OSR: Animist Wizards

Also known as witches. These are the bad wizards, the ones who live in shacks on the edge of town or castles on the edge of reality. They are the cursed ones, robed in black, who you seek when all other hopes fail. When the Church turns its back on you, when you scream curses into the night, when your very soul burns, then you are in need of an Animist Wizard... or ready to become one.

Side note: the name of this class could be something like "kegare wizard" instead. You can find an excellent explanation here, and you really should watch it before you read the rest of this class or it might not make a lot of thematic sense.

Apprentice by 88grzes
Perk: If someone makes a bargain with you and breaks it, Save. If you pass, you instantly know about it. Your spells can target parasites and unborn children without targeting their hosts.
These two perks are strong contenders for the best ones around. What counts as a "parasite" is up to the GM.
Drawback: You are feared and distrusted by most. You cannot bathe. You can never return another person's love.
A good GM will play up the fear and impurity an Animist Wizard carries with them. People make the sign against the evil eye when you pass. Shops close. You will never find true love unless you renounce your class and powers, although you might find corrupted substitutes. That's the deal you made. Take the corruption of the world into yourself for sheer power, or to improve the rest of Creation. Do what can be done, or what needs to be done. Also, being dunked in the water accidentally doesn't count as a bath. You need to do it deliberately to clean yourself.

1. Transform into a creature with your face that has either (a) a fly speed of twice 2x Movement, (b) 3x Movement (c) swim speed of 2x Movement, (d) burrow speed of Movement, (e) the ability to squeeze through gaps smaller than a human head. Choose one option at character creation. The transformation lasts for 1hr per Animist wizard template per day.
2. Dim or extinguish all non-magical light sources within 10’.
3. Touch someone to learn if they have killed another sentient creature in the last 24hrs.

The first cantrip is the strangest and most emblematic. You become a creature of corruption, of black ooze and terrible swiftness. The second cantrip is for parlour tricks and ambushes. The third gives you  direct sense of corruption and impurity. You might not want to know.

Spell List:

1. Powerful Presence
R: 0 T: self D: [dice] hours
The caster seems to grow in magnificence and poise, and gains +2x[dice] bonus to Save vs Domination, Charm, or Fear effects. Easily frightened creatures (horses, mice, guilt-ridden murderers) must test Morale or flee before the caster.
A very minor fear-like effect combined with a long-duration buff. This is stage magic. You grow 2" taller and much more sinister.
2. Telekinetic Shove
R: 50‘ T: creature or object D: 0
An object or creature within range is hurled through the air. Save to negate. A human-sized creature travels 10’ per [dice], and takes 1d6 damage for every 10' traveled. A creature thrown at another creature requires an Attack roll to hit and inflicts 1d6 damage for every 10' traveled. This spell will also blow open all the closed but unlocked doors in a room, shatter all the windows in a building, or knock the thatched roof off a peasant's shack.
No one riding a horse or crossing a bridge would underestimate this spell.

3. Shrivel
R. 50' T: [dice] creatures D: 1d6 rounds / permanent
Target Save negates. Target loses half of its current HP and loses 6 Strength (affecting the damage it deals). When the spell ends, the lost HP and Strength returns. If you cast this spell with 3 or more [dice] against a single target, the lost HP does not return, and the Strength damage is permanent. The apparent age of the target increases considerably for the spell's duration.
 This spell can be used to threaten rather than kill, but it's a powerful threat. Like this, but in reverse. Obviously this needs to be cast with dramatic hand gestures.
4. Control Water
R: 50’ T: a bucket’s worth of water D: concentration
Control a small amount of water within 50’. At one [die]: (a) propel a small boat, (b) carry a small item through the water, (c) allow someone to swim at 2x speed, (d) force someone to swim at half speed, (e) splash something no more than 5' away, (f) dry something that is wet, (g) freeze a small amount of water, (h) cool a hot cup of tea. Each [dice] you invest increases the effects.
Good luck adjudicating this one, but you get the idea. With 4 [dice] you should be able to sink a ship or turn back a river. Something equivalent to a full-blast fireball. Water elementals carry means of purifying corruption, and Animists know their secret ways.
5. Sleep
R: 50' T: [sum] HD of creatures D: 10 min / permanent
Target falls into a magical slumber, and can't be awoken by anything less vigorous than a slap (a standard action). Non-alert, unaware targets are not allowed a Save.  If [sum] is at least 4 times the creature's HD, the duration becomes permanent (until slapped) and the creature no longer needs to eat or drink while sleeping. If you also invested 3 [dice] or more into this spell, the duration becomes permanent, and you can set the only condition that will cause the creature to awake (the sunrise before the apocalypse, true love’s kiss, etc.)
You can't cast this spell on an apple, but you can use it to save someone from a famine, the pain of death, or other horrible fates. You can also use it to put goblins to sleep. It's a classic.
6. Charm Person
R: 50' T: person D: [dice] hours
The person regards you as a good friend and ignores the obvious spell you just cast on them. If you invest 4 [dice] or more into this spell, the duration becomes permanent.
So not dragons, dryads, owlbears, ants, elementals, or angels. People. If it's worried about taxes, gossips, and wears pants, it's a person. This effect overrides the drawback of being an Animist Wizard, but not for long.
7. Dream Eater
R: 50‘ T: creature D: 0
A sleeping creature within 50' takes [sum] damage. The caster heals for the same amount. No save. When you gain this spell, if you don't know Sleep already, you learn it the next time you would roll to gain a spell. It replaces one of the spells you'd roll for.
A nasty, petty sort of spell that provides some rare healing in this system. You're eating a poor creature's soul, or at least, the interesting parts of it. This spell doesn't work on creatures that don't dream (snails, worms, bureaucrats).
8. Scorching Ray
R: 100' T: creatures or objects D: 0
Fire a ray at a target, dealing 1d10 fire damage with a successful attack roll. Each dice you invest in this spell allow you to fire an additional ray at the same target or at a new target. Creatures are not set on fire, but very flammable objects such as candles, dry straw, or paper will catch fire 1 round after being struck. Instead of using this spell to deal damage, you can instead use it to light all the candles in a single room.
The fire conjured by an animist wizard is a dark and greasy sort, an outcast elemental. 
9. Scry
R: [dice]x100' T: point in space D: concentration
You conjure an invisible, intangible, floating eyeball to a point in space that you designate. Unlike most spells, you do not have to have line of sight to cast it. As long as you maintain concentration, you can see through this sensor with your normal senses. This spell requires something to scry on, usually a mirror, quiet pool, clouds, or bonfire. If you invest 2 or more [dice], you can also hear through the sensor (it grows an ear). If you invest at 3 or more [dice], you can also speak through the sensor (it grows a dribbly little mouth). If you use an actual crystal ball when casting this spell, the range is instead [dice] miles. Crystal balls are rare enough that they are never offered for sale, but are worth upwards of 3,000gp. Most are ancestral relics.
I like the idea of a horrible dribbly little homonculus flying around and spying on people.  
10.Alter Self
R: 0 T: self D: [dice]x10 minutes 
Alter your form to resemble that of another creature of your type (usually humanoid). You do not gain any special abilities from this transformation.
You can't alter your smell, and you can't hide from Wizard Vision or an angry mob forever.

Emblem Spells

11. Doom
R: 50' T: creature D: concentration
Target feels cold. If you invest 3 [dice] or more, and you loudly pronounce doom on them for the next 2 turns (without being interrupted or breaking line of sight), target dies on the 3rd turn. You need to truly hate the target for this spell to work, or
convince yourself that you hate the target. Even a sliver of pity cancels the spell.
You can kill anything with this spell. You might need to test Wisdom or Charisma to prove you really hate a target

12. Curse
R: 50' T: mortal creature D: permanent
You inflict a Minor or Major curse on the target. For a minor curse, you must invest 2 [dice]. For a major curse, you must invest 4 [dice]. Dice used to cast this spell are automatically exhausted. You cannot dispel your own curses.

The tables at the end of the post list some example curses.
1. MD only return to your pool on a 1-2 for 24 hours
2. Take 1d6 damage
3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then make a save. Permanent if you fail. Resembles your transformation.

4. Blind for 1d6 rounds
5. Deafened for 1d6 rounds
6. Spell targets you (if harmful) or enemy (if beneficial) or fizzles (if neutral).

The Mishap table isn't too severe, but the last result is unique to Animist Wizards and represents your spell rejecting you and your goals. Nice work.

Doom of the Animist
1. Some aspect of your transformation manifests for 1 day.
2. Some aspect of your transformation becomes permanent. You become crueler and greedier.
3. Your transformation becomes permanent. You become bestial and monstrous. You become a dangerous NPC.
This doom can be avoided by true love, or by slaying the last of a powerful species (black dragons, elder trees, creation elementals, abandoned gods).

Your transformation grows to corrupt you, or your corruption grows to transform you. Difficult to say. Eventually, you're going to turn on your friends and devour them. True love requires you to love someone back, and that means giving up your powers forever.

1346, Jakub Rebelka


I stole some of these curses from here, and others from... other sites. I can't remember where. Anyway, they are only examples. Roll randomly, pick a curse, or inflict something thematic.

Cursed people need to have their curse identified (by a priest, a hermit, a madman, a fairy, etc.). Identification also reveals the way to remove the curse. You can also try all sorts of risky exorcisms and rituals to get rid of the curse instead. Some of the effects seem severe, but remember, they could be "just die" instead. Curses should be appropriate to the target, their sins, and the caster's whims.

Minor Curses

1. Dog hatred. They will attack you, if given half a chance. Cured by living as a dog for 1 year, or doing 1 dungeon or equivalent challenge "as a dog".

2. Will never find love. No one wants to sleep with you. Cured by helping 2 other people fall in love.

3.Absurd Speech. Cannot be comprehended by anyone. Spells have a 60% chance of failure and a 10% chance of Mutation. Cured by learning a language you have never heard before.

4.Fragile. Any damage dealt to you may be rerolled, and the higher result is kept. Cured by voluntarily breaking all of your fingers and toes.

5. Twitchy and Freakish. -2 to all Reaction rolls when you are in a party. Can be cured by having a baby within wedlock and treating it well. 

6. Foggy eyes. Cannot see more than 30'. Cured by serving a crone for 1 year.
7. Nightmares. Only get restful sleep 60% of the time. Cured by sleeping alone in a dungeon or other very dangerous place.
8. Hiccups. Always fail stealth checks. Never surprise anyone. Cured by suffering a genuine fear effect (doesn't count if cast by friends).

9. Grim hearted. Can never benefit from positive morale or positive emotions. Cured by helping a bunch of children (big donation to an orphanage, saving child slaves, etc.)

10. Dreamlessness. Reduce all XP gained by 5%. Immune to bad dreams. Cured by insanity. 

11. Delicious. Monster that enjoy eating people will prioritize attacking you. Can be cured by eating an entire manticore.

12. Hollow Guts. Consume three times the usual rations, and must eat something every three hours or suffer 1d6 damage. Cured by eating deadly poison.

13. Flashing eyes. Your eyes glow in different colours. They cast light like a match. Always fail stealth checks unless you move blindly. Cured by staring at the sun for 1d4 hours. Save each hour or be permanently blinded.

14. Horrible Nickname. Everyone who meets you knows your new horrible title, and they might believe it. Cured by convincing someone to adopt your full name, and taking theirs.

15. Sticky. You attract insects. Each day the swarm grows. Insects eat half your allotted rations each day. Cured by scraping your entire body with a silver spoon.

16. Curse of bad luck. -2 to Save. Can be cured by sacrificing a bull atop a mountain.

17. Beast head. Your head becomes that of a 1) Dog 2) Cat 3) Pig 4) Donkey 5) Crocodile 6) Lion 7) Jackal 8) Parrot 9) Snake 10) Owl. -2d6 to Charisma until cured. Cured by burying all but your head in the sand for a day and a night, unobserved by any friends.

18. Sum of your parts. Head, torso, arms, and legs become detached and can move independently, at half speed. Cured by rubbing zombie dust into your joints.

19. Blighted. Crops and animals do not thrive when sharing a property with you. No fruit, no milk, etc. Cured by planting 1000 trees by hand.

20. Sour Milk. 50% chance that food turns rotten in your mouth (chance of wasting a ration). Cured by fasting for 2 weeks.

Major Curses

1. Go with the Flow: All bones are dissolved. You are now a sack of liquid that must be carried in a bucket. Reroll all physical stats using 1d6. 20% spell failure chance. Cured by eating the bones of an ogre. 

2. Made of glass. Any noise louder than a conversation requires you to Save vs Fear. Cured by deafening yourself with hot iron needles in the ears.

3. Doomed. Will automatically fail the next Save vs Death. Cured by the touch of a wight.

4. Blinded. Cured by cutting out your tongue.

5. Part Switch. Two of the following parts switch places, but continue to function normally in their new location. 1) Eye 2) Toe Nail 3) Finger 4) Tongue 5) Liver 6) Anus 7) Rib 8) Ear Canal. Cured by eating a doppleganger’s heart.
6. Evil Twin. An exact duplicate appears 1d6 miles away, with all the same gear, items, and knowledge, but of opposite alignment. They hate you. Ends only in the death of one or both.

7. Spirit Home. A small creature takes up residence in your skull, carving a tiny hollow for its home. It crawls out from your ears at night to bring home food and small items. Cured by tempting the creature out with a more interesting head.

8. Beloved by the Dead. Anything dead within 20’ of you has a 50% chance of coming to life every 2 hours. Radius grows by 5' every day. They love you and seek to make you like them. Cured by immersing yourself in a vat of holy water for 1 full day.

9. Cursed Bloodline. A minor curse is applied to all your blood relatives, or those you consider family.

10. Mute. Cannot cast spells. Can be cured by plucking out an eye and sacrificing it to a god.

11. Ophelia. Save or try to drown yourself in any body of water you encounter. Cured by poisoning someone you love, or someone who loves you.

12. Weightless. Each day, you weigh half as much as you did the previous day. You also halve your melee damage each day. After 6 days, you begin to float. Cured by plucking the wings off one fairy for each day since you were cursed.

13. Bad with money. 20% chance to lose all money when entering a settlement (via thievery, taxes, etc). Cured by sacrificing your most valuable possession.

14. Crippled. Movement is halved. Cured by spending 1 month in a desert without moving more than 5'.

15. Breakage. Treat all your equipment as shoddy quality. Cured by giving all of your possessions to the poor and doing a dungeon or equivalent challenge naked (except 1 item).

16. Screaming Teeth. They stay quiet when your mouth is closed, and they wait for you to finish speaking before screaming. -1d6 Charisma. Cured by removing all teeth with silver pliers.

17. Cursed to die in a fire. Fire does double damage. Cured by killing a dragon, or serving one for a year and a day.

18. Moon curse. Turn into an (NPC) werewolf 1 random night during the week of the full moon. Cured by drinking hemlock (Save vs Poison or die).

19. Endless Thirst. Water and ale provide no hydration. You must drink magic potions. Failure to do so means death by dehydration in Con Bonus -2 days. Cured by the spinal fluid of an Aboleth.

20. Curse of Unreality: 50% chance to disappear when not observed, and reappear 1d6 hours later. Cured by writing a popular ballad or book about your exploits.

1 comment:

  1. Is the "no bathing" rule more about cleanliness or about water?

    Presumably, wiping yourself down with a soapy sponge would still be "bathing," but if you just wiped yourself down with a dry cloth, would that violate the ban?