View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Common Magic

2018-09-23, 07:40 PM
Related to my previous thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?569724-Undead-Houserules-(PEACH)), this is a selection of techniques to allow non-magic users to accomplish some of the basic tricks needed to fight the things what go bump in the night. I don't really speak rules lawyer-ese, so let me know if any of the phrasing is off or anything seemingly obvious is missing.


Common Magic
Not all magic is confined to those who consort with the spirits. The spirits are everywhere and everything, after all, and some minor rituals find their way into the realm of everyday superstition. As is with many things for the commonfolk, there are as many useless false gestures to be found as genuine rituals, but a few things remain reliable.

Holy Water
A common sight in shrines and temples the world over, holy water is mostly used in simple blessings, but is a useful tool for those who tread where most dare not. Holy water is known to burn and repel the undead, though different mixtures and blessings can have a similar effect on certain kinds of spirit. All holy water has the same effect on the undead, but can be aligned against good, evil, lawful or chaotic spirits as well.

Preparing holy water is a simple process that can be completed in about an hour. The exact recipe varies from region from region, some using a particular mixture of herbs, others using powdered silver or jade. No matter the precise ingredients, each vial requires about 25 sp worth of material. Creating the prepared mixture requires a DC 15 Craft (Alchemy) check. Afterwards, the water must be blessed with a simple prayer, which varies on region and the intended alignment of the water. The proper words and intonation require a DC 15 Knowledge (Religion) to perform properly.

Regardless of what rituals are used, the completed holy water has the same results; each vial is aligned good, evil, lawful or chaotic, as decided during the blessing. Undead and spirits of an opposing alignment take 2d6 damage on contact with the holy water, plus an additional 1d6 per round for the next 1d3 rounds. If they should be immersed entirely in holy water, the subject takes 20d6 damage per round of immersion and an additional 10d6 damage per round for the next 1d3 rounds after immersion. In addition, the subject reacts as if turned, fleeing for 10 rounds or cowering if unable to do so. Intelligent victims may make a Will Save equal to 10 + the damage taken to resist fleeing (making a new save each round they take additional damage from that exposure, increasing the DC cumultatively).

Holy water has other uses as well: anointing a weapon in the water (a standard action) gives the weapon the same alignment as the holy water for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction (though the weapon is still not magical, and so does not overcome DR/magic) for one minute.

Finally, special training can allow experienced users to get additional effects from holy water, as expressed by these modified feats:

Sacred Vengeance
Prerequisite: Knowledge (Religion), 4 ranks.
Benefit: By saying a simple prayer as you anoint a weapon with holy water, your attacks with that weapon for the next round deal an additional 2d6 damage against undead or spirits of an opposing alignment.

Sacred Vitality
Prerequisites: Knowledge (Religion), 6 ranks.
Benefit: By imbibing a vial of holy water (a standard action), you gain immunity to ability damage, ability drain, and energy drain for one minute. Additionally, should you die within an hour of taking the potion, the holy water remaining in your system will ensure you will not rise as one of the undead, regardless of the circumstances of your death.

Exorcism is a practice that essentially involves severing an undead's connection with its subject of haunting, usually by calling on the natural spirits of the land itself, though sometimes by begging the aid of a higher power. An exorcist who knows the right sort of ritual spends ten consecutive rounds chanting or speaking the appropriate words, at the end of which the exorcist must make a DC 20 Knowledge (Religion) check. If the exorcist's concentration is interrupted the ritual must begin again.

If successful, the presence is forced to manifest for one round. The exorcist can choose to continue the ritual, making another DC 20 Knowledge (Religion) check each round to force the haunting presence to remain manifested for an additional round. If the presence is destroyed during this period, its connection to the haunting is severed. It may still return as a ghost at some point, albeit one with no particular attachment to the location or events it previously haunted. Because of this the haunting presence is effectively pacified.

Magic Wards and Circles
Perhaps the most widely-known technique for dealing with spirits, it's widely known that ghosts and spirits cannot cross a line of salt. While this isn't entirely accurate, it is true that incorporeal entities cannot cross such a barrier. Any physically manifested spirit, such as a swordwraith or a woodgeist, can pass a ward of salt as easily as any mortal. Still, salt is effective enough that common superstition recommends lining the walls of your dwelling with it, or at least the doors and windows. Travelers will also sometimes encircle their campgrounds with salt, though spectres are usually the least of their worries.

A more effective variation on this basic technique is the use of powdered silver, sometimes combined with wax to produce a more sturdy ward. Powdered silver wards have the same effects of salt, with the added benefit of being effective against spirits in physical form, including demons. However, entities which cannot exist without a physical form - lesser undead or ghouls, for instance - are no more effected by such wards than beasts are.

The creation of magic circles is a more specific technique that provides additional benefits. A subject inside the circle is immune to any attempts to possess or enchant them, though any possessing force already present in the circle is exempt from this. Spirits inside the circle are bound within, but can escape by simply returning to the spirit realm. A circle can be augmented with a special diagram around its circumference (a process which takes 10 minutes and a DC 20 Knowledge (Arcana) check), the circle binds the spirit to the mortal realm as well.

A notable flaw in any of these wards is that they are only effective as unbroken seals. Anything interrupting the line of salt or silver (even a piece of straw lain over it) renders the entire ward ineffectual. A ward can also be crossed if the entity is given permission to by either the one who placed the ward, or anyone with authority over a building the ward is placed within or around (similar to granting permission for a vampire to enter). A spirit summoned into such a circle has other opportunities to break free of its bindings, but such matters are in the purview of true magic and won't be covered here.

Silver, Jade, and Meteoric Iron
One of the most widely known solutions to fighting the supernatural is to strike them with weapons crafted from rare materials. Often an expensive measure, a weapon so crafted not uncommonly becomes a family heirloom, used in times of dire need.

Silver is the least expensive of the materials, coveted highly enough as to supercede gold as the favored currency in most places. A weapon woven with silver is less directly effective than its mundane counterparts, taking a -1 penalty to damage rolls, but is notably more effective against vampires, lycanthropes, and outsiders. This is generally believed to be related to their close association with the moons.

Houserule: All Outsiders have DR/silver or [opposing alignment] (if 10 HD or less) or DR/silver and [opposing alignment] (if 11 HD or more) in place of whatever DR they had previously.

Crafting a weapon enhanced with silver is a relatively inexpensive process, increasing the price of the weapon as follows:

+2 sp

Light Weapon
+20 sp

One-Handed Weapon
+90 sp

Two-Handed Weapon
+180 sp

Meteoric Iron
A material discovered in the earliest days of civilization, before the smelting of earthly iron ores was possible, meteoric iron (also known as "cold iron," as it needs no smelting) is a remarkably pure metal that has long been coveted for both its durability and its effectiveness against spirits. Meteoric iron has all the properties of adamantine, granting damage reduction when used as armor and ignoring hardness less than 20 when sundering or attacking objects. In addition, it is known to be extremely effective at combatting spirits, who recoil from its touch.

Houserule: DR/adamantine is rolled into DR/cold iron. Also, all creatures of the Fae type have at least DR 5/cold iron if they didn't before.

Because of its rarity, meteoric iron is extremely expensive to work with, and as such is only handled by master craftsmen. All meteoric iron equipment is of masterwork quality by default, which is included in their prices:

+ 60 sp

Light Armor
+5,000 sp

Medium Armor
+10,000 sp

Heavy Armor

Light Weapon
+600 sp

One-Handed Weapon
+2,700 sp

Two-Handed Weapon
+5,400 sp

Normally used as a precious ornamental stone, jade has also seen use in arms and armor, mostly for ceremonial use. However, superstition (correctly) holds that jade can be used to strike ghosts, and some carry jade weapons for exactly that purpose. Jade weapons and armor are treated as having the ghost touch property, except that incorporeal creatures cannot use jade equipment themselves. Jade also shares many properties with silver, bypassing DR as if it were a silver weapon, and dealing normal damage to ghouls.

Jade is, however, a prohibitively expensive material to work with, closer to that of gemstones than any metal. Jade equipment is twice as expensive to produce as those made from meteoric iron. Because of this, jade equipment is generally only found as family heirlooms or in the possession of wealthy nobles.

2018-09-23, 07:47 PM
Sacred Vengeance feels like it should let you strike incorporeal undead without a miss chance. You're also missing the anointing action cost.

The use of salt as a barrier/to define threshholds is(I assume) closely linked to a vampires' inability to cross threshholds. Does permission have any effect on ghosts? Can vampires cross a line of silver?

2018-09-23, 08:44 PM
Sacred Vengeance feels like it should let you strike incorporeal undead without a miss chance.

Jade weaponry already covers this, plus Sacred Vengeance is already a feat, I'm just altering it to use a vial of holy water rather than a use of turn undead. Internally speaking, the feat just lets you retain the damaging effect of the holy water rather than expending it entirely on aligning the weapon.

You're also missing the anointing action cost.


The use of salt as a barrier/to define threshholds is(I assume) closely linked to a vampires' inability to cross threshholds. Does permission have any effect on ghosts? Can vampires cross a line of silver?

Good points. Plenty of ghost stories start with a mysterious stranger knocking on the door and asking to be let in, I think it would make sense for permission to allow bypass of the ward.

Vampires can exist without their corporeal form, so yes, silver wards will hold them.

Edit: Added an entry for silver, jade and meteoric iron materials.