This section took a lot longer to complete than I thought it would. It was fun, but it seriously taxed my imagination in some places. And I'm still not entirely satisfied with it.
I love playing magic-users and wizards and the like. They’ve always been my favorite classes. So I know how difficult the spell-slingers of Moldvay Basic have it. That said, I also prefer my magic to feel, well, magical. And dangerous. So I’m always looking for ways to tweak the mystery, power, and unease that should surround magic-users.
My solution for my Moldvay/Cook/LL hack was two-pronged. First, I stole a notion (and, in some cases, entire sentences) from James Maliszewski's ideas for minor magical effects. (You can find something similar in the first issue of Fight On!) But I didn't add just lesser powers to every spell your wizard might have prepped. I also added unpredictable side effects, inspired by the dangers of artifacts in 1st edition AD&D. This makes holding a prepped spell more useful, but also potentially dangerous. It makes magic-users dangerous people to have around. It adds to that sense that wizards command and channel the very forces of the universe, and that those powers do not always enjoy it, squirming in the wizard's spiritual grasp, ready to leap out and unleash themselves if the wizard's hold should ever weaken.
And yep, I did this for every spell. This is one of the areas where Moldvay/Cook really shines; there are only six levels of spells and a dozen spells at each level! That made this project manageable. If I'd tried to do this for 2nd edition, 72 spells wouldn't have gotten me through the first two levels of available magic-user spells.
Spells, Secondary Powers, and Residual Effects
The act of preparing a spell is basically the casting of all but the final part, which unleashes its power upon Creation and alters the physical world. Between the preparation and unleashing of a spell, it remains bound to the wizard’s being, flesh and bone and blood and mind, as well as soul. It throbs with latent energies, some of which will leak out if the if wizard is not careful.
A wizard with a spell prepared can channel some of this leakage to perform mild and useful effects. However, some of it eventually slips from the wizard’s control and manifests in ways unintended, but not necessarily unpredictable.
The lesser, secondary powers of a spell may be called upon at will by a wizard. As with normal spellcasting, the wizard must have one hand free, be able to speak without obstruction, and have a clear view of the target of the spell.
Residual effects are those unplanned manifestations of power that escape the will of the wizard. The DM should randomly roll which of a wizard’s spells of the highest level memorized is leaking. The wizard may or may not realize which is leaking, depending on the nature of its manifestations. Once the leaking spell is recognized, the wizard can then attempt to rein it in if the wizard first rolls a successful save vs. spells. This attempt can be made once per day. If the wizard is successful, another spell will begin to leak. If there is only one spell memorized of that level, then two spells of the next lower level will begin to leak.
If the spell that is leaking is cast, another spell of that level should be chosen as the new leaker. If all the spells of the highest level prepared are cast, then a single spell of the next lower level is chosen.
Secondary: +1 to moral for all who stand within 5’ of the wizard
Residual: all animals of a random type will be attracted to the wizard. They will congregate around the wizard and a few might even crawl up onto the wizard. Those of human intelligence or greater, or of giant size, are immune to this effect. Roll a d6:
Secondary: the wizard is aware of the presence of all magic owned or cast by the wizard that is within 5’.
Residual: all magic used by the wizard is accompanied by additional cosmetic effects which may be swirling auras of various colors, sounds, or even smells.
Secondary: the wizard sleeps hovering a foot off the ground in complete comfort.
Residual: the wizard has difficulty with stairs, and must roll under the wizard’s Dexterity score on 2d10 or trip and fall whenever attempting to climb or descend stairs.
Secondary: the wizard may cause any door or lid within a dozen feet to close. This doesn’t work if the door or lid is being propped or held open.
Residual: doors and lids stick in the wizard’s presence, necessitating a bit more effort to open.
Secondary: a fanciful aura of various colors can be conjured to dance around the wizard’s fingers.
Residual: a pale light glows from the wizard’s eyes. While this can’t be seen in bright light, in the dark they seem to glow like the red eyes of a rat.
Secondary: while it does not confer any bonuses to hit or damage, any weapon the wizard wields can be counted as +1 per iteration of this spell prepared for purposes of hitting creatures immune to normal weapons, such at lycanthropes or vampires.
Residual: living creatures find the wizard’s touch unpleasant, even mildly painful.
Protection From Evil
Secondary: the wizard’s presence makes those nearby mindful of their misdeeds and stirs up the conscience. Those of normally good disposition will feel an urge towards contriteness, while those who embrace their wickedness will feel annoyed.
Residual: the effect is constant and so strong that people cannot stand to linger in the wizard’s presence, and all reaction checks are taken with a -1 penalty.
Secondary: the wizard is able to identify the culture that produced any writing the wizard can touch, so long as that culture is known to the wizard. If the culture is not known, then the wizard will only be able to identify the race of writer.
Residual: all objects with writing on them are agitated whenever the wizard passes by. Books and papers rustle as if whispering, signs creak, and metal rings softly. Only stone fixed firmly in the ground is immune.
Secondary: rain, snow, dust, and such other falling debris, too small or mild to actually cause damage, are deflected from the wizard.
Residual: the wizard’s sense of touch is dulled, and the wizard handles objects as if wearing extremely thick gloves. This may cause penalties for any tasks the wizard attempts which require manual dexterity, but does not affect spellcasting.
Secondary: those sleeping within 6’ of the wizard slumber soundly and peacefully.
Residual: the wizard is hard to rouse from sleep. For the first round after waking, the wizard is too groggy to act. If left alone, the wizard will sleep as many as a dozen hours before waking naturally.
Secondary: the wizard is able to whisper to anyone within a dozen feet without anyone else being able to hear what is said.
Residual: the wizard’s voice is distorted in a disturbing manner. This might merely make the wizard difficult to understand, but usually results in a -1 reaction penalty for anyone the wizard speaks to.
Secondary: the wizard is able to create a halo of auras that swirl around the wizard.
Residual: a part of the wizard’s body glows brightly enough to be seen in daylight, in a disturbing and eldritch manner. Roll a d6:
1-3 the eyes glow brightly
2-5 the fingers glow in such a way that leave swirls of after-images in the eye
6 the wizard’s heart glows brightly, so that if the wizard’s chest is bare, the workings of the heart and lungs can be seen through the skin.
Secondary: when faced with blatant, unquestionable evil, the wizard can discern something of its source after a round of concentration.
Residual: the wizard is affected by a mild paranoia.
Secondary: the wizard is especially aware of air currents and changes in light.
Residual: the wizard is constantly seeing things in the peripheral vision.
Secondary: the wizard is immediately aware of the moods of normal animals the wizard can see.
Residual: the wizard is powerfully affected the strong emotions of people who talk to the wizard, causing the wizard to share or be sympathetic to these emotions, even if the cause or circumstances are unknown.
Secondary: the wizard can cause the view of a single object within 6’ to be blurry and indistinct. While the object is still visible, fine details on it, such as writing or intricate designs, will be muddied and indecipherable.
Residual: the wizard’s range of vision is cut in half.
Secondary: any lid or door within 12’ feet of the wizard that is not locked, jammed, or held shut can be opened with a gesture.
Residual: doors, windows, lids, and other things that can be opened will rattle gently as the wizard passes by.
Secondary: any sand, snow, mud, or the like less than ankle deep will not impede the progress of the wizard.
Residual: objects have a tendency to leap from the wizard’s hands if the wizard isn’t careful. Whenever the wizard is distracted or in a hurry, apply a -1 Dexterity penalty to anything the wizard attempts.
Secondary: the wizard is exactingly aware of the location of every object the wizard can see.
Residual: the wizard is unable to shut out this information and it continually distracted by it. This may result in penalties against any mental activities the wizard attempts, at the discretion of the DM, but does not affect spellcasting or preparation.
Secondary: the wizard is able to conjure a cloak of visual illusions. These are not good enough to prevent anyone from recognizing the wizard, but they can be used to cause the casual observer to overlook the wizard as uninteresting.
Residual: the wizard has multiple shadows, some of which lag noticeably behind the wizard.
Secondary: the wizard is able to conjure simple shapes, symbols, or writing in the palm of the wizard’s hand.
Residual: the wizard is wreathed in disturbing shadows, auras, or wisps.
Secondary: the wizard can cause simple, light objects to stick to the wizard’s hand, so that they will not fall out. This can also be an aid I climbing, granting a +1 bonus.
Residual: everything sticks to the wizard’s hand, making it very difficult to put anything down and impossible to throw things.
Secondary: the wizard can cause any mundane lock that can be seen, within 12’ of the wizard, to lock, even if the key is not available.
Residual: random locks within a dozen feet of the wizard will lock on a roll of 1 on a 1d6.
Secondary: the wizard is able to see him or herself from any angle.
Residual: multiple views impose themselves on the wizard’s eyes, imposing a -1 penalty on all to-hit rolls with ranged weapons.
Secondary: any spells cast on the wizard have their durations cut in half.
Residual: any spells cast by the wizard have their durations cut in half.
Secondary: the wizard is able to ignite combustible materials within a 6’ of the wizard as if a small match has been held to them. Note that this only works on objects that will readily burn, like dry tinder, paper, or oil. Wet wood, large logs, most clothing, and all living creatures cannot be set on fire with this spell. However, lamp oil that’s been poured on any of these can be.
Residual: on a roll of 1 on a 1d20, any flammable object the wizard touches will burst into flames.
Secondary: the wizard may cause his or her hair and garments to float and ripple as if lifted by a strong breeze.
Residual: the wizard’s hair and clothing constantly float and ripple as if lifted by a strong breeze. Once per hour, a single object on the wizard’s person not strongly held or strapped down will fly into the air, being hurled 5d20 yards away.
Secondary: a common, simple task the wizard performs on very regular basis (at least once per day) can be performed at twice the normal speed. The wizard must be sitting still to perform this task, and must concentrate completely upon it, without interruption.
Residual: the wizard’s metabolism is sped up, and the wizard must consume 50% more food and drink than normal.
Secondary: the wizard is able to be perfectly, betraying no motion or sound, no matter how badly tickled or prodded, for up to one hour per level of the wizard.
Residual: the wizard moves 25% more slowly than normal.
Secondary: the wizard is able to see writing the wizard can hold in the hand even under very dim light. There must be at least starlight, however.
Residual: the wizard is extremely sensitive to light, and finds undiluted sunlight to be painful. This incurs a -1 to hit penalty on all to-hit rolls made by the wizard.
Invisibility 10’ Radius
Secondary: the wizard can cause the view of all objects within 6’ to be blurry and indistinct. While the objects are still visible, fine details on them, such as writing or intricate designs, will be muddied and indecipherable.
Residual: the wizard is unable to see anything beyond 30’ away with any clarity.
Secondary: the wizard can weakly magnetize any ferrous object touched. This magnetism is strong enough only to move small objects. (It’s about on par with your common kitchen magnet.)
Residual: electricity crackles in the wizard’s hair, making it stand on end, and between the wizard’s fingers, constantly snapping and shocking anything or anyone touched.
Protection From Evil 10’ Radius
Secondary: the wizard’s presence makes all who can see the wizard mindful of their misdeeds and stirs up the conscience. Those of normally good disposition will feel an urge towards contriteness, while those who embrace their wickedness will feel annoyed.
Residual: the effect is constant and so strong that people cannot stand to linger in the wizard’s presence. All affected have their reaction to the wizard and the wizard’s companions shifted one more level toward hostile.
Secondary: rain, snow, dust, and such other falling debris, too small or mild to actually cause damage, are deflected from the wizard.
Residual: all objects tossed to the wizard will swerve away, well before they come within reach.
Secondary: the wizard gains a +1 to all saves vs. gasses or other inhaled dangers.
Residual: the wizard is extremely susceptible to alcoholic drink, and will become inebriated twice as quickly as normal.
Secondary: the wizard gets a +1 reaction bonus when interacting with non-hostile monsters.
Residual: -1 to all rolls for wandering monsters.
Secondary: the wizard can cause one individual of less than average intelligence to lose their train of thought and forget what they were talking about.
Residual: the wizard suffers a -2 penalty to saves vs. charming spells, confusions, and illusions.
Secondary: the wizard can cause any non-magical, non-living object that can be completely enclosed in a fist to switch from one hand to the other.
Residual: once per day, a small, non-magical, non-living object in the wizard’s possession vanishes. There is a 1 in 6 chance that it appears among the possessions of one of the wizard’s companions.
Growth of Plants
Secondary: plants personally tended by the wizard are especially healthy and fruitful.
Residual: grasses stepped on by the wizard suddenly become twice as lush as before, while flowering plants touched suddenly erupt with flowers.
Secondary: the wizard is able to create replica illusions of any terrain feature the wizard has seen before. These illusions may never be larger than 3 cubic feet in size.
Residual: the wizard’s vision is filled with mirages and the horizon shimmers and grows indistinct.
Secondary: the wizard gains a bonus to any attempts to hide in natural, outdoor settings.
Residual: the wizard’s hair sprouts illusionary leaves while the wizard’s words are accompanied by the singing of birds.
Secondary: the wizard is able to alter a single feature of any person touched (such as eye color or hair length, the shape of the nose, etc.) for up to one hour per level of the wizard. Only one such alteration per person is possible, though the wizard can alter as many people as the wizard has levels. These alterations are simple and purely cosmetic.
Residual: anyone the wizard touches with flesh-to-flesh contact must make a save vs. spells. If they fail, the person touched acquires an extra feature as generated by these two tables:
1: transformed eyes, roll on the species table for type
2: transformed ears, roll on the species table for type
3: transformed legs, roll on the species table for type
4: acquire tail, roll on the species table for type
5: acquire pair of small horns sprouting from the forehead
6: four tentacles sprout from the victim’s body. Each tentacle attacks one random person within a dozen feet of the victim, including possibly the victim. Each tentacle has 10% of the victim’s hit points. They can only be harmed by edged weapons, and are severed from the body when they’ve lost all their hit points. All damage done to the tentacles is also done to the victim.
(DM’s are encouraged to adjust or extend these tables as best fits their campaign and sadistic whims.) These transformations can be undone with a remove curse spell.
Secondary: the wizard is able to make minor, cosmetic changes, such as changing the color or length of the wizard’s hair, length and color of the nails, etc. The wizard is not able to mimic any particular individual, and any alteration that would require the reshaping of bones is not possible.
Residual: whenever the wizard casts a prepared spell of the highest level available to the wizard, the wizard must roll a save vs. spells or then roll on the transformation tables from the polymorph other spell. This transformation my only be undone by a remove curse cast by anyone other than the wizard.
Secondary: the wizard’s character may require any roll of the dice to be rerolled once per in-game day.
Residual: every time the wizard rolls a 20, some misfortune befalls the wizard, such as dropping their held weapon, their belt coming undone and falling to the ground, a bird poops on their head, etc.
Wall of Fire
Secondary: by intense concentration for a full round, the wizard is able to bring great heat to anything the wizard can hold in one hand. This heat is intense enough to cook food or cause water to boil.
Residual: the wizard’s flesh is feverish to the touch. The smell of burning follows the wizard while the wizard’s fingers leave smudges of ash on everything touched. The wizard takes double damage from fire attacks.
Wall of Ice
Secondary: by intense concentration for a full round, the wizard is able to chill anything that can be held in one hand. While it’s not cold enough to freeze water solid, it can put a thin layer of ice across the surface.
Residual: the wizards flesh is chill to the touch. Ice crystals from in the wizard’s eyelashes. The wizard takes double damage from cold attacks.
Secondary: the wizard has infravision up to a dozen feet (or out an additional 50% range for elves and others that already have infravision).
Residual: the wizard suffers -4 to all saves vs. gaze attacks.
Secondary: the wizard can identify the species of any corpse touched.
Residual: the wizard suffers a -1 on the amount of hit points healed from any healing spell cast on the wizard.
Secondary: the wizard is able to kill small, non-magical, normal insects with tiny puffs of poisoned gas.
Residual: the wizard is surrounded by an odor so foul, the wizard suffers a -1 on all reaction rolls and nobody willingly stands closer than 6’.
Secondary: once per day, the wizard can summon a handful of one of the four elements. The air will be pure enough to breath, the fire will die if not quickly given a fuel source, the water is pure enough to drink, and the earth will be a sphere of granite or soft clay, wizard’s choice.
Residual: the wizard attracts the elements. The wizard’s clothes get dirty faster, or any breezes seemed directed at the wizard. The smoke from fires heads right for the wizard’s face. If there’s water around, it ends up in the wizard’s shoes.
Contact Higher Plane
Secondary: every night the wizard sleeps with this spell prepped, the spirit of the wizard will roam the higher planes. During these wanderings, there is a 1 in 20 chance of the PC learning a random new spell.
Residual: every night the wizard sleeps with this spell prepped, there is a 1 in 6 chance of the PC being struck insane. NOTE: this residual effect happens EVERY TIME the wizard tries to sleep with this spell prepared, no roll necessary. Contact higher plane is NOT the sort of spell you want banging around inside your head for long.
Secondary: once per day, the wizard can attempt a simple suggestion on an individual with average or lower intelligence. The target must be able to understand the wizard’s words and gets to roll a save vs. spells to resist. The suggestion cannot be more than a dozen words in length.
Residual: the wizard’s intelligence is lowered to 9.
Secondary: the wizard’s mount is able to be completely still and silent, so long as the wizard is in physical contact with the beast, for as many hours as the wizard has levels.
Residual: the wizard’s mount moves at half speed.
Secondary: the wizard has the ability to harm non-corporeal monsters with physical attacks, and has a +1 to hit and damage against them.
Residual: the wizard’s life-force is a bit unstuck. The wizard suffers a -2 to all saves vs. death.
Secondary: the wizard has a +1 to find secret doors (raising elves to 50% chance of discovering secret doors). The wizard can also more easily discover traps, tiny features, or cracks and weaknesses in a wall that is studied for at least one round.
Residual: every night the wizard sleeps in a place, the walls take a single point of structural damage.
Secondary: the wizard can levitate objects under a pound in weight that are within a dozen feet of the wizard.
Residual: once per hour, there’s a 1 in 6 chance of a random object weighing no more than 6 lbs within 24’ of the wizard hurling itself in a random direction for 1d6 feet per level of the wizard. If the object hits someone, it does 1d4 points of damage, unless it’s a weapon, in which case it will do 1d6 points of damage.
Secondary: the wizard is able to teleport a small object, one able to be hidden inside a fist, from a well-known location into the wizard’s hand. The well-known location should be someplace the wizard knows intimately. The wizard’s desk is such a place. The pouch of the frost giant sitting across the road isn’t. (Unless the wizard has actually spent a few days inside the giant’s pouch.)
Residual: once per day, there’s a 1 in 8 chance of a random, small, non-magical object being teleported from the wizard’s possession to a random destination.
Transmute Rock to Mud
Secondary: once per day, the wizard is able to draw a mouthful of water from bare stone.
Residual: where ever the wizard touches or steps on bare stone, a paper-thin amount of the stone is turned into mud.
Wall of Stone
Secondary: once per day, the wizard is able to conjure a fist-sized granite block in any basic shape the wizard chooses, so long as it doesn’t have more sides than the wizard has levels. (For purposes of this spell, round objects have a single side.)
Residual: a wake of stone dust trails the wizard.
Secondary: the wizard enjoys a +1 save vs. all magical effects.
Residual: the targets of any of the wizard’s magic, whether by spell, scroll, or magic item, enjoy a +2 bonus to saves against it.
Secondary: the wizard is immune from the effects of natural heat or cold. Rain and snow also will not touch the wizard, while normal winds will not even muss the wizard’s hair. However, lightning, flood, tornadoes and similar dangerous weather is still dangerous.
Residual: there is a 1 in 6 chance per day of the normal weather where the wizard is turning extreme. A warm day will become swelteringly hot, rain will turn to downpour, while chill winds will turn bitter cold. The effect will be the extreme of what might normally be expected, but not to the point of raising hurricanes or obviously magical effects.
Secondary: the wizard is able to kill small vermin, such as insects or non-dangerous, tiny rodents at will, one per hour.
Residual: grass curls up and browns under the wizard’s feet, small plants touched whither and die, and the wizard’s mount takes 1 point of damage per hour while the wizard is riding it.
Secondary: the wizard can banish non-magical, non-predatory dust, grime, mildew, or grease, over a 10’ x 10’ area, once per day.
Residual: once per day, there’s a 1 in 8 chance of one random non-magical object the wizard wears or carries falling apart as if from the effects of great age or wear-and-tear.
Secondary: the wizard gets a +1 bonus to any dice rolls for haggling or persuasion.
Residual: the wizard is afflicted with a compulsive behavior chosen by the DM. Such compulsive behaviors might be always speaking in rhyme, only turning left, carefully lining up all food and arranging it by color and type before eating, etc.
Secondary: the wizard can sense the presence of invisible stalkers, though is unable to pinpoint their exact location.
Residual: once per day, there’s a 1 in 20 chance of an invisible stalker tracking the wizard down and attempting an assassination to prevent the use of magic to enslave its brethren.
Secondary: the wizard is able to dry anything that’s had water spilled on it, or has been soaked in rain or other non-magical liquid.
Residual: fluids retreat from the wizard’s approach. This makes it impossible for the wizard to wash or drink.
Secondary: the wizard is able to banish mundane dirt from clothing, the body, or other objects.
Residual: dirt (but not stone) ripples like water where ever the wizard steps. This has no effect on anyone’s ability to stand upright, nor is it able to harm large structures, though small objects might be tumbled or shaken.
Secondary: the wizard is able to force a volume of water no larger than a single cup per level of the wizard into whatever shape is desired. The water will retain that shape only for as long as the wizard wills it. As it’s still water, it behaves like a liquid in all other respects, making it completely unsuitable for use as a ladder or lever, for instance, unless it is frozen while the wizard maintains concentration.
Residual: fluids retreat from the wizard’s approach. This makes it impossible for the wizard to wash or drink.
Secondary: the wizard is able to create a visual illusion up to a single cubic foot in volume of any person or thing the wizard has seen. It exists only so long as the wizard concentrates on it.
Residual: the wizard’s eyes turn glassy and emotionless. An air of aloofness and distance surrounds the wizard. The wizard suffers a -2 to reaction checks, while the wizards henchmen and followers suffer a -1 to moral.
Secondary: the wizard can see one past life of any person touched.
Residual: the wizard’s dreams are plagued by images of past lives. Sleep provides no rest; while the wizard is able to memorize spells as normal, no hit point damage is healed and diseases linger up to twice their normal span.
Stone to Flesh
Secondary: the wizard is able to petrify one non-magical creature small enough to fit in the wizard’s hand per day.
Residual: any food meat the wizard touches turns to stone. The wizard must subsist on a vegetarian diet.