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Really Wild West Spells, levels 0-1

While Really Wild West  spellcasters can obviously use standard Starfinder spells, the flavor of spells can strongly impact the feeling of a campaign.

So, we’ll want some Western/Victorian themes spells. Here is one each at 0 and 1st-level.

RWW Theosopher

(art by storm)

Phantom Pocketwatch [Mystic 0, Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets Up to 5 willing creatures, +1 creature per level
Duration 24 hours
The technomancer version of this spell literally summons a phantom pocketwatch. The mystic version creates a small tattoo of a sundial.
Creatures effected by this spell know what time it is, including the date and year, day of the week, phase of the moon, time zone, and time down to the second. They can also have it track how much time has passed since a specific moment, and inform them when a specific time has arrived.
The most common version of the spell in the US use its official time zones, the Gregorian calendar, and so on. Variations of this spell from other cultures use other calendars, an absolute time based on dawn, and other standards. If the spell is cast while touching some timepiece or calendar, it can use that as its standard rather than its normal units.

Ask The Wind Their Name [Mystic 1]
School divination
Casting Time 1 full round
Range personal
Duration instantaneous
This spell can only be cast while outside. You learn about one creature you can currently see, or that you have previously seen and know the name of. You receive information about the creature as if you had used the identify creature skill task with a result equal to 20 + your Mysticism bonus. You do not learn any information about their allegiances or true name or identity, but if you cast it using their name you do learn if that is a name they are commonly known by.

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More Junk Spells (for GammaFinder and Starfinder)

Inspired by the hazardous junk rules I designed for GammaFinder, and loving the idea of a Starfinder-compatible junkamancer, I’ve begun looking at what else can be done with junk spells. I especially wanted a 0-level junk spell, and a junk spell that doesn’t focus on AC, attacks, or creating a ‘bot.

PA Glowing Junkyard

(art by santoelia)

JUNK GIZMO [Technomancer 0]
School conjuration (creation)
Casting Time
 1 standard action
Range touch
Range touch
Target 
at least 1 bulk of inert electronic equipment; see text
Duration
 1 hour/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

You turn a pile of technological junk into a minor technological item. You must target inert, nonworking electronic equipment of at least 1 bulk. Valid targets include a large broken computer system, nonworking or unconnected computer or robot parts, a destroyed robot or another such trashed mechanical system, or any related electronic components or combination of the above, as long as the junk is found in sufficient quantity.

You can create any minor piece of equipment with a real-world equivalent (alarm clock, camera, digital keys for vehicles you own, timer, watch, and so on) that a GM would allow you to buy at a typical settlement as an item level 0 piece of equipment with a cost of 5 credits or less and light bulk. See the Technological Items section of the Equipment chapter of the core rulebook for notes on the vast array of technological devices beyond the number that could possibly be presented in any real-world book that can potentially be purchased with GM approval.

The item is clearly worthless junk, and always looks like it is just about to break down, but can be used by anyone. You can only have 1 junk gizmo active at a time, and casting the spell again causes any previously created junk gizmo to cease functioning. If using the hazardous junk rules, this spell is not powerful enough to create objects from hazardous junk.

JUNK HUD [Technomancer 1]
School conjuration (creation)
Casting Time
 1 standard action
Range touch
Range touch
Target 
at least 1 bulk of inert electronic equipment; see text
Duration
 10 min./level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

You turn a pile of technological junk into a Heads Up Display (HUD) that collates information and gives it to the HUD’s wearer. You must target inert, nonworking electronic equipment of at least 1 bulk. Valid targets include a large broken computer system, nonworking or unconnected computer or robot parts, a destroyed robot or another such trashed mechanical system, or any related electronic components or combination of the above, as long as the junk is found in sufficient quantity.

You can cause the HUD to be created on yourself or an adjacent willing or unconscious ally. This grants the wearer additional combat awareness. As a result, the character cannot be flanked. Additionally the DC to successfully trick attack the target is increased by 5. If using the hazardous junk rules, this counts as junk armor for interactions with those rules.

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Mutant Magic, for GammaFinder (Starfinder-compatible)

Obviously if GammaFinder has mutant abilitiestiered mutations, and magic, the two will power sources will collide.

The cybersorcerers of the Omega Invasion were the first to unleash suppress mutation spells, which are also believed to have been the key of the negation cuffs they used to capture powerful mutants, though it has spread far beyond their control since the invasion. The DNArcana spell was discovered by genetic sorcerers in the city of Beta, before its destruction, and though not common among most spellcasters is a staple of the Augmented Arcanist Alliance.

PA Robot and Waterfall

(art by grandfailure)

DNARCANA  [Mystic 2–6], [Technomancer 2–6], [Witchwarper 2-6]
School transmutation (polymorph)
Casting Time 1 round
Range touch
Target one willing creature touched
Duration 1 round/ 2 levels (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

You augment the power of the target’s tiered mutation, increasing its power by one tier. You must expend 1 Resolve Point to cast the spell, and the willing target must expend 1 Resolve Point for the spell to affect it.
Level 2: You can increase an existing tier 1 or tier 2 mutation by 1 tier.
Level 3: You can increase an existing tier 3 or tier 4 mutation by 1 tier.
Level 4: You can increase an existing tier 5 or tier 6 mutation by 1 tier.
Level 5: You can increase an existing tier 7 or tier 8 mutation by 1 tier.
Level 6: You can increase an existing tier 9 mutation by 1 tier. Alternatively, you can grant a creature one mutant ability or tier 1 mutant power.

SUPPRESS MUTATION [Mystic 3], [Witchwarper 3]
School abjuration
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

You temporarily suppress the mutant abilities (including tiered mutation s) of a creature. Attempt a dispel check (1d20 + your caster level) with a DC equal to 11 + the target’s level. If you succeed, the target must make a Will saving throw. If it fails, all its mutant powers and tiered mutations stop functioning, and all bonuses, effects, and abilities granted by the mutations end.

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Dash Cantrip, in Four Game Systems

Cantrips are interesting, in all 4 of the d20 game systems I work in regularly (PF1, PF2, StF, and 5e). You get unlimited uses of them, so they need to be useful enough to be worth tracking (even at mid- to high-levels), but can’t be so good that casting them endlessly can ruin a game.

And almost none of them impact movement.

Which lead me to wonder, CAN I design a cantrip that impacts movement? Something to give you a little edge when what you need to do is reposition yourself and just a double move (or dash, or triple move, or whatever the game’s equivalent is) won’t do.

Can I do in in four game systems?

Behold, the dash cantrip.

Pathfinder, 1e

Dash
School transmutation; Level Bard 0, Cleric 0, Druid 0, Inquisitor 0, Magus 0, Mesmerist 0, Psychic 0, Shaman 0, Witch 0, Sorcerer/Wizard 0]
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 round

Your movement rate increases by an enhancement bonus equal to your current movement rate, +20 feet.

Pathfinder, 2e

Dash [Cantrip 1]
Traditions Arcane, Divine, Primal
Cast [three actions] Verbal
Duration until the start of your next turn

You move a distance equal to triple your speed +30 feet.

Starfinder

Dash  [Mystic 0, Witchwarper 0]
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range personal
Duration 1 round

You gain a +10 foot increase to your land speed until the beginning of your next turn. As part of casting this spell, you can move up to your land speed.

5e

Dash
Transmutation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V
Duration: 1 round

You can move a number of feet this round equal to double your move, +20 feet.

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells VI

Today we wrap up (for now, at least) exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spelltwo first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level, 4th-level, and 5th-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 6th-level mind-affecting spells.

For balance on these we looked at a lot of 6th-level spells, but since there don;t seem to be any 6th-level mind-affecting spells in Starfinder, there aren’t any specific 1-to-1 comparisons.

mysterious woman in futuristic cloak with hood walking with blue light particles, digital art style, illustration painting

Algorithm [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You impose an algorithm on the decision-making processes and efforts undertaken by of the spell’s targets. Each round, you can designate one creature to be protected by the algorithm. Any affected target takes a -5 penalty to all skill checks regarding the target, attack rolls against the target, and to the save DC of any ability they use that affects the target. You can change the protected creature each round, ending the protection against any previous creature. Targets that fail their saving throw are unaware their actions are being influenced by a spell.

Targets that succeed at their Will save only take a -2 penalty to skills, attacks, and DCs, and are aware they are under the effects of a spell.

Target Lock [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You lock the target’s attention onto one foe, and prompt it to attack that foe. The target must attack the foe with the attack most likely to be effective against it with at least one action per round. If the target succeeds at a Will save it can ignore this command, but the mental effort to do so causes it to be fatigued for the duration of the spell. The fatigue ends when the spell ends, or if the creature decided to attack the designated foe.

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells V

We’re still exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spell, two first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level spells, and two-fourth-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 5th-level mind-affecting spells.

Blockchain looks at the scaling fear spell for determining it’s total power level–it’s not as debilitating, but has a much larger area, targets nonliving creatures, only targets enemies, and at this level lasts long, and has some effect even on targets who make their save, with off-target a pretty good guaranteed effect (and even dazzled causes you to be -1 on all attack rolls, which may not seem like much but isn’t bad if you hit a bunch of foes as the minimum effect they take on top of off-target).

Greater check the comments looks to greater command for how to upgrade 1st-level spells at 5th level.

Technomancer Eye

Blockchain [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range 60 feet
Targets all foes in a cone-shaped emanation
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You flood the minds of of every foe in the area to a series of interconnected mental checklists they must fulfill while taking any action. Targets are entangled as they constantly start and stop each thing they do, trying to fulfill the checklists demanded for each decision they make. Targets that succeed at their Will save still find their minds filled with checklists, but know they are artificial and can be ignored, though the distraction causes them to still be off-target. Targets already off-target are instead dazzled.

Check the Comments, Greater [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Save Will negates

This spell functions like check the comments, except you can affect up to one creature per level and creatures make their announcements in one language you know of your choice, even if they do not speak that language (or, indeed, even if they speak no language).

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells IV

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), and two 3rd-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 4th-level mind-affecting spells.

The quantum zen king / 3D illustration of male android hardwired to computer core

CAPSLOCK looks at the various fear spells as a way to establish a power-level baseline, while safety on is balanced against hold monster.

CAPSLOCK isn’t nearly as debilitating as fear, but even on a failed save the target is affected briefly.

I also wrote safety on as a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that’s there is more to technology than just computers, and thus technomancer spells should play with nondigital concepts as well. I like the concept of a technomancer being able to take the concept of a gun’s safety, and apply it to a person. It’s not as debilitating as hold monster, but the target also doesn’t get a save to end it every round, and again it has some impact even on targets that make a save.

CAPSLOCK [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets all foes, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You rewire the targets’ ability to make decisions, forcing them to go all-or-nothing on everything they do. They can only take actions designated a full actions or double move actions (preventing any single attacks, standard actions, or single move actions) and cannot take reactions or swift actions. If they speak they must shout, and when moving they make heavy, deliberate steps, preventing any Bluff check to pass secret messages, and any Sleight of Hand or Stealth checks. They cannot take 10 or take 20 on skill checks, even if they have an ability that would normally allow them to do so when distracted or in danger.

If a target succeeds as a skill check, the duration of this spell is reduced to 1d4 rounds for that target.

Safety On [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/2 levels (D)
Saving Throw Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance yes

The target cannot use a weapon for any purpose, make any attack roll, or take any action that would force creatures to make saving throws if they were targeted by or in the area of the action’s end result.

A target that succeeds at a Will save can take any actions it wishes, but suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and the save DC of any effect it creates is reduced by 1.

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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells III

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, and a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster). So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 3rd-level mind-affecting spells.

When determining the power level of these we used mental block to compare the power level of EULA, and charm monster to compare to IFF hack.

high resolution 3d render of cyborg soldier and dragon

End-User Licensing Agreement [Technomancer 3]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

You cause targets of this spell to be unable to bring themselves to use technological and hybrid items. Whenever the targets wish to use any technological or hybrid device (including weapons) that requires a skill check or action of any kind, they find themselves overpowered by a need to register their ownership online first, and read all the manufacturer’s rules and warnings for device use.  Targets are aware that this compulsion will take so long to fulfill that there is no point in even trying to fulfill it. Each round at the end a target’s turn, that target can attempt another Will save to end this effect.

IFF Hack [Technomancer 3]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one living creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You influence the ability of the target creature to tell friend from foe. The target cannot treat any creature as an ally. Additionally, it must succeed at a Will save or on its next turn it must attack a creature you designate at the time of casting. If target has no attack that can reach the creature you designate, it is instead confused for 1 round.

PATREON
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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells II

We’re exploring the design space of technomacner mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

Which sounds like a great subject for a short series of blog posts!

We already did two 1st-level spells, and there’s already daze monster at 2nd, so let’s look at a 0-level and a 2nd-level.

Fragmented uses fatigue as a comparison to make sure we’re still at a 0-level spell’s power level.

Fragmented  [Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
You can fragment the mental processes of the target, causing them to feel disrupted and attacked by slivers of old sensations and memories. You make a melee attack against a single target’s EAC, adding your key ability score modifier to the attack roll instead of your Strength modifier if it is higher. The target must succeed at a Will save or be sickened for the spell’s duration. Casting this spell doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

Malware is much more complex, but we still looked at hold person and daze monster as comparisons. It’s designed to be of use even if the target succeeds at a save, without even being as completely incapacitating as hold person and daze monster. It’s compulsion has strong limits, but still gives some interesting options within those limitations.

Malware [Technomancer 2]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes
You insert a psychic control program into the target, causing you to have some control over its actions. The target must make a will save. If it succeeds it fights off the control program, but doing so causes it to be staggered for 1 round. If it fails, the creature is staggered for the spell’s duration, but you can also give it one command each round. If the target takes a standard action, you can command it to take a specific additional move action. If it takes a move action, you can command it to take a specific additional standard action. If the action you command it to take places itself or its allies in direct risk, it gains an additional saving throw with a +5 bonus to end your ability to give it orders, though it remains staggered for the spell’s duration.

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Design Space: Technomancer mind-affecting spells I

Sometimes a game has rules or options that suggest there are things that should exist, but they don’t. Or at least, they don’t existing in the form or to the degree they should. This is often a sign of a good ‘design space,’ a place where a game seems to need more material designed for it, where the existing rules don’t feel every reasonable iteration of the concept, and where such material won’t feel extraneous or uninteresting.

As a negative example, there’s not much design space between a shortsword that does 1d6 damage, and a longsword that does 1d8 damage. There are certainly things you can do (some companies make 7-sided dice, you can add or remove other elements such as cost and weapon traits and proficiency, and so on). So yes, you could make a ‘broadsword’ that cost more than a short sword, and weighed more, and did a d8 damage, but was easier to gain proficiency in than a longsword. But it’ll feel :showhorned in,” and not be as useful an addition to the game as a weapon with a totally different damage die or some more clear differentiating feature.

A positive example is in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, where technomancers have a magic hack (“robot influence”) that allow them to affect constructs, robots, and other creatures that have the technological subtype, even if they’re mindless or would normally be immune.

Now, think about what mind-affecting spells a technomancer would use that with. … Right. Daze monster doesn’t suck, but it’s not worth a whole magic hack. The problem, of course, is that mind-affecting spells don’t normally feel like they are closely connected to technology. But that’s a conceptual hurdle that can be overcome, and mind-affecting spells are such a broad category that we can design them to feel very different from existing spells that mystics and witchwarpers get.

So, let’s create some! Specifically some low-level, technology and computer culture-inspired mind-affecting technomaner spells!

Check the Comments [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will negates

The target creature announced each action it is about to take before it takes it. If it is aware of a shared language it has with you, it uses that language to make these announcements, otherwise it uses its native language. If it announces an attack or effect that requires a saving throw, any creature that understands its announcement gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their AC or save against that effect. Additionally, if someone who understands the announcements readies an action to be triggered by an action the target announced, the readied action is triggered by the announcement, and thus is resolved before the triggering action. 

Dropped Pixel [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will partial

The target creature cannot maintain any direct observation of you with a precise sense. They can track you with imprecise senses, but whenever they try to determine your exact  location or appearance they find themselves looking away, fixating on an item near you, or similarly not directly observing you. You gain concealment from the target. If the target succeeds at a Will save, the spell’s duration is reduced to 1 round.

PATREON
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