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  1. #1
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    Sehan eshaal erek [Elven] (Dragon Jan 2001)
    [travel through earth]
    Erek sehan [earth travel/journey]

    Dragon 242, Dec 97 - The Laws of Spell Design

    Level: 3
    School: Elemental earth
    range:personal [-1lvl]
    components: V, S, M- handful of earth, Dryad`s tears- not consumed [0lvl]
    duration:1hour/level [+1lvl]
    Casting time: 3 turns [-1lvl]
    area of effect: travel distance [+1lvl]
    save: none [+2lvl]

    Notes:

    spell modifies target [earth traveled through] [-1lvl]
    duration of changes- long [0lvl]
    spell has single form [0lvl]
    mage price- temporary dibilitiating- euphoria, no actions for 3 rnds, save vs
    con, fail add 20-con rnds [-1lvl]
    target of spell- caster only [-1lvl]
    very specific purpose [+1lvl]
    spell control- control and perform some actions [0lvl]
    area effect more than 10`/lvl [+1lvl]
    limitation- mage can only travel for con score in turns because of holding
    breath
    move at level in miles per turn

    Comments?

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  2. #2
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    Okay , I try again. You seem to desparately want this still, but in my view
    it is still far too powerful for a third level spell and should be a fifth
    or sixth level spell. I already pointed out the reasons for this and Mark
    Aurel added some additional arguments. Here are some additional points:

    Another spell you might wish to look at is the third lvl priest spell Meld
    into Stone. This spell has a shorter duration and a possibilty that the
    caster suffers massive damage or even death and it allows no movement. That
    alone should tell you that your spell is too powerful for third level.
    Sorry, if I seem to be repeating myself, but I want this to come across.

    Now to your specifics:
    >School: Elemental earth< is okay of course, though Alteration could and
    maybe should be added since elemental earth is not one of the classic
    schools of philosophy.

    >Material components: Dryad`s Tears.<
    Several problems here. First you seem to include a rare component that your
    character just happens to be able to acquire effortlessly. That`s way too
    easy for my taste. Second, the component doesn`t make much sense with regard
    to the earth theme. The blood of a Xorn or a similar earth-related creature
    would make more sense.

    >>duration:1hour/level [+1lvl]< >limitation- mage can only travel for con
    score in turns because of holding breath<<

    There`s a contradiction here. In addition, the rules for Holding your breath
    would reduce the travel time to
    one third of your constitution score in rounds. After that time the caster
    would have to make CON checks with a cumulative penalty. How do you explain
    that? Is breathing slowed for the caster, while he travels through the
    earth? I don`t see much sense here.

    >>mage price- temporary dibilitiating- euphoria, no actions for 3 rnds, save
    vs
    con, fail add 20-con rnds [-1lvl]<<<
    Compared with the side effects some of the other spells I mentioned can
    have, this seems too small a price to pay. Besides, what happens if the
    caster fails to hold his breath and is still in the earth?

    >> move at level in miles per turn<<

    Okay, so you want to actually move the caster through the earth (instead of
    just saying he enters the earth at point A and comes out at point B). If so,
    how do you explain that incredible rate of movement?

    >>very specific purpose [+1lvl]<<
    The entry in DR 242, p. 26 is erroneous, I believe. Spells with a general
    application should have a higher spell level than those with a very specific
    purpose. Anyway, I don`t think your spell is very specific. It could be
    applied in a great number of situations.

    Anyway by adding and subtracting all the lvl modifiers you took into
    account, I didn`t arrive at level 3 spell but at level 6th or seven ( sixth
    by taking Teleport as the base spell, 7th by taking Transport via plants).

    All in all, you still don`t have a 3rd lvl spell here, but one of about 6th
    lvl, and your character is not able to research that spell for now. This
    would be my ruling as a DM.

    Let me quote Mark Aurel:
    >So, you should either come up with something weaker, or wait until 9th or
    12th before creating this spell.<<

    I completely agree with him.

    Christoph Tiemann

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  3. #3
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with Christoph here, this spell needs to be a higher level. When I'm designing spells I always look at spells of a similar type, what level are they, what do they do. This is probably the easiest way to work out a level.

    A spell like this is way higher than 3rd level. Anyway, I don't see the problem, what's wrong with making it a higher level? I must amit I didn't read the initial post about this, but I don't see why you don't just raise the spell up a couple of levels. It's not like you *need* the spell to be 3rd level is it, surely that is just an design choice that needs to be changed.

    Another thing that needs to be changed is the refernce to elves. This spell is called Travel Through Earth. Elves are creatures of the light, of forest and airy fairy dancing in the moonlight, not tramping through dank underground passages, that is more the realm of dwarves and their enemies, the orogs. Perhaps you could make it an orog spell, that would be nice to see for a change.

    One final thing, did you know that this line..
    range:personal appears as range[smily face]ersonal on the birthright.net boards. Apparently :P is actually the code for the green smily face thingy. Mildy amusing I think.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

  4. #4
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    I'd like to start with your spell description.

    You list the spell as 'Elemental Earth', range 'personal', and gave it an area of effect? I do not have the Dragon issue available at the moment, but on appearances your spell contradicts itself. If its range is personal, then the area of effect (if any) should also be limited to personal. This of course means that the spell can not affect the earth, but would have to affect the caster. Thus it has to be Transmutation.

    Component of a 'Dryad's Tear' and reuseable. I will grant that in a BR campaign such a component would be rare, but on the two active WotC worlds (GH and FR) such a component would be hard pressed to qualify as uncommon, let alone rare. Second, it really doesn't fit the earth theme. Try 'the claw of a bullette' or 'earth shed by a free-willed earth elemental' or 'a complete hair from the head of a living stone giant (root and all)'.

    As to moving through the earth, if the spell targets you then you are adapted to move through the earth and there is no reason to have to hold your breath or need to come up for air. Your restricions for cutting levels do not make sense.

    Just free form looking at it, I'm seeing a spell of at best fifth level power, but probably a solid sixth. Not to mention the movement rate discrepancy, really -- miles per turn. Or the problem of lakes and rivers, or maintaining a sense of direction or position undeground. Basically your setting your character up to being a tasty GM treat.

    Let me chuck this little freeform out for you (like I said, I don't have the article immediatly on hand).


    Embrace of the Land
    School Transmutation(Earth)
    BR Specific -- True Magic
    Level Wiz/Sor 5 ish
    Range Personal
    Components V,S,M,AF,special
    Casting time 10 minutes
    Duration 10 minutes/level
    Save none
    SR no

    Through this obscure ritual a mage seeks attunement with the magical essence of the very earth around him. Upon successful completion of the spell, the caster gains the ability to merge with the land about him and to travel just below the surface as if he were flying. The caster may only travel at such speeds while completely submersed and gains no knowledge of what is occurring on the surface above him. The caster does become attuned the magnetic pull of the land and is able determine direction of travel and a vague sense of distance travelled. The caster can choose to travel partially submersed or on the surface, but is then limited to his normal movement rate. As an added benefit, the caster gains damage reduction 10/+1 vrs objects and items created of earth and wood.

    The spell is not without drawbacks however. First, the caster is unable to cast magic for the duraton of the spell and for one hour thereafter. The drain of the his magical essence is so strong that even blood abilities are temporarily unavailable and nulified during that time. Note, even should the spell be cancelled prematurely, the loss of magic persists the entire allotted time and could leave the mage in dire straits. Second, if the caster is subjected to transportative magics or loses contact with the earth for more than a minute then the spell collapses. Finally, the most dangerous feature, if the caster comes into contact with a body of surface water, the spell is instantly destroyed with the following effects: the caster takes 2d6 points of damage (real, no save), must make a Fort save DC15 or lose consciousness, and is immediately expelled into the body or water (and a rapid death if he got KO'd).

    The spell is cast as a one person ritual and has many requirements. The material components include the hair of a mole or gopher, 50 gp worth of silver dust, and two live earthworms. The arcane focus consists of a gem whose uncut value is 500 gp or greater. The spell itself can only be cast in lands that contain a source 1 or greater.



    Please feel free to critique this and offer opinions on how well I guessed by calling it a level five.
    May the blessings of divine Haelyn be always at hand for you, friend.

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