Monday, August 17, 2015

Black Words: The Ishnindah's Spells

Whence comes the Ishnindah?
You need better spells. The Ishnindah has them. Her spells are unfamiliar and dangerous, but probably better than whatever you can research or borrow from the gods. Luring the Ishnindah is not an easy thing. Nor is it wise. Still, adventurers do lots of dumb things and this could easily be one of them.

Attracting The Ishnindah

One cannot find the Ishnindah. One can only hope to attract her by assembling things that she finds appealing. Smoke from simmering blood. Severed hands. Liquid nightmares (difficult to extract!). Moonless nights. Arhythmic drumming. Mutes. Assemble enough of these in one place for long enough and she will eventually show up.

Her Blasphemous Words

The spells of the Ishnindah do not reflect the magical traditions of any known species in your campaign world, nor evince the channeling of divine energies associated with magical prayer (at least, not of any deities with which your players are familiar). They are alien and dangerous. The players can learn and cast them, anyways. It's up to you whether you wish to restrict them to any particular class.

She is happy to teach them to players, but may require payment in the form of their body parts. Eyes, tongues, fingers, hands, it all depends on the Ishnindah's mood. Adventurer Protip: Anything less than a wish isn't going to restore body parts traded to the Ishnindah.


Invoke The Other-Gnaw (1st-level)

This spell masticates a target within short range. There is no apparent source of the chewing; the target evinces deep bite marks all over their body without an apparent source (treat it as force damage). The bite marks are dissimilar to any recognizable species or even phylum. The damage inflicted by this spell should by whatever is appropriate for a 2nd-level spell in your game (in mine it would be 3d8, Fort half). One important caveat: each time you cast this spell, there is a cumulative 1% chance that you will be devoured completely by teeth similar to those used by the spell. The caster's flesh will be bitten off and disappear into midair. By the time the teeth are done, absolutely nothing will remain. Even drops of blood will be lapped up by invisible tongues.

Osseous Seed (2nd-level)

This spell afflicts a target with virulent organic poison. The poison inflicts a cumulative 1 damage on the target at the start of each day, until they die or a neutralize poison spell is cast upon them. If the target should perish, a tree of bones will grow from the corpse. It derives energy from moonlight and will grow at the rate of a normal tree but without decay and to a potentially limitless size. It will only bloom on the evening before the end of the world. The blossoms will drive any creatures that see them violently, irrevocably mad (no save unless they have ten or more hit dice). There are entire planets out there that have had their mass completely converted into osseous trees in this manner, over millions of years. Vast skeletal constructs drifting through the void, covered in heinous flowers.

Moon-Glaze (2nd-level)

This spell coats a single weapon with a crystalline substance supposedly similar in substance to the otherworldly flora of the moon. The sharper-than-obsidian edges of the crystalline coating give the weapon a +1 critical chance (if it would normally critical on a 20, it instead would critical on a 19 or 20). Alas, the strange material is fragile, and passes its fragility on to the weapon it coats: if you roll a natural 1, 2, or 3 with an attack, your weapon will shatter into a thousand tiny shards. If a weapon would plausibly be immune to shattering in this manner, the spell fails. Like, if you cast it on your holy avenger +5, that sword is probably going to transubstantiate the glaze into water vapor. I wouldn't let this spell work on any item that is already keen or of +3 or greater enchantment. Moon-glaze will oxidate off a weapon in about a week assuming continued exposure to an earthly atmosphere.

Putrid Claws (2nd-level)

Upon casting this spell, your hands agonizingly twist into jagged caricatures of human fingers, sporting quasi-mineral spurs and crystalline edges. Your claws inflict 1d6 damage + your level on a hit. Any creature that you injure with said claws will be wracked with fever, unable to sleep that night unless they are restored to full hit points or receive a cure disease spell. You cannot cast spells while you have putrid claws, and the effect lasts for 1d4 hours (you cannot end it early).

Address The Audient Void (3rd-level)

This spell enters a willing target into a peculiar arrangement with a mostly-malicious otherwordly intelligence. Casting this spell requires an obsidian mirror worth at least a thousand gold, a troupe of at least ten amoral kymbala players, 1d30 human sacrifices (the exact number is unknown to the caster, they must keep sacrificing until it works), and a goat. The character so affected is wracked by pain and internal distortion, resulting in a constitution score that is halved or reduced to 5 (whichever is worse). Thenceforth, every 1d4 weeks for the duration of their natural span of years, an unusually powerful byakhee with hit dice equal to the character's level will sail forth from the sky or the shadows of a particularly angular corner. If the character is alive, the byakhee will seek to kill them (the character should probably seek to defend themselves). If the character is dead, the byakhee will raise them from the dead (as per the spell) and depart without further fuss. This effect can be ended via a remove curse spell, but only if the recipient is willing. Theoretically, the character could be encased in some sort of spherical or non-angular subterranean area that would prevent a byakhee from reaching them, but this would most likely result in negative outcomes.

The Unseeing (3rd-level)

While this spell is memorized but not cast, you possess a random extra-sensory perception. Upon uttering the single syllable of this spell, you lose that sense and all natural flames within a 1000-foot radius are extinguished. Only flames of a less than 3-foot radius are affected. If a fire is magical, blessed, or in any way metaphysically unusual, then it is unaffected. For example, the holy fire in a shrine that was kindled by the prophets of yore from the Original Flame will not go out, but the candles and torches in the temple foyer will. A volcano and its environs would completely unaffected. On the other hand, a small town would probably have a lot of trouble defending itself in the middle of the night if the attackers had night vision and knew this spell.

Accursed Atavism (5th-level)

The target of this spell must make a Will save or be doubly cursed. First, they lose the ability to use or comprehend tools. Their understanding is reduced to about that of a household pet. For example, they understand that a sword causes pain and is dangerous, but cannot comprehend how to use it. Such a character can still benefit from armor that they are wearing or that others put on them, but will drop objects held in their hands. Even using a doorknob is a stretch. Second, they lose the ability to eat or derive nutrition from anything except for raw flesh. This probably exposes them to digestive problems and parasites, since the spell does not convey any improvements to their ability to consume those substances. A remove curse spell will suffice to end this effect.

True Aklo (any level)

The Ishnindah has taught you several words in True Aklo, a language whose existence is part of the fabric of reality and that can be used to open your mind to the cosmos. It also drives you pretty crazy: if you have access to this spell, you must make a Will save each day or suffer a minor form of madness (I like this madness table). This is an unusual spell: you can memorize it at any level you are capable of casting, but cannot ever cast it more than once per day. When you do cast it, it causes you to magically gain one casting of a random spell from your class that is one spell level higher than the one that it was memorized at. For example, if you memorize and cast True Aklo as a 2nd level spell, you gain a random 3rd-level spell from your list. This higher-level spell that you gain cannot be used in conjunction with metamagic or any other weird stuff like that. If you memorize True Aklo as a 9th-level spell, you are driven homicidally mad for 1d100 days, then disappear forever.

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