View Full Version : [Spell Theme] Tasken's Deceptions

2004-08-16, 12:51 AM
Theme: Deception and misdirection

Though his exact identity has been lost to time, the name and deeds of the priest Taasken are still whispered about with respect and fear. It is generally agreed that Taasken was sworn to the service of the death-god Vecna, and served that power ably in confounding the champions of good. Taasken's own skill was in spreading rumors, lies, and dissention among his enemies, and the spells that now bear his name are a testament to his skill in doing so.

Taasken's spells are divine in nature, and in theory available to any cleric. It's unlikely that many priests outside the cult of Vecna would ever have a chance to acquire them, though, as Vecna guards the secret of these spells jealously, refusing to grant them to the priests of even his closest allies. In addition, many deities of good or lawful alignment view these spells with anathema, and would look poorly on any servant who even tried to request the ability to cast them.

It's possible that arcane versions of some or all of these spells have been developed. There's no known instance where an arcane caster has used any of these spells, though, and arcane spell levels have not been listed here.

At the DM's discretion, the rarity of these spells may impose a circumstance modifier of up to +5 to the DC of any spellcraft checks made to identify them in use.

Taasken's Befuddlement
Enchantment [Mind-Affecting]
Level: Cleric 0
Components: S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft + 5ft/2 lvls)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

The target of this spell finds it difficult to concentrate on matters of religion and faith, and suffers a -4 penalty to all Knowledge (Religion) skill checks. Taasken found this orison useful in confusing and coercing followers of other faiths that he sought to infiltrate - judicious use of this spell allowed him to safely challenge the religious knowledge and authority of those he felt were a threat to him.

Taasken's Ruse of Voices
Illusion [Glamer]
Level: Cleric 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 minute/level (D)

This spell allows you to make one language that you speak sound like a different language to anyone listening to you. For example, you could have any words you spoke in Elvish sound like statements in Kobold. (You must choose an actual language when casting this spell - you cannot choose to have your words translated into Gibberish as a way to fool eavesdroppers.) Taasken's Ruse of Voices translates all words and concepts as perfectly as possible, though grammar and pronunciation may suffer. You may choose to have the spell translate your words into a language you do not speak, if you desire. The spell does not convey any understanding of the new language, either to yourself or others.

Anyone listening to you speak in the affected language can make a Will save to disbelieve the spell's effect - success means that they hear your words spoken in the original language. A person who looks closely at your lips as you talk receives a +2 circumstance bonus to the save, due to unavoidable mismatches between the words you're pronouncing and the words being spoken in the alternate language.

You can choose, at the time the spell is cast, to exclude any number of beings from the effect of the spell. These beings can either be identified by name, or by creature type. Beings so named automatically disbelieve the Ruse of Voices, and hear you speak in your original language.

This spell was most often used by Taasken along with his Exemplar Glamerie to disguise his dealings with fiendish beings. With the Ruse of Voices, Taasken could order about disguised demons and devils in their own tongue, while making it seem to outsiders as if he was addressing his minions in Celestial.

Taasken's Seeming of Invulnerability
Illusion [Glamer]
Level: Cleric 2
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2 levels)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

When you cast this spell, you shape a glamer around a target creature that masks the effect of damage done by a specific source. Choose a special substance (such as silver or cold iron), an energy type (such as fire) or an alignment descriptor (such as chaos) when this spell is cast. Any damage done by an attack of that type appears to be reduced by 10 points, though the target still takes full damage. An attacker who damages the spell's target with an attack affected by the Seeming of Invulnerability may make a Will save to disbelieve - if successful, the attacker sees the full extent of all wounds inflicted on the target.

Note that while Taasken's Seeming of Invulnerability appears to reduce the amount of damage done, it does not mask other effects of the attack (such as poison damage dealt by a poisoned weapon, a monk's stunning fist,or similar effects). It also does not allow a creature to act as if it were undamaged - if a beholder under a Seeming that masked Good-aligned damage had its central eye destroyed by a paladin's holy sword, the spell would not allow it to appear to open and close its eye.

Taasken employed the Seeming of Invulnerability both to spread terror among the champions of good (by making a lesser devil seem immune to damage from cold iron, for instance) and to hide certain of his servants and pawns from premature detection (making a lycanthrope seem to be unaffected by silver).

Taasken's Exemplar Glamerie
Illusion [Glamer]
Level: Cleric 3
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: Creatures conjured by 1 spell
Duration: 1 round/level or until triggered; then concentration + 2 rounds
Saving Throw: Will disbelief (if interacted with)
Spell Resistance: No

Taasken's Exemplar Glamerie is a specialized version of the Major Image spell used by many wizards and illusionists. When first cast, the spell lies dormant until the caster uses a summoning spell; the Exemplar Glamerie then allows the caster to make the summoned creatures appear as any outsider type that the spell could normally summon. The figment includes sight, sound, and thermal effects as applicable.

As a glamer, Taasken's Exemplar Glamerie doesn't bestow any special capabilities on the target that they wouldn't otherwise possess - so fiendish wolves made to look like celestial eagles won't be able to fly. It also doesn't mask any innate traits of the summoned creatures. The affected creatures will still act and behave as normal, which may excite the suspicions of a perceptive bystander. The targeted creatures must remain within Medium range (100 ft + 10 ft/level) of the caster for the spell to remain in effect; any creature which moves beyond this range is permanently stripped of the illusion.

This spell allowed Taasken to not only masquerade as a cleric of a good deity when needed (summoning lesser fiends which he then caused to appear as celestials) but also to send minions in disguised form after his foes. The shock of watching an 'angel' attack a temple of Kord or Ehlonna was often enough to allow Taasken to reap a great deal of unrest.

Taasken's Vampiric Ruse
Level: Cleric 4
Components: V, DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: 1 holy symbol
Duration: 10 minutes/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This esoteric spell charges a single holy symbol with a strong force of repulsion, which lies dormant until called upon. At any time after the spell has been cast, any living being may display the holy symbol in a challenge to another, as a standard action. The being challenged by the holy symbol must make a Will save; failure causes the target to immediately recoil from the holy symbol, and be unable to approach within 10 feet of it for the remainder of the spell's duration.

Taasken employed this spell not only as a weapon but also as a tool for falsely accusing others of vampirism. Since the reaction of a target of this spell on a failed save is very similar to the reaction of a vampire to any holy symbol, Taasken was often able to convince unsuspecting villagers and priests to condemn the innocent.

Taasken's Twisted Justice
Level: Cleric 5

This spell functions as the standard cleric spell Mark of Justice, except that when casting it you can deceive the target as to the nature of the act which will activate the spell's effect. You must succeed in a DC 25 Bluff check in order to trick the target; failure means that the spell still takes effect, but that the target knows both that you were trying to deceive him and the actual action that will activate the mark. A suspicious or distrustful target may make a opposed Sense Motive check; in this case, your Bluff DC is the higher of the existing DC or the target's skill check.

Taasken used this spell to spread distrust and undermine justice in the land. By afflicting twisted marks upon those he judged, Taasken could corrupt minor criminals into deadly deeds, and encourage paladins to pursue innocents with deadly force.

Taasken's Corruption
Level: Cleric 6
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2 levels)
Target: 1 creature
Duration: 10 minutes/level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell can be directed at any creature, but only affects those divine casters able to channel positive energy. Taasken's Corruption hijacks this divine connection, forcing negative energy into the target's invocations and spells. While the spell is in effect, all turning attempts by the target are treated as rebukes (or commands, if powerful enough) and all attempts to spontaneously cast cure spells are treated as inflict spells instead. The core of the character's divine connection remains unaffected, however, and the character can still use other spells as normal. If a character affected by this spell succeeds in commanding one or more undead creatures, the command effect expires when the spell duration ends.

Like his other spells, Taasken used this both directly as a weapon against his enemies, stripping them of much of their power to heal themselves or destroy undead, and also more subtly to undermine the reputation and self-respect of good clerics. More than one priest of Pelor or Heironeious found themselves unexpectedly inflicting wounds on a penitent they'd intended to heal, and resigned their calling in shame.

Material Component: A piece of jet worth at least 100 gp.

Taasken's Divination Veil
Illusion (Glamer)
Level: Cleric 7
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: 1 round or more (see text)
Range: Touch
Target: Creature or object touched
Duration: 1 hour/level
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes

Taasken's Divination Veil protects the target from the effects of divination and information-gathering spells. Scrying spells that target the subject specifically do not work at all; scrying spells that scan an area the subject is in succeed, but don't detect the target. Even limited wish, miracle, and wish cannot be used to divine information about the target.

The caster of Taasken's Divination Veil can also choose to impart false information to any divination attempt targeted on the subject. The caster can impart as much or as little false information as he chooses, but must make the decision about what lies to spread when the spell is cast. Each false piece of information or answer to a question woven into the spell increases the casting time by 1 round (or more, if a particular falsehood is particularly involved and complex, at the DM's opinion.) A divination spell that targets the subject and seeks information about a topic masked by the Divination Veil will appear to work, but returns the false information rather than the correct details. A person affected in this way may make a Will save to disbelieve the glamer; if the save is successful, no information is available.

Taasken used this spell to protect himself and his allies from hostile scrying, and to encourage the spread of lies and rumors about his enemies. By using Taasken's Divination Veil on an unsuspecting victim, and then encouraging others to use divinations to uncover the 'hidden truth' of his victim, he could successfully frame his foes.

Taasken's Seeming of the Lich
Illusion (Glamer, Phantasm, Shadow)
Level: Cleric 8
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2 levels)
Target: 1 living creature
Duration: Concentration + 1 minute/level
Saving Throw: Will negates; see text.
Spell Resistance: Yes; see text.

This powerful and complex spell imparts the appearance and some of the powers of a lich upon the subject.

Taasken's Seeming of the Lich has several components to it. First, a glamer surrounds the subject, making his flesh seem to wither on his bones. The subject's equipment appears rusted, rotted, and decayed; his eyes glow blood-red. The glamer also causes the character to appear as strongly magical, strongly evil, and undead (though it doesn't mask any existing auras the subject may possess, and can't create lingering auras). The glamer doesn't disguise the subject's natural features, and the subject may be recognized by those who knew him before if he doesn't take further measures to disguise himself.

Second, a phantasm effect invoking sensations of death and evil affects all those who view the subject, invoking fear, hatred and disgust. This effect is not magical fear (so paladins and other characters immune to fear are not protected from it, something that may serve as a clue to the spell's presence) and cannot force anyone to panic or flee as a true lich's presence would, but may serve to encourage natural fear in those targeted. The phantasm grants the subject a +10 competence bonus to Intimidate checks, but a -4 penalty to Diplomacy checks.

Finally, shadow energies are bound to the subject's body, granting the subject a touch attack that deals 2d8 points of negative energy damage. Unlike normal touch attacks, this effect cannot be suppressed by the subject; it activates anytime the subject purposefully touches another being. The negative energy aura is two-fifths (40%) real, and deals correspondingly less damage to targets who disbelieve the illusion.

Unwilling targets of this spell can negate the spell's effect by making a Will save or with spell resistance. If the spell takes effect, observers may make a Will save to disbelieve the illusion, but spell resistance doesn't help. A single successful Will save frees an observer from all aspects of the illusion (though the shadow energies of the subject's touch attack still deal some damage).

Taasken employed this spell both to spread fear and dissention by making others appear to be undead, and on himself as a tool of intimidation.

Focus: A skull fragment taken from a lich and subsequently ritually blessed by servants of Vecna or another deity of death. The ritual of blessing requires herbs and incense worth at least 1000 gp.

Taasken's Impersonation of the Deity
Illusion (Shadow)
Level: Cleric 9
Components: V, S, XP (see text)
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: See text
Effect: See text
Duration: See text
Save: Will disbelief (if interacted with); varies; see text
Spell Resistance: Yes; see text

This potent spell allows the caster to select a deity known to him, and a Conjuration (Summoning), Conjuration (Creation) or Evocation spell of 7th level or less from a domain granted by the chosen deity to his clerics. Taasken's Impersonation of the Deity creates a partially real, illusory version of the chosen spell.

Any effect created by Impersonation of the Deity is three-fifths (60%) real, though creatures who believe the spell to be real are affected at full force. The spell effect retains its usual descriptors, including alignment, so a caster who misuses this spell may damage himself (an evil cleric using this spell to invoke a Holy Word would deafen himself, for instance). In all other ways, this spell functions as Shadow Conjuration or Shadow Evocation, as appropriate.

When this spell is cast, a minor glamer also takes effect on the caster. Observers attempting to identify the spell being cast (by using the Spellcraft skill, for example) must make a Will save to disbelieve; if they fail, they'll identify the spell as the spell being emulated. Even if the Will save succeeds, the observer can still fail to correctly identify the Impersonation of the Deity by normal means.

This spell was favored by Taasken in his efforts to impersonate clerics of other faiths, as it allowed him to invoke spell effects that no evil cleric could normally call upon.

XP Cost: None, if used to emulate a spell that could normally be used by the caster as a divine spell; 250 XP otherwise.

2004-08-16, 01:34 AM
I need a bit more time to fully consider how balanced these spells are, but the ideas are just awesome. Like... I'm looking at them, and I see awesomeness. Congrats on making the evil DM's life a little easier.

2004-08-16, 02:32 AM
These spells rock :)

I've suggested in the Spell Theme Contest thread that you should make these into a domain if allowed. Hopefully we'll get a ruling on that soon, assuming you'd want to.

Exxxxxcellent work (looks for evil grin smiley, fails to find :-/).


2004-08-16, 03:42 AM
Thanks for the compliments!

I'm not too inclined to make the Taasken's spell list a domain, though. I just don't see Taasken as quite powerful enough to get his signature spells rammed through as a whole Domain, and if he did they'd be entirely too popular... 8)

2004-08-16, 05:03 AM
The only issue as I see it then becomes why every evil god's followers don't take these spells and begin corrupting the masses! Sure, some focus on strength or whatever (Hextor?) and so might not grant it - which afaik is the only limit on cleric spell selection, but if these were generaly available I think the goodly world would be in a whole messa trouble!

Plus these spells are a little too tricksy to fit the cleric flavour. For a domain that's okay (like, er, trickery), but for "general release"? I'm not so sure.


2004-08-16, 01:15 PM
These spells are pretty awesome! I fear them being used against me in any campaign already ;)

2004-08-16, 01:37 PM
Would it be okay with you if I used some of these in my game? Vampiric Ruse and Twisted Justice definitely fit the flavor I'm going for.

2004-08-17, 12:22 AM
Nice spells.

2004-08-17, 05:45 AM
Great spells ! You won my vote :D

2004-08-18, 04:12 PM
Ok... now that I have a few minutes. Let's take a look at a few of these spells.

The first one seems almost pointless, but it's a zero level spell so that much is expected.

Ruse of Voices
Tongues is a fourth level cleric spell, so they don't get it until level 7 at the earliest. Even bards (the first class to get it) don't get it until level 4. Combine Ruse of Voices with the first level Comprehend Languages and you can almost duplicate Tongues. Due to this, I'd suggest you change the spell so that the illusion doesn't convey meaning unless the caster knows the language the spell is duplicating (and granting +2 bonus on the save as a result).

Seeming of Invulnerability
A well balanced spell.

Exemplar Glamerie
Another well balanced spell. One minor change I'd suggest would be to add in size change restrictions similar to Disguise Self. The spell shouldn't be able to make a small imp look like a large celestial eagle. Also, you might want to extend the duration to 1 min/lvl or more. I assume that the priest wants everyone looking at him so that they all see how "good" he is. In that case, it would be kind of hard to avoid the scrutiny of his fellow clerics if they were to see him casting another spell just before casting the summon.

Vampiric Ruse
A L4 single target version of Antilife Shell with a will save. Considering the effects, I'd say it's a well balanced spell.

Twisted Justice
This spell is iffy. Placing at the same level as Mark of Justice doesn't seem too harmful, but I've always been wary of adding new abilities to spells without compensating. However, making it a different spell should be fine, especially since a spellcraft check can differentiate between the two.

I'll look at the rest a bit later. For now, good job.

2004-09-03, 09:43 AM
Darnit, spent a week moving to Michigan, and then my computer blew up and needed about six reformats in the three days just before the contest closed. So no revisions I guess. :( Oh well, guess the spells stand as written...

2004-09-03, 11:49 AM
Hey I thought I had more time and never revised my last spell. Looks like the same boat eh? Wait why are my shoes wet? uh oh.