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Notes on Spells

The spells are organized according to their group (priest or wizard) and level. Within each level, the spells are arranged alphabetically. At the start of each spell description are the following important game statistics:

Name

Each spell is identified by name. In parentheses after the name is the school (for wizard spells) to which that spell belongs. When more than one is listed, that spell is common to all schools given.

Some spells are reversible (they can be cast for an effect opposite to that of the standard spell). This is noted after the spell name. Priests with reversible spells must memorize the desired version. For example, a priest who desires a Cause Light Wounds spell must petition for this form of the spell when meditating and praying. Note that severe penalties can result if the spell choice is at variance with the priest's alignment (possible penalties include denial of specific spells, entire spell levels, or even all spells for a certain period). The exact result (if any) depends on the reaction of the priest's patron deity, as determined by the DM.

Reversible wizard spells operate similarly. When the spell is learned, both forms are recorded in the wizard's spell books. However, the wizard must decide which version of the spell he desires to cast when memorizing the spell, unless the spell description specifically states otherwise. For example, a wizard who has memorized Stone to Flesh and desires to cast Flesh to Stone must wait until the latter form of the spell can be memorized (i.e., rest eight hours and study). If he can memorize two 6th-level spells, he could memorize each version once or one version twice.

School

In parentheses after the spell name is the name of the school of magic to which the spell belongs. For wizard spells, this defines which spells a wizard specialist can learn, depending on the wizard's school of specialization. For priest spells, the school notation is used only for reference purposes, to indicate which school the spell is considered to belong to, in case the DM needs to know for spell resistance (for example, elves' resistance to charm spells).

Sphere

This entry appears only for priest spells and identifies the sphere or spheres into which each spell falls.

Range

This lists the distance from the caster at which the spell effect occurs or begins. A “0” indicates the spell can be used on the caster only, with the effect embodied within or emanating from him. “Touch” means the caster can use the spell on others if he can physically touch them. Unless otherwise specified, all other spells are centered on a point visible to the caster and within the range of the spell. The point can be a creature or object if desired. In general, a spell that affects a limited number of creatures within an area affects those closest to the center first, unless there are other parameters operating (such as level or Hit Dice). Spells can be cast through narrow openings only if both the caster's vision and the spell energy can be directed simultaneously through the opening. A wizard standing behind an arrow slit can cast through it; sending a fireball through a small peephole he is peering through is another matter.

Components

This lists the category of components needed, V for verbal, S for somatic, and M for material. When material components are required, these are listed in the spell description. Spell components are expended as the spell is cast, unless otherwise noted. Clerical holy symbols are not lost when a spell is cast. For cases in which material components are expended at the end of the spell (Free Action, Shape Change, etc.), premature destruction of the components ends the spell.

Duration

This lists how long the magical energy of the spell lasts. Spells of instantaneous duration come and go the moment they are cast, although the results of these spells may be permanent and unchangeable by normal means. Spells of permanent duration last until the effects are negated by some means, usually by a Dispel Magic. Some spells have a variable duration. The caster cannot choose the duration of spells, in most cases. Spells with set durations (for example, 3 rounds per level of the wizard) must be kept track of by the player. Spells of variable duration (for example, 3+1d4 rounds) are secretly recorded by the DM. Your DM may warn you when spell durations are approaching expiration, but there is usually no sign that a spell is going to expire; check with your DM to determine exactly how he handles this issue.

Certain spells can be ended at will by the caster. In order to dismiss these spells, the original caster must be within range of the spell's center of effect—within the same range at which the spell can be cast. The caster also must be able to speak words of dismissal. Note that only the original caster can dismiss his spells in this way.

Casting Time

This entry is important, if the optional casting time modifier to initiative is used. If only a number is given, the casting time is added to the caster's initiative die rolls. If the spell requires a round or number of rounds to cast, it goes into effect at the end of the last round of casting time. If Delsenora casts a spell that takes one round, it goes into effect at the end of the round in which she begins casting. If the spell requires three rounds to cast, it goes into effect at the end of the third round. Spells requiring a turn or more go into effect at the end of the stated turn.

Area of Effect

This lists the creatures, volume, dimensions, weight, etc., that can be affected by the spell. Spells with an area or volume that can be shaped by the caster will, unless the spell description specifically states otherwise, have a minimum dimension of 10 feet in any direction. Thus, a cloud that has a 10-foot cube per caster level might, when cast by a 12th-level caster, be 10-foot x 10-foot x 120-foot, 20-foot x 20-foot x 30-foot, or any similar combination that totals 12 10-foot cubes. Combinations such as 5-foot x 10-foot x 240-foot are not possible unless specifically stated.

Some spells (such as Bless) affect the friends or enemies of the caster. In all cases, this refers to the perception of the caster at the time the spell is cast. For example, a chaotic good character allied with a lawful neutral cleric would receive the benefits of the latter's bless spell.

Saving Throw: This lists whether the spell allows the target a saving throw and explains the effect of a successful save: “Neg.” results in the spell having no effect; “½” means the character suffers half the normal amount of damage; “none” means no saving throw is allowed. Wisdom adjustments to saving throws apply only to enchantment/charm spells.

Solid physical barriers provide saving throw bonuses and damage reduction. Cover and concealment may affect saving throws and damage (the DM has additional information about this).

A creature that successfully saves against a spell with no apparent physical effect (such as a charm, hold, or magic jar) may feel a definite force or tingle that is characteristic of a magical attack, if the DM desires. But the exact hostile spell effect or creature ability used cannot be deduced from this tingle.

A being's carried equipment and possessions are assumed to make their saving throws against special attacks if the creature makes its saving throw, unless the spell specifically states otherwise. If the creature fails its saving throw, or if the attack form is particularly potent, saving throws may have to be rolled to see if any possessions survive, using either item saving throws (see Chapter 6 of the DMG) or the being's saving throw. The DM will inform you when this happens.

Any character can voluntarily forgo a saving throw. This allows a spell or similar attack that normally grants a saving throw to have full effect on the character. Likewise, any creature can voluntarily lower its magic resistance, allowing a spell to automatically function when cast on it. Foregoing a saving throw or magic resistance roll need not always be voluntary. If a creature or character can be tricked into lowering its resistance, the spell will have full effect, even if it is not the spell the victim believed he was going to receive. The victim must consciously choose to lower his resistance; it is not sufficient that he is caught off guard.

For example, a character would receive a saving throw if a wizard in the party suddenly attacked him with a fireball, even if the wizard had been friendly to that point. However, the same character would not receive a saving throw if the wizard convinced him that he was about to receive a levitation spell but cast a fireball instead. Your DM will decide when NPCs have lowered their resistances. You must tell your DM when your character is lowering his resistance.

Spell Description

The text provides a complete description of how the spell functions and its game effects. It covers most typical uses of the spell, if there are more than one, but cannot deal with every possible application players might find. In these cases, the spell information in the text should provide guidance on how to adjudicate the situation.

Spells with multiple functions enable the caster to select which function he wants to use at the time of casting. Usually a single function of a multiple-function spell is weaker than a single-function spell of the same level.

Spell effects that give bonuses or penalties to abilities, attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, etc., are not usually cumulative with each other or with other magic: The strongest single effect applies. For example, a fighter drinks a potion of giant strength and then receives the 2nd-level wizard spell Strength. Only the strongest magic (the potion) is effective. When the potion's duration ends, however, the strength spell is still in effect, until its duration also expires.

Adjudicating Illusions

All illusions are cases of DM adjudication; each depends upon the exact situational factors deemed significant by the DM. All of the following points are only subsidiary guidelines to help the DM maintain consistency.

Intrinsically Deadly Illusions

“Instant kill” illusions that are automatically fatal regardless of level, Hit Dice, or saving throws: collapsing ceilings, inescapable lava pits, etc. The absolute maximum effect of these is to force a system shock check. Surviving characters are not further affected by that illusion.

Spell Effects

Illusions that duplicate spell effects are keyed to the caster's level (for example, a 10th-level illusionist casting a fireball can create a convincing 10-die fireball). Exceeding this limit creates a fatal flaw in the illusion that negates its effect.

Monster Special Attacks

Before the caster can effectively duplicate a monster's special attack, the wizard must have undergone it (a wizard cannot conjure up the twinkle in a medusa's eye correctly without actually experiencing it—i.e., having been turned to stone by one).

Option: Illusionary monsters attack using the wizard's attack values. This would be a subtle clue that the monsters are fake.

Option: Extend the spell level control to monsters—the caster can create monsters only if the total monster Hit Dice are equal to or less than the caster's level (an 8th-level caster could convincingly do one hill giant, two ogres, or four 2nd-level fighters).

Illusion spells require a higher degree of DM-player interaction than other wizard spells. The timing and staging of such spells by the caster are extremely important. Effects that appear out of nowhere are not believed unless the caster takes this into account. On the other hand, an illusionary fireball cast after a wizard has cast a real one could have devastating effects.

The caster must maintain a show of realism at all times when conducting an illusion (if a squad of low-level fighters is created, the caster dictates their hits, misses, damage inflicted, apparent wounds, and so forth; the DM decides whether the bounds of believability have been exceeded).

NPC illusions require careful preparation by the DM, including clues to their nature.

Intelligence is the best defense against illusions. Low and nonintelligent creatures are more vulnerable to illusions, unless the illusion is completely outside their experience or the illusion touches on an area of the creatures' particular competence. Undead are generally immune to illusions, but they are vulnerable to quasi-real effects, most of which start to appear in the 4th-level spell list.

Illusions usually cease to affect a character if they are actively disbelieved. Disbelief must be stated by the player, based on clues provided by the DM. Players stating disbelief must give a reason for disbelief based on sensory information available to the character. Failure to give such a reason results in failure to disbelieve. The DM can impose additional requirements or delays in recognizing illusions (such as Intelligence checks) as needed, such as when one player is obviously parroting a discovery made by another. Disbelief automatically forfeits a saving throw if the effect is real.

For NPCs, a saving throw, Intelligence check, or DM adjudication can be used to determine disbelief (whichever the DM deems appropriate).