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Tanagoro Spells

by Carl Quaif

Gentle Birth
Level: 1 (Witch Doctor/Herbalist)
Range: touch
Duration: special (see below)
Effect: eases birthing pains
This is a simple, commonly known, yet vitally important spell to the Tanagoro, whose relatively-primitive living standards make childbirth a risky proposition for both humans and cattle. Cast at the onset of labour, it ensures an easy delivery for both mother and child, as the spell relaxes tense muscles (except those necessary for birthing), gently turns the baby into the best position for emerging, and prevents or cures internal bleeding caused by the birth trauma. A trained midwife is still advisable, however, since the spell cannot deal with unusual circumstances (the cord wrapped around the baby's neck, for example).

There are both Clerical and Magical versions of this spell available; it is very unusual for a village or clan not to have at least one spellcaster capable of casting the spell.

Level: 2 (Witch Doctor/Herbalist)
Range: 10'
Duration: 3 days
Effect: increases chance for conception
This useful spell is frequently employed during the auroch breeding season to encourage the growth of the herds; it is also employed to assist human couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child. The spell is usually cast on the male (since the male auroch will fertilise many females), but may just as easily be cast on a female.

Once cast, the spell increases the chance for successful conception by 5% per level of the caster, to a maximum of 90%. Moreover, any child so conceived will be both healthy and free from physical defects at birth (although later injury or illness will affect them normally). Due to the Tanagoro taboo against twin births, this spell will only ever permit one child to be gestated - even in creatures where multiple births are the norm.

Note: No Witch Doctor or Herbalist will cast this spell more than three times per year on human subjects, nor more than once in a lifetime for any one couple - too-frequent usage of the spell is frowned upon, denoting a weakness in the tribe's reproductive capabilities. It may be used with greater frequency on animal subjects, however.

Both Clerical and Magical versions of this spell are available.

Mystic Brand*
Level: 2
Range: touch
Duration: permanent
Effect: permanent tattoos
This common Mage spell is used primarily to painlessly mark the ears of individual aurochs to denote ownership, although other uses are often made of it.

The spell requires the caster (or some other person) to paint the chosen design on the auroch's ear. When cast, the spell permanently binds that design to the flesh as if tattooed or branded into the skin. Once cast, the design cannot be painted over, altered by tattoos, or be covered by another Mystic Brand. The spell is sometimes used to decorate the bodies of humans - some Witch Doctors (and, for that matter, Witches) use it to denote their status, and a simple, 1st-level variation (Lightning Brand) is used to mark the faces of nascent Weather-Herders.

The reverse of this spell (Unbrand) causes the Brand to revert to simple paint again; it may then be washed off with ease. This version of the spell is used when transferring ownership of an auroch; for legal purposes, both the old and new owners, plus at least one independent witness, must be on hand when the spell is cast to verify the change. The spell is sometimes abused by cattle-thieves and Witches, who illegally change the Brands to assume ownership of another's herds. Those caught performing this crime are punished severely.

Leopard Song
Level: 3 (Abathakati)
Range: 1 mile
Duration: 3 Turns
Effect: summons leopards within range
Among the most feared of Abathakati are those served by mighty leopards, tamed to their will. This spell is used to provide leopard servitors to undergo that training.

During casting, the Witch enters a deep trance and hums incessantly; the spell's magic transforms that hum into a summoning signal of ultrasonic frequency, keyed to the ears of any leopards within 1 mile of the caster. Such beasts cannot resist the call, and (if the DM decides there are leopards in the vicinity) 1d4 of them will arrive at the caster's position within 3 Turns. Once they appear, the leopards are under no compulsion to stay, or to obey the caster (unless the Witch casts Brother to Leopards - see below), and are likely to attack unless trapped, killed, or restrained.

If trapped, the leopards can be trained by one skilled in the art, if they are still young enough (35% chance per leopard appearing); otherwise, they must either be released - perhaps into an enemy village? - or killed for their skins.

Brother to Leopards
Level: 4 (Abathakati)
Range: see below
Duration: 1d6 + 6 Turns
Effect: controls leopards
This powerful spell, like Dark Thoughts (see below), allows the Witch to circumvent the Hollow World's strictures concerning coercive magics.

To cast this spell, the Witch must prepare and make a cloak and headdress from the skin and skull of an adult leopard (although the Witch need not be party to the killing), and wear it for the duration of the spell. When cast, the spell causes the caster's glands to emit powerful pheromones which convince any nearby leopards that the Witch is the dominant member of their pack (no saving throw). None will attack the caster, and all leopards within 50' of the caster obey his mental commands, which are transmitted via pheromonal changes.

Witches employing Brother to Leopards must avoid wet weather, which washes the pheromones out of the air, reducing the spell's effect to 5' radius. Consequently, Witches using this spell hate Weather-Herders, whose Create Water ability can severely curtail their effectiveness. A leopard who finds itself outside the spell's effective range, if not already trained to obedience, will be confused; if not attacked, or attracted by the scent of blood, it will usually run off at the first opportunity.

The leopard skin cloak and headdress can be reused for this spell indefinitely.

Level: 4 (Abathakati)
Range: see below
Duration: 6 Turns (and see below)
Effect: extends spell range
This unique spell enables the Witch to cast spells which normally have a range of "touch" at an ever-increasing distance. For every three levels of experience the Witch has (rounded down), the secondary spell's range may be extended by 10' (so an 8th-level Witch can cast such spells at up to 20' away). Once cast, the Inflict spell lasts for 6 Turns, or until 1 touch-related spell has been extended by its effects, whichever comes first.

The Inflict spell, and any spells cast under its aegis, require the use of some form of ritual object to cast successfully; usually a carved wand made of human bone, or a ritual dagger consecrated in human blood, although almost anything might be used - every Witch has an individual item which they use to cast the spell. Should that item be lost, stolen, broken, or destroyed, the Witch may not use Inflict (or its effects) until a new ritual object has been created and consecrated, an exhausting and exacting process which can take weeks to complete.

Dark Thoughts
Level: 5 (Abathakati)
Range: 10' per level of caster
Duration: see below
Effect: slow corruption
This spell is a special gift from Nyx to her most skilled (Mage) or devoted (Cleric) Witches, enabling them to spread the corruptive powers of Entropy amongst the Tanagoro. It twists the Spell of Preservation as far as mortal magic possibly can; hence, only Witches who have visited the Land of Strange Magicks at least once will have access to this spell.

The spell allows the Witch to project evil, seductive thoughts into the mind of a chosen victim within range. These are received as soft, skittering words in the back of the mind; the target is unaware of them on a conscious level, but will find his mood and outlook - even his personality - slowly darkening as time goes by.

The spell lasts for 12 hours, unless the caster is interrupted, either by choice or outside interference; the caster can perform normal (i.e. non-combative, non-spellcasting) actions while maintaining the effect. At each casting of the spell, the victim is entitled to a Saving Throw vs. Spells to see how much it affects him; each time he fails, his personality and outlook grows a little darker, and he suffers -1 to the next throw (cumulative - note that the caster must renew and cast Dark Thoughts each day, or the cumulative effects are lost). If a target fails three times in a row, the spell takes full effect, and the victim falls into the Witch's power - he must obey any commands given by the Witch as if Charmed. This spell is more powerful than a standard Charm in one respect - since the victim's personality has been shifted towards the darker end of the spectrum, he will obey commands to kill others or perform other tasks against his nature (in OD&D game terms, although the Alignment ethos [Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic] does not change, the target is converted to Evil).

Once fully realised, the Charm effect of the Dark Thoughts spell lasts for 13 days before fading. At this point, the victim's former personality returns; however, all memories of the Charmed period remain, which often drives the unfortunate victim to madness, evil, or suicide (assuming he has not been slain for his crimes).

Use of this spell is an extremely evil act.