We were able to catch up recently with the busy Jeff Lee, designer on the forthcoming Deep Magic, which is currently being offered through a Kickstarter campaign, and capture his thoughts on this magical new tome.
KP: Can you give us a brief recap of Deep Magic as a project and where it is today, about your involvement with it past and present?
JL: The current Deep Magic Kickstarter is a project that is creating a huge book out of the compiled and revised Deep Magic for 5E PDFs that have already been released: from the first one through the recent alkemancy release. On top of that, there are over a hundred new spells being added as well as new sorcerous bloodlines, wizard subclasses, bardic colleges, and more. I was involved in the first Deep Magic project, for Pathfinder, and provided a bunch of spells for that. This time around, I’ve written several dozen spells for the project. I’m also finishing up a few subclasses and even more spells for stretch goals that have been met and have yet to be met.
KP: What’s so great about magic? What’s its role in D&D?
JL: Magic is the lifeblood of this game. It’s what makes the fantasy genre fantastic. It’s what allows all the amazing things that happen in the game. Your characters can use magic to alter the very fabric of reality. Even if your character can’t cast so much as a cantrip, magic is a part of play. That healing potion that saves your character’s life, the magic sword that allows them to slay terrible monsters, the powerful artifact that your party finally gets its hands on after long, grueling quests, all of those are integral to the experience.
KP: What’s your inspiration for magic? Where do you like to draw from?
JL: Literature and mythology, though there’s a lot to be gained from history and pop culture as well. The Internet is a fantastic resource. Humankind has a huge number of occult traditions in history, and you can find all of that stuff online now. It’s weird, fantastic stuff, and it’s ripe for turning into game content. I wrote the Emerald Order, from Demon Cults & Secret Societies, based on real world legends of a set of emerald tablets that had supposedly been unearthed in Egypt and contained the mysteries of the universe in them, which a person can command if they study and understand what’s written there. It’s wild stuff.
KP: Favorite school? Fave spell?
JL: Conjuration. My favorite wizard character ever was a conjurer. His whole philosophy of magic was that it should do all the work, and for him, it did so by calling up beings and forces to do all the hard work for him. Nothing better than a spell that calls up creatures that make your enemies’ lives hell.
Favorite spell? Wish. Do I really have to say why?
KP: What would you like to see more of magic-wise?
JL: Versatility and variety. I think a lot of the work that I and the other writers of Deep Magic have done provide that. Especially where the various subclasses are concerned. I love seeing new twists on old favorites and mechanics that really match the flavor of the style of character a person wants to play. That’s the game at its best.
KP: What are you working on right now?
JL: As I mentioned in the first question, I’m working on material for stretch goals that have been recently unlocked, or will be unlocked in the near future. One of the things I’m working on is the diabolist/demonologist wizard subclass. The diabolist learns to conjure and parley with devils, making deals to increase their powers, learning dark secrets that take their magic above and beyond other wizards at the risk of their very souls. Through this method of magical study, diabolists gain access to new spells, like chains of perdition, which grapple an enemy and inflict both physical and psychic harm upon them while they are chained.
I’m also always working on new things for my Patreon, where my patrons are free to request new material for a variety of systems, which I produce specifically and on occasion for the public at large. I’m currently working on new and more detailed warlock patrons per one request. You can find me at https://www.patreon.com/
KP: Why should I care about Deep Magic? What will it add to my game?
JL: Deep Magic provides an enormous amount of new assets for your 5E game. It’s packed with original material, and there’s something for everyone. It doesn’t matter what spellcasting class you play; there’s new material in it for you. If you’re running the game, this is a resource you don’t want to pass up. The subclasses can provide you with the basis for new secret organizations, cabals, cults, knightly orders, and other facets to add to your game world. Your players can undertake a quest to find a lost spellbook—full of spells from Deep Magic that are lost to time—and bring these spells into your world for the first time. Or maybe the characters themselves invent these spells. You could even add the names of these creators to them, just like the classic spells in the game. Deep Magic will make your game more fun, more fantastic, and so much more magical.