A while back, I asked for help on choosing arcane traditions for the Wizard for the Dragon Heresy RPG. I created four schools of magic – doors, essences, might, and mischief, which are themselves combinations of two of the spell types from SRD5.1.
Since the game’s launching zone is Norse-flavored, the schools are flavored by futhark runes, with the following associations:
- Algiz (Abjuration). The rune magic of Algiz is protective in nature, though some spells have aggressive uses. They create magical barriers, negate harmful effects, harm trespassers, or banish creatures to other planes of existence. The rune Algiz means protection, or a shield, used defensively.
- Ansuz (Divination). The magic focused through the Ansuz rune reveals information, whether in the form of secrets long forgotten, glimpses of the future, the locations of hidden things, the truth behind illusions, or visions of distant people or places. The meaning of Ansuz is a revealing message or insight, and (not coincidentally) is also the rune of Woden, who specializes in far-seeing and deep knowledge.
- Dagaz (Illusion). The rune magic of Dagaz is invoked to deceive the senses or minds of others. These spells cause people to see things that are not there, to miss things that are there, to hear phantom noises, or to remember things that never happened. Some illusions create phantom images that any creature can see, but the most insidious illusions plant an image directly in the mind of a creature. The meaning of Dagaz includes both awareness and blindness.
- Ehwaz (Conjuration). The spells of Ehwaz involve the transportation of objects and creatures from one location to another. Some spells summon creatures or objects to the caster’s side, whereas others allow the caster to teleport to another location. Some Ehwazs create objects or effects out of nothing. The rune Ehwaz represents a horse or horses, and connotes travel and journeys.
- Gebo (Transmutation). Spells invoked with the knowledge gained through study of the Gebo rune change the properties of a creature, object, or environment. They might turn an enemy into a harmless creature, bolster the strength of an ally, make an object move at the caster’s command, or enhance a creature’s innate healing abilities to rapidly recover from injury. Gebo has the connotation of a gift, sacrifice, or fair exchange – giving up one thing to gain another of equal or higher value.
- Jera (Necromancy). The rune Jera signifies the life cycle and the harvest. Jeran spells manipulate the energies of life and death. Such spells can grant an extra reserve of life force, drain the life energy from another creature, create the undead, or even bring the dead back to life. A complicated rune, Jera’s association with necromancy is only part of its meaning, and the rune magic of Jera includes birth, life, death, and life-from-death (which can be as broad as ‘resurrection’ but is also ‘fertilizer’). Creating undead through the use of Jeran rune magic is not a good act, and only neutral or evil casters use such spells frequently.
- Mannaz (Enchantment). Spells cast with the Mannaz rune affect the minds of others, influencing or controlling their behavior. Such spells can make enemies see the caster as a friend, force creatures to take a course of action, or even control another creature like a puppet. Mannaz means “mankind” or “people,” and has a particular connotation relating to the attitudes of others to you and relationships in general.
- Thurisaz (Evocation). The primal energy of magic, the directed force of destruction and defense, is symbolized by Thurisaz. Such spells manipulate magical energy to produce a desired effect. Some call up blasts of fire or lightning. Others channel positive energy to heal wounds. Thurisaz has many connotations, all of which derive from power used with consciousness and wisdom in matters that must be resolved using force, violence, or physical compulsion.
With that introduction, I wanted to list out the current ideas for the schools of magic, to provoke comment and discussion. Appropriate abilities per level are a bit of an art form, so a broad commentary will save angst later. Any and all commentary is appreciated, especially suggestions to modify or replace abilities.
One caveat: this will be an OGL/SRD5.1 game, so avoiding abilities from official material is a good thing. Not only for the usual reasons, but keeping the flavor of the game unique makes it more interesting!
The study of wizardry is ancient, stretching back to the earliest mortal discoveries of magic. It is firmly established in fantasy gaming worlds, with various traditions dedicated to its complex study.
The most common arcane traditions in the multiverse revolve around the schools of magic. Wizards through the ages have cataloged thousands of spells, grouping them into eight categories called schools. In some places, these traditions are literally schools; a wizard might study at the School of Illusion while another studies across town at the School of Mannaz rune. In other institutions, the schools are more like academic departments, with rival faculties competing for students and funding. Even wizards who train apprentices in the solitude of their own towers use the division of magic into schools as a learning device, since the spells of each school require mastery of different techniques.
No matter which tradition you select at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy spells with the runes incorporated by that tradition into your spellbook are halved.
SCHOOL OF MISCHIEF
The school of mischief delves deeply into the workings of the minds of all creatures, the better to deceive and fool them. It is the school of illusion and deception, of keen and dull senses. With deep study, the control of others can be accomplished, both in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The mischief school focuses on the runes of dagaz and mannaz.
When you cast cantrips or 1st-level spells using dagaz and mannaz that are only meant to convince or fool a single sense (such as minor illusion or silent image), you may add a low-fidelity second layer to the illusion or deception, such as a sound or a coarse feeling.
Subjects trying to see through or otherwise detect the presence of unreality due to these spells will, instead of automatically discovering the illusion, make a Wisdom saving throw, with advantage, against your spell save DC.
Starting at 6th level, you gain the ability to fascinate and trap the mind of a single targeted creature, who will tend to fixate on your gaze, distracted. Use your action to stare at your target, and if the creature (who must be able to see your eyes) fails a Wisdom saving throw versus your Spell Save DC, it gains the Demoralized condition.
So long as the wizard spends his action to maintain the mind lock, the target creature’s attempts to shed the demoralized condition have disadvantage. If the wizard chooses to break the lock by looking away, or cannot main concentration on the target, the effect ends immediately.
Beginning at 10th level, your usage of the magic of dagaz and mannaz is so sophisticated that creatures targeted or influenced by these spells have disadvantage on attempts to resist, disbelieve, or detect them.
Strength of Mind
Starting at 14th level, your mind and sense of self are so strong, you gain the following benefits:
- You have advantage on all saving throws to resist spells that use dagaz or mannaz rune magic.
- You have resistance to psychic damage from any source.