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Folk Magic: Sailor’s Magic

Folk Magic: Sailor’s Magic

Nikiforos Lytras, Sailor smoking. Oil on canvas, Koutlidis foundation

Many of us use cars, planes, television, and the Internet daily, without knowing how they really work—it’s almost like magic!

In a world suffused with magic, what kind of Deep Magic do the common folk use in their day to day lives? What kind of “hedge magic” is used by low level adventurers or NPCs (such as the local fantasy sailor), to make their lives more manageable, productive, and safe?

Spells for Sailors

None of these spells have a class specified. In most cases, they are divine spells for both cleric and druid who cast them for a community’s well being. Sometimes the casting is highly ceremonial, but often the caster meets with the fisher or boat captain individually before setting sail. At GM discretion, these spells might also be available to a ranger.

Arcane Fishing Spear

Evocation Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You create a bolt of force that appears like a small, silver, hooked spear or javelin. Make a ranged spell attack against a target. On a successful hit, the spear deals 1d6 force damage, and you can attempt a pull attack against the target as a bonus action. This is treated as a shove attack action, but the target is pulled 5 feet toward you, rather than pushed 5 feet away.

Blessing of the Keel

1st-Level Enchantment (Ritual)
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (holy water, which the ritual consumes)
Duration: 24 hours

This ritual can be cast on any small or medium sailing vessel (up to a 30-foot keel). For 24 hours, any maritime-related Survival checks made onboard (navigation, weather prediction, fishing, etc.) are made with advantage.

Conjure Breeze

Conjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (seagull feather)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

You conjure a gentle breeze, enough to fill the sails of a small or medium sailing vessel (up to a 30-foot keel) and allow it to move 10 feet per round or add 10 feet per round to its current speed across water. The effect immediately ends if a gust of wind spell is cast in opposition to the cantrip.

Detect Fish

Divination Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a bait worm, which is cast in the water and consumed by the spell)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

For the duration of the spell, you know if any fish or edible sea creatures are within 1,200 feet of you, as well as their direction, distance, and species.

Fog Bank

Conjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a drop of water, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

You create a 10-foot-radius hemisphere of fog centered on any point within range. The fog spreads out and fills empty areas if partially contained by walls or other hard surfaces. It lasts for the duration or until dispelled by magic or a gust of sustained wind.

Magic Anchor

Conjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of iron powder or shavings, which are consumed by the spell)
Duration: 24 hours

This spell can be cast on any small or medium sailing vessel (up to a 30-foot keel), conjuring an anchor and anchor chain made of pure force, up to 60 feet in length. The anchor, once secured to the sea floor, holds the ship in place for the duration of the spell, or until dispelled or dismissed (as a bonus action). The anchor holds the ship in place even in high seas and winds up to 60 miles per hour. For every 10 miles per hour over 60, the wind drags the ship 30 feet per round downwind.

Magic Sails

Conjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a scrap of sailcloth, which is consumed by the spell)
Duration: 10 minutes

This spell can be cast on any small or medium sailing vessel (up to a 30-foot keel), conjuring sails made of pure force, which catch any available wind or breeze and propel the ship as normal sails would. Note that this spell does not produce any wind.

Sailor’s Luck

Enchantment Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: S
Duration: 1 hour

This cantrip, popular with sailors and seamen, gives the target advantage on all Athletics, Nature, and Survival checks for one hour, so long as the rolls pertain to maritime activities (swimming, weather, navigation, etc.).

Siren’s Prophecy

Divination Cantrip (Ritual)
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: touch
Components: V, S, M (bowl of seawater and a handful of beach sand)
Duration: Instantaneous

To perform this ritual (usually right before a sea voyage), you toss pinches of sand into a small bowl of sea water. The sand settles into a small image and/or a short message of up to twelve characters, creating a simple prophecy for the voyage. For example, if pirates are in the sea to be crossed, a crude image of a cutlass might appear, with the word “Danger!” appearing below it.

Speak with Sea Life

Divination Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 minute

You gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with nonmagical sea creatures for one minute. Their knowledge and self-awareness are limited by their intelligence, but the creatures can give you simple information about what they have seen, heard, or smelled within the last day or so: nearby creatures, weather and pollution, as well as how they are feeling (healthy, diseased, etc.).

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1 thought on “Folk Magic: Sailor’s Magic”

  1. This is a great article for World Builders who are creating high mgic worlds, where magic is common and hedge magic permeates society. Much appreciated.

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