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 Spellcasting Overview

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The House of Ainsley
Keeper of the Dark Mirror

Male Number of posts : 1996
Age : 45
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Spellcasting Overview   Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:42 pm

During my present exchange of private messages with Jazman, I've come to realize that, unlike the House of Ainsley campaign's former host forums, I have yet to make any topics to cover spells and spellcasting here on Illusion Vale. So here's where I resolve that lack.

The Classes and their spellcasting powers--where applicable--are many and varied, so I'll be making a topic to cover each Class. Please bear with me on this. I would be glad to move all of these topics to a tidy subforum if these threads are too great in number.

That said, there are two overarching types of magic: Divine magic and Arcane magic. The two differ greatly, and they tend to differ in several ways:

Divine Magic
• Called down from higher entities or forces (gods, Outsider lords, the forces of nature and so on).
• Not hindered by armor or shields.
• Primarily defensive in nature (healing and curing, strengthening, protecting).
• Divine spellcasters have access to most or all of their Classes' spells, limited only by Spell Level.

Arcane Magic
• Commanded or evoked from the elemental, spiritual and/or quintessential forces behind all creation.
• Wearing armor or bearing shields may cause Arcane spellcasting to fail.
• Primarily offensive in nature (attacking and wounding, weakening, destroying).
• Arcane spellcasters may have a more limited number of spells available to them.

While a casual glance may lead someone to decide that Divine spellcasters are more powerful than Arcane spellcasters, this isn't really the case at all. Wizards and Sorcerers have well earned their reputation for starting off as the weakest Classes yet eventually becoming the most powerful...provided that they can survive the journey to those vaunted Levels of experience, of course. Seeing as Arcane spellcasters can gain access to such spells as Circle of Death (a 6th-Level Arcane spell which can potentially cause everyone within a 50-foot-radius circle--including the spell's caster--to immediately drop dead), it becomes obvious that these restrictions are necessary to keep Arcane spells from becoming too ruinous and powerful.

Classes which cast Divine spells
Master of Shrouds
Master of Radiance
Sacred Purifier
Temple Raider of Olidammara

Classes which cast Arcane spells
Pale Master

Classes which can cast either or both types of spells
Master Vampire
True Necromancer
(though Arcane spells are favored)

Divine magic and Arcane magic are not interchangeable. Spellcasters who can cast one type of spell usually cannot cast spells from the other type, nor can they use certain magic items (particularly magic scrolls, wands and staffs) which cast spells of the opposite type. Exceptions to this rule exist; for example, Clerics with the Magic Domain can wield Arcane magic items. And some magic items which cast spells which normally come in both Arcane and Divine varieties (ie. the Remove Curse spell) can be freely used by both types of spellcasters.

(Potions are also a notable exception; whatever a potion's magic may be, characters of any Class--including non-spellcasters--may use it simply by drinking the potion. Creating potions and most other magic items, however, is a task which only spellcasters with the right Skills and Feats can do.)

In addition, each spell may fall under the purview of one of the eight Schools of magic:

Abjuration is the magic of protection and denial. These spells can protect from harm, defend areas from intruders, prevent maladies and ward off magical threats. Abjuration spells include Protection from Evil, Dispel Chaos, Antimagic Field and Banishment.

Conjuration is the magic of summoning and mending. These spells can create matter from nothing, mend wounds, restore the dead to life or call forth monstrous allies to serve the spellcaster. Conjuration spells include Mage Armor, Raise Dead, Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion and the various Summon Nature's Ally spells.

Divination is the magic of sight beyond sight. These spells allow the spellcaster to see the unseen, know the unknown, peer into the future and pierce the most obfuscating illusions. Divination spells include Comprehend Languages, Find the Path, Contact Other Plane and True Seeing.

Enchantment is the magic of influence and control. These spells can compel others to obey the caster's will, alter their emotions, lull them into deep sleep or plunge them into madness. Enchantment spells include Hypnotism, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Feeblemind and Insanity.

Evocation is the magic of energy. These spells can create pure energy from nothing, shape elemental forces and harm others with frightful blasts of fire, electricity, biting cold or pure arcane power. Evocation spells include Magic Missile, Wall of Force, Chain Lightning and Bigby's Crushing Hand.

Illusion is the magic of deception. These spells can alter the senses and perceptions of others, hide things and places behind cloaks of invisibility or phantasm, overwhelm others with sensory overload and implant false memories. Illusion spells include Mirror Image, Invisibility, Hallucinatory Terrain and False Vision.

Necromancy is the magic of death and decay. These spells can allow the spirits of the dead to communicate with the living, animate corpses into undead servants and rend the souls and lifeforces of the living. Necromancy spells include Vampiric Touch, Create Undead, Circle of Death and Wail of the Banshee.

Transmutation is the magic of alteration. These spells can strengthen or weaken minds and bodies, imbue an object with uncanny properties, change a creature's location or transform matter from one substance to another. Transmutation spells include Feather Fall, Gaseous Form, Teleport and Flesh to Stone.

Universal magic is not a School of magic at all, but is instead a "catch-all" category for spells which fall outside the eight proper Schools. As such, spellcasters may never become experts with these unusual spells, but neither may these spells be prohibited to specialist spellcasters. Universal spells include Arcane Mark, Read Magic, Permanency and Wish.

Why the Schools of magic may be important to your character:
• Some Metamagic Feats affect a spellcaster's ability to learn spells of a certain School, cast that School's spells or defend against that School's spells.
• Certain spells affect other spells from certain Schools. The Nondetection spell shields its subject from Divination spells, for example.
• Wizards may choose to specialize in one School, becoming more powerful with spells of that School but at the price of being forever unable to cast spells from one, two or even three other Schools. In lieu of "Wizard," a specialist Wizard may also be identified by his or her chosen School (ie. Diviner, Enchanter, Illusionist or Necromancer).

And now, in closing, please consult the following topics for the lists of spells by Class:


(Other spellcasting Classes and Prestige Classes not listed here borrow from these lists. For example, Masters of Shrouds use the Cleric spell list, and Loremasters use the same spell lists as their previous Classes.)
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