Spells are manifestations of magic. The requirements for casting a spell are listed on the corresponding class pages. All spells are cast by using specific gestures (somatic) and words of power (verbal). Most spells don’t require material components or foci. Otherwise, the spell system is very similar to Pathfinder with a few changes. The rules for concentration and spell interruption are the same. Light, medium, and heavy armor adds a spell failure chance.
Arcane spells and Divine spells are not common concepts in FFd20. If you are taking any item, feat, feature, or effect from Pathfinder that mentions “Arcane” then that covers all spells within FFd20. As for Divine spells, they do not interact with FFd20 at all as no spell counts as Divine.
Another departure from Pathfinder is that FFd20 does away with spellbooks, for the most part, almost all spellcasters just know all their spells and don’t need a written counterpart. Bards require a songbook for their songs.
Metamagic feats are applied spontaneously and do not increase the casting time of the spell, however, it will increase the MP cost. In order to apply a metamagic feat to a spell, the caster must be able to spend MP at the increased cost of the spell.
Bard Songs are how bards utilize their songcraft. Songs provide a variety of effects to enhance allies and enfeeble enemies. Perform song magic requires the bard to make Perform skill checks successfully and also spend MP to perform his magic. While not considered to be spells, songs are affected by spell resistance, spell failure and can only use metasong feats. Songs cannot be crafted into any type of item.
Magic is divided into seven types: black magic, blue magic, chronomancy, geomancy, necromancy, red magic, white magic. Black magic grants a mage the power to inflict chaos upon creation, while white magic brings order to creation. Blue magic uses the ability of creatures into spells to cast. Chronomancy controls all aspects of time. Geomancy uses the terrain and the elements to harness raw power. Necromancy uses dark magic to raise the dead as well as the living. Red magic blends some of black and white magic as well as its own particular blend to enhance the capabilities of the red mage.
Black magic is almost exclusively offensive, and is practiced by black mages. With few exceptions, these spells focus on dealing damage to a target or hindering its ability to fight. A large portion of black magic is focused on the power of the elements. Skilled mages seek out their foes’ elemental weaknesses, and adapt their magic to strike with precision.
Blue magic has a variety of different types of spells. It relies on creatures with supernatural abilities to copy from them and make it their own. Depending on the creatures the blue mage learns from, they have a terrifying variety of spells to utilize. Blue Magic can only be crafted into wondrous items. They cannot be crafted into alchemical items (or Pathfinder potions if your game uses those), wands, Materia, and they cannot be crafted into scrolls or any written format.
Chronomancy controls all aspects of time. Manipulation of time is a dangerous area for spellcasters, even the most harden of time mages are rightly to be feared.
Geomancy focuses primarily on the elements and terrain. Geomancy works well with Black Magic. Geomancers are the only known spellcasters that can harness the power of geomancy.
Necromancy gives necromancers the power over life and death. They are able to mimic undead powers through spells.
Red magic blends the healing and protection of white magic and the elemental destruction of black magic as well as adding its own particular enhancing red magic to make the red mage an extremely versatile mage.
White magic is primarily defensive, but it has its share of enfeebling magic and a small dab of direct damage as well. White magic mostly focuses on healing others and restoring life. White magic is practiced by white mages.
Beneath the spell name is a line giving the school of magic that the spell belongs to. Almost every spell belongs to one of ten schools of magic. A school of magic is a group of related spells that work in similar ways. A small number of spells are non-elemental, belonging to no school.
Chronomancy uses time to manipulate opponents.
Dark magic is always of the shadow element. Rather than directly damaging opponents like elemental magic, dark magic may deal lesser damage but drain the opponent of stats or cause otherwise harmful negative effects. Black mages are masters of dark magic. A spellcaster cannot use the Spell Focus feat to select this school; They must use the Dark Focus feat instead.
Elemental magic focuses on damaging opponents with the elemental power of earth, fire, ice, lightning, water, or wind. Black mages specialize in elemental magic. A spellcaster cannot use the Spell Focus feat to select this school; They must use the Elemental Focus feat instead. A single element can be chosen at a time.
Enfeebling magic cripples opponents by reducing their ability to do battle. Black mages are exceedingly adept with enfeebling magic.
Enhancing magic boosts the fighting ability of allies. White mages are experts of enhancing magic.
Healing magic is used to heal wounds or cure negative status effects. Healing magic causes damage to the undead. White mages specialize in healing magic
Illusion magic deceives all senses to either distract, hinder, hide, or bewitch the target.
Light magic is always of the holy element. Light magic smites the wicked with holy power, but usually in a less direct method than elemental magic. White mages are especially proficient with light magic. A spellcaster cannot use the Spell Focus feat to select this school; They must use the Light Focus feat instead.
Necromancy masters the power of life and death, often teetering between both.
Non-elemental magic has no element-type. It is raw unrefined energy, very difficult to resist or endure.
Summon magic conjures creatures or items. Summon magic can also be used be Summoners to cast powerful magic that stem from creatures.
Some spell schools can be further categorised into subschools that come with additional rules and limitations. These subschools are charm, compulsion, figment, pattern, phantasm, polymorph, and teleportation. A subschool is noted in (brackets).
Charm: A charm spell changes how the subject views you, typically making it see you as a good friend.
Compulsion: A compulsion spell forces the subject to act in some manner or changes the way its mind works. Some compulsion spells determine the subject’s actions or the effects on the subject, others allow you to determine the subject’s actions when you cast the spell, and still others give you ongoing control over the subject.
Figment: A figment spell creates a false sensation. Those who perceive the figment perceive the same thing, not their own slightly different versions of the figment. It is not a personalized mental impression. Figments cannot make something seem to be something else. A figment that includes audible effects cannot duplicate intelligible speech unless the spell description specifically says it can. If intelligible speech is possible, it must be in a language you can speak. If you try to duplicate a language you cannot speak, the figment produces gibberish. Likewise, you cannot make a visual copy of something unless you know what it looks like (or copy another sense exactly unless you have experienced it).
Pattern: Like a figment, a pattern spell creates an image that others can see, but a pattern also affects the minds of those who see it or are caught in it. All patterns are mind-affecting spells.
Phantasm: A phantasm spell creates a mental image that usually only the caster and the subject (or subjects) of the spell can perceive. This impression is totally in the minds of the subjects. It is a personalized mental impression, all in their heads and not a fake picture or something that they actually see. Third parties viewing or studying the scene don’t notice the phantasm. All phantasms are mind-affecting spells.
Polymorph: a polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature. While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature. Each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type, granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and a bonus to your natural armor. In addition, each polymorph spell can grant you a number of other benefits, including movement types, resistances, and senses. If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead. Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume. If the form grants a swim or burrow speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing. The DC for any of these abilities equals your DC for the polymorph spell used to change you into that form.
In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature, including proficiency in those attacks. These attacks are based on your base attack bonus, modified by your Strength or Dexterity as appropriate, and use your Strength modifier for determining damage bonuses.
If a polymorph spell causes you to change size, apply the size modifiers appropriately, changing your armor class, attack bonus, Combat Maneuver Bonus, and Stealth skill modifiers. Your ability scores are not modified by this change unless noted by the spell.
Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals. Although many of the fine details can be controlled, your appearance is always that of a generic member of that creature’s type. Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature.
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon. Other polymorph spells might be subject to this restriction as well, if they change you into a form that is unlike your original form (subject to GM discretion). If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.
While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as dragoneers that can grow claws) still function.
Table: Ability Adjustments from Size Changes
|Creature’s Original Size||Str||Dex||Con||Adjusted Size|
While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.
You can only be affected by one polymorph spell at a time. If a new polymorph spell is cast on you (or you activate a polymorph effect, such as wild shape), you can decide whether or not to allow it to affect you, taking the place of the old spell. In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell.
If a polymorph spell is cast on a creature that is smaller than Small or larger than Medium, first adjust its ability scores to one of these two sizes using the following table before applying the bonuses granted by the polymorph spell. (see table to the right)
Teleportation: A teleportation spell transports one or more creatures or objects a great distance. The most powerful of these spells can cross planar boundaries. Unlike summoning spells, the transportation is (unless otherwise noted) one-way and not dispellable. Unless otherwise stated you must teleport any creature or object from a solid surface to another solid surface, this is only superseded if the creature would otherwise die from the action (E.G. a water-breathing creature being teleported outside of water, or an air-breathing creature being teleported underwater). If you are falling you may use a swift/immediate spell to teleport to the ground.
Teleportation is instantaneous travel through the Astral Plane. Anything that blocks astral travel also blocks teleportation.
The first line of every spell description gives the name by which the spell is generally known.
Appearing on the same line as the school, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell with the Elemental school. The descriptors are earth, fire, ice, lightning, water, and wind. Descriptors are noted in [square brackets].
Aside from elemental descriptor spells may also have categories based on other factors, they normally do not affect the game unless the target creatures have some form of immunity or bonus against them. These descriptors are curse, death, emotion, fear, language-dependent, mind-affecting, pain and sonic.
Death: Spells with the death descriptor directly attack a creature’s life force to cause immediate death, or to draw on the power of a dead or dying creature, often referred to as “death effects”. The death ward spell protects against death effects, and some creature types are immune to death effects.
Emotion: Spells with this descriptor create emotions or manipulate the target’s existing emotions. Most emotion spells are illusion, except for fear spells, which are usually necromancy.
Fear: Spells with the fear descriptor create, enhance, or manipulate fear. Most fear spells are necromancy spells, though some are illusion spells.
Language-Dependent: A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or hear what the caster of a language-dependent spell says, the spell has no effect, even if the target fails its saving throw.
Pain: Pain effects cause unpleasant sensations without any permanent physical damage (though a sensitive target may suffer mental repercussions from lengthy exposure to pain). Creatures that are immune to effects that require a Fort save (such as constructs and undead) are immune to pain effects.
Sonic: Sonic effects transmit energy to the target through frequent oscillations of pressure through the air, water, or ground. Sounds that are too high or too low for the humanoid ear to detect can still transmit enough energy to cause harm, which means that these effects can even affect deafened creatures. Sound effects can cause hit point damage, deafness, dizziness, nausea, pain, shortness of breath, and temporary blindness, and can detect creatures using batlike echolocation.
The next line of a spell description gives the spell’s level, a number between 1 and 9 (for spells), a number between 1 and 6 (for songs), that define the spell’s relative power. This number is preceded by the name of the class whose members can cast the spell or perform the song. A spell’s level affects the DC for any save allowed against the effect.
Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action. Others take 1 round or more. You make all pertinent decisions about a spell (range, target, area, effect, and so forth) when the spell comes into play.
A spell’s range indicates how far from you it can reach, as defined in the Range entry of the spell description. A spell’s range is the maximum distance from you that the spell’s effect can occur, as well as the maximum distance at which you can designate the spell’s point of origin. If any portion of the spell’s area would extend beyond this range, that area is wasted. Standard ranges include the following.
Personal: The spell affects only you.
Touch: You must touch a creature or object to affect it. A touch spell that deals damage can score a critical hit just as a weapon can. A touch spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit.
Close: The spell reaches as far as 25 feet away from you. The maximum range increases by 5 feet for every two full caster levels (30 feet at 2nd caster level, 35 feet at 4th caster level, and so on).
Medium: The spell reaches as far as 100 feet + 10 feet per caster level.
Long: The spell reaches as far as 400 feet + 40 feet per caster level.
Range Expressed in Feet: Some spells have no standard range category, just a range expressed in feet.
To record a spell in written form, a character uses complex notation that describes the magical forces involved in the spell (through the use of Scribe Scroll feat). The writer uses the same system no matter what her native language or culture. However, each character uses the system in his own way. Another person’s magical writing remains incomprehensible to even the most powerful spellcaster until he takes time to study and decipher it.
To decipher magical writing (such as a single spell in another’s spellbook or on a scroll), a character must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the spell’s level). If the skill check fails, the character cannot attempt to read that particular spell again until the next day. A read magic spell automatically deciphers magical writing without a skill check. If the person who created the magical writing is on hand to help the reader, success is also automatic.
Once a character deciphers a particular piece of magical writing, he does not need to decipher it again. Deciphering magical writing allows the reader to identify the spell and gives some idea of its effects (as explained in the spell description). If the reader can cast the spell, he can attempt to use the scroll.
Spellcasters can learn new spells through several methods. A spellcaster can only learn new spells that belong to that respective spellcasting spell lists.
- Spells Gained at a New Level: Most spellcasters (except Blue Mages, which only gain one new spell per level) perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new spellcaster level, he learns two spells of his choice. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast.
- Spells Learned from a Scroll: Most spellcasters (except Bards and Blue Mages) can also learn a spell whenever he encounters one on a magic scroll. The spellcaster must first decipher the magical writing (see Magical Writings). Next, he must spend 1 hour studying the spell. At the end of the hour, he must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell’s level). If the check succeeds, the spellcaster understands the spell and learns it (can learn higher level spells even if he cannot cast them). A spell successfully learned from a magic scroll disappears from the parchment. If the check fails, the spellcaster cannot understand or learn the spell. He cannot attempt to learn that spell again until one week has passed. A failed Spellcraft check does not cause the spell to vanish.
- Independent Research: Most spellcasters (except Blue Mages) can also research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one. The cost to research a new spell, and the time required, are left up to GM discretion, but it should probably take at least 1 week and cost at least 1,000 gil per level of the spell to be researched. This should also require a number of Spellcraft and Knowledge (arcana) checks.
Learning from a spellcaster: Spellcasters can also pay another spellcaster to teach them their spells, as long as they are the same class of caster (Black Mage for Black Mage, Red for Red, etc.). Learning from a spellcaster takes 1 hour per Spell Level. When determining if a spellcaster has a spell and is willing to teach you, refer to the settlement’s spellcasting for hire. When trying to find an equal level spell (8th from a metropolis) there is a 20% chance of learning it, this becomes 30% if it is 1 level lower and 40% if 2 or more levels lower (7th from a metropolis is 30%, 6th-1st is 40%). You can normally only learn between the hours of 0800 – 1700, or whatever normal working hours are in the setting, though the GM may alter prices to allow teaching outside of those hours.
- Cross-Class teaching: You may learn spells from a different spellcasting class as long as they are within the same list (Red Mage can teach Black and White magic etc), however, due to the difference in casting styles this takes 1 hour and 30 minutes per Spell Level and costs 50% more than if you learnt from your same class. The chance of finding a teacher with your spell is the same as noted above.
Refer to the Table: Spell Level and Teaching Costs for specific pricing.
Table: Spell Level and Teaching Costs
|Spell Level||Teaching Cost||Cross-Class Cost|
|1||15 gil||23 gil|
|2||60 gil||90 gil|
|3||135 gil||203 gil|
|4||240 gil||360 gil|
|5||375 gil||563 gil|
|6||540 gil||810 gil|
|7||735 gil||1103 gil|
|8||960 gil||1440 gil|
|9||1215 gil||1823 gil|
Table: Scroll Costs
|Spell Level||Scroll Cost¹|
Table: Wand Costs
|Spell Level||Wand Cost²|
¹ Scrolls cannot contain bard songs or blue mage spells.
² Wands cannot contain bard songs or blue mage spells.