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D&D 5E 5th Edition and Cormyr: Flexing My Idea Muscle and Thinking Out Loud

Ideas For New Arcane and Divine Spells

What follows are some ideas for arcane spells. Some of these could be divine spells as well.

1. "Spell Mime" - This spell creates an illusionary humanoid figure. That figure mimes the somatic gestures, as well as the movements required to handle material components, for the last spell that was cast in the area of the Spell Mime's effect. The figure continues to mime in this manner until the duration of the Spell Mime ends. While this spell is in effect, it grants advantage to any arcane or divine caster that attempts to identify the spell the being mimed. This spell does not produce sounds related to verbal components. The figure is faceless.

2. "Spell Scribe" - This spell creates a temporary illusionary arcane script that shows the formula for casting the last spell that was cast in the area of the Spell Scribe. The script appears on any flat surface the caster designates, but this surface cannot be smaller than an area proscribed by the width and length of the caster's hand, nor can the surface area be longer or wider than the caster's height. If the last spell cast was memorized from a spellbook then the script created by the Spell Scribe duplicates the arcane writings of the spellcaster that cast that spell. If the last spell cast was not memorized from a spellbook then the script appears in the form and style of the caster's own arcane writing style.

3. "Spell Chime" - This spell temporarily links the caster to an object that can be manipulated to produce sound (a lute or a warhorn, for example, or something like a large church bell). For the duration of this spell, any time the caster successfully casts a spell, the object linked to the caster sounds off. This spell automatically fails if the caster is attuned to three magic items. It's duration automatically ends if the caster becomes attuned to three magic items.

4. "Spell Echo" - This spell recreates any and all sounds produced by the last spell to have been cast in the area of the Spell Echo's effect prior to the Spell Echo being cast. Secondary sounds are not produced. A secondary sound would be any sound produced as a result of the spell, such as a grunt of pain from being slashed by a Blade Barrier, or the sound of a statue toppling over after it was struck by a Bigby's Hand spell. Note: The sounds of the blades slashing a creature, as well as the sound of the conjured hand striking the statue, would be produced by the Spell Echo. This spell lasts as long as the spell whose sounds the Spell Echo is recreating.

5. "Spell Informant" - Once cast, this spell lingers in an area designated by the caster. Any time a spell is cast in that area, the Spell Informant sends a magical message that appears in the mind of the spellcaster. This message gives the name of the being that just the spell. Upon delivery of this message the Spell Informant ends. A caster may not have more Spell Informants active than his or her highest spellcasting level. If the being that is being identified is known by multiple names, the Spell Informant uses the last name the being was called by.

6. "Blood Coins" - After you cast this spell, you may select a number of coins no greater than five times your caster level. If any of the coins you select have been touched by someone other than you who has either committed a murder or assisted in the commission of a murder within the last 24 hours, then those coins will begin to ooze blood. The coins bleed for a number of rounds equal to your caster level, or until you spend a bonus action to end the spell.

7. "Forge Echo" - This spell may be cast on any object that was made by an ironsmith. The spell reproduces the sound of the smith's hammer as it was being used to forge the object the spell was cast upon. If multiple smiths worked an object at the same time, all their hammers sound off.

8. "Similarity" - This spell causes an item of clothing worn by a creature within the spell's range to appear identical to another item of clothing of the same kind worn by a different creature within the spell's range. For example, the dust and mud covered boots of a passing mercenary may be made to temporarily resemble the clean, ornate boots of a nobleman riding in the other direction. At higher levels, the caster may select multiple of the same kind of clothing item to appear identical. For example, the travel robes of a party of adventurers may be temporarily made to resemble the robes of one of the king's guards manning the castle gate that the PCs wish to get past. This spell ends after one hour, or when any of the clothing items involved in the spell become separated by a distance longer than the range of the spell.

9. "Coin Curse" - The caster may select one object no larger than a sack or a small chest when this spell is cast. If any coins within the object are removed by any creature other than the caster, the coins deliver an electric shock to the creature. This causes 1 HP of damage. At higher levels, this spell may be cast on larger objects. If cast as a 9th level spell, this spell may target the dwelling of the caster (such as a tower, castle, dungeon abode, or the lair of a dragon).

10. "Forge Sacrifice" - This spell requires at least one metallic object produced from metal smelted in a forge. If the object is placed within a cold or otherwise inert forge, that forge becomes instantly hot enough to melt ore and extract metal. This effect lasts for one hour per object sacrificed. Only 24 objects may be sacrificed in this manner per casting.
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Encounter Idea Inspired by the Artwork of Ryan Alexander Lee

Firstly, check out this wonderful piece of art by Ryan Alexander Lee:

Isn't it just amazing?

The first thing I saw in Lee's pieces was the axe. Secondly, I saw the skull.

But I didn’t see her face until the fourth or fifth time I viewed the artwork.

This artwork practically demands to be turned into an encounter.

And here. We. Go.

1. In the first piece, it appears the dead guy was looking to chop some wood. Looks like he didn’t get to use any of the wood; rather, the wood is using him. For an encounter where the players stumble upon the scene in Lee's piece, I'd describe the corpse wrapped in tree roots, and then show the artwork to the first PC to approach within 5' of the corpse.

2. Dryads come to mind. Maybe the dead guy (or gal -- you never know) was a defender of the woods. Somebody the Dryads liked. Maybe one of them even loved the fallen warrior.

3. Perhaps a lonely nymph longing for affection is finding it in the fallen warrior, for lack of anything living to touch.

4. Maybe the fallen warrior is the first of many dead warriors to be found in the area, and whatever felled them all lurks in the trees and the roots, which are all one living entity located deep within one of Cormyr's three largest woodlands (the King’s Forest, the Hullack Forest, or the Hermit's Wood). The plant thing elected to destroy the small force assembled to take whatever it is the entity guards--something rare; something of value to wizards or priests or merchants.

5. Perhaps the fallen warrior lay on a slope. If the PCs move up the rise, they come upon a sun-filled, oval shaped depression in the earth, about a half-mile to a mile long, where the trees are fewer in number than the densely-packed-with-trees forest that extends for miles in every direction. The undergrowth is sparse among the trees in the depression.

6. Sunlight finds its way to the ground easily into the depression, which is filled with yellowed bones picked clean and encased in armor. There are no helmets visible. Gauntleted hands still clutch weapons and shields, the former all appearing to point upwards and the later resting more or less on edge, while tree roots run like a nest of snakes over the armor, at once embracing it and imprisoning it.

7. All of this is visible from the edge of the rise, just past the first body the PCs encountered. The view does not suggest a graveyard—or perhaps it’s not the view but the feeling/vibe the oval clearing gives off. Death happened here in abundance, but that which grows has spent time taking in the dead and their accoutrements while time passed without concern for the dead.

8. Any PC who lingers at the perimeter in lieu of walking down the other side of the slope into the clearing begins to feel as though he or she is being watched. It’s a nagging feeling, and one that isn’t shared by any PC that elects to walk into the clearing to get a better view of the bodies or peer at the trees whose roots have become like manacles and chains imprisoning the dead. In fact, anyone walking in the clearing hears nothing at all, except for their footsteps and any other noise they make (remember, utter silence is pretty creepy).

9. There is no great oak or other dominating-over-all tree in the clearing—should any PC think to ask—but there is a mound of war helms dead center. It’s not hard to spot, if a PC walks a ways into the clearing. The helms are not the same. Some are simple utilitarian things. Others are decorated with antlers or wings, and sport long snouts, spikes and grim visages.

10. As one moves closer to the mound of helms, it becomes harder and harder to hear anything. Within ten feet of the mound, a PC can’t even hear themselves if they shout at the top of their lungs. The air feels denser, too. Not hot or humid, just thick, as though some intangible resistance is present. It’s like being in a dream where you’re trying to run, but you can barely move your feet.

11. Should a PC persist and ultimately touch any of the Helms, some interesting (and deadly) things happen.
11a. First, white glowing ovals appear within each helm, like pupil-less eyes, while everywhere in the clearing the hands of the corpses holding onto weapons and shields all let go. The sound of all the weapons and shields falling a short distance to the ground is heard by all—even the PC(s) at the mound of helms—and the sound is deafening.
12a. Second, the oppressing weight in the air around the helms vanishes, and the helms fly off in all directions to hover over the corpses, while the weapons and shields rise up in the air at about chest-height, one set of weapon/shield to each glowing-eyed helm.

12. The helms and weapons attack, seeking to swarm PCs, to give no quarter, and to slay the PCs quickly and efficiently. Whatever the force is that animates the helms and weapons produces no body to attack. A helm, weapon or shield can be attacked readily enough, though mundane attacks are unlikely to destroy them quickly enough to keep a PC from being chopped to pieces and slain.

13. PCs who escape out of the clearing are not pursued if they can make it over the edge and down past the slope on the other side. That initial corpse depicted in Lee's artwork effectively marks the boundary of danger.

14. PCs who remain in the clearing can attack the corpses (remember, it's stumbling-over-roots terrain near any corpse, so adjust movement speeds accordingly). Doing so is the same as attacking an unconscious foe, so unless a PC is being swarmed by flying swords, it’s a no-miss attack. Dashing the brittle skulls (all the bones are brittle), ripping away the armor, and hacking at the roots imprisoning the armor will do damage to the animated helm/sword/shield form linked to that corpse. Note: DM’s who enjoy memorable visualizations can tell PCs that whey they hack at the roots, the roots sever as easily as hacking at exposed flesh, and the roots bleed bright red blood.

15. All of this kind of goes against the caressing, sort of cuddling nature of the artwork, so perhaps there is a Dryad or Nymph lurking near that corpse, who appears and begs the PCs not to destroy her beloved. She could explain the story behind the clearing, and in so doing give more adventure hooks to the PCs, or advice that can help them if they’re already on a quest and can’t deviate, all in return for the PCs agreeing to go back into the clearing and recover the one helm that the Dryad promises them didn’t animate, and return it to her once-mortal beloved.
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Let's Start With A Hole In Some Dirt

1. So...something akin to a halfling's den set into a low hill, but this is more of a long oval of dirt with a hole in one side that's small enough to require a human to crawl in on hands and knees to get inside. 

2. It's well within the King's Forest, off a path that was once a road wide enough to allow coach and horse traffic of the sort that includes important nobles and Crownsworn officials. 

3. The path is little more than a foot trail now, and that too is fast disappearing. As is the mansion-keep that sat at one end of the path, the keep's walls fallen down and grown over. The state of the mansion? That's up to you, Dear Reader.

4. Outlaws like to camp in the area, because adventurers and the agents of nobles and debt collectors continue to seek out the mansion-keep. Easy pickings for fresh clothes, news, weapons and bedmates. 

5. It used to be that explorers would come regularly, the adventurers to search for lost riches and the debt collectors to find anything worth hauling off and selling to pay for debts owed (even worked stone blocks can be resold). Nowadays the outlaws have to sow rumors to attract unwitting victims to the ruins, which is fine because even outlaws need to make supply runs, and the chance of being recognized by Crown forces is worth the risk in order to hear the latest news (the better to determine if the Crown has finally decided to move en masse on the ruin and clear out anyone using it as a place to spring ambushes on the unwary).

6. The hole in the ground is set into one of two mounds of earth that flanked the road, a squat tower sprouting out of each mound. These marked the border of the estate in the woods that is now an abandoned ruin.

7. The left-hand tower collapsed in on itself, the fallen stone filling up the space within the mound. Some unknown force dashed aside the exposed tower over the right-hand mound, and bushes and ground cover overgrew it. The space inside the mound partially collapsed, but adventurers cleared out the splintered wood that was all that was left of the door that led into the mound of dirt (set into the estate side of the mound) and found nothing of value in the oval cavity beyond the ruined door.

8. The outlaw camp is small, maybe 10-15 persons depending on their health and their willingness to take in new additions. They like to keep moving through the woods, the better to keep from being caught.

9. A pair of rangers have tracked the outlaws, but haven't moved against them. The outlaws are good at blundering into forest dangers and lingering traps in the ruins they explore (the ruin near the hole in the mound is one of a handful in the area--each suffered the same troubles that drove off or slew the occupants of the buildings that once stood proud in the woods).

10. In the wintertime, the hole in the mound stays warm and dry. There is a lingering magic there that once kept the place comfortable. The rangers use the space to rest in (it's easier for one to rest while the other is on watch) and are careful to keep it hidden. The outlaws do not know about it.
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A Friendly Warning

Dear Reader,

As Springtime progresses into Summer here in the States, I will be culling entries from this thread in order to place them into my Cormyr sourcebook.

Thus, if there is anything here you find useful or if you like returning to specific entries in order to read or reference them, then you would do well to save a copy of that content to the storage device of your choice.

I will continue to generate new content and ideas. As before, it will be posted here first.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for the privilege of allowing me to speak inside your brain. I hope you continue to find what I have to say useful.
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Dangers of the King's Forest: Tenday Mold

1. Tenday Mold is a little bit of everything: mold, rot and fungus.

2. Should your character ask about it, he or she is likely to be informed that the dead god Moander bequeathed Tenday Mold unto Cormyr as a parting gift; something meant to trouble Cormyreans for all of eternity thanks to their efforts to see that deity driven out of the Forest Kingdom once and for all.

3. Others will tell your character that elves made Tenday Mold, and that the legends of elves ruling the region before there ever was a Cormyr are true. Tenday Mold was just one of several methods the elves used to slow the advance of humans into their woodlands, and that the elves “forgot” to take it with them when they left once and for all.

4. Of more practical concern to your character will of course be the question of just what Tenday Mold does. Accounts vary of course, because the chances of encountering someone who’s been infected and survived are small—DM’s choice, as suits the needs of the campaign—but most NPCs will tell you some version of the following: If you are caught in a burst of Tenday Mold and it gets on your skin in a warm, moist spot—such as under your armor, in your armpits or your crotch—or if you inhale a cloud of it, there is a good chance it’ll take hold and grow, much to your detriment. (DM's choice on chance of being infected, and on a saving throw, if any, to resist the infection.)

5. Once it starts growing on flesh, Tenday Mold is nigh impossible to kill without killing or at least seriously harming the infected (i.e., it can be burned off, provided your character does not mind being set fire too; just as the infected flesh can be carved off). Druids know how to remove it safely, as do forest denizens like Dryads and Pixies—who are just as vulnerable to Tenday Mold as humans, elves, orcs, or any other humanoid creature—but you’d better be good at convincing such denizens to help you, or be quick to offer a favor in return for aid (read: accepting the equivalent of a geas placed on your character as the healing takes place).

6. Tenday Mold does not only grow on skin. It bores into the body, devouring muscle and solidifying over joints, making a victim immobile within 1d4+2 days after infection. Once immobile, your character will come to smell so bad that anything living (i.e. that has to breathe) will be driven off. Thus can the mold can grow and kill its victims without interruption.

7. Magical healing in the form of one-spell-heals-damage clerical magic does not cure Tenday Mold; hit point loss is of course remedied, but the mold keeps right on growing—even if a character is returned to full hit points. The right combination of healing-type spells must be cast (DM’s choice as to what spells work, and in what order if multiple spells are required, plus any required Healing Skill check or not). Characters at full HP suffering from Tenday Mold remain in excruciating pain.

8. In 8+1d4 days your character’s body will be fully covered in mold and spores, your character will draw his or her last breath and die (assuming starvation hasn’t killed your PC already). Your PC’s corpse will be frozen in place, and will look like a statue covered from head to foot in thick, powdery mold. Your character is now the latest in a long line of green, gray and blue mold covered humanoid-looking forest statues to be found in the deeper, darker parts of the King’s Forest.

9. (For what it’s worth, the stench fades away after your character dies.)

10. A thick, calcified crust will have formed underneath the mold—this what maintains the statue shape. Mounds of puckered spores will have formed in the center of the various colored patches to be found on your PCs corpse. The spores are very sensitive to movement and to the presence of flesh and blood creatures; your PCs corpse will burst in a 20’ radius if anything the size of a Halfling or larger comes within the area of effect, be it humanoid or forest creature or fantastical beast.

11. Druids and rangers that sight your PC’s corpse will mark the area as dangerous and to be avoided. A goodly act among druids is to cast spells causing bushes or vines to grow swiftly around or over your dead character’s form.

12. Rangers trained in the King’s Forest know that Honeysuckle eagerly takes root on Tenday Mold. If it’s planted near your PC’s corpse, the vines will encase it in about a month. This living shell consumes the mold and spores, and in any case dampens the eruption of spores (which seem still able to sense living creatures that wander by), reducing the explosive radius to 5’. Such growth produces flowers of varying colors, and the leaves are tinged with hues of blood red and deepest blue.

13. If the spores on your PC’s corpse explode, little is left behind. The shell in the shape of your PC’s body will be gone. All their flesh and bone is of course gone too. Anything your PC carried or wore that was incapable of rotting away will have been shot out in several random directions at the same time. However, if your PC’s corpse was covered in vines, all that didn’t rot can be found in a pile on the ground, covered in brittle bits of white that look like eggshells.

14. Wise adventurers know to look for human-high mounds of vines, and to carefully prod at them from a safe distance in the hopes of getting at whatever valuables might be found to lie inside.

15. Unscrupulous adventurers will lure or lead the unwary (such as other novice adventurers or the desperate) into the presence of Tenday Mold shells in order to set them off. After the explosion, the bad guys will attack and slay the unfortunates, then make off with whatever is revealed beneath the shells, as well as the property of the newly slain, as Tenday Mold settles quickly to the ground and then dies if it doesn’t find a new host to grow on.

16. Adventurers on the run from superior forces (or from one of the handful of Hill Giant-sized Owlbears that have reappeared within the last century in the King’s Forest) have been known to make for parts of the King’s Forest where Tenday Mold can be found, in the hopes of infecting their foes and creating a diversion by which they can escape.

Some more ideas for spells and other things.

1. Spell Idea:
Avenging Anvil
Cleric 5

This spell briefly summons the anvil a foe's metallic weapon was forged on. The anvil appears overhead or some distance in front of the spell's target, then proceeds to fly at the target at top speed, smashing into them with horrific, bone-crunching force.

Realmslore surrounding Avenging Anvil
  • Some say the spell was gifted to a righteous priest of Tempus, that she could smite warriors who'd shown cowardice on the field of battle.
  • Amongst the followers of Tyr and Torm, this spell is reserved as a punishment for use against anyone who murders forgemasters and their apprentices.
  • NOTE: The importance of forgemasters--and crafters of all kinds--is not lost on followers of the Red Knight, for whom the worship of strategy and planning is their life's work, and all of life is viewed as a series of skirmishes with occasional outbreaks of war. Paladins of the Red Knight are tasked with finding the murderers of anyone that makes objects useful in times of war, and seeing these killers punished for their deeds.
  • It's no secret that forgemasters have given themselves over to their work, and so the nature of their attachment to their forge is deeply personal--to the point of being magical. Thus, followers of Kelemvor will seek out haunted forges to determine why the haunted spirit of a forgemaster lurks near it. Avenging Anvil is one of several spells a priest of Kelemvor might employ in such situations, if using it will set the spirit free to find eternal rest and see a wrong made right.
  • Dwarves in the Realms find all these stories simplistic; any dwarf born under a rock can tell you Avenging Anvil is the latest name for a spell that is older than most human civilizations, and that was first used several millennia ago to punish dwarves who'd betrayed their clan.
  • Likewise on creatures--be it Drow, Orcs, Dragons or worse--that worked towards the demise of entire clans of Dwarves.
8. Spell Idea:
Anvil Storm
Cleric 9

This spell summons dark storm clouds the color of forge smoke and fire, and in the shape of mountain peaks. From within the clouds the sound of ten thousand hammers striking anvils erupt, which levels a cacophony of sound at the ground below. The sound stops all at once, and the enormous clouds withdraw inward to any of several hundred points within. A moment later, anvils begin to fall from the sky. The shrinking cloud moves about for several rounds as willed by the caster, and anvils continue to fall at a frightening rate until the clouds have dissipated.

9. Spell Idea:
Curse of Slag
Cleric ?

This spell works like Heat Metal, except that the caster may continue to concentrate until the metallic item becomes white hot and melts into a heap of slag. Not sure on duration, saves or damage.

Material Component: Any metallic object forged from the remains of an anvil that has been melted down.

10. Magic Item Idea:
Heart of the Forge

This magic item is comprised of a heavy, dense orb of the purest iron. The orb is always warm to the touch, and its surface is crisscrossed with the forge marks of every dwarf forgemaster that used the heat of a particular forge to soften the metal that they worked on their anvils. Such orbs are made only when a particular dwarf clan achieves their greatest and mightiest works at the forge, after which the clan casts all of their anvils into the heat of the forge in the hopes that a Heart of the Forge may form. If it does, the clan offers it up to the combined Dwarven Pantheon as a gift of thanks, after which the clan departs to find a new home, and to quest to bring word to fellow dwarves of whatever wisdom or instructions the Pantheon imparts. If a Heart does not form, the clan abandons its home and splinters into smaller groups, each seeking a new path. Some Hearts are not accepted by the Dwarven Pantheon, and instead are left to the dwarves for safekeeping until a time of great need.

Just what the Heart of the Forge does is something I leave to you, Dear Reader, because it's time for me to get ready for work.

Until Swords Part.

Other Worlds that Touch the Realms

Countless other worlds touch the Realms, or have been connected to the Realms in the past. Some ideas about one of these worlds follow.

1. A world where the continents float; they bob along like boats in the water, save the water that laps against their shores is no more than a mile deep, and where that mile ends the ocean no longer pushes down, but up.

2. Another mile deeper and the ocean gives way to another surface. This one looks down into the haze and ash-choked clouds that cloak the ravaged crust of the world that the continents were once attached to.

3. Somewhere in the space between the haze and the upside-down ocean, gravity resumes its normal pull downward. The weather in between is a snarl of storms, thunder, boiling heat and worse.

4. What creatures lurk on the fractured surface of the Ravaged Crust is something the beings who live on the World Above can only guess at. Only adventurers and the foolhardy attempt to swim the depths of the Two Oceans, or to brave the depths of the continents until they find the place where the world turns on itself, at which point they must climb their way deeper until they emerge and stand on the surface of the World Below.

5. What is known about the Ravaged Crust is that it is crisscrossed with open lesions that spew magma, smoke and ash. Heat boils from great lakes of lava. What rain falls on its surface quickly dissipates into steam. Water that does manage to pool will eventually boil away if it is not collected and allowed to cool.

6. Great needle-like spires of black rock jut from the surface of the Ravaged Crust. Some claim these spires are growing, and that if a spire should ever touch a floating continent, then that land mass will become caught and dragged down into the boiling heat.

7. In the world above, there are no polar ice caps. Most people believe the oceans end in the extreme north and south, and that if one travels far enough they may stand on open air at the water's edge, and look down into the World Below as far as the Ravaged Crust, some miles below.

8. Whereas the elves on the Realms continent of Faerûn gathered to unleash a continent-wide spell that sundered the face of the continent, and so allowed the elves to shatter the power of the Dragons and Giants that harried them while at the same time creating a homeland far west of Faerûn in the middle of the Trackless See (aka Evermeet), the elves of the world of the floating continents were caught unawares by an equally powerful spell devised and unleashed by their corrupt kin, who were long ago banished into the lightless depths of the World Below.

9. The dark elves on this world dared grasp with their magic the currents of white hot magma that flowed beneath their homes in the earth, and the sent it roiling up through the World Below to the surface to boil and burn and melt their most hated foes.

10. The elves on the World Above were caught unawares, as were the dwarves, orcs, men, and all other races and creatures. That the spell of the dark elves went awry was no surprise to the One Who Watches, for this Overgod knew what the dark elves were attempting was impossible for them to control. As horrific earthquakes tore the world apart and its oceans boiled off into the darkness beyond the sky, The One Who Watches caught up in his grasp the power of all the gods of elves and dark elves alike, and with it cast a great net of magic that caught the continents as they began to separate and float away from the world.

11. The animus that pitted elf against dark elf, and elf-god against dark elf-god, was made into a tangible force that held the continents in place and dragged what remained of the oceans to fill the space in between.

12. All the races and creatures that survived pray to their deities, but the elves and dark elves of this world have no gods that resemble their kind.

13. In the Realms, one may find naturally occurring portals in the depths below the Sea of Fallen Stars that lead to the world where the continents float. Likewise in the waters off of Evermeet.

Now all I need is a name for this world. Any ideas, Dear Reader?

Slow day in the brand-new-ideas department, but a few hours of good writing in the updating-the-Cormyr-sourcebook department.

If you've never encountered a War Wizard of Cormyr before, particularly in the 4E or 5E era of the Forgotten Realms, then this might be of use to you.



• On the Dragon Coast, in the village of Blustich, the women sing and the men play instruments.

• This is for most gatherings involving summoning the wind and the spirits of the fog.

• Of course the men and women of Blustich sing and play instruments as suits their tastes.

• A very few formal (‘formal’ in this case meaning an activity meant for more than simply singing or playing instruments for entertainment) songs are sung by men only.
Example: Sometimes the spirits of the fog become lost in the forest. If this happens, it’s up to the Walkers in the Woods to lure the spirits home with song, and at least get them back to the graveyard on the landrise above Blustich.

• It’s considered a bad sign if a woman is moved to play an instrument in a formal way. Really bad news if several women do.

• The Walkers in the Woods collect and share leafmaps.

• Leafmaps form slowly—days at a time; each day showning a little more of the way into the woods. Sometimes they form on flower petals.

• At the end of a lunar cycle, leafmaps show the way to the heart of the Hermit’s Woods.

• This path lasts for one day and one night, when Selûne is full in the night’s sky.

• The Walkers in the Woods find lost travelers and others captured by the Hermit’s Woods, and bring them out to safety.


• In the Hermit’s Wood, on consecutively cloudy nights, one can tell if the moon has shown through the clouds by night because a certain flower changes color under the light of the moon.

• Leafmaps form on dead leaves, not just living ones.

• Leafmaps can be used to estimate how far along the moon is in its cycle.

• Traveling into the Hermit’s Woods is most dangerous when Selûne is new.

• When the moon is new, if one travels into the wood by night and loses sight of the edge of the wood, they are certain to become lost.

• This danger lessens as the days go by and the Selûne waxes towards her first quarter.

• The Walkers in the Wood are expert at knowing just how far one can travel without risking becoming lost in the wood.

• It’s easiest to tell if you’re lost at night, for this is when the power lurking over the Wood manifests the strongest. You know you’re lost in the Hermit’s Woods when the moon was shining high in the sky one moment, and now you can’t see it in the sky at all.

• By day, even if Selûne is visible in the sky, one may travel freely in the Hermit’s Woods. Strange things still occur, but rarely.

• If one has yet to leave the Hermit’s Woods by sunfall, however, and they are in a part of the wood it’s not safe to travel in yet, they will become lost. Gods help them, then.

Magic Items: Inherited Traits and Accidental Enchantments

I just love Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGtE). It’s got something for everyone. And unlike a lot of other sourcebooks, each dose of “something for everyone” is big, not small. That is, there’s a lot of crossover value (i.e., value for Dungeon Masters and Players) to the rules and information in the book.

Pages 136-140 provide a list of Common Magic Items. Nice thing about a short and sweet list of new magic is that the door is wide open for creating backstories and histories for each item.

So, let’s assume there is at least one version of every magic item in XGtE that was made unintentionally. Now, we just have to go down the list and figure out the how and why for each item.

Ten ideas to break it down. Here we go.

Item the first: Armor of Gleaming.

• Fledgling war wizards don’t just learn to cast spells. On the contrary, they are trained to investigate and ferret out lies.

• War Wizard trainees are guarded by veteran Purple Dragon soldiers. Otherwise it would be easier for foes of Cormyr to slay groups unguarded magelings than to hunt down and assassinate experienced members of the Brotherhood of the Wizards of War one at a time.

• As such, when war wizard trainees fail to discern when a lie is told during class (such as when a pair of Purple Dragons roleplay the part of inspector and merchant, respectively, who have met at the city gates of one of Cormyr’s major cities—where all goods and wagons are inspected before entry), the trainees are given cleaning duty: clean the guard Dragon’s armor and clothes—all of it.

• An hour of dirt, dung and stench duty (i.e., doing laundry) is a humbling experience (and teaching humility to nascent Wizards of War is a good thing as far as the Mage Royal of all Cormyr is concerned), and not a task that most war wizards look forward to.

• Generally speaking, Wizards of War are smart, not wise. Experience is the best teacher here, though for some war wizard trainees no amount of drudgery helps.

• Sometimes, day after day, the same poor trainee can be found behind piles of armor, stormcloaks, boots, socks and clouts, carefully casting Prestidigitation before wading into their work.

• One such trainee, Feldran “Doraunk” Durvorkar, simply could not tell a lie from the truth, even when it was obvious. Possessed with half a helping a wits, the poor fellow would look to the sky in wonder if you told him all the clouds had turned into anvils that were just now floating overhead.

• Worse, Feldran enjoyed the work of removing the stench of sweat from armor and cleaning clothes. Gift him with a pile of sodden clothes and he would gift you with a smile. Soon Feldran was doing the laundry of his fellow students, in addition to that of the Dragons.

• Feldran favored the armor of Dragon officers most of all. Each piece he meticulously cleaned, sometimes casting Prestidigitation ten times before moving from one gauntlet to the next, even though one casting would suffice.

• Upon Feldran's departure from Stormhaven House (an academy where would-be war wizards come for training and instruction, located within sight of the farming village of Espar), a pair of junior Purple Dragon officers found their armor to remain unsoiled and never carry a stench, even after a tenday spent on patrol, for Feldran had unwittingly enchanted their armor.

One down, 47 to go!
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Exclusively on the DMs Guild.

Just bought your 'In the Year of the Nameless One' from DM's Guild. I think its gonna be invaluable as our next campaign starts in Cormyr (gonna see how they do with a sandbox - I think they're ready for it). I'll write a review as such on the DMGuild as soon as I've finished reading.

I'm skipping to 1494, so I can pick and choose what I want as far as 'canon' goes. However I have a question - anyone who knows canon, please feel free to answer. On the Forgotten Realms Wiki (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Cormyr) It has a list of 8 laws, number 5 of which is "Harming cats is forbidden."

Is there a reason for this? Is somebody trolling? One of the characters is a tabaxi, so I could have some fun with this, but it seems like a rather ridiculous law.
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Just bought your 'In the Year of the Nameless One' from DM's Guild. I think its gonna be invaluable as our next campaign starts in Cormyr (gonna see how they do with a sandbox - I think they're ready for it). I'll write a review as such on the DMGuild as soon as I've finished reading.
Glad to hear it! Sandbox-style play is what Cormyr In The Year Of The Ageless One is all about.

I'm working on a revision and expansion of that product, too, so please plan on having access to a lot more content in a few months.

However I have a question - anyone who knows canon, please feel free to answer. On the Forgotten Realms Wiki (http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Cormyr) It has a list of 8 laws, number 5 of which is "Harming cats is forbidden."

Is there a reason for this? Is somebody trolling? One of the characters is a tabaxi, so I could have some fun with this, but it seems like a rather ridiculous law.
I don't think anyone is trolling.

The idea of Cormyr having a law against harming cats rings a bell, but I just checked Volo's Guide to Cormyr and found no references to such a law.

Were I you, I'd ignore the law (especially since the Wiki offers no citation).

I'll keep checking around in the meantime. If I find the reference, I'll let you know.

Is there a reason for this? Is somebody trolling? One of the characters is a tabaxi, so I could have some fun with this, but it seems like a rather ridiculous law.
The reference is from the adventure Four From Cormyr, which lists eight laws, including that cats may not be harmed.

The idea behind this is the belief that cats are the eyes of the gods, so to harm a cat is to invite bad luck on yourself.


Glad to hear it! Sandbox-style play is what Cormyr In The Year Of The Ageless One is all about.

I'm working on a revision and expansion of that product, too, so please plan on having access to a lot more content in a few months.

I don't think anyone is trolling.

The idea of Cormyr having a law against harming cats rings a bell, but I just checked Volo's Guide to Cormyr and found no references to such a law.

Were I you, I'd ignore the law (especially since the Wiki offers no citation).

I'll keep checking around in the meantime. If I find the reference, I'll let you know.

The reference is from the adventure Four From Cormyr, which lists eight laws, including that cats may not be harmed.

The idea behind this is the belief that cats are the eyes of the gods, so to harm a cat is to invite bad luck on yourself.
Thanks a million! I think I'll have it more of a tradition or superstition than an actual law.

Item Backstories: Item the Second: Bead of Nourishment

Continuing along with the idea of Inherited Traits and Accidental Enchantments for magic items, we have next on our list the Bead of Nourishment from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

This one took more than ten bullet points to lock down.

• In Cormyr, the Wizards of War aren’t effective as they once were.

• The Mage Royal, Ganrahast, has been forced to find other ways to spy and to glean information—methods less preferable to his predecessor (and father), Vangerdahast, who cultivated a reputation for leaving disloyal nobles drooling and witless after he pried into their minds with his magic.

• After all, Mind Reaming is now forbidden in Cormyr. The Suzail Writ grants some minor protections from spell-based eavesdropping, too. Ganrahast had one hand tied behind his back, and his job wasn’t about to get any easier.

• The common people have long placed their trust in war wizards, for Cormyr’s mages have served as a check on the power of Cormyr’s nobility. This trust absolutely had to be maintained.

• Thus, the Wizards of War needed to learn how to spy by means other than magic, how to craft and wear disguises, and take on roles as persons other than mages. To do this, they had to cooperate and learn from the Purple Dragons and select Highknights, who’ve long had to spy the old fashioned way.

• Because so much of the spell research and planning done by the Brotherhood takes place within the Royal Palace and Court, the work of reshaping the war wizard’s tactics started there, too.

• The Palace and Court are also the scene of failures in spell research and magic item creation. The dross from countless crafting attempts lay heaped in sturdy wooden crates placed in chambers divided from each other by thick walls of stone, and locked away behind iron-shod doors.

• One such chamber held a much-used copper frying pan from the kitchens of the palace. Twice the handle from this pan snapped on the Royal Cook of the Low Kitchens at an inopportune time; he vowed there would not be a third.

• The pan was rescued by a war wizard before it could be melted down and recast. The mage desired to craft a cooking pan that could purify whatever food or drink was placed in it, no matter how rancid—a useful item for anyone needing to spend days or weeks at a time away from ready access to provisions. The gods had other plans, however, for all the war wizard succeeded in doing was crafting a not quite magical pan that absorbed edibles and drinkables, leaving no trace.

• Failures in item crafting, just like successes, must be recorded by the crafting war wizard. These reports are submitted to a superior and then filed away with other Dark Documents (i.e., documents not meant for public consumption or review). The pan was disposed of in a crate with other recent failures.

• The report was read by another war wizard, who was convinced the copper pan held the essence of the food and drink. After retrieving the pan from its crate, she spent two long tendays of her free time experimenting. Finally, she coaxed something out of the pan by means of her magic: grey, lumpy gelatin that slowly congealed into little beads.

• “Tymora hates a coward,” as the saying goes. The Wizard of War said as much, them plucked a bead out of the pan and ate it.

• Her tongue did not grow the length of her arm. Her teeth did not fall out. She did not empty the contents of her morningfeast all over the floor. She felt quite fine. It wasn’t until the next morning that she realized she’d had no desire to eat for most of the prior day.

• As much as possible, Highknights and Wizards of War plan their activities in advance. If a spying mission will last for a tenday or more, requisitions for supplies are made and orders issued by the Clerk of Vigilance (the seniormost Highknight of all Cormyr).

• One set of orders finds its way to a certain war wizard, who is tasked with retrieving a much-used copper pan from a heavily defended part of the Royal Palace. Another order finds its way to the Royal Cook of the Low Kitchens, that he may order his assistants to pile leftovers onto carts for delivery elsewhere in the palace.

• The war wizard, along with carts laden with food fit for a King, converge on another heavily defended part of the Royal Palace. Here she crafts Beads of Nourishment by means of the pan and her spellwork, so that the Cormyrean spies the Beads are intended for need not be encumbered by supplies of food and water, nor fear going hungry.

And there you go.
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The reference is from the adventure Four From Cormyr, which lists eight laws, including that cats may not be harmed.

The idea behind this is the belief that cats are the eyes of the gods, so to harm a cat is to invite bad luck on yourself.

The reference to cats was originally in the 2E Cormyr sourcebook by Eric Haddock.

The Swordsage

XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Third: Bead of Refreshment

Continuing along with the idea of Inherited Traits and Accidental Enchantments for magic items, we have next on our list the Bead of Refreshment from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

• Well, we’re going to need a name for the war wizard who figured out how to make something useful out of the partially enchanted copper pan (see my last post in this series).

• As it happens, I’ve got the perfect candidate: Imcharla Darphon. Also known as “Windy Robes.”

• Don’t let the unfortunate nickname fool you. Imcharla is a loyal and dedicated war wizard. She prevented the assassination by poison of no less a personage than Crown Prince Irvel (she still carries that poison within her body), and is a fixture within the Royal Palace in Suzail.

• So, Imcharla figured out that the spongy little bits of gelatinous somethings (Beads of Nourishment) produced with the aid of a special copper frying pan could keep someone fed for a day, just by eating one.

• But there remained the matter of storing them. Did the beads spoil? Would they grow stale or become inedible? Most importantly: could they be made to actually taste good? Experimentation was required.

• There were new orders for Imcharla, too. This time from the Lord Warder (and de facto second in command of the Wizards of War), Vainrence: figure out how to standardize the process of creating Beads of Nourishment. No small task, that.

• One of the advantages to working in a place like the Royal Palace and Court is that nearly anything a wizard might need can be had.

• Over the objections of the Senior Cellarer (one Jamaldro by name), Imcharla procured several fine wines from deep within the lowest level of the palace cellars.

• Into bottles of Charsalace, Dragonslake and Arrhenish she placed one of her gelatinous beads. Imcharla recorked the bottles and placed them on a shelf next to more beads left out in the open.

• From the Low Kitchens Imcharla obtained a copper pot. With the notes of war wizard who’d first tried to enchant palace cookware in hand, she set to work recreating his experiment.

• Two tendays later, Imcharla’s workroom was covered in black soot and smelled of burnt food and hot metal. She was on her third copper pot, the first two having spontaneously melted down to lumpen slag, with the threatening words of the Royal Cook fresh in her mind (one Nestur Laklantur, who’d promised to arm every last one of his undercooks with knives and forks and send them after her if she took yet another of his favored cooking pots). No progress, yet.

• Fortunately, her Beads of Nourishment experiments were going well. She’d determined the beads remained just as effective, whether left out in the open or after being soaked in fine wine. Unfortunately, they tasted the same—which is to say the beads didn’t taste like anything at all.

• Short of supplies and in no mood to venture forth to the Low Kitchens, Imcharla poured the last of the Arrhenish into her newest copper pot, cast her spells and waited. This time the liquid slowly disappeared. A few moments later, beads the size of pearls appeared in the pot.

• Delighted, Imcharla didn’t hesitate to pour the bottle of Charsalace into the pot. Before she could cast her spells, the sparkling liquid turned clear as expensive glass. Half the beads were gone.

• The Dragonslake went into the pot. The ruby red liquid became transparent. The remaining beads were gone.

• Further experiments showed the liquid was pure, clean water.

• The war wizard had failed, yet succeeded in creating something new: Beads of Refreshment
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XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Fourth: Boots of False Tracks

Continuing along with the idea of Inherited Traits and Accidental Enchantments for magic items, we have next on our list Boots of False Tracks, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

• In Eveningstar, there live a handful of war wizards keep watch over the Blueleaf Gate.

• This magical portal links to the Royal Gardens in Suzail.

• The Blueleaf Gate is not unguarded. War Wizards watch over the gate in pairs, on both sides.

• These wizards—called Blueleaf Sentinels—report to a senior war wizard, one Jorbril Rammastar, who lives in a small cottage south of Eveningstar.

• As the Blueleaf Warden, Jorbril collects reports on any arrivals or departures via the gate from his subordinates.

• The Sentinels cover their tracks by means of a simple spell—one that transforms their footprints into that of animals native to the King’s Forest. This is because of the nature of the gate’s creation, and the fact that it draws animals to the vicinity.

Save your spells, is a maxim among the Wizards of War. Learning to not waste spells isn’t easy for junior wizards, who prefer to cast at the drop of a hat. But the skill must be learned.

• Minor magic items that duplicate simple spells help in this regard. Jorbril hoped to craft magical boots that left behind animal tracks in the wearer’s wake, that his subordinates might have one less spell to memorize and so room to keep another useful spell handy.

• He succeeded, four times over. The boots went to his subordinates. Jorbril traveled through the gate to Suzail, there to meet his counterpart on the other side and deliver his report of the items’ creation.

• Upon his return through the Blueleaf Gate, he found two of his subordinates naked and dead, their blood pooled at the base of the tree from which they kept watch over the gate, their bodies hanging from branches of the tree, their belongings all taken.

• No humanoid tracks. No trace of the killers. They were wearing the magical boots.

• Few Wizards of War know that it’s possible to attune to the Blueleaf Gate. The duty of the Blueleaf Warden requires it, however, despite the danger to one’s sanity.

• Jorbril called on the raw power of the gate, saw in his mind’s eye the magical boots he’d made by means of his own magic, and willed the enchantment laid over the boots to change.

• The gate spit crimson fire that settled over its edges, leaving a clear pool of magic in which Jorbril saw the mage killers. As well their footprints, one after the other lined in fire that only he could see.

• He turned from the gate, his own eyes lit by magical fire, and tracked the killers down.

• The two pairs of boots Jorbril recovered no longer function the same. The magical boots are still classified as Boots of False Tracks in the archives of the war wizards. These, however, leave behind humanoid tracks and not animal tracks.

• Jorbril gave the boots over for storage in the Royal Palace, even though he could now track anyone wearing them by a simple act of will, for the remainder of his days.

• His debt to Meilikki had grown. He could feel her presence in his dreams. Sometimes he saw a giant stag in the corner of eye, but observed nothing when he turned to look for it. Soon the goddess would call on him to repay her favor. He hoped she required something less than his life in payment.
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XGtE Magic Item Backstories set in Cormyr. Item the Fourth: Candle of the Deep

Continuing along with the idea of Inherited Traits and Accidental Enchantments for magic items, we have next on our list Candle of the Deep, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, p.136.

• Among the temple ruins still standing in the vicinity of Monksblade, in Cormyr, one may find the remnants of the House of the Sea.

• Few stones remain to mark where the grand façade of the House of the Sea looked south, towards the coast and the Dragonmere beyond. Rare is the worshipper of the Queen of the Deeps who visits the old temple ruin.

• The cornerstones of the temple remain, as do lines of broken stone walls north of the façade. Within this space the ground alternates between sodden brown soil and grey, broken flagstone. White patches surround the base of mangroves and other saltwater plants that flourish in the ruin, obscuring the wet ground and dangerous footing underneath.

• As the tide comes in along the Dragon Coast to the south, saltwater appears along the north face of the temple façade and begins to pool on the ground. At high tide, all the ground where the temple once stood is covered in water a foot deep.

• Local legend holds that the true temple to Umberlee lay beneath the ground. Likewise, that the entrance to the True Temple appears somewhere within the boundaries of the old temple when water covers the ground.

• The temple ruin stands on (relatively) high ground. It’s said adventurers have used magical means to fly over the temple to spy the entrance to the True Temple (the Company of the Bottled Fiend is thought to have done this). If such an entrance exists, it’s likely to be obscured by the tangled nest of saltwater plants that grow in the ruin.

• Within the True Temple, no saltwater may be found so long as the tide to the south is high. As the tide recedes, water begins to pool within the maze of chambers below ground.

• The water pools slowly, but its elevation rises quickly as low tide approaches. Finally, the water fills the cellars immediately below the temple ruin, where one may find a pair of secret doors that open into spiraling stairways that lead down to the True Temple.

• Just before low tide, the cellar entrance disappears. The ground above remains sodden. It is impossible to hear the cries of anyone trapped below ground before water steals their ability to speak forever.

• The bodies of such unfortunates can be recovered, but Umberlee looks coldly on anyone that defiles her sacred places or fails to leave proper tribute. Such persons will have become Sea Spawn (Volo’s Guide to Monsters, page 189) in the time that the entrance is closed.

• These Sea Spawn exist only to choke the life out of invaders despoiling the True Temple, and so add to the ranks of its guardians.

• Among the treasure one may recover from the Sea Spawn are whatever gear they carried in life. If any lanterns, torches or candles are found, these all operate as Candles of the Deep if submerged under water of any kind, but for no more than twelve and one half hours.

• A handful of sages are aware of the rumors surrounding the Temple of the Sea and the True Temple beneath it. Speculation abounds as to what other Inherited Magical Traits the True Temple confers.
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