Magic 'Zones'

Posted by EarthDragon on 21st December 2016.

Magic within The Unification does not work equally well everywhere, and nobody is quite sure why, though theories abound. In some areas, magic is difficult and 'reluctant' to work, in some zones it quite simply won't work, and in others it goes crazy. However, more often than not, it works normally.

Normal Magic Zones

These are the most common areas in and around The Unification. Magic works normally here, and there are no special rules regarding its use. Spells cost spell points at the normal rates, spellcasters recover spell points at the usual rate, and things just generally operate normally. These zones are, by far, the most common areas in the world, and most areas fall into this classification. However, the borders between zones are invisible and indistinct, so there is typically no warning when things suddenly change, and there are even rumoured to be some zones that "shift" over time and move around, meaning that even mapped out "safe" zones are not always going to be reliable in some areas.

Spellblight Zones

These areas are zones where casting spells is particularly dangerous to a spellcaster. There is no outward sign of danger, and there is nothing to warn a caster that there is anything unusual about the area until something goes wrong. Even managing to avoid suffering a spellblight does not warn a caster that there is danger, only failing a spellblight check and actually contracting a spellblight is a definitive indication of a spellblight zone, so there may be far more of these regions within The Unification than anyone realises. To date, nobody has sucessfully managed to find a way to detect them. There are two main types of spellblight areas. In areas of minor spellblight, each time a spellcaster casts a spell, she must succeed at a DC 14 Will saving throw or be affected by a random minor spellblight. In areas of major spellblight, the caster must succeed at a DC 22 saving throw or contract a major spellblight. Due to the strange and random nature of such areas, their effects are not always consistent. There are areas that inflict a single type of spellblight, and areas that are easier or harder to resist with each spell cast. Some areas remain spellblight areas forever, and some eventually recover and become normal magic zones. Some are even rumoured to have become hard magic zones or even wild magic zones. To date, there have been no recorded instances of spellblight zones becoming dead magic zones, nor any reliably confirmed instances of conversion to hard or wild magic zones, though rumours of these latter two conversions persist.

Hard Magic Zones

These areas are named because magic becomes difficult to use within these areas. Spells cost double the usual number of spell points, and casting times are raised to the next time increment, or doubled for spells with a casting time of 1 round or longer. Thus a Quickened spell that would normally be a swift action becomes a standard action spell, and a spell that requires a standard action to cast becomes a full round spell, and a full round spell becomes a 2 round spell, etc. During the casting time, the caster suffers from considerable pain in the form of a shattering migraine, and must make a Concentration check at a DC of 12 + the spell's level to cast the spell successfully due to the pain. When it comes to recovering spell points, spell casters require twice the amount of rest, and recover half the number of points, so they try to avoid needing to rest and recover spell points in these areas as the dull headache they experience in these areas prevents them from resting well, causing the longer recovery time for spell points. Other aspects of rest (such as recovering from fatigue and natural healing) progress normally, though the spell caster will typically still be irritable and grumpy due to disturbed and poor quality rest, even though the quality was sufficient for other purposes. Spell casters can tell when they enter such areas as they immediately get a dull headache when they cross the border into such zones, and the headaches come on quite suddenly (though there could be any number of other explanations for a sudden headache, though perhaps not in half the party at once). Hard magic zones are relatively uncommon, but they do occur from time to time within The Unification, though their cause is unknown. Their prevalence outside the borders is unknown, and there are no known examples of shifting hard magic zones within The Unification at this time.

Dead Magic Zones

Dead magic zones are the bane and terror of all spell casters. In such zones, no magic may be cast at all, and spell casters lose their connection to the weave of magic entirely. Spell points cannot be recovered in dead magic zones, spells cannot be cast, sorcery cannot be used, weaves cannot be used, and even psionics cannot function, only brute force and physical effects function here. Even supernatural powers that emulate spells or powers do not work in these zones. In such areas, it is as though magic and even the powers of the mind never existed. What is particularly insidious about these places is that spell casters and others can still feel the magic and can still touch their spell points, they just can't use them, and there is no warning that a particular area is magic dead until someone begins to cast a spell, other than a faint sense of uneasiness and perhaps a faint queasiness. Only svarti can sense the severing of the connection between magic and the world in a magic dead zone, and they lose their connection with the source that powers their ability to channel power for weaves entirely as soon as they enter such a zone and they feel the loss immediately and painfully. Svarti cannot long bear being in such areas as the emptiness it leaves inside them is difficult for them to deal with and accept, leaving them feeling incomplete. Others who use magic, mental powers or spell-like or psi-like powers do not notice the lack until they try to use their power and find they can do nothing. Almost everyone is affected by these areas, and they are very dangerous as their borders are almost impossible to sense unless there is a svarti in the group, and you could be miles within the boundaries by the time you discover that your powers no longer function. These zones never move and are always (as far as anyone has been able to discover so far, anyway) fixed. There are only two known dead magic zones known within The Unification, and they are well marked and defined, for the safety of those who rely on powers for their way of life. They are believed to be more prevalent outside the borders, but they are also believed to be smaller outside the borders than either of the two zones within The Unification. Their cause is unknown, but various theories, including catastrophic magical accidents or conflicts have been proferred to explain them. So far, there have been numerous magical conflicts and accidents throughout the history of The Unification, but none have produced dead zones, in spite of their relative severity, so the jury is very much out on their causation. Spellcasters left too long within the borders of a dead zone begin to go insane, and svarti do so even faster. Fortunately, it is usually possible to get them out of the area before any permanent harm is done. Usually. Some, however, are more susceptible than others.

Wild Magic Zones

These are areas where the usual rules and laws of magic are suspended and magic seems to do as it sees fit, with little regard for what was intended by the wielder. These zones are known to move around, though they generally stay within a rough region and do not stray too far away from where they are most commonly found. They are particularly dangerous as there are no signs of their presence until magic begins to surge strangely when spells are cast and unusual effects begin to appear or spells perform at a lesser or greater power than expected. Spell points are used normally (in most cases, unless the unpredictable effect of the magical surge happens to relate to spell points), based on the actual level of the spell cast, they are recovered normally, there are no headaches or sensations of nausea or other sensations associated with these areas. The only sign of their presense is when a spell suddenly goes horribly awry and an unpredictable effect appears in its place. Sometimes these effects are beneficial, sometimes they are not, and there is no way to tell beforehand which it is going to be. There are two known wild magic zones within The Unification, both of which move from time to time, and both of which get avoided where possible by spell casters, although their shifting nature sometimes makes this difficult. The number outside The Unification are unknown, though there are three fixed zones known which are often used as staging areas by Fallen.

To determine the effects of a Wild Magic zone, roll on the first table below. This gives a level variation for the mage casting the spell (i.e. their caster level is raised or lowered by the number indicated, if the adjustment makes the caster's level 0 or less, the spell fails). If the result is in red, then a wild surge is also triggered, and you should roll on the second table for the effect of the surge. If the result of the surge is meaningless (for example, most doors in The Unification don't have a gender, so a result indicating that the target changes gender for a spell cast on a door is meaningless), then the spell simply works normally (subject to whatever caster level variation was already determined) and costs the normal number of spell points.

True Level                                                   Die Roll (1d20)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1
2 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1
3 –2 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2
4 –2 –2 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2
5 –3 –2 –2 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3
6 –3 –3 –2 –2 –1 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3
7 –4 –3 –3 –2 -2 –1 –1 –1 –1 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4
8 –4 –4 –3 –3 –2 –2 –1 –1 –1 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4 +4
9+ –5 –4 –4 –3 –3 –2 –2 –1 –1 0 0 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5
Roll Result
1 Wall of force appears in front of caster
2 Caster smells like a skunk for spell duration
3 Caster shoots forth eight nonpoisonous snakes from fingertips; snakes do not attack
4 Caster’s clothes itch (-2 penalty to initiative)
5 Caster glows as per a light spell
6 Spell effect has 60-ft radius centered on caster
7 Next phrase spoken by caster becomes true, lasting for 1 turn
8 Caster’s hair grows on foot in length
9 Caster pivots 180 degrees
10 Caster’s face is blackened by a small explosion
11 Caster develops allergy to his magical items; cannot control sneezing until all magical items are removed (allergy lasts 1d6 hours)
12 Caster’s head enlarges for 1d3 hours
13 Caster reduces (reversed enlarge) for 1d3 hours
14 Caster falls madly in love with target until a remove curse is cast
15 Spell cannot be canceled at will by the caster
16 Caster polymorphs randomly
17 Colorful bubbles come out of caster’s mouth instead of words (words are released when bubbles pop); spells with verbal components cannot be cast for 1 hour
18 Reversed tongues affects all within 60 feet of caster
19 Wall of fire encircles the caster
20 Caster’s feet enlarge, reducing movement to half and adding +4 penalty to initiative rolls for 1d3 hours
21 Caster suffers same spell effect as target
22 Caster levitates 20 feet for 1d4 hours
23 Cause fear within a 60-ft radius centered on the caster; all in radius except caster must make saving throw
24 Caster speaks in a squeaky voice for 1d6 days
25 Caster gains X-ray vision for 1d6 rounds
26 Caster ages 10 years
27 Silence, 15-ft radius centers on caster
28 10-ft x 10-ft pit appears immediately in front of the caster, 5 feet deep per actual level of the caster
29 Reverse gravity beneath caster’s feet for 1 round
30 Colored streamers pour from caster’s fingertips
31 Spell effect rebounds on caster
32 Caster becomes invisible
33 Color spray from caster’s fingertips
34 Stream of butterflies pours from caster’s mouth
35 Caster leaves monster-shaped footprints instead of his own until a dispel magic is cast
36 3–30 gems shoot from the caster’s fingertips; each is worth 1d6 x 10 gp
37 Music fills the air
38 Create food and water
39 All normal fires within 60 feet of caster are extinguished
40 One magical item within 30 feet of caster (randomly chosen) is permanently drained
41 One normal item within 30 feet of caster (randomly chosen) becomes permanently magical
42 All magical weapons within 30 feet of caster are increased by +2 for 1 hour
43 Smoke trickles from the ears of all creatures within 60 feet of the caster for 1 turn
44 Dancing lights
45 All creatures within 30 feet of the caster begin to hiccup (+1 to casting times, –1 to attack rolls)
46 All normal doors, secret doors, portcullises, etc. (including those locked or barred) within 60 feet of the caster swing open
47 Caster and target exchange places
48 Spell affects random target within 60 feet of caster
49 Spell fails but costs no spell points
50 Monster summoning II
51 Sudden change in weather (temperature rise, snow, rain, etc.) lasting 1d6 hours
52 Deafening bang affects everyone within 60 feet; those who can hear must make a Will save (DC 15 + spell level) or be stunned 1d3 rounds
53 Caster and target exchange voices until a remove curse is cast
54 Gate opens to a randomly chosen plane; 50% chance for extraplanar creature to appear
55 Spell functions, but shrieks like a shrieker
56 Spell effectiveness (range, duration, area of effect, damage, etc.) decreases by 50%
57 Spell reversed, if reverse is possible
58 Spell takes physical form as free-willed elemental and cannot be controlled by caster; elemental remains for the duration of the spell and its touch causes the spell effect (attack roll is the same as the caster's normal attack roll with their usual weapon)
59 All weapons within 60 feet of the caster glow for 1d4 round
60 Spell functions; any applicable saving throw is not allowed
61 Spell appears to fail when cast, but occurs 1–4 rounds later
62 All magical items within 60 feet of caster glow for 2d8 days
63 Caster and target switch personalities for 2d10 rounds
64 Slow spell centered on target
65 Target deluded
66 Lightning bolt shoots toward target
67 Target enlarged
68 Darkness centered on target
69 Plant growth centered on target
70 1,000 lbs. of nonliving matter within 10 feet of target vanishes
71 Fireball centers on target
72 Target turns to stone
73 Spell is cast; material components and spell costs no spell points
74 Every within 10 feet of caster receives the benefit of a heal
75 Target becomes dizzy for 2d4 rounds (–4 AC and attack rolls, cannot cast spells)
76 Wall of fire encircles target
77 Target levitates 20 feet for 1d3 hours
78 Target suffers blindness
79 Target is charmed as per charm monster
80 Target forgets
81 Target’s feet enlarge, reducing movement to half normal and adding +4 penalty to all initiative rolls for 1d3 turns
82 Rust monster appears in front of target
83 Target polymorphs randomly
84 Target falls madly in love with caster until a remove curse is cast
85 Target changes sex
86 Small, black raincloud forms over target
87 Stinking cloud centers on target
88 Heavy object (boulder, anvil, safe, etc.) appears over target and falls for 2d20 points of damage
89 Target begins sneezing and is unable to cast spells for 1d6 rounds
90 Spell effect has 60-ft radius centered on target (all within suffer the effect)
91 Target’s clothes itch (+2 penalty to initiative for 1d10 rounds)
92 Target’s race randomly changes until canceled by a dispel magic
93 Target turns ethereal of 2d4 rounds
94 Target hastened
95 All cloth on target crumbles to dust
96 Target sprouts leaves (no damage caused, can be pruned without harm)
97 Target sprouts new useless appendage (wings, arm, ear, etc.) which remains until dispel magic is cast
98 Target changes color (canceled by dispel magic)
99 Spell has minimum duration of 1 hour (e.g.: a fireball creates a ball of flame that remains for 1 hour, a lightning bolt bounces and continues, possibly rebounding, for 1 hour, etc.)
100 Spell effectiveness (range, duration, area of effect, damage, etc.) increase 200%