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Deep Magic: Pestilent Cleric Spells, Part 1

Deep Magic: Pestilent Cleric Spells, Part 1

In the spirit of Deep Magic, your caster can now explore the putrid and primal terror of plague and vermin: the pestilent magic style. Here we explore the style’s magic in the spells of clerics.

Aura of Filth

4th-level necromancy (pestilent)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30-foot radius)
Components: V
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Putrefying energy radiates from you in an aura with a 30-foot radius. Until the spell ends, the aura moves with you, centered on you. Each living creature in the aura (including you) cannot be cured of a disease or poison, except with heal or wish, and have disadvantage on saving throws against poison and disease effects and on death saving throws.

Dying or decaying matter within the aura, such as corpses, picked flowers, or food, rapidly putrefy, decaying an additional day each round it is in the aura. This decay additionally adds to the amount of time corpses have been considered dead for purposes of spells like speak with dead or raise dead.

Conjure Vermin

2nd-level conjuration (pestilent)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You summon fiendish spirits that take the form of sickly swarms of crows, maggots, or rats in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. Choose one of the following options for what appears:

  • One maggot swarm (beetle swarm)
  • Two crow swarms (raven swarm)
  • Two rat swarms

Each swarm is also considered a fiend, and it disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.

On your action, you can command the swarm to inflict a status condition, described below, on a creature whose space the swarm occupies. Doing so causes the swarm to disappear at the end of your turn, whether or not the target succeeds their saving throw:

  • Crow Swarm. The target must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or be blinded until the end of their next turn.
  • Maggot Swarm. The target must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or be stunned with horror and nausea until the end of their next turn.
  • Rat Swarm. The target must succeed a Constitution saving throw or be poisoned by filthy infection until the end of their next turn.

The summoned swarms are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the swarms as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures but otherwise take no actions.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using higher-level spell slots, you choose one of the summoning options above and more creatures appear: twice as many with a 4th-level slot, three times as many with a 6th-level slot, and four times as many with an 8th-level slot.

Create Plague Zombie

4th-level necromancy (pestilent)
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a drop of rat blood and a piece of flesh from a plague victim)
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell creates an undead servant infected with disease. Choose a corpse of a Medium or Small humanoid within range. Your spell imbues the target with a foul mimicry of life, raising it as a variant zombie.

Plague zombies are variants of zombies with the additional trait Plaguebearer and the changed attack Plagued Slam:

  • Trait: Plaguebearer. A creature that touches the plague zombie or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it must succeed a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be infected by Rotten Pox
  • Modified Action: Plagued Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) bludgeoning damage. The target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) necrotic damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. On a failed save, the creature is also infected by Rotten Pox

On each of your turns, you can use a bonus action to mentally command any plague zombie you made with this spell if the creature is within 60 feet of you (if you control multiple plague zombies, you can command any or all of them at the same time, issuing the same command to each one). You decide what action the plague zombie will take and where it will move during its next turn, or you can issue a general command, such as to guard a particular chamber or corridor. If you issue no commands, the creature only defends itself against hostile creatures. Once given an order, the creature continues to follow it until its task is complete.

The plague zombie is under your control for 24 hours, after which it stops obeying any command you’ve given it. To maintain control of the creature for another 24 hours, you must cast this spell on the creature again before the current 24-hour period ends. This use of the spell reasserts your control over up to four plague zombies you have animated with this spell, rather than animating a new one.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you animate or reassert control over two additional plague zombies for each slot level above 5th. Each of the plague zombies must come from a different corpse.

Dead Man Walking

4th-level necromancy (pestilent)
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a shroud, blanket, or clothing item from the corpse)
Duration: 7 days

You return a dead creature you touch to life, provided that it died from a disease or poison effect and has been dead no longer than 10 days. The creature’s soul must be willing (without knowledge of what spell is resurrecting it) and able to rejoin its body. The creature returns to life with 1 hit point and cannot be healed further.

All poisons or diseases that afflicted the creature at the time of death remain, but it suffers no further damage or penalties. It cannot be cured and is immune to any future poisons or diseases that would afflict it. If the creature is infected with a contagious or transmissible disease or poison, it can continue infecting others.

Once the duration elapses, the spell ends, and the creature dies again and cannot be raised from the dead again short of true resurrection or wish.


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