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ID: 2650


December 13, 2008, 11:56 am

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Meta-Magic and Spell Components


Somewhat system specific, but bear with me.

Meta-Magic is a new form of magical additions detailed in the new 3rd Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. It is at least new to me. I think this is a novel idea since it allows a spell to be memorized at a higher than necessary level to alter various aspects of the spell. For example the Fireball spell is a 3rd level spell, but if the wizard or sorceror decides to instead memorize the spell as a 6th level spell it will automatically do maximum damage. Alternately the 1st level Charm Person spell can be doubled in duration if it is memorized as a 2nd level spell. Of course, for these abilities to work, the spell caster must have the meta-magic feat associated with the action.

The Meta-Magic Feats
Empower Spell- increase spell variables by 50%, damage inflicted, number of targets, etc.

Enlarge Spell - Spell’s range in doubled, or its area of effect is doubled.

Extend Spell - duration of non-instantaneous spells is doubled.

Heighten Spell - Cast spell as a higher level.

Maximize Spell - Spell does maximum damage, maximum targets, etc.

Quicken Spell - cast spell as a free action.

Why has this come up, you wonder? In literature, magic plays a different role, often being symbolic or allegorical in nature as opposed to the flash and dazzle magic of games. Spell components themselves rarely have a specific value within the system other than a preset GP requirement, or as a mcguffin to fuel a plot.

What if other components were added to a spell to change it? Could a sorcerer add copper dust to his fireball spell to create a bluish-green blast? Could powdered amythyst conjure a vibrant and seemingly eldritch wall of purple ice?

What if there were components that could be substituted within a spell to change more than cosmetic appearances? What if ground demon bone added the Evil category to any cast spell, or a feather from an angel’s wing freely given could add the Holy category to a spell?

Additional Ideas (7)

Pele's Hair
This long filament, only found near active volcanoes is a valuable though delicate and hard to harvest spell reagent. If used in the casting of fire based spells, the spell is affected as though it was Quickened

2006-05-21 01:40 PM » Link: [2650#15544|text]
Dragon Spice
A dried and powdered extract refined from the lairs of dragons and sometimes taken from the mouths of dead or dormant dragons. Can be used to replace ANY material component in a divination spell, effects fire spells as per the Maximize metamagic feat, and can add the Fire subtype to any other basic spell.

2006-05-21 05:19 PM » Link: [2650#15547|text]
Black Lotus
This very rare blossom can replace any spell component in any spell! If used in conjunction with normal spell materials, it can add the maximize, enlarge, or pretty much any other metamagic feat. Competition for the blossoms is staggering considering that sometimes a blossom can be easier to get than the fang of a 1000 year old dragon, or a 10,000 GP platinum mirror blessed by the Sun's Bride.

As a side note, doubles the potency of any age restoring spells, and potions of rejuvenation or youth.

2006-05-21 05:22 PM » Link: [2650#15548|text]
Powdered Copper
Can be added to fire aspected spells causes the fire aspect to be a blueish green color. Spell dye.

2006-05-21 05:23 PM » Link: [2650#15549|text]
Demon bone and Angel Feathers
These two components are very very difficult to obtain, or at least they should be. Using demon bone in any spell give the spell the Evil descripion, thus a fireball spell using demon bone would be a fire/evil spell and work as a maximized spell against good aligned foes.

Alternately, an angel feather used in a spell would add the good/holy description to said spell. This would work as a maximized spell against forces of chaos and evil. Unlike demon bone which can be given or taken by force, an angel's feather can only be given, a stolen or taken feather turns black and brings ill forutne to the thief.

2006-05-21 05:26 PM » Link: [2650#15550|text]
Unicorn Horn
Also known as alicorn, this was a popular cure-all or panacea in the dark medieval era. While claims of authenticity are dubious, and most actually came from rhinocerous or narwhal tusks, in the fantasy setting, this powdered alicorn could be used in a spell to maximize the effect of any healing, or curative spell cast by a nature aspected magic user such as a ranger or druid.

2006-06-04 05:14 PM » Link: [2650#16182|text]
A silty grey powder made from the dried and crushed shells of carrion beetles that have been fattened on human flesh. Functions to Extend any necromantic spell.

2006-06-04 05:16 PM » Link: [2650#16183|text]
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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Iain
May 22, 2006, 4:54
Great idea here.
May 24, 2006, 12:28
I am not as impressed, but then again Gurps has had meta-magics since edition 1.0. Still nice components.
May 24, 2006, 12:37
I think you missed the point. I am not familiar with the GURPS system, and was only intriduced to in game meta-magics with the DnD 3rd ed. The real point here was not the meta-magics, but the use of material components in magic to simulate said feats, and by expansion change the list of material components from a set in stone fomula to more of a recipe. The listed components for a spell would be the bare bones required, while other items could be substituted for others for bigger, better, louder, or more colorful spells.
Voted Mourngrymn
May 24, 2006, 14:35
While I semi agree with Moon, only on the aspect of it being around longer than D&D hacked it up. I do like the additional content below all of the name drops.

I for one do not use a component based magic system, I use more along the lines of a battery powered magic system. However, the idea of adding components to alter, increase, or disguise the effects are a great idea. The demon and angle components are a great extreme to that idea.

What would the blood or bone/ hair/ breathe/ etc, of a God do perhaps? The idea has endless properties.
Voted Murometz
May 24, 2006, 15:18
I have always loved the concept of material components!
May 25, 2006, 8:30
I always hated them myself, but this has merit.
Voted MrAdam
December 14, 2009, 10:34
Far out, It's like your looking into my brain, or our minds are connected or something. I've been using "Suplimental spell components" as far back as I've been running D+D, which add a cosmetic (as well as minor mechanical) change. For example, the aformentioned pinch of copper dust added to a Fireball spell no only turns the blast blue-green, it also makes the fire do a few extra points of damage (Because copper actually burns very hot) while a dead-fish added to the mix might leave a terrible, nauseating smell in the blast's wake, and a human skull carved with necromantic runes might turn the flames black, and do more damage to the living while leaving the dead, undead and unliving unscathed. Also I'm sure to reward the players for creative use of components
Voted axlerowes
December 14, 2009, 14:37
I too have always loved material components and I have always toyed with the idea of making a true meta-chemistry for them. For example Amber would present with electrical aspect, sand=temporal, blood=pain, and so on. Perhaps these materials would not be necessary for the casting of the spell, but would be necessary for the learning of the spell or the prep of the spell (depending on how magic works). This is a really great start, and hope somebody develops this more in the future.
Voted valadaar
January 26, 2016, 12:32
Another great one, if system specific. I think this adds something to my drawing board...

January 26, 2016, 14:05
...If you mean a generator with 1001 spell components, yay!

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