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Spells of Callarii and Vyalia Elves

by Carl Quaif

Vyalia Spells:

The Vyalia are always described as reclusive, wanting little to do with the outside world. Most of the following spells were designed to confuse and repel inquisitive explorers, making Vyalian woodlands dangerous, mysterious, forbidding places.

Elf Mark
Level: 1
Range: touch
Duration: permanent (but see below)
Effect: creates invisible sigil
This spell is used to affirm the status of an outsider amongst Elvish society. It allows the caster to draw a complicated, magical rune on the recipient's forehead, which fades into invisibility once finished. The rune is magical, and shows up under a Detect Magic or See Invisible spells; it is clearly visible at all times to Elves, Sidhe, and Pegataurs (also Eusdrian Half-Elves, if these are used in your campaign). The Elf Mark is often used to denote either an Elf-Friend, causing a +1 to response rolls, or an enemy or criminal to the Elves, which causes response penalties of anywhere from -1 to -3, depending on the severity of the crime. No matter their origin or ethos, all Elves will take their first impressions of non-elves from such a Mark. An Elf Mark is usually permanent, fading only at the death of the recipient, but it can be set to fade upon a certain date, or on the performance of a particular action (or series of actions).

Most Elves in the Known World know some version of this spell; the Vyalia variant is unique, in that the Elf Mark also radiates an emotional pulse which affects animals in the Vyalian forests. Animals will remain calm in the presence of an Elf-Friend (UNLESS that individual abuses the effect to kill an animal, which permanently cancels this power); an enemy Mark will make large beasts attack the bearer and timid creatures run away.

Grab Grass
Level: 2
Range: 10'x10' area
Duration: 1d6 hours
Effect: animates area of grassland
This spell works best when cast on sleeping or otherwise unsuspecting victims, and requires an area of grassy soil (as found in a clearing, for instance). All grass in the area of effect animates and binds any object, living or otherwise, in a steel-like grip. Those caught lying down within the area must make a save vs. Spells to avoid being utterly pinned and helpless by the Grab Grass; success means that they managed to stand in time, so only their feet are caught. Those with trapped feet must make a successful Bend Bars roll at -2 to snap their bonds. Sleeping victims have no saving throw. Anyone completely bound is vulnerable to attacks as if under the effect of a Sleep spell, whilst those with bound feet are at +2AC vs. missile attacks, reflecting their inability to dodge. Vyalia Elves use this spell to safely entrap and capture potentially dangerous intruders. The spell is partially responsible for the many stories concerning the "haunted forest", which do as much to keep people away as any efforts by the Elves themselves.

Moving Path
Level: 3
Range: 100'+
Duration: 1d6 hours
Effect: alters pathways
This spell is often used by Vyalia Elves to cover their tracks, to hide known pathways, or to change the path around intruders in order to get them lost. It causes an illusion which covers up existing trails and makes them seem to wend elsewhere, vanishing at the limit of the spell - an additional 50' of path can be misdirected for every level of the caster above 5th. The illusion is so perfect, only someone with True Seeing, or a trained Forester, can tell that the path is false. The caster has the option of either creating a random false trail, or directing the path of the new track - to lead interlopers into a trap, for instance.

Menacing Gloom
Level: 5
Range: 100'x100' area
Duration: permanent
Effect: creates area of unease
This spell causes an area of woodland to take on an ominous aspect; the trees appear to loom over and clutch at passing travellers, the shadows are deeper and seem to shimmer as if hiding evil secrets, and normal sounds of the forest are muted and distant. It's all an illusion, of course; the Menacing Gloom spell is designed to subtly affect the emotions of living things within its area of effect, heightening tension and causing them to become jumpy, if not outright terrified. Normal Man-level humans, creatures with less than one HD, or any being of animal-level intelligence will refuse outright to enter the affected area, and will do all they can to flee such a place as soon as possible. Higher-level characters are allowed a saving throw vs. Spells at -4 to resist the effect; if successful, that particular Menacing Gloom area - and any others contiguous with it - can never affect them again, although it remains in force for everyone else. Non-intelligent creatures or constructs, like slimes or golems, are unaffected by the spell. Vyalian settlements will often be surrounded by vast tracts of land enchanted by this spell as a protection, with one or two paths left free to allow easy access.

Callarii Spells:

Unlike their reclusive cousins, the Callarii are an open, friendly breed - more Elven adventurers come from Callarii stock than almost any other Elven colony, apart from Minrothad. Although they have their secrets - who doesn't? - - much of their unique magic is designed for helping others, creating beauty, and friendly humour.

Guiding Light
Level: 1
Range: see below
Duration: 1d2 hours
Effect: creates glowing ball of light
This spell allows the caster to guide others to a place he knows without the need to go himself. During the casting, the destination is specified, as well as any points along the way to avoid. The spell brings into being a "will-'o'-the-wisp"-like ball of light (which can illuminate an area half that of a Light spell, if it is dark) which, on the caster's command, will start to move at normal walking pace to the destination. The path will usually be one that earthbound travellers can follow without too much trouble (unless the caster has a wicked sense of humour ;-). The Guiding Light will continue on this path without stopping unless the caster provides "stop" and "start" command words. Once it reaches the target, the Guiding light will pulse twice, then fade away.

The Guiding Light spell is most often used for the purpose outlined above; however, it can also lead others into traps or hidden dangers (many of the "will-'o'-the-wisp" sightings in stories may actually be Guiding Lights employed for this purpose). The maximum distance a Guiding Light can travel is caster's level x 5 miles. The caster must have actually been to the target destination at least once.

Level: 2
Range: touch
Duration: 1 hour
Effect: one plant or wooden item
This spell, which is also known by the Elves of Alfheim and used to sculpt their treehouses (see GAZ5), enables the caster to mould a single tree or plant, or a piece of dead wood, into any shape they can imagine. An average Elf can mould simple shapes and hollows; artistic or craft-working skills are required to make full use of this power. An Elf with the relevant skill can create works of art, items of furniture, hollows in living trees for storage or living space, sculpt handholds for climbing, or even shape weapons - this last use duplicates, to some extent, the Forester spell Deadwood Blade, although it is neither as quick nor (usually) as accurate.

The spell may be used to both heal and harm plant-based creatures, such as Treants or Dryads (but NOT Shambling Mounds, which are composed of loose, decaying matter). The effect is the same as a Cure/Cause Wounds spell on animal life. The caster may inflict or cure 1d6 damage, +2 points per caster's level.

Bows made by skilled bowyers using this spell are particularly strong and supple. Such bows, even if not further enchanted, provide an additional +10' to each range category and +1 to hit rolls.

The wood-shaping ability granted by this spell lasts until the moulding is finished, or until one hour has elapsed, whichever is the shorter.

Dance of the Sidhe
Level: 3
Range: touch
Duration: sunset to sunrise
Effect: polymorphs an Elf into a Sprite
This is a very specific Polymorph Self/Other spell, originally designed for celebration, which has since been put to several other good uses. It is an ancient spell, taught to the Callarii by the Sidhe long ago, and is considered one of the great treasures of the Callarii. The spell transforms the chosen Elf into a Sprite, granting both small size and winged flight; however, like the Polymorph Self spell, this enchantment grants no magical powers - the transformed Elf lacks either the innate Curse magic or the Invisibility to Mortals ability of a Sprite, although he retains his own magical powers. The spell must be cast at sunset, and lasts until the first rays of dawn.

The Callarii use this spell to join the Sprites and Pixies in their twice-yearly celebration dances; at other times of the year, it allows them to travel considerable distances in a single night, gain access to otherwise-inaccessible places (like offshore islands, high cliffs, second-story windows, etc) and eavesdrop on private conversations.

Gremlin's Curse
Level: 4
Range: 5'
Duration: 72 hours
Effect: bad luck
This capricious spell is used both as a punishment for those who prove false to the Callarii and, more innocently, to test the good humour of a stranger. The spell enchants the victims with bad luck; everything they touch goes awry, and they become clumsy and forgetful at the worst possible times. The effect is much like the chaos aura of Gremlins (see PC2, Top Ballista), from which the name is derived. The effects of the spell are usually annoying, but not dangerous; however, it is inadvisable for the victim to place herself in situations where luck can have an important effect on the outcome, such as fighting or adventuring - Callarii sometimes use the spell to help them defeat enemies, although it is considered "unsporting". The actual effects of this spell are up to the DM, who can use it for either comic or dramatic purposes.

Note: as stated above, Callarii often use this spell to as part of a test of character for promising newcomers; if they pass the test, they are welcomed as Elf-Friends. DMs wanting to role-play this situation are advised not to let the players know they are either under a spell or being tested; let the actions of the players (and their characters) determine the outcome.