Sunday, January 22, 2012

From Grand Grimoire Volume I: Sorting spells by Magic type, Element, Handedness

Since some of you have asked what the difference is when new spells are created, here you go:

Appendix Two: Sorting Newly Created Spells by School, Element and Handedness.

When creating new spells, many people playing mages have a hard time determining what schools or elements of magic are appropriate for the new spell. This list of basic descriptions of the spell types under is useful as a basic guide, although it is usually possible to duplicate a spell’s effect with a different school. When creating a spell that acts like abjuration but is placed under Invocation, for example, the creator of the spell must explain how the spell works in the description. If it is not described well, the spell may be reclassified as an abjuration.

Sorting Spells by the Schools of Magic:

Abjuration: Abjurations are spells that can be thought of as making lines that are difficult to cross for specific energies or beings. Protection from evil, wards against outer planar beings and force fields that do not create actual things can be forms of abjuration. There are many cleric spells that are forms of abjuration.

Alteration: Alteration spells change things from one thing to another, often changing the shape, phase (liquid to gas, for example) or the basic material of things. Many alteration spells include the word “transmute,” which is another word for alter. Alteration spells can be useful for creating spell components, transmuting lead to gold, diamonds to diamond dust and even water to sand. There are many cleric spells that are forms of alteration.

Charm: Charm spells can be often be thought of affecting Charisma. They put a dweomer (magical effect) on a living being, or an intelligent non-living being, often altering a being’s feeling about the caster or the person the caster the desires to change their feelings about. It is a form of enchantment, but some enchanters focus more exclusively on putting dweomers on non-living things, non-intelligent things.

Conjuration: Conjuration spells bring non-intelligent (or rudimentarily intelligent) beings or energies from other places (elemental planes, energy fields, planes of energy,) to locations of their desire. It overlaps strongly with Summoning, and many spells are considered both. Elementals are generally seen as creatures of conjuration, whereas outer planar creatures are seen as summoned creatures. Conjured creatures are usually easier to control, but can take less complex orders.

Divination (Greater or Lesser): The distinction between Greater and Lesser Divination is only a basic game play mechanic, because divinization is so useful that prohibiting low-level divination can cripple a mage character. Detect Magic, Identify and other spells that provide information to the character are all divination. High level divination magics can cause the caster to discern the future (the further s/he looks into the future, the less accurate it is,) Scry from afar (watch from a distance) or even tell the result of a desired action. Lesser divination magics are those of 4th or lower level for Grand Grimoire or Core uAD&D characters.

Enchantment: Enchantment is similar to charm, except it tends to be focused upon putting dweomers upon non-living things. Creating golems or magic items are typical spells for an enchanter, giving rudimentary life to toys or buildings and placing the effect of spells on things are typical actions for enchanters. Many enchanters are mischievous, and evil ones will create traps or cursed items, whereas good ones might enchant dolls or toys just to play with kids and creep people out.

Evocation: For the purpose of D&D, Evocation is calling up or using the energies around a character and manipulating them to their own powers. This may overlap with Alteration or forms of Summoning, but mostly takes the form of explosions, arcing energy, and the like. Evokers have a very good sense of magical fields and strong dweomers, and at a DM’s discretion an Evoker with access to an energy field may be able to boost his or her spells. In areas with low-levels of magic, large evocation spells can strip the land of its natural energies.

Illusion/Phantasm: Illusions are spells that deceive the eyes or other senses. Illusions that are not phantasms will tend to affect individuals or people in an area. Those outside the area of effect may see a party swinging at a creature that is not there. Phantasms are a specialized form of Illusion, generally in which the mage essentially creates a creature of minor energy that uses more complex forms of deception. Only high level illusionists make a distinction between Illusions and Phantasms, and from a practical point of view they are the same school, although Phantasms are often thought of more complex or hardened illusions.

Invocation: Invocation in D&D is similar to Evocation except the energy fields the mage is manipulating are those that begin within himself, which may allow a mage to ignore or partially ignore an area of diminished magical capacity. This use of his internal energy is why specialized Invokers (who are also masters of evocation) are required to have a high Constitution to manipulate energies.

Summoning: Similar to Conjuring, Summoning tends to bring forth intelligent creatures. While the Constitution requirement of Conjuring and Summoning spells are important, those who focus upon Summoning tend to use their intelligence, strength or charisma to intimidate, charm or bargain with creatures they have summoned. In return for the harder work of summoning spells over conjurations, you generally have creatures who can follow more complex orders or last longer. While Conjurers and Summoners are considered the same specialization, many summoners focus exclusively upon Summoning. It is typical for these sorts to have a high level of understanding of demonology, binding spells and the politics of outer planes.

Necromancy: Necromancy is the manipulation of death, undeath and the energies of the negative material plane, which is involved in the creation of undead. Some of the scariest Necromancy spells effect the live energy of the victims to cause pain or partial death. As a result, necromancy can be used to torture, kill, raise undead and maim the living. At the same time, many of the high level necromancy spells (especially those of Clerics) can drive the energies of undeath away, hold off death or even raise the dead.

Sorting Spells by Elementalism or Wild Magic:

Air (Elemental Air): Spells affiliated with air will create clouds, manipulate winds or creatures in the sky, allow or disallow breathing, create some electric effects (by rubbing molecules of air together), and raise or drop temperatures in an area, which can effect fire and water, but rarely earth. Elemental Air spells can often easily access the Plane of Elemental Air.

Earth (Elemental Earth): Spells affiliated with earth will affect the chemical structure of solids and suspensions of particles (such as mud or dust storms,) as well as having localized gravity effects. Earth is particularly stable, so most Earth effects do minor changes to things that are hard to manipulate, making earth (stones, gems. metal) hotter or colder, heavier or lighter (thus manipulating gravity) or moving earth or parts of earth to purify or shift (digging, making lava, pulling down meterors, purifying ore.) Because acids are often suspensions of earth elements in water, and because some earthen compounds are themselves acidic, some acid spells are listed as Earth, Water or both, and an elementalist should always use the most positive category for learning new spells of those types. Elemental Earth spells can often easily access the Plane of Elemental Earth.

Elemental Magic (includes Meta-Magic): Elemental magic draws upon the energy of the Elemental Plane of Magic to either manipulate existing energy fields, dweomers or spells (an effect called metamagic, or just magic that effects magic) or to create energy fields that are not affected by an elemental counter. The most common elemental magic spell is Magic Missile, which acts similarly to magical energies in elemental spells but is non-elemental. In general, if a spell creates a barrier or object of power than a cannot be well defined as coming from the negative or positive energy planes (Necromancy,) cannot be determined to be earth, air, fire or water (Traditional Elementalism) and is not sourced from the mage or using the principle of antipathy (generally, not Abjuration or Invocation), the spell may be an elemental magic spell. For the purpose of traditional (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) elementalists, Elemental Magic spells are treated the same as Non-Elemental spells, although the distinction is very important for MetaMages. Obviously, if a spell directly interacts with the elemental plane of magic, it is an Elemental Magic spell. Elemental Magic is very lawful, and can often counter Wild Magic, which is highly chaotic.

Fire (Elemental Fire): Fire spells will generally cause things to burn, combust or heat up, although a few rare fire spells will move heat from one area to another, causing a side effect of localized cold. Fire can intersect with earth to make lava, or boil water or scald the air. Elemental Fire spells can often easily access the Plane of Elemental Fire.

Non-Elemental: Any magic which does not involve Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Elemental Magic or Wild Magic.

Water: As with fire, water spells are fairly easy to understand. They get things wet, cause rain, ice or snow, move water from one place to another, and occasionally use temperature changes to cause shattering, as earth and air spells can do. They can change the phase or property of water (make it hot, cold, breathable,) change pH of water (because acids are often suspensions of earth elements in water, and because some earthen compounds are themselves acidic, some acid spells are listed as Earth, Water or both, and an elementalist should always use the most positive category for learning new spells of those types.) and work with swimming or diving. Water spells occasionally operate on other fluids or on principles of pressure differentials. Elemental Water spells can often easily access the Plane of Elemental Water

Wild Magic: Wild Magic directly taps into the Chaotic aspects of the Plane of Elemental Magic, which is why there is occasional overlap between Elemental Magic and Wild Magic, although Metamages are limited in the abilities with Wild Magic, in general, if a spell has a great deal of unpredictable results, it is probably Wild Magic.

Sorting Spells by Handedness:

All spells are given a handedness at their creation. The handedness of a spell will always be the handedness of the mage creating them, unless the mage is listed as a “Balanced Left and Pure Magic” or “Balanced Right and Pure Magic” mage (you can determine this from your initial handedness roll (a 6 or 15) or by looking at your Modifiers to learn new spell. A Balanced Left mage (6) will produce B-handed spells 75% of the time, and G-handed spells 25% of the time (determine randomly) and a Balanced Right mage (15) will produce W-handed spells 75% of the time, and G-handed spells 25% of the time (determine randomly.) If a large number of shifts between W, B and G are found in spells attributed to one mage, it is often an indication that some of the magic was created by imposters or apprentices, or that a mage underwent a radical shift in their magical techniques over time.

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