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.

Fascinate
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.

Quasimorph
(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.

7 comments:

  1. I am not sure if I like the 4 hit die limitation on Fascinate. That excludes most bears, rhinos, elephants and hippos (plus a variety of dire/giant animals). And dinosaurs for those DMs who allow the spell to work on them (i.e. boost their intelligence to Animal level).

    As for Quasimorph, the 3rd bullet from the second group needs refinement as humans can't do squat for damage on their own. Does the spell incorporate the character's weapon on hand?

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    Replies
    1. Fascinate: You're right about the 4HD limit. I'm actually not sure where that came from! (Possibly an accidental cut & paste from another spell, even.)

      Quasimorph: Ah, I see what you mean. It's a good point! The original in UA has the same issue. I wonder about saying that the damage of attacks is max 1d6 or something. What do you think?

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    2. The 4 hit die limit probably came from Color Spray.

      As for Quasimorph damage, how about 1d4 for Small characters (remember that gnomes can be illusionists), 1d6 for Medium and at least 1d8 for Large?

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    3. I think I'll just go with a flat 1d6. Size of the caster isn't something that ever comes up in B/X spells -- the caster is always assumed to be human-sized.

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    4. Actually, no, I changed my mind.

      "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 (using whatever weapon is carried)."

      It feels to me like that's the intention of the spell.

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    5. Cool. That makes the spell more interesting when the caster has a magic weapon, esp one of the odder ones like the man trap or ankus.

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    6. Yeah, exactly. I think the intention is that the illusionist is, in reality, making attacks as normal. The spell just makes it seem like something else is happening.

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