Ruins of Adventure
The magic employed by spellsingers is unlike that used by any other type of magician known on Toril. While other wizards must focus their minds carefully and harness their power only by exact control of rituals and gestures, the spellsinger finds power in the exact opposite. The wild dance of a spellsinger serves to free the spirit and open up the character’s mind to the unending power of the cosmos. Only when an absolute state of mental freedom and conscious release is attained can this mystical energy be transformed into the magician’s desired effect.
Base Class Statistics:
- Ability Requirements: Balance 15, Reason 15, Willpower 15
- Alignments: Non-Lawful (NG, TN, NE, CG, CN, CE)
- Experience Chart: Wizard
- Hit Dice: d6
- Maximum Hit Dice: 10d6
- Additional Hit Points: +1 per level beyond 10th
- Attack: Wizard
- Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Wizard
- Rods/Staves/Wands: as Wizard
- Petrification/Polymorph: as Wizard
- Breath Weapon: as Wizard
- Spell: as Wizard
- Allowed Weapons: Dagger, Dart, Knife, Quarterstaff, Sling
- Allowed Armor: None
The Magical Dance:
Spellsingers are not restricted by the level of the spell they wish to cast as other wizards are. A 1st-level spellsinger could theoretically attempt to cast a 9th-level spell at any time. In practice, a player who is running a spellsinger simply informs the Dungeon Master that his character is attempting to cast a spell at any time during play. In reality, however, the chances of failure and the risks associated with working magical spells beyond one’s own level makes this a rare occurrence at best. While the range of spells open to them is great indeed, spellsingers do not have unlimited access to the schools of magic. No spellsinger can cast spells from the schools of Necromancy, Invocation/Evocation, Wild Magic, or Chronomancy.
Just as the normal rules governing spell levels do not apply to these unusual magicians, so too are they unaffected by the traditional limitations on the number of spells that may be memorized and cast in a single day. The only restriction on the number of spells that one of these characters can cast is the rest period required between each dance. Lower-level spellsingers can typically cast more spells in a day than their counterparts. At higher levels, however, this tends to become more equal or even reverse itself.
The unusual song and dance of the spellsinger allows the character to slip into an altered state of consciousness. While in this magical trance, the mystical powers of the cosmos flow through the wizard and respond to her wishes. The maximum number of rounds that a spellsinger can dance is equal to her Fitness score. This is an important consideration, as longer dances have a greater chance of producing useful magical effects.
All spells invoked by a spellsinger require verbal (the spellsingers song) and somatic (the dance) components. Spells that normally require a material component are generally somewhat easier for a spellsinger to employ. However, spells that normally require only a verbal or somatic component are slightly more difficult for a spellsinger than for a normal mage.
While dancing, a spellsinger is oblivious to all that transpires around her. This can make the character vulnerable to attack, as enemies can walk right up to her without being seen. Anyone attacking a dancing spellsinger automatically has surprise. However, the frenzied motion of the dance makes a spellsinger harder to hit. When dancing, a spellsinger’s base Armor Class is improved by +1 for every two levels of experience that the character has attained, so a 6th-level spellsinger would have a +3 bonus to her Armor Class when dancing.
In addition to the physical bonus to a dancer’s Armor Class, the altered state of a spellsinger’s mind during this ritual provides protection from psionic intrusion as well. Anyone attempting to make mental contact with a dancing spellsinger will find that she has a psychic defense roughly equivalent to the infamous tower of iron will. This defense remains active for as long as the spellsinger continues to dance her magical dance, but collapses the moment her spell is cast and her mind snaps back to reality.
Chance of Spell Failure:
This same unorthodox method of spellcasting makes the magic of these characters less than wholly reliable. No matter how talented a spellsinger might be, there is always the chance that her magic will fail her when the final note is sung. Whenever a spellsinger wishes to cast a spell, she must make a check against her Dancing proficiency. Several modifiers are applied to this roll, however, because of the unusual nature of the spellsinger’s magic:
- A +4 penalty is applied to this roll for each level by which the spell exceeds the level of the spellcaster. For example, a 3rd-level spellsinger attempting to invoke a 5th-level spell would suffer a +8 penalty to her proficiency check. (Remember that with proficiency checks the goal is to roll under your proficiency score.)
- The minimum number of rounds that a spellsinger must dance to invoke magic is equal to the level of the spell being attempted. For every two additional rounds the character dances, a -1 bonus is applied to the roll. Thus, a spellsinger attempting to cast a 5th-level spell must dance for at least five rounds before attempting her proficiency check. If she dances for seven rounds, she gains a -1 bonus to her proficiency check.
Interrupting the Dance:
Breaking the concentration of a dancing spellsinger, either by attacking her or by simply halting her dance, is a dangerous thing to do. The moment the spellsinger stops dancing, she must make her proficiency check to see if the spell she was attempting to cast worked or failed. Because of the sudden halt to the dance, an automatic +4 penalty is applied to the check.
If the spellsinger has not yet danced a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell, an additional +4 penalty is applied for each round that was not danced. If, for example, a spellsinger is interrupted on the 4th round of her attempt to cast a 6th-level spell, she suffers a total penalty of +12 on her proficiency check.
Usually, the only thing that happens when a spellsinger character fails her dancing roll is that the magic simply doesn’t take effect. While this can be somewhat anti-climactic, it isn’t harmful. If, however, the modified roll is a 20 or more, the character suffers a catastrophic failure. When this happens, the spell results in a Wild Surge.
Rest and Fatigue:
After an attempt to cast a spell (either successful or unsuccessful), the spellsinger must rest for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell she was attempting before she can dance again. A spellsinger who attempted to cast a 3rd-level spell must rest for three rounds before she can cast another spell. If the spellsinger wishes to attempt a 9th-level spell, she must rest for nine full rounds afterward. During this time, the spellsinger is considered to be fatigued. If she is forced to defend herself in this condition, she suffers a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and saving throws.
From time to time, spellsingers attempt to pool their efforts and channel their energies into the casting of a single spell. By attempting this difficult, dangerous exercise, the spellsingers can often work magic that is beyond that of any single one of them. When spellsingers opt to dance together, there must be no fewer than three and no more than eight of them. The level and proficiency rating of the spellsingers are assumed to be equal to the least of the dancers. It is for this reason that spellsingers who dance together are almost always of roughly equal level and proficiency. Of course, all the dancers must be aware of the spell to be cast, its target or desired effect, and other important elements. Prior to dancing, they must spend one turn (10 minutes) for each level of the spell preparing their dance. As soon as they begin dancing, all normal rules governing the working of their unusual magic apply. This includes fatigue and the possible results of a failed casting attempt. The effort of the additional dancers awards the group a -1 bonus per dancer beyond the first to their roll for the success of the spell. For example, a group of five dancers receives a bonus of -4 when checking for spell success or failure.
Spellsingers can employ any of the magical items normally available to wizards, but they are unable to create such wonders for themselves. Even magical scrolls, the simplest of mystical creations, is beyond their knowledge, for the spellsingers’ study of sorcery is very different from that of their wizardly cousins.
Evasion: Even when a spellsinger is not attempting to cast a spell, her exotic dancing ability can be useful. A dancer can become an almost impossible target when her attention is fixed on avoiding injury instead of weaving magic. To employ this ability, the spellsinger must be aware that she is under attack and have at least a 20-foot-diameter area in which to dance. When attempting to evade an attack, a spellsinger is able to improve her Armor Class by +1 per level of experience.
This dancing is every bit as taxing as spellcasting. Because the spellsinger is unable to lose herself in the dance, she feels the fatigue of her frenzy even more so than when in the throes of magic. Hence, the maximum number of rounds a spellsinger can evade attacks is equal to half her Fitness score, rounded down. So a spellsinger with a Fitness of 11 can evade for no more than five consecutive rounds.
After evading, the character must rest just as after attempting a magical spell: a number of rounds equal to the number of rounds the character has been dancing. During this time, the spellsinger is considered to be fatigued. If she is forced to defend herself in this condition, she suffers a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and saving throws.
Enthralling: Upon attaining the 6th level of experience, a spellsinger can use her exotic dancing and seductive singing to enthrall onlookers. This effect is similar to the casting of the 2nd-level priest spell of the same name. The spellsinger cannot use this power while attempting to cast a spell or use another special ability such as evasion. Anyone watching the dancing spellsinger when she is attempting to enthrall her audience must make a successful saving throw vs. spell or be unable to do anything but watch the dancer for the duration of her performance. This trance continues for a number of rounds equal to half the spellsinger’s level, rounded down, following the dance. Because of the haunting nature of the spellsinger’s motions and sounds, the audience need not understand the language that she sings in to fall under her spell. However, if her words are understood, the victim suffers a -4 penalty to his saving throw.
Other modifiers apply to the check as well. If the onlooker is attracted to members of the dancer’s sex, the die roll is subject to a -2 penalty. If the character attempting to resist becoming enthralled would not be attracted to the dancer’s gender, a +2 bonus is allowed. If the subject knows and dislikes the spellsinger or is aware that she is attempting to enthrall him, a +4 bonus is allowed on the save (not cumulative). After attempting to enthrall her audience, the spellsinger must rest for a number of rounds equal to the length of her dance. During this time, the spellsinger is fatigued and, if she is forced to defend herself, she suffers a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and saving throws.
Sleep: A spellsinger who has attained the 10th level of experience can use her dances and songs to soothe her audience, effectively weaving a sleep spell over them. To fall victim to this enchantment, a character must be able to clearly hear the song and see the dance of the spellsinger. Further, the victim must have fewer Hit Dice than the spellsinger. Those of an equal or greater experience experience level are immune to this effect. If these conditions exist, an onlooker must make a successful saving throw vs. spell or fall asleep for a number of 10-minute turns equal to the level of the spellsinger. This sleep is not magical, so the victims can be awakened normally.
The duration of this dance can vary with the situation. However, the maximum number of rounds the spellsinger can sustain this dance is equal to the level of the dancer. The first round of dancing, all onlookers with up to 1 Hit Die must make their saving throws. On the second round, spectators with 2 Hit Dice must make their saving throws. This pattern continues until either everyone in the audience has made a saving throw, successful or not, or the spellsinger halts her dance. Onlookers who feel they are in danger or are otherwise uncomfortable (for example, in pain from a wound) make their saving throws with a +4 bonus. Those who understand the words of the spellsinger’s song suffer a -2 penalty.
After using this ability, the character must rest for a number of rounds equal to the length of her dance. The spellsinger is considered to be fatigued while resting. If she is forced to defend herself during this time, she suffers a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and saving throws.