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

Sunday Spell: Green Doom

Green Doom

School Conjuration (creation); Level Druid 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft +5 ft. / 2 levels)
Components V, S, M (a pinch of moss)
Effect one 5-ft. square of green doom
Duration concentration up to 1 round/level; see text (D)
Saving throw: Reflex negates (see text); Spell Resistance: yes

As you concentrate on this spell, you cause a horrific green moss to creep over the ground. When first cast, the green doom covers one 5-ft. square within range. Each round of concentration thereafter, the moss spreads to another 5-ft. square adjacent to a square already affected. If you stop concentrating, the green doom does not disappear but withers and disappears in one square of your choice, although you must keep an unbroken chain of affected squares if possible. When you resume concentrating, the duration resets and the green doom spreads once more.
Squares affected are considered difficult terrain due to the clinging moss. Any creature in contact with the ground that moves over a square affected by green doom becomes infected with acidic spores unless they succeed on a reflex save. The spores deal 1d6 points of acid damage and slow that creature’s speed by 5 ft. for one round. In addition, a creature so affected trails the green doom behind it, and any square that it moves into becomes covered by the moss, subject to the same rules as above.


Beware the creeping doom! I’m also thinking about writing this up as a magic item for RPG superstar. What do you think?

Also, welcome back to gamingmage! We had to take a short break during the holiday week, but we’re back on schedule now! I only wish I were able to update gamingmage without interruption, but unfortunately there’s a lot going on right now. Sorry about the lack of notice!

Note that creatures get a new chance to shake the moss off of them each round with a new reflex save, since the effects only last one round.

-Max Porter-Zasada

Sunday Spell: Call Key

Call Key

School Conjuration[summoning];
Level sor/wiz 2
Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S, F/DF (a bronze bowl worth 5 gp)
Effect one summoned key
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving throw: none  Spell Resistance: no

You summon forth just the right key for a door before you, whose lock must be within sight while casting this spell. This is an extraplanar echo of the key, made of force and which fits the designated lock perfectly, as well as any locks which fit the same key normally. The key functions 3 times or for 24 hours before melting away, whichever comes first.

I love spells with a quirky, specific use that a clever player has on hand just when it’s needed. I wouldn’t rely on the party having this spell, as a GM, but if someone took the trouble to prepare it I would reward them. At 2nd level, the spell is low enough not to be prohibitive, but high enough that it’s unlikely to replace the lockpicking skills of the party; save this spell for the really baffling doors, or when you know that you’ll need to unlock a lot of similar doors in a hurry!
-Max Porter Zasada

Sunday Spell: Summon Wood Spirit

Summon Wood Spirit

School Conuration [summoning]; Level Druid 3
Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S, DF (crushed aromatic bark)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft. / 2 levels)
Effect one summoned creature
Duration 1 hour / level
Saving throw: none  Spell Resistance: no

This spell calls to your side a spirit of nature to advise and aid you. This being is insubstantial and possesses no hit points or other combat statistics, as it does not interact with the world other than to advise and aid. It follows you about, never straying further than the spell’s range. While the wood spirit is nearby, you can spontaneously convert prepared spells of equivalent or higher level into spells from the following list:

Level 1: detect animals or plants, goodberry, pass without trace

Level 2: forest friend*, tree shape, wood shape

Level 3: diminish plants, plant growth, speak with plants 

This functions similarly to spontaneous conversion of summon nature’s ally spells.

* this spell is found in the book “Ultimate Combat”.



A spell that can let a savvy druid be awesome unexpectedly, becoming a master of nature at the drop of a hat even when that druid has prepared for a city adventure. I would use this spell to increase options dramatically, though I feel that these spells have such specific uses and are so rarely used in a game that this spell is well balanced.


Max Porter Zasada