Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book of the Black Rat: Spells About Rats and Cheese

The PCs in the online Wampus Country game recently acquired the below spellbook while striving against the nefarious Rat Emperor.  It's been interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the usual "ooh look spells we can learn", which is always fun.  But beyond that, there's a reversal of the normal order.  Typically if PCs get their hands on an antagonist's spellbook, it's after the antagonist has already been vanquished.  That was not the case here; the Rat Emperor fled, leaving the Book of the Black Rat behind.  This allowed the PCs to both speculate on the villain's effective casting ability, but also approximated a roadmap of the villain's possible plans (see the Rat Bastard spell below) vis-a-vis the Home for Wayward Girls outside River-Town.

More spells on the way.  Whenever I think of one or two decent spell ideas with a theme, I jot 'em down and then try to build that themed list up to a larger number so I can present "ten spells about sheep", etc.

THE BOOK OF THE BLACK RAT
Bound crudely in rat-hide, patches of fur still here and there.  The cover bears an amateurish drawing of a rat, and the words “THERE IS ONLY ONE”.


The spells in the Book of the Black Rat can be copied and learned as arcane spells of the listed level; they can also be learned and added to the arsenal of prayers known by a cleric/paladin with a rodent-related patron (although the form of some of the spells may change a tad if the patron is, for example, a beaver or squirrel).  Spells labeled ‘illusionist’ may also be learned by an illusionist.  Nature-related casters (druid, ranger, etc) may learn variants of some of these at their DM’s discretion.

The Book of the Black Rat contains the following spells and recipes.


Glabrinous Gliriform (as in the Arcane Abecediary)


Muroid Maceration (level 1)
Conjures a pack of rats or mice to chew very quickly through something rats could normally chew through slowly (a wooden door, plaster, cloth, leather, grain, etc).  Not an attack spell; the rats do not fight on the caster’s behalf, or even defend themselves if attacked.  If the target material is foodstuff, the rats will actually consume it; otherwise, some detritus (ie sawdust) is left behind.  The pack of rats can chew through up to a foot of material, covering a 3’x3’ area, during the two rounds they are present.  The appearance of the rodents matches the caster’s alignment, as follows:
Lawful/Good - eager and smiling white mice
Neutral - somewhat-put-out brown rats
Chaotic/Evil - sneering black rats


You Dirty Rat (level 4)
Chanting ancient paeans to best-forgotten lesser demons of plague and corruption, the wizard causes all rodents within thirty feet to become carriers of a random mundane disease, such as plague, syphilis, etc.  The caster cannot choose the disease.


Rat Bastard (level 4)
By placing his hands on the belly of a pregnant human woman, the sorceror infects her unborn child with rat-lycanthropy.  The mother receives a save vs spells which, if passed, causes the child to miscarry immediately.  The incantation is efficacious any time between conception and actual birth.  The application of a remove curse to the womb will cure the unborn child, but once it is born, the curse is locked in.


Rattus Rafale (level 2)
This evocation allows the sorceror to hurl a flurry of rat-shaped bolts of eldritch energy, causing magical damage to a single target.  Although the caster looks like she is firing multiple energy-rats, the spell’s effect counts as a single attack, for which no attack roll is necessary, hitting automatically.  The rafale inflicts 1d8 damage against most targets, but against feline targets the bolt causes a substantial 3d12 damage and demands a save versus paralysis, lest the target be held (as the spell) for a single round.  The rattus rafale counts as a magic missile for the purposes of interactions with other magic.  “Feline target” is subject to DM interpretation - a creature that is only half cat may only take half damage from the spell, for example, but non-felines in temporary feline form should take full damage.


Fancify Rat (level 1)
This spell conjures a small suitcoat, waistcoat, or petticoat, and a matching hat, and places the outfit forcefully upon a mundane mouse, rat, or other rodent.  (Mundane for the purposes of this spell means no giant animals, no sentient animals, etc, but does not exclude familiars).  Once the rodent is wearing the clothes, it is immediately accustomed to them and feels no particular desire to take them off.  Indeed, a duly fancified rat breaks any habit it might have had of rolling around in dung or dirt, and becomes somewhat fastidious about its own appearance.  Mice and rats wearing hats conjured by fancify rat are, bizarrely, subject to the Wampus Country Hat Rules in any campaign which uses them, or finds them amusing to use for mice and rats.  A mouse with a save re-roll is no joke.


Lab Rats (level 3)
This enchantment calls on spirits of curiosity, daring, and stupidity to allow multiple persons to enjoy the unknown effect of a potion or other imbibable substance.  For the spell to work, neither the caster nor the subjects nor anyone else within fifty feet can know the effect of the libation which is targeted by the spell (although they can know that it is indeed magical).  Once the spell is cast, the wizard drinks the potion and selects up to three other “beneficiaries”, which need not be sapient, but must be living and not magical beasts (horses and war dogs okay, golems and imps not).  All four of these creatures are then the subjects of the potion’s effect for full efficacy but only half duration.  The halving of duration does not apply to poisons, but will apply to curse-like or generally unfortunate effects of a magical potion.


Nemoral Nezumi (level 5)
This bizarre enchantment permanently transforms a normal fruit tree into one which instead bears live rats or mice, which hang from the branches by their tails.  Mature rats may be freed from the tree with scissors, or will eventually drop off on their own.  The rats produced are completely mundane, and will act like normal rats once freed.  The material component is a small ceramic rat which is buried beneath the roots of the tree during a full moon.  Removal of the statuary will end the transformation of the plant, but will not change the rats back into fruit or harm still-dangling rats in any way.


Wanigan Whiskers (level 2)
An incantation which manifests rat-whiskers which allow detection of valuables.  Once cast, long white whiskers instantly grow upon the caster’s face, and remain for a number of turns equal to caster level.  While the whiskers remain (and remain unharmed, unclipped, unsinged…), the sorceror may detect precious metals, gems, jewelry, objets d’art, and portable resellables within ten feet (subject to the whim and definition of the DM).  The presence of the aforementioned valuables causes the whiskers to twitch; some wizards find themselves compelled to sneeze as well (save vs polymorph or sneeze loudly).  Valuables already nearby when the spell is cast will not later trigger a twitch.  While under the influence of the wanigan whiskers, the magic-user may detect as - or even count as - a rodent for the purpose of magical detection and baleful spellcasting.


Cheddar Chamfrain (level 1)
With a wave of his hand, the wizard transforms a wheel of cheese (or similar volume of any dairy product) into a set of barding large enough for one animal of horse size or smaller.  The barding improves the creature’s natural armor class by one, and will appear to be of similar color and material to the dairy product used.  After four rounds plus one round per caster level, the barding crumbles to dust (or melts away into buttermilk, etc).  If the beast wearing the barding was summoned or conjured, the chamfrain will match resonance with the summoning spell, and not wear off until the original summons does.


Lampyridine Limburger (level 1, illusionist)
The wizard transforms a strong odor into a light source (like Dazzler, but more juvenile).  When the spell is cast, the sorceror may select a stinky object (shoe, strong cheese, hobo) or a smelly area (garbage dump, cesspool, outhouse).  If an object, the object will then glow in proportion to its smell, and its scent will be neutralized.  If an area, the area will be dimly lit throughout, and its odor similarly neutralized.  The effect is permanent, unless the scent is affected.  For example, casting lampyridine limburger on an outhouse basically guarantees a light for “magazine time” in perpetuity; but if the spell were to be cast upon a wet dog to make it glow, and the dog were then doused in soapy water and perfume, the light would vanish.


Havarti Hendecagon (level 1)
A bizarre ancient paean to moribund godlings of luck.  The caster shapes an eleven-sided form out of some cheese or curd and eats it.  The next time (within six hours) the sorceror needs to roll a 1d6 or 1d8, they may elect to roll 1d11 instead.  At the DM’s discretion this luck may be applied to a 1d6/1d8 roll made to aid the wizard - for example, a healing roll made by a cleric.


Fugacious Fromage (level 1)
This spell ensorcells a chunk of cheese such that any creature which consumes it becomes susceptible to fear.  Morale checks and saves against fear-related effects will be at -2 for 1 turn.


Muenster Meuse (level 1, illusionist)
The illusionist enchants a piece of cheese such that for the next hour, it may be pressed into the ground to leave the tracks of a single type of nonmagical animal chosen by the sorceror at the time of casting.  The muenster meuse does an excellent job of simulating left-right and forepaw-hindpaw, and will subtly guide the illusionist’s gait as necessary so the tracks are properly spaced.  At the end of the hour, the enchanted piece of cheese turns to granite.


Feta Fabulist (level 1, illusionist)
The sorceror tucks a thus-ensorcelled piece of cheese between their cheek and gum; for the next hour, any rolls to detect a lie he tells or to disbelieve an illusion he casts will be at -2.  When the spell wears off at the end of the hour, the hunk of cheese transforms into bile.


Mozzarella Maniple (level 2, clerical)
The priest casts the spell upon a piece of non-rotten cheese or meat, then ties it to their arm.   For the next 24 hours, the acolyte is wholly protected from the first single attack which does a number of points of damage equivalent to their religion’s holy number.  If your priest’s faith does not already have a designated holy number, you must designate a number between 1 and 13 to serve as the holy number as soon as you learn to cast this prayer.  When the strike is repelled, the cheese vanishes in a flash of light and there is an audible popping sound.  A person thus protected from attack may rightly be said to be “cheesy”.
Holy Numbers for Wampus Country Faiths
3 - Vicelords
4 - White Mouse, Black Rat
5 - Gloriana Majestrix
7 - Scorpion Cult
9 - Horned Baron


Rat Race (level 1)
This incantation doubles the base land and swimming speed of a single nonmagical rodent for three hours.  It may be cast in reverse to halve a rodent’s travel speed, but does not reduce the number of actions the affected beast may take, as it is not a slow spell; if cast in this fashion, the target recieves a save vs spells to avoid the effect..


Better Mousetrap (level 2)
The wizard douses a trap or pitfall with the blood of six rats, in which a large piece of stinky cheese has marinated for a day and a night; until triggered (or fallen into), the affected trap is both more difficult to detect (by 1 on a 1d6, or by 15%) and more difficult to evade (-1 on any related saving throws to avoid the trap or the damage it dishes out).


Step-by-step instructions for the creation and enchantment of a
Figurine of Dubious Power: Stainless Steel Rat
(requires a 6th-level caster, some exotic materials including very fine steel, some mundane materials, some gems worth at least 100gp each for the eyes, and the ability to cast at least four different conjuration spells; once the figurine is constructed, enchantment takes two weeks’ downtime)
The figurine - a rather large wheeled rat - hangs out, inanimate, under a table or sofa until something is spilled or broken, at which it animates, rolls out, and cleans up the mess before retreating to its designated spot.  It’s basically a magic Roomba.  The rat must be taught its patrol area (no more than a large mead-hall in area) at first activation.


Well-written instructions for the creation and enchantment of a
Mouse-skin Cloak
(requires fifty mouse-pelts in fair condition, some diamond dust, several vials of holy water, myriad mundane materials)
Properly stitched and enchanted, the mouse-skin cloak protects the wearer from all mundane diseases (much like a paladin) and grants +4 to any saves against magical diseases (lycanthropy, mummy rot, et al).


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