Movie Magic

October 10th, 2013

Joshua Zaback

Obscure Arcana Archive

            Magic is exciting. It’s flashy and it’s entertaining. In fantasy media and stage shows, magic thrills and excites us through its exotic and highly visual effects. Today’s spells salute this spirit of big, flashy, and obviously magical effects. I have crafted a spell to exemplify three great magical themes: summoning devils, disappearing, and creating big Hollywood-style explosions. Enjoy.


School conjuration (calling); Level sorcerer/wizard 3, summoner 3, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect 1d4 imps per 5 levels
Duration 10 min./level

            Your arcane words are echoed in the howling wind, preceding the arrival of a small squadron of devilish servitors. You call 1d4 imps per 5 caster levels you possess (to a maximum of 4d4 imps at 20th level). The imps that are called by this spell are bound to serve you, but are not under your direct control. Rather, once summoned, you may command the imps to perform one of three actions, which they perform to the best of their ability. You can command the imps to do any one of the three following things:

            Steal: The imps savagely rob gold, silver, gems, and artwork, such as they can find in a 1-mile radius, until they have each collected 100 gp worth of items. The imps will not take any unreasonable risk to acquire this treasure and will only take goods if they will not risk an encounter with a CR of greater than 2 for doing so. While the imps are technically supposed to return this treasure to you, there is only a 10% chance that any given imp will do so, as many will continue to loot until the spell’s duration expires, and end up carrying the stolen goods back to the lower planes. This chance decreases to 5% if there are threats in the area that are likely to kill the imps (such as traps, creatures that can see invisibility, and so on). If the result of the d% roll to determine what an imp does is 100, then the imp actually attempts to steal from you, instead, making off with up to 1,000 gp worth of valuables.

            Attack: The imps go on a violent rampage, attacking any creature whose CR is 2 or less in an attempt to kill them. An imp that suffers damage from a particular creature gives up his attack on that creature and attempts to fly away. The imps will not risk combat with creatures of Large size or greater, regardless of their CR.

            Destroy: The imps attempt to set fire to wooden structures and objects within 1 mile. They must be provided with sufficient supplies to start these fires, however, or else they will wander aimlessly for the spell’s duration, “searching” for arson supplies.

            At the end of the spell’s duration, the imps return whence they came.


School conjuration (teleportation); Level bard 4, cleric 4, sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 min./level

            You strip yourself from reality, ceasing to exist as your essence is stored in the arcane power of this spell, which slowly coalesces until eventually you are returned to existence. For the duration of the spell, you vanish, not merely traveling to another plane or becoming invisible, but actually ceasing to exist for a short time. During this time you lose all awareness of the world and cannot be affected by any force on any plane. When the spell’s duration expires, you return to existence in the place you cast the spell, exactly as you left it. Spells and effects which were affecting you resume with the duration remaining such as they had at the time you cast vanishment.


School illusion (figment); Level bard 3, sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Area 30-ft.-radius burst
Duration instantaneous and 1 round/level; see text

            With an arcane word, a singularly massive burst of fire and sound subsumes the immediate area, creating a storm of light and sound sufficient to consume a castle. While the effect is entirely illusory, even obviously so, it can be devastating to the weak-willed and still leaves those who see past it in shock. All characters in the spell’s area must succeed on a Will save or fall unconscious for 1 round, as their mind tricks their body into believing they died in an explosion. Even characters that succeed on their Will save are shaken for 1 round/level. Characters who fail their saving throw are additionally rendered deaf as a result of the illusory noise, and exhausted from the illusory heat. These effects last for 1 round/level.

            Because Yab’s massive explosion is so obviously a fake explosion, you must succeed on a Perform (acting) check (DC 20) made as part of casting the spell, or each character gains a +5 bonus on his Will save.