October 16, 2017

Elemental Spells - Fire and Other


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.

Fire and Other Spells

These spells are presented in alphabetical order.

3rd-level necromancy
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Your hands radiate crimson energy. Make a melee spell attack against a target within your reach. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 necrotic damage and suffers a level of exhaustion, as you siphon the water from its body. Until the spell ends, you can make the attack again on each of your turns as an action. Each creature you target with this spell can only suffer one level exhaustion as a direct result of this spell.
     At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 2d6 damage for every slot level above 3rd.

Elemental Influence
Transmutation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous
  • You warp and shape the elements to your will, causing one of the following effects:
  • Create a harmless, instantaneous sensory effect related to air, earth, fire, or water, such as a shower of sparks, a puff of wind, a spray of light mist, or a gentle rumbling of stone.
  • Instantaneously light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire.
  • Chill or warm up to 1 pound of nonliving material for up to 1 hour.
  • Cause earth, fire, water, or mist that can fit within a 1-foot cube to shape itself into a crude form you designate for 1 minute.

Flaming Death
5th-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 90 feet
Components: S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Flames wreathe one creature you can see within range, which must make a Constitution saving throw. The target takes 3d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The target is also on fire for the spell’s duration. A creature that is on fire repeats this saving throw at the end of each of its turns. It takes 2d6 fire damage on a failed save, and the flames go out on a successful one. The flames cannot be extinguished by nonmagical means.
     If a creature within 90 feet of you is on fire due to this spell, you can use a bonus action on your turn to cause the flames to leap to up to two other creatures within 30 feet of it. Each of these creatures must make a Constitution saving throw or also catch on fire. A creature that successfully saves against this spell can't be caught on fire again by the same instance of it again.

Transmute Lava
9th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (clay and water)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
You choose an area of stone or lava that you can see that fits within a 40-foot cube and that is within range, and choose one of the following effects.
     Transmute Stone to Lava. Nonmagical stone of any sort in the area becomes an equal volume of thick and flowing lava that remains for the spell’s duration and sets fire to any flammable material it comes into contact with. If you cast the spell on an area of ground, any creatures in that area begin to sink into it. Each foot that a creature moves through the lava costs 4 feet of movement, and any creature on the ground when you cast the spell must make a Strength saving throw. A creature must also make this save the first time it enters the area on a turn or ends its turn there. On a failed save, a creature sinks into the lava, takes 10d10 fire damage, and is restrained, though it can use an action to end the restrained condition on itself by pulling itself free of the lava. On a successful save, or when a creature uses its action to pull itself out of the lava, the creature takes 5d10 fire damage. If you cast the spell on a ceiling, the lava falls. Any creature under lava when it falls must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 4d8 bludgeoning damage and 10d10 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
     Transmute Lava to Stone. Nonmagical lava or magma in the area no more than 10 feet deep transforms into soft, cool stone for the spell’s duration. Any creature in the lava when it transforms must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature becomes restrained by the stone. The restrained creature can use an action to try to break free by succeeding on a DC 20 Strength check or by dealing 25 damage to the stone around it. On a successful save, a creature is shunted safely to the surface to an unoccupied space.


  1. It's a short post for a Monday, but the Shugenja comes on Wednesday!

  2. Flaming Death is a bit disappointing. It's not good against one creature (next to Immolation), but also not that much better against many creatures (next to Fireball). It just feels that it has no place, unless it has some added bonus or effect.

    Transmute Lava is a spell I've definitely been missing since 3.5e. The Complete Arcane book was awesome.

    1. Clearly, Flaming Death is intended to replace Immolation, which isn't SRD, and the damage is benchmarked against that. I'm not too concerned about it not being optimal against solo targets, since the majority of encounters won't be solos.

      The thing that holds it back, I suppose, is how many opportunities people get to save against it. Perhaps that justifies a small buff?

    2. It does have the benefit of hitting enemies only, unlike fireball, but as a 5th level spell I think the basic damage could at least be buffed to 4d6.

      However, unlike Immolation, here the target catches fire even on a successful save, which could be enough of a balance on its own.

  3. Why not call *elemental influence* something like *shape elements*?

    *Flaming death* says: "A creature that successfully saves against this spell can't be caught on fire again by the same instance of it again."

    Why not say: "When a creature successfully saves against this spell, you cannot choose it as a target for the remaining duration of the spell."