RPG Design – Sunday Spell: Binding of Arach

Binding of ArachBinding of Arach

School conjuration; Level magus 4, sorcerer/wizard 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft. per 2 levels)
Components V, S, M (spider web)
Target creature
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving throw: reflex negates, see text; Spell Resistance: no

This spell creates masses of sticky strands that bind a creature’s arms and legs to a solid surface, holding them in place. The target creature must make two Reflex saves, one for its legs and another for its arms, or the nearest equivalent. If either save fails and there is a solid surface adjacent to that part of their body, the creature becomes entangled. If the Reflex save for its arms fails, the creature  cannot cast spells with a somatic component and cannot use its arms for any task. If the save for its legs fails, the creature is held in that space and cannot move. The creature can take a full-round action to make a Strength or Escape Artist check against the DC of this spell to break free of the strands holding either its legs or arms. Otherwise, the strands function like webs from the web spell. Creatures without anything resembling legs or arms are immune to this spell.

Deep within a dark forest there dwells the wizard Arach, a mad loner. They say he is a sworn hermit, spending his days and nights in the study of strange texts and stranger magic. Spiders lurk about his decrepit castle, and the trees for miles around are shrouded in the grey webbing of their kind, as they wait and plot and decide when they will turn on Arach and devour him. Once, so they say, a brave sorceress ventured into the forest to seek knowledge. She emerged days later covered in webs, but bearing a scroll with the Binding of Arach inscribed on it. She gibbered for weeks of poisons and creeping, crawling, darting things in the shrouded woods, but when she came to her senses she was able to teach the powerful spell to her students. 


I like spells that come in a series, and web is one of the coolest and most evocative spells in the caster’s arsenal. Let me know here if you use the binding of Arach spell in your game!

– Max Porter-Zasada


RPG Design – Sunday Spell: Absorb Blast

Absorb Blast

School abjuration; Level cleric 2, sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 immediate action
Range personal
Components V, S, F/DF (a gold talisman worth 100 gp)
Target self
Duration instantaneous
Saving throw: none; Spell Resistance: none

When you are targeted by a spell or spell-like ability that deals hit point damage and you have the proper talisman in hand, you can cast this spell to reduce some of the damage you would otherwise take, although you still suffer any other effects of the spell. Make a caster level check against the caster. For every point by which your check defeats your opponent’s, reduce the incoming damage by 3. If you absorb all the damage, you get a damage bonus on the next damaging spell you cast equal to the absorbed spell’s level if you cast such a spell within 1 round.

Created by the warmages of the north for their spell duels, this spell has become a signature of elite and erudite spellcasters. It is said that to venture into one of the northern warmage academies without this spell is tantamount to suicide…


I love abjuration spells in principle, but I think it’s very hard to get excited about them, especially the 2nd-level options. Making the school of abjuration as dramatic and cool as evocation is something I would like to do.

– Max Porter-Zasada