The Necromantic Spells of Farvaras

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For today, it’s a bit of first-edition nostalgia – a collection of necromantic spells. Sadly, this one doesn’t include the Skeleton Dance (which animated its victims skeletons while they were still using them; causing serious penalties while they remained alive, and turning them into skeletons if they died while the spell was still active), but it does have a lot of others on it. I’ll have to see if I can find a few more of the lists of horribly-malevolent spells in the old files.

From the Tome of Farvaras, As compiled by Farvaras Nightweaver, the (pretentious) Sorcerer-Sage Of Malava.

“Why Call It A ‘School’ Unless They Teach Something?”

Cantrips: Blood Curse, Corpselight, Donate Vitality, Doomstroke, Enhance Disease, Final Intervention, Invoke Bargain, Numbing Touch, Sense Life, Spirit Sight, Summon Bound Spirit, and Wisdom of Groa.

  • Blood Curse channels the users final, dying, energy into laying a curse – releasing all the power bound up in whatever spells remain in the users memory, as well as any available PSP (Con minimum). Be creative.
  • Corpselight sheds a wavering phosphorescent glow, and looks eerie. It will flare brilliantly if the caster allows it to drain a HP from him, but otherwise serves to illuminate about a 3 foot radius.
  • Donate Vitality transfers some of the users HP into whatever he touches. Inanimate objects can be charged or briefly animated, living recipients are healed.
  • Doomstrike channels the users HP into a bolt of raw magical power (2 HP per HP expended, save for 1/2).
  • Enhance Disease gives a boost to whatever germs are already in the targets body, possibly causing illness, or enhancing any illness already present.
  • Final Intervention allows the users spirit to “hang around’ for a few moments past death – possibly taking the opportunity to invoke another spell or something.
  • Invoke Bargain simply calls on a supernatural being to fulfill it’s end of some deal. This isn’t actually required – but it does make the call undeniable.
  • Numbing Touch acts a lot like a shot of Novocaine.
  • Sense Life simply answers the classic question “Is this thing alive?”. Note that the answer may be “It’s undead” if that’s appropriate.
  • Spirit Sight lets the user see (and speak with) any stray spirits and haunts that happen to be hanging about the area.
  • Summon Bound Spirit simply drags out any spirit the user happens to have bound to his service.
  • Wisdom Of Groa opens the caster up to the wisdom of the dead, allowing the spirits to speak through him. This can get really weird. The spirits may not answer, may spout obscure prophecies, or may spout insults and inane comments. Who knows?

Level One: Blood Link, Bloodshaping, Diagnosis, Repair Undead, Ritual Sacrifice, and Spirit Summons.

  • Blood Link transfers a bit of the casters essence and vitality (1 HP) to a drop of his blood. Thus the blood remains a part of the caster even when separated – and allows the user to act upon, and sense what is around, whatever the blood drop is placed on. The disadvantage is that many mental effects can hit the user over the link.
  • Bloodshaping shapes a creature from the users blood and vitality (IE, you contribute HP). Such creatures are obedient, but the caster must equal the normal HP roll made by the GM to succeed
  • Diagnosis tells you what is wrong with a creature – and gives substantial bonuses to treating it.
  • Repair Undead restores 3D8 HP to an undead creature
  • Ritual Sacrifice involves ceremonially killing some helpless victim and channeling its vital energies for your purposes. It isn’t a very nice thing to do – but it can be used on someone who’s dying anyway.  Unlike most spells, this one can be cast at any desired level with various effects – but only by necromantic specialists; the user must integrate the basic spell formula with the study of his specialty to use the advanced forms.
  • L1: Vitality Channeling allows the user to direct the victims vital energies to a target. Living beings are strengthened and healed, inanimate ones are charged with life force – and supernatural beings are ‘fed”.
  • L2: Spirit Enslavement permits the caster to bind the victims spirit to his own purposes, as a guard, as a servant, or to come to his aid when called upon.
  • L3: Necromantic Talismans focus the energy in one part of the users body, creating “charged” magic items of various sorts (Examples; Bone Wand (Life Disruption 1D6/victims HP, max 6D6/Bolt), Skull Talisman (made to store spells), and the classic Hand Of Glory)
  • L4: Black Forging traps the victims spirit in one or another item, suffering torment if it doesn’t obey. Depending on the victims abilities, this can make many kinds of magic items but is a nasty way to do it. This trick can also be used on any bound spirit available.
  • L5: Black Animation uses the victim to animate a golem body of some sort.
  • L6: A Black Pentagram allows the user to transfer any damage (Life level drains, disease, blows, etc) he takes to the spirit trapped within his pentagram. The user chooses when to transfer damage.
  • L7: Necromantic Flaying traps the victims soul in his own flayed skin. This can be done as torture, or in order to make a coat which will absorb damage equal to your victims HP before falling apart.
  • L8: Lifestealing drains a victims remaining lifespan to extend the users. The user does not become any younger, this merely blocks natural aging for the time the victim had remaining.
  • L9: Deathlink permits the user to attempt to kill someone else along with his victim. The second target need not be present but will certainly be aware of the attempt.
  • Spirit Summons calls a deceased spirit to the prime material plane. The spirit is anchored there through a link with the casters personal life force, and so must return to it’s own realm shortly after the caster dies or releases it from its bond. Occasional exceptions do occur – but usually involve a spirit bonding with some other person. Otherwise, spirits may remain as long as they please. The spirits which can be called vary with the level the spell is cast at, as given below. Unlike most spells, this one can be cast at any desired level with various effects – but only by necromantic specialists; the user must integrate the basic spell formula with the study of his specialty to use the advanced forms.
    • L1: Guardian. Guardian spirits are usually those of ancestors and friends. Already possessing a close tie with the caster and wanting to come, these spirits are easy to summon. Guardian spirits are quite immaterial, command minor psychic powers – and are only visible to their summoner. The character may have up to (Chr / 3) guardian spirits. On the other hand, they can be very annoying, since they WILL harass you, make small requests, and offer unwanted advice.
    • L2: Mentor. Mentors are spirits with similar interests and skills, who want to continue their studies and/or pass on their lore. On the other hand, they have been known to pose bizarre tests, and often have obscure goals of their own. Still, a “mentor” can be excellent teacher and trainer. You only get one mentor.
    • L3: Lesser Spirit. These are minor spirits which can possess small animals, act as scouts, or animate a dead body. While they have very little power, they can make good servants. A necromancer can keep up to Chr/2 lesser spirits hanging around. Lesser spirits are just those who don’t want to lose touch with the world.
    • L4: Mediumism allows the caster to hold a classic seance – calling up a specific spirit who hasn’t any interest in him. This usually requires expending some PSP, especially if the spirit actively doesn’t want to come or wants to refuse to talk or answer. A personal relic or possession helps, acting as a PSP focus.
    • L5: General Spirits. While these are given a more “solid” form then lesser spirits, these are basically just people – servants, men-at-arms, and so forth. While they can’t really be slain, they can be disrupted, and will take several days to recover from that. A single necromancer can maintain up to (Chr/3) such “servants” in his employ. General spirits must be called as known individuals, using some relic of their physical lives.
    • L6: Spirit Sage. Spirit Sages are simply experts in a field chosen by the caster. Essentially, he is now powerful enough to call up someone with a specific set of skills and knowledge without any other link. This can be very useful in getting advice and such, but the lack of a link means that “sages” always leave in very short order after the consultation.
    • L7: Greater Spirits are specific individuals, and often powerful ones. They can be give physical bodies to act through, or can go forth on their own as potent wraiths. They will commonly want something in exchange for their services. The necromancer can maintain up to (Chr/6) greater spirits in his employ.
    • L8: Channeling allows the caster to tap the power of a spirit and channel it through himself. It’s wise to contact and bargain with the spirit first.
    • L9: Possession lets the caster summon up a spirit and place it in a truly living body. Note that damned spirits are extremely trustworthy. The necromancer’s link with them is all that’s keeping them out of hell.

    Level Two: Blood Wreaking, Dominate Undead, Grave Rot, Mnemonic Consumption, Psychic Absorption, and Seeking Bone.

    • Blood Wreaking “burns off” one (or more) experience levels to power magic. This provides a “pool” of spell levels equal to the lost level(s) (EG – 13’th to 12’th provides 13, 13’th to 11’th provides 25), which can be used to produce any desired magical effect – if enough power is available.
    • Dominate Undead essentially operates like a clerics ability to “turn” or control undead.
    • Grave Rot lasts for 1R/Level and does 2D6/round as it spreads across the target. Each successful save delays the spread by one round.
    • Mnemonic Consumption allows you to acquire some of your victims memories by eating his brain.
    • Psychic Absorption absorbs PSP from those losing HP in a 20′ R, up to a stored limit of 4*Wis above base.
    • Seeking Bone attunes any bone to an individual life force, causing it to tug towards them. If it contacts it’s target the bone causes 3D6 damage by absorbing a part of the targets life energy.

    Level Three: Boneshatter, Dust of Death, Life Battery, Liquid Flesh, Power Absorption, and Surgery I.

    • Boneshatter forces the target to save or break some bones – 1-2 major ones or several smaller ones. This tends to be a problem.
    • Dust Of Death extracts the “essence of death” from a corpse. The resulting dust is a dangerous “contact poison” (6D6) while the body is readied for possession or easier animation/resurrection.
    • Life Battery allows a once-living object to “store” vital energy (HP). The limit is 10*Casters Level, the release limit is 10/round, and only one such battery may be maintained at a time as it’s tied to the users life.
    • Liquid Flesh allows the caster to reshape his flesh and bone with PSP as a free action. This can be used to ooze under doors and such, as well as to seal wounds and so on (Slashes 1 PSP/2 HP, Crushing 1/1, burns and so on are not treatable this way).
    • Power Absorption allows the caster to absorb and save the remaining magical powers of a dying foe (IE – this must be cast the round after the target “falls”). This generally means remaining memorized and innate spells. Maximum limit= (2*Con) spell levels. The user selects the spells stolen.
    • Surgery I lets the caster perform fast, simple (E.G., setting bones and such), surgery with his bare hands. It does hurt a bit if it ought to normally. This can be used to patch minor wounds (1D4+2). 1 turn per level, may be used on multiple patients, as most “operations” only take a few minutes when using this spell. It can heal a “corpse” until the point of brain death.

    Level Four: Accelerate Healing, Circle of Night, Death’s Guide, Demon-Raising, Slaying, and Undeath Assumption.

    • Accelerate Healing triples healing, including magically-applied healing, for 8 hours/level.
    • Circle Of Night generates a 2″ aura which disrupts a specified body process in it’s victims. Usually used to disrupt sight, this can also be used to disrupt the victims speech, hearing, neurology (treat as “slow”), or circulation (3D6/round). The caster is unaffected. Victims must save each round they remain in the aura to prevent the spell from taking effect.
    • Deaths Guide allows the caster to walk with a dying being on at least part of it’s journey. This can get very weird, and is sometimes dangerous, but can be worth quite a lot of experience to a necromancer. It’s also very comforting for the being and, oddly, often leaves the user refreshed and healed.
    • Demon-Raising actually channels life-force (HP) to extra-dimensional beings in a kind of bargain – “Come and bargain with me and I’ll feed you”. Protective circles and such are a good idea when doing this.
    • Slaying basically tightens a fist around a targets heart, causing incapacitating pain and death in 4 rounds unless dispelled somehow. Even if it is, the victim takes 3D6 points per round before it was.
    • Undeath Assumption temporarily ties the user to the realms of death, granting undead powers at the cost of gradually draining the users life force. Such losses can only be restored via rest and time, grow greater the more ambitious the user becomes, and can make it hard to break free when you want to end the spell.

    Level Five: Forge Avatar, Life Infusion, Necromantic Might, Repel Life, Spirit Weapon, and Surgery II

    • Forge Avatar this spell pours much of the power and strength of the user (and possibly a group) into calling forth an entity which embodies that power. “Avatars” are NPC’s, leave the group utterly exhausted, and can be very strange. One advantage is that an “Avatar” always starts fresh, regardless of how battered the group is. Avatars become quasi-permanent if the group gives up a bit of experience to them, and permanent if someone dies to give them a life of their own.
    • Life Infusion pours a massive infusion of vitality/ life force into it’s target, possibly “animating” non- living targets, and healing massive amounts of damage on living beings. Unfortunately, this also infuses energy into any germs you happen to be carrying and can cause things like cancer. The GM may require 1-3 saves to avoid coming down with something horrible and possibly contagious.
    • Necromantic Might invokes a controlled infusion of life energy, bestowing an extra 24 HP, 18/00 Str, and an extra attack per round on it’s target.
    • Repel Life drives back living things within a 2″ R. Creatures who save may remain if they desire, but take 3D6 points a round as their lives are stripped. Anyone forcing their way into the area takes 6D6 as they move into it. This also causes sever nausea (-3 on rolls).
    • Spirit Weapon conjures a quasi-material weapon (any type the user desires) which bypasses armor and inflicts “wounding” damage on those it strikes.
    • Surgery II covers “intermediate” surgery and repair work, but is otherwise similar to Surgery I.

    Level Six: Blood Chain, Enhance Undead, Merge Zombies, Storm of Bones, Subsumption, and Vampiric Mist.

    • Blood Chain is related to “Blood Link”, but is far, far, more effective. The victim must drink some of the casters blood, but is thereafter bound to obedience.
    • Enhance Undead enhances the body in ways that would kill a living being – toughening tissues, solidifying bones, and so on. Undead become stronger and gain 3D8 HP.
    • Merge Zombies lets the user merge skeletons/zombies like clay, to assemble a giant necromantic golem. This monstrosity is (very) slow and stupid, but can be nearly impossible to stop.
    • Storm Of Bones allows the user to telekinetically manipulate bones – inflicting up to 3D8 damage a round on up to (level) targets, and possibly tearing them free of bodies to create gruesome whirlwinds and structures of broken and shattered bones. This costs PSP to use.
    • Subsumption attempts to absorb another persons body and abilities into the casters own. This can be done a maximum of once for every six full levels and cannot be used on those of more then half the users level.
    • Vamphyric Mist drains blood and grows. This can get out of control quite readily. Luckily, sunlight blasts it quickly. Fire holds it off, priests can turn it, and light slows it’s attack. Still, it can do anything up to 3D4 points a round, and is a horrible thing to turn loose in a city.

    Level Seven: Exorcism, Legacy, Greater Undeath, Surgery III, Transference, and Vitality Pool.

    • Exorcism is fairly obvious. It only works on “dead” spirits, not on demons and such.
    • Legacy creates a link which allows the user to pass on his or her power when he dies.
    • Greater Undeath is actually a ritual used to create the more powerful undead; ghouls through mummies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the caster will be able to control such beings – but he does get a +3 bonus to do so.
    • Surgery III covers advanced surgery – such as organ transplants and re-attaching limbs. Otherwise it’s very similar to Surgery I and II.
    • Transference creates a link that allows the caster to transfer his essence into a new body if his old one should somehow be destroyed. This can be cast on the behalf of other people and the body must be “vacant”.
    • Vitality Pool allows the caster and up to 3 others to “pool” their hit points. This has an interesting side- benefit in that if the group is hit by an area-effect, it only suffers damage once. On the other hand, some spells will affect everyone involved.

    Level Eight: Create Myrkridder, Detonate Life Force, Life Leech, Northern Gale, Soulspear, and Spirit Purging

    • Create Myrkridder turns a body (or skeleton) into a Myrkridder; a skeletal undead with limited ice powers, the ability to conjure a flying skeletal steed of ice, and a mystic link allowing the caster to command, sense, and cast spells through them. They’re great minions, but tend to attract do-gooders.
    • Detonate Lifeforce transforms the targets vitality into an expanding ball of pure energy. This is very nasty, as it not only kills the target but does damage equal to (4D6+2*The Targets Base HP) to all within 3″. Saves half the damage from the explosion.
    • Life Leech this spell resembles Vampiric Touch but all creatures within 3″ are affected and the transfer of HP to the caster is only half as effective. This does have the advantage that damage to “phantom” HP doesn’t interfere with spellcasting.
    • Northern Gale opens a portal to the realms of death and allows any spirit there who “wants another shot at the target” to come forth and try. This can get very nasty, especially for high-level warriors and such.
    • Soulspear is an especially nasty attack. It tends to bypass most defenses, damages constitution – rather then HP – and any victim that dies is left “pinned” on the astral level in constant torment.
    • Spirit Purging “purifies” a dying spirit, quietly and gently breaking any ties to the living world, soothing pain, purging negative emotions, and otherwise opening the way into rest. It repels any supernatural pests that may be hanging around as well. While this has no direct advantage for the caster, it is a great service to be able to offer a friend, and it isn’t unknown for the departing spirit to offer some benison in return.

    Level Nine: Death Doppleganger, Lichdom, Peace of the Grave, Severance, Spiritfire, and Surgery IV.

    • Death Doppleganger must be cast on the body of some recently-slain character of similar race. It transfers much of the targets memories, a part of his abilities, and his physical form to the user. Thereafter the user can shift between his two “natural” forms at will, and can adopt either identity with ease. The casters mind will be hidden beneath the one he has assumed. Using this spell more then once is probably a good way to go mad.
    • Lichdom allows the caster to transform himself into a lich after he or she dies. The process takes a week.
    • Peace Of The Grave lays the unquiet dead, up to 3HD per level of the caster may be laid via this spell. No save applies to the dead and undead.
    • Severance splits apart the victims body and spirit, leaving the caster with two slaves – a bodiless wraith and a living fleshy golem.
    • Spiritfire is an insanely dangerous spell, creating a near-inextinguishable “fire” that feeds on vitality. despite the limited duration, unleashing such a thing has the potential to cause a holocaust.
    • Surgery IV covers ludicrous surgery – transplanting brains, grafting on alien limbs, and building monsters. It’s otherwise similar to Surgery I, II, and III.
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