Maegriel’s Manual: Combining Spell & Blade

Posted In Articles, Front Page | 17 comments

401px-Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_Suikoden_Series_2This haggard-looking book bears a nondescript jacket of sturdy leather, the pages between filled with austerely elegant elven script. It appears to be a combat manual passed from a powerful elven mage-warrior to her much younger niece, an aspiring sorceress. Among the strict and detailed mandates that concern diet and training regime, there are several spells.

Not simply a spellbook, however, this combat manual describes techniques both physical and arcane. Indeed, the author appears to have viewed them as one discipline, and her use of martial lexicon to describe magical concepts (or vice-versa) seems intentionally obtuse at times. Using this book requires a DC 25 Spellcraft check, to which characters proficient with all martial weapons gain a +5 bonus. It requires 2d4 hours of study to make one check, and taking 10 or 20 takes proportionally longer…

“How absurd that your parents no longer permit me to train you in person! I suppose I should thank the stars that my father wasn’t an elflord; I certainly wouldn’t have gotten far as a lass had no one been allowed to break my nose. And you’ve no place sulking at me yourself, either! Had I been an earnest foe rather than a sparring partner I’d have struck with the blade, not the pommel. Since you were big enough to climb onto my knee you’ve said that you wanted to be a warrior. A dream at odds with the spoiled princess you’ve become, but a dream I believe yet lives. If your stubborn mother would lend you out for a decade, I’d turn you into a creature to be reckoned with, but as I am deprived of your company, a book will have to suffice.

Don’t mistake this for light reading to be enjoyed before meditations, however…”

Spells

Cursed Wound

School necromancy; Level assassin 3, blackguard 4, sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting time 10 minutes
Components V, S, M (a black gold figurine worth 2,000 gp, which must incorporate a hair, scale, drop of blood, or other fragment of the target)
Range touch
Target melee weapon touched
Duration until discharged or permanent (D) (see text)
Saving Throw none (object) or will negates (see text); Spell Resistance no (object) or yes (see text)

When casting this spell on a weapon, you recite the name of an intended target. As soon as the weapon succeeds in dealing damage to its target, this spell is activated, causing the attack to deal 1 additional point of damage per caster level (max +10).

If the target saves, the spell is simply discharged; otherwise, the wound becomes a permanent effect, and the target finds it impossible to heal any damage dealt by the cursed blow by any means for as long as he remains within 1,000 ft. of the affected weapon. A target that flees this area may heal normally, but the wound leaves a visible and painful scar which violently re-opens should the weapon come within range of him again.

Track the damage from the cursed wound separately from other damage, and apply any healing to it last. Any such damage that the target heals or recovers is instantly re-inflicted should he come within range of the weapon (and cannot be healed until the target escapes the area again).

Dispel magic has no effect on this spell. One may break this curse by casting remove curse on the weapon, or by casting break enchantment on either the weapon or the victim.

No caster may have more than one cursed wound spell (activated or not) in existence at the same time.

Giant’s Cut

School evocation [force]; Level cleric 3, sorcerer/wizard 2,
Casting time 1 swift action (see text)
Components V
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./caster level)
Area line
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes

This spell is cast as a swift action just before making a melee attack on your turn: a whiplash of invisible energy rends the air and carries the force of your blow far beyond your reach.

Make a single attack roll as normal, but rather than only striking one creature you threaten, the attack is resolved separately against all creatures (or unattended objects) within the area. Flanking or high ground bonuses, damage expressed as extra die, and critical hits only apply to targets whom you threaten normally. Otherwise, use the same attack and damage roll for all creatures in this area.

Phantasmal Strike

School illusion (phantasm); Level assassin 1, sorcerer/wizard 1
Casting time 1 swift action (see text)
Components V
Range melee reach
Target one living creature
Duration 1 minute per caster level
Saving Throw will negates (illusion); Spell Resistance yes

This spell is cast as a swift action immediately after making a melee attack roll. If the attack succeeded, your target thinks that you actually missed (feeling no pain from the blow). If the attack missed, you create the illusion that it hit (even rolling normal damage, to determine how hurt the target believes it is). In either case, the spell gives the target a false impression of its own hp total for the duration, but has no effect on its actual hp.

An enemy affected by a phantasmal hit may waste healing or retreat prematurely. Further, if imaginary damage exceeds its current hp, the target must make another save or fall unconscious until healed (or until this spell’s duration expires), as if it had been incapacitated by real damage.

An enemy affected by a phantasmal miss may retreat too late (fighting on as if unhurt), and won’t be aware of an attack’s side effects, if any. For example, a foe struck with the Scorpion Style feat may waste an action trying to move across the room and would be surprised to learn that it can’t (but remember that any character who finds evidence contradicting an illusion gets a new saving throw to disbelieve).

Resonant Rapport

School transmutation [sonic]; Level bard 3, sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a tiny glass bell which you shatter)
Range touch
Target two melee weapons touched
Duration 1 round per caster level
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)

You imbue the affected weapons with sonic energy, causing it to vibrate with a low hum. Each time either of these weapons strikes a foe, it deals 1d4 extra sonic damage plus however many d4 were last dealt by its partner weapon during any given attack in the last round.

For example, if this spell were cast  on a fighter’s sword and a rogue’s knife the fighter’s attack would deal +1d4, after which the rogue’s next hit (or hits) would deal +2d4, the fighter would deal +3d4, and so on, until the damage cap (+1d4 per two levels, maximum +5d4) was achieved or until either weapon failed to land a hit for a full round and reset the damage to +1d4. The weapons need not be employed by different characters.

Blows with the affected weapons are accompanied by a loud ringing sound, shrill and lingering, which increases steadily in pitch.

Stoneblade

School conjuration [earth]; Level druid 4, sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range personal or 50 ft.; see text
Effect 1 magical longsword
Duration 1 round per caster level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell must be cast while standing on soil or stone: a rock hilt appears at your feet, and by it, you draw a sword made of quartz-veined granite from the earth. This weapon is sized appropriately for the caster (though this spell does not grant proficiency) and functions exactly as a +1 longsword, with an additional +1d8 bonus to damage per two caster levels (max +5d8).

In addition, each round you may choose a single 5-ft. square (adjacent to the ground and within 50 ft. of you) as a free action at the beginning of your turn. When you thrust your sword into the earth, it slips as if into water, and its blade thrusts up from the ground at the chosen point, mirroring your movements perfectly. You may make attacks with the stoneblade (even attacks of opportunity) into that square exactly as if you threatened it normally.

The stoneblade only functions for you; in the hands of anyone else, it is simply a nonmagical longsword.

Weapon Properties

Energy Gushing An energy gushing weapon must also have an “energy” property (i.e. frost or flaming burst). Its wielder may consume one spell slot as a swift action made just before rolling an attack. On a hit, the attack deals +1d6 extra energy damage per level of the spell slot sacrificed, in addition to its normal bonus damage. On a miss the spell slot is wasted.

Moderate transmutation; prerequisites as associated energy property; Price +1 bonus

Spellfriend A spellfriend weapon attracts and enhances magic. Any spell cast directly on a spellfriend weapon (whether helpful, harmful, or downright destructive) functions at +2 caster level. In addition, once per day the weapon allows any spellcaster to cast one spell at +2 caster level by using it as a focus component (this doesn’t stack with other temporary boosts to caster level).

Moderate transmutation; CL 6th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor and eagle’s splendor, owl’s wisdom, or fox’s cunning; Price +1 bonus

Feats

Arcane Chop

When using a punch or hand-strike to deliver a touch spell, you harness the spell’s energy to lend crushing force to your blow.

Prerequisite Improved Unarmed Strike, caster level 1st

Benefit When you deliver a touch spell using an unarmed strike, you gain an enhancement bonus to your unarmed attack and damage roll equal to the level of the spell in question. This technique has no effect on normal melee touch attacks.

Arcane Magnetism

The magic that you drape about your foes calls out to that which you invest in your blade, guiding it as you strike them down

Prerequisite Arcane Strike, base attack bonus +2

Benefit When attacking a foe who is under the effects of a spell that you cast, you apply your bonus from Arcane Strike to attack as well as damage rolls and reduce by half any miss chance (such as from darkness or the blur spell) imposed on that attack.

Battlespell Training

You are skilled at casting touch spells quickly in combat, employing them freely amid other attacks.

Prerequisite Base attack bonus +6, caster level 1st

Benefit Once per round, when taking the full-attack action, you may cast one melee touch spell with a normal casting time of 1 standard action or less as a swift action instead. However, you cannot also deliver the touch as part of that swift action; you must “hold the charge” for at least 1 round.

Invest Spell (Metamagic)

You can cast your spells into weapons, allowing them to be discharged as part of an attack.

Benefit You can modify any targeted spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less so that it may be stored in a melee or thrown weapon exactly as though that weapon has the spell storing quality. An invested spell takes up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level.

You cannot regain the spell slot used to cast an invested spell until the original spell is discharged, dispelled, or dismissed. A weapon cannot hold more than one invested spell at any given time. However, you may use this feat to store a second spell in a weapon that already has the spell storing quality (though you can’t unleash both spells with the same attack).

Sword-and-Fist Style (Fighter)

By keeping your off-hand free, you enjoy superior balance and coordination compared to most dual-wielders.

Prerequisite Improved Unarmed Strike, Two-weapon Fighting

Benefit When using an unarmed strike as your off-hand attack, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with both weapons (which will usually improve your penalties to -1/-1). You may make one additional attack of opportunity per round, provided that this attack is an unarmed strike.

“Skipping to the end again are we?

When you first read this you won’t understand a single incantation of what comes before, and when you last read it, you will do so fondly for it will all be child’s play to you. Of this, I am perfectly confident. But know that lore alone cannot turn a delicate lady into a hardened warrior.

The greatest difference between you and I is not my years or my talents, not the shock white of my hair nor the great blade at my side. The difference lies in the trials I have bested, in pain and in terror, in trials you will not find nor face until you have left home and birth behind.

May you grow into as magnificent an ally and as dreadful a foe as ever I dreamed of becoming,

—Maegriel Melherosa”

(Quickly scrawled inside the back cover:

“And if you the reader are not my darling Ahlonania, if I write now to some thief or ruffian who has deprived her of the fruits of my labor, then flee or flee not as you prefer. I will find you.”)

(This post is Product identity.)

______

Boot to the head! Do you want to see more PC-oriented material here in the future?

    17 Comments

  1. Pretty cool stuff!

    Darkjoy

    November 19, 2009

  2. Yeah, Resonant Rapport is good!

    Stefen

    November 19, 2009

  3. Wow, great new material, and great writing framing it. I definitely want to see more of this style of PC-oriented material here in the future!

    Alzrius

    November 19, 2009

  4. Glad you like it!

    If you want to see more, tell your friends online about it, and if it gets a lot of comments, we’ll probably do it again down the road.

    Wolfgang

    November 19, 2009

  5. Author here, I’m glad people are digging it! :)

    This was first written before I had the final version of the Pathfinder rules in my hand, but the only potential system issue I can see is with Battlespell Training. When I wrote that, I was picturing a dual-wielder using a sword as her primary weapon and a [i]shocking grasp[/i] or [i]vampyric touch[/i] as her off-hand weapon; however, I believe a ruling was made on the Pathfinder boards that making a touch attack is always at least a standard action.

    Occorse, DMs can rule whichever way they like, but it’s worth noting.

    Hydro

    November 20, 2009

  6. Dude! Monty tweeted about your article!

    Daigle

    November 20, 2009

  7. That should read Monte (as in Cook), and I also should have put:

    Really awesome work on this article. It immediately generated ideas, which is always a win.

    Daigle

    November 20, 2009

  8. Very nice, Hydro!

    Mike

    November 20, 2009

  9. Oh this is just dandy, excellent material for bladesingers.

    Keep it up!!

    DangerMun

    November 20, 2009

  10. And yes, more material of this nature…

    DangerMun

    November 20, 2009

  11. Great material – this is a self serving message in the name of greedy RPG fans everywhere.

    Sigurd

    November 22, 2009

  12. Thanks for the ego-shot Daigle! XD Monte also mentioned the “Things of Madness and Desolation” series, which I would have otherwise missed (I like his blog, but I’ve never really checked out twitter before now).

    And thanks again for the kind words everyone.

    Hydro

    November 23, 2009

  13. Would LOVE to see more material like this. Have an Eldritch Knight in need of actual martial spells.

    Xorial

    November 23, 2009

  14. Feats for the win, Hydro. Invest Spell seems a bit powerful in exactly the way a cruncher like me loves; one could make an army of Acid Splash daggers! Very nice…

    Alrozac

    November 23, 2009

  15. Invest spell takes a cost which is usually imposed on the warrior (lower weapon enhancement) and instead imposes it on the caster (lower spell level). Most casters have lots of unused slots anyway, though, so if you want to add minor spell effects to a bushel of throwing knives this is your feat.

    Unless you’re using the interpretation where “infinite cantrips” also applies to metamagic’d cantrips. Then you can LITERALLY equip an army with invested weapons. Which wasn’t my intent, but what the hell. 😉

    Hydro

    November 23, 2009

  16. A thought, I think Energy Gushing weapon property should be a feat, instead.

    Xorial

    December 4, 2009

  17. Yes, most magic items don’t employ a class resource like that, but I like writing magic items that rely on their user to make them awesome. Also, making a “REALLY flaming sword” for mages was my starting goal, not “come up with something cool to do with spell slots”.

    I think that this would be equally balanced either way; normally a weapon property should be more powerful than a feat, but in the case of very specialized effects it’s advantageous to be able to swap it out for another weapon (something feats can’t do).

    Hydro

    December 10, 2009

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest