Magic Costs and Exclusivity

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It’s probably just being deep in Harry Potter fanfic for a while, but the other day I had a moment where I yearned for a magic setting/system where magic was truly mysterious, even to the mages. Where magic is not just technology only usable to a select few, who learn the tried-and-true spells for doing most things and refer to them like any tradesman’s jargon. And I think that comes down to a few points:

  • Mages should be able to fairly easily craft their own repertoire of spells. The complexity of spell creation should make a particular spell better for one person than for another.
  • They should want to keep these spells secret from most other mages, either because spells tend to come with easy defenses you could use if you knew the details and/or because the very dissemination of the knowledge weakens the spell.
  • There should be a common framework around learning and creating magic, so you have something to teach at magic schools/apprenticeships, but that should plug into the spell creation system rather than being spells themselves.

I think in the grand scheme of things, for an RPG system, this involves a lot of charts with suggested multipliers and combos, and where powergamers will just be able to go nuts making their perfect overpowered spell. The defense to this getting completely out of hand is that A) the GM is free to slowly add on drawbacks and hidden costs that become apparent as the player uses the spell until it feels powerful but not game-breaking and B) the antagonists also have access to this system. Be polite to your rival mages, because they may have crazy OP spells to use against you if you piss them off. Also, there are probably several dark lords floating around happy to try to bump you off for your grimoire if you show off your brokenly powerful spells too much.

I’m not really ready to do all the math to make that system yet, but here are some charts that are hopefully useful as idea fodder to someone.

Method and Material

One step to making magic feel rare is to make components more than an afterthought. Of course magic is going to just turn into technology when you’re at most consuming a personal, renewable mana pool to make magic. Naturally, a component cost is easier to have in a narrative setting than an RPG: in a realistic simulation, tracking down a particularly hard-to-get commodity is a genuine cost, but in an RPG you often don’t want to play out days of work to interface with suppliers and make purchases. So when you’re like, “Sure, you have Resources 3, you can manage a bag of powdered silver in about a week, moving on…” it ceases to be a real limit. Any system that uses components and wants them to matter has to then have mechanics to make getting them more than an abstracted resources check. Which is why most games don’t bother.

But, I think there’s some there there. In particular, I like the idea that components aren’t just evaporated into magic when you cast a spell. In addition to the material itself, there’s a method of disposal. Do you need to carve the component? Burn it? Dissolve it in the sea? If it’s a tough component, like metal, you may need to have another spell just to make a fire hot enough to burn it or an acid that can dissolve it. The most powerful spells are rituals, and the process of disposing of the components is, itself, very interesting narrative flavor.

In general, harder combos should generate more powerful spells. If you component is “burn old newspaper” or “pour seawater on the ground” those are really easy to do and don’t generate much power for magic. When you’re talking about “burn a handwritten book over a century old” or “spread the powdered rust of a murder weapon that dissolved completely in seawater” then you’re starting to cook with gas. For full on rituals, you can obviously stack the components and tell a whole story about the magic you’re making.

You can also add the idea of non-consumed components by also requiring materials to be used as tools. “Carve runes into your flesh,” is metal, but not that limiting. “Carve runes into your flesh with a knife,” at least requires a particular tool that you will scramble to replace in a pinch. “Carve runes into your flesh with a silver dagger that was used to execute a murderer,” now means you have a particular, vital tool that your opponents can recognize and take from you.

Methods

  • Cut/Break/Smash (works for components that are whole items, where they can’t easily be reconstituted)
  • Burn/Evanesce (works for items that are so easy to reconstitute that you really want to render them to constituent molecules to be sure they’re gone)
  • Render/Melt (make a solid thing a liquid, particularly powerful if it doesn’t just go back when it cools; this is also a great way to chain component, using the liquid for the next step)
  • Dissolve into Liquid (like burning or rendering, but the idea being that the atoms of the material become thoroughly mixed with a greater volume of liquid)
  • Donate/Gift (this doesn’t work if you can easily get it back, but there’s a lot of power in relinquishing your ownership of something important to another person/institution)
  • Lose/Dispose (sometimes it’s enough to throw the thing away where you’ll never find it again, or pour it out when it’s not something you can just pick back up)
  • Corrupt/Ruin (particularly for dark magic, it may be enough to take something pristine and make it so gross there’s no way to restore it to its untarnished form)

Material

While there’s obviously a nigh-infinite number of nouns that can be used as component materials, I’ve tried to group them because I think this is one of the major places you can put something on a character sheet as a skill. Skilled Blood mages learn how to do less damage to themselves while fueling a spell. Talented Metal mages can pick particularly resonant materials rather than going for bulk. Essentially, there’s a skill for each category that lowers your materials cost per spell, and/or allows you to sub in easier-to-acquire materials.

  • Blood (or any vital fluid, rarity based on particular qualities and/or amount of damage dealt)
  • Craft (any constructed good where the rarity is not the materials itself so much as the difficulty of creating the thing sacrificed)
  • Fire (any evanescent/energy phenomena, so also electricity, cold, sound, etc.; this is more often a tool than the thing consumed)
  • Flesh (any non-blood animal resource, from carving wounds into your own skin or just using rare leather)
  • Metal (any mineral, with rarer ones having more value, and also value in how hard it is to dispose of)
  • Thought (actually losing memories from your head, to making oaths or revealing secrets, to sacrificing written knowledge)
  • Water (any non-blood liquid; this is as often the tool for disposal as the component sacrificed)
  • Wood (any plant matter, with actual rare and hard woods having value in how limited they are and how hard they are to destroy)

Exclusivity

One way to make spells secretive is to literally base part of their power on how many people know them. Suddenly notice a drop in power from one of your favorite spells? Maybe someone’s managed to get a look at your grimoire. Exclusivity refers to how many sapient individuals currently know the spell. If your mentor dies leaving you the only one with the spell, that increases the exclusivity… unless he’s hanging on as a wraith that may still be able to cast magic and/or impart the knowledge of the spell to others. More reason to make sure mages don’t hang on as the undead.

Level 0 exclusivity is when the spell gets so widely disseminated that it can be found in new age bookstores or the internet, easily available even to non-mages.

  1. Any mage can easily find it (it is often taught as an example of the form to students)
  2. Perhaps a third of mages may access the spell (it’s still something of a secret, kept for a few groups or older students)
  3. A secretive guild of perhaps 100 mages, 3 smaller groups of less than a dozen each
  4. An entire order of a few dozen mages, 7 rivals, or 3 unrelated mages
  5. An extended family, a coven of up to 7, 3 rivals, or 2 unrelated mages
  6. An immediate family, a coven of up to 3, or 2 rivals
  7. Only one mage knows it

Time

Do you need a time chart? Everyone needs a time chart. This can be used for both casting time and durations. All times should assume a ~ in front of them, because there’s a lot of fudge in a doubling system. It’s not that it took exactly 2 seconds, it’s that it was slower than instant but faster than a whole action.

Past around a minute on the time chart, the spell becomes a ritual, and possession of the Ritual skill allows the caster to move steps down the time chart by doing it faster.

As another thought I want to investigate at some point, I think the current vogue of 6-second rounds may be way too short. LARPing, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot more jockeying for position in any kind of large fight than RPGs can model these days. Actually swinging doesn’t take long, but that’s usually after several seconds of trying to outflank your opponent: most people don’t seem to just want to run in and trade blows to see in a few seconds who is best and fastest, they want to hit people from the sides while they’re distracted and it seems likely they’ll be able to hit without getting hit back. And that takes time. Anyway, this chart does assume the standard 6-second rounds, but I think that longer rounds might be due a comeback.

  1. Instant (Free Action)
  2. 2 seconds (Swift/Bonus Action)
  3. 4 seconds (Standard Action)
  4. 8 seconds (Full Round Action)
  5. 15 seconds (Two Rounds)
  6. 30 seconds (Multiple Rounds)
  7. 1 minute
  8. 2 minutes
  9. 4 minutes
  10. 8 minutes
  11. 15 minutes
  12. 30 minutes
  13. 1 hour
  14. 2 hours
  15. 4 hours
  16. 8 hours
  17. 12 hours
  18. 1 day
  19. 2 days
  20. 4 days
  21. 1 week
  22. 2 weeks
  23. 1 month
  24. 1 season
  25. 1/2 a year
  26. 1 year
  27. 2 years
  28. 4 years
  29. 7 years
  30. 12 years
  31. 25 years
  32. 1/2 century
  33. 1 century
  34. 2 centuries
  35. 5 centuries
  36. 1 millennium
  37. an aeon
  38. forever

Play-by-Post/Chat Tips

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As basically all gaming becomes online gaming during the pandemic, it’s important to know all of your options.

While video-conference-based gaming is the current default, I haven’t had much luck with it: if people don’t have great computers, cameras, and internet connections it can cause problems, especially if you game with couples who are trying to share an internet connection and suffering audio bleed from being in the same room. Dropping down to voice loses some of the video complications, but also loses all the body language feedback from your players. Both can have issues with slight audio latency that leads to talking conflicts that you don’t get as much when face-to-face: spotlight time goes to whoever is willing to just bull through someone else trying to talk at the same time.

Many have forgotten the grandparent of both of these styles, from the ancient days of IRC and AOL chats, before ubiquitous webcams and headsets: text-based gaming. This can be playing by post or email or everyone live in a chat room. The main difference is just the synchronicity. Text-based gaming has a few very interesting perks:

  • It self-documents, so you can always have the log to read back later. This can be for entertainment or to review information.
  • GMs that, at the table, feel too pressed for time to give good descriptions, or just forget to do so in the rush of talking, can enjoy license to go very purple with prose.
  • It’s leisurely. Even with live chat games, you often have time waiting for others to type to multi-task. My players, in particular, have expressed gratitude that it lets them game while also cooking, wrangling children, or doing other projects.
  • From the GM’s side, this leisure means it’s often possible to run on-the-fly in a way that would be madness face-to-face. There’s plenty of time to improvise, even for those that aren’t used to doing so, and the players have a much harder time telling when everything is by the seat of your pants.

It, of course, also has downsides:

  • Leisurely is code for slow. Depending on your players’ typing speed and distraction level, it can take two hours to knock out a scene that might have only taken 15 minutes at the table.
  • The format is not always intuitive to those that haven’t tried it before, especially people that are not comfortable writers. It can take a while for people to get into a groove.
  • Despite having the record right there, when you’re typing you’re not reading. People tend to miss what’s already been posted way more than you would expect.
  • All of this can be much worse if you don’t adapt to the format. A tactical-map-heavy, rules-dense, initiative-based play style is very challenging to do well in this format.

If you’re interested in how the medium works, my logs for years of Fading Suns are available. Currently, rather than the action formatting that was popular in the days of yore (double colons around actions), I’m trying a more prose-style notation, but the procedure holds up. The session times in that were usually 2-3 hours, for context of how much you can get done in one sitting. That was also mostly with players very comfortable with the format. Currently, with several players learning it as they go, I get maybe half as much done in the same session period.

I also have several specific tips for the format:

Narrative-Heavy

My number one piece of advice is to use a narrative-heavy system, or just eyeball the system you have for purposes of narration. You do not have time to request rolls for everything, particularly if the system requires multiple rolls to resolve a single result. When a player tries to do something, then you tell them what to roll, then they roll and calculate success, then you resolve the results, you’ve at least doubled the number of text exchanges you need, and that can take a long time in text.

Instead, consider the Technoir mindset: the PCs always succeed unless acted upon by a serious, opposing force. And when so acted upon, you can just eyeball relative competency, and suggest that a mechanically superior opponent means that the PC needs to come up with a winning strategy, not just get a lucky roll.

By all means, throw in narrated drawbacks if you think that success against the environment shouldn’t be easy given the PC’s skill level. And if they’re awful at something, you can just narrate that it’s not possible (or that they fail in an amusing way). This isn’t about making the players unstoppable, just removing the obstacles that slow down play.

In general, you’re looking to see if it makes sense to remove the randomizers in order to speed play. You can still use them when you want tension (but be prepared for things to slow way down). And if you’re really unsure about what should happen, you can roll physical dice “behind the screen” to resolve it. But it’s still almost always faster for you to do that than to wait for the player to realize you’ve called for a roll and to make it. Get straight from the player wanting to do something to you describing the result.

Have the Sheets Handy

As an aside, relevant to narrating and rolling behind the screen, keep the PC sheets handy. Just have them open in another browser tab. Unlike at the table when you’ve got a billion books and opponent stat blocks taking up your visual space, it’s much easier to keep the PC stats handy when you’re playing on a computer. It saves so much time for you to just look up what skills the PC has that are relevant to what you’re trying than to ask them to tell you their total in chat.

No Initiative

Largely related to the narrative aspect, but distinct, is that you should do your damnedest to avoid initiative order. You think people check out when you go around the table for initiative? It’s so much worse when you’re not sure if the person everyone else is waiting for has wandered off to do something else, totally unaware they’re holding up the game.

Try to set things up as parallel as possible, where everyone can do something if someone doesn’t respond for a minute. This can be legitimately running separate scenes that aren’t clearly linked in time to everything else going on (so the fast typists can do as much as they want while the slower ones are off on their own scene). Generally, though, it’s just that everything is very open and that you assume that people that are posting less frequently are doing something useful that just isn’t being clearly described. “Botting” idle PCs by incorporating the actions you assume they take in your GM posts is much more acceptable than face-to-face.

Mostly, just do everything in your power to avoid situations where you’re waiting on one player to say something before anyone else can advance the scene.

Always Have a Ninja

Corollary to keeping one player from hanging the scene: be prepared to prevent all the players from hanging the scene. This can be especially prevalent when the PCs have gotten off to a safe location where they’re planning or trying to investigate something at their own pace. If you don’t have an active participant in the scene (whether that be an NPC or just a dynamic situation), you can get stuck where the players are stumped as to what to do next, but there aren’t any obvious things that you can add in-play to unstick them from the problem or at least convince them to move on if they’re stumped.

The obvious solution is the Raymond Chandler standby: have a guy with a gun kick in the door (or a bunch of ninjas). This can feel punitive, but maybe the players will keep things moving if they know all you have is a hammer to try to unstick them.

While GMPCs are generally not the best idea, they can be really useful in this format to give you a mouthpiece in any scene. As always with important NPCs, you should avoid having them just take charge or have the players assume they will always have the answers. Instead, the character can usually have middling to bad ideas, but just having someone to pipe up and go, “So it seems like what you’re saying is…” can be enough to break the deadlock, or at least get them to continue talking rather than sitting, sullenly waiting for someone else to post.

Finally, you can aggressively scene frame. If a scene peters out, just describe the next one. This is hard if the players are stuck on how to resolve something and wouldn’t move on without it being resolved, so it’s not my favorite option. But if you can just move them on, do it.

Consider Artifice Exposure

Sometimes, you just have to explain, out of character, what you’re doing. Text loses the nuance you would get from body language and tone of voice. Often you think you’ve described something perfectly, and if the players successfully tag your prose with their own, you’re going to wind up with just the most beautiful piece of writing for posterity.

But while you’re sitting there, unwilling to type anything else because you ended your post on what you think is the perfect feeder line for the player to say something awesome, the players might be sitting there completely baffled by what they’re supposed to be doing. You may need to just throw up an OOC line where you’re like, “Okay, in case this is not clear, the options I see here are X, Y, and Z; you can do one of those, or do something creative I didn’t think of.”

I’m guilty of this a lot.

Examine Your Clarity

As part an parcel of exposing the artifice, consider your clarity in general. As noted, even with the text record indelibly floating above the chat, people can miss an awful lot. It’s very hard to keep track of several posts that come in at once from other players, particularly when you’re typing up your own masterful piece of dialogue. I pretty regularly see players repeating actions or asking questions that were covered only a line or two above. You can even miss things for quite a while, before someone finally notices a discrepancy (in this log, two PCs executed the same villain in two very different manners).

This can be very challenging if you’re trying to run split scenes. In this session, even very clearly noting in chat which characters I was focusing on, players were still getting confused whether I was describing something that they could interact with or something happening on the other side of the zone. Be explicit and repetitive in your descriptions about who can interact with something when the party is split. You can always rearrange the logs later to make the soup of player responses make a little more sense.

Ultimately, always consider that you can basically have a similar problem to peer-to-peer multiplayer video game disagreements. In P2P shooters, one player is the host computer that has the “real” record of all the actions that happened, and if the other computers lag, they can think they’re accomplishing something only to suddenly be confused when it didn’t happen (e.g., shooting a guy that their computer said was in line of fire but the host computer thought had moved). As the GM of a text game, you’re the “host computer” and your vision of what’s going on is the authoritative one. But through various issues with clarity or noticing what’s going on, you can “desync” from the players’ vision of what’s going on.

If the players are doing something that doesn’t make sense for your view of what’s going on (even if it just seems like it’s suboptimal, like they’re ignoring an obvious thing they can interact with) it falls to you to make sure they’re not punished due to the disconnect. If you think they’re missing something, ask them OOC if it’s deliberate before you narrate them failing. You’re never as clear as you hope, and it’s important to make sure everyone has a good time.

D&D 5e, A Few More Warlock Invocations

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Last time, I left out the Hexblade, and I also left out my own Pact of the Blood. So here are a few more invocations.

Speaker for the Murder

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and Beast Speech

Crows, ravens, and other corvids are always positively inclined to you (and anyone that attempts to use a spell or other command to order an individual or swarm of them to attack you must beat you in a contested Charisma check to have them attack). When you are outside in terrain where they live, there will always be at least one corvid keeping an eye on you, whom you can question with Beast Speech. By spending Inspiration, you guarantee that there was a corvid observing any situation where it makes sense, who you can quickly get in touch with through the avian network to question about what they observed (though the birds still may not have perfect memory or good understanding of what was observed).

When your pact magic slot reaches 3rd level, you gain conjure animals as a bonus Warlock spell, but it can only be used to summon ravens, crows, or other corvids.

Shadow Walker

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and One with Shadows or Shroud of Shadow

When you are invisible and in an area of dim light or darkness, you can cast misty step on yourself at will, without spending a spell slot. You must emerge in another area of dim light or darkness.

War Magic

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and Pact of the Blade feature

As the Eldritch Knight (Fighter) feature of the same name, whenever you use your action to cast a cantrip, you can make one attack with your pact weapon as a bonus action.

Curse Leash

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and Pact of the Chain feature

You gain advantage on any saving throws or charisma checks against cursed or sentient items. You may cast remove curse on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot.

Book of Swords

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and Pact of the Tome feature

Your book of shadows contains extensive documentation on magical weapons. You may cast identify at will, without expending a spell slot or material component. When your pact magic slot reaches 5th level, you may cast legend lore at will, without expending a spell slot or material component. Both of these spells may only target weapons or the context of weapons (e.g., you might use legend lore to learn of how a previous wielder of a weapon you possess used it).

And Your Children’s Children

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and Pact of the Blood feature

When your pact magic slot reaches 3rd level, you gain bestow curse as a bonus Warlock spell. If you cast a spell with a duration of Permanent or Until Dispelled that affects a target, and the target fails to save against the spell, you may cause that spell to also apply to all of the target’s descendants (each must save individually if they are currently alive, and any newborns automatically fail the save). You may use your Mystic Arcanum to cast any of your Warlock spells that gains increased duration from using a higher slot (e.g., you can use your Mystic Arcanum (9th level) to cast bestow curse as a 9th level slot instead of your normal Mystic Arcanum spell for that level).

Signed in Blood

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and Pact of the Blood feature

When you make a contract that you and a subject both sign in blood, you can cast geas on the subject at will, without expending a spell slot, but you are also subject to the geas (to fulfill your responsibilities in the contract). The instructions for the geas must be the terms of the contract, the casting time of the spell can be lowered to 1 action if at least a minute was spent writing and signing the contract, and the spell can only be ended by you ripping up the contract. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

The Innsmouth Look

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and Pact of the Blood feature

You have a particular look about you that inclines the denizens of darkness to believe that you are one of them. You gain advantage on Charisma checks against aberrations and other followers of the Great Old One. You gain advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks against any targets to convince them that you are evil, criminal, willing to betray your allies, or similar topics. Additionally, you can cast water breathing on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Holy Grail

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Pact of the Blood feature

You may expend one or more hit dice as an action to bleed into a container and transmute your blood into a Potion of Healing. It is a standard potion for one hit die, a greater potion for two hit dice, a superior potion for three hit dice, and a supreme potion for four hit dice. The potion only remains viable for one hour after creation.

After creating such a potion, you may cast one or more other spells that affect a target (with a range greater than Self) into the created potion, their duration begins when the potion is imbibed, the target is the subject that imbibes the potion, and the subject has disadvantage on saving throws against the spell, if any.

The GM’s option, the vessel used to create this potion may have residual effects as a form of enchantment.

Scion of the Raven Queen

Prerequisite: Hexblade patron and Pact of the Blood feature

All spells (including cantrips) of the necromancy school are added to the warlock spell list for you. Additionally, you gain toll the dead as a bonus cantrip, and any invocations you have that apply to eldritch blast also apply to toll the dead.

D&D 5e, Additional Warlock Invocations

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I was talking with some friends about how my deeply held belief is that Warlock invocations are primarily to be used for shenanigans, rather than taking the ones with an obvious and simple combat application. This got me thinking about it, and I came up with some extra ones. Sadly, I could not figure out how to make all the additions awesome utility fun.

Some of these probably also need a level restriction, but I’m mostly assuming those are harder to make use of at low level anyway so it may be fine.

Changeling

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and one of Mask of Many Faces or Master of Myriad Forms

Onlookers have disadvantage on checks to see through your disguises (magical or mundane). Dispel magic attempts against you do not automatically remove disguise self or alter self, but must instead roll as if targeting a spell higher than the slot level of dispel magic, and this roll has disadvantage. You gain advantage on Charisma (Deception) rolls to pretend to be someone you are disguised as.

Glamour Weaving

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and Misty Visions

You gain the ability to concentrate on an additional spell, as long as that spell is of the Illusion school.

Gossamer Blade

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and Pact of the Blade feature

Your pact weapon is partly ephemeral, spun of solidified glamour. You may expend a pact magic slot as a bonus action. Until you cancel the effect as a free action on your turn, or until you take a short or long rest, your attacks with your pact weapon glide easily through armor and rend the mind and soul.

While this effect is active, your pact weapon deals psychic damage instead of its normal damage type, and instead of making an attack roll, targets of your attacks must make a Dexterity saving throw against your spell save DC (taking your weapon damage on a failed saving throw and half damage if successful). Targets must still be within reach of your melee attacks.

Additionally, while in this state, your pact weapon can cleave through illusions. If the creature that is the target of your attacks is under the effects of an illusion spell, or if you use an action to strike an illusion that is not anchored on a creature, apply the effects of casting dispel magic against any illusion effects present (at the level of your pact magic slot); this does not expend an additional pact magic slot or require you to be able to cast dispel magic. Rather than simply ending, an illusion dispelled in this way generally responds as if it was physically destroyed by the attack.

Oathkeeper

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and Pact of the Chain feature

When you make a deal with a willing subject (not magically compelled or under physical duress), you can cast geas on the subject at will, without expending a spell slot. The instructions for the geas must be the terms of the deal, and the casting time of the spell can be lowered to 1 action if at least a minute was spent working out the deal. You can’t do so again until you finish a long rest.

Book of Names

Prerequisite: Archfey patron and Pact of the Tome feature

Your Book of Shadows includes pages for signatures. If you can get a willing subject (not magically compelled or under physical duress) to sign their full name in the book, you have power over that individual. You have advantage on spell attacks against the subject, and the subject has disadvantage on saving throws against your spells and other magical effects. You may choose to willingly strike out a name, losing power over the subject.

Brand of Shared Sight

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and one of Devil’s Sight or Witch Sight

As an action, you may press your thumb to the brow of a willing subject and deal 2 fire damage, marking the subject with a small sigil that represents your patron. Whenever you are in a position where you can see the subject, the subject can share any forms of enhanced vision you possess (e.g., darkvision, Devil’s Sight, truesight, Witch Sight, etc.). You may maintain this effect on as many subjects as you desire, but it ends whenever the subject has maximum hit points (i.e., has healed the damage from the brand).

Blood Protection

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and Fiendish Vigor

Whenever your temporary hit points are reduced to 0, you gain resistance to the damage type that removed your last temporary hit point. This does not apply to the attack that removed the temporary hit points, but does apply to subsequent attacks. This resistance ends when you take a short rest, are restored to maximum hit points, or have a new set of temporary hit points removed by a different damage type (that becomes your new resistance).

Hellfire Blade

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and Pact of the Blade feature

As a bonus action, you can cause your pact weapon to switch from a physical object to coruscating flame. While in this form, the weapon deals fire damage instead of its normal type (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing). You can change back to a physical weapon as an additional bonus action.

Soulbinder

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and Pact of the Chain feature

You may write a contract for a subject’s soul that must be signed in blood by you and the subject (who must not be magically compelled or under physical duress). If you successfully upheld your responsibilities in the contract, when the subject dies, the contract is immediately imbued with their soul, which you can free, use, or trade as you wish. Creating a contract automatically fails if the subject does not have a soul, or if the soul is already spoken for in another contract.

Shadow Ledger

Prerequisite: Fiend patron and Pact of the Tome feature

Your Book of Shadows includes pages for accounting of debts. Any debts you owe or are owed automatically appear in these pages (and this can inform you of verbal agreements or agreements made by proxies of which you were not aware). Additionally, you may store wealth in an extradimensional space associated with the book. The inside back cover of the book includes a pocket that opens into a Bag of Holding which can only store coins, gems, or art objects.

Psychic Driving

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and Gaze of Two Minds

You may use a bonus action to maintain Gaze of Two Minds instead of an action (but you are still blinded and deafened to your own surroundings). Whenever you are using Gaze of Two Minds, you can treat the subject as your familiar, communicating with them telepathically and allowing them to deliver spells with a range of touch if they are within 100 feet of you.

Additionally, while you are maintaining Gaze of Two Minds or have a thrall from the Create Thrall ability, if you have more than twice the hit dice of the subject and are within 100 feet, you may attempt to possess them. You may force a contested Charisma check with the subject as your action. Once you have succeeded on three of these checks, you and the subject swap bodies. Treat both of you as possessing the other’s body as per the magic jar spell (and you no longer need to spend actions to maintain Gaze of Two Minds). Treat the spell as cast at a level of your highest pact magic or mystic arcanum slot if either of you is subjected to dispel magic. If the effect is dispelled, or you voluntarily end it as a free action, you both return to your original bodies. If either body is currently dead, the effect cannot be dispelled or voluntarily ended (i.e., the living body is permanent possessed by the wrong mind).

Impossible Sight

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and one of Eyes of the Rune Keeper, Eldritch Sight, or Visions of Distant Realms

You can cast see invisibility at will, without expending a spell slot or material components. Additionally, you may use an action to roll Intelligence (Investigation) contested by the target’s Charisma (Deception) to determine if a target you can see is charmed or possessed.

Abhorrent Weapon

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and Pact of the Blade feature

Your pact weapon is somehow wrong for this plane of existence, made of strange (possibly living) materials or impossible angles. Sane individuals have trouble focusing on it, making it hard to defend against your attacks. Spend a pact magic slot to gain advantage on all attack rolls with your pact weapon. This ends when you regain your pact magic slots. At the GM’s option, this may not work against targets that are mad or mindless (particularly aberrations, constructs, oozes, plants, and undead).

Subconscious Whispers

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and Pact of the Chain feature

You can cast command at will as a 1st-level spell, without expending a spell slot. You must be in telepathic communication with the target of the spell.

Necronomicon

Prerequisite: Great Old One patron and Pact of the Tome feature

Your Book of Shadows is protected by a glyph of warding containing the confusion spell, which is triggered by anyone not devoted to the Great Old One attempting to read the book, uses your spell save DC, and resets automatically whenever it is triggered or dispelled. Additionally, when you gain your 5th level pact magic slot, you automatically learn contact other plane as a bonus Warlock spell and have advantage on the Intelligence saving throw involved in that spell.

Divine Protection

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Armor of Shadows

You can cast sanctuary and shield of faith without expending a spell slot or material components.

Angel’s Wings

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Ascendant Step

You can cast fly on yourself at will, without expending a spell slot or material components.

Angelic Weapons

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Pact of the Blade feature

As a bonus action, you can cause your pact weapon to switch from a physical object to brilliant light. While in this form, the weapon deals radiant damage instead of its normal type (bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing). You can change back to a physical weapon as an additional bonus action.

Steed of the Faithful

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Pact of the Chain feature

You can cast find steed at will without expending a spell slot. The steed replaces your familiar, and vice versa.

Holy Book

Prerequisite: Celestial patron and Pact of the Tome feature

You can cast ceremony at will from your Book of Shadows without expending a spell slot or material components.

Additionally, planar ally, conjure celestial, holy aura, and gate are added to the Warlock spell list for you as options for your mystic arcana.