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    Amechra's Avatar

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    Default [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    As of 4e and later, D&D has stripped out a lot of its weird, setting specific forms of magic. I was wondering if there was a list of that cool idiosyncrasy anywhere - and if there isn't one, well we'll just have to make one.

    I'm thinking mostly of stuff like Dark Suns' Defiler/Preserver magic or Forgotten Realm's Shadow Weave.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    I assume that there has to be a specific sub-system at work here, not merely a list of new spells with a certain theme, right? Because otherwise you have a problem trying to define what a 'form' is. Is normal Weave magic from FR the same as high sorcery magic in DL? Or in plain ol' magic Greyhawk? or in Mystara? Only Toril has a Weave, but others do have sources of magic in their own right, and spellcasting works pretty much the same in all worlds.

    Going on subsystems, Wikipedia has a partial list.

    I'd have to go through my collection but off the top of my head there are earthstokers (tectonics in all aspects, DrMag.), spellfire, pluma and hishna (fetish magic, Maztica), rune magic (various versions, e.g. from the Vikings campaign sourcebook), and that's not even counting various 3rd party stuff.
    Last edited by BWR; 2019-08-13 at 03:10 AM.

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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Lessee here. In any edition, psionics are a sort of nonstandard magic; dunno if that's close enough for your purposes.

    2e Faerun had wild magic; 3.X technically does but it's not substantially different from regular. Combined casting like 3.X circle magic also made its appearance in the old Tome of Magic.

    3.X Tome of Magic has binding, shadow and truename. UA gives us incantations. I don't know much about artificers, but I know they accomplish spell-ish effects in a different way. Warlock/DFA invocations, incarnum, and epic magic might each be considered both nonstandard and magic -- a few of the martial adepts' maneuvers, too, though most of those are nonmagical. The Sword & Sorcery/Scarred Lands book Relics and Rituals added four small twists:
    • a form of combined casting like circle magic
    • augmentation of spells by spending time and expensive components
    • a category of magic that works like regular spells but is fluffed as being very punishable for overusing
    • double ASF for wearing armor because arcane magic generates massive heat ... this also gave arcane casters cold resistance for a round after casting!


    4e's rituals are basically the same as 3.X incantations. 4e also has three Psionic Augmentation classes that work substantially differently from wizards, clerics, shamans, druids, etc.

    In 5e, warlocks' pact magic is different from standard casting, at least in terms of how it's recharged. You wouldn't think that's a substantial difference, but if people in the gameworld actually use coffeelock tricks, that's very visibly different from other casters' magic. 5e rituals are IMO not meaningfully different from standard magic.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Birthright had special magic for the scions, I believe.

    And the Red Coast in Mystara had some weird blood-magic/blood metal stuff going on, too.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Both HR1: The Vikings and FOR7: Giantcraft had very similar Rune Magic systems, wherein carving runes allowed you to do a variety of magic; I've been reworking those classes as a kit for any class, here.

    Players Option: Spells and Magic introduced a spell point system, and a number of different ways of using those, for both Wizards and Priests; from pact-based warlocks, non-memorizing Channellers, to clerics who can only cast when they're supporting their deity's cause.

    Shaman had Shamans making pacts with individual spirits, and able to cast any spell... if they can find and appease the spirits who know those spells.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    I loved the Player's Option books. I remember this one mage I made, hardly ever cast anything but could punch better than the party fighter could polearm thanks to a persistent Fist Of Stone ...

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    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2019-08-13 at 12:30 PM.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    To expand on some of the 3.5e magic that Dimers already discussed:
    • Magic of Incarnum introduced Essentia. It was a pool of magic that could be assigned to mimic magic items. So, if you had 15 motes of essentia, you might assign 10 to your hands and 5 to your head to gain some effects.
    • Tome of Battle introduced stances, strikes, and maneuvers. These allowed fantastic effects to be granted to traditionally non-magic roles. For example, the Warblade would be closest to a Fighter in theme, but rather than investing in feats, would invest in stances, strikes, and maneuvers to better their chances at battle. This was not necessarily MAGIC, but was certainly fantastic in nature.
    • Artificers could create magic items really well and much more efficiently than a Wizard who invested into magic item feats. It was to the point where an artificer could build a magic item during an adventure, rather than having to wait for downtime later.
    • Psions were basically magic, but of the mind. In effect, they were magic with spell points, rather than a totally separate system.
    • Some races had magical abilities: Changelings could use Disguise Self to transform their look. Shifters were descended from lycanthropes and could call upon their bestial nature to transform some of their features based on the beast type.

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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Birthright had special magic for the scions, I believe.
    Birthright had a few irregularities with it's magic. The first was that nonblooded humans could cast spells above level 2 in most schools, but as I remember got specialisation benefits for both Divination and Illusion.

    Then you had Realm Magic, which where the big spells you cast at a strategic level and made use of ley lines. Of course developed areas had less ley lines, making domain management more complicated for spellcasting regents.

    Finally you had Blooded Powers, which you got a the strength of your Divine Bloodline increased, and were determined randomly with all the downsides that entails.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Anyone mention Wild Magic yet? Wild mages are some of my favorite characters!

    Any time you cast a level-variable spell (a spell where one or more effects - range, damage, duration, etc. - varied by level), there was a good chance you'd either cast it as being several levels above or below your current level, and a 1-in20 chance of causing a Wild Surge as well. Plus you had a 50% chance to control random magic items like the Wand of Wonder, the Deck of Many Things, and presumably the various bags of tricks, amulets of the planes, etc.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Dragonlance:
    Renegades/Wizards of High Sorcery: Renegades were standard mages. Wizards of High Sorcery were odd mixes of spell schools (only Red Robes could use Alteration, the most powerful school), but their ability to cast varied from day to day based on the phase of the moon that controlled their particular moral alignment.

    "Sorcery" and "Mysticism" came in during the 5th age, which were freecasting, build your spell when you cast it, sorts of magics, with sorcery only working on non-living, and mysticism only working on living or undead targets.

    Time of the Dragon:
    Cha'asi mages, from Taladas, had their own spell list, and didn't create magic items in the standard way... for them, "Enchant an Item" brought out the natural magical properties of unworked objects... so a lightning-struck tree branch might become a wand of lightning.

    Spells and Magic:
    2e also had "Schools of Philosophy" (the standard 8), "Schools of Effect" (Elementalism, Dimensionalism, Mentalism, Force Mages, and Shadow Mages), and "Schools of Thaumaturgy" (Alchemists, Artificers, Geometers, Song Mages, and Wild Mages).

    As I mentioned above, 2e had variant spellcasting rules... a Fixed/Free Theurgy divide (for about 50% more spell points, you could cast any spell you knew, or you could memorize a spell as the spell itself), a different form of Shaman magic (where the character can summon powerful spirits to aid them, as opposed to the version from above, where the spirits provide spells), and several spellcasting systems that used the spell point system.

    Channellers (reminiscent of 5e casting, where you prepared a certain number of spells per day, but could cast them in any combination, using spell points rather than slots, and with the possibility of lethal exhaustion)
    Witches and Warlocks (whose spell points don't automatically regenerate)
    Defilers and Preservers (the same thing; defilers are just less careful about gathering spell points, so the do it faster, but with more damage)
    Alienists and Summoners (magic will slowly drive the practitioner mad; while a warlock makes a pact with a reasonably intelligible, if evil, creature, Alienists contact inconceivable creatures)
    Ritual Prayer (priest spells take a long time)
    Conditional Magic (Priest spells are best cast when in the interest of the deity)

    Complete Wizard
    Witches gain their magical powers from a demonic or other extraplanar teacher

    Complete Bard Handbook
    Elven Minstrel Magic (literally singing and playing to spellcast, with your material components coming out of a special deerhide bag without needing you to manipulate them).

    Birthright:
    Birthright also had special spell-songs for bards, which allowed them to cast Enchantment/Charm spells, in addition to the "lesser magic" (i.e. level 1-2, plus Illusion and Divination), getting around the usual god-or-elven blooded restriction on lesser magic.
    Blood magic, which relied on having divine blood
    Realm magic, which relied on having control of large swaths of land
    Blood Powers, which were manifestations of divine blood in you

    Oriental Adventures
    Wu Jen Magic, which was broadly similar to standard wizard magic, but had "elemental specialties", where you knew a certain number of spells from a single element, and got bonuses thereby.
    While not "magic", martial arts abilities could allow one to learn to levitate, toughen your skin, and a variety of other effects.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2019-08-16 at 10:19 AM.
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Don't forget "True Sorcery".
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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    There are quite some extra magic systems in the different Gazetteers of D&D basic.
    - Secret Orders of the Great School of Magic in the Principalities of Glantri (GAZ3)
    - Runic divine magic in The Northern Reaches (GAZ7)
    - Race specific magics for halflings, with a special class, in the Five Shires (GAZ9)
    - A merchant class with some (very) specific magics in The Republic of Darokin (GAZ11)
    - The Shaman class in The Golden Khan of Ethengar (GAZ12) (best version, alts found in The Shadow Elves (GAZ13) and The Orcs of Thar (GAZ10))
    - Totem Magic in The Atruaghin Clans (GAZ14)
    - Not so much in terms of mechanics but flavor and social systems for Magocracies: both Glantri and Alphatia (in Dawn of the Emperors boxed set).

    2nd edition setting Al-Qadim had an elemental touch to its magic and divided spells in general, flame, sand, sea and wind and had three types of mages:
    - elemental mages, who specialized in one element (but also had access to general)
    - sorcerers, who had access to two elements of their and general
    - sha'ir, who called upon the genies (and usually had an affinity with one type of genie: djinn, efreet, dao or marid) and had a minor genie as a familiar who fetched their spells for them

    2nd edition did in general interesting things with kits.

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    Default Re: [D&D General] List of ALL the weird forms of magic?

    Al Qadim had some interesting takes on magic like the elemental mages but the one that was totally different was the Sha'ir who had to send his/her gen familiar to fetch spells for him/her. The Sha'ir didn't know or memorize any kinds of spells and was totally relient on his/her gen servant to go off and search for the proper spell.

    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Sha%27ir
    Last edited by RazorChain; 2019-09-03 at 10:11 PM.
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