This is your wizard...
This is your wizard using WYRDZ!
Now then, since I've gotten that out of the way, the actual point of the thread.
A handbook on Words of Power
, an OGL variant from the Pathfinder supplement "Ultimate Magic".
Why use wordcasting?
Do you dislike the lack of complexity in the standard Vanacian spellcasting system? Would you prefer some more flexibility with your spells? Look no further than the Words of Power variant! You have a pool of words that you know and can combine on the fly to create spells suited for the situation at hand*
With more than one hundred words available to learn, you can create almost any type of spell you can imagine.
Why to not use it?
Some people like to keep things simple, and find the standard spellcasting system just fine. These people are still cool, despite being squares who dislike the hip new thing.
If you're on the edge....
There's a feat to allow normal spellcasters to pick up a few Words of Power for use. It's called Experimental Spellcaster
. Basically, you learn all of the target words, the boost word, and one effect word of any level you can cast. The best thing is that, if you say "Hey, I like this!", you can take this feat more times, picking up two additional effect or meta words of up to your highest level of spell each time you do. You get the familiar spellcasting system and a flexible variant, combined. Win/win, right?
Classes for words of power use
Any of the following caster classes can use words of power, at the cost of not being able to use regular spells.
One of the best classes for use with this variant. They can use any of the words they know to create a wordspell on the spot. It gives them a primal feel, as though they were manipulating the raw arcane energy when casting, something that they need. They also learn their bloodline's spells, even if they're wordcasters, so you have some premade spells to work with, too.
Another of the better classes for this subsystem. Like the sorcerer, they can use any of the words they know to make a wordspell on the spot. They also learn the spells from their Mysteries, so there's a fallback plan.
As usual, wizards can potentially learn all of the words on their list. However, unlike the sorcerer, they have to arrange wordspells daily, and can't change them later on. Still, this gives them a bit more versatility, because even if they use the exact same effects, the targeting can change each day.
It's a cleric. It knows all of the wordspells for the class, but has to arrange them and can't change them until resting for 8 hours. And they have to prepare their normal domain spells in their domain slots, still. Minor spontaneous casting from the Healing or Wounding group, depending on their alignment.
Well, pretty much the same as the Cleric, but only if they choose a domain over an animal companion (unlikely as it may be), and only from the Summoning group for the spontaneous casting. Still good with this in play.
A bit closer to the Sorcerer now. They cast spontaneously, so can make up wordspells on the fly. Unfortunately, they don't have a way to learn regular spells too, other than one feat. Not bad.
Yeah, you read that right. The Alchemist can learn wordspells. Unlike the rest of these guys, he only learns the personal and selected target words. They, like the Wizard, can potentially learn all of the words on their list.
Another spontaneous caster, limited by his spells known list for words known. Nothing new here.
A prepared caster with a spellbook. Can learn any and all words from their list.
Ranger and Paladin:
Let's face it, we don't really care about these two, do we? Prepared casters.
Replace "Spellbook" with "Familiar", and it's the same as the wizard. Plus they get to keep their patron spells, which is a nice addition.
* Assuming spontaneous caster
To the meat of the thread: the words themselves.
Now, there are far too many specific words to do a complete write up on all of them, so I'll just list them by their "group", then pick out the better choices for each level of them.
Word (Level/level if appearing at two different levels on different lists)
Acid Burn (0)
- What can I say? Effectively Acid Splash which can have its target changed. Not too bad of a choice, honestly.
Corrosive Bolt (2)
- Acid Arrow with changeable target. Kinda useful, but there are better effects to use..
Acid Wave (4)
- Ding ding ding! Orb of Acid, anyone? A good choice for a wizard or sorcerer who isn't crazy enough to ban Conjuration/ignore it.
Caustic Cloud (6/7)
- Acid fog, anyone? Because that's what it is, basically.
Alignment Shield (1)
- Protection from (Alignment), basically. No, entirely. At least you can combine it with a bigger buff.
Alignment Assault (4/5)
- Smite me, oh mighty smiter! This is probably not that bad of a choice for an oracle, because they make up their words on the fly, and once they figure out their foes' alignment... Well, it's smitin' time, possibly with fire added.
Alignment Aura (8)
- A bigger alignment shield. Woo. Gives SR, though.
Nature's Calm (1)
- Calm animal. Woo. Though it does affect magical beasts, too, so if the wizard's dire badger familiar starts raging, you can calm it down.
Wild Lure (2)
- Charm Animal. Yay. Though, again, it also affects magical beasts.
Nature's Command (4/5)
- Dominate animal. Woo. Also affects magical beasts.
Force block (0)
- Well, it gives a minor bonus to AC against incorporeal opponents as a standard action with no real cost to you. Not that bad. *Snerk* Yeah, right. At least you can combine it with some other buffs.
Force Shield (1)
- So.... Mage Armor? Alright. I wouldn't spend a spell known slot on it, though.
Force Armor (3)
- Better than Force Shield. Might be worth giving up a spell known slot for. Wait, if the target already has a better armor bonus, you add 1 to it and it can protect against incorporeal opponents? Yeah, perfect for a party buffing sorc or wizard. Or a Magus. Use this in either case.
Force Ward (6)
- The same as the last, but with more plusses. I'd avoid.
Lock Ward (1)
- So you lock something, and can add another word to it to make something happen to anyone who opens it. Not that bad.
Paralyze Humanoid (2/3)
- Hold Person. You can combine it with other stuff, though.
Paralyze Creature (4/5)
- Hold Monster.
Permanent Paralysis (6/8)
- This... Is kinda bad. See, it's an Enchantment (compulsion). Know what that means? Mind Blank. Don't bother trying, unless you can overcome SR easily and have a way to boost the save DC by a bit.
- Oh, hell yes. A wizard wordspell that gives HP, even just temporary ones? Just what they always wanted. A good choice.
Energy Resistance (1/2)
- Meh. It's resistance 10 to any energy type. At least you can boost it to 20.
Enhance Form (2)
- Oh, I like this. +4 to any physical ability, and you can burn a swift action to make it +8 until your turn ends? Nice.
Perfect Form (4)
Wat. This is worse than its 2nd level counterpart. Avoid.
I have been corrected. +4 to all physical abilities. Very nice, though it lacks the clause of Enhance Form.
Energy Immunity (6)
- Gives Energy Immunity. Duh. Maybe good.
Altered Form (3)
- Well, a minor boost to melee for you is sometimes nice. Not that bad. And you can boost it to help the fighter out, too.
Bestial Form (4)
- A better version of the last one. If you can retrain, upgrade to this one ASAP.
Monstrous Form (5)
- Rawr. I'm a monster. Again, a better version of the last one. Not much else to say.
Cold Snap (0)
- Oh, wow. Freezing Ray. Avoid.
Frost Fingers (2)
- Kinda meh. The fact that creatures that fail their saves are staggered is ice, though.
Ice Blast (4)
- Again, meh. The entange addition could make for a chilling spell combo.
Winter's Wrath (8)
- This is kinda cool. Dex damage on a failed save? Nifty. And a blizzard? Very ice.
- Charm person. Yay?
Simple Order (1)
- basically, lesser suggestion. Not that bad.
Complex order (3/4)
- Kinda meh, but useful.
Crush will (4/5)
- Dominate Person, basically.
- One round of invisibility. Not bad. Might be useful with a rogue who needs SA activations in the party.
- Normal invisibility. You can boost it to greater invis, though.
Unseen Shell (4)
- Creates a sphere of invisibility. Again, you can boost it to greater invis strength.
- Holy moley. This is great for necromancers. Create 2HD skeletons or zombies/CL, and it's level 3 for sorcs/wizards. Not bad. And a level earlier than Animate Dead, to boot!
Grave Bane (4/5)
- Fairly good. No negative levels, +4 Sacred bonus on saves versus [Death] spells and magic death effects, and you stabilize automatically below 0 hp if you aren't killed.
Life Leech (4)
- Enervate. And if you boost it, it gets worse. Those negative levels? Permanent.
- standard "Deal a lot of damage if it fails its save, a bit if it doesn't" spell. Maybe useful.
-Standard Object destroying spell. Move along
- Basically? Earthquake.
-Causes a big storm. Next.
Sense Magic (0)
- Well, they can't leave out detect magic!
Sense alignment (1)
- What it says. If you boost it, you can detect two alignments, or all four, if he ups its spell level more. Very good. Combine with the aforementioned smiting spell, and you'll have fun.
Sense Thoughts (2)
- What it says on the tin.
Sense Hidden (2)
- See invisbility, and if you boost it, True seeing. Very nice.
- Basically, this little thing suppresses a spell affecting one target. Kinda meh.
Resist Arcana (5/6)
-Spell Resistance! At 12+ CL! Awesome, though a bit more of a speed bump than an actual defense.
- Dispels all magical effects on the target, with a caster level check. If the target makes a will save, it only dispels the highest level spell.
- Antimagic field, basically. Can't be combined with other effect words, for some reason...
-Lets you know which direction it is to the point that you cast this at. Not bad.
Far Sight (3)
- Basically, scry location. Boost it to scry a being.
-Let's you know the direction of a location the caster names.
- Useful, in its way. On the same level as the Cold cantrip.
Shock Arc (1)
- Wow. 1d4 points of electricity damage/CL, up to 5d4. Really racking it up, aren't we? [/sarcasm]
Lightning Blast (3)
- Basically? The electric Fireball. Useful in some situations.
Ball Lightning (5/6)
-MOAR ELECTRICITY! d8s, and up to 15 of them this time.
Thunder Strike (8/9)
- Now we're getting somewhere. Shame it's level 8.
- Frightens anything with less than 5 HD. Not too bad, if you can trade it out later.
- Better. Shaken is a pretty good effect, to be honest.
- Woah. 10 damage/CL, or 3d6+1/Cl on a successful save. Nice.
Flame Jet (0)
- BURN! BURN FOR ME! AHAHAHA! Ahem. A fledgling pyromancer's best friend.
Burning Flash (1/2)
- Burning hands, basically.
Fire Blast (3)
- Fireball. Yeah.
Cinder Storm (5)
- Bigger fireball.
- Still bigger fireball.
True Fire (9)
- PYROMANCER'S BEST FRIEND. No SR. No Save. Single target. When you absolutely, positively, have to kill the rogue with fire, this is your best bet.
- Actually pretty good for its level. Not too shabby.
- Basically? Levitate. Not much to say.
- Fly. Take it, like usual for the spell Fly.
Force Bolt (2)-
Strictly worse than the fire stuff. 1d4/level selected, with a max of 5d4? And it counts as Magic Missile? Nope.
Force Blast (5)
- Again, it's like Paizo hates Force effects. level 5, and it can only do 10d6? What are they smoking over there?
- Ooh. Mage Hand.
- Reverse Gravity on a single target. Not too bad, for messing up melee enemies.
- Oh yes. Throw things away from the center of the sphere? Hells yeah! Drop an Unfetter on yourself for lulz as you move with it..
Southing Touch (0/1)
-Stops the target from bleeding out. Boosting it removes Shaken, sickened, or fatigued. Not bad.
Lesser Cure (1/2)
- Not that good. Slightly worse than Cure Light, in that making it work costs one of your few metaword uses.
Moderate Cure (2/3)
- See Lesser Cure, replace Light with Moderate
Greater Cure (3/4)
- See Lesser Cure, replace Light with Serious
Elder Cure (4/5)
- See Lesser Cure, replace Light with Critical
- Ghost sound. Not much else to say.
- Minor Image. Meh.
- Lights the area like a torch for 10 min/cl. Not bad. Better things could be done, though.
- So... Darkness. Yay?
- Meh. Only there to take out Gloom. And light sensitive creatures.
- The ability to read any one language chosen at casting. Not bad.
- The ability to read/write/speak one language. Nifty.
Far Casting (5)
- One creature telepathy. Kinda nice.
- So... Restoration, but... different? Odd, but nice.
- 3.5's Revivify, with a less harsh time limit. Me likey. Also, no material component!
Life Touch (8)
- Very nice. Note the lack of material component in here as well.
- For one round, the targets have their move speed halved, with a minimum of 10 feet. And it's a cantrip/orison. So long as you can reliably get someone with it, or just tack it onto a bigger spell you're already casting to add an effect, you've crippled your opponent's mobility. Not too shabby
- Sickened for 1 round/level on a failed Fort save. Useful for debuffs.
- Note- not actual torture, but instead Nauseated for 1 round/ level on failed Fort save, with another save at the end of each of their turns to end the effect.
- Ooookaaaaayyyyyy.... Power Word Blind. NEXT!
- ...Power Word Stun, NEXT!
- ... Was Paizo even trying? Power Word Kill.
Discordant Note (2)
- 1d4/level (max 5d4) sonic damage and a potential staggered condition for a level 2 slot.
Sound Blast (4)
- Fireball, with Sonic damage instead of fire. I like it.
Destructive Vibration (6/7)
- Up to 15d6 sonic damage with a chance to deafen. Kinda useful.
Servitor [I-IX] (1-9)
- These are basically Summon Monster, unless you're a Druid. Then they're Summon Nature's Ally. With a cooler name. However, you can add buff spells when you cast these, so... Prebuffed monsters!
Dimensional Hop (3)
- Line of sight teleportation within range. Nifty.
Dimensional Jump (5)
- Teleport to a previously visited place, no chance of failing. Nice.
Dimensional Shift (5/7)
- Plane Shift, but no longer usable offensively.
Dimensional Gate (8/9)
- Holy siht. A non-broken form of Gate.
- +10 foot base land speed for 1 hour/level. Very nice. Not many spells up base land speed, after all.
- +30 foot base land speed for 1 minute/level. So, Expeditious Retreat.
- BEST WORD FOR BUFFING. TAKE.
- The target is Staggered for 1 round/level or until it makes another Will save. Kinda meh. Boosting it makes that little "until is makes another Will save" go away, though.
- Want to know if something is a good or bad idea? This is your wordspell.
Borrow Future (4)
- Dammit, Paizo. We thought that by switching to this, we'd avoid Clerity and it's ilk, not- Wait. Oh. selected target, with the target losing it's entire turn? Less unbalanced than I thought. Still a bit of a no-brainer, though.
Control Time (9)
- It's... Less OP than Time stop. 1d4 standard actions instead of 1d4+1 rounds of free movement. Same restrictions, though.
Wind Wall (3)
- It's... Wind Wall. But with a built in "no pictsies." clause in the DC 10 Str check to pass through, and a "no" to any missile weapons that aren't better suited for destroying castles.
Fire Wall (4)
- While sounding like a fancy term for an arcane defense designed to keep hostile programs out of a computer, this is... Well, Wall of Fire, but worse.
Ice Wall (4)
- Wall of Ice, but worse.
Stone Wall (5/6)
- Wall of Stone, but... Worse.
Blade Wall (5/6)
- Blade Barrier, but... Better? What?
(Commentary completed. Snark directed at individual word lists commencing)
Hold off on posting for a few so I can get the next few posts reserved.
Pictures were suggested by Rhaegar14. Thanks.