Sunday, January 2, 2011

Campaign Design - Spells: Magic Circle against Spirits

Protection from Spirits (adapted from the Shaman's Handbook)

Level: Druid/Spirit Shaman 3, Spirit 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target, Effect, or Area: 10-foot radius emanation from touched creature
Duration: 10 minutes per caster level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: No (see text)

This spell wards all creatures in the area from attacks by spirit creatures and from mental control. It creates a magical barrier around the subject at a distance of 10 feet. The barrier moves with the subject and has three major effects.

First, the subject and all within the area gain a +2 deflection bonus to Armor Class and a +2 resistance bonus on saves. Both these bonuses apply against attacks made or effects created by spirit creatures.

Second, the barrier blocks any attempt to possess the warded creatures (by a magic jar attack, for example) or to exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment (charm) effects and enchantment (compulsion) effects that grant the caster ongoing control over the subject, such as dominate person). The protection does not prevent such effects from targeting the protected creatures, but it suppresses the effect for the duration of the magic circle against spirits effect. If the magic circle against spirits effect ends before the effect granting mental control does, the would-be controller would then be able to mentally command the controlled creature. Likewise, the barrier keeps out a possessing life force but does not expel one if it is in place before the spell is cast. This second effect works regardless of alignment.

Third, the spell prevents bodily contact by spirit creatures. This causes the natural weapon attacks of such creatures to fail and the creatures to recoil if such attacks require touching the warded creatures. The protection against contact by spirit creatures ends if a warded creature makes an attack against or tries to force the barrier against the blocked creature. Spell resistance can allow a creature to overcome this protection and touch the warded creature.

This spell has an alternative version that you may choose when casting it. A magic circle against spirits can be focused inward rather than outward. When focused inward, the spell binds a called spirit creature (such as those called by the lesser planar binding, planar binding, and greater planar binding spells) for a maximum of 24 hours per caster level, provided that you cast the spell that calls the creature within 1 round of casting the magic circle. The creature cannot cross the circle’s boundaries. If a creature too large to fit into the spell’s area is the subject of the spell, the spell acts as a normal protection from spirits spell for that creature only.

A magic circle leaves much to be desired as a trap. If the circle is broken, the effect immediately ends. The trapped creature can do nothing that disturbs the circle, directly or indirectly, but other creatures can. If the called creature has spell resistance, it can test the trap once a day. If you fail to overcome its spell resistance, the creature breaks free, destroying the circle. A creature capable of any form of dimensional travel (astral projection, blink, dimension door, etherealness, gate, plane shift, shadow walk, teleport, and similar abilities) can simply leave the circle through that means. You can prevent the creature’s extradimensional escape by casting a dimensional anchor spell on it, but you must cast the spell before the creature acts. If you are successful, the anchor effect lasts as long as the magic circle does. The creature cannot reach across the magic circle, but its ranged attacks (ranged weapons, spells, magical abilities, and the like) can. The creature can attack any target it can reach with its ranged attacks except for the circle itself.

You can add a special diagram (a two-dimensional bounded figure with no gaps along its circumference, augmented with various magical sigils) to make the magic circle more secure. Drawing the diagram by hand takes 10 minutes and requires a DC 20 Spellcraft check. You do not know the result of this check. If the check fails, the diagram is ineffective. You can take 10 when drawing the diagram if you are under no particular time pressure to complete the task. This task also takes 10 full minutes. If time is no factor at all, and you devote 3 hours and 20 minutes to the task, you can take 20.

A successful diagram allows you to cast a dimensional anchor spell on the magic circle during the round before casting any summoning spell. The anchor holds any called creatures in the magic circle for 24 hours per caster level. A creature cannot use its spell resistance against a magic circle prepared with a diagram, and none of its abilities or attacks can cross the diagram. If the creature tries a Charisma check to break free of the trap (see the lesser planar binding spell), the DC increases by 5. The creature is immediately released if anything disturbs the diagram—even a straw laid across it. However, the creature itself cannot disturb the diagram either directly or indirectly, as noted above.

This spell is not cumulative with protection from spirits or vice versa or any of the other protection or magic circle spells.

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