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All Rules in Designing Spells

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Source Ultimate Magic pg. 128
The intended function is the most important consideration when designing a spell. Specifically, function refers to the tangible game effects of the spell, such as dealing damage, applying a condition such as sickened, or giving a bonus on saves or attack rolls. Everything else is cosmetic at this point—it doesn’t matter if it’s slashing damage or fire damage, makes a target sickened or confused, grants an insight bonus on saves or an enhancement bonus on attack rolls, or looks like unicorns or fire demons. Some sample functions include:
  • Deal damage to one opponent
  • Deal damage to multiple opponents
  • Apply a condition or effect to one opponent
  • Apply a condition or effect to multiple opponents
  • Give a defensive bonus to one ally
  • Give a defensive bonus to multiple allies
  • Give an offensive bonus to one ally
  • Give an offensive bonus to multiple allies
  • Heal one ally
  • Heal multiple allies
A spell can do several of these things at once, or give the caster a choice between several options, but such spells should always be less powerful than a single-purpose spell of the same spell level, so keep that in mind when designing the spell. Note that “condition or effect” is the broadest category in the above list, which includes actual conditions like sickened and panicked, as well as effects like teleportation.