By Tim Emrick (based on work by Steve Kenson and Robert J. Schwalb)
The d20 Freeport Companion was originally intended to include rules for incantations: spell-like powers usable by non-spellcasters. However, those rules were cut from the final draft--in part due to a lack of examples--though the published book still retains a handful of references to them.
For the most part, these rules follow the incantation rules presented in Unearthed Arcana, which are now part of the d20 SRD: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/incantations.htm
However, some changes need to be made to reflect their use in Freeport.
Instead of Knowledge (arcana) checks, use Knowledge (forbidden). In the World of Freeport, incantations require the most esoteric knowledge, and only those who survive reading madness-inducing texts from lost civilizations and secretive, blasphemous cults have the knowledge needed to find and use them.
Many incantations inflict Insanity Points on the caster as well as those viewing the ritual. For every 2 Insanity Points gained, modify the DC by -1.
Of the three sample incantations in Unearthed Arcana, Call Forth the Dweller and Fires of Dis simply need to have their Knowledge checks changed to Knowledge (forbidden). In the latter case, change all 8 checks. Hrothgar's Journey does not really fit the eldritch feel of the incantations found in the World of Freeport, though a GM who wishes to develop the northern barbarians' homeland may choose to include it.
The following new rituals (converted from the True20 Freeport Companion) are just a starting point for those found in the World of Freeport. Each ritual is presented as a particular item, with mechanical guidelines for casting them, and a built-in adventure hook for GMs to construct adventures. You may use these rituals as written, as the basis for rituals of your own design, or modify them to suit your needs.
Awaken the Dead
Necromancy, as described in The Pirate's Guide to Freeport, is a terrifying art, one despised and shunned by all right-thinking people. Rather than face the rise of another Necro King, groups of witch hunters prowl the continent, putting suspected necromancers to the torch, all in the name of self-preservation. A great many of their victims are in fact innocent, but if they must die to destroy the real threats, it is considered an acceptable price to pay to ensure the undead never walk the lands again.
Given the ruthless climate of the mainland, Freeport attracts no few wizards, warlocks, and even a few necromancers, all in whom flee the oppressive regime of the human empire. With them, they bring the accoutrements of their craft, which often include any number of dangerous items and forbidden texts. One such tome is a little understood book known only as the Black Text. Rumors have it that that this volume is not a book, or at least not anymore, and was dismantled ages ago to protect its secrets. Fragments of the work are rumored to surface all the time, and while many are fakes, a few have proved to be quite real. One fragment, surfacing about a dozen years ago before vanishing with its owner, is believed to have the power to restore the semblance of life to the dead. Of course, this does not mean that a corpse is resurrected; quite to the contrary, the corpse is infused with fell energy, animating it like a puppet.
This incantation allows the caster to transform a corpse into a zombie.
School: Necromancy [Evil]
DC: 32 (34 - 2 B)
Components: V, S, M, B
Material Component: A fresh corpse, grave dirt, at least one pint of animal blood.Casting Time: 10 minutes per check; 6 successes required
Range: Close (55 ft.)
Target: One corpse
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
Success: If the caster succeeds on her Knowledge (forbidden) check, the corpse animates as a zombie. The zombie is animated indefinitely (until it is destroyed) and is fanatically loyal to the caster. The zombie can be destroyed by the usual means of dispatching undead.
Failure: If the caster fails her check, the corpse is not animated and can never again be the subject of any such spells or incantations dealing with necromancy.
The denizens of the lower planes are not beings to be trifled with. They are horrific fiends, cruel creatures that embody evil. They are beyond mercy and compassion, and their every thought bends toward spreading discord and suffering, corrupting the innocent, or butchering mortals. For these reasons, few dare to dabble in the ways of demonology; the price is often too high to bear.
Incantations serving to fall forth demons are not unique. Many famous forbidden texts include instructions and guidance for dealing with such beings, but they are of mixed quality, for the demons to be summoned often confuse those who inscribe these incantations, working their evil so as to sabotage the efforts of those daring the ritual. Of all the versions of this particular incantation, the methods contained in the Liber Demonica are the most certain, or so its users claim. This massive, red leather-bound tome weighs over 100 pounds, and measures six feet on a side. The size and weight of this codex means once the book comes to the would-be demonologist, it doesn’t wander off.
This incantation allows the caster to summon a fiend to do his bidding.
School: Conjuration (Calling) [Evil]
Level: 5th (1-6 HD fiend), 6th (7-12 HD), or 8th (13-18 HD)
DC: 25 (30 - 3 limited targets - 2 B); see also Components
Components: V, S, M, B
Casting Time: 10 minutes per check; requires successes equal to level of incantation
Range: Close (25 ft. + 10 ft./level of incantation)
Target: One evil outsider
Duration: 2 hours/level of incantation
Saving Throw: Will negates (DC 10 + level of incantation + caster's Cha modifier)
Spell Resistance: No
Success: If the caster succeeds on her Knowledge (forbidden) check, a fiend of the type desired (or the specific fiend named). The HD of the desired fiend determines the incantation's level, duration, and save DC.
Failure: If the caster fails her check, no fiend is summoned. The incantation is a failure and must be restarted. If the caster fails by 5 or more, a fiend with 2 HD or less may appear for no other purpose than to wreak havoc among those involved in the incantation. It obeys no one and attacks everything in sight for 2d4 rounds before returning to its home plane.
A popular incantation used by priests of the God of Retribution, this lengthy incantation was conceived during the great witch hunt that swept the continent some years ago. While scouring the lands for necromancers and destroying their undead servants, many witch hunters also came across demons and other vile creatures that wrongly existed in this plane. To contend with these secondary threats, the high priests of the God of Retribution inscribed an involved incantation capable of exorcizing possessing ghosts, demons, and other spirits of evil.
One can find this incantation inside the Codex Malefic, a small handbook given to witch hunters to aid them in their fight against the necromancers. Much of the material is advice for identifying those corrupted by evil, practical information for dealing with magic items and spells, and above all, fighting all manner of undead abominations. A typical copy of the Codex Malefic is a six-by-eight-inch book. The covers are thin wood bound in black leather. On the front is a silver pentacle, a sign of good luck and a ward against evil. Some copies have a hole drilled through near the spine so the witch hunter can hang it from a chain around his neck.
Exorcism drives out fiends or evil spirits possessing a victim or inhabiting a building.
DC: 27 (32 - 3 limited targets + 0 duration [instantaneous by nature] - 2 SC)
Components: V, S, [M], B, SC
Casting Time: 10 minutes per check; 6 successes required (see Backlash)
Range: Close (55 ft.)
Target: One creature
Saving Throw: Will negates (DC 16 + caster's Cha modifier)
Spell Resistance: Yes
Success: If the caster succeeds on her Knowledge (forbidden) check, the entity must succeed on a Will save (DC 16 + caster's Cha modifier) or be forced from its host. If the entity is an outsider it is forced to return to its plane of origin and may not return unless specifically summoned. If the entity is a ghost, it is disrupted and cannot manifest for 1d20 months. A ghost with a number of HD equal to or less than half the caster's level in a spellcasting class (rounded down) is destroyed.
Failure: If the caster fails the Knowledge check or the entity succeeds on its Will save, the entity remains in place and the exorcism must be started anew. The entity may also choose to possess any character present instead. The victim and the entity must make opposed Will saves, with the entity taking possession of its victim if it succeeds.
The practice of contacting the spirit world is one viciously suppressed in some parts of the world, for many perceive such an act as an abomination akin to the horrors of necromancy. Part of the problem stems from simple superstition: what is dead should stay dead and for mortals to peer into the murky waters of the great beyond is hubris, an invitation to disaster not only on themselves, but on those around them. Still, some risk the damnation of their immortal soul to bridge worlds and converse with the entities beyond.
While variations of Séance can be found in a great number of forbidden tomes and ancient lore, the most famous version of the incantation lays within the Hamunaptran Book of the Dead. In this legendary land, the world of the dead and the word of the living are said to be closer than they are in Freeport or on the Continent and the same fears towards necromancers and their ilk do not apply. This said, Séance is a guarded secret and only an anointed priest may use lest a person anger the gods with foolish meddling. An ancient and priceless copy of the Book of the Dead is said to have come to Freeport in recent months and was sold at the Municipal Auction House to a mysterious buyer. The book slipped away before the rumors of its authenticity could be confirmed, but the book's appearance has elicited uncommon interest from members of the Wizards' Guild and other, less savory people of the city.
Séance enables the caster to force an apparition (any incorporeal undead, but usually a ghost) to manifest so he can communicate with it.
DC: 20 (34 - 3 limited targets - 8 duration - 2 SC - 1 B)
Components: S, B, SC. The caster and each assistant need only link hands and concentrate.
Casting Time: 10 minutes per check; 7 successes required
Range: Special (see DC)
Target: One incorporeal undead creature
Duration: Special (see Success)
Saving Throw: Will negates (DC 17 + caster's Cha modifier)
Spell Resistance: No
Success: If the caster succeeds on his Knowledge (forbidden) check, an apparition responds to his call. Depending on its whims, it can manifest and communicate with the caster or anyone present in the room. If the séance is held in a place known to be haunted, the answering apparition is the most powerful entity in that area (measured by HD + Charisma modifier) or the specific entity named, whichever condition applies. If a séance is held in a place that is not haunted or where a haunting is only suspected, the caster must call a specific entity by name. Otherwise, any entity may answer the call. He latter is a potentially dangerous situation and should only be attempted by a caster who is certain she can control the answering entity.
Once called, an apparition remains for a number of minutes equal to its Charisma modifier (minimum of one minute). The caster can dismiss an apparition before that time expires by making a Charisma check opposed by the apparition's will save. Dismissing an apparition is a standard action. If the séance chain is ever broken, the apparition can try to possess that person as a free action if it has the Malevolence ability. If the apparition does not or cannot possess the person, it must succeed on a Will save (DC 17 + caster's Cha modifier) or be instantly dismissed. A dismissed apparition cannot be summoned by a séance or manifest for 24 hours.
Failure: If the caster fails the Knowledge check by 4 or less, no apparition is called and the séance is a failure. If the caster fails by 5 or more, the results can be disastrous. The GM is free to interpret the consequences of a failed séance as he sees fit. One possible consequence is that a hostile entity—such as an evil apparition or even a demon—answers the call instead.
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