Monday, June 19, 2006

03.2 Magic: Abjuration


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According to the PHB, Abjuration is the school of protective spells.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Abjure is to swear or claim.

According to Wikipedia, Abjuration is the solemn repudiation, abandonment, or renunciation by oath of citizenship or or some other right or priviledge. It comes from the Latin abjurare, to forswear.

But we know through association that an abjurer is a mage, right?

Whether the definition is accurate or not, abjuration (thematically) seems to comprise the bevy of protection class spells from Dungeons and Dragons. Rather than worry about the true definition, let's just stick with the present theme.

Now, before we get started, since less than 1% of Abjuration spells have save DCs, the Feat Spell Focus (abjuartion) is certainly in the running for most useless feat ever.

So. Let's fix that.

Instead of Spell Focus doing the same thing for every college, let's specialize the feat for each school.
Benefit: You cast Abjuration spells as though you were 1 level higher. This does
not increase the number of available spells per day, nor the number of spells
that can be cast, but it does increase area of effect, duration, range, and any other variables based on level.
At low levels, this is a great feat for a mage who likes the alarm spell. At higher levels, this means warding off powerful creatures and protecting yourself even longer.

Components
We also need to address the general use of components with Abjuration spells (although the new spells below have their own uses).

The obvious first effect of abjuration spells is to increase durations, but things like alarm are already measured in hours, so we need more than just duration and range increase.

So, material components should help protect more people, or increase the effectiveness of a spell (protect against 6 points instead of 7, make it harden to scry an object, and so on).

Spells
Now, since the primary role of Abjuration spells is protection, we can confer a number of important things. First, dispel magic should be an abjuration spell. Second, a spell called counterspell should be available at every level, that counters all spells below the level of the counterspell (note: there would be no counterspell 0 or 10). This allows the caster to prepare counterspell, maybe even cast it quickened, without knowing what spells he will be up against the next day.

It would look something like this.

Counterspell III
Level: 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 action or maybe as a free action?
Range: Close
Target: One spell of lower level than the counterspell
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No

The caster who is casting the original spell, would be allowed a saving throw against the counterspell, to stop his spell from being nullified. Spell resistance would not protect his spell, however. If the original caster of the spell is using a material component to cast his spell (and the counterspell caster does not have the same (or similar) component), the caster gains a +2 circumstance bonus on his save.

More Spells
Other spells that abjuration would be used for would be to ward off particularly monster types.

An entire array of ward spells could be created for lower level, to keep orcs and goblins out of a cave or building. And at higher levels, wards could protect entire towns from dragons. While I could make a list of them, I'm not going to design every necessary WARD. Rather, the logic of the wards should be similar and the design should extend from the first one.

So, let me make a 2nd level, 4th level, 6th level, and 8th level ward and you can see where this is going (there shouldn't be a 1st level ward). Hmm. Maybe I am designing all of them.

Monster Ward II
Level: 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Close
Area of Effect: 5-foot radius per caster level
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No

By definition, a ward should keep creatures at bay. But this sounds a lot like turning, and the turning rules for D&D are pretty dumb and easy to exploit (I'll be redesigning those later, as well, but the rules in Secrets are pretty solid). Since, we want to avoid anything that stops action altogether and instead, limit the options of an opponent, we need a ward that "hurts," but doesn't stop the monster from acting.

I've talked before about spells like hold person and why they need to go.
A ward that prohibits movement is the same thing.

The caster selects a place to cast the spell. In this case, a 3rd level wizard chooses the spot of floor just inside the doorway of the room they are resting in. The ward forces the target attempting to cross it to make a saving throw. If the target is successful, he/she can cross into and/or over and/or through the ward without ill effect. If the target fails the saving throw, he/she suffers 1 point of Constitution damage every round spent inside the warded area (since the ward is small, most likely 1 round, unless the PCs keep the monster inside the ward somehow. Creatures without a Constitution score, suffer 1d4 points of damage per round.

A ward hurts anyone other than that caster or his allies. The caster may select a number of people (other than himself) up to his level that can cross the ward without ill effect. This means that at third level, only three people can cross the ward.

A ward can made more powerful by one of four ways.
  • Using a material component increases:
the area of effect and duration as though the caster were 1 level
higher,
or
increases the save DC by +1,
or
increases the damage to creatures without a Constitution score to 1d6
points per round.
  • Naming the ward means selecting a single monster that the ward is designed against (sort of like specilization). The ward only works against the monster chosen, but the save DC of the ward increases by +2.
  • Naming the ward and using a material component relevant to the creature opposed (bone of a dragon, etc.) makes the ward more effective. The save DC increases by +3 (instead of +2) and the damage increases to 2 points of Constitution damage or 1d6 points of damage per round (for those without a Constitution score). Casting time for material component use in this manner increases by minutes, not rounds.
  • Placing the ward on a single object makes it more difficult for anyone other than the caster to touch. A Will save is required to touch or lift the object (up to 5-lbs per level), at an increased DC of +4.
The amount of damage that a ward deals goes up in level. So ward VI is going to be more powerful, as you'll see.

Monster Ward IV
Level: 4
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Close
Area of Effect: 10-foot radius per caster level
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No

If the target is successful, he/she can cross into and/or over and/or through the ward without ill effect. If the target fails the saving throw, he/she suffers 2 points of Constitution damage every round spent inside the warded area (since the ward is small, most likely 1 round, unless the PCs keep the monster inside the ward somehow. Creatures without a Constitution score, suffer 1d8 points of damage per round.

Using a material component increases:
the area of effect and duration as though the caster were 2 levels higher,
or increases the save DC by +2,
or
increases the damage to creatures without a Constitution score to 1d10 points per round.

Naming the ward means selecting a single monster that the ward is designed against (sort of like specilization). The ward only works against the monster chosen, but the save DC of the ward increases by +4.

Naming the ward and using a material component relevant to the creature opposed (bone of a dragon, etc.) makes the ward more effective. The save DC increases by +6 (instead of +4) and the damage increases to 3 points of Constitution damage or 1d10 points of damage per round (for those without a Constitution score). Casting time for material component use in this manner increases by minutes, not rounds.

Placing the ward on a single object makes it more difficult for anyone other than the caster to touch. A Will save is required to touch or lift the object (up to 10-lbs per level), at an increased DC of +6.

Monster Ward VI
Level: 6
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Close
Area of Effect: 25-foot radius per caster level
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No

If the target is successful, he/she can cross into and/or over and/or through the ward without ill effect. If the target fails the saving throw, he/she suffers 3 points of Constitution damage every round spent inside the warded area (since the ward is small, most likely 1 round, unless the PCs keep the monster inside the ward somehow. Creatures without a Constitution score, suffer 3d6 points of damage per round.

Using a material component increases:
the area of effect and duration as though the caster were 3 levels higher,
or increases the save DC by +3,
or
increases the damage to creatures without a Constitution score to 3d8 points per round.

Naming the ward means selecting a single monster that the ward is designed against (sort of like specilization). The ward only works against the monster chosen, but the save DC of the ward increases by +6.

Naming the ward and using a material component relevant to the creature opposed (bone of a dragon, etc.) makes the ward more effective. The save DC increases by +8 (instead of +6) and the damage increases to 4 points of Constitution damage or 3d8 points of damage per round (for those without a Constitution score). Casting time for material component use in this manner increases by minutes, not rounds.

Placing the ward on a single object makes it more difficult for anyone other than the caster to touch. A Will save is required to touch or lift the object (up to 25-lbs per level), at an increased DC of +8.

Monster Ward VIII
Level: 8
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Close
Area of Effect: 50-foot radius per caster level
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: No

If the target is successful, he/she can cross into and/or over and/or through the ward without ill effect. If the target fails the saving throw, he/she suffers 4 points of Constitution damage every round spent inside the warded area (since the ward is small, most likely 1 round, unless the PCs keep the monster inside the ward somehow. Creatures without a Constitution score, suffer 5d8 points of damage per round.

Using a material component increases:
the area of effect and duration as though the caster were 4 levels higher,
or
increases the save DC by +4,
or increases the damage to creatures without a Constitution score to 5d10 points per round.

Naming the ward means selecting a single monster that the ward is designed against (sort of like specilization). The ward only works against the monster chosen, but the save DC of the ward increases by +8.

Naming the ward and using a material component relevant to the creature opposed (bone of a dragon, etc.) makes the ward more effective. The save DC increases by +10 (instead of +8) and the damage increases to 5 points of Constitution damage or 5d10 points of damage per round (for those without a Constitution score). Casting time for material component use in this manner increases by minutes, not rounds.

Placing the ward on a single object makes it more difficult for anyone other than the caster to touch. A Will save is required to touch or lift the object (up to 50-lbs per level), at an increased DC of +10.

Harden
Abjuration should also protect items from damage. A mundane object protected from harm would gain a saving throw when it normally wouldn't. Resistance would be a minor form of this, granting a +1 (and probably only when a saving throw would be allowed). Harden, however, would grant a +5 and would even protect a normal glass vial that falls of a table onto a stone floor.

Harden
Level: 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Area of Effect: 1 object up to 5-lbs per casting level
Duration: 1 hour per caster level
Saving Throw: Harmless (will negates)
Spell Resistance: Yes

An object that would normally be destroyed is allowed a saving throw and when a saving throw would normally be allowed, the object gains a +5 to that save.

5th Level
Take a look at the list below for information on spells moved to abjuration from other spell lists that thematically belong to abjurationists.

7th Level
Looking at the list of abjuration spells, there's a huge gap in there for 7th level spells. Now, I don't read a lot of non-SRD stuff and I don't have any books in front of me at the moment, so let's check the internet for a few ideas...

I'm not finding much, but I only looked for about 10 minutes.

Okay.

Off the top of my head: Iron Skin and Body of Mist.

Thematically, they make look like Transmutation spells, but the effects are abjuration-y.

Iron Skin is stone skin +50%. Done.

Body of Mist turns the caster into vapor, protecting him from all manner of harm, including mind control and everything else. A gust of wind moves the entire body of mist and he can even move into cracks and crevices. However, only his density changes. As long as the cast is a body of mist, he cannot cast spells that require a somatic component, he cannot attack, and he cannot lift anything.

Not even ethereal or incorporeal creatures can harm a caster under the effect of body of mist. Unlike statue (the transmutation spell), body of mist allows the caster to move and talk (albeit limitedly).

Thoughts?

Finally, magic body would protect the caster from damage, except magic weapons. Fair?

Mage Armor
I'm not sure I understand the logic of Mage Armor and Shield in 3.5. Rather than try to fix either one, let me just say that Mage Armor should be Abjuration. It protects the wearer and thematically the rules imply that its an abjuration spell.

The same goes for Blur.

I don't typically play games that involve astral travel, so I can't comment on the usefulness of the banishment type spells. Anyone have any comments about these?

Finally, abjuration needs a stasis type spell that places people that are bleeding to death or dying from poison or mummy rot in a stasis until they can get help. Basically, it's slow disease, slow poison, slow dying, gentle repose, and protection from the elements all in one spell. It would also stop someone from turning into a were-creature during a full moon.

Sounds like a good 4th level spell to me.

We'll call it stasis and be done with it. Someone else can stat it out if they want. Seems pretty clear. Duration is 1 day per level.

Okay, below is a list of the Abjuration spells as I see them. Print it out and give it to your friends.

0-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Endure Elements: Exist comfortably in hot or cold environments.
Reinforce Portal: Holds door shut, but does not require magic to open. +5 DC increase.
Resistance: Subject gains +1 on saving throws. Can now be cast on objects to increase their save against shatter, etc.

1ST-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Alarm: Wards an area for 2 hours/level.
Counterspell I: Counters any 0-level spell.
Hold Portal: Holds door shut. +10 DC increase (instead of +5).
Mage Armor: See notes above. The AC bonus should increase by +1 for every four full levels of the caster.
Protection from Chaos/Evil/Good/Law: +2 to AC and saves, counter mind control, hedge out elementals and outsiders.
Sanctuary: Just like the cleric spell.
Shield: Invisible disc gives +4 to AC, blocks magic missiles. The AC bonus should increase by +1 for every four full levels of the caster.

2ND-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Arcane Lock: Magically locks a portal or chest. +15 DC
Blur: Attacks miss subject 20% of the time.
Counterspell II: Counters any 1st-level or 0-level spells.
Harden: Increases an objects resistance to shatter or damage.
Obscure Object: Masks object against scrying.
Protection from Arrows: Subject immune to most ranged attacks.
Resist Energy: Ignores first 10 (or more) points of damage/attack from specified energy type.
Undetectable Alignment: Seems reasonable
Ward II: Protects an area against intrusion. Perhaps the only version of this spell that needs to exist. Maybe even a 1st-level spell.

3RD-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Counterspell III: Counters any 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Delay Poison: It’s arguable that this would be healing or abjuration. And it’s arguable about whether or not it belongs on this list.
Dispel Magic: Cancels magical spells and effects.
Explosive Runes: Deals 6d6 damage when read.
Glyph of Warding: Probably written better than my glyph spell.
Magic Circle against Chaos/Evil/Good/Law: As protection spells, but 10-ft. radius and 10 min./level.
Nondetection: Hides subject from divination, scrying.
Protection from Energy: Absorb 12 points/level of damage from one kind of energy.
Sepia Snake Sigil: Why is this a conjuration spell?

4TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Black Tentacles: Since the tentacles don’t move, their real purpose is to guard an area. That’s thematically closer to abjuration in my opinion.
Counterspell IV: Counters any 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Dimensional Anchor: Bars extradimensional movement.
Fire Trap: Opened object deals 1d4 damage +1/level.
Freedom of Movement: Someone explain why this WASN’T on here? Bards can get it!!
Globe of Invulnerability, Lesser: Stops 1st- through 3rd-level spell effects.
Remove Curse: Frees object or person from curse.
Stasis: Keeps a body in stasis, halting all functions, including bleeding, poison spreading, body rot, and so on.
Stoneskin: Ignore 10 points of damage per attack.
Ward IV: Protects an area against intrusion.

5TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Break Enchantment: Frees subjects from enchantments, alterations, curses, and petrification.
Counterspell V: Counters any 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Death Ward: Again. Why was this not on here?
Dismissal: Forces a creature to return to native plane.
Mage’s Private Sanctum: Prevents anyone from viewing or scrying an area for 24 hours.
Planar Binding, Lesser: Traps extraplanar creature of 6 HD or less until it performs a task.
Spell Immunity: Just like the cleric spell.
Spell Resistance: Again. Just like the cleric spell.

6TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Antimagic Field: Negates magic within 10 ft.
Contingency: Because of the way this spell operates, it has nothing to do with pure magical force, but about "warding" the caster.
Counterspell VI: Counters any 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Dispel Magic, Greater: As dispel magic, but +20 on check.
Globe of Invulnerability: As lesser globe of invulnerability, plus 4th-level spell effects.
Glyph of Warding, Greater: As the cleric spell.
Guards and Wards: Array of magic effects protect area.
Planar Binding: As lesser planar binding, but up to 12 HD.
Repulsion: Creatures can’t approach you.
Ward VI: Protects an area against intrusion.

7TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Banishment: Banishes 2 HD/level of extraplanar creatures.
Body of Mist: Protects caster from all harm
Counterspell VII: Counters any 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Iron Skin: Like stoneskin, but all variables increase 50%.
Magic Skin: Caster can only be struck by magic weapons.
Sequester: Subject is invisible to sight and scrying; renders creature comatose.
Spell Turning: Reflect 1d4+6 spell levels back at caster.

8TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Counterspell VIII: Counters any 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Dimensional Lock: Teleportation and interplanar travel blocked for one day/level.
Mind Blank: Subject is immune to mental/emotional magic and scrying.
Planar Binding, Greater: As lesser planar binding, but up to 18 HD.
Prismatic Wall: Wall’s colors have array of effects.
Protection from Spells: Confers +8 resistance bonus.
Ward VIII: Protects an area against intrusion.

9TH-LEVEL SORCERER/WIZARD SPELLS

Counterspell IX: Counters any 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or 0-level spells.
Freedom: Releases creature from imprisonment.
Imprisonment: Entombs subject beneath the earth.
Mage’s Disjunction: Dispels magic, disenchants magic items.
Prismatic Sphere: As prismatic wall, but surrounds on all sides.
Spell Immunity, Greater: Just like the cleric spell.

I have a pdf of this, if anyone wants it.

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