Kobold Press

Erratic Thaumaturgy

John William Waterhouse - The Crystal BallLast year around this time, blog reader Ryan Lockard submitted this spell for AD&D 2nd Edition that he wanted to share with the world at large. Let’s see if we can workshop it here on the blog and see if we can also bring it into Pathfinder or any other system that you’d care to see (in the comments). Thanks go to Ryan for sharing this with us and for giving us an opportunity to play with it, and thanks in advance to any who provide commentary below!

Erratic Thaumaturgy (Wild Magic, All Schools)

Range: 0
Components: V,S
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 2
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Special

Upon completion of this spell, the caster releases a random burst of magical energy causing one of the following effects (roll 1d10, at 5th level roll twice, rerolling any repeats):

  1. Abjuration: The next harmful die roll to affect the caster is negated (successful attack, failed saving throw, failed ability check that would result in harm, and so on); expires after 1 turn.
  2. Alteration: Caster sprouts large bat wings for 4 rounds; movement rate 18, Class C.
  3. Conjuration/Summoning: One goblin is summoned (remains for 3 rounds).
  4. Divination: Caster gains knowledge of alignments and surface thoughts of every being within 20 ft., plus knows the location of secret doors and illusionary or invisible objects and creatures (duration: instantaneous) within 20 ft.
  5. Enchantment/Charm: Caster’s weapon animates and can be commanded for 3 rounds (THAC0 19, AC 6, a successful hit negates the attack for that round).
  6. Illusion/Phantasm: Caster blends into surroundings, –3 AC while moving, invisible while standing still (duration: 5 rounds).
  7. Invocation/Evocation: Blast of bluish, white-hot light explodes from caster, all within 10 ft. suffer 1d10 points of damage (saving throw for 1/2).
  8. Necromancy: Drain 2d4 hit points total from everyone within 20 ft. (hit points are drained evenly per person; saving throw to avoid; hit points over caster’s maximum disappear at a rate of 1 per hour).
  9. Wild Surge
  10. Roll Twice, player chooses one.

14 Replies to "Erratic Thaumaturgy"

Goldomakr

March 20, 2014 at 9:47am

Seems powerful for a level 0 spell.

Goldomark

March 20, 2014 at 9:47am

I should add that I like the concept.

Wolfgang

March 20, 2014 at 9:59am

Yeah, it’s strong, but chaotic. Interesting approach.

The divination in particular seems really powerful (and I don’t say that often), because it potentially targets so many creatures at once.

Marc Radle

March 20, 2014 at 10:30am

I’m not sure it says this is a 0-level spell, does it? In fact, is the spell level indicated at all?

It’s a very interesting spell, but it needs balanced and some aspects need clarified.

For instance, instead of the current Conjuration/Summoning effect – one goblin is summoned, I might instead say that it summons one (or more, depending on what level spell this is) creature as per the appropriate Summon Nature’s Ally or Summon Monster spell …

Marc Radle

March 20, 2014 at 10:33am

Oh, and by the way …

AHHH!!!!!!

THAC0 !!!

The HORROR!!!! Run away!!!!!

Wolfgang

March 20, 2014 at 10:36am

Marc, you’re right, I read level where it actually says range. A spell submitted without a level is …. Very strange.

Q: What level *should* it be?

Richard

March 20, 2014 at 1:46pm

This looks like a fun level 6 spell.
Random summoning of minor creatures and a touch of offensive magic… I wouldn’t let this fall below level 6 for sure.

Idran

March 20, 2014 at 2:55pm

The fact that it has a different effect at 5th level or above suggests that the spell is intended to be level 1 or 2 (probably 1 since having a different effect for 2 character levels would be weird), but I’d agree with Richard, yeah.

Darkjoy

March 21, 2014 at 5:15am

Hee old skool.

Anyway, it seems that some of you have forgotten your AD&D roots.

This is a second level spell, if the casting time is any indication. The glorious days of weapon speed and casting time, ah, it takes me back :-)

Richard

March 21, 2014 at 8:24am

Well Casting cost is not really the indication of the spell level. I’d like to point out that a first level goblin could kill a first level mage… Not a safe spell for level one wizard. Also the -3 ac is excessive for a low level mage. Never could an apprentice or wizard of low rank attain that in the old ways of RPG. Then you have the power house offensive spell that would unbalance any such low level game. Every warrior in the room would simply duck behind the wizard until there spell casting was up…if for no other reason than the fear of becoming the unintended target of such a radical spell. I still own the AD&D books and second edition… There are many spells that take little time to cast at the higher levels too. Prismatic wall and fire ball being just two.

Still I would avoid having this spell given to a low level wizard for their own safety if not the party they adventure with.

Miranda

March 21, 2014 at 3:03pm

Marc, you cracked me up with your THAC0 response.

(I felt the need to note that for some reason. ::ahem:: As you were.)

Ben.

March 21, 2014 at 10:12pm

I presumed it was like a Summoning spell– it could be cast at each level, and once you started casting it at 5+, you generated two effects.

Erratic Thaumaturgy (Wild Magic, All Schools)
Level 1-9

Casting Time: 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium Special, see text.
Target or Area one spellcaster, creature, or object
Duration Special
Saving Throw Special, see text; Spell Resistance no

[b]Description[/b]
Upon completion of this spell, the caster releases a random burst of magical energy causing one of the following effects (roll 1d10; for Level 5+ spells, roll twice, rerolling any repeats):

Abjuration: The next harmful die roll to affect the caster is negated (successful attack, failed saving throw, failed ability check that would result in harm, and so on); expires after 1 turn.

Alteration: Caster sprouts large bat wings for 4 rounds; these wings grant Clumsy maneuverability and a movement rate of (10 + (5/Caster Level)).

Conjuration/Summoning: One creature from the level-appropriate Summon Monster or Summon Nature’s Ally list is summoned for 4 rounds.

Divination: Caster gains knowledge of alignments and surface thoughts of every being within 20 ft., plus knows the location of secret doors and illusionary or invisible objects and creatures (duration: instantaneous) within 20 ft.

Enchantment/Charm: Caster’s weapon animates and can be commanded for 5 rounds + 1 round/CL. It uses the caster’s primary casting ability score bonus, and the Caster’s CL as the weapon’s BAB, to determine attacks.

Illusion/Phantasm: Caster blends into surroundings (+16 to Stealth checks), +4 to AC and attacks while moving, invisible while standing still (duration: 5 rounds + 1 round/CL).

Evocation: Blast of bluish, white-hot light explodes from caster, all within 10 ft. suffer 1d10 points of damage/CL (Reflex save for 1/2).

Necromancy: Drain 2d4 hit points total from everyone within 20 ft. (hit points are drained evenly per person; saving throw to avoid; hit points over caster’s maximum disappear at a rate of 1 per hour).

Wild Surge: Roll Twice, player chooses one.

Ben.

March 21, 2014 at 10:19pm

@Darkjoy: No, I think you’re off on level. I pulled up my AD&D Core rules cd files, and both Tongues and Produce Flame have casting times of 7. They are not level 7 spells.

Yeah, this thing is crazy odd, though it reminds me of some kind of “wild burst” spell out of the Tome of Magic from 2nd Edition.

-Ben.

Darkjoy

March 22, 2014 at 7:16am

@Ben,

Just checked the second level arcane spells, those do have the casting time = level thing going on. Divine spells are slower -> you need to dial God before the magic happens :-)

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