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Flambert's Nautical Nuisance

by James Mishler

Here's a potential "atypical" fantasy mine/torpedo developed for use by the Ierendian Navy by the Mages of Fire Island (well, if you accept the Canon version of Ierendi; this was just too fun to pass up)...

Flambert's Nautical Nuisance (Evocation, Alteration)

4th level Wizard spell
Range: Special
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special

This variant of the Minor Meteor spell (Melf's Minute Meteors in other lands) enables the wizard to create a number of small, spherical globes, each about 1' in diameter. These globes are bluish-green in colour, the better to make them invisible upon the high seas. There are two ways to create these spheres (listed below); the wizard casting the spell must choose one of the two methods when he begins to cast the spell. Regardless of the manner in which the spell is cast, each sphere will burst into a 5' diameter ball of flame when it strikes it's target and cause 2d8 points of damage to living targets or 1d8 points of structural damage to wooden targets, such as ships; in addition, everything within the ball of fire must save versus magical fires or burst into flames.

The spell may be cast in one of the following ways, chosen when the spell is being cast:

A) Flambert's Fearsome Torpedos... this variation allows the mage to create 1 sphere per 3 levels of experience (2 at 7th, 3 at 9th, etc). These spheres are released all at once against up to as many targets as the mage has spheres to cast. These spheres, when cast, shoot out from the caster's hands up to 10 yards/level and dive into the water; they then proceed to race toward the target at a rate of 360 yards per round. Each torpedo will last for up to the wizard's level in rounds, and thus if a *very* fast ship outruns the torpedo the torpedo may fail and simply dissolve doing no damage. The wizard has no control over whether the sphere will strike or not; the sphere has a pursuit and manoeuvrability rating of 1d6+12 (see "of Ships and the Sea" to determine whether the sphere strikes or not; GM's without that tome may simply adjudge that the spheres automatically strike if not outrun or outsmarted by a Seamanship skill check on the part of the opposing ship's captain).

B) Flambert's Magnificent Mines... this variation allows the creation of 1 sphere per level of experience, which are created during succeeding rounds; only one sphere may be created per round, and if the mage does not release a sphere during a specific round that rounds' sphere is lost. The caster may fling the created spheres out into the water out to a distance up to 100 yards/level. If the sphere strikes water it will become active; if it strikes land or an object *before* it strikes water it will dissipate. The sphere remains quiet, silent and nearly invisible until a wooden object moves more than 10 yards per round comes within 500 yards distance; the sphere then becomes active and acts in all ways like a torpedo, as listed above. Upon "sighting" a moving vessel the sphere will immediately begin pursuit for a number of rounds equal to the casting mage's level.

If a mage casts another spell while having mines remaining, the remaining mines will be lost regardless of the casting time of the intervening spell. The spell also ends and remaining mines will be lost if the caster is the target of a successful dispel magic spell. Mines will last no longer than 1 day per caster level before dissipating.

The material components of this spell are nitre and sulphur mixed together and placed in a small (1' diameter) golden sphere; one sphere is required for each mine or torpedo to be created. Each sphere costs 100 gp to create and is consumed in casting the spell.

There is said to be a variant of this spell that will create mines that "recognise" certain types of vessels or even flags, and that any vessel of that type or bearing that flag will be unharmed or specifically attacked...