Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Announcing the September DCC RPG Contest - New Mercurial Magic Effects

Yes, I know - just a wee bit late, but that's okay, as we have some excellent prizes lined up for the winners of this month's contest.

We also have real judges this time around:

     Tim Shorts, he of the Gothridge Manor and The Manor Fanzine

     Quinn Conklin, he of Toys For the Sandbox Fame

     Mike Garcia, founder and publisher over at Occult Moon

What is this month's contest? New Mercurial Magic Effects.

What is a Mercurial Magic Effect? Here's some examples from the DCC RPG Rulebook:
At great cost. Every time the wizard casts the spell, someone he knows dies (judge’s choice). 
Slow cast. The spell requires twice the normal time to cast. 
Karmic casting. Before making the spell check, the wizard can choose to add or subtract 1d5 from the roll. If the caster adds 1d5, the next time he casts the spell he must subtract 1d5, and vice versa. After two castings, the karma is reset, and the wizard again gets to choose what modifier to use, if any.
 Breath of life. Casting this spell imbues the caster and those around him with beneficial energies. All within 15’ of the caster (both friend and foe) are healed 1d6 points of damage for every level of the spell (i.e., a level 3 spell heals 3d6 damage).

Mercurial Magic is a spell's signature, and will attach to the spell when the PC learns it. Some effects are negative, some relatively neutral-ish and some are beneficial.

So, right one up of your own design and add it as a comment on this post. Contest will end at 7PM EST on October 2, 2012

What are the prizes, you ask?

So far, the prize list includes the following:

Crawl! Fanzine, in print and sent to your abode.

The Manor Fanzine, in print and also sent to your abode.

DCC #67 - Sailors on the Starless Sea, in print and guess what? Also sent to your abode.

The Forgotten Fortress - in PDF, with redemption code sent to your email.


  1. One of the caster's limbs turns into a gnarled, immobile staff-like object, still attached to the body, with 2d6 uses of the spell in it.

  2. Not an entry, but a comment on your great cost effect. The following came to mind instantly

    "Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
    Ah, what's puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game, oh yeah"

    Wizard goes around meeting new people because you know he uh needs to keep casting.

  3. Primordial Ooze: The Caster's hands and feet (or shoes/boots, if he is wearing any) become coated in disgusting, jelly-like slime when the spell is cast. This makes it difficult to run on smooth surfaces, climb, and leaves a noticeable trail.

    Worms of the Earth: The casting of this spell causes (1d3 x spell level) earthworms to emerge from the soil near the caster (presuming there is any) and crawl away. If caught the worms can be eaten, and for every 5 consumed in one gulp the consumer heals 1 hp per level of the spell, but also does not heal naturally for that day. Those who eat the worms are also likely to attract the ire of creatures or patrons related to worms in some way.

  4. Whenever the spell is cast, a fez appears upon the caster's head.

    When the spell is cast, the caster suffers from a violent nose bleed, requiring a DC 10 Fort save to avoid 1 point of Stamina damage.

    When the spell is cast, the caster is surrounded by a cloud of locusts, all of whom seem to be chanting the caster's name. The locusts disperse in 1d3 rounds.

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  6. I know what you did last summer. Whenever this spell is cast, a huge apparition appears in place of the caster. It is the image of the caster committing an unspeakable act (GM's choice).

    Aura of Bronos. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster poofs out a cloud of sparkling rainbow-color dust and tiny flying ponies.

    Memorexia. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster is blown back 1d30 feet, and must make a Reflex saving throw or lose his or her footing.

    Flash Bang. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster emits an brilliant flash of light. Anyone facing the caster with unshielded eyes is blinded for 1d6 turns, and no save is allowed.

    Bald-Guy's Gate. Whenever this spell is cast, all of the caster's body hair disappears. It will grow back naturally.

    Brow of Doom. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster's eyebrows grow in three times as long as they were (each additional casting will exacerbate this effect in exactly the same way).

    Mark of the Beast. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster takes on the aspect of a lycanthrope of the GM's choice. STR and CON are both increased by 1d4 until the effect wears off, and may be spellburned as normal. Once the effect fades, those characteristics return to normal, but any additional spellburn is automatically healed.

  7. Replacement- A clone comes into existence, facing the caster, identical to the original in all respects except for a -1 Personality loss. A moment later, after each becomes aware of the other, the original is disintegrated, leaving no trace. The clone can carry on, but is burdened with the knowledge he/she is "just" a copy.

  8. (slight edit, forgot duration)

    Mark of the Beast. Whenever this spell is cast, the caster takes on the aspect of a lycanthrope of the GM's choice. STR and CON are both increased by 1d4 until the effect wears off, in 1d4 turns. The increased characteristics may be spellburned as normal. Once the effect fades, those characteristics return to normal, but any additional spellburn is automatically healed.

  9. Looking into the Abyss. Casting the spell causes the caster to see into a tear in space time. The caster suffers from temporary insanity. Roll a 1d6 to determine insanity affect.
    1. Faints for 1d6 turns, can be woken by another as an action
    2. Screaming fit, unable to cast until will save
    3. Intense Phobia, -2 to will, unable to act until will save is made
    4. Homicidal urges, Must roll a will save, if failed, physically assault allies
    5. Suffers hallucinations or delusions (Details according to judge)
    6. Develops a strange or deviant eating disorder (Slime, Canibalism, "waste" ect)

  10. Edit, forgot to add, that a will save prevents suffering temporary insanity.

  11. Tongues: for 1d3 days the caster can understand any language, but is wholly incomprehensible. There is a 15% that he will remember anything from those days

  12. Blemish; every time you cast this spell a 1 inch radius dark purple blemish will form on your skin. These blemishes are cumulative and will always be there even if the wizard polymorphs in another shape or is reincarnated into another body. Roll a d20 on the following table where the blemish will appear:
    4-7)torso front
    8-11) torso back
    12) right arm
    13) left arm
    14) Right leg
    15) left leg
    16) right hand
    17) left hand
    18) right foot
    19) left foot
    20) DM's choice

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  14. Bubbles: 1d7 bubbles float out of the caster's mouth. The urge to pop these bubbles is overpowering as long as they are around. Any creature with animal intelligence or higher that wants to act normally (instead of trying to pop one and only one bubble) on their turn must make a DC 15 will save.

  15. Phantom: The caster becomes a ghostly being for the next round. Mundane matter will pass through them, but they may not pass through walls or portals, as they are haunting this area.

    The caster will get a oracular vision every time they cast this. The DM secretly rolls to see if it beats the odds (75%) that it is a false insight.

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  19. Creeping doom: When the caster learns the spell, DM rolls a d20. After that many castings of the spell the next room that the caster opens a door to will contain Death (i.e. medieval black-robe and scythe). Bonus: Every painting/drawing that the caster views after the first casting will contain, upon first glance, a hooded finger pointing straight at the caster.

  20. Decay: Caster loses a tooth every time they cast (any?) spell. Appropriate CHA (or related stat) loss after a certain number of teeth go missing. Once the caster is out of teeth, they cannot cast that spell (any spells?). Caster may add teeth to their mouth, but they must be human and fresh...

  21. The Black Lodge: Learning the spell frees the caster's shadow self, who immediately materializes in The Black Lodge (or whatever). Each casting gives a level to the shadow self. After level 5 the shadow caster gains access to the prime material plane, its goal? The destruction and/or usurpation of the caster.

    1. Hey, +Stuart K.

      I really like "The Black Lodge" and was hoping to use it. Can you reply or email me? Thanks!

  22. Every casting summons a mischief-loving gremlin (think the film, not the fairytale). They are generally friendly towards the caster, but inept/chaotic. In town they will wreak havoc and in combat they roll a d6--on a 1 they act adversely to the party (bite for 1 damage, stealing equipment, disrupting spells, etc) on a 6 they help the party in the same manner. Any other roll? they hide/mind their own business. Each gremlin the party kills reduces the caster's hit points by 1. Permanently.

  23. Thaumic bleedthrough: The spell's magical energy permeates the vicinity! All spells cast within 200' after this spell is cast act as if they were one level higher. Duration 1 rd/level.

    Thaumic dampening: The spell greedily devours the area's latent magical potential! All spells cast within 200' after this spell is cast act as if they were one level lower. Duration 1 rd/level.

    Thaumic afterglow: Casting the spell causes the caster to visibly radiate magical energy. -1 to AC from ranged weapons.

    Thaumic magnetism: The spell has disrupted the magical potential inherent in the caster! The next melee attack that connects will stick to the caster for 1d6 rounds. Applies to weapons as well as fists (for unarmed combat).

  24. Nudism

    all clothes within 20ft (including caster) suddenly disappear leaving all within the radius stark naked. Equipment is not affected.

    Clothes will reappear in the most unlikely places (Socks in Soup Bowl, Shoes on a horses hooves, tunic worn by a zombie etc.).

  25. Inflation: This spell is costlier than expected. Roll up an extra Spellburn Action. Try to avoid a 24.

    Fuzzy nose: The caster sneezes whenever the spell is cast. The sneeze is so intense the caster is automatically detected and the caster is also blinded for the remainder of the round, and the next.

    It's good to be me: Whenever the spell is cast, use the next higher level modifier for the spell check.

    Runs like a halfling: The caster's movement is reduced by half - round up. It is in effect for as many rounds as the caster's level is.

    Inevitable indigestion: A secret spell component the caster must consume to make the spell successful also causes a great flatulence. All adjacent creatures and characters, friend or foe, immediately move away five feet. If any of the previously adjacent creatures carries a torch, there is a 10% chance of a fireball affecting everyone and everything in a five-foot radius, including the caster. Also, the caster is immediately detected.

  26. Lose a little of yourself: Attached to a spell that causes or heals damage, the caster loses XP on a 1-for-1 basis (or 10-for-1 with more powerful spells) for each point of damage inflicted or healed as their memories are consumed by the ether.

    If the caster loses enough XP this way the GM could rule that they forget any number of things, such as who people are, knowledge and skills they have picked up, other spells or, even chunks of their vocabulary.

  27. Toxic Influence: When cast, this spell causes water to turn stagnant and food to turn bad.

    Over extended use the casters very blood grows toxic in their veins. Presenting the symptoms of radiation poisoning within the caster that can only be cured sealing themselves away in a magically null area (and remaining there, this casters magical days are over!)

  28. Thunderous Tone: The last word of the spell when spoken creates a deafening clap, literally deafening all those who hear it for 2D10 minutes.

    During this time players not speak to one another at the table and, must pass all actions to the GM in writing as they cannot hear each other.

    Any creatures that have a heightened sense of hearing (such as Bats who use sonar) could be rendered unconscious, possibly even outright dead by this effect.

  29. Toxic Shock: Casting this spell befouls food and stagnates water within the area of effect of the spell.

    Extended usage of this spell eventually causes the very blood in the casters veins to become poisonous, with the outward effects of the poisoning resembling those of radiation poisoning.

    The only know cure for "The Shock" is prolonged exposure to a magically null area. This could take anything from days to months depending on how severe the case.

  30. Sacred Words: There is a very small (1 on 1D100) chance that a casting of this spell may permanently boost an attribute by 1 (the associated attribute should be determined at the point the spell is acquired).

    This beneficial effect targets only the caster and works only once a lifetime.

  31. Chain Reaction: When cast this spell randomly casts another spell from the user repertoire at the same time, both with the same target if possible.

  32. Static Charge: When cast, this spell has a 1 turn delay before taking effect as it gathers power.

    The magic user may act normally in the second round as the spell requires no continued focus.

  33. Racial Shift: Written by the member of another race, each casting of the spell has a 1 in 10 chance of "shifting" the race of the caster closer to that of the author.

    For example, a human casting an orcish spell may find their skin becoming a deeper shade of green with each casting or, lower canines becoming more pronounced.

    Such spells written by fearsome races, such as the dragons, are highly sought for this very reason!

  34. Berry Storm: A side effect of this spell is nutritious red-berries raining from the sky (or ceiling if indoors) across the area of effect.

    These berries possess no magical qualities but, do provide a good source of food and water (the berries are quite juicy).

  35. "Tag!": When cast, the spell is passed to the target along with its effects (the caster can no longer cast it and, the target gains the ability to cast it if possible).

    If the spell is cast upon someone or something incapable of magic, it is as good as lost.

  36. Forecast: Casting this spell causes all weather within 100 miles to flip to it's polar opposite (bright sunshine becomes hail and snow) over the space of a week.

    The weather will then begin to shift back to the norm for the season over the space of the next month.

    Cast this in farming communities only if you enjoy crazed pitchfork wielding mobs.

  37. Crazy Freakout: As my "Berry Storm" effect above but instead it rains frogs!

    Far from being nutritional however, these frogs are quite toxic and, if licked induce a psychedelic experience.. Not practical if you're on a quest but you could probably sell these to a shaman.

  38. Low Gravity: Casting this spell halves the gravity across the area of effect.

    A real pain if you're a marksman, great fun if you're a kid. :0).

  39. What's behind Door #3? Whenever the spell is cast, a magical portal opens three feet in front of the caster. The portal is ovoid in shape, and has an opaque, swirling surface of all colors. If the caster attempts to pass through the portal, he or she must pass a DC 13 Will saving throw. if successful, he or she will be teleported to any place he or she has ever been, however distant (caster's choice). If he or she fails, the caster is repulsed by the portal, and something else comes through from the other side. Roll 1d6: (1) Inanimate object of GM's choice; (2) small animal of GM's choice; (3) large animal of GM's choice; (4) substance of GM's choice; (5 or 6) Wandering Monster of GM's choice.

  40. The Bog: The caster and the target of the spell both sink up to their knees in normal soil. They treat normal terrain as rough terrain for 2d6 rounds.

  41. Light Consuming, whenever the spell is cast, all lights in the area dim by a percentage equal to 5 x Spell Level. Physical light source recover in 1d4+1 rounds, magical ones in 1d4+1 minutes. Magical light sources reduced to 0% are dispelled if not permanent. If this spell is case in complete darkness, it has a percentage chance equal to the spell level to open a rift to the Utter Dark that will last 1d6 rounds per spell level.

  42. Fart in Church: Whenever this spell is cast, all persons within a 5'xSpell Level will suddenly perk up and notice something is amiss. After one turn, an odor will permeate the area, causing all smell-capable creatures to notice the smell. All affected creatures roll a d20 under their INT score. A successful roll means the creature is intelligent enough to not be distracted, whereas a failure stuns the creature for one turn while they wonder if it was them.

  43. Conductive, contagious:

    Every time this spell is cast, there is a chance that someone within 20‘ will learn a random spell from the caster‘s spellbook. This is determined by assigning a number to each creature (friend or foe) within that area capable of using a language, starting with 1, and rolling a d100. If the rolled number matches one of the creatures‘ number, the effect takes place and the creature loses d20% of his/her HP permanently (round up); afterwards, he/she will be able to cast that spell indefinitely, like they were the original caster. If the random spell is the very spell we‘re describing, its mercurial magic effect doubles in strength: roll a d50 instead of a d100, creature loses d40% HP etc.


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