Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Updated Illusionist Spell: Chromatic Orb

This spell was featured in the expanded illusionist spell list in AD&D Unearthed Arcana. I like the effects, but it's always struck me as weirdly balanced: almost useless at low levels and very powerful at high levels. This isn't a feature I'm fond of, so, as part of the work on my Complete Illusionist, I decided to try to come up with a version more to my taste. Here you go:

Chromatic Orb

Level: 1
Duration: Instant
Range: 60’
Cost: 25gp - 1,000gp (gem of appropriate colour)
This spell harnesses and amplifies the pure hue and intrinsic properties of a gemstone, which must be in the illusionist’s possession. Light is conjured in the heart of the stone, refracted, and amplified, conjuring an orb of pure colour in the illusionist’s hand. The orb may be hurled at an opponent within range, requiring a normal attack roll, with a +2 bonus. If the orb misses, it dissolves without effect. Otherwise, the orb inflicts damage on the target and another effect depending on its colour. The illusionist may conjure an orb of one of the following colours, depending on his experience level:

Level
Colour
Damage
Effect
Gem Value
1st or greater
Pearlescent
1d4
Light
25gp
2nd or greater
Ruby
1d6
Heat
25gp
3rd or greater
Flame
1d8
Fire
25gp
4th or greater
Amber
1d10
Blindness
250gp
5th or greater
Emerald
1d12
Stench
250gp
6th or greater
Turquoise
2d8
Magnetism
250gp
7th or greater
Sapphire
2d4
Paralysis
250gp
10th or greater
Amethyst
None
Petrification
1,000gp
12th or greater
Ashen
None
Death
1,000gp

The gemstone must be of at least the value listed and must be of an appropriate hue. It is consumed by the spell.

Chromatic orb effects:

  • Light: Light in a 60’ radius for one round per caster level.
  • Heat: If the target fails a save versus spells, they suffer -1 to attacks and AC for one round. The heat of the ruby orb may also be used to melt ice -- up a cubic yard.
  • Fire: All flammable objects within 2’ of the target are set alight. If the target fails a save versus spells, flammable objects (e.g. clothing, hair, etc) on its person are also set alight. This inflicts 1d3 damage for three rounds, unless the target spends a round extinguishing the flames.
  • Blindness: The target is blinded for 1d4+4 rounds, unless it makes a saving throw versus spells.
  • Stench: A 5’ radius cloud of stinking vapours erupts around the target. Any within the cloud (including the target) must save versus poison or be overcome with nausea -- unable to act except to move at half movement rate. Once leaving the cloud, the nausea subsides after 1d4 rounds. The cloud is permanent but usually disperses after one turn.
  • Magnetism: The electrical energy of the orb strongly magnetizes any metal objects on the target (e.g. armour, weapons) unless a save versus spells is made. The magnetic charge lasts for 3d4 rounds and causes metal objects to stick together, typically making attacking impossible and causing a -2 penalty to AC.
  • Paralysis: Unless a save versus paralysis is made, the target is paralysed for 5d4 rounds.
  • Petrification: The target must save versus petrification. Failure means that it turns permanently to stone. Success means that the target is slowed for 2d4 rounds -- only able to move at half the normal rate and attack or cast spells every other round.
  • Death: The target must save versus death. Failure means that it dies instantly. Success means that it is paralysed for 1d4 rounds.


7 comments:

  1. What gemstones have an ashen color?

    And why stop there, the prismatic spells could be tapped for additional effects.

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    Replies
    1. Smoky quartz perhaps? The whole thing of the colours & gems is pertty much verbatim the original. I didn't especially want to change anything there.

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    2. How about two write ups, original and what you really do with the spell? It would have presedence (sp)- the Wizard's Spell Compendium had several spells of the same name, so they used I, II and IIRC one III to identify them.

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  2. Honestly I don't really have anything special in mind to add to this spell :D I just wanted to include it as it's one of the classic "extended illusionist" spells from AD&D, but I wanted to slightly change the balance of it.

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  3. Okay. If you are still looking at Unearthed Arcana, might you consider Fascinate as another spell to include? It is my favorite illusionist spell in the enchantment/charm school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did a write-up of Fascinate last night :)

      My intention is to include all of the UA illusionist spells.

      Delete
    2. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

      Delete