True Dweomers

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A master of true dweomer magic can devastate a battlefield of soldiers singlehandedly.

Llodwynn stood his ground, eyes closed, as the Stone Below sang to him. His tremorsense, more powerful than ever, showed him Tabriss kneeling humbly in her tent, dutiful to her Gods. Lars, sturdy and stubborn and so perfectly courageous, was watching the approach to their miserable cave, sparring verbally with the lounging Arnsibel. And losing. As always.

Llodwynn shut out his life-long companions, their bustle and calm and comfort, and meditated on his aura. In his mind's eye, his aura covered him like flowstone, endlessly complex, ever-so-slowly changing. Since he was born a Sorcerer, prominent in his imaginings were the potent knots of his innate spells, akin to complex geodes inset into that flowing stone aura.

This was nothing new, Llodwynn had felt those tiny nubbins of power in his aura since he first shed his rubble. Many years later, those knots of power were as familiar as ever, his birthright slowly welling up ever more with greater power, complexity, and strength.

Llodwynn ignored his spells, and looked deeper. Spells had been welling up out of his bloodline for his entire life, and he was pretty sure he could sense at least two or three new ones, slowly oozing their way to the surface. He ignored those nascent spells, they would be welcome and useful, but he was used too that.

After discounting his normal auric flows, the ebb and urge of his very lifeforce, and counting and setting aside all his vast array of spells...there was something else present; something new was welling up inside of his aura.

This was new. It was not a spell, exactly, although it carried that same familiar pull. It was fainter, but much... larger, and more complex, the 'geode' multi-layered and full of endless, hidden depths. It was definitely part of his Bloodline, it was a potent magical ability, but it was... bigger than a spell. It was new, and fascinating, and Llodwynn, still as a stone, eyes closed, his senses shuttered, smiled as he realized what this new thing must be.

True Dweomer.

What are True Dweomers?

In Epic Path, there are many, many magical 'things'. One of the most prominent are Spells, which are a class feature directly available to many classes in one form or another (extracts and poultices included), and available to anyone who wants to buy a Magical Rod or two.

So what are True Dweomers?

A True Dweomer, also known as a "Miracle", "Great Working", "Ur Spell", "Truemagic" or 'Vis Viva", among many other names, is a magical working that is similar to a spell, but...more. True Dweomers are bigger, heavier, and more complex than regular Spells. As a result, True Dweomers are more powerful than Spells, and indeed, GM's are encouraged to use these 'Great Workings' to explain elements of their game world. Perhaps there's a gigantic wall in your world, thousands of miles long and reaching into the clouds, that was made in ages past by a True Dweomer. Maybe there is a cyclopean vortex in the center of the ocean that was left by a Vis Viva, which is why nobody sails ships past the sight of land. There are many storytelling ways to use this mechanism, and GM's are encouraged to be as imaginative and 'out of the box' as they want.

But for purposes of PLAYERS, unless the GM gets into REALLY high Epic, Legendary and Mythic story-telling, True Dweomers are handled in the game rules simply as bigger and meaner spells. However, more than any other mechanic (except perhaps Potens Machanvar), the GM is encouraged to 'get nuts' with True Dweomers. If you want your players to have continent-burning power, give it to them! Chew the scenery a little! Get your EPIC on! Have fun!

Just be sure to have a spare game universe ready, in case your players wreck their first one....

How True Dweomers Work

All spell casting classes that gain a Tenth level spell slot become eligible to cast True Dweomers when they receive their first such tenth level slot. This occurs between 19th and 30th level, depending upon the class. True Dweomers are different from Spells in that they are not Divine or Arcane, but they are instead BOTH... or maybe neither? True Dweomers operate at a 'more fundamental' level than normal spells. They use much more Mana, and operate with a deeper and more potent interaction between the casters Aura and the ambient Mana. Divine and Arcane casters all learn and cast True Dweomers the same way, and they all get the same results. (Divine Casters are much more likely to call them 'Miracles', though.) For the purpose of class features, abilities, feats, etc, that call out applicability to only 'arcane' or 'divine' spells, True Dweomers always qualify. Because True Dweomers are cool that way.

True Dweomers have no Arcane Spell Failure Chance

One consequence of this deeper nature is that True Dweomers are never subject to an Arcane Spell Failure Chance, just like Divine spells. If you are a Wizard and want to wear plate mail, true dweomers are your key to success.

You will note that despite their "arcanodivinity", very few True Dweomers are healing-oriented. This is because most such Great Works are more aimed at smiting the enemy, rather than fixing ills. And honestly, if you need more healing horsepower than an Absolute Mass Heal, you need to reconsider your life choices.

True Dweomers have Strata

Now, the root source of the power in an Ur Spell may be of Divine or Arcane provenance, but the actual True Dweomer itself is the same, no matter if a Deity lent a helping hand or not. To reflect this fundamental 'bigger and deeper' expanse of a True Dweomer, such artifices, be they called Ur Spells, Miracles, Vis Vivas, or anything else, DO NOT have a Spell Circle to reflect the damage they inflict upon their targets. Instead, True Dweomers use an entirely different scale, called their Spell Strata.

True Dweomer Memorization Rules

A True Dweomer is memorized each day using the same rules as a Spell. True Dweomers have levels ranging from 10th level to 14th level, and they may be memorized in any spell slot of their own spell level or higher, just as a spell can be. If your class has a Spellbook, they must be written into those spell books, using the rules for spellbooks.

How to Obtain a True Dweomer

No class ever gets a True Dweomer 'for free'. You become eligible for True Dweomers when your class receives their first tenth level spell slot, but unlike spells, you don't ever 'just know' any True Dweomer. You cannot pray for one, or expect the Green to give you one, or spend downtime days to figure one out, and especially, you can't buy one on a scroll.

True Dweomers are never available for purchase as a scroll. (The only time a True Dweomer is ever even possible in scroll form is if a Player Character uses the Spell Research downtime rules to improve a True Dweomer. Such scrolls are so incredibly precious that they are never available for sale. You should also write that down into your Spellbooks immediately, so it can't get lost or stolen.)

So.... How DO you learn True Dweomers?

You have to spend a feat. Maybe a lot of feats.

To obtain the knowledge to cast any True Dweomer, each character must research, study, experiment, or receive inspiration on their own. Even if a Player Character somehow discovers a True Dweomer written down by another, the inscriptions are just freighted gibberish, unless that character expends their own efforts.

This effort is embodied in the game rules by taking the various "Truemagic" feats. There is no other way to obtain or use a True Dweomer. Thus, if a player character wants to be able to cast any True Dweomer, they must take one or more Truemagic feats to simulate the effort they expend to learn these incredibly potent magics.

Metamagic and True Dweomers

True Dweomers are affected by Metamagic Feats exactly as spells are. A Vast, Perfected, Hellball is a sight to behold...from a safe distance! Since True Dweomers are deeper and more fundamental than spells, and thus must be used with higher level spell slots, it can be very difficult to apply the 'good' metamagics to a True Dweomer without the use of Spell Research or the purchase of magic items.

True Dweomers can be had in levels as high as Fourteen, and spell slots only go as high as level 17, even for the very best spellcasters. This means that the most powerful True Dweomers only have three 'levels worth' of overhead into which to fit metamagics. Magic Wands, a Mage Staff, and spell research become very important when you're looking into these extremely high levels of play!

True Dweomer Spell Strata and Mana Burning

True Dweomers are large and powerful, and require a huge amount of Burn to raise their Strata. This can empty even a very powerful spell caster's store of spells VERY quickly if they are not careful.

Even more importantly, careful examination of the table below will show that Spell Strata behave quite differently than Spell Circles. In all cases, the base number of dice that can be rolled for damage is always no greater than the caster's Caster Level, but ALL True Dweomers, regardless of level, can reach a maximum of 35D6 plus adders at Caster Level 35. As if that isn't fantastic enough, the Strata of any True Dweomer can be of any level, as long as the high price is paid to Burn. This allows the 'dabbler' to take on the single Truemagic Scribe (Feat), and then metamagic and manaburn their way to the very heights of what Great Workings can do...with some considerable effort.

To raise the strata of a True Dweomer requires the burning of THREE normal spells to gain plus one Strata. Class abilities, magic item effects, and all similar abilities, that improve the circle of a spell during mana burning still apply to a True Dweomer's Strata, but they only operate at one-third strength. Partial burning has no effect, and any spells burned or any class ability or magic item ability that is applied to a True Dweomer that does not reach the next 'threshold of three', is lost with no effect. Note that it is possible (and recommended) to Burn one or two spells to 'fill out' the power needed to reach the next Strata in such cases.

Since the table below shows that Spell Strata are more 'flat' than Spell Circles, True Dweomers will always absorb as much Burn as you dare to throw at them. Even a Level 10 True Dweomer can be Burned all the way to Strata 9 as soon as you take it. Casters are advised to be very careful with this mechanic, and here's why: A Hellball, available as low as level 19, can be Mana Burned all the way up to Strata 9 as soon as you learn it. To Burn a Hellball, a Strata 1 spell, to Strata 9, costs a stunning 24 spell slots every time it is cast, no matter the level of the caster. A 19th level caster can Burn all their spells VERY quickly at that pace. Now, that maximum-Burned level 19 Hellball is going to inflict 19d6 + 266 points of damage, so, holy moly. But it's not a trick you can do a lot until you get a much higher level and excellent gear.

Lastly, but most importantly, a spell slot filled with a True Dweomer CANNOT be emptied to use as mana burning fuel. Any slot filled with a True Dweomer must be cast, or forgotten. Spell slots you fill with True Dweomers cannot be used for Mana Burning fuel. This means that you must carefully measure how many True Dweomers you memorize each day, to be sure you have enough normal Spells or unused "full" spell slots available to Burn as 'fuel.'

Strata Damage for True Dweomers

Spell Strata Burn Cost Min Character Level (CL) Base Dice Max dice
1 N/A 19th 1d6+6/CL 35d6+210
2 +3 21st 1d6+7/CL 35d6+245
3 +3 23rd 1d6+8/CL 35d6+280
4 +3 25th 1d6+9/CL 35d6+315
5 +3 27th 1d6+10/CL 35d6+350
6 +3 29th 1d6+11/CL 35d6+385
7 +3 31st 1d6+12/CL 35d6+420
8 +3 33rd 1d6+13/CL 35d6+455
9 +3 35th 1d6+14/CL 35d6+490

True Dweomer Casting Times and Ritual Variable Effects

True Dweomers are very, very large and complex to cast. The normal casting time for ALL True Dweomers is as a Full Round Action. When cast this way, there is no skill roll required, and all aspects of the True Dweomer act as described in each Ur Spell's writeup.

Now, in order to simulate the 'world shaking, battle ending' power of such Workings, it is always possible to cast any True Dweomer as a Ritual. The time required for each such Ritual is left to the GM, but it is usually at least an hour and may take a Day or more. It is strongly recommended that the casting time for any Ritual never be less than a minute, for balance purposes.

If cast as a Ritual, True Dweomers have their Area of Effect multiplied by a factor of ten in every dimension, and Vis Viva that have a set number of targets likewise have that limit increased ten-fold. In addition, the range of the True Dweomer cast as a Ritual is doubled, to give the caster a fighting chance of not being inside their own blast.

Note that, as always, multiple bonuses are additive, not multiplicative. For example, suppose a Cleric chooses to Ritually cast a Vast, Absolute, Hellball (and, Wow, did they have to work hard to create THAT monster). The Ritual multiplies the area by 10 times, the Vast Spell Feat multiplies area by 10 times, and Absolute Spell doubles the area. Does the area increase by 10x10x2 times? Absolutely not! Such a Hellball would be a cube 2200 squares on a side (11,000 feet in diameter), which is...actually not too bad, for this scale of magic. But, the rule is, the area increases by 10+10+2, or twenty-two times. This is a much more reasonable 242 squares on a side (1210 feet in diameter), which will still completely cover any battle mat in existence. Theater of the Mind is important for such activities!

The range is similarly doubled by the Ritual, and doubled again by the Absolute Spell Feat. In this case, since 2*2 (the wrong way) and 2+2 (the right way) are the same, the range is multiplied by 4 as you would expect.

Of course, if the referee WANTS that Ritual-cast Vast Absolute Hellball to be seen from the Stars Above, 2200 squares it is!

Fast Casting True Dweomers with Bailiwick Skill Rolls

Now, for your typical adventurer who wants to Blow Stuff Up, full-round casting times (or longer!) are not much use. Do not worry! It is possible to Fast Cast all True Dweomers by making a Bailiwick Skill Check against a sliding Difficulty Class scale. The DC for Fast Casting any True Dweomer is included in the write-up for each one.

If you make a very good Skill roll, you can cast a True Dweomer as a Standard Action, just like most normal spells. If you are a spontaneous caster and truly ambitious, it is possible to then apply a Quicken Spell feat, and crack off two or three True Dweomers in a single round! If your skill roll is not so good, this can take a lot longer, and the Ur Spell doesn't work as well as it should. True Dweomers never backfire or harm the caster (unless you accidentally get yourself inside the area of effect, which is a VERY REAL CONCERN), as long as they put in the time and trouble (high enough level and Truemagic feats taken) to 'get good' with these mighty magics.

If you have to memorize True Dweomers (poor goofy Wizards), then you must apply any and all Metamagic Feats as you memorize, like usual, which can commit you in advance to making a Bailiwick skill check, and if you then fail that check (such as by rolling a 1), then you lose the True Dweomer, which is very painful. This is why the Truemagic Ordinate (Feat) is so awesome.

True Dweomers in Combat

Casting a True Dweomer always provokes if you try to cast it while threatened, and you may Combat Cast it just like any other spell. True Dweomers, aside from their enormous power, are treated exactly as spells, and can be lost if you get hit while casting one. If you successfully Fast Cast a True Dweomer, you can Quicken or Still it, and thus avoid provoking. Indeed, if you must memorize spells in advance, then you have to memorize the higher level Quickened or Stilled version, and thus, you absolutely must attempt to Fast Cast it to cast it at all. This means you must accept some risk in your already busy life as an adventurer.

True Dweomers and Spell Research

Between Adventures, many users of True Dweomers will be interested in performing Spell Research on their collection of Great Workings, to make them even better. Luckily for such intrepid souls, True Dweomers respond to this process much better than more conventional Spells.

A serious issue is, that since you cannot adjust a Spell above 17th level with Metamagic Feats (since spell slots that high just don't exist), most of the 'best' Metamagic Feats can't be used with True Dweomers at all! High level Wands can get around this issue, but such devices are very expensive. We won't even discuss how much a Staff of such power could cost.

Even more seriously, you cannot adjust a Spell above 17th level to even BEGIN Spell Research on it! So, is it impossible to ever Research an Absolute Hellball, since that combo has a Spell Level of 18?

Of course not! True Dweomers are better than that.

Rather than being limited to a total adjusted caster level of 17 (like Spells are), a True Dweomer can always accept Spell Research to reduce their level for up to three Metamagic Feats, no matter how small or how huge the total is. Wow!

Now, the bad news is, the total spell level must be reduced to 17 or below before the modified True Dweomer may be cast at all, the caster must actually possess all the feats they wish to reduce, and worst of all, the DC to fast cast any True Dweomer modified by Spell Research increases by a +2 penalty for every metamagic feat added (+2 to +6 penalty). That Truemagic Heirophant (Feat) is REALLY nice...but incredibly expensive.

Thus, Spell Research for True Dweomers can seem seductively wonderful, until you realize the extremely high cost in downtime days, gold, feats, and difficulty. All that awesome power doesn't come for free!

Are True Dweomers required?

The short answer is 'no.'

The more complicated answer is 'maybe'. Without True Dweomers, a spellcaster cannot do as much damage as they can with True Dweomers. Strata hit REALLY hard.

But....

To get even basic True Dweomers costs at least one feat, and to get 'good' with them requires three, or even five feats. Plus, True Dweomers must be Mana Burned to Strata Six or higher to really 'shine', and that takes a LOT of spell slots for each casting. Even high epic casters can struggle to keep such an engine 'fed' for long.

Simply put, True Dweomers are very expensive, both in terms of the Feats required to learn them at all, and the number of spell slots you must expend if you want to Mana Burn them to the highest levels of damaging power. If you feel that this price is too high, and you don't want to dabble with such foolishness, you really don't have to!

If you are an Epic caster we have LOTS of metamagic feats available that will allow you to use all those high-level spell slots using 'mere' Spells. And high Circle damage, while not as big as high Strata damage, is still really, really good. Trust us, few things are more fun than a Heightened, Perfected Wish. :)

Level 10 True Dweomer Spells

Name School Description
Auric Seizure
Crown of Vermin
Cruel Iron
Defensive Sphere
Dreamscape
Entwined Fate
Endless Enemies
Epic Dispel
Eternal Freedom
Flying Flaming Corpses
Glacial Rime
Guardians Tomb
Hellball
Hex of Fissuring
Hemophobia
Horrific Maiming
Ignore
Jagged Heart
Kinetic Force
Lord of the City
Magic Castle
Mire
Monarch of Monsters
Occlude
Quietus Horribilis
Ravening Lance
Traveling Doom
Unlife
Vital Cessation
Wrathful Ray


Level 11 True Dweomer Spells

Name School Description
Aegis
Animus Blast
Arcane Synthesis
Call of the Obsidian
Cleansing Light
Damnation
Dragon Strike
Egg Breaker
Geminal Origin
Gruesome Repute
Hand of Time
Heart of the Gazelle
Heat Lightning
Judgement
Kinslayer
Kismet
Kiss of Death
Lord of Nightmares
Mass Frog
Meteor Storm
Mundi Vocem
Perfect Storm
Spark Slayer
Verdigris
Wave of Weakness


Level 12 True Dweomer Spells

Name School Description
Acerbic Wits
Anvil Mundanus
Aspirate
Auric Assassination
Betterment
Blood Provenance
Crown of Glory
Eclipse
Eidolon
Foundry's Heart
Great Wish
Greater Cessation
Heart of the Volcano
Jughead
Kinetic Control
Knife to the Heart
Langour
Lash of Iron
Last Act
Limbless
Living Lightning
Meteorite
Monstrous Docent
Mountain Voice
Mummy Dust
Pebbles
Peripetia
Regula Legis
Roving Spirit
Touch of the Maker
Ullulate
Unknowing
War Council
Warp and Weft
Web of Fate
Zoanthropy


Level 13 True Dweomer Spells

Name School Description
Arcane Thesis
Astrobleme
Balefire Storm
Blood-Soaked Sanctum
Crystalline Bolts
Dire Tide
Ergosphere
Frangere Malum
Haunted Grounds
Heaven's Teardrop
Impervious
Judgement Day
Lance of Change
Lightning Cascade
Lightning Sand
Maddening Insult
Magnum Imperium
Mantle of Devastation
Martyrdom
Masque of Visions
Nailed to the Sky
Nullity
Pandemonium
Phantasmal World
Raise Domain
Safe Time
Skyshatter
Spell Worms
Stride of Iron
Superb Dispel
Terror
True Pestilence
Unquiet


Level 14 True Dweomer Spells

Name School Description
Bolide
Cobblestones
Demise Unseen
Dwell Time
Excelsior
Guilt
Heart Clutch
Hulking Figure
Illusio Imperium
Let Go Of Me
Liquefy
Maelstrom
Magic Castle
Megalomania
Melting Mists
Missteps
Momento Mori
Moonshadows
Necrophagy
Obliteration of Life
Obscurance
Petrify
Quatorze
Rain of Fire
Resonance
Ruins
Shunting Ward
Signify
Silent Cessation
Soul Dominion
Sphere of Decay
Spirit of Victory
Splinter Storm
Superior Meteorite
Toxic Breath
True Wish
Undo
Unending Torment
Unmind
Vengeful Gaze of God
Vial of Wrath
Xystarch
Yawning Void
Yellow Fever
Zoesis