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Regrettable Spells

February 19, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

I wrote these ages ago but never got around to publishing them. Then somebody asked me where Summon Bigger Fish was and I had to go looking. So here it is.
Summon Bigger Fish has become something of a worn-out meme. But it wasn’t when David Morgan-Mar published his comic and it was still at least a bit fresher when I wrote this, so there.

Summon Bigger Fish
can actually be used to summon any sea creature, and all it costs is HP. The sea creature is a perfectly normal specimen of its species except for the size, which is determined by the number of HP expended.
This spell has a memory of its previous uses. Each time it is cast, the fish summoned must be capable of eating the previously summoned fish whole,* otherwise the spell fails, in which case all HP are refunded. Singers, dancers and synchronized swimmers can be used to augment the HP pool available: if sufficient HP are present to cast the spell at its current magnitude then the spell will be cast and HP taken, even if this means the deaths of most or all of the creatures involved in the casting ritual.
Although any sea creature may be specified at any size, the following is a rough guide/mnemonic:
1 HP gets you a herring or similar tasty snack.
2 HP gets you a pike,
4 HP summons a tarpon.
8 HP gets a man-sized fish, such as a mako shark.
16 HP gets a tiger shark, (or 20 HP a great white),
32 HP attracts a megalodon.
64 HP gets you Livyatan Melvillei, which is pretty much a blue whale with teeth and attitude.
…or similar.
Aerowhales are included in the list of “fish” purely so that Timor Tom and his ilk can be included at 1024 HP (not this Timor Tom who’s probably not worth more than 70 or 80 HP).
For 16,384 HP you can definitively destroy Honshu by waking up the carp it’s built on top of.

The fish is not remotely controllable (although mythical fish such as the Salmon of Knowledge or Timor Tom may respond to reasoned arguments) and always arrives very hungry.

A specific fish may be summoned (eg SoK or Timor Tom) for double the standard cost – that doubling is not counted toward the fish’s size cost for escalation purposes, however. Of course, if you’re summoning something the size of Tom of Jormungandr then there probably will only be the one example around to hear your call. Probably.

* note: just because I’ve gone with powers of 2 in the examples doesn’t mean you have to double every time. Evil tooth-factories like the Gulper Eel or Fangtooth might be able to eat things only a little bit smaller than themselves. But consider carefully how much you really want to summon a giant Fangtooth.

**Attract Fish and its potential for disaster has been covered adequately by Scott Dorward and his salty clan. It occurs to me belatedly, however, that fish attractant should probably be a salve or ointment that you spread on yourself before you get in the water.

Call Sandgorgon
The caster sends out a psychic call to the sandgorgons of the deep Taklamakan. One will respond and come to devour the caster and anyone else in its way. The principal reason for casting this spell is to take an awful lot of your enemies with you: the sandgorgon wants to eat the caster alive and will therefore eliminate all other threats to the caster in order to do this. If the caster is killed before the sandgorgon arrives, then the sandgorgon will not know this until it gets to the caster’s current position, at which point it will be deeply disappointed and enraged. It is therefore absolutely imperative, if you kill the caster of this spell before their nemesis arrives, to get rid of the body ASAP and hope they have no immortal spirit with which to haunt you.

Since nobody who has sees a sandgorgon has survived, no reliable physical description is available. It is, however, known that sandgorgons have some kind of blunt fists with which they can beat down castle gates, bony heads with which they can batter castle walls, and jagged bony jaws with which they leave a red trail of destruction. Sandgorgon response time depends on the distance between the caster and the Taklamakan: if the caster is within 100 miles of the desert then the sandgorgon will come in 20 minutes or less. 1000 miles can take up to 4 hours. If the caster is in another universe/on another plane the sandgorgon could take up to 5 days to arrive.
Cost: 8 HP and one gold or platinum piece (consumed in casting).
(with apologies to Stephen R. Donaldson).

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