Cinematics: Strange Incantations

Strange Incantations

While magic can come from many sources (arcane, divine, and psychic being the best known), and many schools (from abjuration to transmutation), it can also be influenced by the inherent mystic nature of beings of a strongly eldritch nature. While power drawn from true gods is nearly always divine, and power inherited from the most powerful mortal beings (such as dragons) tends to be arcane, and power drawn from the planes is psychic, there is a category of mid-range beings that can influence all forms of magic, without changing that inherent nature. These creatures include archdevils, daemon harbingers, demon lords, and empyreal lords, collectively known as Primarchs in eldritch circles.

It is possible to call upon the power of a Primarch, without worshiping or venerating that being, using words and gestures known as “Strange Incantations.” As this is a form of calling on the inherent magical power of a being it is often seen as similar to sorcery (since sorcerers call on their own interior power), but as it calls upon near-divinities, it is sometimes referred to as “Supreme Sorcery.”

A spellcaster can gain access to Strange Incantations by expending a feat slot. This allows the successfully use of Strange Incantations three times per day (failed attempts do not count against this total), and allows the caster to select one Primarch that can be invoked with the incantations. Each additional feat slot expended adds +3 successful uses per day and one additional primarch that can be called on. A character can take one feat selection worth of Strange Incantations in place of a two arcanist exploits, a bloodline power, domain ability, hex, revelation, school ability, a type of bardic performance, or 2 uses/day of wild shape.

A Strange Incantation requires both verbal and somatic components, even if the spell normally doesn’t (even if you are using psychic magic). You cannot bypass this requirement with Still Spell or Silent Spell, and can’t use Strange Incantations when entangled, grappled, silent, or unable to speak in a clear and loud voice. While the words of the Strange Incantation may be spoken in any language the invoker understands, they must include the name of the Primarch and some aspect of that being related to the spell being modified or the way it is being adjusted by the invocation. For example, if drawing upon the Destruction aspect of a Primarch, a Strange Invoker might add “By the Bloody Bandages of Sanguinus!” to a spell’s verbal components, while adding motions of wrapping his hands around his forearms to the somatic components.

When using a Strange Incantation, you must make a Spellcraft check (to modify your spell on-the-fly) and a Knowledge (planes) check (to properly connect the mystic powers of your spell to the planar powers of the Primarch you invoke). The DC of these checks is 15 + (double spell level), and if you are forced to make a concentration checks as a result of taking damage, the Strange Incantation checks take a penalty equal to half the damage you took.

If either skill check fails, you lose the spell. If both succeed, you can add or alter an effect to the spell based on the domains granted by the Primarch you invoke with the incantation, as detailed below. If you change a spell’s damage type using Strange Incantations, the spell loses any descriptor tied to its old damage type, and gains the descriptor appropriate to its new damage type. If the spell had some effect tied to its damage type (such as cold damage also freezing a floor), as determined by the GM, that additional effect does not occur.

Air – Increase a movement speed granted by a spell by 5 feet; or change a spell’s damage to electricity.

Animal – When casting a harmless spell that grants a bonus to one or more creatures, select one creature to gain a +2 enhancement bonus to one ability score of your choice; or target an animla with a spell that normally only targets humanoids.

Artifice – Instead of the spell’s normal effect, grant one object (or one 5-foot-cube worth of a Large or bigger object) bonus hardness equal to the spell’s level and temporary hit points equal to 5 per spell level, all with a duration of 10 minutes per caster level; or if granting an object a bonus (such as with magic weapon), increase that bonus by +1.

Chaos – The save DC for the spell becomes 5 +1d10 + spell level + appropriate ability modifier, rather than its normal calculation; or spell can be used as a dispel magic against any lawful spell.

Charm – If the target fails a saving throw against the spell, it also takes a penalty equal to half the spell’s level (rounding up) to any one skill you select for 1 minute/caster level; or if the spell is a charm effect and a spell of 3rd level or higher if the target fails it save it is also subject to a modify memory spell but only to modify the past 2 rounds.

Community – If the spell is an instantaneous area spell you can exclude one creature or object in the area from the spell’s effect; or if the spell is a harmless spell that targets 3 or more creatures you may add one to the number of creatures it can target.

Darkness – If using a darkness spell, increase its spell level by 2 when determining how it interacts with light spells; alternatively lower the light level by 1 step in an radius equal to the spell’s level x 5 feet for 1 round.

Death – Cause a spell that targets one or more creatures to target an undead even if the spell does not normally target creatures of the undead type; or cause a spell that allows a saving throw to cause targets that fail their save against the spell to be fatigued for 1 round.

Destruction – Any creature or object reduced to 0 or fewer hit points by this spell is entirely disintegrated, leaving behind only a trace of fine dust; or if the spell deals hit point damage it deals additional damage equal to its spell level to all affected creatures.

Earth – Change a spell’s damage type to acid; or grant targets of a harmless spell fire DR/adamantine equal to half the spell’s level for 1 round per 2 spell levels.

Evil – Cause a spell to deal half damage but be untyped magic damage; or cause a spell that allows a saving throw to cause targets that fail their save against the spell to be shaken for 1 round.

Fire – Change a spell’s damage type to fire; or grant targets of a harmless spell fire resistance equal to double the spell’s level for 1 round per spell level.

Glory – Select one creature that failed its save against the spell and make a Spellcraft check to demoralize that target (as if making an Intimidate check); or for a harmless spell allow one target of the spell currently suffering a fear affect that allowed a saving throw to make a new save against the effect (ending the fear on a successful save).

Good – Select one target of a harmless spell, you may reduce one of your saving throw categories by an amount equal to the spell’s level, and grant half that amount to the target as a bonus on the same save (both penalty and bonus lasting for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level); or gain information on targets of the spell harmed by it or that fail a saving throw against it as if you had observed them for 3 rounds with a detect evil spell.

Healing – For conjuration (healing) spells that do not restore hp damage, the spell now restored hp damage equal to its spell level; or for harmless spells the target or targets gain temporary hit points equal to half the spell’s spell level (these last for 1 minute, and do not stack with themselves).

Knowledge – Make a Spellcraft check to identify one creature harmed by the spell or that failed a saving throw against it (as if making the appropriate Knowledge skill check, and gaining new information if you have already made such a Knowledge check); or gain information on targets of the spell harmed by it or that fail a saving throw against it as if you had observed them for 3 rounds with a detect magic spell.

Law – Any random value generated by the spell (such as a fireball’s 1d6/caster level damage) can instead be automatically set to average result instead of rolling it; or spell can be used as a dispel magic against any chaotic spell.

Liberation – Select one target of a harmless spell to gain a bonus to Escape Art checks equal to the spell’s level for 1 round; or select one target wearing armor that fails a save or take damage from the spell – its armor is loosened and provides 2 less AC bonus (minimum AC bonus of 0) until rearranged as a full round action.

Luck – Once a day cast a spell as a swift or immediate action against a foe that rolls a 1 on a skill check or saving throw.

Madness – Cause a creature that is damaged by the spell or fails a save against it to be confused for 1 round per 3 levels of the spell; or allow a single target of a harmless spell that is already confused to roll twice and take their preferred result when rolling for confusion (for a duration of 1 round per level of the spell).

Magic – Counterspell as if you had improved counterspell (or if you do have it, you may counterspell with a spell of the same level and school); or cause the SR of a creature damaged by or failing a save against your spell to have its SR reduced by 1 for a number of rounds equal to the spell.

Nobility – As a standard action discharge a spell slot to reduce the time needed to use Diplomacy to influence a creature’s attitude by 1 round per level of the spell; or select one creature that fails a save against a charm spell and make a diplomacy check (DC 20 + target’s CR) for it to become friendly to you after the charm ends (though if it’s attitude toward you ever decreases due to your actions, it immediately goes to hostile).

Plant – Target a plant with a spell that does not normally target creatures of the plant type; or select a target of a harmless spell to gain DR/slashing equal to half the spell’s level, but also gain vulnerability to fire.

Protection – Select one target of a harmless spell, you may reduce one your AC by an amount equal to the spell’s level, and grant half that amount to the target as a dodge bonus to AC (both penalty and bonus lasting for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level); or select a target of a harmless spell and split any one energy resistance you have with that target for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level.

Repose – Select a creature killed or destroyed by your spell and creatures attempt to raise that target as an undead must overcome SR equal to the spell’s level plus half your caster level; or ignore one undead’s resistance or energy immunity from your spell’s damage.

Rune – Cast the spell as a rune (as the blast rune ability of the Rune domain, but instead of dealing damage the rune causes your spell to go off) – you can only have one rune spell active at a time; or cast one language-dependent spell without it being language-dependent (though the target must still have some language).

Strength – One target that is damaged by your spell or fails a save against it provokes an attack of opportunity from the strongest foe adjacent to the target (and in then immune to this ability for 24 hours); or grant one target of a harmless spell a bonus on Strength checks and Strength-based skill checks equal to the level of the spell, for one round per spell level.

Sun – If using a light spell, increase its spell level by 2 when determining how it interacts with darkness spells; alternatively increase the light level by 1 step in an radius equal to the spell’s level x 5 feet for 1 round.

Travel – At the end of the spell teleport to be adjacent to a target that was damaged by the spell or failed a saving throw against it, as if you had used dimension door, with a maximum distance of ten feet per level of the spell; alternatively for one target of a harmless spell increase its base move by 10 feet for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level.

Trickery – Force anyone observing the spell to make a Will save (DC 15 + half your caster level + the spell’s level) or any Spellcraft check made reveals a different spell you can cast (selected by you); or grant any one target of a harmless spell a bonus to Stealth checks equal to the spell’s level for one round.

War – Target one troop or swarm with a spell that normally only targets individual creatures; or grant one target of a harmless spell a bonus equal to the spell’s level to the next roll it makes to confirm a critical within 1 round per spell level.

Water – Change a movement speed granted by a spell to a swim speed; or change a spell’s damage to cold.

Weather – select one creature that is damaged by your 1st level or higher spell or fails a saving throw against it and make a special trip attack (d20+caster level+spell level) as winds attempt to knock the target down; or grant one target of a harmless spell cover for 1 round as it is wrapped in fog.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on November 18, 2016, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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