not an infallible way to deduce that the crofter's wife is an ogre.  Now intelligent parties need not have any uroxi in them, and the uroxi will want to invest in Detect Chaos, as a useful and nearly perfect means of insuring that they can double test for false positives (for the statistically astute Storm Bull Initiate).  Of course all Yelmalios detect as chaotic, because they are always Thanatar worshippers.😛

Now here is a controversial one... Detect Illuminate.  After all, illuminates can detect other illuminates, so there must be a way it can be done, and if the ability exists, then it should be possible to have a detection spell to cover it.😉

Edited by Darius West
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The most useful spell, but one you do not see very often is Detect Detection.

 Detect Chaos this one used to be problematic in my games. I never want to give a spell that is for one point is better than a rare skill. I think it would be better now days with something like:

Detect <Rune> - Which would detect a presence of an association to a particular rune. The range of a spell would depend on the strength of association. 

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1 hour ago, Godlearner said:

 Detect Chaos this one used to be problematic in my games...

I agree. As with all spirit spells though if your cults don't teach it, and you don't know a shaman who knows where to get it, then it effectively is not available.

1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Detect Air is great for detecting what is empty space, and by inference, what isn't empty space.  It can act as a de facto detect invisibility spell, as invisible people aren't air.

Not sure about that one. "The air all around you is now glowing. You see nothing but glow in all directions. Good luck doing anything involving vision for a while."

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I agree. As with all spirit spells though if your cults don't teach it, and you don't know a shaman who knows where to get it, then it effectively is not available.

Never really had an issue with this. Players always seem to be able to find a shaman willing to teach if they just go handle this little problem.

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