Over on the FYDIY RPG group on Facebook Adam Scholtes proposed a d100 table of Bard spells based off song titles. I really liked the idea, and now I’m compiling spell books of rocking spells to rock my D&D games. They basically follow the format of the Wonders & Wickedness magic system, which is really cool (read the reviews). with even less formality. And more metal.
- Spells are not level dependant.
- Spells possibly scale with caster level.
- Spells are less formal.
- There is no attempt at balance. Leave that at the door.
- And more metal. Yes, you can use this list as a guide to good music.
- I call bards wizards. Because this is wizard thief fighter.
I give you Thundergrammar – The First of Several – and, in its d12 format, totally a dig at Jason Sholtis. Jason, my metal bards can burn down your Overlords.
Steel Book of the Wheelarch of the Immobile Ride (d12)
1. Wings of Steel (Stage Dolls)
Great steel wings sprout from the wizard’s back, ripping through armor, backpacks and anybody stupid enough to stand behind the wizard (1d10 damage). The wizard is clumsy and unbalanced on the ground (disadvantage to defence), but they can use their wings to carry out a clumsy slashing attack (wing buffet for 1d10 damage in a 180 degree arc). Of course, the wizard can also use the wings to fly to safety, leaving behind the schmucks to a horrible death at the hands of the onrushing cultists.
The wizard could also stick a subject with pins and quills, growing wings on another creature or person. Soaked in the sweat of hard labor and the wax of melting dolls, the wings may be permanent.
Rating: three bards. It’s not terrible, but not too inspiring, either.
2. Steel vs. Steel (Grand Magus)
The wizard summons a demon into their blade. The spell also summons an equally crazy ‘angel’ into an enemy’s blade. Now both sides have champions with soul-sucking swords. Have fun.
Besides sucking souls, the demon sword can (d6):
- create cumin-scented loaves and deep-fried fish fingers. Nobody knows why.
- cut metal like butter.
- infect all it strikes with a ghoul plague, turning them slowly into … well, ghouls.
- sing loudly and proudly, all the time, very loudly. It can occasionally cast one of the wizard’s spells for the wizard.
- increase the size of the wizard twofold. Of course, the sword is then very big, too.
- summon swarming flies to surround the wizard in a great, buzzing, annoying aura, that annoys everybody near the wizard very much. The flies leave the wizard alone, so they are at an advantage. I guess. If they like flies.
Rating: two bards. It sounds cooler than it is.
3. [Don’t Let ’em] Grind Ya Down (Motorhead)
The wizard glistens like a small, rusty road block and gains immunity to trample attacks. If the wizard is mounted or a centaur or an elephant or a massive wheeled machine of death, the wizard’s (and the mount’s) skin turns to a steely pseudo-flesh, their trample attacks deal double damage and have advantage to hit.
Rating: three bards. It works, but isn’t terribly epic.
4. Full Speed Ahead (Steelwing)
The wizard bangs their head swiftly and the creature or conveyance they are riding accelerates to its maximum speed instantaneously. This is primarily useful if the wizard is on a train, zeppelin, rocket, ship, or void liner. On a horse it looks a bit stupid, but, oh well.
The wizard can try to overbang to push the vehicle over the limit, where it is ready to explode. Every round, the wizard rolls d6:
- Bang. The conveyance explodes. Unless the wizard sacrifices 2d6 hit points.
- Whirr. The conveyance’s attacks (trample or whatever) supercharge and will do maximum damage on the next attack.
- Whizz. The conveyance burps slightly and goes a bit faster. If you squint.
- Whoosh. The conveyance hits eleven as is now going at 110% of its top speed.
- The Limit. The conveyance’s top speed is permanently increased by 20%.
- Exploder. The conveyance hits 150% speed and loses 1d6% of its maximum hit points each round until the wizard stops their silly head banging.
Rating: two bards. Passable but eminently overdone. Also, that’s a D, not an A.
5. Wheels of Steel (Saxon)
A useful industrial spell as the wizard turns a selected wheel or wheel-like object up to 21′ in diameter into steel. The smaller the wheel, the easier it is to transform it. Unless the wheel is exactly 6′ in diameter, in which case it is the simplest thing ever. Each casting requires the sacrifice of a living creature with at least four appendages.
If cast four times on a carriage drenched with aqua vitae at moonlight, the carriage gains limited sentience and the ability to move itself with no obvious external propulsion, though reflections in bronze mirrors and still waters do show chained angel horses whipped by little hairy devils dragging the carriage along. It’s ok, this is totally the horses’ punishment for rebelling against the authority of the Stallion that Bestrides the Heavens and Has a Little Deli on Fourth Street.
Rating: three bards, because it’s classic, even if it is repetitive.
6. Healed by Metal (Grave Digger)
While the wizard sings in an annoying falsetto, accompanied by dulcimer imps and a tympanum, all damage dealt by metal weapons in a 16′ radius is turned into healing instead. Yeah, this is weird, I’ve no idea how the mechanics work, but … eh, metal, yay.
Rating: three bards, for the cliché is strong with this one.
7. Sea of Machines (Ayreon)
The wizard summons small machine fish, seals, anemones and other sea creatures to their vicinity. Or tries to. For 1d6 rounds. They look impressive, but ultimately do nothing. The wizard talks about being the One and batteries, but again, nothing happens. This spell is a total dud, especially by the second and third round. However, it does look impressive (d6):
- it totally looks like the wizard will invoke a meteor swarm,
- it looks like a machine golem is rising from the ground,
- it looks like it will rain fish and frogs, but they’re just printed circuit boards that don’t even work,
- it looks like the wizard will transform into a metal machine, but then fails,
- it’s clear that a great flying metal sea urchin will … no, it won’t,
- a wave of machines floods upon the boat and then … the metal things short-circuit and die.
Rating: one bard. A truly whiny, shitty spell.
8. Iron Man (Black Sabbath)
Wizard turns to steel and a great magnetic field erupts around them in a 47′ radius, pulling in metal implements and weapons and slowing everybody wearing metal armor. All nearby creatures with metal jewelry, cybernetics, or prosthetics take 1d6 (exploding) damage as it is ripped from their flesh. While the wizard is made of steel, they are very slow and very hard to damage. Any electrical damage the wizard takes is expended in a 10′ radius blast to surrounding creatures, while the wizard takes no damage.
Rating: Four bards. A proper, heavy metal spell.
9. Killer Wolf (Danzig)
The wizard screams about their mother and shapeshifts into a (d6):
- Dire wolf (big, furry, furious)
- White wolf (fluffy, white, actually a samojed)
- Fat wolf (very chubby and round, can be used as a ball.
- Black dog (fan of airships, howls at night)
- Coyote (runs fast, very tricky with explosives)
- Regular wolf (drinks beer, likes to hang around the pub, talk about exploits)
Rating: four bards, for the bards could have done even better.
10. Ride the Lightning (Metallica)
The wizard teleports along a lightning bolt and looks really epic. Preferably using a cloud as a waypoint, but just using a regular 10d6 lightning bolt should also do it.
11. Raining Blood (Slayer)
The wizard mumbles something and shakes their lute-axe. Blood rains from the sky, visibility is reduced, terrain is slick and slippery, vampiric creatures heal 1d6 hp every round. The rain of blood continues in a radius epically commensurate with the wizard’s charisma and meteorology skill so long as the wizard keeps singing and growling and not doing other nonsense. If the wizard gets poked while singing the rain of blood, they have to make a save to keep singing, of course, but also any holes poked in the wizard become veritable gushers of blood and gore — though the wizard takes no extra damage, they are channeling the humorous plane of Blood.
Rating: 4 bards, kinda situational and a bit to thrashy for most situations, but still a classic.
12. Painkiller (Judas Priest)
The wizard’s song removes all fatigue effects of all creatures in a 66.6′ foot diameter, all wound effects illness, and other ongoing effects are suspended so long as the wizard keeps singing. Creatures can keep fighting with no penalties until they reach -10 hp, at which point they die with no save. Once the song ends, all the suspended effects are reapplied immediately and simultaneously. All creatures below 0 hp when the song ends die immediately with no save.
Rating: 5 bards, because this is always useful and always double-edged. The perfect spell, yo.
What musics should the next spell book hold?
Technique: ink, #5 brush and good paper.