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Sand Law

Magician Base List or Special Cultural List

Copyright Per-Henrik Bongo ©2002

Edited by Lowell R. Matthews for The Guild Companion

Note:  This list is intended as a replacement for Ice Law for desert-dwelling people.  All of its spells—except Earth to Sand, Stone to Sand, and Spread Desert, marked §—require that enough sand, dust, or loose earth be present to perform the effects.

Editor's Note:  While the author created this list as a replacement for Ice Law, hence a Magician (SL) base list, in flavor and mechanics it is suitable to most spell-users that originate from a desert culture.  GM's should consider allowing culturally appropriate spell-users of many different professions to learn this list, for example, divided into three groups based on relative affinity: 

         Group A (Learn as Closed):  Astrologer (SL), Conjuror (RC2), Dream Lord (RC3), Enchanter (RC4), Forcemage (RC5), Illusionist (SL), Mentalist (SL), Necromancer (RC2), Shadow Mage (RC7), Warlock (RC2), Witch (RC2), and Wu Jen (OC).

         Group B (Learn as Open):  Beastmaster (RC2), Dervish (RC2), Monk (SL), Montebanc (RC3), Moon Mage (RC3), Nightblade (RC1), Ranger (SL), Warrior Mage (RC2), Witch Hunter (RC7), and Yamabushi (OC).

         Group C (Learn as Open or Base):  Cleric (SL), Crystal Mage (RC3), Elementalist (RC7), Magician (SL), Mystic (SL), Shaman (RC2), and Sorcerer (SL).

 

 

Class

Area of Effect

Duration

Range

 1—Sandwalking

U

caster

10 min/lvl

self

 2—Erase Tracks c

EU

see below

C

self

 3—Dig I

E

see below

P

100'

 4—Churning Dust

E

10' × 10' × 5'

1 rnd/lvl

50'

 5—Sand Dune I

E

see below

P

50'

 6—Shelter

F

see below

12 hr

touch

 7—Dig II

E

see below

P

150'

 8—Sand Tower

E

see below

1 rnd/lvl (C)

touch

 9—Breathe Sand

U

1 target

1 hr/lvl

touch

10—Sand Carries

U

see below

special

self

11—Dig III

E

see below

P

200'

12—Sand Blast

E

30' R

100'

13—Quicksand

E

1000 cu'

P

100'

14—Sand Dune II

E

see below

P

100'

15—Burrow

EU

caster

1 rnd/lvl

self

16—Earth to Sand §

E

10,000 cu'

P

touch

17—Sanding

E

see below

1 rnd/lvl

100'

18—Bury c

E

1 target

P (C)

200'

19—Sand Castle

E

see below

P (special)

50'

20—Sand Storm

E

100' R

1 min/lvl

500'

25—Harden

E

see below

P

touch

30—Stone to Sand §

F

see below

P

touch

50—Spread Desert §

EF

1 mile R

P (special)

touch

1—SANDWALKING (U):  Allows the caster to walk on sand as if it were packed earth.  He leaves no traces.

2—ERASE TRACKS (EU):  Erases all tracks, including those made by others, in a 20' wide swath behind the caster so long as he concentrates.

3—DIG I (E):  Digs a pit in the sand up to 20' deep.  The pit is dug with conical walls so they do not collapse even without the aid of this magic.  Normally, wind and shifting earth will cause the pit to be filled within a matter of days.

4—CHURNING DUST (E):  Raises a 10' × 10' × 5' wall of churning sand and dust.  This wall subtracts 80 from missile attacks and 40 from melee attacks that pass through it.  Visibility is also limited, so vision-related skills of someone within the wall are penalized by 50.

5—SAND DUNE I (E):  Raises a sand dune up to 10' high in the middle, 10'–20' wide, and 30'–50' long, sloping away at the ends.  The dune has equally sloping sides, although an Easy Spell Mastery roll can make one side steeper than the other.  Once raised, the dune will erode at normal rates as it is exposed to the elements.

6—SHELTER (F):  Creates a foxhole in the sand with a 5' × 10' floor area, a 5' high ceiling, and a 3' diameter opening.  It will hold fast during sandstorms.  The walls are insulating, so the experienced desert-traveller will make it early in the morning so it keeps cool during the day or early in the evening so it stays warm during the night.

7—DIG II (E):  As Dig I, except for longer range and the pit can be up to 40' deep.

8—SAND TOWER (E):  This spell forms a cylinder of sand 30' tall and 5' wide.  If the caster casts it under his feet, it will carry him up with it.  The Sand Tower will hold for the duration without concentration by the caster, but if it is being attacked or otherwise actively weakened, his concentration is required to keep it from collapsing.

9—BREATHE SAND (U):  Allows the target to breathe under sand as if in air.  The target must have a mouth cover to prevent his mouth from filling with sand.

10—SAND CARRIES (U):  This spell makes the surface of the sand around the caster, in a 20' radius, harden enough to carry a pack animal with a rider.  As the caster moves, new areas will be subjected to the spell for the duration (10 min/lvl).  This hardness will last for 1 rnd/lvl.  All tracks will be erased when the effect wears off.

11—DIG III (E):  As Dig I, except for longer range and the pit can be up to 60' deep.

12—SAND BLAST (E):  Gathers up sand and hurls it at a target; the attack is resolved on the Water Ball attack table.

13—QUICKSAND (E):  Changes a 10' × 10' patch of sand into quicksand.  It will be roughly 10' deep, if the sand goes that deep.  The time needed to form the quicksand varies from 3 rounds to 20 minutes, depending on the amount of water nearby and the air moisture.  Spells from "Water Law" or similar lists can cut the time considerably, though not under 3 rounds.  (If the full time required is not spent, the fraction of time taken is proportional to the depth of the quicksand.)  The water will evaporate according to local conditions.

14—SAND DUNE II (E):  As Sand Dune I, except for longer range and the dune can be up to 20' high, 20'–40' wide, and 50'–100' long.

15—BURROW (EU):  Allows the caster to dig through sand at a rate of 5'/round.  The tunnel will be 5' wide.  It will hold for the duration of the spell.

16—EARTH TO SAND (E§):  This spell will turn 10,000 cubic feet of earth to sand.  The spell will draw the water and organic matter out of the earth; the caster must give a location for the remains to be deposited or they will pool on top of the sand.

17—SANDING (E):  Allows the caster to direct a stream of sand onto the target.  The stream can cover a circle with a radius of 2'.  If the spell is used offensively, the attack is resolved on the Fire Bolt table using Unbalancing instead of Heat criticals.  The damage given is divided between the target himself and the armor he is wearing.  Every round the stream is centered on the target counts as a new attack.

18—BURY (E):  This spell will bury the target in sand at a rate of 100 cubic feet per round.  The target must fit inside a circle with a radius of 50'.  The caster must concentrate each round; otherwise, the target will stop sinking.  The spell can sink the target up to 40' below ground level, but only if the sand extends down that far.  If the target cannot sink anymore, further concentration will heap sand onto the target until a 40' tall sand hill has built up.

19—SAND CASTLE (E):  This spell allows the caster to make a number of sand walls.  The caster can make the walls 15' high, 2' thick, and up to 200' long in any shape; OR, the caster can cast the spell on up to four sand dunes created by Sand Dune spells, in which case the dunes are shaped into walls that are double the height of the dune, the same length, and 5' thick.  The walls will be held in place against erosion by the spell for 24 hours; afterwards, they will erode at normal rates as exposed to the elements.  Of course, they are subject to damage from attack.

20—SAND STORM (E):  A sand storm is created in the area of effect.  At its most effective, when cast in a desert, visibility within the area is 2', speed is reduced to one-tenth normal, all missile attacks are penalized 100 and all melee attacks are penalized 50, and everyone in the area must make a RR vs. 1st level each round or suffer an A Heat Critical.  In other terrains, the effectiveness of the spell lessens:  half effect in dry plains; quarter effect in wet grasslands, hills, or mountains; and no effect in swamps or at sea.  A Sheer Folly Spell Mastery roll could be used to make the spell work in a snowfield, creating a Snow Storm with the same effects except inflicting Cold criticals instead of Heat.  Finally, if the spell is cast in a natural sandstorm, the effect is at least doubled; the details are left to the GM's imagination.

25—HARDEN (E):  A mass of sand is compressed into sandstone.  This is done by drawing more sand in, so the volume remains the same.  The volume of effect is 1,000 cubic feet unless it is cast on something created by a lower-level spell on this list within one minute after the target has reached the desired form, in which case it works on the entire structure.  For the Shelter, Burrow, and Dig spells, this spell compresses the surrounding sand to a depth of one foot.

30—STONE TO SAND (E§):  Turns 1,000 cubic feet of stone to sand unless cast on sandstone, in which case 10,000 cubic feet crumbles to become sand again.

50—SPREAD DESERT (EF§):  Causes the affected area, a 1-mile radius around the point touched by the caster, to begin changing into desert.  Water evaporates, streams are led underground or into saltpans, grass dies, roots wither, etc.  Larger plants and trees may get a RR (GM's discretion).  If the entire area is being actively tended by magical means (e.g., by an Animist, a Druid, a nature deity, or some similar being or force), then the attack upon the area is resolved using the normal Base Spell Attack rules, with the area's RR modifier and defense level based upon that of its defender.  If the area is being tended by a skilled gardener but without magical means, then the area is still entitled to defend at level 1.  

NoteSpread Desert does not keep the area dry after the spell is cast.  If it rains frequently and heavily, the area will become a large mudhole.  The natural biome (i.e., of the surrounding area) will eventually reassert itself, usually over a period of several years to a few decades.

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