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Words of Power

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 160
Most spellcasters spend their entire careers learning and mastering the spells that make up their calling, but there is another way. Some turn their backs on the rote memorization and formulae that traditional spellcasters use to create magic, and instead unlock the power behind the spells themselves, the fundamental building blocks of magic. Such a spellcaster learns the words of power, and through them, learns to control the very forces underlying magic, shaping and wielding them like no other.

While they function in much the same way as every other spellcaster, words of power spellcasters (or wordcasters, as they tend to call themselves) have a great deal of f lexibility in how they prepare and cast their spells, which they call wordspells. Each wordcaster learns a number of words of power and, with some restrictions, can combine these words to create any effect he can dream up.

Optional

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 163
Words of power are an optional subsystem for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Before making a wordcaster, check with your GM to make sure her campaign allows them. Warning: Words of power spellcasting is a complicated subsystem that, in the hands of players suffering from bouts of analysis paralysis, may slow down game play. But in the right hands, the system creates a fun, flexible play experience for fans of free-form spellcasting that works either alone or with standard Pathfinder spellcasters.

Becoming a Wordcaster

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 162
When a character gains the ability to cast spells from a class, he must decide whether to become a wordcaster or a normal spellcaster in that class. Once made, this choice cannot be changed. A character who elects to be a wordcaster in a spellcasting class typically cannot use the spells of that class (though the Experimental Spellcaster feat allows a spellcaster to learn and use a limited number of words of power), but he can utilize spell trigger and spell completion items just as if he were an ordinary spellcaster of that class.

Target Words

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 165
Target words establish the way in which a spell determines its targets. Some effect words restrict the type of target words that can be used in wordspells that contain them. A wordspell contains only one target word. Target words use the following format.

Name: This is the name of the target word. It is used as part of the wordspell’s complete title.

Level: This line lists the minimum level for a wordspell containing this target word.

Range: This line describes the range of a wordspell containing this target word.

Target: This paragraph describes how a wordspell using this target word determines its targets or area of effect. This could be a selection of targets by the caster or the creation of an area of effect, in which case all the creatures in the area are automatically targets of the spell. It might also create an effect that has no specific targets, instead just causing the effect word to occupy the listed space.

Boost: If the target word can be boosted by the boost meta word, the effects are listed here. See the meta word section for more details.

Personal


Level 0
Range no range

A wordspell with this target word only affects the caster. Effect words that are restricted to this word can be combined with other effect words, but the caster is the only target, regardless of other target possibilities.

Selected

Level 0
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

A wordspell with this target word affects a single target within range. If the wordspell deals energy damage, this word creates a ray that requires a ranged touch attack to hit, or it can be used as a melee touch attack with no range (decided by the wordcaster when the wordspell is cast). If it is used as a melee touch attack and the attack misses, the wordcaster can hold the charge and try again with subsequent attacks.

Boost: Instead of one target, the wordspell affects up to one target per caster level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart. The range increases to medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./ level). If used with an effect word that deals energy damage, the wordcaster must make multiple ray attacks for each target (they cannot be made as melee touch attacks). This boosted target word increases the level of all the effect words in the spell by 3 levels.

Barrier

Level 3
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

A wordspell with this target word creates a visible barrier that is 10 feet long per caster level and 10 feet high. Creatures touching or passing through the barrier are subject to the spell’s effect. The barrier does not hinder creatures passing through it unless noted in the spell effect. Creatures occupying the space of the barrier when it forms are subject to the spell’s effect. The wall is 1 foot wide and must be anchored on a solid surface. The wall must be straight when formed.

Boost: The wall is 20 feet long per caster level and up to 20 feet high. The wall can take on any shape desired by the caster, but it must remain a vertical surface.

Burst

Level 1
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

A wordspell with this target word affects everything it catches in a 10-foot-radius burst. Some effect words that use the burst target word are instead emanations, taking up the same area as the burst. These effect words typically have a longer duration and cannot be moved once created. They are noted by the word “emanation” in parentheses after the burst target restriction.

Boost: The spell affects everything in a 20-foot-radius burst. Its range increases to medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level). Boosting this target word increases its level by 2.

Boost: The spell affects everything in a 40-foot-radius burst. Its range increases to long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level). Boosting this target word increases its level by 4.

Cone

Level 0
Range 10 ft.

A wordspell with this target word affects everything in a cone-shaped burst.

Boost: The range increases to 20 feet. Boosting this target word increases its level by 2.

Boost: The range increases to 40 feet. Boosting this target word increases its level by 4.

Line

Level 1
Range 20 ft.

A wordspells with this target word affects everything in a 20- foot line.

Boost: The range increases to 60 feet. Boosting this target word increases its level by 1.

Boost: The range increases to 120 feet. Boosting this target word increases its level by 2.

Effect Word Descriptions

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 167
Effect words determine the overall outcome of a wordspell. A wordspell can contain more than one effect word, and it is possible for their effects to counteract one another. Effect words use the following format.

Name: This is the name of the effect word. Each word belongs to a group of similar words, noted in parentheses. Unless otherwise noted, an individual wordspell cannot contain two effect words from the same group.

School: This entry lists the school of magic that the effect word belongs to.

Level: This entry lists the classes that can learn the effect word and what level the word is for members of that class. Note that an individual wordspell can contain no words of a level higher than the wordspell.

Duration: This line lists the duration of the effect word.

Saving Throw: If the effect allows a saving throw, it is noted here along with the effect of a successful save.

Spell Resistance: If the effect word allows spell resistance, it is noted here.

Target Restrictions: Some effect words can only be combined with specific target words when arranging wordspells. If this is the case, the specific target words are noted here.

Description: This paragraph describes the effects of the word when arranged in a wordspell.

Boost: If the effect word can be boosted by the boost meta word, the effects are listed here. See the meta word section for more details.

Meta Words

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 188
These words specifically modify other word elements. Meta words use the following format.

Name: This is the name of the meta word.

Level: This line lists the minimum level of a wordspell that can contain this meta word. Spells of a lower level cannot use this meta word.

Wordspell Boost

Level 0

This meta word allows an effect or target word to use its boosted description. Some boosted descriptions increase the level of the effect word or target word, and can only be used if the wordspell is of a high enough level to accommodate the new level. If a word has more than one boosted description, the caster can choose which to use (but never more than one per word). This meta word can be applied to a spell multiple times—once to the target word and once for each effect word.

Careful

Level 1

A wordspell with this meta word does not require a somatic component.

Distant

Level 0

This word increases a wordspell’s range, as determined by its target word. If the word has a close range, it increases to medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level). If the word has a medium range, it increases to long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level). This word has no effect on target words with a range other than close or medium.

Irresistible

Level 5

Targets of a wordspell with this meta word must roll their saving throws twice and take the worse result. This meta word increases the level of all the effect words in the wordspell that allow a saving throw by two levels.

Lengthy

Level 0

A wordspell with this meta word doubles its duration. This meta word has no affect on effect words with a duration of instantaneous. The effect of this word does not stack with the effect of the Extend Spell feat.

Manifestation

Level 4

This word changes the saving throw type of certain effect words used in this spell. If the effect word requires a Will saving throw, it instead requires a Fortitude saving throw. This change does not affect whether or not a successful save negates the effect, reduces it, or has some other effect; it simply alters the type of saving throw required.

Mind Warp

Level 4

This word changes the saving throw type of certain effect words used in this spell. If the effect word requires a Fortitude saving throw, it instead requires a Will saving throw. This change does not affect whether or not a successful save negates the effect, reduces it, or has some other effect; it simply alters the type of saving throw required.

Penetrating

Level 5

The caster of a wordspell containing this meta word can roll twice to overcome any spell resistance the targets might possess, taking the better result. This meta word increases the level of all of the effect words in the spell that allow for spell resistance by one level. It can modify a target word or an effect word.

Quiet

Level 1

A wordspell with this meta word does not require a verbal component. This meta word can modify a target word or an effect word.

Simple

Level 1

A wordspell with this meta word does not require a material component. This meta word can modify a target word or an effect word.

Class Word Lists

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 189
Words marked with an asterisk (*) are boosted versions of lower level words. A wordcaster only needs to learn the base version of a word in order to be able to cast its boosted versions.

Words of Power in the Worlds

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 164
Words of power represent a primal form of magic used in ages past. As such, use of the words of power system is rare these days, and its practitioners tend to be masters of esoteric lore. Words of power constitute a root system, from which all modern magic descends. Although powerful, this system is more primitive in some ways than modern magic. Flexible, but lacking the refinement of modern spells, this system allows spellcasters to shape magic in ways they never could before, while simultaneously preventing them from producing the same sort of incredibly specific effects that ordinary spellcasters master. It is not surprising that most magical institutions and centers for learning treat words of power as an archaic art, to be studied along with other historical matters, but not actually practiced. Those who delve into the lore of words of power often find themselves lost in an ancient art that they alone might now know. There is power there, but each wordcaster must find it alone.

Introducing Words of Power

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 193
If you are a GM and would like to introduce wordspells to your campaign in a limited way, consider providing the PCs with a cache of wordspell potions, scrolls, or wands. This gives the PCs a concrete and limited set of wordspells with which they can experiment, and doesn’t require them to learn the entire system at once. It may be helpful to provide a copy of the rules for the words contained in the item so the player can reference that specific combination. For example, if the PCs discover a scroll of elder cure, give the players the text of the elder cure word (see page 179) so they know exactly how the scroll works.

Once the players are familiar with the system, and they want to experiment with using other wordspells, you can allow spellcaster PCs that are already in the campaign to take the Experimental Spellcaster feat, or a player can start a new wordcaster character.