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Tech versus spellsby Alex Benson
1st Level Mage Spells
Affect Normal Fires- In its subduing role, tech can easily challenge this spell by the simple use of a bicarb fire extinguisher. For that matter a tarp could be used to smother a fire completely. In the light amplification use, night vision devices come to mind. Or a flashlight or lightstick.
Alarm- This spell could be equalled by all manner of safeguards. A string and bell come to mind, both easily attainable even in a fantasy period store. For a more tech approach, there are numerous tech gizmos about. You can visit a local Radio Shack and find all manner of systems that have the trip/trigger and alert mechanism. Personally, this spell, if used by the book, sucks.
Armour- This spell give the mage an AC of 6 plus any Dex bonus. Whoopy...AC6 is not exactly awe inspiring against an enemy toting firearms...high rate of fire, accuracy, range, etc....which would negate the spell after a hit inflicts the needed damage. And what does tech offer? not much...except body armour (which one would be wearing anyway) and the safer kill distances granted by the tech weaponry.
Audible Glamour- I primarily use to use this spell to offer disinformation. With that in mind, tech could offer digitised sound effects, wireless communication devices, or stealth to deceive ones enemies. You could also theorise that a tech force may be equipped with sensory amplifiers which could filter the spell sounds or at least offer a save bonus. Likewise, night vision may allow the techers to see through a dark corridor and see the real size of the opposition for themselves. With the firepower favouring the tech team perceived troop numbers may not be as intimidating. Of course, a lot depends on the circumstances.
Burning Hands- First the wizard must be close to the target...and he must shoot it at the target in a specific manner. The spell just does not have the range to stand up against tech weapons and offer the mage the time to cast it and get away with his/her life intact. The spell only does 1d3+1 hp per level so the successful casting is not exactly life threatening. You could even lessen or omit the damage from this "cold" fire by the utilisation of fire resistant uniforms and equipment. Unless it's paper, cloth, etc it's not going to burn. And most modern uniforms have some degree of fire resistance included in the cloth's finish. Conversely, tech troops could muster all manner of area affect fire based weapons; napalm, shaped charges, and various grenades. Then there are the firearms.
Cantrip- A weak spell, the affects vary and are dependant upon the caster's concentration and imagination. For the most part, spell affects are minor and non-threatening.
Change Self- A useful spell in deceit, the spell is still an illusion and does not actually alter the physical make up of the recipient. Disbelief, tech sensory enhancers, and reasoning can thwart the spell or at least offer the opportunity for a save. Also, a tech army has the ability to bring tech into its policing and security roles. The ability to gather, store, and systematically access fingerprints, names, appearances, and physical stats in a data base slims down a mage's chances of using the spell to slip past checkpoints. For its part, tech can offer realistic disguises, makeup, and physique altering clothing to match the affects of the spell.
Charm Person- This spell has to be one of the most powerful in the spell inventory. According to game mechanics, a failed save and the target is screwed until he makes a subsequent save. Personally, I think that bonuses should be offered for a target having to go against his comrades, but I digress. Anyway...as is the spell limits the caster from ordering a charmed individual from performing an act that would result in suicide. Which would limit the affected's use as taking on his fellow tech troops. Of course, the "suicide loophole" could be assumed in just about any action the charmed person does. A mage could try to gain insight on tech weapons and tactics. But given the generations gap and foreign technologies involved, I am unsure how much he could offer them before the save is eventually made. I mean time is against the caster's party and there are no industries to replicate and support tech weaponry. And since wisdom and intelligence play such important roles in the spell, your dumber characters are going to affected more often. Given that persons with a more diminutive mental capacity would be affected more often and for longer periods, these folks would be less likely to know the intricacies of tech and how to translate them to the caster's level of understanding to allow them the ability to use them on a level comparable to the tech troops. Much of the charm would depend upon the circumstances and demands of the caster. As for tech, I can think of only pharmaceuticals that would have a similar affect. It is feasible that a gaseous form could be sprayed as well. Also, the tendency for people to kiss up to a greater power should also factor in as a sort of charm.
Chill Touch- First, this is a touch based spell and therefore dependant upon getting in close to the target. If the spell is gotten off, it only does 1d4 in damage and saps 1 point of strength. 1d4 is not that life threatening to a 1st level fighter. The strength drain is also a non-factor as strength is less of a factor to a tech trooper for most weapons and a minor factor in carried gear.
Colour Spray- Caster must be with 20 feet of targets. Targeted troopers may be protected by their sensory enhancers. In particular, the vision ones that adjust to sudden light spikes to prevent blindness from flares, explosions, etc. Likewise, the image displayed are not in colour. If for some reason the vision gear is not in use, 1d6 are affected based on saves...if any. At the most this attack would have no more affect than an arty near miss....unconsciousness, disorientation...and arty is part of the modern battlefield and is therefore within the experience of the tech trooper. Also to be considered is that tech troops would probably have fellows nearby, probably offering cover fire or paralleling their movements. The caster would obviously gain their attentions and the affected squad would be safe from follow up attacks.
Comprehend Languages- Though it allows the caster to read the unknown writings and languages, the caster is by no means assured an understanding of the subject matter. Tech can muster a similar ability. Decrypting machines and computers can quickly break down data and formulate translations. There is also a good chance that tech troopers would be equipped with some sort of translation device in their helms, along with communication gear. The tech troops may have an advantage when it comes to understanding what it translates. Much of the information would probably have some historical basis for them from their own past histories. Also, their intergalactic travels may have already introduced them to the more arcane arts.
Dancing Lights- The spell does not harm anyone. At best it can be used as a deception tool, but may be compromised by sensory enhancers. For tech, flashlights, night vision, and glow sticks can be used for sight aid. I guess you could toss in tracer rounds in there too.
Detect Magic- For tech, magic could conceivably be detected using meters and monitoring equipment. Magic is an energy, and therefore it's possible that magical energy could be detected on some spectrum. For the spellcaster, this spell may not have much use on tech items. A lot depends on the definition of magic and whether some technological items would quality. Regardless, detecting is one thing, understanding and using is another....for both caster and techee.
Detect Undead- This spell would find little use against the tech troops. However, it may be possible to detect an artificial intelligent in a tech "smart weapon" such as a missile, auto surveillance craft, etc. However, that brings up questions of charming, turning, and mental domination of AI technology, brings up the morale issues of sentient computers, and having to determine AI as it compares to living intellect. Tech should be able to muster equipment to detect undead. Chemical sensors should pick up the chemical decomposition of decaying flesh. Vision enhancements offer several spectrums to operate in and offer IR options. In some spectrums, certain undead may not even show up as in the case of vampires in mirrors. Or a tech army could use a rather low tech approach by using dogs....which can be seen being used after any natural disaster.
Enlarge- What's the old saying "The bigger they are, the harder they fall". The tech troops have the weapons to negate what benefits this spell would normally grant. The only thing they get is added damage....which is insignificant as the enlarged individual still faces ranged weapons which can drop him/her with the same efficiency as his/her normal stature. Technically, the enlarged should be easier to hit as the larger size makes it easier to sight in on...but I digress. Tech can also enlarge its fighting force...sort of...by calling in heavier weapons such as tanks, aircraft, arty, etc. Unlike an magically enlarged individual, these bigger buddies do have thicker hides to compliment a bigger punch.
Erase- Okay...I see this spell as being particularly harmful to computer code. For game purposes, I'd consider the code as magical writing and therefore needing to be touched. The problem would be determining how much code is erased, which codes are erased, and the affect on the system that the code directly contributes to. For example, a whole tank is not going to cease operating if its targeting computer is hit. Likewise the entire targeting system may not crash if an add-on file is erased. However, I could offer system redundancy and software backups as safeguards against an autoexec.bat file getting erased.
Featherfall- This is a magical parachute. Whether they are falling off a cliff or off a dragons back, it serves the same purpose. One may think that the spell could be used against tech missile weapons and arty...but I doubt it. Travelling at their high velocities, target acquisition and timing would be too difficult. Likewise, with explosive warheads, it may be a moot point. An interesting use may be in a Mystaran "parachute drop". However, a slowed decent would be suspect to rifle fire and there is always the chance of the spell running out before the individual lands....depends on height and caster level. Tanks would not be affected as they would fall under the class of a charging animal. Since swords are not affected either, the same could be said for weapons targeted upon the caster. A tech equivalent would primarily be the parachute. Jet packs as well. However, both would be more controllable than someone in featherfall.
Find Familiar- Though unsure of how useful they'd be against a tech force, familiars would fall under the auspices of varmints. Using them as spies and such puts them in harm's way. Even if left unmolested, understanding of information seen would be difficult. The closest tech could come to the spell and a familiar are probably long-range sensors, remote surveillance craft, and satellite systems. Anyone who has seen 5th Element may offer a cockroach with a TV camera and mic mounted on its back. Regardless....unlike the familiar the loss of any of these are only a loss of material.
Friends- In a nutshell, the recipient gets 2d4 boost to charisma. Not bad...but a bit overrated. At best it'll last but a short time and may not work in battle. Lets face it...the enemy is still the enemy, whether they look like themselves or look like a super model. The descript infers the spell to be more useful as a non-combative role, so a spy or someone surrendering could very well use it. However, as mentioned it'll last only so long. You may very well have it run its course, the individual's hosts suddenly wondering what they ever saw in their guest. Conversely, tech troops may actually look better and have a higher base charisma. Think about it, with their advanced culture they would possess the traits that mark someone as being handsome/gorgeous. Steady nutrition and hygiene make for a healthy body, clean skin, clean hair, larger statures, and full set of teeth. Also, being from an advance tech society they'd be smarter and have all manner of interesting gizmos.
Gaze Reflection- Gaze attacks have varying ranges that must respect the ranges of the tech troops' weaponry. Initiative would come into heavy play. Likewise, one could assume that the vision enhancers should offer some protection. Since this one is to be short, let me add that the vision enhancers I mention are not designed to be used exclusively at night. Like modern NATO sights, the vision enhancers work night and day and offer ideal viewing no matter what the outside conditions are.
Grease- Used on the ground, the spell may work. However, combat type boots are not the flat bottomed deals seen in WW2 and before. Instead they are grooved with a gripping tread and mostly grease resistant (non-skid). I am not saying that wearing these would completely negate the spell, I do think they would afford a save bonus. Used against heavier weapons such as arty and tanks, would not affect performance....but probably hinder mounting and dismounting. I say it would not as drive units for turrets are run on heavy gears and machined with a tight fit to aid in response and control. Likewise, tank treads would be scarcely affected as the weight and bite of the treads would offer a degree of traction. Also, the area affected is only 10 X 10 ft. With the hulls of NATO main battle tanks sizing up at around 30-35 feet in length and 10-11 feet wide, a good amount of track would be on unaffected ground. For game purposes I'd cut rate of speed in half or to a third for 1d4 rounds to demonstrate the slippage and shrugging off of the grease. Tech troops could likewise dump oily substances....petroleum based or vegetable based....to channel or obstruct passage. Of course hard surfaces would be better as the slippery stuff would soak in after some time. Or tech troops could use antipersonnel mines or machine gun revements to control an area.
Hold Portal- The good ole magical door lock. Well...no good anymore. A door charge, chainsaw, battering ram, breaker bar, or mg blast to door should take it down. Of course these are all derivatives of battering a door down. For tech, door security could be afforded by use of electronic locks, keyed by retina scans, fingerprints, hand impressions, security cards, keypads, or by remote observation through security cameras. Imagine a master thief trying to pick a lock with no tumblers, no way to get to the inner workings.
Hypnotism- Much like Charm to some degree, this spell does offer a lessened control affect and offers the desired save bonuses. Also, verbal understanding is required. With star travelling conquerors landing, a language barrier should be present. Add to that, that the spell is very short in range and a wary trooper may decide to shoot first when some mage starts his incantation. Tech could offer hypnosis....power of suggestion...like there exists in the RW.
Identify- In terms of tech, an item's "magical" nature needs to be determined. One also must remember that a successful identification does not mean that the caster is given a copy of the tech manual and the theories behind its use, mechanism, and maintenance. Conversely, the tech troops have decryption equipment, database archives, and centuries of experiences to draw upon to identify objects. As for their use, that depends upon their need and if it adds to their overall offensive capabilities.
Jump- A caster utilising this spell may find it less amiable than earlier uses. Unlike sword and spell wielding adversaries, a tech trooper can just spray his weapon at the jumping figure, probably taking him down. The best use may be in getting away as it offers a better chance than withdrawing on foot. Tech troops could employ a form of jump by means of jet packs.
Light- Magical light equivalent to a torch. Though it might provide a limited range light source for Mystarans, its light would actually aid the tech troops as well, adding to night vision capabilities. And whereas the Mystarans would be limited to the radius of the spell and see only shimmering shadows at its perimeter, tech troops would be able to see past that and outward. A light spell also negates the infravision spell and ability which functions only in absolute darkness.
Magic Missile- This spell is a no-brainer. There's no saving throw and its an automatic hit. If used with multiple bolts it can be fatal. The disadvantages are range and bolt numbers. Ideally, a caster would want to kill the targets. It would feasibly take two or more bolts to kill a person. Since the max is five bolts, the caster is limited to two targets. Chances are a tech troop squad or platoon is going to hit back before he gets another spell off. Oh...and not to forget...range is pretty good for the spell. It can conceivably approach 260 yards for an archmage....almost acting as a medium range sniper. However, targeting requires line of sight and caster cannot be totally concealed. I am unsure, but what is the visual ranges for a human? For the tech troops, they have their standard firearms...and if comparable with modern NATO arms...should have a practical range at about 300 yards. Boosted by sight aids, range could be extended. Tech troops may also have their own sniper teams....able to take ridiculously long shots....500-600 yards. Unlike the mage...snipers, their spotters, and troopers can fire their weapons from concealed positions. If worse comes to worse, tech troops could simply call in air strikes and fry the area the mage is using to hit them from. Still, the caster may want to utilise hit and run tactics and hope he has some lucky damage rolls.
Mending- The magical spell to fix torn clothing, bullet riddled wineskins, damaged armour, etc. Beyond that it serves little offensively. This could be most welcomed out in the field without any access to seamstresses or blacksmiths. The spell is not powerful or sophisticated enough to mend damaged tech weaponry. Tech troops have technicians to repair damaged weapon systems. I'd also think that their culture would be highly industrialised and damaged equipment could be quickly replaced. of course supply across the stars may be difficult, but that depends upon the tech logistics system. But if they have the capability and will to send a war machine across the stars to conquer a planet, surely they can transfer supplies to support that effort.
Message- I'll make this one short and sweet. This spell is a short range, line of sight means to communicate. Conversely, tech troops can utilise radio communications to speak at an unlimited duration with fellow troops, air support, HQ, etc. Theoretically they could send TV images to each other.
Mount- Summons nearby animal for riding purposes. Tech could also provide transport through calling for evacuation or support vehicles through radio communications. Unlike the caster, the tech troops can expect their requests to be answered by battle worthy vehicles.
Nystul's Magical Aura- A misleading spell that may work if the tech can detect magical energies. However, it's still a diversionary tactic at best. The tech troops may just toss the item in a stack for later study and move on. Also, the tech troops could utilise a similar ploy. With their strange and foreign gizmos, the Mystarans would be puzzled at just about everything and perceive them as some threat. Imagine Stefan hiring adventurers to investigate and destroy a Port-O-Potty outside of Mirros' walls.
Phantasmal Force- An illusion and missing key sensory aspects, this spell can be disbelieved as missing factors are recognised. Likewise, it can be dispelled if struck. If a "waking nightmare" pops up, chances are troops are going to shoot first and ask questions later. Likewise, the illusion may be filtered out by sensory enhancers. Tech offers realistic illusions as well through hologram projectors.
Protection from Evil- First you must determine the status of evil. Naturally, the Mystarans would see the tech troops as evil. But what if the "evil acts" are perfectly acceptable under tech law....perhaps which may be more lawful than the most liberal Mystaran kingdom. But for the sake of argument let's say that "evil" will apply as the techs are opposed to the Mystarans. Of the spell's benefits, the only really pertinent one is the one that handicaps the "evil" entities -2 to attacks and offers a +2 bonus to the caster's side's saves. Even with a -2 to attacks I still have to think that the advantage still goes to the tech troops. With their greater range, damage, and rate of fire, the tech troops can afford to miss some of the time. And then there are area affect weapons....such as arty and air strikes...the tech gunners are assured at least half damage.
Read Magic- Much of this spell's affect depends on the status of tech in the magic definition. I guess it could be used as a next step after comprehend languages to get an added insight on a tech item/manual. This is not to say it gives them a complete understanding of it. For its part tech offers the database management system offering access to huge volumes of historical, technical, and theorised data.
Shield- This defensive spell is an obviously better form of Armour. However in the tech arena, the key use would be in the missile protection role that normally grants an AC3. However I am unsure if super sonic carbine rounds would classify in the same category as arrows, crossbow bolts, sling stones, etc. "Bullets" are also given in this AC class but is either a reference to sling bullets or refers to primitive firearms, the latter capable of velocities only slightly better than arrows or bolts. Regardless...AC3 or AC4, the tech troops still have an advantage of rate of fire to aid in their hit probabilities. Then there are area affect weapons such as grenades to contend with them as well. Tech offers safer ranges and body armour to protect the tech troops.
Shocking Grasp- A touch attack, the caster has to get in close to inflict its 1d8 hps +1 per level. Tech circuitry may also be at risk as an electrical build-up may trip circuit breakers or fry circuitry. Of course circuitry types, ground fault wiring, precautions, and caster levels should be taken into account. Tech offers a lesser form of the spell, one avenue even offers added range. The first are the handheld tasers that are so popular today. The other are the tasers that shoot the wired needles into the target from a safer distance. Both are not fatal, but do incapacitated the target (1d4; save or stunned??).
Sleep- With a 30 foot range, the caster is precariously close to a group of soldiers capable of doing some serious damage with a single burst from their rifles. Limited to affect HD numbers, chances are good a portion of a squad or platoon stays awake and can provide support for their slumbering fellows. Awakening them would be a simple matter for an attending comrade or medic. Tech offer sleep agents as well...which can affect larger numbers of folks depending on volumes introduced into the air or through drinking water supplies. The level of sleep can be intensified from that of the spell to levels seen in a general anaesthetic.
Spider Climb- This spell sounds great; ability to climb walls. Unfortunately, climbing requires bare hands and feet, not exactly convenient for a fleeing NPC or one trying to sneak into an enemy compound. Fighting and spellcasting is also hindered by the sticky hands. Tech offers opportunities for climbing techniques and equipment, but nothing on the level of being a spider man. Most tech procedures would focus on rope and harness rappelling techniques. You might include jet packs to overcome walls. You could also assume technologies would exist to enable boots and gloves to have a controllable adhesive property. However, I doubt they would be standard issue to all troops. Probably reserved for special tactics units.
Spook- This spell could be particularly unsettling for the target. Imagine one's greatest fear standing before you; blood dripping nightmares, pink bunnies, childhood bullies, etc. However, it is a short ranged spell and affects just the one target. And even if Private Rico tucks tale and runs away, the rest of the platoon is not. They'd probably be opening up on the caster as the spell is cast...initiative. Tech could equal this spell in larger numbers through the use of mind altering drugs/gases. Plus there is the psychological uneasiness of witnessing tech based weaponry being used upon their armies and greatest heroes. Just look at Spanish conquests against the Aztecs and Incas. Though that is more about intimidation than the spook spell.
Taunt- This spell can be used to draw enemy attentions to a specified area, either setting up an ambush or leading them away from a sensitive area. The ambush scenario is a dangerous option as a tech troop platoon could very well handle the ambush party. Diversionary tactics seem more appropriate. However, with each trooper possessing a huge amount of offensive capability, the taunt may only divert a small hunter party and not affect the overall tech battle group.
Tenser's Floating Disc- This spell has several uses, probably swelling with input from different gamers and different situations. Tech offers similar benefits from its mechanised nature. Bulk items can be ferried quickly by truck or airlift. And given the tech trooper's heavy firepower, he has the luxury of loiter in an area to make more trips to move items. He also has access to lift machinery to aid him.
Unseen Servant- More a utility than a weapon, the servant may be tasked with certain tasks...more precisely a singular task at a time....that may benefit the Mystaran cause. Physically weak and limited to unlocked doors, drawers, etc. sending a servant to directly sabotage equipment may be out of the question. Tech offers a servant with robotics and artificial intelligence. Task complexity and physical abilities are limited to engineering levels.
Ventriloquism- Another deception spell, success is dependant use. Also tech troops may able to disbelieve based on data gathered from sensory enhancers. Audio pick ups may discover the true origin of sounds. Vision equipment may disqualify the perceived source for noises by seeing what is down a dark corridor without having to personally go there. Sensors could also probe areas, either detecting or not detecting threats and those hiding. Tech offers disinformation as well
Wall of Fog- This spell is crafted to obscure vision in a contemporary fantasy setting. However, it is possible that sensory enhancers could see through the fog. Modern sights can see through the darkest fogs and smoke on a battlefield. This was a godsend in the Gulf War. Add that sonar, radar, and magnetic imaging rays could possibly be used in the enhancement package. Regardless tech area based weapons and machine guns could be used to fire (even blindly) into the affected area, offering ample chances at doing damage. All the while the caster and his allies are hindered by the fog as well. Tech can create its own fog walls. Smoke projectiles, grenades, projectors can all obscure vision. Unlike the caster and his own spell, the tech troops' sight aids are designed to overcome their fog creations.
Wizard Mark- No real use in battle. Might be useable in sending secret messages (if mark has some larger significance) or marking a path. Still the mark may be detectable through monitoring sensors. Tech offers its own versions. IR ink, barcode, microfilm, etc. can all fill this role and overshadow the spell.
2nd Level Mage Spells
Alter Self- Now this spell infers a more physical change to form and equipment carried. Obviously the deception is going to be more convincing, possibly assuming the identity of a trooper for a period. However, a lot depends on what the caster is trying to do. Mannerisms and attitude traits are not gimmees so detection is possible. Also, looking like someone is not the only means of identification. I am unsure if the spell alters fingerprints, retina scans, etc. I am sure that the spell would not offer security cards, id cards, and insight for keypad codes. Since tech is being dealt with the impostor is going to be a disadvantage in not knowing the ins and outs of the equipment and procedures the real individual must deal with on a daily basis. Tech can also provide a physical alteration through disguises, makeup, etc. However, like any disguise it is only as good as the individual wearing/using it.
Bind- Tidying up a ship's deck aside, as a weapon the spell is limited to the target coming very close to the commanded rope. Also the caster has to be within 30 feet of the rope to cast the spell...and I assume command it. It's a trap device and not directly fatal. Also, using small unit tactics, the affected target would have his fellows at hand to cover him and cut him loose. Tech may offer a design for rope-like entanglements...however there is not a pressing need. Concussion projectiles, net guns, foam glue guns, and tasers all are capable of forcibly capturing someone alive. As captives, their hands can be bound by means of duct tape or plastic wire ties. Both are used today for mass arrests, they're cheap, and must be cut off.
Blindness- A lot of the traits of this spell depends on how it blinds its target. The described greyness hints at a variant of the Wall of Fog being focused on the targets eyes...and the eyes themselves not being physically harmed. If the eyes are physically harmed, the damage could be repaired through advanced medical procedures. There is also the possibility of eye transplants. However if it's purely magical obstructions, then the magical energies must be addressed. Feasible remedies would be, the identifying of magical energies being present, and then the decontamination of energies can be begun. How they address and deal with the spell is a bit of a mystery. A lot deals with their previous experiences with magic. However, I think the best remedy could be at the scene when the blindness is afflicted. It could be part of a negotiation for safe passage...or the tech troops could force the removal at gunpoint. If worse comes to worst, chances are good that some mages would become turncoats and possibly useable to dispel affects. Tech too can blind opponents. Flash attacks can be used to overload the eyes. Gases can be used to damage eye tissue. Even low power lasers...for targeting/range finding...can damage eyes.
Blur- Chances are that the blurred individual may have his true form presented when the tech troops use their sensory enhancement package. Regardless....the wizard is still subject to multiple attacks per round from the high rate of fire assault guns. Tech offers opportunity to mimic the blur to a degree. The method is by using a strobe light to make the other guys disoriented. The users are protected by their goggles that maintain light to the eyes at a constant level. The premise is under development now for riot control and "non-lethal combat". And then there are stealth properties, disorienting drugs, and neuro-affecting wave weapons. All set to mess with the opposition's ability to hit.
Continual Light- More permanent and brighter that a standard light spell, this spell does provide a more workable light source for the caster. It does have the capability to blind an opponent, however vision gear should act as a shield. Even in cases where a person is blinded, medical repair should be able to return sight as in the case of a flash burn. Tech can provide bright light through various electric torches. These would be controllable and could be directed where needed. Use of the entire light spectrum also enables the ability to see without offering that option to the enemy. Of course tech based lights require electrical power or chemicals.
Darkness, 15ft. Radius- Since it blocks light and prevent infravision, you have to assume that all light is affected. However, nothing is mentioned about sonar and radar imaging. IR and heat imaging is dependant upon what you decide to use to explain infravision. Tech cannot remove light from an area. It can provide the same affect, blindness.
Deafness- A lot of this fall in line with the Blindness spell. Tech can also manifest deafness, but with force: concussion, high noise, ultra high frequencies.
Deeppockets- Weight and volume management/displacement. About as close as I can get with a tech based equivalent is the progressive miniaturisation of hardware technologies to allow more functions to be available to a smaller device unit. This would allow lighter equipment loads and a greater inventory of functions.
Detect Evil- Once again the definition and perspective of "evil" comes into play. Like earlier, I'll just assume that it applies to the opposition/enemy/invaders in the view of the defenders. Likewise, the Mystaran would be perceived as evil by the tech troops. Unlike protection from evil, detect can offer mixed readings from this "us and them" approach. Personally I'd avoid this spell in any tech vs. mage scenario. Or at least drop the "us and them" approach and centre on individuals in deciding who is evil and who is just the enemy.
Detect Invisibility- The problem with this spell is that force tech may not use invisibility as the Mystaran crowd would. For tech invisibility would come from camouflage, hide-in-shadows, and stealth type technology. I am unsure if any of these would qualify to be detected by the spell. Tech offers detection capabilities by operating beyond the visual light range that the invisibility spell bends. Sonar, radar, and audio sensors could formulate an image of the invisible person.
ESP- Given the range and concentration needed, success in casting and gaining information from this spell is iffy in any situation. Interrogation may be the best situation. Results depend upon what the target knows. I could make the case that the alloys in a trooper's helm could shield the soldier from ESP like lead does. But I won't. Following the Starship Troopers model, the tech force could have psionics...but I digress on that one too. Instead, intelligence would be more dependent upon surveillance satellites, sensors, recon units, and on scene communications from troops. This info can be fed into computers and analysed. Model scenarios can be developed and options entertained.
Flaming Sphere- Unless directly touched by it, a tech trooper's body armour should offer protection. Even if touched by the sphere, it does 2d4 points of damage so a touched individual could survive it and the tech armour should offer some fire resistance. We're not taking about an inferno...as the sphere is hot enough to only affect flammable items. Also while the spellcaster is controlling this spell he is also precarious close to the sphere and therefore the action. And it should be noted that the sphere is extinguishable as any normal fire is. Tech offers no controllable rolling ball of fire. It does offer incendiary grenades, grenade launchers, smart weapons, and the good ole assault rifle.
Fog Cloud- Either way it is cast, the affect is the same: obscure vision. Ideally this could be used to visually cover ditches, sinkholes, punji sticks, and other traps. However the affect is short lived as numerous conditions can disperse the fog. Also, the fog is not dense enough to totally obscure sight...2 foot visibility. A squad of troops moving carefully through enemy territory may be wary enough to spot these traps. Chances are bolstered by sensory enhancing visors. It may be a bit creepy but not fatal.
Fool's Gold- Not sure how much this spell would help the Mystarans. Why? Well...an interstellar culture like the tech force has the resources of entire systems to draw upon. With automation and absurdly advanced industrialisation, plentiful gold stores may not have the value that it does in Mystara. Advanced economies may be beyond gold's value, utilising credits and such for money. Gold may serve a better function in hardware applications due to its conductive nature. Gold may even be made in atomic chambers...further lessening its value to the tech culture. The tech culture could use some of this gold as a tool to buy alliances from rogue mages, or even kingdoms.
Forget- Short term memory loss to those in affected area. However, note that if the troops are sending back to HQ real-time image and sound data, it is scribed in stone so to speak....and can be played back to the affected. At best the lapse is only going to be a few minutes so its value may be limited to specific uses, perhaps some grand plan. Tech could mimic a forget spell...probably surpass it....by use of psychological drugs and stimuli to brain wash and memory suppress the individual.
Glitterdust- Blinding affect should be negated by vision gear. Gold residue would compromise any camo properties, obscure rifle optics, and obscure vision goggles. The glitter would fade in a few rounds and the troops could avoid using the goggles and fire using iron sights. Of course this lowers their capabilities a bit, but they are still in good shape. Tech offers blinding flash weapons and explosive projectiles/grenades that saturate an area with residue that could be used to divulge invisible enemies and aid in tracking.
Hypnotic Patterns- Short range aside, this spell could affect an entire platoon...if not filtered by vision gear. However, the mage is limited on what he can do afterwards. If he attacks the mesmerised troops he opens himself for counterfire. He should at least have a few buddies around him and a few killer spells handy. Also he may be influenced to retreat more so, depending how many make their save, and how many were outside the affect range. Tech offers pregenerated images to simulate the spell's patterns....or more precisely the hypnotic affect...based more on human behaviour and interpretation than by magic.
Improved Phantasmal Force- The name says it all; a better more caster friendly version. Still, it is subject to virtually the same comments as the original Phantasmal Force spell. The improvements do make it better suited as a diversionary ploy or to allow the caster an added moment to get away.
Invisibility- It may make the recipient invisible to the eye, but it cannot be certain that other sensory input may not divulge the invisible person. Heat signatures, smells, sounds, radar, sonar, etc. all contribute info to formulate an image. Tech has no invisibility option based on bend light. However, a sense of invisibility can be gained through stealth and camouflage. Also, greater range of weaponry allows them a sense of invisibility as they can strike from so far away. And then there are fighter/bombers that can accurately drop their ordnance from great heights.
Irritation- I am not going to spend a lot of time with this one. Two words: Calamine Lotion....but seriously...were talking about rash and itching. In an age of advanced medical procedures skin irritations are not exactly unbeatable by various salves and ointments. Regardless...its a single target spell with varying range (all within rifle range). I'll swap a trooper in the infirmary for the death of an archmage any day.
Knock- I am unsure how effective a knock spell would be against a door held secure by electronic based locks. At the least it would require multiple applications to activate each mechanism: electronic key, motor that moves bolt mechanism, and possibly the bolt itself. To keep it simple, it may be best to consider a techno locked door as being wizard locked. For the tech folks, gaining access to doors is a matter easily remedied by door charges, breaker bars, firearms, etc. (bust it down). Though tech related, the culture would be ignorant of mechanical locks so picking the lock is also an option. And with tech this could be aided by allowing the lock picker see the lock mechanism through imaging.
Know Alignment- Falls in line with Detect Evil spell.
Leomund's Trap- What's the purpose? It doesn't appear to be a mechanical trap and I am unsure it would show under a detect magic type monitor. Regardless....it offers no damage and wastes only time if the "trap" is detected. If the troopers are wary they may place it with items to be identified later. Or they might call in a quasi-bomb squad to deal with it just in case.
Levitate- What I like about this spell is the range potential...20 yards per level. What I don't like is its single target use and its affect. Okay...the target is affected and begins his rise (2 feet per round). That's pretty slow. Also the spell does not grant a good deal of manoeuvrability....just changes in altitude. The recipient is essentially a sitting duck. Used against troopers the spell only affects one person and is surely to draw counterfire. I am unsure if the spell would end when the caster is dead. If so, the targeted trooper may be only a few feet in the air. If not and the spell continues based on the last command, the trooper is doomed to rise until the spell runs out or his fellows can forcibly stop his rise. Tech offers jet packs and other lift devices, some of a size and design useable for individual use. However I do not see these being standard issue.
Locate Object- Use varies from situation to situation. And locating an object does not guarantee it acquisition. But that's the same no matter the scenario. Using the spell to find a tech force spearhead, supply depot, etc seems a good use. Of course it may be a moot point depending on range. For tech a similar affect could be garnered by long range sensors, intelligence reports, etc. It really depends on the circumstances and the item desired.
Magic Mouth- Alarm, warning, adornment, etc. Not exactly an offensive spell. Tech offers voicemail, alarms, blah, blah, blah. If you haven't guessed I am not exactly impressed or thrilled at this spell. Probably could have skipped it.
Melf's Acid Arrow- This isn't a bad spell. Its got range and does a good bit of damage on a successful hit. However, it is a one target spell and operates well within the range of assault weapons. So you'd really have to concentrate mages and hope for favourable attack rolls and healthy damage roll. I'd also suggest hit and run tactics.
Mirror Image- Its an illusion and therefore subject to various sensory enhancers. Even if it doesn't it's just a matter of elimination for a bunch of assault rifle toting troopers.
Misdirection- I'd allow this spell to be used to interfere with technological scanning...jam it. However, with numerous active scanning utilities (radar, sonar) available, I would allow partial readings to be gathered or offer individual saves to the different scanning utilities. Failed saves rerolling every turn or so. However, I would also add that passive sensors would not be affected. Personally I don't think any of them would be affected...just trying to offer a bit of balance.
Protection from Cantrips- It's a cantrip based spell...utilitarian spell.
Pyrotechnics- Another bright flashy light spell resulting with blindness with the addition of smoke/fog. Tech counters with vision gear which filters excessive light and sees through smoke. Tech can also produce flash and smoke grenades.
Ray of Enfeeblement- Okay...the spell is typically short ranged (110yards max). It affects a singular target. Basically sapping their strength to 5. But you have to remember that this guy is not toting platemail, shield, and sword. He's toting a rifle. I'd keep the -2 to attack role but do away with the penalty to damage. I would modify ranges for hand grenades and double check gear weights and how they compare. The -2 is not that great a deal for an assault gun and it only lasts for a few rounds.
Rope Trick- Short response: jet packs, grappling hook launcher/attachments. The grappling launchers being more common.
Scare- -2 to reactions....whoopty-doo. With its range, the sight of a platoon returning fire would be a lot more scarier.
Shatter- This short range spell could be devastating to the faceshield/display of the helm. Probably would have an affect on silicon/fibreglass circuit boards However, that depends on their technological status as being quasi-magical or non-magical/normal.
Spectral Hand- This spell could extend the range of touch based attacks. However, even with this spell the caster is still well within rifle range. Also the spells boosted are usually one target deals. And being limited to 1-4th level spells the damage is limited.
Stinking Cloud- Depends on if tech troops are equipped with controlled environmental suits/suits. If so, air filtration comes into play with gas mask like functions. Spell is short ranged too.
Strength- The gun is the great equaliser. Added strength may be virtually useless in direct melee with assault weapon toting troops. You could have a hundred "Conans', but as long as they can be hit before getting within sword range they might as well be "Pee Wee Hermans".
Summon Swarm- Whether bugs or small mammals, the swarm should be dispersible through the use of area affect weapons like grenades. Added to that that the spell is short range and the platoon can split its firepower between the swarm and the caster. Loss of concentration also disperses swarm.
Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter- With a short range, caster survivability depends on the entire squad or platoon being affected and missing saves. This danger is compounded as even effected personnel have a couple rounds before the spell has them on the ground laughing, then getting their senses back together. Tech equivalent would be laughing gas or some other psychological/psychedelic agent.
Web- Miss your save and there's not a lot you can do about this one. A bright note is that getting out may be easier and less harmful than the next guy. Wearing battlearmour, the entrapped has a degree of fire resistance. So when his fellows pull out their K-Bars and portable torches, they can be cut out and burned out with less damage. Or the unaffected troops can turn their attentions to the caster and any of his buddies, while the entrapped work to break themselves free. Tech offers net guns, stun guns, foaming glue guns, and other entrapment devices.
Whispering Wind- Its a message spell. Tech counters with wireless communications. Tech surpasses with real-time audio/video transmissions.
Wizard Lock- Magical door lock. Tech counters with advanced tech locks and steel doors. It directly counters the spell by busting down door with door charges, firearms, battering rams, etc.