B/X: Unearthed Arcana Illusionist Spells

Illustration by Laura Sava

I recently announced the B/X Essentials: Druid and Illusionist Spells book, which includes a B/X-sized selection of spells adapted from the AD&D Players Handbook and Unearthed Arcana.

Working on this book has been a delightful opportunity for me to get back to my favourite pastime of writing up spells. I thought I'd share a few. These come from the Unearthed Arcana illusionist spell list -- spells that aren't so commonly converted to B/X.

Range: 30’
Duration: See below

This glamour causes a single creature to perceive the illusionist -- whatever his or her normal appearance -- as utterly captivating.

  • Creatures of less than animal intelligence are not affected.
  • Creatures of more than 4HD are not affected.
  • The subject may save versus spells to avoid coming under the power of the spell.

A subject affected by the spell behaves as follows:

  • The subject follows the illusionist wherever he or she goes, as if besotted, unless doing so would present a serious danger.
  • If the illusionist can communicate with the subject (even if only by gestures), it may obey requests. Each time a request is made of the subject, the illusionist must make a CHA check (possibly penalised, if the request is against the nature or best interests of the subject). If the check fails, the spell is broken and the target’s perception of the illusionist becomes one of horror, rage, and hate.
  • An animal remains fascinated for 1d4 days, after which it may either attack the illusionist (if it has been mistreated) or simply leave. If the illusionist treated the animal well, there is a percentage chance equal to his or her CHA that the animal will henceforth remain by the character’s side of its own free will.

(aka alter self)
Duration: 3d4 rounds, +2 per level
Range: The illusionist

The impression that the illusionist’s physical form makes on the world is warped, effecting an apparent change in form.

  • The new form is chosen by the illusionist.
  • The form of any creature may be adopted.
  • The new form may be at most 50% larger or smaller than the illusionist’s normal size.

The physical capabilities of the new form are granted to the illusionist to a limited degree:

  • If the new form can fly, the illusionist is able to fly at one-quarter of its flying movement rate.
  • If the new form is able to breathe underwater, the illusionist may also do so.
  • When attacking, the illusionist may appear to use the attacks of the new form, but cannot make more attack rolls or inflict more damage than he or she is normally able to.
  • The illusionist does not gain any special or magical attacks possessed by the new form (e.g. breath weapons, poison, charm, etc).

Whispering Wind
Range: 1 mile per level
Duration: Special

This spell allows the illusionist to send a message or other sound via the wind to a distant location within range.
  • The destination must be known to the illusionist.
  • The message travels on the wind, unnoticed, at a speed of up to 10 miles per hour.
  • Once it reaches the designated destination, the wind delivers the illusionist’s message -- up to 100 words or one minute of other sound.
  • The message is whisper quiet, relayed by the susurrations of the air, but can be heard by all within 30' of the destination.
  • Even if no one is present to hear it, the message is automatically delivered.

B/X Essentials: Classic Fantasy Tome

Tome still life by Tom McNemar

I've discussed the modular approach of the B/X Essentials series before -- how the books (excepting the Core Rules) are designed to be able to swapped out with alternatives. For example, the standard Cleric and Magic-User Spells could be swapped out with a book of Pagan and Elemental Spells, or the standard Monsters book could be swapped out (or augmented with) a book of Planar Monsters.

This design approach makes the system extremely extensible. Based on the Core Rules, the B/X Essentials line will grow in many directions, encompassing any number of different adventuring styles, genres, and campaign settings. All completely cross-compatible, in a mix and match way, and all without having to reprint elements of the core rules of the game in every new genre book.

However, there are people who prefer to have everything in one book. I'm not one of those people -- I've become rather smitten with the flexibility and usability of having chunks of content split into separate booklets -- but I completely respect the opinion of the people who just want a single book to take to their games.

So, work has begun on an all-in-one, non-modular B/X Essentials tome. I have given this the working title of "Classic Fantasy Tome", as it contains all of the classic, Basic/Expert rules for fantasy gaming. The plan is to run a Kickstarter for this early next year. (All going well, there may well be further B/X Essentials "tomes" in the future. For example, once the Advanced booklets are complete, I may produce an "Advanced Fantasy Tome".)

As the first step, I've been figuring out the structure of the book. The lazy way of structuring it would be to simply slap the five existing B/X Essentials books back to back and call it a day. Fans of all-in-one RPG books will probably be pleased to hear that I am not lazy! I'm restructuring the material into an order that makes more sense for a combined book.

Here's the current plan for the structure:

  • About B/X Essentials
  • Adventure Gaming
  • Terminology
Player Characters
  • Game Statistics
  • Creating a Character
  • Ability Scores
  • Classes
  • Alignment
  • Languages
  • Experience and Gaining Levels
  • Wealth
Equipment, Services, and Strongholds
  • Equipment
  • Land Transportation
  • Water Transportation
  • Mercenaries
  • Specialists
  • Strongholds
  • Adventuring Basics
  • Hired Help
  • Hazards and Challenges
  • Dungeon Adventures
  • Wilderness Adventures
  • Waterborne Adventures
  • Encounters
  • Chases
  • Combat
  • Other Combat Issues
  • Types of Magic
  • Spells
  • Magical Research
  • Cleric Spells
  • Magic-User Spells
Monsters and NPCs
  • Monsters (General Notes)
  • Monster Descriptions
  • Normal Humans
  • NPC Adventurers
  • Strongholds
  • Combat Tables
  • Dungeon Encounter Tables
  • Wilderness Encounter Tables
  • Adventure Scenarios
  • Designing a Dungeon
  • Random Dungeon Room Contents
  • Designing a Wilderness
  • Designing a Base Town
  • Awarding Experience
  • Placing Treasure
  • Treasure Types
  • Gems and Jewellery
  • Magic Items
  • General Notes
  • Armour and Shields
  • Miscellaneous Items
  • Potions
  • Rings
  • Rods, Staves, and Wands
  • Scrolls
  • Weapons
  • Treasure Maps

B/X Essentials: Druid and Illusionist Spells

As I mentioned a while back, a book of AD&D-inspired character classes is in the works for B/X Essentials. Included in this book (among many others) are the following classes: bard, druid, gnome, illusionist. Now, what do these classes have in common? New spells! (They're all spell casters who don't use the standard cleric or magic-user spells lists.)

So, naturally, a second book is also in the works (though only in the very beginning stages): B/X Essentials: Druid and Illusionist Spells.

I thought it'd be interesting to share the spell lists that I'm working from. Note that these have been carefully cut down to B/X size. That is, the druid has the same number of spells as the cleric, and the illusionist has the same number of spells as the magic-user. And naturally, the druid tops out at 5th level spells and the illusionist at 6th.


1st Level

  1. Animal Companion
  2. Detect Danger
  3. Entangle
  4. Faerie Fire
  5. Invisibility to Animals
  6. Locate Plant or Animal
  7. Predict Weather
  8. Speak With Animals

2nd Level

  1. Barkskin
  2. Charm Person or Animal
  3. Create Water
  4. Cure Light Wounds
  5. Heat Metal
  6. Obscuring Mist
  7. Produce Flame
  8. Warp Wood

3rd Level

  1. Call Lightning
  2. Hold Animal
  3. Protection from Poison
  4. Nature Growth
  5. Tree Shape
  6. Water Breathing

4th Level

  1. Cure Serious Wounds
  2. Dispel Magic
  3. Protection From Lightning
  4. Speak With Plants
  5. Summon Animals
  6. Temperature Control

5th Level

  1. Commune With Nature
  2. Control Winds / Control Weather
  3. Protection From Plants and Animals
  4. Transmute Rock to Mud (reversible)
  5. Pass Plant
  6. Wall of Thorns


1st Level

  1. Auditory illusion
  2. Chromatic orb
  3. Colour spray
  4. Dancing lights
  5. Darkness
  6. Detect Illusion
  7. Glamour (= change self)
  8. Hypnotism
  9. Phantasmal force
  10. Read magic
  11. Spook
  12. Wall of fog

2nd Level

  1. Blindness / deafness
  2. Detect magic
  3. Fascinate
  4. Fog cloud
  5. Hypnotic pattern
  6. Improved phantasmal force
  7. Invisibility
  8. Magic mouth
  9. Mirror image
  10. Quasimorph
  11. Ventriloquism
  12. Whispering wind

3rd Level

  1. Dispel illusion
  2. Fear
  3. Hallucinatory terrain
  4. Illusionary script
  5. Invisibility 10' radius
  6. Nondetection
  7. Paralyzation
  8. Phantom steed
  9. Rope trick
  10. Spectral force
  11. Suggestion
  12. Wraithform

4th Level

  1. Confusion
  2. Dispel magic
  3. Illusory stamina
  4. Implant emotion
  5. Improved invisibility
  6. Massmorph
  7. Minor creation
  8. Phantasmal killer
  9. Rainbow pattern
  10. Shadow monsters
  11. Solid fog
  12. Veil of abandonment

5th Level

  1. Advanced illusion
  2. Chaos
  3. Demi-shadow monsters
  4. Magic mirror
  5. Major creation
  6. Manifest dream (= dream)
  7. Maze
  8. Projected image
  9. Shadowcast
  10. Shadow door
  11. Summon shadow
  12. Time flow

6th Level

  1. Acid fog
  2. Impersonation
  3. Mass suggestion
  4. Mislead
  5. Permanent illusion
  6. Persistent dream
  7. Programmed illusion
  8. Shades
  9. Through the looking glass
  10. True seeing
  11. Veil
  12. Vision

Dolmenwood: Animals

Writing about the quirky animals that live in Dolmenwood is fun!

Here are a few:

Gobbles: Fluffy, black, arboreal primates about the size of a baby, with appropriately huge, adorable eyes. Gobbles are nocturnal, sleeping in high branches during the day, and creeping to the forest floor to forage for grubs at night. Gobbles have the ability to speak perfect Woldish. Each individual knows but a single word, however, which it babbles incessantly when encountered.

Swamp sloths: Found primarily (but not exclusively) in the boggy regions of Dolmenwood, these lazy, infant-sized mammals creep through the treetops gathering succulent fruits and flowers. Their fur is brown, but they appear green, due to the profusion of moss and lichen that grows on them. In winter, they hibernate in tree boles.

Trottelings: Naked, miniature pigs with pinkish brown skin and the faces of petulant toddlers. Trottelings rummage through undergrowth, foraging for carrion whilst making sounds like bickering crows. If caught and roasted, their flesh is delectable, though incredibly greasy.