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Spell Stained Environment

Eubani

Hero
I am getting ready to start a new campaign in a post war setting. An idea I have is called Spell Stained Environment. Basically they areas where a specific spell has been cast in an area on mass repeatedly and causes the spell to spontaneously occur in the area.

Outside of combat I was thinking about having occur on the random event/encounter table, but the rub is in combat in when does it occur and where it occurs. So I am at this point trying to crowd source ideas before I proceed. Thank in advance.
 

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Quickleaf

Legend
I am getting ready to start a new campaign in a post war setting. An idea I have is called Spell Stained Environment. Basically they areas where a specific spell has been cast in an area on mass repeatedly and causes the spell to spontaneously occur in the area.

Outside of combat I was thinking about having occur on the random event/encounter table, but the rub is in combat in when does it occur and where it occurs. So I am at this point trying to crowd source ideas before I proceed. Thank in advance.

Google “living spells” - they were originally part of the Eberron setting and were explicitly a product of the Last War.

One way I’ve implemented magical side effects is triggering them when a spell attack rolls a 1 or a saving throw rolls a 20. That can suit battefield type magic.
 

Eubani

Hero
Google “living spells” - they were originally part of the Eberron setting and were explicitly a product of the Last War.

One way I’ve implemented magical side effects is triggering them when a spell attack rolls a 1 or a saving throw rolls a 20. That can suit battefield type magic.

I had thought of having both in my game using the spell stain as either an problematic or beneficial environmental effect, whilst living spell is more of a creature type encounter. Thanks for the thought though.
 

Instead of the exact spell effect, I'd be pondering some sort of environmental effect attached to the spell itself. For example, if the spell in question was Darkness, I'd have the area be constantly inundated with shadows. Easier to hide (advantage, or the ability to hide in plain sight, or both), occasionally obscuring vision (roll a die at the top of each round - on an odd number, attacks past 5 feet are at disadvantage).

If the spell was Fireball, roll a die at the top of the round. On an odd number, part of the battlefield erupts in flame. The exact part is up to the DM, but I'd have it be half the area of a Fireball or less. Overall, I'd have the battlefield always smokey or smoldering, with a constant smell of burning wood or brimstone.

So instead of an exact spell effect, I'd look at how to use that spell's theme to have the magic soak in and alter things. Thinking of it this way, I'm actually pondering writing up a bunch of these for a super-magical area of the Feywild.
 

Eubani

Hero
Instead of the exact spell effect, I'd be pondering some sort of environmental effect attached to the spell itself. For example, if the spell in question was Darkness, I'd have the area be constantly inundated with shadows. Easier to hide (advantage, or the ability to hide in plain sight, or both), occasionally obscuring vision (roll a die at the top of each round - on an odd number, attacks past 5 feet are at disadvantage).

If the spell was Fireball, roll a die at the top of the round. On an odd number, part of the battlefield erupts in flame. The exact part is up to the DM, but I'd have it be half the area of a Fireball or less. Overall, I'd have the battlefield always smokey or smoldering, with a constant smell of burning wood or brimstone.

So instead of an exact spell effect, I'd look at how to use that spell's theme to have the magic soak in and alter things. Thinking of it this way, I'm actually pondering writing up a bunch of these for a super-magical area of the Feywild.
Some good ideas there. I am thinking the spell eruption could occur after a number of spell levels have been cast equal to the spell in question, but would it be targeted on caster or target of spell? Also I would think of adding a randomizer for eruptions as well maybe roll 1/round or turn on a d20 first roll it triggers on a 20 and each time it fails the roll required drops by one then resets after triggering.
 
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Some good ideas there. I am thinking the spell eruption could occur after a number of spell levels have been cast equal to the spell in question, but would it be targeted on caster or target of spell? Also I would think of adding a randomizer for eruptions as well maybe roll 1/round or turn on a d20 first roll it triggers on a 20 and each time it fails the roll required drops by one then resets after triggering.

If you want to have it both random and tied to magic being cast, here's a thought. Every time a leveled spell is cast (unless you want it to possibly activate from cantrips, too), roll a d10. On a 3 or lower, the magic effect activates. Or a 5 or lower, or on an even or odd roll. Or a 1-in-6 chance. Whichever works best for your game. Maybe have a couple different versions, so one area might only trigger on a 1-in-10 roll, but a more volatile region might trigger on any odd number. That's going to depend on the effect you choose, how deadly it is, and how likely it is to target a specific character.

I'd determine target randomly. If it only targets the caster or the target of a spell, you're making it way more likely for martial characters to not have any chance to get hit by it at all if an enemy caster isn't around. Having it target randomly gives it more of a gambling feel. Do your casters want to cast their powerful spells knowing it might trigger a magic effect on their own party? Or will they give up some of their versatility, but keep their friends safe by only using cantrips?

You could do that by having magic "nodes" where the spell energy is especially concentrated. If an eruption triggers, roll a die to see which node erupts. Anyone within X range of that node, gets hit. I'd keep the number of nodes down at four, so you can use a d4 to determine. Six, tops. And if you can set them on the battlefield so they're overlapping, forcing characters into a bottleneck where they risk getting caught in an eruption, even better. That way they can't just skirt around and avoid the spell effects altogether.

If you tie it to number of spell levels cast, that means you have to keep track of that, which is just one more thing on a host of things that a DM has to keep track of already.
 

Eubani

Hero
If you want to have it both random and tied to magic being cast, here's a thought. Every time a leveled spell is cast (unless you want it to possibly activate from cantrips, too), roll a d10. On a 3 or lower, the magic effect activates. Or a 5 or lower, or on an even or odd roll. Or a 1-in-6 chance. Whichever works best for your game. Maybe have a couple different versions, so one area might only trigger on a 1-in-10 roll, but a more volatile region might trigger on any odd number. That's going to depend on the effect you choose, how deadly it is, and how likely it is to target a specific character.

I'd determine target randomly. If it only targets the caster or the target of a spell, you're making it way more likely for martial characters to not have any chance to get hit by it at all if an enemy caster isn't around. Having it target randomly gives it more of a gambling feel. Do your casters want to cast their powerful spells knowing it might trigger a magic effect on their own party? Or will they give up some of their versatility, but keep their friends safe by only using cantrips?

You could do that by having magic "nodes" where the spell energy is especially concentrated. If an eruption triggers, roll a die to see which node erupts. Anyone within X range of that node, gets hit. I'd keep the number of nodes down at four, so you can use a d4 to determine. Six, tops. And if you can set them on the battlefield so they're overlapping, forcing characters into a bottleneck where they risk getting caught in an eruption, even better. That way they can't just skirt around and avoid the spell effects altogether.

If you tie it to number of spell levels cast, that means you have to keep track of that, which is just one more thing on a host of things that a DM has to keep track of already.
Maybe 3 or less on a d20. In a volatile area roll a d10, and I was thinking maybe a d6 if the same or a similar spell is cast in that round/turn. Which raises the question do you check 1/turn or 1/round.
 

Eubani

Hero
A good thing I noticed with this mechanic is that you can create an area with thematic events random or otherwise that would not normally make sense in that geographic area. It also adds an interesting wrinkle to combat, spell use and skill use in the area.
 

Maybe 3 or less on a d20. In a volatile area roll a d10, and I was thinking maybe a d6 if the same or a similar spell is cast in that round/turn. Which raises the question do you check 1/turn or 1/round.

If it was my game, I would roll every single time a spell is cast. As soon as the spellcaster's turn is over, that's when I'd roll.

Alternately, you could do it like a Lair Action. On initiative count X, roll the dice. On a result of Y or lower, this effect happens. Maybe have several effects, so it could be 3 or lower, something horrible happens. 4-6, something weird happens. 7+, nothing happens.
 

Satyrn

First Post
Outside of combat I was thinking about having occur on the random event/encounter table, but the rub is in combat in when does it occur and where it occurs. So I am at this point trying to crowd source ideas before I proceed. Thank in advance.
I'd go real simple. Once I decided that a spellstain was going to occur during a combat, I'd probably do something like this:

When: I'd randomly determine which round it activates by rolling 1d4 or 1d6.

Where: I'd roll a 1d10, with results of 1-9 indicating which sector of the battlefield the spell stain affect on (picture a tic tac toe board numbered 1-9), with 0 indicating the whole battlefield.
 

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