October 8, 2017

Elemental Spells - Earth

Spells

Very soon, we'll be releasing a new a new base class -- the Shugenja -- which is a eastern-inspired, scroll-based caster focusing on elemental magic. Like all of our new classes, the shugenja is released entirely under the OGL, which means we needed to create a lot of new and unique spells to really enhance the elemental options provided in core. We didn't use anything from outside the SRD (including the Elemental Evil Player's Companion) and we didn't expand things that were covered exceptionally well in Core (fire spells, for example), but we did seek to add as many interesting spell options to their arsenal as possible.

Elemental Spells

Two of the four classical elements, Earth and Fire, are super easy to write for, since they're powerful, concrete, and evocative. The other two elements, Wind and Water, are ethereal and changeable; difficult to pin-down or picture in your mind. For that reason, elements always see very lopsided representation in D&D -- think about how often you see a pyromancer versus an aeromancer or aquamancer, for example.

This extends to the types of elemental spells presented in the SRD as well. There are abundant options for fire spells at every level, but finding an actual wind or water spell is next to impossible, which is further compounded by the fact that spells in the SRD aren't really designed with elements in mind. Where do you put a spell like sleet storm -- water or wind?

Our hope is to redress this balance with the shugenja. With a more balanced elemental spell list, you can really dig your heels into one element or another, or just enjoy a greater variety as you switch between them.

Earth Spells
These spells are presented in alphabetical order.

Bombardment
8th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 1 mile
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous
Massive rocks crash to the ground at three different points you can see within range. Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on each point you choose must make a Dexterity saving throw. The sphere does not spread around corners. A creature takes 12d8 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature in the area of more than one impact is affected only once.
     This spell deals double damage to objects and structures.
     At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a 9th level spell slot, you can select a fourth 20-foot sphere to target for bombardment.

Diamond Edge
Transmutation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a tiny diamond worth at least 1gp)
Duration: 1 minute
The edge of a slashing or piercing weapon you are holding is magically sharpened. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength or Dexterity for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon deals double damage to objects and structures. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.

Geomantic Discernment
1st-level divination
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (300-foot radius)
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
You gain the ability to sense valuable minerals in a 300-foot radius around you. A glowing aura that only you can see appears around any valuable gems, ores, native elements, or other resources in that radius for the spell’s duration. You can see this aura through any amount of nonmagical material.

Glass Blade
2nd-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a handful of sand)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
You hold out your palm, and cause sand to whirl through the air and transmute roughly into the shape of a scimitar, whose blade is razor-sharp glass, and which lasts for the duration. If you let go of the blade it reforms into sand, but you can transmute it back again as a bonus action.
     You can use your action to make a melee weapon attack with the blade, as if it had the properties of a scimitar. On a hit, the target takes 3d6 slashing damage. This damage is magical for the purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical slashing damage.
     The magic of this spell prevents this scimitar from being broken by nonmagical means.
     At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 damage for every two slot levels above 2nd.

Hunger of the Earth
4th-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (any kind of gemstone worth at least 100 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
The earth opens up beneath a creature you can see within range, and swallows them up. The target must make a Strength saving throw or be restrained for the duration. Furthermore, if the target fails the save, it sinks two feet into the ground. Climbing out requires ten feet of movement for every two feet the target has been dragged down.
     While the target remains in the same space (whether it is restrained by the spell or not), it sinks at a rate of two feet per round. This sinking happens at the start of the caster's turn, and cannot be resisted in any way. If a target that needs to breathe has all of its airways dragged underground, it begins to suffocate, unless provided with some kind of magical or mechanical breathing aid.
     If a target is restrained by this spell, the target or another creature can attempt to free the target by using an action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC, freeing the target on a success. The target has disadvantage on this Strength check.
     Creatures with a flying speed are immune to this spell.

Intensify Gravity
4th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 100 feet
Components: V, S, M (a lodestone and iron filings)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
This spell intensifies gravity in a 50-foot-radius, 100-foot high cylinder centered on a point within range. Each creature in this area must spend two feet of movement for every foot moved, including flying, jumping, and climbing movement. This can be combined with difficult terrain to slow movement to a quarter of normal speed. If a prone creature wishes to stand up, it must succeed on a Strength check against your spell save DC. On a failure, it can’t move at all on its turn.
     Objects in the area, including those being worn or carried, weigh double their usual weight, and therefore may cause creatures to become encumbered or cause load-bearing spells like levitate to fail. Any ranged weapon attacks that pass into, out of, or through the area have disadvantage and any falling damage dealt within the spell’s area is doubled.

Inevitable Boulder
7th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (an almost spherical stone)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
At a point you choose within range, you conjure into existence a Large 8-foot diameter boulder which rolls in pursuit of one creature that you can see of your choice. The boulder has 18 AC, 75 HP, and resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. If the boulder is reduced to 0 hit points, it vanishes.
     At the beginning of each of your turns, the boulder moves 60 feet in the direction of its target. If the boulder enters a creature's space, the creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, it takes 6d10 bludgeoning damage and, if it is Large size or smaller, is knocked prone. The boulder also crushes nonmagical objects smaller than itself in its path. If the boulder reaches its target, it rolls over it and continues on, completing its 60-foot movement. The boulder continues to pursue its target for the duration, rolling over it more than once, if possible.
     After the spell ends, the boulder continues to pursue its target for up to 24 hours. Once the boulder strikes its target after the spell ends, it immediately vanishes.

Iron Body
5th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a bar of iron)
Duration: 8 hours
This spell turns the flesh of a willing creature you touch as hard as iron. Until the spell ends, the target has resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Rumbling Charge
1st-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a lump of granite)
Duration: Instantaneous
You imbue yourself with the elemental power of a landslide. When you cast this spell, you immediately move 30 feet in a straight line. If your path is blocked by a creature or object, you stop moving there and that creature or object must make a Strength saving throw or take 2d12 bludgeoning damage, or half as much on a successful save.

Rusting Grasp
2nd-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
The touch of your acid-soaked hand can corrode metal and burn flesh. Make a melee spell attack against a creature within your reach. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 acid damage, and any nonmagical armor it is wearing takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers. On a miss, any shield it is wielding takes a similar -1 penalty. Armor reduced to an AC of 10 or a shield that drops to a +0 bonus is destroyed. Until the spell ends, you can make the attack again on each of your turns as an action.
     At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 2nd.

Shape Metal
4th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a handful of iron or copper filings)
Duration: Instantaneous
You touch a metal object of Medium size or smaller or a section of metal no more than 5 feet in any dimension and form it into any shape that suits your purpose. So, for example, you could shape a bar of metal into a weapon, idol, or tool, or make a small passage through a portcullis, as long as the metal is less than 5 feet thick. You could also shape a metal door or its frame to seal the door shut. The object you create can have up to two hinges and a latch, but finer mechanical detail isn’t possible. This spell cannot affect magical metals such as adamantine and mithral.

Stone Bones
2nd-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 round
You touch a creature, granting it resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage until the end of its next turn.

Stone Tell
2nd-level divination
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: 10 minutes
You touch a Large or smaller piece of natural rock or worked stone and imbue it with limited sentience and animation, giving it the ability to communicate with you and follow your simple commands. If you touch a larger piece of stone, a 10-foot-square section of it is affected. You can question rocks about events in their area within the past day, gaining information about creatures that have passed, things that have been said, and other circumstances.
     If cast on a stone door or chest, you can use your action to command the object to open, close, lock or unlock.
     If cast on an earth elemental or stone-based construct, you can communicate with it as if you shared a common language, but you gain no magical ability to influence it.
     This spell can cause spikes created by the spike growth spell to recede around a creature you specify, granting them immunity to that effect.

Wall of Iron
6th-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (a small bar of iron)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
A nonmagical wall of solid iron springs into existence at a point you choose within range. The wall is 6 inches thick and is composed of ten 10-foot-by-10-foot panels. Each panel must be contiguous with at least one other panel. Alternatively, you can create 10-foot-by-20-foot panels that are only 3 inches thick.
     If the wall cuts through a creature’s space when it appears, the creature is pushed to one side of the wall (your choice). If a creature would be surrounded on all sides by the wall (or the wall and another solid surface), that creature can make a Dexterity saving throw. On a success, it can use its reaction to move up to its speed so that it is no longer enclosed by the wall. The wall can have any shape you desire, though it can’t occupy the same space as a creature or object.
     The wall doesn’t need to be vertical or rest on any firm foundation. It must, however, merge with and be solidly supported by an existing structure or the ground. Thus, you can use this spell to bridge a chasm or create a ramp.
     If you create a span greater than 20 feet in length, you must halve the size of each panel to create supports. You can shape the wall to create crenellations, battlements, arrow loops, windows with bars or shutters, doors with hinges and locks, and so on. Mechanical detail finer than a lock cannot be created with this spell.
     The wall is an object made of metal that can be damaged and thus breached. Each panel has AC 18 and 60 hit points per inch of thickness. Reducing a panel to 0 hit points destroys it and might cause connected panels to collapse at the GM’s discretion. The wall is immune to slashing and piercing damage from nonmagical weapons that are not made from adamantine, as well as necrotic, psychic and poison damage.
     If you maintain your concentration on this spell for its whole duration, the wall becomes permanent and can’t be dispelled. Otherwise, the wall disappears when the spell ends.

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Where's the PDF?

Great question -- all these spells are included in the Shugenja PDF.

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Changelog: 10/10/17: Inevitable Boulder: Target makes a Dex saving throw
10/13/17: Hunger of the Earth: Target can free itself by making a strength check (with disadvantage) as an action

16 comments:

  1. Would these spells be available on any other lists? Or Shugenja only?

    Also, I am excited, I miss the Shugenja...

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    Replies
    1. For now, all of these spells are going to be on the shugenja list only -- this might change if we ever do something like a spell compendium that includes spell lists for other classes.

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    2. That said, some of the spells that are going to be in the fire & water posts are copied from our Waste and Tundra updates. So those ones *do* already have guidelines as to which class lists they belong on.

      And I'm generally okay with any or all of the others being open to other classes too. They may have been written *because* of the Shugenja, but they're not *for* the Shugenja, if you know what I mean. A spell is a spell.

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  2. The Diamond Edge cantrip feels like it should be a Concentration spell to me. Most games I know where I live ignore material components to a degree. Even still, a 1gp diamond, that I assume would be part of a component pouch, isn't really a good trade off for that type of spell not having concentration.

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    1. Actually, any material component with a gp price isn't included in a material component pouch -- those are sold separately.

      And, though I was really skeptical about this one myself when I first read it, it's very closely based on shillelagh, and basically holds up.

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  3. Hunger of the Earth seems really really broken. Basically, if the target fails the first save, it is guaranteed to die unless it can breath underground, or has an ally that succeeds in breaking the caster's concentration. this does take the caster out of the fight, but given that in the event of a failed save the target enemy is also effectively gone instantly, that's a pretty small trade off. And all of that for just a 4th level spell.

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    1. That's why there's a clause in there about having your allies drag you out. Since it takes three rounds to start suffocating most people - and most characters can hold their breath for at least a minute - breaking the spell doesn't seem that onerous to me.

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    2. Yeah, we balanced this one around the fact that it takes a really long time to suffocate a creature, and that this spell takes a long time to drag someone underground in the first place. Until then, its a one-target restrain that can be ended by any of the target's allies as an action -- think about it as a very weak flesh to stone.

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    3. What if the enemy has no allies? Then this is a 4th level save-or-die. NOT ok.

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    4. I mean, I takes a /long/ time to work. Suffocation takes 2-3 rounds to set in here, and then the creature can hold their breath for 1 + Con mod /minutes/, then they are reduced to 0 HP after Con mod rounds.

      But point taken -- if the party is patient, this spell is really good. I'll work on a solution. High Str check (like 20) to escape? Or model it after flesh to stone (continue making saves: 3 successes means escape, 3 failures means dragged underground)?

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    5. Either solution seems ok. An action to make a dc 20 str seems the most fair one.

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  4. Every day I pray to the picture of Gygax that you make a spell compendium and update it every time a new spell comes out.

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    Replies
    1. This was in the last Patreon poll, I believe. It'll happen one day, for sure, but I don't know if it'll be constantly updated.

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  5. Replies
    1. Is there a need for one? Earthquake and Meteor Swarm from the PHB both provide earth-themed options at high-levels.

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  6. Rusting Grasp is perhaps a better take on the 1st level feature of Slime Domain cleric.

    When I played a Slime cleric, every enemy always made their Dex saves when they wore the armor, seeing how most enemies in armor also have high Dex. Maybe consider adding Rusting Grasp to the spell list of Slime Domain?

    ..."when you cast a spell which deals acid damage to a target, it takes an additional 1d4 acid damage. If the target carries or wears either metal armor or a metal shield, it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, one metal armor or shield of your choice takes a permanent and cumulative -1 penalty to the AC it offers. Armor reduced to an AC of 10 or a shield that drops to a +0 bonus is destroyed.
    This acid damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4)."

    That would of course require reworking the 1st level feature because Rusting Grasp stacked with Corrosive Touch is very, very powerful, opening the way for creatures to lose potentially 2 AC in one turn in addition to extra damage.

    An argument can be made for not adding Rusting Grasp to the class's spell list, but Corrosive Touch as-is is very difficult to pull off for a 1st-level character with a spell save DC of 13 (on average). I think that Rusting Grasp fills that armor-killing slot nicely, and the 1st level features for Slime Domain (2 cantrips, extra damage, and 2 resistances) still is pretty good. Maybe give advantage on saves against acid or poison for all the non-dwarves out there.

    ReplyDelete