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Great Spells

by Carl Quaif

Fate of the Melkur
Level: 9
Range: 250' radius
Duration: permanent
Effect: All living things within area of effect, see below
This spell, created by the Alphatian wizard Tremas, is designed to be a "smart" defence for a wizard's tower or other private area. It is cast on the foundation stone of a building, on a gemstone of some kind which is then buried, or on a natural feature of the landscape - anything solid and stationary (the spell cannot be cast on a living creature or otherwise mobile object, like a cart or ship). When casting, the wizard chooses an ethos or alignment which will be affected by the spell. This cannot later be amended. Consequently, any living being of that alignment who enters the area of effect must make a Save vs. Spells, or turn to stone. Even if he/she makes their save, the interloper must make another at the start of each turn (if of higher level/greater hit dice than the caster) or each round (if of lower level/hit dice). Although immobile, the victim is aware of his/her surroundings, and retains their ability to think - if psionics are available in your campaign, they may be used without problem. The transformation is permanent so long as the victim remains within the area of effect - if removed, they may again attempt to Save vs. Spells as outlined above until they succeed, at which point they revert to normal with no ill effects (unless they are damaged in statue form - see the spell Flesh to Stone for details). This spell is often used to keep evil beings from a place or object important to good wizards, or vice versa.

Optionally, the DM may decide that being trapped in stone form whilst still being able to think results in a descent into madness. Victims of this spell must make a save against going insane for every month, year, century etc. they remain entrapped. Those who have access to Geoff Gander's excellent insanity rules may wish to use them to determine the form that madness takes.

Time Gate
Level: 9
Range: 30'
Duration: 24 hours
Effect: creates temporal aperture
This mighty spell was devised by a great mage, his name is now lost to history, who lived during the height of Blackmoorian civilisation. It involves aspects of Technomancy in its operation. An expansion of the still-used Gate spell, this dweomer creates a temporary portal into the past. The caster must build or commission a large, arch-shaped structure, at least 12' tall by 6' wide, constructed of steel or marble and inlaid with filigree and wire of gold, silver, and electrum. The arch should cost no less than 250,000 gp and takes at least 6 months to make. This arch is the focus for the spell, and may be reused. The caster must select how far into the past he wishes to reach; there is a base 20% chance of reaching the correct time, +/-5 years, with +1% per two levels (rounded up) of the caster; a further 5% for each successful trip the caster has made before; and a base 20% extra if the caster has an item from the period in hand, either a relic or a souvenir of a previous trip (this is consumed in the casting). The maximum chance of success is 85%. Once cast, the spell creates a portal to the past time which lasts for 24 hours. During this time, any number of beings or objects may pass through from either side, but those who are still in the past when the spell expires are trapped - no arch exists at this end. NB: the spell does not permit spatial travel, except to allow the traveller to arrive at ground level - building the arch on a mountain and travelling back to a period before it appeared will not cause the portal to terminate in mid-air. However, a traveller might find himself emerging at the surface of a long-vanished ocean..... Moreover, an arch, once built, may never be moved; to visit a different spatial location involves building a new arch at that site.

This spell was originally designed to enable travel into one's own past; however, the Immortals of Time, realising the potential for abuse this spell provided, altered its effect. The spell actually creates a portal to an alternate past, fundamentally identical to the real period, but not connected to this universe's timeline - hence, for example, a legendary figure might be killed or saved, or even come through to the future-time, but the Mystaran past remains inviolate. Repeated visits to the same period through the same arch will occur in the same altered universe. A regular time-traveller who later visits a more recent period might find a world far different from the one in the history books... The Immortals placed a few booby-traps into the spell; any attempt to bring Carnifex, active Burrowers, or other world-threatening creatures through to the present day will cause the arch to explode, possibly killing anyone within 50' of the portal on either side and certainly trapping the forbidden beings in the past (This trap may also apply to forbidden lore, deadly Blackmoorian technology, or anything else likely to screw up the DM's campaign ).

The Time Gate spell has been lost since the destruction of Blackmoor, but copies might still exist - inscribed on metal sheets, locked in a vacuum-sealed case, etc - for the PCs to find. Discovering its existence, locating a copy of the spell, building the arch (plans included in the spell, of course) and visiting a particular "past" might form a major part of a quest for Immortality.

Level: 8
Range: 10'
Duration: 3 days
Effect: Creates Mage-Killer
This nasty, provocatively-named spell was devised by a reclusive, chaotic Blackheart-based wizard known as "the Ebon Cowl"; it creates a short-lived simulacrum, whose sole purpose is to kill one particular wizard. The spell requires the caster to sculpt a candle in the shape of the mage he wishes to slay. This requires pure, virgin beeswax, crushed amethysts, rare spices and other esoteric ingredients (the total cost of the candle should be between 5,000 - 10,000gp), plus a strand of hair or nail clipping from the victim. A Save vs. Spells (or, if you use skills in your campaign, a successful skill roll) must be made upon completion; if it fails, the candle is useless, and the caster must start again. The spell itself takes 12 hours to cast (another Save vs. Spells to see if the caster falters), then the candle is lit; a Mage-Killer will form from the smoke in 1d4+3 rounds. When first created, a Mage-Killer is a brutish, mindless, unformed creature, driven by instinct to seek out its prey; as it draws closer to the victim, however, its mental link with the victim enables it to gain both intelligence and appearance approximating that of its target. The Mage-Killer has three major advantages in combat; firstly, its strength (18 in OD&D, 18/00 in AD&D), which few wizards can match; secondly, the Mage-Killer has access to the entire spell selection of its foe at the moment it was created (so the creature will probably retain more spells than its adversary); thirdly and most importantly, the mental link allows the Mage-Killer to know its opponent's plans the moment they are formed, and can counter them accordingly. The Mage-Killer vanishes in a puff of smoke once it has killed its opponent; it also vanishes if the candle which created it is snuffed out, or burns out - a Mage-Killer candle burns for exactly three days from the time it is first lit.

The Ebon Cowl is currently the only wizard with knowledge of this spell. He (or she) has successfully used it to kill other wizards five times in the last 10 years. Since the use of this spell counts as a Wizard's Duel, it is possible that the Cowl is using the spell to help complete his/her Task in a bid for Immortality. PCs might come into conflict with the Ebon Cowl, and gain awareness of the spell, if hired to protect a paranoid Blackheart wizard who fears for his life, or perhaps they are hired by said mage's executors to quietly solve the mystery of his murder. Once they have their hands on this information, of course, they have a decision to make; do they destroy the information to keep it out of the hands of other evil wizards, sell it to the highest bidder (which might result in more assassinations at a later date), or keep it for their own use (which could be very dangerous if powerful enemies learn of the spell's existence...)

(Note: Since the Mage-Killer's form is so dependent of its target, I haven't bothered to work up stats for it; if you use it in your campaign, the creature should have maximum human strength (see above), dexterity at least 1 or 2 points above its opponent, and +1 to its saving throws (to reflect its foreknowledge of its victim's battle plan). All other stats, hp, spells, innate powers, etc. are as per the target mage, but the creature has none of the target's magical items.)

Magic Messenger
Level: 1
Range: touch
Duration: 12 hours
Effect: 1 message
Created by the magician Ilya Mordinev of Karameikos during his apprentice days, this spell enchants a small bird or animal (pigeons are the favourite choice) with a single message, of no more than twenty words, spoken by the caster at the time of casting; the creature then carries that message to its recipient, who speaks a release word (encoded into the spell), causing the animal to repeat the recorded message. The spell confers no control over the messenger; the creature must be trained, or otherwise magically controlled, to go to the correct recipient. The release word must be agreed between the sender and recipient beforehand. Mordinev devised this spell to exchange messages with his lover in the nearby town, and it is still used for romantic purposes; however, the ability to send messages which cannot be fall into the wrong hands, even if the messenger is captured, have made it very popular during wartime.

A 2nd-level variant of the spell allows a return message to be recorded, even if the sender is not a mage; the restrictions above still apply.