Creating New Incantations
Designing unique incantations
is a tricky balancing act. Incantations
are intentionally constructed to be much more idiosyncratic than spells. Since incantations
hinge on Knowledge (arcane lore) checks, it's possible for characters to gain access to powerful magic before they are ready for it.
are built from building blocks called seeds, which describe in general terms the magic effect you're trying to create. When you're designing your own incantation
, you'll first choose which seed (or seeds) you want for the incantation
Each seed comes with its own Knowledge (arcane lore) DC, which will serve as the base DC for the incantation
you're designing. If you're designing an incantation
with more than one seed, choose the most important one to provide the Knowledge (arcane lore) DC. Other seeds add one-third their Knowledge (arcane lore) DC to the total.
Next you'll apply a number of factors: modifications to the Knowledge (arcane lore) DC based on the specifics of your ritual. Increasing the base range of an incantation
, for example, is a factor that will increase the Knowledge (arcane lore) DC. Reducing the duration of the incantation
, on the other hand, is a factor that reduces the Knowledge (arcane lore) DC.
The third step is to identify
components and options for the incantation
. Some of your choices here may modify the Knowledge (arcane lore) DC further.
Next, you'll set the effective level of the incantation
. In some respects, incantations
are like 6th- through 9th-level spells. Assess how powerful the incantation
is, and assign it an effective level. The effective level determines a number of relatively minor aspects to the incantation
: how many total successes
are required, the exact save DC
of the incantation
, and sometimes its precise range and duration.
Equal to the incantation
's effective level (minimum 6).
Equals 10 + incantation
's effective level + caster's Charisma modifier.
Duration and Range:
Assume a caster level of twice the spell's level, using the same formula a spell would. For example an incantation
built from a seed with a duration of "minutes" would last 12 minutes if it's effectively a 6th-level spell. The same incantation
with Medium range can affect a target up to 220 feet away.
Finally, you'll decide how to put the new incantation
in your game. Usually, a Research check will suffice to reveal it to the characters, but some incantations
can be powerful tools
in the hands of NPCs.
Fundamentally, it's important to realize that this system is meant as a starting point, not the last word. Anytime you have multiple modifiers to a single DC, the potential for accidental consequences or intentional abuse is there.
To keep incantations
under control in your campaign, avoid creating incantations
with Knowledge (arcane lore) DCs lower than 30. Conversely, don't allow any feat
, class feature
, or magic item that provides a large bonus to Knowledge (arcane lore) checks. Bonuses of +2 or even +4 are fine, but larger bonuses might unbalance your game.
GMs should emphasize how much faster, easier, and safer spells are than incantations
. Every incantation
you create should have at least one component that's difficult for the caster to deal with, such as an experience
point cost, expensive material component, or significant backlash
. Because incantations
don't require spell slots-or even spellcasting ability-you need to make sure that characters can't simply cast incantations
repeatedly, stopping only to sleep.