Sunday 24 September 2023

1d10 Counterspells

 The original “Counter Spell” is older than recorded history, probably - it’s extremely crude, temperamental, and unreliable. Basically nobody uses it, because about 3-in-6 times you cast it, it fucking explodes. 

Old texts suggest it used to work just fine - perhaps some flaw in a copy has become the mainstream, or perhaps, like some other ancient spells, it simply no longer works the same way… 

Here are ten alternatives and the eras they came about in.


Some notes for this post - As much as I love MD, they don’t quite fit with how I picture spells working in Aclas. So, I am trying out a sort of Spell-Point deal.

This is just me bashing at ideas. 

The new spell things to keep track of are:

  • [level], which is in square brackets after the name of the spell. Doesn’t usually change, unless shit like metamagic or wizard specialisations get involved. 

  • [cost], which is how many spell points were spent to activate the spell. Cannot be lower than [level].

  • [sum], which is [cost] + [level], in this paradigm. 

To make these spells useful for normal GLOG, I guess replace [cost] with [sum] and [level] with [dice] or [highest]. 

The Counterspells

  1. Blur [1]

This spell can be cast instantly with a thought, without any preparation (i.e., it doesn’t require an action in combat).  

For [sum] seconds, your silhouette becomes an overlapping fractal blur, obscuring your exact position. This provides a -4 penalty to hit you, if the target cannot see through illusions.

Only technically a counterspell, designed primarily to evade stabbings, but it works on targeted magic too. You need a 6-sum Blur to be blurred for a whole round.  

Blur is regarded as a “Prehistoric Spell” by the College of Spires.

  1. Friulo’s Disjunction [2]

Creates a cylindrical area of space somewhere within [sum] metres. It exists for [sum] minutes. Without using an action, you can apply a revolving force to the interior of the Disjunction, turning things clockwise around a vertical axis. This can cause arrows to miss or throw people off their feet. 

Friulo the Yragosi was a famous wizard in the employ of the Church of the Maker, in its glory days after defeating the angels in the Tyranny. Friulo is the traceable origin of the habit of wearing a blue robe with big silver stars on it (the wizard’s equivalent of, say, a hi-vis vest. Informs everyone who you are, and that you’re not a maniac). 

  1. Warding Wind [3]

Produces a tiny, personalised windstorm around you for [cost] minutes. This wind will automatically deflect all light projectiles, like arrows and small stones, and will drive back any person insufficiently weighed down trying to come within [level] feet of you. The personal windstorm also wrecks environments you walk through, musses your hair, and thoroughly dishevels you in the process. 

An ancient, some say primordial wizard-spell - the College of Spires suggest it came about some nine thousand years ago, probably among lithic proto-Nevechi sorcerers. 

Warding Wind was obscenely popular with practitioners right up until the invention of guns. 

  1. Calvec’s Dampening [3]

This spell requires at least [cost] litres of water, which are consumed by the spell. 

This spell has [cost] charges. 

If, within the next [level] hours, you are about to take fire damage, a wet spray materialises from thin air to mitigate the issue, reducing the fire-damage by Xd6, where X is the number of charges you chose to use. This usually has the consequence of soaking you and everything near you. 

Calvec was the first and last “professional hydromancer” at the College of Spires. He graduated in Transmutation some 300 years ago, and attempted to reinvigorate the College with a paradigm based around the four elements - however, the discovery late in his career that there were at least 30 elements, all made up of little indivisible particles, put a bit of a… dampening on the whole affair.

  1. Anjung’s Sphere of Safety [4]

Summons a glossy, opaque white sphere around the caster, with [cost] * 7 HP. The sphere is immune to fire and does not transfer heat to the interior. The sphere exists for as long as the caster can hold their breath. The sphere rolls on inclined surfaces and can be flung around by something with sufficient strength. 

Anjung was a famous Serpentist wizard from Safvar, who had a habit of questioning dragons to qualify exactly what precisely they meant when they said this or that to a Serpentist cleric of old. The need for a perfectly fireproof defence evolved naturally from there. 

  1. Húen’s Directional Shield [4]

Creates a sheet of force with [cost] * 5 HP, which exists for [level] minutes, and is [level] feet square. It hovers in front of the caster’s left hand and can be swung to interpose between one source of damage per round. Damage that overspills the shield’s HP is done to the user. 

Húen was a fairly respectable abjurer of the late 800s until he was discovered to be experimenting with astromantic rituals in an attempt to resurrect his deceased husband. He was arrested by the Church and confined to a prison in Howlic. However, his captivity wasn’t to last - presumably by his own initiative, though it’s never clear with astromancy - he bodily transformed and compressed down into a massive, glossy black gem, his flesh opalising. The Húenstone is still kept in a sealed temple at the foot of the Holy Mountain. 

  1. Upland’s Disjunction [4]

This spell creates a pool of [sum] points, and a faint red glow in the air around you.
When a creature comes within [level] feet of you, you may have them save - if they fail, you may choose to expend a number of points equal to their HD and fling them forcefully in any direction you choose, up to [sum] feet away. 

Upland was an ochlocratic revolutionary in western Corelia a few centuries ago. He appeared, in effect, from nowhere, among the anti-authoritarian Tunneller sect.  He was regarded as a necromancer by some, and a champion of the common man by others. They identified him by his hand tattoos, and burned him at the stake without a trial, at the Church’s behest. His case, and the apparently disproportionate, sudden retribution it contains, fascinates historians to this day. 

  1. Rubicant Redirection [6]

In an area [sum]ft square centred on yourself, you produce a glowing red 3D crack in the air that somewhat resembles a cobweb. When lightning, or anything charged with electricity enters the cracked area, you can redirect it as you choose. The area lasts for [level] hours. You can leave the area and have it remain active. 

Rubicant Redirection is of unknown origin. A common misconception is that it was created by a wizard called Rubicant - there is no evidence for this. Rubicant has nonetheless become a stock character and a point of reference among academic magi - a theoretical wizard they can blame for their problems. “Rubicant lost Teleport, Rubicant broke Counterspell, Rubicant lost the secret of immortality,” and so on. 

  1. Mirembe’s Refraction [6] 

For the next [cost] minutes, you can choose to redirect or refract all incoming light from a direction of your choice. This allows for crude invisibility, or defence against those stars whose light tends towards the scouring and inimical. The unfortunate and inevitable consequence is directional blindness, since you need light to see. 

Mirembe is the nearly-mythical inventor of conjuration. She has the same frisson to the average Aclan as Merlin or Odysseus to us - an ancient hero of great skill and ingenuity. She supposedly wrote a hundred spells, of which about eleven have passed down to us in the modern day (or, well, eleven attributed to her, anyway). 

  1. Massimo’s Unassailable Antispell [9]

This spell can only be cast if you are touching a black glass cube, at least a slot big.

This spell can be prepared to cast instantly when the practitioner is in danger, so long as they have enough spell points. 

Summons [cost] cubes of stuck-force, all inside each other like a matryoshka doll. The central cube contains the caster. Each cube is immovable in relation to the planet. If there is not enough space for the cubes to form, the spell fails, though the forming cubes can easily destroy weak structures and knock over walls and cars to make space. The cubes are maintained until the caster dismisses them, or dies. The gap between each cube is a metre, and if people are within the area of the spell, they may get stuck between the walls of the cubes. Each cube has 150HP. Good luck getting through that!

Four recorded instances exist of something getting through that.

Massimo Vetorra was a mad Zymani archmage from around a thousand years ago. He ruled Nivera as a king and was supposedly driving towards lichdom, when he very suddenly died of severe food poisoning. 


  1. ah, "broken" spells, my one true love
    The way you weave setting details into these posts always strikes me: there's this vibe of almost-familiarity, fantasy that feels like history while still feeling... grand? It's hard to describe. I like Mirembe, and I like the word "frisson" :)

  2. When will someone stop that bastard Rubicant! Truly the real villain of the setting.

  3. This is so much more awesome than a D100 list of generic spells. I love the descriptions an the spell effects are well thought out. Thanks!! Reminds me a lot of The Dying Earth style.