Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carousing: Magical Research

Since I’ve covered my appreciation for XP for treasure, and drafted XP for magic item creation rules, it makes sense to also cover carousing rules. There are a bunch of them out there to choose from, and they all have great charts for when things go really well or really poorly at the party. But like many bloggers out there, I’m not a fan of the one size fits all chart for carousing - especially for my favorite class: wizards.

Because one never knows where research into arcane topics will take a wizard, the results of experimentation are many and varied, though generally less extreme than when attempting to create a magic item, at least for the caster directly. Many of these mishaps cause an effect that might be felt by the local populace, which would explain why so often wizards towers are so far away from cities and towns.

Carousing: Magical Research
Time = 1d6 days * level
Cost = Time * 100gp

As magical research is fraught with danger, a save vs. magic wands must be made. If passed, they gain XP on the cash spent. If the save is failed, or if the wizard runs out of cash before their research is concluded they must roll on the chart below, and do not gain XP.

  1. But it should have worked! Your frustration distracts you as you try to figure out where you went wrong. Always surprised/last to go in the next adventure.
  2. That was some powerful … umm … something. Your experiment blew up in your face, dousing you with something weird and hallucination inducing. Roll a 1D6 1 – minus 2 to all rolls as you watch the colors next session, 2 - +1 to hit and damage next session as you are filled with psychotic rage, save vs. poison or permanently lose 1 WIS, 3 – See invisible for the next Session, 4 – Catatonia for the next session, save vs. poison for every action taken, 5 – The lizards are under your skin, but you cut them out doing 1D6 damage to yourself at the start of next session 6 – Permanent flashbacks, -1 INT.
  3. Not really sure how you did that. You managed to Commune (as per the spell) with a greater being.
  4. New way of looking at things. +5% XP next adventure.
  5. Well hello there. You summoned a thing. It’s a small thing, but it won’t leave you alone, and trying to kill it would be bad. Very bad indeed. Roll 1d6. 1 - Only you can see it. 2 - Miniature demon/devil. 3 - Floating blob with d6 eyes. 4 - A bat that constantly crawls all over you during the day, and flaps around you at night. 5 - A tiny goblin head grows on your shoulder/neck. 6. Living spark.
  6. Just a pinch of cilantro. Brewed a random potion, but lost all your notes in the process.
  7. Oh hellfire. You managed to set the lab/library on fire. Roll a d6. 1 - Minor fire, easily put out, however you’re not invited back if the location wasn’t your own. 2 - Significant fire, take 1d6 damage. 3 - Destroyed spellbook! 4 - 1d6 burn damage and either -1 to Dex or Cha. 5 - Burned the building down. 6 - Actual hellfire that will burn for 100 years. Thankfully it doesn’t spread.
  8. Like the light of a thousand suns. Suffer penalties in bright light as a goblin or drow for the next 1d6 adventures.
  9. Demonic Temptation. Your research shows you a way to gain an extra spell slot of your highest level. A suitable price will be determined by the DM.
  10. That which does not kill you probably wants to make you their pet. An extraplaner being has laid claim to you, and has marked you in some way as their own.
  11. Power is fleeting. You manage to enchant a dagger +5. Every time you hit with it, the dagger will lose a plus. It will crumble to nothing with the 5th hit.
  12. Power is greedy. You manage to enchant a dagger +1, but it’s cursed, and every hit causes you 1 point of damage. It will always appear in your hand in combat. Remove Curse will unravel the entire enchantment.
  13. Knowledge is Power. Discover a variant of a spell you know that is just a little bit better.
  14. So that’s where it is! Uncover the location of a lost spell or magic item.
  15. If only I had the gallbladder of an owlbear! Obtain a rare ingredient, and create a random magical tea (a potion that needs to be brewed)
  16. Shouldn’t have spent so much time with that warpstone. Random mutation (per mutant future)
  17. Reality shift. Re-roll your highest and lowest ability scores.
  18. Out of phase. Lose your reflection. It remains nearby, appearing in other people’s mirrors. If you die, it will come through to replace you.
  19. Darker shadow. Your shadow has been replaced by the shadow of the last thing you killed or helped kill. Given the chance it will free itself and attack you.
  20. Gimmie some more of that! You’ve managed to create a magic drug that’s magically addictive to spellcasters. Each dose costs 1d4*100 gp to make, and lasts a week. As long as you have a dose, your spells are more potent. If you don’t have a dose, you suffer a -2 penalty to all rolls. If only you hadn’t tried it yourself…
  21. It’s alive! You animated a flesh golem… made of mouse parts. Then it escaped.
  22. Parlez vous francais? Learned a new language.
  23. Energize! You teleport yourself 1d30 miles away, arriving safely on land, but with only the clothes on your back, and only half your usual number of spells memorized.
  24. Blink and you’ll miss it. Randomly shift 1d6 feet every round for the next adventure. -4 to hit, +4 to AC and saving throws.
  25. Smells bad. For the next adventure you smell like a troglodyte. You don’t notice it, but everyone else does.
  26. Getting in touch with your inner reptile. You’re now somewhat cold blooded. Take extra damage from temperature based effects and spells.
  27. A touch of the grave. Spontaneously and randomly (at least once per session) animate skeletons and zombies within 100’. You have no control over them.
  28. The smell of death. Unintelligent undead will ignore you. Intelligent undead will target you.
  29. He’s smarter than the average bear. Give a normal animal 2d6+2 intelligence.
  30. I see! Grow a 3rd eye, roll a d6. 1 - Normal eye, +1 bonus to ranged attacks. 2 - Infravision. 3 - Magesight, able to detect illusion and invisibility. 4 - Someone else’s eye. 5 - Ethereal vision. 6 - Improved Magesight, able to detect illusion, invisibility, and magic.
  31. Rain of _____. Roll a d6. 1 - Frogs. 2 - Fish. 3 - Blood. 4 - Worms. 5 - Embers. 6 - Cat Urine
  32. The spice must flow. Everyone within 1d100’ has indescribable visions of the future lasting 1d6 turns.
  33. Unseasonably warm today. The local weather switches seasons for a day.
  34. Not in Kansas anymore. A twister pulls the caster and other locals into a different world - DM’s choice.
  35. Fogbound. The local area is wrapped in the thickest fog anyone can remember for 1d6 days. No one can get in or out. 25% chance of getting lost going down the block.
  36. It was a season of sorrow. A general sense of ennui pervades the local area for the next 1d4 days.
  37. Spring is in the air. Most everyone in the area is feeling extra frisky.
  38. With a bit of a mind flip. Time either passes twice as quickly or twice as slowly for the wizard while conducting research this time.
  39. Bugged out. Creepy crawlies descend en masse. Mostly harmless, but it freaks people out.
  40. Sour grapes. All wine within 4d20 yards turns to vinegar. Water becomes blood.
  41. A window to the spirit world. Harmless ghosts begin to appear to their loved ones/enemies.
  42. Like rats on a sinking ship. Animals flee the local area.
  43. The horned king. Your meddling has caught the attention of the wild hunt, and brought it to the area.
  44. Fire in the sky. The sky is filled with flickering auroras for 1d3 nights.
  45. Something in your throat? The wizard will vomit up a frog at least once a day.
  46. Is it hot in here? The wizards head bursts permanently into flame, burning away all hair. The flames don’t harm the wizard but will destroy any hats the wizard attempts to wear. Casts light as a torch.
  47. Fingers on one hand grow extra long, and gain an extra knuckle.
  48. I like it red! The wizard’s teeth become pointed as a wolf or shark. She hungers only for freshly killed meat.
  49. With lobes like these? The wizard’s ears grow 1d3+1 times their normal size.
  50. Crossed wires. The wizard loses his primary language, and gains a random one in it’s place.


  1. Excellent. Some folks will balk at some of the results but of course the answer is to not poke about with the black arts.

    1. Exactly! This is completely optional, and the wizard could always just go drinking with the fighter.