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  • Writer's pictureMac Boyle

Spell: Worm Lightning

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

I did promise to write this one up during the most recent Gesta Romanorum episode, so here it is. Though I don’t know much about designing spells, so I am actively soliciting corrections and the like. (As well as any suggestions as to what level this should be.)

N.B.: The only system I know well enough to homebrew in is D&D 3e / Pathfinder. (Or “3.P” — I don’t know if that term is still current, but it’s what we used to call the blending of 3e D&D with Pathfinder back in the bad old days of 4e.) So if you want a 5e version of any of the stuff I post, feel free to convert it yourself, or send Zoe messages asking her to do it.

And yes, I know there are many, many indie TTRPGs out there that I could be homebrewing for. I’ve played and enjoyed many of them. But I’ve been working in the medium of 3e D&D for something like two thirds of my life now, and I tend to get set in my ways.

That being said…

Worm Lightning

Level: Cleric [#?]

Casting Time: one standard action

Range: 80 ft.

Area: 80 ft. line

Duration: Instantaneous

Saving Throw: Reflex half, Fortitude (see text)

You release a bolt of lightning that does 1d4 damage per caster level to every creature within its area.

Any creature within the area, including those who succeeded in their Reflex save, must subsequently make a Fortitude save. If they fail, they are infected with Holy Worms.

Normally, creatures within the area not subject to disease need not make a Fortitude save — however, Outsiders of any kind are still susceptible to Holy Worms even if they are otherwise immune to disease.

Holy Worms (disease)

As a result of clerical ire, the victim develops a colony of parasitic worms inside themself. These are not normal worms — depending on the god whom the cleric in question worships, the worms must be treated as celestial, fiendish, anarchic, or axiomatic. (Clerics of Neutral deities must pick one of the four when they initially take the spell; clerics of, e.g., Chaotic Good deities must likewise decide between the two possibilities.)

DC: as Caster DC

Incubation: 1 day

Damage: 1d4 Con

Special: Outsiders who are of the opposite alignment as the worms additionally take one point of permanent Constitution damage per day. (This is technically the effect of the worms’ Smite ability.)

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