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5e, Game Mechanics, Spells

Spell: Glamer Object

Today we’re pleased to present a new 1st-level spell for bard, sorcerer, and wizard!  It’s called Glamer Object.  First, let’s take a look at the details:


Glamer Object

1st-level illusion
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: touch
Components: S, F (a glass gem)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

This illusion allows you to slightly change the appearance of a single object. The item could appear to be more lustrous, beautiful, and valuable than it really is; it could also be modified in other ways. This spell’s effects are very subtle. It could, for example, remove an impurity from a gemstone, hide a chip in a vase, alter a signet on a ring, or make an ordinary dagger appear to be made of mithral. It cannot change an object’s nature completely. By using an action to examine the object, a creature can roll an Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC. If it succeeds, the creature realizes it is an illusion and can see the object as it truly is.


 

So, what is Glamer Object good for?  Its applications in counterfeiting and fraud are most obvious, but it is also useful in myriad other situations.  Found some mephits in a cave and need something shiny to distract them?  Glamer some quartz to look like diamond.  Need access to the queen’s court?  Glamer your ring to make it look like the prince’s signet.  Want to swap out a fake painting for the real one at a ritzy art auction?  Glamer it!  The potential uses are endless, and it beats other illusion spells in situations where the effect needs to be subtle and relatively long-lasting, giving you time to get away.  So go ahead and take this spell, and next time your party questions you about your whereabouts on Friday night, you can just pull out a coaster from that seedy duergar dive and glamer it into something respectable.  An opera program, maybe.  Yeah.  You went to the opera.

Safely past the guards, Chancellor Brigid Stormfeather turned to her students.  “A basic illusion, class.  Best suited for when you need something similar to, but not quite, what you have.”  She turned and walked down the hallway of the treasury, the royal dispensation in her hand shimmering for a moment before turning back into a grocery receipt.  “Next, children, we’ll practice our stealth!  Is everyone ready?”

5e, Musings, Pathfinder, Spells, World Building

Reincarnation and You

by Jonathan D.

Today I want to talk to you about a matter close to my heart: overpowered game mechanics. I’ll admit it—I’ve been known to be a bit of a min-maxer (more on that in future posts). Actually, today’s topic is especially close to my heart because it encompasses another of my favorite rant subjects: realism in D&D. Now, these two topics frequently relate to one another. In a realistic setting, for example, most of us would be surprised if the wood elf barbarian we were fighting abruptly transformed into a bear and ripped out our larynxes. Some abilities are so busted that players will sacrifice realism to make themselves more awesome.

I’ve got something else in mind. Move aside, bearbarian. Who needs Elven Accuracy or Eldritch Blast? I’m not talking about your simple, garden variety busted here. I’m talking world-breaking, history-rewriting levels of busted. I’m talking about a level 5 druid spell called Reincarnate.

Are you underwhelmed yet? Unconvinced of the true magnitude of power contained in this spell? Well, if not, then you probably aren’t aware of how Reincarnate works. I will discuss the 5e version of the spell in particular, but it’s been around since original D&D and the important bits haven’t changed very much. Reincarnate is essentially a weirder druid version of Raise Dead, your lowest level resurrection spell. You can use it on any humanoid that has been dead for 10 days or less, and you need a piece of the body. So, if your half-orc buddy Chris chokes to death on his owlbear steak, just call up your neighborhood druid! 1 hour and 1000 gold pieces (500 more than Raise Dead) later, he’s back to life, good as new…except that he’s a gnome now, and his name’s Christina. To summarize, Reincarnate costs more than Raise Dead, works at the same time interval after death, and you come back as the wrong race. So what exactly makes this spell so great?

Well, first off, it only requires a piece of the target’s body. This is helpful if, for instance, most of Chris’s internal organs are trapped in the belly of a giant squid. But second (and most importantly), it fashions you an entirely new body, free of all the quirks and problems of the prior one. This includes a pesky thing called “age.” Chris’s new body is a fully grown adult body, without his old aches and pains, and with his hair returned to the glorious luster of his youth. For an adventurer like Chris, this benefit isn’t especially attractive since the debilities of age are years away. But what if Chris were an all-powerful monarch, a mighty tyrant, or even the grand progenitor of a great globe-encompassing secret society? This spell is suddenly a very attractive solution.

Every other resurrection spell specifies that the target cannot have died of old age. Not so Reincarnate, because it completely resets your age. For a man of wealth, such as a king, or even the head of a noble family, 1000 gold pieces really isn’t all that much. And time and time again within D&D narratives, powerful sorcerers turn to great extremes to defy the aging process. Some of them become liches, others imbibe strange concoctions, and a few spend their entire lives pursuing the philosopher’s stone. You may say that being the wrong race is inconvenient, but it’s much easier to change your appearance than it is to achieve agelessness any other way. Besides, if you really want, you can always just cast the spell over and over again until you get a body you like. And so why not simply have a friend ready to Reincarnate you as soon as death comes knocking at your door? Why not rise again to lead your family into a new era of prosperity–one in which your dynasty will never end? Besides, it also gets rid of that nasty case of herpes you got from that lamia in Skullport. I’m talking, of course, about cold sores.

5e, Game Mechanics, Spells, Subclasses

Sorcerous Origin: Pandamancer

by Timothy G

Welcome to the Bamboo Digest!

For our first entry, in honor of the founding of Pandamancer Games, we are excited to present our eponymous sorcerer subclass for 5e: the Pandamancer! Give it a try with your gaming group, and let us know what you think in the comments!


Sorcerous Origin: Pandamancer

Powerful panda magic flows through your veins.  Perhaps you descend from a druid who was only willing to befriend panda bears, or maybe your forebear fell into a hot spring and transformed into a panda.  Maybe your mother was blessed by a panda spirit as thanks for saving his sacred grove.  In any case, for better or for worse, you’ve known from a young age that it was your destiny to be a Pandamancer.

Wild Resilience

At 1st level, you may cast Bamboo Growth (see below) at will as a cantrip.  Additionally, you gain advantage on Constitution saves.

Bear-Speech

At 6th level, you gain the ability to speak to pandas as per Speak with Animals.  Additionally, you can spend 1 sorcery point to summon a panda companion as per Conjure Animals.  This panda uses the stats of a Brown Bear.

Take no Jutsu

At 14th level, when an enemy hits you with an attack, you may spend 2 sorcery points as a reaction to swap places with any bamboo stalk within 120 ft.  The bamboo stalk takes the damage from the attack instead.

Heavenly Panda Form

Beginning at 18th level, you can spend 5 sorcery points to transform into the Heavenly Panda (use the stats of a Brown Bear).  This functions as the druid’s wild shape class feature, except that while in Heavenly Panda form you may still speak and cast spells.  In addition, you shed a benevolent blue light in a 20 ft. radius as per the light spell.  This effect may be dismissed or activated as an action.  While in Heavenly Panda Form, you gain resistance to all non-magical damage and your natural attacks function as +3 weapons that deal radiant damage.


There it is!  The Pandamancer.  Let’s look at each feature.

Wild Resilience: Infinite bamboo, and advantage on one of the most common types of saving throw.  What’s not to like?

Bear-Speech: A panda bear friend you can talk to?  It’s a nature enthusiast’s dream.  In addition to being a great conversationalist, he’s also pretty decent in a fight.  And your new friend will greatly appreciate your ability to create infinite bamboo.

Take no Jutsu: This is my favorite part.  Not only is it an excellent defensive ability, it rewards battlefield strategy (smart bamboo placement!) and will leave your enemies extremely confused.  It works against any attack, so spell attacks and ranged attacks are fair game.  You could even save it for when your enemy scores a critical, and then laugh as his perfect swing goes *thunk* into a big piece of bamboo.  Beyond its defensive utility, Take no Jutsu gives you an excellent retreat strategy: place a bamboo stalk in a safe spot before combat, and if things go badly, you can disappear without having to use an action or a spell slot for dimension door.

Heavenly Panda Form: It’s a delightful image.  A gently glowing celestial panda, wandering the forest and giving sage advice to travelers.  Wise and placid, but fierce and deadly in a confrontation.  And if for any reason you want to be stealthy, you can turn off the glow.


Special bonus!  A new spell to complement the Pandamancer.  Check it out!

Bamboo Growth

1st-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of soil)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

This spell causes a bamboo shoot to sprout on one patch of soil or sand within range.  The shoot grows at a rate of 1 foot per round as long as you maintain concentration.  Once the spell ends, the plant becomes a mundane bamboo plant and grows as usual, requiring water, light, and fertile soil.


Now, growing a single stalk of bamboo may seem situational, but it actually has a lot of utility.  Bamboo is an extremely versatile plant.  In addition to all of its traditional uses, I hear it can be used to construct crude but effective vehicles.

Seriously, though, it could have a lot of uses, especially if you’re a Pandamancer and can cast it as a cantrip.  Need to lever up a big rock?  Grow some bamboo right under its edge.  Need an improvised weapon to fight the guy you just hit with that boulder?  Good news!  There’s a bamboo stalk right there where the boulder used to be.  Need a ladder to get away from the guy you just beaned with that bamboo pole?  Grow a second stalk, lash them together, and climb to safety!  See?  The uses are endless.

I love this spell because it’s possible to invent a vast array of creative uses for it.  Try out the Pandamancer and bamboo growth in your own 5e game and let us know what you think!