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Prayers of the Northern Reaches:

by Carl Quaif

The following are specialist spells, specific to the Clerics of particular Immortals (although, in some cases - Frey/Freyja in particular - clerics of one faith might be granted the spells of another in exceptional circumstances).

Frey:

War Council
Level: 6
Range: 0' (caster only)
Duration: Special
Effect: Advises on battle

As Frey is considered the "wise counsellor" of the Northern Reaches Pantheon, advising Odin on matters of war, so his Clerics have gained a reputation - deserved or otherwise - for similar tactical or strategic advice. This powerful spell, a limited form of Commune, is at the root of that reputation.

Before casting, the Cleric meditates for at least 3 hours on the problem before him. When the spell is cast he enters a deep trance, as his spirit reaches out to the Outer Planes (it is advisable to have trusted friends around if doing so in hostile territory, as the Cleric cannot break the trance early, even to save his own life). The Cleric must have a specific battle-related problem in mind when casting this spell, or risk annoying his Immortal with irrelevancies.

Depending on the nature of the request, the trance may last for any length of time from 1 hour (for yes/no questions, such as "should we attack at first light?") to 12 hours, or even longer (for detailed analyses of the problem). When the Cleric returns to his body, he retains the advice as a crystal-clear certainty; all other details of his visit to the Immortal are wiped away (to spare his sanity). Clerics should beware of running to the Immortal too often, however; If the problem was not truly insurmountable, Frey's anger at being needlessly disturbed might be manifest in the form of a Cleric who is now a drooling idiot for the rest of his days...

This is a difficult spell to cast; no single Cleric may attempt it more than once per month, and may do so only twice at each Experience Level. Most Clerics of Frey use this only in extremis, for obvious reasons.

Freyja:

Winged Steed
Level: 6
Range: Special
Duration: 9 days
Effect: Summons Pegasus
A gift from Freyja, this spell allows her Clerics to emulate her, by calling on the Pegasi to provide them with a steed for a short time.

The spell requires certain rare herbs to be burnt in a bowl made of black glass (obsidian) while the Cleric chants the spell; obviously, this should be done out-of-doors. To ensure success, the spell should ideally be cast as the sun rises on Midsummer's morning (a day sacred to Freyja); that is the only time at which a Pegasus is sure to respond. At any other time, there is only a 40% chance (+ 1% per level of Cleric) that the call will be answered. Moreover, if outside Ostland, Vestland or Soderfjord, the spell only works if a herd/flock of Pegasi are within range (about 10 miles) - within the Northern Reaches, the Pegasi may hear at any distance.

If successful, The Cleric will hear the beat of powerful wings within an hour of casting. The Pegasus (stats as per Rules Cyclopaedia) will serve the Cleric faithfully for nine days, unless killed; at the end of that time, it flies back to its kin. Note that if the Pegasus is ill-treated, or dies in service, the Cleric suffers a -20% penalty to her next summoning roll; if the same thing happens the next time a Pegasus responds to this spell, that Cleric may never again call a Winged Steed (and may suffer further penalties and punishments from Freyja for carelessness or mistreatment).

The spell may be cast no more than once a year.

Hel:

Awaken the Past
Level: 7
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Effect: Allows previous self to take control of present body
For millennia now, the Immortal Hel has practised the art of reincarnating the souls of evil beings into new bodies; first with the race of Beastmen, chaotic ancestors of the modern-day Humanoids, and more recently with evil humans and demi-humans - indeed, she and Odin have been known to reincarnate exceptional mortal souls (who were sworn enemies in one life) to battle again and again, down through the ages, like living chessmen.

Partly in response to Odin's Speak with Past Life and Detect Reincarnation spells, Hel created this powerful effect. The spell may be cast on an unwilling subject (although a Save vs. Spells applies). If successful, the caster may supplant the current persona of the victim with an earlier incarnation. The new inhabitant has all the physical attributes of the host body, but the mental (INT, WIS) attributes, character class, and abilities of the former incarnation. This can result in incongruous situations, especially if the race or (especially) sex of the new body differs from that which the Awakened self once knew...

The new occupant cannot be forcibly ejected from the host body by any means short of a Wish, although slaying the host (and then Raising the corpse) has a chance flat 65% chance of recovering the original occupant (this is rolled before the "destruction" chances, below). In some cases, the being has been brought back to perform a particular task, or serve a special purpose, in which case the spell ends when that is fulfilled. However, even this may not reunite body and soul; there is a 5% chance, +5% per week of occupation (cumulative), that the original identity has been irrevocably destroyed.

Hel's Clerics have no equivalent to the Detect Reincarnation spell; Awaken the Past is, more often than not, cast on the (in)direct orders of the Immortal Herself. This spell makes a good Campaign enchantment; a monster is reborn (imagine, say, Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler in a new body), whom legends say is impossible to destroy, but the Heroes must stop before an atrocity is committed. To add a frisson of urgency, perhaps the body this monster occupies is a loved one of one of the Party....

Loki:

Subjective Truth
Level: 2
Range: 10'
Duration: 1 day
Effect: Charms 1 person
In the Northern Reaches, Loki is known as the Prince of Lies; it is not surprising, therefore, that his Clerics have access to a spell which makes them consummate liars.

Subjective Truth (or "Liar, Liar", as certain Clerics of Thor call it) is a limited Charm spell, allowing the caster to say anything to his target and be believed. The Cleric must touch his chosen victim within 1 Turn of casting the spell, or it fades. If successful (the target is allowed to Save vs. Spells upon hearing the first lie), the Cleric may tell the affected person anything - no matter how preposterous - and it will be taken for fact. Moreover, the caster's word will be believed over anyone else's, even that of trusted confidantes.

The effects of the spell last for only one day, but that is enough to cause considerable mischief - bloody clan wars, lasting for years, have been started by worshippers of Loki using this spell.

NB: Clerics of Bozdogan (Loki, under a different name), in Hule, do not receive this spell, since it would demean that nation's holy pursuit of falsehood. Bozdogan might be convinced to allow it for a Cleric alone in an enemy state, however.

Odin:

Detect Reincarnation
Level: 2
Range: 10'
Duration: 1d6 rounds
Effect: Determines if subject has lived before
A fairly simple spell, provided by Odin in his capacity as an Immortal of Rebirth, this dweomer allows the caster to perceive whether anyone within 10' has lived before. If there is such a being within range, a shadowy shape may be seen standing slightly behind her - or more than one, if said being has been reincarnated more than once.

This spell was provided as a precursor to the spell Speak with Past Life, in order to determine whether the latter spell will have any effect on a particular subject. Detect Reincarnation can also show a representation of the original shape possessed by those who returned to life via the Mage-spell Reincarnation.

Speak with Past Life
Level: 5
Range: Touch
Duration: 3 Turns
Effect: Communication with previous existence
In response to Hel's long-standing practice of reincarnating evil beings, Odin began to do the same with good-aligned creatures. This spell was provided to allow his Clerics to take advantage of the fact.

The target of this spell must either be awake and a willing subject, or asleep/unconscious if unwilling, for the spell to function. The subject enters a magical trance, and is taken back to their previous life (or lives), and may be quizzed or communicated with as desired until the spell expires. Note that the persona contacted is a real (albeit dead) being, and is under no compulsion to answer truthfully, if at all. Moreover, most people have only a limited perspective on their life and times, so the past self should not be treated as an all-wise oracle - the chances of finding a former self with exactly the information required for a particular purpose should be so rare (unless the DM chooses otherwise) as to be entering the realms of fantasy.

Few people have reincarnated souls; if cast on a random person, this spell should have only a 2% chance of unearthing a past life. Clerics of Odin are advised to cast Detect Reincarnation before committing themselves to this course. Casting this spell on the subject of a Reincarnation spell has no effect. Note that other Immortals than Odin (or Hel) may use reincarnated souls for their own purposes, and that in some cases the soul's former existence may not have been even remotely human...

NB: Most normal people have no idea that they might have lived before; Odin's Clerics are charged not to reveal this fact to others unless absolutely necessary.

Raven's Eyes
Level: 3
Range: see below
Duration: 1d6 + 2 Turns
Effect: Allows bird's-eye view
A reflection of Odin's bond with his own ravens, Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory), this spell allows the Cleric to see Clairvoyantly through the eyes of a raven.

The raven in question must be well-trained, either by the caster or his Temple - most large Temples of Odin have a flock (or "Unkindness", to give it the correct name) of ravens within their precincts, supposedly descended from ravens given by Odin Himself; such birds are abnormally intelligent and obedient. The spell is cast while touching the bird's feathered head. Once complete, the raven is commanded to fly in a particular direction, or to a location known to it, and observe.

By closing his eyes, the caster may instead see what the raven sees - a dizzying spectacle for a novice user of this magic - although he cannot control the flight of the raven in any way, nor hear what the bird does. The range of the link is limitless, ceasing only when the duration ends or if the bird is slain, trapped behind a Protection from Evil effect, or subject to a Dispel Magic.

It is believed in the Northern Reaches that the clergy of Odin the All-Wise must have an excellent spy network, as they seem to be aware of what occurs near them before anyone else; however, few people suspect that those spies ride on black wings....

Thor:

Thunderous Blow
Level: 3
Range: Touch
Duration: See below
Effect: Temporarily enchants 1 weapon
As befits this Warrior-Immortal, Thunderous Blow is a battle-spell of considerable power. It is cast on a war hammer, Thor's holy weapon, before entering a battle; the spell may lay dormant for up to 1 Turn before fading.

At the beginning of the round in which he desires to strike a mighty blow, the Cleric roars his Immortal's name (the trigger for the spell), which unleashes its power; the next strike he makes with the enchanted hammer does maximum weapon damage x2, excluding magical pluses. The spell grants no bonuses to hit, however. If it hits, the strike is accompanied by a thunderclap which may be heard up to 100' away. This single blow exhausts the spell. Should the Cleric miss, the spell is wasted.

A single weapon can hold only one Thunderous Blow enchantment at a single time, unless the spell is also somehow worked into a Rune. Usage of this spell has made the Clerics of Thor feared in battle throughout the Northern Reaches for centuries.

Note: Gunnar Fadderssen "the Bald", current Patriarch of Thor in Ostland, possesses a magical War Hammer +2 called Storm Breaker, a gift from his Immortal, which can cast Thunderous Blow up to 3 times per day. Storm Breaker is made of steel, with intricate knot work carved on the sides of the rectangular, boxlike head and a leather-wrapped haft.

Hammer-Call
Level: 4
Range: 50'
Duration: 1 Turn
Effect: Summons weapon to wielder
Another battle spell, this enchantment (like Thunderous Blow) is cast upon the Cleric's war hammer before combat.

Hammer-Call allows the wearer to throw a war hammer as a missile weapon (damage as per Rules Cyclopaedia). However, for as long as the spell lasts, the caster may call the hammer back to his hand the round after he throws it by speaking a command word (chosen during casting, but often just "Thor!" - Clerics of this Immortal aren't renowned for their imagination).

Although stories abound of Clerics of Thor using this spell effect to attack foes "on the rebound", in practice this is almost impossible to do; usually, the hammer avoids physical objects when flying to hand. However, should the Cleric be Held or paralysed after triggering the effect (and before the hammer reaches him), he runs the risk of taking full damage from his own weapon!