A Light in Darkness
Special Magic Rules
Conjured creatures in Ravenloft are more difficult to control. In the round that the creature appears the conjured creature receives a Will save at a -2 penalty against your spell. Success indicates the creature escapes your control and can act freely, generally seeking to return to its home.
Calling: All calling spells contain an implicit pact between you and the outsider or elemental you conjured: when the creature has performed its assigned task, it is normally free to return to its plane of origin. In Ravenloft, however, the dark powers severely limit escape to other planes, preventing such a creature from returning unless it can find an exit (like any other creature). When the called creature attempts to leave Ravenloft after completing its task and discovers it cannot, the pact is broken. You lose all control over the creature and it is likely to feel betrayed. Knowingly trapping a good creature on the demiplane of Ravenloft requires a powers check as though it were an evil spell.
Summoning: Summoning spells are significantly warped in Ravenloft by the severe restrictions on planar travel. Rather than summoning outsiders for assistance, you conjure creatures from the surrounding region. Thus, only creatures found in the domain in which this spell is cast can be summoned. Summoned creatures do not receive the Outsider template. Summoned creatures do automatically return from wherever they came from at the end of the spell’s duration, as they never cross planar boundaries. If you attempt to summon a creature that doesn’t exist in the domain where you are located the spell automatically fails. Causing the death of an intelligent creature by summoning it into a dangerous situation requires a powers check as though you cast an evil spell.
Death Effects and Negative Energy
Using negative energy to harm or kill another is considered a form of assault or murder. Add 2% to any powers check cause by such an action.
Any creature killed by a spell with the death descriptor or by negative energy has a 50% chance of rising again as an undead creature (DM’s choice). This creature is not automatically under the control of the person who cast the original spell.
Good and Evil
In this world judging purity of heart is no simple matter. Some few non-native spell casters and psionicists remember how to detect good and evil, they can even teach others… it just doesn’t work. During character design choose an alignment on the lawful – chaotic spectrum only. All characters should think of themselves as “good” to start, but things can change.
For spells or other affects that depend on a character or enemies alignment, I’ll determine the effect. In some cases this will be based on the choices and mindset of the target, in others it will be based on the perception of the caster or even on the whim of the local Domain Lord. In some places all Undead are considered evil by their very nature, and so it is, in others mindless undead are neutral tools subject to the whim of their creatures, and so it is.
The foul corruption of undead isn’t an army of rotting corpses shambling forth from an ancient crypt at the command of an evil necromancer. It’s not bleached white skeleton bearing the arms it wielded in life. In this world, the horror of undeath is the old burgomaster who has been running the town for as long as anyone can remember. He doesn’t get any older, but his servants shrivel and grow frail at an unnatural rate…
Spells and powers such as detect undead are unreliable. Intelligent undead are entitled to a will save to resist, auras never linger after the original source is gone and some special creatures simply don’t register as undead no matter their true nature. Intelligent undead are also able to disguise their thoughts from telepathic spells and abilities projecting whatever they wish the caster to observe.
Any spells designed to predict the future or reveal the outcome of present actions are very untrustworthy in Ravenloft. Such spells indicate only the probable course of events and could be controlled or affected by the whims of the local domain lord. The only exception to this rule is the auguries of the Vistani. These nomadic gypsies are able to travel the Mists between domains and foresee the future in ways unavailable to the heroes.
Spells that scry or sense locations or creatures at a distance (such as Arcane Eye or Scrying produce a visible scrying sensor near the target. Such a sensor is visible with a DC 18 Perception check. Effects that target the senses (gaze attacks, bardic performance, etc.) will affect the diviner as though they are physically present.
Any spell that would normally transport the subject to the Ethereal Plane actually leads to the Near Ethereal. This border realm is home to lingering memories and the dead, no passage to the Deep or True Ethereal plane is possible. The Near Etheral is variously known as the Other Side in Mordent, the Gray Realm in Necropolis, the Spirit World by practitioners of Hala.
Extra Dimensional Spaces
Extra dimensional spaces such as a Rope Trick or bag of holding are not considered separate from a domain. Divination spells still function on objects and creatures in such a space.
Extra dimensional spaces that have multiple entrances and exits in different domains or are particular large or comfortable are likely to attract the attention of the dark powers. While within such a space a failed powers check results in the space being formed into a pocket domain with the individual who failed the check as its darklord. These spaces may not be accessed if a domain’s border is closed.
When dealing with shadow magic in Ravenloft, apply the Empower Spell metamagic feat with no increase in spell level. When such a spell ends, however, the caster must make a Will save versus their own spell DC. If they fail, the spell creates a free willed and hostile Shadow with HD equal to the spell level.
In Ravenloft if you compel a creature to commit an act you are responsible for that act. If you hypnotize or magically compel a person to murder, you must make a powers check as though you committed that murder.
Any attempt to contact an alien mind, such as that of an aberration, elemental, outsider, plant or creature suffering from a madness effect could result in a madness save.
As prophecy and foresight is suppressed in the land of the mists, necromancy is enhanced. Any necromancy spell that doesn’t create undead or require you to manipulate your own or another’s life-force, does not require a powers check (such as deathwatch or halt undead).
For all other necromancy spells, apply the Empower Spell metamagic feat with no increase in spell level. Such spells require a powers check equal to the spell level. If a spell is both necromantic and evil, the powers check is twice the spell level.
In Ravenloft a physical or magical transformation, such as a werewolf shape changing or the affects of polymorph, is a painful, bone crunching and horrific display. The process causes severe pain. During the change the subject must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or become shaken for 1d4 rounds. If this transformation is voluntary and the subject has a +5 or greater Fortitude save modifier they may effectively “take 10” by bracing themselves ahead of time and automatically pass. Individuals observing the transformation must make a DC 15 horror save.
No spell below 6th level can cross a domain border; spells above this level may do so but never more than one domain at a time. There is no known means by which magic can be used to escape from the land of Mists. That hasn’t stopped many of its residents from spending countless mortal lifetimes trying, however. It is also not possible to cross a closed domain border magically.