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D&D (2024) Make SPELL SCHOOLS Thematic (and Useful)

Yaarel

He-Mage
Make SPELL SCHOOLS Thematic (and Useful)

This thread tweaks the traditional spell schools to organize them more thematically. When each school has a clear theme, the schools can help players find the relevant spells, and build different character concepts. It is like painting a canvas with tubes of different colored paints.

Each school has its own spell list. In addition, some schools subdivide into "subschools". For example, the Fireball spell belongs to the "Fire" subschool in the "Evocation" school.


The "magic of magic", such as the spells Detect Magic and Dispel Magic, forms its own school that any caster can access. It is the Universal school regarding the "Dweomer", namely the aura of magic, and the "Weave", the ambient magic inherent in all things that exist. Ultimately, all schools can cause reality to come into being, by various means, whether by Psionic mind over magic or Divine miracle, or so on. Hence the Wish spell too locates in the Universal school.

Among the schools, Abjuration is odd. Unlike the other schools, Abjuration describes a purpose, rather than a means. It is any kind of magic that is used for protection: for defense, warding, shielding, healing, restoration, and resurrection. Abjuration is useful, but works better as a spell descriptor tag than a school. For example, Cure Wounds is a Transmutation school spell that transmutes the body for the purpose of Abjuration. Most schools have spells that can be used for protective purposes.

Oppositely, Necromancy too is odd, a descriptor that can apply to various schools. Most of its spells come from the Conjuration school. But it is distinctive enough to form its own list. Necromancy spells explore the dreadful aspects of magic. They necromance deathliness and conjure deals with forbidden planar creatures, such as Undead, Fiend, and Aberration. The necromancies overlap the darksides of other schools too, such as to enchant fear or insanity, to evoke darkness, to illude ghostly manifestations, or to transmute disease or necrosis.

Seven spell schools remain. Each of these seven schools is salient and flavorful. These schools are also comprehensive and can organize EVERY official spell in D&D. Most spells clearly belong to a specific school and subschool. A few spells are complex that have variagated moving parts packaging together, but even these tend to have a main theme that correlates a particular school.



SPELL SCHOOLS

Each spell school is a collection of tropes relating to a theme.

CONJURATION
= to conjure across the planes of the multiverse

Conjuration is planar magic that manifests effects from other levels of existence, such as becoming pure thought within the Astral Plane.
The Planeshift spell that transfigures into other levels of being is also a Conjuration planar magic, as are spells that can Contact Other Plane.

Most spells that summon creatures, such as Find Familiar and Conjure Celestial, belong to the Conjuration school. The spell grants these otherworldly immaterial beings an avatar to manifest physically within the Material Plane, or similarly an other kind of avatar when in any other plane. Depending on the spell, the beings typically return to their planar home if the avatar is destroyed.

However note. The summoning of Elemental creatures from the Elemental Planes relates instead to the Evocation school and its Elemental magic.



DUNOMANCY
= to dunomance force = to telekinese force

Dunomancy spells manipulate the stuff of force. The dunomancer, also known as the telekinetic, can wield force telekinetically to move an object, such as Fly and Telekinesis, or to deal Force damage, such as Magic Missile. Force damage is like extreme gravity but it can be concentrated in a small area. A dunomancer can also shape force into quasi-solid forcefields to form force constructs, like Unseen Servant and Wall of Force.

Like the force of gravity, force is ethereal, namely physical but immaterial. When understood as a "fifth element", also known as quintessence, a stuff that something can be made out of, force is called "ether". The Ethereal Plane is the Fifth Elemental Plane. Everything of this plane is made out of forces. Ultimately even the Four Elements of matter are made out of immaterial force (nuclear forces and electromagnetic force). Thus the force of the Disintegrate spell can undo the forces that hold matter together.



DIVINATION
= to divinate across spacetime

Divination spells produce effects by means of space and time. The technical term to divinate disambiguates from an other technical term, namely the Divine power source for magic relating to the Astral Plane.

The Divination school comprises two subschools: Scry and Teleportation.

Scry sees across spacetime. The term scry derives from "dis-" and "cry", in the sense of a calling out a description while physically apart from it. A scry makes the unknown known.

Teleportation jumps thru spacetime, and even manipulates it to form demiplanes and distortions of time. While ones mind is elsewhere in space or time, one can pull ones body there, thereby teleporting spatially or temporally without distance between. Demiplanes are distortions of space, such as a box that is bigger inside than outside. Time distortions, such as Haste and Time Stop, are aspects of Teleportation as they manipulate the fabric of spacetime.

Divination subschools
• Scry (clairvoyance, prescience, luck, fate)
• Teleportation (a relocating to elsewhere in space or time, distorting spacetime)



ENCHANTMENT
= to enchant the mind

Enchantment spells play with a mind. The enchanter, also known as the telepath, can help or harm a mind. Enchantments can charm, frighten, delude, or dominate, but can also communicate telepathically, intimately discern the deepest needs, boost memory, and heal and empower a mind. One can even awaken a new consciousness. Phantasm spells cause experiences that only exist in the mind of a target, resembling a hallucination or a dream.



EVOCATION
= to evoke the elements

Evocation spells produce effects by means of the Four Elements of matter: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Each element is a physical state of matter − respectively, solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Each Element is also a presence.

To "evoke" means to "call" something "out", or bring it forth, including magically. The technical jargon specifies to evoke specific properties that are inherent within each of the Elements. An Element has a mentality. An Elemental creature is a manifestation of it. The Elements behave the way they do because they want to behave that way. Water likes to flow down. Fire likes to leap up. To evoke an Element is a personal affinity with that Element.

Each Element is a subschool. There is also a Primordial subschool where all four elements are together in an unstable flux.

Evocation subschools
• Air (lightning-thunder damages, wind, breath, vacuum, detonation, sound)
• Earth (weapon damages, rock, soil, mud, metal, crystal)
• Fire (fire and radiant damage, light and darkness, sun, stars)
• Water (cold damage, ice, cloud, rain, drowning, fluidity)
• Primordial (acid damage, blendings of various elemental energies)



ILLUSION
= to illude reality

The true reality is the reality that a mind experiences. Illusion spells blur the boundary between subjective perception and objective fact.

The word to "illude" means to cause an illusion, and derives from the concept of being "playful" (ludic) "at" (in). An Illusion plays with reality itself, whether to create a fun experience or a tricky one. A rewarding reality for allies or a punishing reality for hostiles.

Illusions alter objective reality in some way, creating a quasi-real object, where many minds can encounter the phenomenon. Some Illusion spells are immaterial holograms that ones hand can strangely pass thru. Others manifest a physical force, resembling a force construct, but more feeling more psychologically compelling.



TRANSMUTATION
= to transmute lifeforms

Transmutation attunes and shapes the myriad forms of life. Where Evocation evokes the inorganic matter of the elements, Transmutation transmutes the organic matter of life, including animals and plants, and the materials from them, like horn and leather, and wood and linen. Shapeshifting is Transmutation.

Transmutations include the subschools of Animal, Plant, and Healing. Animal extends from Beast to any living creature, especially Humanoid, while emphasizing the bodily aspects. Plant includes plantlike forms such as fungus and simpler forms of life such as Ooze. Plant also involves foods, and the crafting of plant products of wood, fabrics of linen or cotton, paper, resins, and crafting generally. Healing opens a safe space for life itself, growing, healing and restoring, while gently perfusing the lifegiving aspects of positive energy. To transmute is to shapeshift from one form of life to an other, especially to a lifeform that is hale and hearty.

Transmutation subschools
• Animal (poison damage, Beast and the body of any living creature)
• Healing (ideal lifeform, regenerating, enlivening, healing, resurrecting)
• Plant (Plant, vegetation, plant products, crafting)



SPELL LISTS

The spells lists finetune which spells go to which school and subschool. Each list is thematically tight. Build a character concept by deciding which thematic lists are appropriate for it.

ABJURATION
= Healing
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Spare the Dying

1st-Level Spells
Cure Wounds
Healing Word


2nd-Level Spells
Aid
Gentle Repose
Healing Spirit
Lesser Restoration
Prayer of Healing


3rd-Level Spells
Aura of Vitality
Beacon of Hope
Crusaders Mantle
Mass Healing Word
Revivify


4th-Level Spells
Aura of Life
Death Ward


5th-Level Spells
Antilife Shell
Greater Restoration
Mass Cure Wounds


6th-Level Spells
Heal
Heroes Feast


7th-Level Spells
Regenerate
Resurrection


8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Invulnerability
Mass Heal
Power Word Heal
True Resurrection
(Create Body)

CONJURATION
= Planar Magic
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Detect Evil / Good (Planar)
Protection from Evil / Good (Planar)

2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Blink
Magic Circle
(Planar)
Summon Fey

4th-Level Spells
Banishment
Conjure Woodland Beings
(Fey)
Divination

5th-Level Spells
Banishing Smite
Commune
Contact Other Plane
Dispel Evil / Good
(Planar)
Hallow
Leomunds Secret Chest
(Ethereal)
Planar Binding
Summon Celestial


6th-Level Spells
Conjure Fey
Drawmijs Instant Summons
Forbiddance
Planar Ally
Tashas Otherworldly Guise


7th-Level Spells
Conjure Celestial
Dream of the Blue Veil
Etherealness
Plane Shift
Temple


8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Gate

DIVINATION
= Spacetime Navigation
SCRY
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Guidance
Resistance
True Strike


1st-Level Spells
Alarm
Bane
Bless
Ceremony
Comprehend Languages
Hunters Mark
Shield of Faith


2nd-Level Spells
Augury
Find Traps
Locate Object
Magic Weapon
Nystuls Magic Aura
Warding Bond


3rd-Level Spells
Bestow Curse
Clairvoyance
Nondetection
Remove Curse
Tongues


4th-Level Spells
Arcane Eye
Locate Creature
Mordenkainens Private Sanctum


5th-Level Spells
Legend Lore
Scrying
Skill Empowerment


6th-Level Spells
Find the Path

7th-Level Spells
Sequester

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Astral Projection
Foresight

TELEPORTATION
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Expeditious Retreat

2nd-Level Spells
Misty Step
Rope Trick


3rd-Level Spells
Haste
Slow


4th-Level Spells
Dimension Door

5th-Level Spells
Steel and Wind Strike
Teleportation Circle


6th-Level Spells
Arcane Gate
Scatter
Word of Recall


7th-Level Spells
Teleport

8th-Level Spells
Demiplane
Maze


9th-Level Spells
Imprisonment
Time Stop

DUNOMANCY
= Force Magic
0-Level Arcane Spells (Cantrips)
Blade Ward
Eldritch Blast
Mage Hand
Sword Burst


1st-Level Arcane Spells
Catapult
Levitation
Mage Armor
Magic Missile
Shield
Tensers Floating Disc
Unseen Servant
Zephyr Strike


2nd-Level Arcane Spells
Arcane Lock
Knock
Levitate
Spiritual Weapon


3rd-Level Spells
Fly

4th-Level Spells
Otilukes Resilient Sphere

5th-Level Spells
Bigbys Hand
Telekinesis
Wall of Force


6th-Level Spells
Disintegrate

7th-Level Spells
Forcecage
Mordenkainens Sword
Reverse Gravity


8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Blade of Disaster

ENCHANTMENT
= Mind Magic
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Friends
Mind Sliver
Vicious Mockery


1st-Level Spells
Cause Fear
Charm Person
Command
Compelled Duel
Dissonant Whispers
Heroism
Sanctuary
Sleep
Tashas Hideous Laughter
Wrathful Smite


2nd-Level Spells
Calm Emotions
Crown of Madness
Detect Thoughts
Enhance Ability
(Mental Ability: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma)
Enthrall
Hold Person
Mind Spike
Suggestion
Tashas Mind Whip
Zone of Truth


3rd-Level Spells
Fear
Hypnotic Pattern
Intellect Fortress
Phantasmal Force
Sending


4th-Level Spells
Charm Monster
Compulsion
Confusion
Staggering Smite


5th-Level Spells
Awaken
Dominate Person
Dream
Geas
Hold Monster
Modify Memory
Phantasmal Killer
Rarys Telepathic Bond
Synaptic Static


6th-Level Spells
Eyebite
Magic Jar
Mass Suggestion
Ottos Irresistable Dance


7th-Level Spells
Power Word Pain
Symbol
(Mind-Affecting)

8th-Level Spells
Antipathy / Sympathy
Dominate Monster
Feeblemind
Glibness
Mind Blank
Telepathy


9th-Level Spells
Psychic Scream

EVOCATION
= Elemental Magic
Choose two subschools from the following list: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, or Primordial. If taking the Evocation school a second time, you gain all five subschools.

EARTH
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Magic Stone
Mending
(Earth, rock, metal, crystal)
Mold Earth

1st-Level Spells
Earth Tremor

2nd-Level Spells
Cloud of Daggers
Dust Devil
Earthbind
Maximilians Earthen Grasp


3rd-Level Spells
Erupting Earth
Meld into Stone
Tiny Servant
Wall of Sand


4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Earth)
Fabrication (Earth, rock, metal, crystal)
Stone Shape
Stoneskin
Summon Construct
Summon Elemental
(Earth)

5th-Level Spells
Animate Objects (Earth)
Commune with Nature
Conjure Elemental
(Earth)
Passwall
Transmute Rock
Wall of Stone


6th-Level Spells
Blade Barrier
Bones of the Earth
Flesh to Stone
Investiture of Stone
Move Earth


7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Earthquake
Mighty Fortress


9th-Level Spells
Meteor Storm

WATER
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Frostbite
Ray of Frost
Shape Water


1st-Level Spells
Armor of Agathys
Create or Destroy Water
Ice Knife


2nd-Level Spells
Snillocs Snowball Swarm

3rd-Level Spells
Sleet Storm
Tidal Wave
Wall of Water
Water Breathing
Water Walk


4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Water)
Control Water
Fire Shield
(Cold)
Ice Storm
Summon Elemental
(Water)
Watery Sphere

5th-Level Spells
Cone of Cold
Conjure Elemental
(Water)
Maelstrom

6th-Level Spells
Investiture of Ice
Otilukes Freezing Sphere
Wall of Ice


7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Tsunami

9th-Level Spells

AIR
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Booming Blade
Gust
Lightning Lure
Message
Shocking Grasp
Thaumaturgy
Thunderclap


1st-Level Spells
Feather Fall
Fog Cloud
Guiding Bolt
Thunderous Smite
Thunderwave
Witch Bolt


2nd-Level Spells
Gust of Wind
Shatter
Silence
Skywrite


3rd-Level Spells
Call Lightning
Gaseous Form
Lightning Arrow
Lightning Bolt
Thunder Step
Wind Wall


4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Air)
Storm Sphere
Summon Elemental
(Air)

5th-Level Spells
Conjure Elemental (Air)
Control Winds

6th-Level Spells
Chain Lightning
Investiture of Wind
Wind Walk


7th-Level Spells
Whirlwind

8th-Level Spells
Control Weather

9th-Level Spells
Storm of Vengeance

FIRE
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Control Flames
Create Bonfire
Dancing Lights
Fire Bolt
Green Flame Blade
Light
Produce Flame
Sacred Flame
Word of Radiance


1st-Level Spells
Burning Hands
Color Spray
Divine Favor
Faerie Fire
Hellish Rebuke
Searing Smite


2nd-Level Spells
Aganazzars Scorcher
Branding Smite
Continual Flame
Darkness
Darkvision
Flame Blade
Flaming Sphere
Heat Metal
Moonbeam
Pyrotechnics
Scorching Ray


3rd-Level Spells
Blinding Smite
Daylight
Fireball
Melfs Minute Meteors


4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Fire)
Fire Shield (Fire)
Guardian of Faith
Sickening Radiance
Summon Elemental
(Fire)
Wall of Fire

5th-Level Spells
Conjure Elemental (Fire)
Dawn
Flame Strike
Holy Weapon
Immolation
Wall of Light


6th-Level Spells
Investiture of Flame
Sunbeam


7th-Level Spells
Crown of Stars
Delayed Blast Fireball
Fire Storm


8th-Level Spells
Holy Aura
Incendiary Cloud
Sunburst


9th-Level Spells

PRIMORDIAL
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Acid Splash

1st-Level Spells
Absorb Elements
Chaos Bolt
Chromatic Orb
Tashas Caustic Brew


2nd-Level Spells
Dragons Breath
Melfs Acid Arrow


3rd-Level Spells
Elemental Weapon
Protection from Energy
Spirit Guardians


4th-Level Spells
Elemental Bane
Shadow of Moil
Vitriolic Sphere


5th-Level Spells
Destructive Wave

6th-Level Spells
Primordial Ward

7th-Level Spells
Prismatic Spray

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Prismatic Wall

ILLUSION
= Play with Reality
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Minor Illusion
Prestidigitation


1st-Level Spells
Disguise Self
Silent Image


2nd-Level Spells
Blur
Invisibility
Magic Mouth
Mirror Image
See Invisibility
Shadow Blade


3rd-Level Spells
Leomunds Tiny Hut
Major Image
Phantom Steed


4th-Level Spells
Greater Invisibility
Hallucinatory Terrain


5th-Level Spells
Creation
Mislead
Seeming


6th-Level Spells
Guards and Wards
Mental Prison
Programmed Illusion
True Seeing


7th-Level Spells
Mordenkainens Magnificent Mansion
Mirage Arcane
Project Image
Simulacrum


8th-Level Spells
Illusory Dragon
Maddening Darkness


9th-Level Spells
Weird

NECROMANCY
= Darkside
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Chill Touch
Toll the Dead


1st-Level Spells
Arms of Hadar
False Life
Hex


2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Animate Dead
Feign Death
Hunger of Hadar
Life Transference
Speak with Dead
Spirit Shroud
Summon Lesser Demons
Summon Shadowspawn
Summon Undead
Vampiric Touch


4th-Level Spells
Blight
Summon Aberration


5th-Level Spells
Danse Macabre
Enervation
Infernal Calling
Negative Energy Flood
Raise Dead


6th-Level Spells
Circle of Death
Create Undead
Harm
Soul Cage
Summon Fiend


7th-Level Spells
Finger of Death

8th-Level Spells
Abi-Dalzims Horrid Wilting

9th-Level Spells
Power Word Kill

TRANSMUTATION
= Shapeshifting
ANIMAL
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Infestation
Poison Spray
Primal Savagery


1st-Level Spells
Animal Friendship
Beast Bond
Detect Poison / Disease
Find Familiar
Longstrider
Ray of Sickness
Speak with Animals
Spider Climb


2nd-Level Spells
Alter Self
Animal Messenger
Beast Sense
Blindness / Deafness
Enhance Ability
(Physical Ability: Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity)
Enlarge / Reduce
Find Steed
Protection from Poison
Summon Beast
Web


3rd-Level Spells
Conjure Animals
Stinking Cloud


4th-Level Spells
Aura of Purity
Dominate Beast
Edvards Black Tentacles
Find Greater Steed
Freedom of Movement
Giant Insect
Guardian of Nature
Mordenkainens Faithful Hound
Polymorph


5th-Level Spells
Cloudkill
Contagion
Insect Plague
Reincarnate


6th-Level Spells
Create Homunculus
Tensers Transformation


7th-Level Spells
Divine Word (Deaf, Blind, Stun, Kill)

8th-Level Spells
Animal Shapes
Clone
Power Word Stun


9th-Level Spells
Mass Polymorph
Shapechange
True Polymorph

PLANT
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Druidcraft
Mending
Shillelagh
Thorn Whip


1st-Level Spells
Ensnaring Strike
Entangle
Goodberry
Grease
Hail of Thorns
Purify Food / Drink
Snare


2nd-Level Spells
Barkskin
Cordon of Arrows
Locate Animals / Plants
Pass Without Trace
Spike Growth


3rd-Level Spells
Conjure Barrage
Create Food / Water
Plant Growth
Speak with Plants


4th-Level Spells
Fabricate
Grasping Vine


5th-Level Spells
Animate Objects
Conjure Volley
Swift Quiver
Tree Stride
Wrath of Nature


6th-Level Spells
Druid Grove
Transport Via Plants
Wall of Thorns


7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells

UNIVERSAL
= Magic of Magic
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Detect Magic
Identify


2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Counterspell
Dispel Magic
Glyph of Warding

4th-Level Spells


5th-Level Spells
Circle of Power

6th-Level Spells
Contingency
Globe of Invulnerability (Anti-Spell)


7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Antimagic Field

9th-Level Spells
Wish
 
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Yaarel

He-Mage
Examples of usefulness.

One can easily create a spell list with the appropriate themes.

A primal spell list includes Divination, Evocation, and Transmutation.

An arcane spell list includes Conjuration, Evocation, Enchantment and Illusion.

A divine spell list includes Divination, Necromancy, and Transmutation

The Bard is Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, and Transmutation.

The Psion is Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, and Transmutation.

And so on.

Likewise it is easy to build a specific character concept with the readymade spell lists for each school and subschool.
 

Yaarel

He-Mage
To make the schools organize the spells more helpfully, the following organizational principles take place.

Evocation already covers all of the elemental "energy" spells, like fire, lightning, and cold. This expands to include all elemental magic: air (lightning-thunder), fire (fire), water (cold), whence earth too. Thus a few earth spells that were transmutations are now evocations instead. The four elements are a central archetypal theme. Evocation is now the school for it. Any players who want elemental themes go to the Evocation spell lists to find their spells.

Divination handles all spacetime magic. Being remotely present elsewhere relates to teleporting elsewhere to be there physically. Conceptually, when scrying the mind is present elsewhere, and a powerful mind can pull their physical body to there. Thus Scry and Teleportation are both aspects of the Divination school. Mechanically, many divination spells are weak, being little more than "DM gives a hint", and completely dependent on the DM playstyle. Moreover, if the DM needs the party to know something, the DM will communicate it one way or an other, and if the DM needs the party to not know something, then no divination will reveal that information. If the DM doesnt care, the information is less likely to matter anyway. A scry itself is awkward to implement mechanically. By contrast, Teleportation is powerful but tends to be a monotonous one-trick-pony. The combination of Scry and Teleportation complements each other well, and forms a satisfying spell list with interesting things to do in the Divination school. Meanwhile, where divinations can be an innate psychic ability, some spells specifically invoke other planes for information. Thus Planar magic generally works as a salient theme for a spell list, and is part of the Divination school. Thus spells like Misty Step and Teleportation Circle are part of the Teleportation subschool, while spells like Planeshift and Contact Other Plane are part of the Planar subschool. But all of these themes are part of the Divination school.

Necromancy is darkside magic, focusing on death and demons, and the like. The term necromancy is often a synonym for demonology, whence the Fiend. Cthulu and the "Necronomicon" extends this necro to the Aberration too. Meanwhile necromancy properly means consulting with the dead for advice, whence the deathly, rotting, and Undead spells generally. Necromancy is the go-to school for the nasty stuff. Necromancy can include Good characters who need to understand the dangerous aspects of magic, whether to defend against it or harness it cautiously. Meanwhile Evil characters can invoke and collaborate with the darker impulses of the creature types in play.

Transmutation. With earth spells relocating to the elemental magic of the Evocation school, the only transmutations left are primal nature magic: beasts, plants, and healing. The beast includes shapechanging into animals, as well as the bodies of any living creatures generally. Healing is a special application of growing and regenerating the body back into a healthy shape − namely transmuting.

Thus "nature magic" easily organizes between the elements of nature − go to the Evocation spell lists − or else the lifeforms of nature − go to the Transmutation spell lists.
 



CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
I like it! It makes for some interesting tie-ins with elemental wizards, cleric domains, warlocks of certain genies and fiends, magic staffs...

There's a lot here; it'll probably take me a few days to unpack all of the lists and categories, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
 

Lojaan

Hero
I actually would like to go the other way, with "spell schools" being something that wizards have made up to try and make order out of the inherently chaotic and creative nature of magic, and that (like grammar for English) it only kind of works.

I can see sorcerers and warlocks just rolling their eyes at them.

And the Fey, and anyone who knows "true magic" rolling around on the ground laughing.
 

Yaarel

He-Mage
In the original post, I mention, Abjuration is a useful spell descriptor to tag various defense spells.

It is also worth creating a few other descriptors. Where Abjuration refers to defense spells, perhaps "Hex" can refer to offense spells. "Motility" spells move or impede. "Summoning" spells have the creature or effect do its take actions to functions like an additional member of the team.

One can think of these descriptors as combat roles: Abjuration, Hex, Motility, and Summoning.



With regard Abjuration, here is an example of what the format for the Cure Wounds spell can look like. In addition to its Transmutation school, the spell belongs to the Healing subschool, and the Abjuration combat role.



CURE WOUNDS
1st-slot transmutation (healing, abjuration)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

Your touch refreshes energy and regenerates wounds. The creature heals a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 2nd slot or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot above 1st.f
 

in older editions like ADnD 2nd certain spells had some advantages based on their school.

Acid arrow was a conjuration.
Creating a vaguely arrow shaped blob of acid that was flying toward your target.

But only conjuring the blob of acid moving at speed was magical, the blob of acid itself was not.
So if you stood outside a dead magic zone you could still launch acid arrows into the dead magic zone.
 

Yaarel

He-Mage
in older editions like ADnD 2nd certain spells had some advantages based on their school.

Acid arrow was a conjuration.
Creating a vaguely arrow shaped blob of acid that was flying toward your target.

But only conjuring the blob of acid moving at speed was magical, the blob of acid itself was not.
So if you stood outside a dead magic zone you could still launch acid arrows into the dead magic zone.
There are magic spells that produce nonmagical effects. For example, the Create/Destroy Water spell produces water that is presumably nonmagical water.

But there are no clear definitions for what is magical or not. The test is Detect Magic can detect a magical effect. But the DM lacks clear guidelines for what is or isnt magic.

An example is Dragon firebreath. It is produced magically, but the fire itself isnt magic. But that ruling is confusing and debatable.

If I would to create a simple rule: if the spell is "Instantaneous", then the effect itself is nonmagical. But that would make most damage spells nonmagical, and weird situations like Counterspell and Create Undead being as if nonmagical. Maybe the rule could work with some tweaking of specific spells?

In any case, as aspects of elemental magic, both the Create Water and the Acid Arrow would be the Evocation school, rather than a transmutation or a conjuration.
 
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