Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 1:39:23 GMT -5
Schools of Magic
Almost every spell belongs to one of eight schools of magic. A school of magic is a group of related spells that work in similar ways. A small number of spells (arcane mark, limited wish, permanency, prestidigitation, and wish) are universal, belonging to no school.
Though specialist spell casters tend to be regarded simply as wizards by the world at large (and treated accordingly), a distinction is frequently placed upon illusionists (prized for their ability to entertain), diviners (sought after for the secret information that is their stock in trade), and necromancers (feared for their sinister powers). Though specialist wizards all have the same general chance of obtaining patrons, a specialist’s focus usually causes her to seek out opportunities geared toward her area of expertise. The various specialists are discussed below. Each section begins with a “point of view” paragraph in italic type that summarizes how a member of that class might characterize himself and his specialty.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 1:46:10 GMT -5
Abjurations are protective spells. They create physical or magical barriers, negate magical or physical abilities, harm trespassers, or even banish the subject of the spell to another plane of existence. Representative spells include protection from evil, dispel magic, antimagic field, and banishment.
If one abjuration spell is active within 10 feet of another for 24 hours or more, the magical fields interfere with each other and create barely visible energy fluctuations. The DC to find such spells with the Search skill drops by 4.
If an abjuration creates a barrier that keeps certain types of creatures at bay, that barrier cannot be used to push away those creatures. If you force the barrier against such a creature, you feel a discernible pressure against the barrier. If you continue to apply pressure, you end the spell.
~Although it’s hardly a simple matter to wield the magic that will produce a blast of fire or slay a giant with a word, the highest form of the mage’s art lies at the place where magic interacts with magic. To study the school of abjuration is to wield spells that manipulate the fabric of arcane power itself.~
Abjurers are deliberate, prudent, and thoughtful, possessing an unequaled determination and resolve that allows them to carefully consider all aspects of a problem before devising an efficient and effective response. They generally regard adherents of other schools of magic as reckless and wasteful, and they continuously evolve strategies for defeating other wizards in magic duels (whether such confrontations ever become necessary or not). Whether their lives are given over to adventuring or experimentation, abjurers are always well prepared.
The study of abjuration requires a meticulous and deliberate personality that generally favors a lawful alignment. Since abjuration often focuses on limiting the ability of others to do harm, many abjurers are inclined to walk the path of morality on the side of good. At the same time, the ruthless efficiency of abjuration used as a weapon against other spellcasters means that many wizards are drawn to the school by dreams of personal power that quickly override the orderly and benevolent philosophies of their fellows. Though abjurers are often reluctant adventurers, good abjurers sometimes take up the life to undo the evil that magic too often spawns. Good and neutral abjurers tend to position themselves where they can prevent others from victimizing folk who lack the ability to defend themselves.
Evil abjurers are often found as lieutenants or elite advisors to sinister overlords, selling their valuable skills to the highest bidder. Abjurers make their homes anywhere, but most prefer smaller towns to large cities. They generally enjoy the trust and good regard of their neighbors, and are sometimes willing to use their power on behalf of others with little thought of compensation or reward.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 2:02:53 GMT -5
Each conjuration spell belongs to one of five subschools. Conjurations bring manifestations of objects, creatures, or some form of energy to you (the summoning subschool), actually transport creatures from another plane of existence to your plane (calling), heal (healing), transport creatures or objects over great distances (teleportation), or create objects or effects on the spot (creation). Creatures you conjure usually, but not always, obey your commands. Representative spells include the various summon monster spells, cure light wounds, raise dead, teleport, and wall of iron.
A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it. The creature or object must appear within the spell’s range, but it does not have to remain within the range.
Calling: A calling spell transports a creature from another plane to the plane you are on. The spell grants the creature the one-time ability to return to its plane of origin, although the spell may limit the circumstances under which this is possible. Creatures who are called actually die when they are killed; they do not disappear and reform, as do those brought by a summoning spell (see below). The duration of a calling spell is instantaneous, which means that the called creature can’t be dispelled.
Creation: A creation spell manipulates matter to create an object or creature in the place the spellcaster designates (subject to the limits noted above). If the spell has a duration other than instantaneous, magic holds the creation together, and when the spell ends, the conjured creature or object vanishes without a trace. If the spell has an instantaneous duration, the created object or creature is merely assembled through magic. It lasts indefinitely and does not depend on magic for its existence.
Healing: Certain divine conjurations heal creatures or even bring them back to life. These include cure spells.
Summoning: A summoning spell instantly brings a creature or object to a place you designate. When the spell ends or is dispelled, a summoned creature is instantly sent back to where it came from, but a summoned object is not sent back unless the spell description specifically indicates this. A summoned creature also goes away if it is killed or if its hit points drop to 0 or lower. It is not really dead. It takes 24 hours for the creature to reform, during which time it can’t be summoned again. When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have, and it refuses to cast any spells that would cost it XP, or to use any spelllike abilities that would cost XP if they were spells.
Teleportation: A teleportation spell transports one or more creatures or objects a great distance. The most powerful of these spells can cross planar boundaries. Unlike summoning spells, the transportation is (unless otherwise noted) one-way and not dispellable. Teleportation is instantaneous travel through the Astral Plane. Anything that blocks astral travel also blocks teleportation.
~The Material Plane is nothing but a small and unimportant crossroads in the cosmos. All that exists in this physical world is a mere reflection of the iconic truths embodied in the unseen worlds that border it.~
Confident, headstrong, and opinionated, conjurers can often seem indolent and unconcerned with the difficulties of others, rarely inclined to think their way around any obstacle or foe that can be more simply hammered down with the right application of summoned power. Because of the great control they wield over many dreadful extraplanar creatures, most conjurers view the other schools of magic with disdain—illusion and divination are trivial, transmutation and evocation are inconsequential, abjuration and enchantment are too weak, and necromancy is repulsive (possibly because, of all the schools, it alone can challenge the conjurer’s sense of her own power).
Conjurers must be strong-willed, decisive, and just a little bit reckless to excel in their chosen field, favoring chaotic alignments and preferring quick and decisive solutions over slower and more deliberate methods of problem-solving. Like necromancers, conjurers stare unflinching into the face of dark and powerful forces, and most rarely feel that they can afford the luxury of high (in other words, good) moral standards. As such, conjurers often favor evil and neutral alignments.
Conjurers undergo adventures when the prospect of finding easy power and wealth seems to outweigh the risks and effort involved. They can be difficult companions, speaking their minds freely and having little patience for the opinions of those they consider inferior. It takes a leader of proven worth and unyielding strength to earn a conjurer’s respect. In an adventuring group, conjurers prefer action to discussion, and tend to view overwhelming and immediate attack as the first step in any successful encounter.
Most conjurers prefer to live in isolated frontier or wilderness areas, both because of their lack of interest in associating with those they deem beneath them (which is to say, most people) and as a means to practice the most dangerous aspects of their craft without worrying about the neighbors complaining (or being eaten). Aside from magical research, conjurers shun all activities that would normally constitute a career or an occupation, and when funds are low, they often simply summon creatures to fetch treasure for them.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 2:18:37 GMT -5
Divination spells enable you to learn secrets long forgotten, to predict the future, to find hidden things, and to foil deceptive spells. Representative spells include identify, detect thoughts, clairaudience/clairvoyance, and true seeing.
Many divination spells have cone-shaped areas. These move with you and extend in the direction you look. The cone defines the area that you can sweep each round. If you study the same area for multiple rounds, you can often gain additional information, as noted in the descriptive text for the spell.
Scrying: A scrying spell creates an invisible magical sensor that sends you information. Unless noted otherwise, the sensor has the same powers of sensory acuity that you possess. This level of acuity includes any spells or effects that target you (such as darkvision or see invisibility), but not spells or effects that emanate from you (such as detect evil). However, the sensor is treated as a separate, independent sensory organ of yours, and thus it functions normally even if you have been blinded, deafened, or otherwise suffered sensory impairment. Any creature with an Intelligence score of 12 or higher can notice the sensor by making a DC 20 Intelligence check. The sensor can be dispelled as if it were an active spell.
Lead sheeting or magical protection (such as antimagic field, mind blank, or nondetection) blocks a scrying spell, and you sense that the spell is so blocked.
~History is full of missed opportunities, personal tragedies, and kingdom-shattering defeats that might easily have been averted but for a single piece of information that could have changed the course of lives and worlds. Knowledge is power, and those who know all hold ultimate power in their hands.~
Diviners are perhaps the wisest of all wizards. Like abjurers, they are often cautious and deliberate spellcasters, happy to avail themselves of every possible preparation and precaution before embarking on a hazardous course. For the diviner, though, the best of all possible preparations is to choose the course of action that will avoid conflict and peril altogether.
While diviners aren’t cowards (at least not all of them), few are likely to rush headlong into a fight before every other option has been exhausted. Diviners are students not only of the arcane workings of spells and magical lore but also of the mechanisms of nature, the arts and sciences, and even human behavior. Few are better judges of character than diviners.
In addition to being thoughtful and orderly in their affairs, diviners prize the quality of objectivity. A mind closed to any possibility (however remote or distasteful one may be) is a mind that might be closed to the truth, for the truth is not always simple or pleasant. Diviners are therefore strongly toward neutral alignments, and usually favor law over chaos. Good diviners use their powers to anticipate and prevent harm to others; evil diviners use the knowledge they accumulate for their own gain.
Diviners are not predisposed to the adventuring life, and many accept such a career only reluctantly. Still, with her judgment, cunning, and common sense, a diviner makes a valuable addition to most adventuring parties. In combat, though, diviners sometimes hesitate, overly conscious of the consequences of making the wrong choice when life and death are on the line. Diviners are loners at heart and do not make close friends easily. Even those who live in great cities tend to remain aloof and apart from their neighbors, avoiding interactions in the present to better study the past and the future. Although they show little interest in material possessions, diviners often cover their research and living expenses by charging for their services as seers, fortunetellers, and finders of lost objects and people.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 2:29:37 GMT -5
Enchantment spells affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. Representative spells include charm person and suggestion.
All enchantments are mind-affecting spells. Two types of enchantment spells grant you influence over a subject creature.
Charm: A charm spell changes how the subject views you, typically making it see you as a good friend.
Compulsion: A compulsion spell forces the subject to act in some manner or changes the way her mind works. Some compulsion spells determine the subject’s actions or the effects on the subject, some compulsion spells allow you to determine the subject’s actions when you cast the spell, and others give you ongoing control over the subject.
~The mind is the ultimate power. Any fool can oppose an enemy by physical means, but to halt a foe through the sheer force of one’s will—or to turn a most hateful enemy into a loyal ally—is the purest and most subtly effective manifestation of arcane might.
Charismatic, sensitive, and passionate, enchanters tend to be personable and attractive, enjoying fine arts and good conversation. Even the most blackhearted enchanter can be a mesmerizing individual—confident, self-assured, and holding others in thrall with manner and word even before the first syllables of his charm spell are uttered. Other enchanters are distant and clinical, viewing themselves as coldly rational students of the only subject worth studying—the mind.
Enchanters have few predilections in alignment, though their belief that individual will is the strongest force in the multiverse slants them slightly toward chaos over law. Evil enchanters believe that those who lack the ability to overcome or resist the power of the mind deserve to be servants to that power, existing only to be commanded by those with the ability to do so. Good enchanters adopt the viewpoint that bending another being to one’s will is rarely right, but is preferable by far to killing. A good enchanter deprives an enemy of his volition only as long as he needs to, and, when such is warranted, often takes pains to return the subject to his normal state in such a way as to avoid a traitor’s punishment at the hands of his comrades or people.
Enchanters are commonly the voice of reason in an adventuring party; they view physical combat as a last resort and work hard to devise options and solutions to problems that might otherwise elude their companions. Excellent team players, shrewd negotiators, and superb bargainers, enchanters favor frequenting, or living in, large towns and cities where they easily find many minds that they can study (or manipulate) with impunity.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 2:37:50 GMT -5
Evocation spells manipulate energy or tap an unseen source of power to produce a desired end. In effect, they create something out of nothing. Many of these spells produce spectacular effects, and evocation spells can deal large amounts of damage. Representative spells include magic missile, fireball, and lightning bolt.
~The universe is the interplay of impersonal forces—some spiritual, some political, some moral, some elemental, and some whose natures have yet to be revealed. Beneath the surface of the merely physical, fundamental energies form the true nature of all things.~
The school of evocation attracts the most serious-minded, intense, and determined wizards, devoted to the mastery of their craft to the exclusion of almost all else. Notable ascetics in their personal habits, evokers favor spartan surroundings, simple garb, and plain fare, eschewing clutter and luxury as distractions that deaden one’s perceptions of the real world.
In personality, evokers are decisive, forthright, and often stubborn. Good evokers perceive evil as an unbalancing force that must be opposed, while neutral or evil evokers tend to be heartless, seeing the trials and ordeals of mortals as the superficial results of a larger unseen world at work. Good evokers undertake adventures in response to the currents and forces they perceive in the world, striving to respond when and where evil stirs. Evil evokers, not content to settle for reaction to the universal forces around them, seek to manipulate those forces, altering their ebb and flow through their own actions. Regardless of alignment, evokers are natural leaders—fearless, inspiring, and authoritative. Among wizards, their courage on the battlefield has no equal.
Evokers prefer quiet and plain homes, seldom dwelling among large numbers of people. More than a few are hermits, choosing to live in the most rugged and forbidding natural sites. Common people leave evokers alone, fearing their power and the danger their reputation suggests—a reputation that many evokers do little to discourage.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 2:56:37 GMT -5
Illusion spells deceive the senses or minds of others. They cause people to see things that are not there, not see things that are there, hear phantom noises, or remember things that never happened. Representative illusions include silent image, invisibility, and veil. Illusions come in five types: figments, glamers, patterns, phantasms, and shadows.
Figment: A figment spell creates a false sensation. Those who perceive the figment perceive the same thing, not their own slightly different versions of the figment. (It is not a personalized mental impression.) Figments cannot make something seem to be something else. A figment that includes audible effects cannot duplicate intelligible speech unless the spell description specifically says it can. If intelligible speech is possible, it must be in a language you can speak. If you try to duplicate a language you cannot speak, the image produces gibberish. Likewise, you cannot make a visual copy of something unless you know what it looks like.
Because figments and glamers (see below) are unreal, they cannot produce real effects the way that other types of illusions can. They cannot cause damage to objects or creatures, support weight, provide nutrition, or provide protection from the elements. Consequently, these spells are useful for confounding or delaying foes, but useless for attacking them directly. For example, it is possible to use a silent image spell to create an illusory cottage, but the cottage offers no protection from rain. A figment’s AC is equal to 10 + its size modifier.
Glamer: A glamer spell changes a subject’s sensory qualities, making it look, feel, taste, smell, or sound like something else, or even seem to disappear.
Pattern: Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it. All patterns are mind-affecting spells.
Phantasm: A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects. It is a personalized mental impression. (It’s all in their heads and not a fake picture or something that they actually see.) Third parties viewing or studying the scene don’t notice the phantasm. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells.
Shadow: A shadow spell creates something that is partially real from extra-dimensional energy. Such illusions can have real effects. Damage dealt by a shadow illusion is real.
Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief): Creatures encountering an illusion usually do not receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion. For example, if a party encounters a section of illusory floor, the character in the lead would receive a saving throw if she stopped and studied the floor or if she probed the floor.
A successful saving throw against an illusion reveals it to be false, but a figment or phantasm remains as a translucent outline. For examples, a character making a successful saving throw against a figment of an illusory section of floor knows the “floor” isn’t safe to walk on and can see what lies below (light permitting), but he or she can still note where the figment lies.
A failed saving throw indicates that a character fails to notice something is amiss. A character faced with proof that an illusion isn’t real needs no saving throw. A character who falls through a section of illusory floor into a pit knows something is amiss, as does one who spends a few rounds poking at the same illusion. If any viewer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to others, each such viewer gains a saving throw with a +4 bonus.
~The universe is all in the mind that perceives it, and sensation is the first and only reality. If a tree falls in the forest with no creature to hear it, then there is no tree.~
Illusionists tend to be flamboyant, outgoing, and self-assured, many exhibiting a hedonistic streak that can lead to dark and cruel practices in the pursuit of rare and unusual perceptions. Remarkably creative, illusionists enjoy art, literature, poetry, and music, and many are accomplished artists in their own right. Although their aptitude for scholarly pursuits is as great as that of any other specialist, illusionists spend less time in research than most, forgoing the isolation of the laboratory for the company of people and the constant thrill of manipulating the powers of sensation.
Illusionists have sharp minds but are not particularly deep thinkers. Pragmatic by nature, they accept the impermanence of all things, and see only futility in the acts of those who dedicate their lives to the development of all-encompassing philosophies of existence and meaning. Illusionists have no strong alignment tendencies. While good illusionists share their creative impulses for the benefit of others, evil illusionists sometimes take their worldview to dark extremes—the beings around them seem as less-than real toys and tools to be manipulated or destroyed like any other figment or shadow.
An illusionist’s forceful personality and sharp mind make her an equally good choice for leader or right hand strategist of an adventuring group. Like enchanters, illusionists know that their arts require an audience, and they enjoy the hustle and bustle of urban life, usually maintaining well-furnished homes in large and sophisticated cities.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 3:00:40 GMT -5
Necromancy spells manipulate the power of death, unlife, and the life force. Spells involving undead creatures make up a large part of this school. Representative spells include cause fear, animate dead, and finger of death.
~Life and death are one, for all living things die in time. Death is not an ending, but a beginning. Since one’s living days are but a fraction of the eternal existence of death, life is but a useless distraction to the study and understanding of the long darkness to come.~
Brooding, humorless, and withdrawn, necromancers exhibit a fascination with life and death that borders on the obsessive. Though casual acquaintances will often view them as cold and hostile, those who befriend necromancers might come to know them as thoughtful, stoic, and loyal comrades. Most necromancers prefer solitude to companionship, though, and even the most trustworthy and valued among them can be prone to black spells of despondency during which they question the value of life and all things living.
Continual exposure to the forces of death and undeath can have a corrupting effect on wizards who have even the slightest inclination toward evil. Consequently, evil necromancers far outnumber good-aligned ones. Neutral necromancers are rare, since most necromancers either have a will strong enough to resist the lure of darkness, or they submit eventually to its corruption. Necromancers have little tendency toward either chaos or law; although a sense of order appeals to their clinical and meticulous nature, most necromancers are all too willing to turn their backs on the accepted norms of society in the pursuit of knowledge and power.
Though necromancers are generally ill suited for leadership, such an arcanist can make a valuable addition to an adventuring group, both for the formidable power he wields and a familiarity with the dark forces of the world that makes him virtually fearless. On the other hand, a necromancer is slow to follow orders simply for their own sake, and one who disagrees with his comrades’ strategy might strike out on his own at any time.
Necromancers who are not adventurers spend most of their time engaged in arcane research and writing, and since they have little need for the company of the living, they usually reside far from civilized regions, establishing homes in ancient castles, deep caverns, or even abandoned crypts.
Post by Spirit of a Phoenix on May 19, 2011 3:03:49 GMT -5
Transmutation spells change the properties of some creature, thing, or condition. Representative spells include enlarge person, reduce person, polymorph, and shapechange.
~Like a reflection of the larger processes by which worlds are built and torn down once more, all life is change. Anything that has ceased to change, to grow, to evolve from what it was ceases to be a part of the world, and the ultimate power is that which manipulates these forces of transmutation.~
Wizards drawn to the specialty of transmutation are typically curious, sharp minded, and deeply analytical. Fascinated by the exercise of putting things together and taking them apart again, transmuters are natural tinkerers, often more interested in objects than in the creatures who create and wield them. With minds attuned more to finding out how things work than to reasoning out why things are as they are, transmuters can be obsessive collectors, excellent scholars, and clear thinkers, but they aren’t especially prone to profound philosophical insights.
As a result of their focus on change and the forces that drive it, transmuters tend to see moral matters in terms of that change. Neutral and evil transmuters believe that good and evil are relative concepts, dependent on existing conditions and seldom permanent, and so they make little distinction between them. Good transmuters look past the universal constant of change to its effects on life, aspiring to ensure that change happens for the better. Regardless of their moral standing, transmuters favor chaotic alignments, for chaos is the essence of change.
Eager to explore the world around them, transmuters are often eager members of adventuring groups, but in the role of loyal follower rather than reluctant leader, since they lack determination and rarely see the value in sticking to an inflexible purpose. Transmuters are most comfortable in large cities, where they have access to the supplies, consultants, and other resources that their studies demand. In general, common folk are less distrustful of transmuters than they are of most other wizards; the lack of high-level destructive or controlling capability in the magic of transmuters (notwithstanding the occasional baleful polymorph) leads most commoners to consider them inspired but harmless eccentrics.