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"The Book of the Red Curse":

by Carl Quaif

This is a slim volume, measuring 6" x 9" x 1". Its covers are two plates of thin wood, covered with red-dyed leather. The personal sigil of the Mage Siedran is branded into the front cover. The actual name of the book, and its author, are written in a crabbed script on the first page. The book contains several long essays on the nature of the Red Curse of the Savage Coast, examples of the Legacies and mutations caused, speculations on the nature and capabilities of cinnabryl, and tips on smelting methods for Red Steel. At the back of the book are a number of spells which exploit the properties of depleted cinnabryl; these are detailed below. The quality (and shade) of the paper in the book is variable, suggesting that the book itself is more properly a binder for the various works held within.

Siedran Vardini was a graduate of the Great School of Magic in Glantri; as part of his postgraduate studies, he travelled to the Savage Coast in order to investigate rumours of the strange "innate magic" (Legacies) possessed by various people dwelling in the Western lands. He discovered, during his years of study there, that the latent mutational properties of depleted cinnabryl make it especially receptive to transformative enchantment. Most of his surviving findings are contained in the Book of the Red Curse. Siedran (who is believed to have acquired a Legacy or two himself) disappeared ten years ago, after setting off to explore the distant land of Nimmur; no word has been heard of him since.

Siedran's Werebreaker
Level: 4
Range: touch
Duration: 1 Turn
Effect: enchants 1 weapon
This spell requires a striking weapon made of Red Steel as the focus; it surrounds the weapon with a fuzzy crimson aura. If the weapon strikes, or even touches, a creature which is not in its natural form (a lycanthrope, a shapeshifted Vampire, a Doppelganger, a Polymorphed or otherwise transformed being, a Mage under the effects of a Statue spell, etc), that creature must make a Save vs. Death Ray or be instantly reverted to its normal shape. In the case of creatures with two equally-natural forms, the Werebreaker transforms them into the alternate state. The enchanted weapon can be used normally against non-shapeshifted foes without discharging its magic; once it strikes a transformed creature, the spell is consumed, whether it was effective or not.

If the target wishes to be transformed, the Saving Throw can be waived. This spell cannot cancel the effects of Stoning enchantments, nor can it affect Immortal-level transformations.

Siedran's Soul Shape
Level: 5
Range: touch
Duration: 3 days
Effect: transforms Reincarnated creature
Siedran created this spell after his companion, the Fighter Horvath, was slain in battle with a band of Orcs. Lacking other options, Siedran had him Reincarnated....into a badger.

Siedran's Soul Shape allows a Reincarnated character to resume his original form for a short time. The spell requires some form of amulet, made of depleted cinnabryl or Red Steel and cast or carved with the image of the original form of the Reincarnated creature, as the spell focus. The amulet must be hung around the subject's neck, and the spell cast; if the subject is unwilling, a Save vs. Death Ray is permitted, otherwise the spell automatically succeeds. The subject resumes his original form, with all the original abilities, and remains so for exactly three days before reverting to his new "natural" shape. If the amulet is removed at any time during those three days, the spell is broken.

This spell may only be cast on a particular subject once per year at most. The amulet may be reused indefinitely as the focus.

Siedran's Thaumaturgical Contagion
Level: 6
Range: touch
Duration: see below
Effect: polymorphs user into normal animal
This spell requires a disk of depleted cinnabryl as the focus of its enchantment; the coins used in numerous Savage Coast nations are ideal. The disk must be held against the skin - or hide, scales, feathers, fur, etc - of a "normal" creature of animal intelligence for at least 9 days in order to "charge" itself; modified collars with circular apertures (much like the armbands used by some Slagovich residents to hold cinnabryl against the skin) are commonly used for this purpose. Once "charged", the disk is removed, and wrapped in silk to prevent accidental discharge. If held against the skin of a human being - not necessarily the caster - the charged disk allows the user to shapeshift into the form of the animal which charged it, with all the attendant abilities (hp and intelligence do not change, however). The transformation lasts up to 24 hours, unless cancelled by the user earlier or dispelled; once used, the disk must be recharged by renewed contact with its template creature.

Users of this spell commonly retain a number of tamed or captive beasts for use as "templates". Exhausted disks retain their enchantment, and may be used again - but only with the same beast who charged them before; the disk must be enchanted again to accept a new template. A charged disk will retain its charge, if wrapped in silk, for a maximum of 21 days, after which the charge fades away.

Siedran's Thaumaturgical Transformation
Level: 7
Range: touch
Duration: see below
Effect: polymorphs user into magical animal
This spell is an advanced form of Siedran's Thaumaturgical Contagion (see above), with all the same functions and restrictions; however, a disk charged by this version of the spell can be used to acquire the form of a magical creature of animal intelligence - either a Gargantuan version of a normal creature, or a magical beast (such as a Hellhound). All the innate abilities of the template are acquired in the transformation. The user's transformed body may not have more HD than the user has Experience Levels.