Spells & Spell Casting

Many characters in Dark Dungeons can use spells. Humans are the most versatile spell casters. They can become magic-users or clerics (and later druids) and learn to cast many spells per day. Experienced thieves can learn to use magic-user scrolls to cast spells with a good chance of success. And even fighters can—if they take knightly vows—start casting low level clerical spells.

Many non-human races use spells too. Some creatures have natural (or magical) abilities that work like spells, but many of the intelligent races (humanoid or otherwise) can have shamans or sorcerers who cast spells like clerics and magic-users, although doing so through innate ability rather than formal training they lack the versatility of human spell casters.

The demi-human races are somewhat unusual, in that they have no clerical or shaman spell casters, and with the exception of elves—who can cast spells just like human magic-users—have no magic-users or sorcerers either.

All these major types of spell caster (clerics, druids, magic-users, shamans, sorcerers) share a common basis for spell casting, as detailed in this chapter.

Spell Levels

All spells have a level. This is a measure of how powerful the spell is and how difficult it is to prepare. Spells of the same level are roughly similar in terms of power level, and are interchangeable when it comes to spell preparation, providing the caster has access to each spell.

Cleric and druid spells range in level from 1-7. Magic-user and elf spells range in level from 1-9. Shamans and sorcerers can only cast spells from levels 1-6.

Each spell casting character is limited in the number of spells they can prepare each day. When first able to cast spells they will probably be limited to only preparing a single 1st level spell per day, but as they get more experienced they will be able to cast more spells and also more powerful spells. See Chapter 4: Creating a Character for exactly how many spells of each level a character gets based on their class.

Shamans get the same number of spells as clerics of the same level, and sorcerers get the same number of spells as magic-users of the same level.

Acquiring Spells

Spell casting characters acquire spells in different ways.


Cleric Spells By Level

Clerics (and fighters who have taken knightly vows) always have access to all clerical spells of levels that they can cast. As part of the new cleric’s rite of investiture (the details of which will vary from religion to religion and may be full of pomp and ceremony or be a quiet personal affair) their patron

Immortal magically alters the cleric’s life force so that it will accept spells from that Immortal. This is a permanent alteration, and costs the Immortal some of its own essence; so it is not done lightly. The cleric now has access to all their clerical spells, providing nothing untoward happens to the Immortal who grants them the spells. This sort of thing rarely happens, but it is not unheard of.

Since the change done to the cleric has a permanent effect, the cleric will continue to gain spells even if they split from their church into heresy or even give up their religion altogether.

However, depending on the attitude of the church towards this, it may result in the cleric being denounced and hunted down and killed.

A starting magic-user or elf begins with a free spell book, which contains the spell Read Magic spell and one other first level spell of their choice.

In order to acquire mastery of a new

In extreme cases it is possible for the Immortal to personally visit the offend-ing cleric and remove their clerical powers in the same way that they granted them. However, since this also costs the Immortal some of its essence it is not done by any but the most for- giving Immortals. Less forgiving Im mortals will either ignore the offending

spell in order to write it into their

book the magic-user or elf needs two

things. Firstly they need time to practise the spell. Secondly they need a

A spell book is a very personal item,

source containing the spell. This


and the spells written in it are


can be another magic-user or elf


using an arcane symbolism unique to

to teach the spell to them, or it can


the individual spell caster. Each


another magic-user’s spell book or even cleric and leave them for their


needs their own spell book in order to

a spell scroll. Although a magic-user

or pers to deal with or simply kill them

prepare spells, and no caster can pre-

elf cannot use another caster’s spell outright.

pare spells from anyone else’s spell

book to prepare spells, casting a Read book.

Magic spell on it will allow them to

read Forsaking one’s church can be a dan

its contents and use it as a research

tool gerous business.

Although each magic-user or elf is de-

in order to learn the spells

themselves. pendent on their spell book to be able


Druid Spells By Level

Druids get their spells from

to prepare spells, their knowledge of


It is far easier (and usually cheaper)

to nature itself. Like clerics, they have

does not rely on their book. If they


be taught spells than to research them, access to all druidic spells they can


their book for any reason or it gets

although if no teacher is available

then but unlike clerics this access cannot


research is always an option for a

desblocked— since nature itself is never in

destroyed, they can—given time and

perate magic-user or elf. a situation where it is unable to grant

effort—make a replacement of it by

writing down all the spells that they spells.



Shaman Spells By Level

Shamans are granted their

spells either by an Immortal or by


Magic-users & Elves: Magic-users

Magic-User and Elf Spells By Level

ture, depending on the individual

shaand elves do not automatically acquire

However, because of the personal con

nection to the book, each magic-user or

man and their race and religion. There- spells. Each spell they wish to learn

elf can only have one set of spell


fore they follow exactly the same rules must be formally studied and recorded

as either clerics or druids. in a spell book. Each spell book can

in existence at a time. Writing a spell

into a new one makes the old copy contain up to 100 levels of spells, so


obsolete and useless; so it is not

possipowerful magic user may need up to 6

ble to keep a spare set around just in spell books to hold all their spells.



Sorcerer Spells By Level

sorcerers are able to use magic via a natural talent. Although they prepare spells in the same way as magic-users—and all sorcerer spells are also magic-user spells—they are able to do so without the aid of spell books or any kind of formal training.

A sorcerer’s spell casting is simply

intuitive. Every so often, as they get more experienced, they will simply gain an insight and “know” how to prepare a new spell that they weren’t previously able to prepare.

Preparing Spells

Spells are complicated affairs

involving powerful magical energies, and can not simply be cast on a whim.

Before a spell can be cast, it must be prepared by the caster. When preparing

a spell, a caster gathers the magical

energy and shapes it into the spell that they wish to cast, leaving it primed. Then at the time of casting the spell caster says the final words and makes the final gestures, which set the

parameters for the spell effect and release the energy. This final release of the spell’s energy is known as casting the spell.

On a typical day, and adventuring spell caster will prepare all the spells they

can first thing in the morning after waking up, and then cast them at various times during the day—often in the middle of combat.

Since each extra spell that is prepared adds more magical energy to the caster’s control, and higher level

spells require more precise control than lower level ones, the number of spells a

caster can have prepared at one time is

limited by their experience level, as listed in

the various tables in Chapter 4: Creating a Character.

Once a spell has been prepared, it will not fade away. Prepared spells can be kept primed for days or even weeks at a time before being cast; although a caster can dissipate the magical energy of a spell at any time in order to free

up the spell slot that it was taking up.

Preparing spells requires a clear head, and must be done directly after a good night’s sleep, and before any strenuous or stressful activity has happened.

The character must then spend an hour performing meditation and rite s (involving their spell book if they use one) in relatively quiet surroundings. Preparing spells is possible in the bustle of a campsite or shared room, and the caster can wave away interruptions without disturbing their preparation, but preparation is not possible in a crowded marketplace or in the middle of a fight. At the end of the hour, any spare spell slots the character has that don’t already contain prepared spells can be filled with the character’s choice of spells from those that they know (of the appropriate level). If a spell caster expects to cast a spell twice during a day, they must prepare it twice, taking up two slots of the appropriate level.

Reversible Spells

Some spells are reversible. This means that the spell can be cast in one of two ways, usually with the opposite effect. For example, a Raise Dead spell is normally cast to bring someone back from the dead, but it can be reversed and cast as a Finger of Death in order to kill someone.

Clerics, druids and shamans always prepare their spells in the normal form, and can choose to either use them in that form or reverse them at the time of casting. Although any cleric can cast any clerical spell, some religions may discourage or even prohibit the reversal of some spells. Magic-users, elves and sorcerers must decide at the time of preparation whether they wish to prepare the normal or reversed form of the spell. Although they can, of course, prepare both forms of the same spell if they have two or more spell slots of an appropriate level.

Casting Spells

Unless the spell description explicitly says otherwise, any spell can be cast in a character’s turn in combat as a normal action. However, casting a spell requires precise gestures and speaking. Therefore a spell caster must have at least one hand free and must be able to speak in order to be able to cast a spell. If you wish to cast a spell, you must announce what spell you are casting at the beginning of the round before initiative is rolled. If you then take any damage before your initiative, your spell casting will be disrupted and you will lose the prepared spell but it will dissipate without effect. When casting a spell that targets creatures or objects other than yourself, you must be able to see those targets. However, you can hit unseen or invisible targets with area effect spells even if you can’t see them (and even if you don’t know they are there). Some spells, such as Cause Light Wounds (the reverse form of Cure Light Wounds) require the caster to make a successful melee attack in order to touch the target in order for the spell to work. given. stays active.

This attack does not require a separate action in combat—it can be performed as part of the Cast Spell action.

The attack must be done with bare hands and does not use the Unarmed Strikes weapon feats. Touching someone with a spell is very different from striking someone in melee.

However, if the attack misses the spell is not wasted. The spell that the caster was attacking with will stay “primed” for ten minutes or until they cast another spell.

Therefore the caster can try repeatedly to touch the same (or a different) target. These additional attempts to touch a target each require an Attack action.

Saving Throws

Most spells that have an effect on others allow their targets to roll a saving throw in order to lessen or negate the effect. Unless the specific spell description mentions otherwise, all such saving throws are vs Spells.

If a spell does not mention giving a saving throw, then none should be

Conflicting Spells

When different spells are cast on the same target, each of the spells has its normal effect for its duration.

However, multiple castings of the same spell (or spells that are the same except in terms of area of effect—such as Protection From Evil and Protection From Evil 10’ Radius) do not stack. The target gets the effect only once.

However, in cases where the multiple castings of the same spell could apply to the target without conflict (such as a target having two active Quest spells at the same time, or the target being simultaneously charmed by two different casters and therefore believing both of them to be friends) each of the spells