Sunday, June 19, 2022

D&D Introduction to Wandcraft, Pt. 3

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Part 1: Initiative, Deflecting, Disarming, Wands’ Natures

Part 2: Wand Allegiance, Advancement, Willpower

Artwork: Moptop4000 on Deviantart

 

Flick Wendigrint’s Dictionary of Wand Woods and Other Materials, Abridged

            Materials used to fabricate wands +2 or better possess specific features, aside from natural appearance and texture. The first is Pliability, which affects how likely a wand is to accept a compatible owner. The more flexible a wand is, the more easily it will accommodate itself to a new spellcaster. On the other hand, flexible wands have subsequent requirements after an allegiance has been established, while unbending ones do not. Pliability isn’t an issue if a spellcaster already owned a wand since it was a +1 rated device (but it should be for anybody else thereafter). Bone and ivory are included here although they aren't "wood" because they are fairly common wands.

Pliability: It is rated from –2 to +2 as follows, –2 Unyielding, –1 Rigid, 0 Slightly Pliant, +1 Reasonably Bendable, +2 Supple. These ratings do not reflect the natural strength of the material but rather its enchantment. When a compatible spellcaster takes possession of a wand +2 or better, it requires a test in the form of an attribute check. Treat the Pliability rating as a modifier to the attribute check, with minus counting as penalties and plusses counting as bonuses. The description specifies the attribute to check. If the test passes, the wand accepts the new owner. If it fails, the spellcaster may try once more after earning a new experience level.

Requirement: Reasonably Bendable and Supple wands have requirements that are listed in the description. Until these requirements are met, wands only function as +1 devices.

Preferences: Some materials are better suited for certain spellcasters than others. Using AD&D game mechanics, wands with their preferred owners improve every other new experience level instead of every 3. Using D&D Becmi game mechanics (b/x, Classic, etc.), wands owned by preferred spellcasters improve every 3 new experience levels instead of every 5. Wand improvement is explained in the previous article. A +1 wand improving to +2 automatically develops the preference listed for the material from which it was crafted.

Affinity: Wands also favor a certain type of magic. A detailed explanation follows after the chart below.

Durability: Unprotected wands abandoned in ruins or dungeons without careful protection may eventually decay or sustain insect damage. Thanks to their enchantments, basic durability is 50 years. For each instance of being subject to either decay or insect damage, subtract 10 years. For each instance of being resistant to either form of damage, add 20 years. If immune to only one type of damage, add 50 years. If immune to both, the wand sustains no damage from time and adverse conditions. 

NB. In the following chart Good and Evil refer to the AD&D game system’s alignments, while Lawful and Chaotic only refer to the simpler OSR-style alignments. Use your best judgment in potentially debatable situations.

Material

Description

Acacia

Pliability: +2 (Constitution)
Requirement: A daily drop of slug mucus smeared upon it.
Preference: Demi-Humans
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Rich deep brown; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Agar

Pliability: 0 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Wisdom.
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Medium to dark brown; woody, myrrh-like fragrance with subtle fruity-floral hints; subject to decay and insect damage.

Alder

Pliability: –1 (Wisdom)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Almost white to tan or pale, pinkish brown; smooth, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Amaranth

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Good or Lawful spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Also known as purpleheart wood, medium brown with faint plum accents to intense eggplant purple; dense, heavyweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Applewood

Pliability: 0 (Dexterity)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light reddish or grayish brown to a deeper ruddy brown; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ash

Pliability: 0 (Dexterity)
Requirement: None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: White and gold with some gray streaks; coarse, lightweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Beech

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Free a bird from a cage weekly.
Preference:  Demi-humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Pale yellow, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Birch

Pliability: +1 (Constitution)
Requirement: Sing a song daily
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: White to yellow, possibly with black streaks throughout; heavyweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Black Walnut

Pliability: +1 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Cast a daily spell of darkness.
Preference: Monstrous spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Dark chocolate brown with darker streaks; immune to decay but subject to insect damage.

Blackthorn

Pliability: –1 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Monstrous spellcasters
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Reddish-brown, slightly wavy or knobby surface; subject to decay and insect damage.

Bloodwood

Pliability: +2 (Strength)
Requirement: A daily drop of blood smeared upon it.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Rich pinkish red to reddish brown; smooth, heavyweight, good natural luster, somewhat chatoyant; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Bone

Pliability: 0 (Constitution)
Requirement:
Must touch flesh at death’s door once per moon cycle.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Pale white or gray, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Cedar

Pliability: +1 (Charisma)
Requirement: Wear maroon jewelry or clothing
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Reddish or violet brown; aromatic, lightweight; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Cherry

Pliability: +1 (Charisma)
Requirement: Cast a daily charm spell.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Creamy white to red or reddish-brown, smooth; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Dogwood

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Lupins or werewolves
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Cream to pale pink; smooth with a moderate natural luster; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ebony

Pliability: +2 (Constitution)
Requirement: Wear black jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Necromancy, moaning
Details: Jet black, smooth, great natural luster. Resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Elder

Pliability: 0 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Pale white, sometimes with a yellow/green hue; subject to decay and insect damage.

Elm

Pliability: +1 (Dexterity)
Requirement:
Possess a familiar
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Light to medium reddish brown; coarse, uneven feel; subject to decay and insect damage.

Fir

Pliability: +1 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Plant a fir tree once per lunar cycle.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Reddish tan, durable; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Hawthorn

Pliability: +2 (Charisma)
Requirement: Perform one minor larceny daily.
Preference: Thieving spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Cream colored; subject to decay and insect damage.

Holly

Pliability: 0 (Constitution)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Uniform, pale white color with no visible grain pattern; smooth, somewhat knotty with a moderate natural luster; subject to decay and insect damage.

Hornbeam

Pliability: +1 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
Wear a horned skullcap.
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Nearly white; subject to decay and insect damage.

Ironwood

Pliability: –2 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: A range of reds, oranges, violets, and browns; heavyweight with a high natural luster; immune to decay and insect damage; some may be fashioned as daggers or stilettos.

Ivory

Pliability: –1 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Pale yellow to off-white; high natural luster; subject to decay but resistant to insect damage.

Larch

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Speak one believable lie daily.
Preference: Evil or chaotic spellcasters
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Deep reddish-brown to pale creamy white; coarse, heavyweight; resistant to decay but subject to insect damage.

Laurel

Pliability: +2 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear white jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Demi-humans
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Light to medium reddish-brown color; subject to decay and insect damage.

Mahogany

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Rich red or brown-red, very smooth; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Maple

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Cha
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Lightly-colored white, yellow, or a rich golden; subject to decay and insect damage

Oak

Pliability: +1 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear a long beard or a topknot.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Slightly red or pale yellow, coarse; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Olive Wood

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Cream or yellowish brown, with darker contrasting streaks; subject to decay and insect damage.

Pine

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Wear dark green jewelry or clothing.
Preference: True-Neutral spellcasters
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Pale or yellow, knotty, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Poplar

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement:
Wear dark blue jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Strength
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Light cream or yellowish-brown with streaks of gray or green; subject to decay and insect damage.

Redwood

Pliability: +1 (Strength)
Requirement: Wear dark red jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Dexterity
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Pale white or yellow to deep red or reddish-brown, lightweight; resistant to decay and immune to insects.

Reed

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Play a pan flute daily.
Preference: Thieving spellcasters
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light brown to yellow; lightweight, breathable hollow tube; immune to decay and insect damage.

Rosewood

Pliability: –1 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Female spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: Orange or reddish brown, with darker contrasting streaks; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Snakewood

Pliability: +2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Reptilian spellcasters or those with reptile familiars
Affinity: Illusion, warbling
Details: Reddish brown, with contrasting darker patches forming a snakeskin pattern; fine and even texture with a high natural luster; subject to decay but immune to insect damage.

Sycamore

Pliability: –1 (Constitution)
Requirement: None
Preference: True-Neutral spellcasters
Affinity: Enchantment, rattling
Details: White to light tan, freckled, also called lacewood; subject to decay and insect damage.

Teak

Pliability: –1 (Strength)
Requirement: None
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Invocation, whispering
Details: Golden to medium brown, heavyweight; immune to decay an insect damage.

Tigerwood

Pliability: –2 (Charisma)
Requirement: None
Preference: Combat-skilled spellcasters or feline shapechangers
Affinity: Conjuration, growling
Details: Golden to bright yellow with darker streaks; resistant to decay and insect damage.

Vine

Pliability: +2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: Ensnare an animal once per week.
Preference: Humans
Affinity: Alteration, rustling
Details: Light brown; usually braided or fused; subject to decay and insect damage.

Willow

Pliability: +2 (Dexterity)
Requirement: Wear amber jewelry or clothing.
Preference: Spellcasters with 13+ Constitution
Affinity: Abjuration, wuthering
Details: Yellowish white to pinkish brown, lightweight; subject to decay and insect damage.

Yew

Pliability: –2 (Wisdom)
Requirement: None
Preference: Good or Lawful spellcasters
Affinity: Divination, fluttering
Details: Pale and slightly reddish; immune to decay and insect damage.

 Note: Plywood and particle-board wands have not been invented (yet?). Poison ivy and poison oak have not been successfully used as wand materials. Someone tried, for sure. Feel free to add more.

Wand Affinity: Wands rated +2 or better have a special element to them as regards the style of magic they are best suited for. It corresponds to eight schools of magic established in the 1st and 2nd Editions AD&D game—Abjuration, Alteration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, Invocation, and Necromancy. These affinities can be retrofitted to simpler OSR games (see the definitions at the end of this section).

            An affinity gives a wand a chance to remember a favored spell it was used to cast. For example: a necromantic wand may be able to remember a spell of this type if its owner used the device to cast one earlier that day. The spellcaster can then cast this spell once more without the need to memorize it or spend a spell slot.

            A +1 wand improving to +2 automatically develops the affinity listed for the material from which it was crafted. This ability does not include spells relating to more than one school of magic. Retained spells are lost at the next sunrise if not cast before then.

            The number of attempts to recall favored spells on any given day matches the wands’ modifiers. Base odds of recalling a spell are 10%, +5% per “plus modifier” of the wand, so a +4 wand has a 30% chance of recalling a favored spell up to 4 times a day. Attempts take place without being prompted by the wands’ owners; only sentient devices give their owners an option to skip an attempt.

            Referees are well within their rights to assign affinities as best fit their purposes rather than use those listed in the previous chart. As another option or when using material that isn’t in the chart, referees can roll on the table below.

            Wand makers can identify an affinity by holding the device close to their ears and slowly rolling it between their fingers, which produces a faint sound betraying its nature. The following table lists affinities and their corresponding resonance. Some affinities are more common than others. The randomizer included here reflects the approximate frequency of spells available in each school of magic.

Random Affinities & Resonance

Roll d00

Affinity

Resonance & Opposition

1-7

Abjuration

Wuthering, like a distant wind

8-34

Alteration

Rustling, like disturbed leaves

35-47

Conjuration

Growling, like a prowling beast

48-54

Divination

Fluttering, like flapping wings

55-67

Enchantment

Rattling, like a snake’s tail

68-80

Illusion

Warbling, like the song of a bird

81-93

Invocation

Whispering, like an indistinct plea

94-100

Necromancy

Moaning, like a wandering spirit

 

OSR Affinity Definitions

·       Abjuration: The will to reject or to deny evokes the power to block, remove, undo, dismiss, or banish unwanted conditions or creatures. Abjuration is in opposition to Conjuration.

·       Alteration: The will to change what already exists into something else evokes the power to subtly modify or completely transform a condition (metathesis), an object (transmutation), a creature (metamorphosis), or their locations (transference—especially moving oneself). Alteration is in opposition to Enchantment.

·       Conjuration: The will to call forth what already exists elsewhere evokes the power to fetch an object or summon a creature (especially calling forth to the caster). Conjuration is in opposition to Abjuration.

·       Divination: The will to perceive evokes the power to distinguish what normal senses cannot, to see through deception, or to fathom the unknown through higher consciousness. Divination is in opposition to Illusion.

·       Enchantment: The will to enable or disable evokes the power to bestow properties upon objects and beings, or to impair the will and abilities of others (affecting natural senses, however, relates to Illusions). Enchantment is in opposition to Alteration.

·       Illusion: The will to deceive evokes the powers to control one’s natural perception of reality, to suggest thoughts and emotions, to dull logic, to blur the limits between conscious and subconscious, and to bring to life the imaginary. Illusion parallels Invocation in that phantasms may be tangible. Illusion is in opposition to Divination.

·       Invocation: The will to create something that did not exist evokes the power to bring into existence matter, energy, tangible forces, and to a certain extent, life. Invocation is in opposition to Necromancy.

·       Necromancy: The will to master entropy and death evokes the power to control or corrupt the nature of existence and all that dwells between life and mortality. As such, it touches upon the divine. Necromancy is in opposition to Invocation.

 Coming Next: Otherworldly Wands

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