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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Limited Light Magic

Was reading a blog post about Continual Light spells and how to fit them into a campaign world. I’ve posted briefly about Light/Continual Light before, but haven’t worried too much about it in play. I just assume that, despite the name, Continual Light doesn’t last forever, just such a long time that PCs don’t need to worry about it. But thinking about it more, I realized “Hey! I could just use my old standby, the situation roll, to take care of it!”

Here are my simple readings of Light vs. Continual Light:

Everything within a 30-foot circle glows, illuminating the area for an hour + 10 minutes per caster level. Objects removed from the target area stop glowing, so the light is non-mobile. Since everything in the area glows, the light cannot be blocked, nor are there any shadows, but it’s only as bright as a candle.

Continual Light
Everything within a 240-foot circle glows, illuminating the area indefinitely. Every day at sunrise and sunset, there is a 5+ on 1d6 chance the spell effect ends. Otherwise, it lasts until dispelled. The light is as bright as daylight. It is otherwise identical to Light.

Since neither Light nor Continual Light are mobile, other spells would fill that role.

Magic Candle (2nd Level)
Creates a light as bright as a candle that floats in air and last as long as the caster maintains it, up to 10 x 2d6 minutes. The light only moves when the caster concentrates on it, but when it is stationary, the caster is free to do other things.

Enchanted Light (2nd Level)
Causes an object to emit light as bright as a torch for 10 x 2d6 minutes. It can’t be used to burn things or start fires, but on the other hand, it can’t be extinguished by water and can be covered up like a lantern.

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  1. That definitely could work.

    The way I see it, thinking about "how does this spell work, and how would it impact my world" can be a fun thing to do and lead to some interesting creative background notes. For example in 5e you know if the target failed or passed their check vs a zone of truth spell, making it *way* more potent, and probably having a significant impact on the justice system. But it shouldn't be a straight-jacket. If you don't like the consequence, change the spell!

    Personally I would have done a "1 day per gp of ruby dust used", but whatever rule fits the campaign is the right one.

    1. I didn't use a ruby dust rule because, by default, OD&D doesn't use material components. I plan on adding a spell ingredient system at some point, but I want that to be an optional way to modify spell effects, rather than a requirement.

    2. Also, I kind of like the simplicity and variability of saying that indefinite duration spells use a simple 5+ on 1d6 roll that I use for a ton of other things. It's really only partially there for game balance, more for variety... there's no guarantee that your Continual Light spell will still be working when you come back to it days later, but hey, maybe?

    3. There's a recently-made chainmail hack called Faeries Tales and Folklore that uses material components like you say, Talysman. Every spell doesn't have one, but the ones that do cause the spells to be juiced up, such that invisibility goes from effecting one person to effecting anyone touching an object, or charm monster not granting a saving throw if the target accepts a gift from you. For the most part they material components are optional ways to scale up the effect so that you don't need whole series of spells for a single effect.

  2. I'm kind of leery of a spell mod system that "juices up" spells. No extended range, duration, area, damage, or things like that. As I said once long ago (in the Meta-Magic post,) I prefer modifying qualities rather than quantities. Also, I'm really leaning more towards a partially or even totally random spell ingredient system, where different effects are discovered over time and even the GM is unsure where it will all lead.