Knowledge is Spellpower

May 16th, 2013

Alex Riggs

Obscure Arcana Archive

            Hello everyone. As you probably know by now (and if not, where have you been all week?), it’s Sage Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and that’s because we recently released a new book: Character Guide: The Wise Sage. This tome contains useful and practical advice for bringing characters of a certain type (wise sages, in this case) alive at the table, with plenty of tips on both making an effective sage character, and on roleplaying sages in ways that will make them come alive and give you the full experience of that particular character type. Plus, new crunch material in the form of archetypes for a variety of classes, that let everyone get a taste of sagacity.

            Anyway, below are some sage-themed spells. It should be pretty clear from the spell’s descriptions how best to put them to use, but if you find yourself wondering about their practical applications, or just thinking it’d be cool to play a character who does that sort of thing and wondering how you would go about making one (and playing it at the table), or if you’re a GM who is petrified at the thought of players turning these bad boys on you, you might want to take a look at Character Guide: The Wise Sage for more information on sage characters, playing them, and running games for them. It’s only $4.99.



School divination; Level bard 2, cleric 2, sorcerer/wizard 2, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a magnifying glass)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration concentration, up to 1 min./level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

            You learn the strengths and weaknesses of the target creature. On the first round, you learn the target’s combat ability relative to yourself (for the purposes of this spell, a target whose CR is greater than your Hit Dice is considered “stronger” than you, one whose CR equals your Hit Dice is of “equal strength”, and one whose CR is less than your Hit Dice is “weaker” than you), as well as the target’s role (combat, skill, spell, mixed, or no role. If the creature has a role, as defined in the monster advancement section of the Pathfinder Bestiary, use that. Otherwise, the creature’s role is left to GM discretion).

            On the second round, you learn the target’s relative health (based on what percentage of its maximum hit points it currently has, rounded to the nearest tenth), as well as any conditions that the target may currently be affected by. If the creature is capable of casting spells or using spell-like abilities, you learn whether it is an arcane or divine caster (or, if it uses spell-like abilities, instead, then you learn that), as well as the highest level of spells that it can cast. You also learn which of the target’s ability scores is its highest and which is its lowest (though not their exact scores). Finally, you learn any immunities, or resistances that the target might possess, including damage reduction (and how to overcome that damage reduction) and energy resistance, as well as any damage types it is vulnerable to. You do not learn about any other weaknesses (such as a shadow demon’s sunlight powerlessness) until the third round.

            On the third round, you learn the target’s exact hit point total, its exact AC and touch AC, and which of its saving throws has the highest bonus and which has the lowest (but not the exact bonuses for each saving throw). If the target has any spell-like abilities, you know exactly what they are, how often they can be used, and how many uses the creature has remaining. If the target can cast spells, you learn exactly what spellcasting list it uses (such as bard, cleric/oracle, sorcerer/wizard, etc.), and how many spell slots or unprepared spells it has of each spell level, but do not gain any specific information about what spells it knows or has prepared. If the target possesses any extraordinary or supernatural abilities that it gained as a result of its race, you learn about these, as well. Finally, at this point, you also gain knowledge of any special weaknesses that the target possesses.

            After the third round, you may continue concentrating on the spell. This does not cause you to gain additional information, but does allow you to keep your information current (such as if any of the information changes, due to taking damage, healing, or being affected by a spell or ability that may alter the target’s AC, saving throws, ability scores, etc.). You must be able to see the target to concentrate on the spell, and if you lose sight of the target the spell ends.

            Information about abstract concepts (such as AC and hit points) is made known to the player, but the character does not know about such things, and instead learns, for example, that the target is likely to die from a single sword swing, or is incredibly difficult to hit, etc., which conveys the same general information and allows him to use the information effectively.



School divination; Level bard 3, cleric 4, inquisitor 3, sorcerer/wizard 4, witch 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a pinch of monkey brain)
Range touch
Target living creature touched
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

            You allow the target to experience one of your memories, exactly as though he had experienced them himself. You can allow the target to experience up to 1 minute of your memory per caster level, all of which must be continuous. The memories are experienced in the way you remember them, which may or may not be the way in which they really occurred. Even though the memories comprise several minutes, the target experiences them instantaneously. To the target, the memories feel real, though he recognizes that they came from the spell. If share memory is cast on a sleeping target, he instead believes that the memory is a dream, and automatically remembers the dream upon waking.

            While the memories do carry all of the emotions of the original event, as you remember them, it is impossible to cause any psychological damage or trauma to the target as a result of this spell, no matter how terrifying or disturbing the memories may be.



School divination; Level bard 5, cleric 7, sorcerer/wizard 8, witch 7
Casting Time 10 minutes
Components V, S, F (a crystal ball worth at least 3,000 gp)
Effect you learn the likelihood of an event, and how to influence its outcome
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

            When you cast this spell, you must describe an event that might potentially happen in the future. You then learn the current likelihood that the event will occur, based on things as they currently are, from one of the following degrees of likelihood: extremely likely (something very drastic and improbable would have to happen to prevent the event from occurring), likely (something out of the ordinary would have to happen to prevent the event from occurring), uncertain (it is roughly equally likely to happen or not happen), unlikely (something out of the ordinary would have to happen for the event to occur), or extremely unlikely (something very drastic and improbable would have to happen for the event to occur). In rare cases, an event might also be certain (nothing can prevent it from occurring), or impossible (nothing could ever cause it to occur).

            Additionally, you learn three things that can be done to influence the likelihood of the event occurring. You must specify when you cast the spell whether you want to learn things that will make the event more likely or less likely, and you learn the three actions that you can take that will most likely affect the event in that way. These actions always take the form of useful precautions or courses of action you can take, and are specific enough to provide actual direction without being too minute to be helpful (for example, if the event was “cause the princess to marry me,” the actions suggested might involve visiting her in the middle of the night and serenading her window [if she would be particularly receptive to such a gesture], being at a specific place and time that will make it likely that you will be alone with her, or identifying a rival for her affections, as well as a potential way to hurt his chances of winning her heart). If the event in question is certain or impossible, you do not learn any events that could influence it.

            Note that the more specific you are about the description of the event, the more specific the information you will receive. Inquiring about the likelihood that the king “will be assassinated” can provide only general advice on how to prevent assassination attempts (if you are particularly lucky, it may provide steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of success for the next three assassination attempts), but inquiring about the likelihood of him being assassinated on a specific date will give you much more useful information to thwart any attempts that will be likely that night. Alternatively, asking about the king being assassinated in a specific way at a specific time by a specific individual may very well allow you to prevent that assassination, only to watch the king be assassinated in another way or by another person.