Locklar gripped his sword, fighting to retain composure as the ogre charged them. A few of Locklar’s arrows stuck out of the creature’s tough skin, but they had barely slowed him down.

“Any time now,” Locklar shouted, panic creeping into his voice.

“Must let him get a little closer,” muttered Mortigan. “Just a little closer…”

Locklar knew that the mage had been thrilled with the powerful spell discovered on that scroll they had found in the secret compartment of that statue, but he had never seen it in action. He was hoping that the first use would be at any moment.

Suddenly, a blazing blast of energy sizzled and snapped, shooting brilliantly out at the charging monster. It struck the ogre full in the chest, and it collapsed in a blinding flash of fire and smoke.

Locklar let out a sigh of relief. “That was great,” he said, watching for signs of life in the smoldering ogre. There were none.

“That is quite an addition to the old spellbook, huh?”

Hearing no answer, he turned to where he expected the mage to be standing, patting himself on the back for his powerful sorcery. Instead, the mage was six feet back, sprawled on the ground, holding his head and groaning. His robes seemed to be a bit singed…

Foolhardy Firebolt

Spell Level: M2
Range: 60′
Duration: Instantaneous

The caster releases a powerful stroke of lighting that is 40′ long and 5′ wide, extending from the targeted point. For every level of the caster, it deals 1d6 of electrical damage to anyone and anything in its path. A successful save reduces damage by half.

The caster suffers one hit point of damage for each level he or she possesses, a successful save indicating half damage.

This sort of thing is something I’ve thought about for a long, long time. Every spell, of course, was at one time researched by someone. And, for every spell that passed into common usage, there must be variants that weren’t quite right in some way or another. Or, perhaps, a motivated magic-user is simply tired of searching for that polymorph other spell and decides to create his own…which may or may not work quite right. Or maybe a wizard thinks he’s found a new way to channel a little extra magic into a particular casting, either pumping up the power level a notch or making the spell accessible at a lower level.

Most of these spells, of course, would have been either refined or discarded. Some, however, may have enough utility to end up spreading. Maybe, like the foolhardy firebolt, it manages to allow third-level magic-users to cast a spell very much like lightning bolt. But even these passable spells don’t come without a price. In the case of this example, it sounds like the method used to channel some extra magic isn’t quite strong enough to contain the entire charge.

Here’s another take:

Thorny Thunderblast

Spell Level: M3
Range: 180′
Duration: Instantaneous

The caster releases a powerful stroke of lighting that is 60′ long and 5′ wide, extending from the targeted point. For every level of the caster, it deals 1d6+1 of electrical damage to anyone and anything in its path. A successful save reduces damage by half.

The caster suffers 1d6+1 damage, a successful save indicating half damage.

This version is a third-level spell like the standard lighting bolt, but it delivers extra damage while giving the caster quite a jolt.

I’m planning to put together a collection of variations on standard spells if I can find a way to fit it into my schedule. No doubt, more of these will show up in Thursday Thaumaturgy once in a while.

2 Comments to “Foolhardy Firebolt
–Thursday Thaumaturgy”

  1. bat says:

    Very cool spell. Definitely the sort of spell to throw into a wand with ten charges and give to the guy with the Int of 3.

    Actually these variants are good for rings and wands and such because I just put a symbol, like a lightning bolt for this one and the wizard figures that he has a simple lighting wand and KAPOW, a 5′ wide 40′ long arc of lighting erupts from the end of the wand and unleashes a path of destruction.

    Awesome work.

  2. Telecanter says:

    I like this idea of spells “drafts” or variants. I like making spells hard to come by in my campaign and these variants would be a good way to let them find more spell scrolls, but still be excited when they find the “real” lightning bolt. Thanks!