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5E Wild & Dead magic zones

CubicsRube

Explorer
I might be conflating editions here, but I believe that 5e also supports dead magic zones and wild magic zones.

Has anyone used these? Do you think it would be overly punitive to spellcasters?

I can't see using a dead magic zone beyond the size of a room for example, and then only occasionally.

I could see using larger areas for wild magic zones, but I'm not really sure if it adds any value to the game apart from creating a bit of variety.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If your PCs are heavily dependent on magic items, a dead-magic zone can really throw a wrench into their planning. Worth doing once in a while, but be careful not to overuse it.

Wild-magic zones are a high-risk high-reward sort of venture, depending how beneficial and-or baneful your wild magic tables go at the extremes. Again something to only use once in a while; and my own recommendation is if you're going to have randomized wild magic effects use a huge table of possibilities to lessen the chance of repeats.
 

pukunui

Hero
I might be conflating editions here, but I believe that 5e also supports dead magic zones and wild magic zones.
They appear on the Weird Locales table on page 109 of the DMG.

Dead magic zones are to be treated like an antimagic field, while wild magic zones require a roll on the Wild Magic Surge table from the PHB whenever someone casts a spell in the zone.

I can't actually remember whether I've used a wild magic zone before, but I did use a dead magic zone once. It was in a small room in a dungeon. The players were confounded at first.

I think using either type of zone really depends on your group and whether you're using it as a gotcha or if you've telegraphed its presence in advance.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Dead magic certainly nerfs your spellcasters, and won't be a lot of fun for them if it goes on for too long. I'd be hesitant to use them, except for very small rare occasions.
 



Im pretty sure wild and dead magic zones originated in the Forgotten Realms but I would not be surprised to learn they were in Dragon or Dungeon Magazine even before that. There are well documented occurrences of .both permanent and randomly moving locations. The Stonelands outside of Cormyr immediately comes to mind, which iirc is a large dead magic zone. When I add them to my game I try to keep it to known locations so the players may know about them before hand. Though I do insert a dead or wild magic zone rarely. I would be interested to see a compilation of all the known dead and wild magic zones in the Realms. That's a product Id be interested in buying from either WotC or DMs Guild.
 

Jediking

Explorer
Aside from dead magic and wild magic zones, the DMG also has a section on planar effects when PCs travel there (eg. the Abyss, the Feywild).

Could be something else there that might spark your interest
 

Coroc

Hero
I might be conflating editions here, but I believe that 5e also supports dead magic zones and wild magic zones.

Has anyone used these? Do you think it would be overly punitive to spellcasters?

I can't see using a dead magic zone beyond the size of a room for example, and then only occasionally.

I could see using larger areas for wild magic zones, but I'm not really sure if it adds any value to the game apart from creating a bit of variety.

What are your thoughts?
BIG FUN

Like the dead/wild magic zones as a defining element of FR, especially in the areas of broken/forgotten mythals. People always seem to forget about that superneat feature of FR.

Dead magic zones are a challenge, especially for casters, wild magic is fun and good times for everybody, especially for the DM :p

Get your hands on additional wild magic tables, there are some 2e products. (Tome of magic, I think also in ruins of myth drannor etc.)
 

Azzy

Newtype
Im pretty sure wild and dead magic zones originated in the Forgotten Realms but I would not be surprised to learn they were in Dragon or Dungeon Magazine even before that.
The first place I'm aware of them being presented is in the Forgotten Realms Adventures sourcebook for 2e.
 


The first place I'm aware of them being presented is in the Forgotten Realms Adventures sourcebook for 2e.
That's what I thought and then the Wild Mage was first in Tome of Magic. Pretty sure I played a Wild Mage for all of 2 hours before he blew himself up with a wild surge.
 

atanakar

Hero
How about extremely rare people who are magic null zones. It just doesn't work around them. I read that in a novel (not telling the title not to spoil the fun).
 


the Jester

Legend
They're out there in my campaign setting, though rare and usually pretty small. But nobody has encountered one since, I think, 2e.
 

My first recollection of dead/wild magic zones (and yeah, there could've been some in an obscure Dungeon adventure), was in the Avatar Trilogy of adventures moving from 1e to 2e. Most memorably, one of the players was a fighter armored up like a tank. In the dead magic zone, without his Belt of Giant Strength functioning, he was actually so over-encumbered that he couldn't even move. The party had to flee whatever threat they were facing in it while struggling to drag the fighter with them.

They can be a novel challenge, but I agree, they should be used sparingly.

Im pretty sure wild and dead magic zones originated in the Forgotten Realms but I would not be surprised to learn they were in Dragon or Dungeon Magazine even before that.
 

CubicsRube

Explorer
Thanks all.

What about the idea of a "Suppressed Magic" zone? To cast a spell the PC would beed to pass a DC check.

I'm not actively thinking about putting any of these in a campaign, but I was thinking about their inclusion and I'm having a hard time seeing the benefit beyond novelty.
 

I use them very sparingly (as they deprive a lot of PCs the ability to use many of their class features).

The sites of great magical events (the hubris of Karsis, the destruction of a Mythal etc).

When used well, they're awesome. When used poorly they just reek of a DM who has no other method of dealing with casters other than 'nope'.
 

Thanks all.

What about the idea of a "Suppressed Magic" zone? To cast a spell the PC would beed to pass a DC check.

I'm not actively thinking about putting any of these in a campaign, but I was thinking about their inclusion and I'm having a hard time seeing the benefit beyond novelty.
Alternatively a suppressed magic zone might require the use of a slot one level higher than normal to cast a spell, including needing a 1st level slot to cast a cantrip.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
Thanks all.

What about the idea of a "Suppressed Magic" zone? To cast a spell the PC would beed to pass a DC check.

I'm not actively thinking about putting any of these in a campaign, but I was thinking about their inclusion and I'm having a hard time seeing the benefit beyond novelty.
Story/world reasons.

In Pathfinder's Golarion you have, I believe, the Mana Wastes a wild magic and dead magic region between two historically warring super high powered magocracies who hurled magical catastrophes at each other. This can be seen as having disrupted the stability of magic in the ground zero area and took out some enemy magic resources and leaves design space for a non magical culture to flourish there after the magocracies abandon that front (gunslinger land develops from magocracy war refugee community in magic dead zone).

Similarly in Kobold's Midgard Campaign Setting you have the Wasted West an area that had been devastated by an archmage war where Cthuloid entities were summoned as WMDs and the solution when you can't banish them was to partially time stop despite their reality radioactivity area of effect even when mostly frozen in time. So now the land there is filled with mutant goblins and wild and dead magic zones would not be out of place.

As a practical matter for adventuring, if they are part of the world it should be for a different novel adventuring experience. So the party can prepare before going in, or get thrown there unexpectedly and have to deal with it. Similar to plots of being captured, or going into a purely social setting without magic and armor and weapons, or going underwater where some standard things don't work , it can be a neat change of pace, a neat challenge, or frustrating and fun killing, depending on specifics.
 

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