View Full Version : The Magicians: Niffin Template (PEACH)

2012-03-11, 07:45 PM
"There are certain spells . . . if you lose control of them, they will change you. Consume you. Transform you into something not human, a niffin, a spirit of raw, uncontrolled magical energy."

-The Magicians

I recently finished Lev Grossman's book The Magicians; in Grossman's universe, a careless magician who overextends him or her self may become a niffin. I'd really love to implement this in a D&D campaign as something which can happen to arcane casters. I imagine this would be a template. I have a first draft, on which I would love some feedback!

I'm still not sure what the requirements should be to become a niffin; the spellcasting system doesn't really allow spellcasters to overextend themselves and attempt spells they can't control. So I'm open to suggestions on how to set conditions for the transformation.

Niffins also have at-will uses of any spells that the base creature has prepared (or knows); I'm trying to come up with an elegant way to portray "uncontrolled magical energy," so further suggestions there would be helpful.

The elemental type is also a best guess on my part. As beings of magical energy (whatever that is) they seemed to fit with the elemental concept better than any other type that I know.

Note also that if a PC were to gain this template, they would become NPCs under the DM's control.

Niffin is an acquired template that can be applied to any arcane spellcaster (hereafter referred to as the base creature).

If an arcane spellcaster overextends his or her power, the spell will break free of the caster's control and consume him or her. The transformation takes three rounds, during which time the base creature may act normally. At the beginning of the transformation, cold, dark blue flames begin at the creature's extremities (the fingertips and toetips for a humanoid, or the claw tips of a dragon, for example.) With each passing round, the flames move up the limbs of the creature, leaving behind a translucent, glowing blue replica of the creature which resembles glass or liquid. On the third round, the flames have consumed the creature entirely, leaving behind the spirit. It is unknown whether the caster actually becomes the niffin, or the niffin is a spirit which replace him or her. Killing the base creature before the transformation is complete stops the process, but any portion of the creature consumed is lost.

When an arcane spellcaster becomes a niffin, he or she loses most, if not all, memories of who he or she was before the transformation. Niffins rarely maintain any semblance of the original agendas of the base creature and typically act with little regard for the lives of others. There is said to be no upper limit on a niffin's power, and their actions are inscrutable. They presumably speak any languages known by the base creature, but there are no documented examples of a niffin speaking to anyone.

A niffin is intrinsically unstable, and will dissipate after a number of hours equal to the base creature's caster level.

Size and type
The creature's type changes to elemental. This replaces any type or subtype the base creature may have had before its transformation (i.e. a lich sorcerer which becomes a niffin loses the undead type.) Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice
Change all current and future hit dice to d8s.

Same as base creature. A niffin also gains flight, with perfect maneuverability.

Armor Class
Upon transformation to a niffin, all of the base creature's mundane possessions are destroyed. Magic items are given a saving throw, but any which survive are shed by the niffin. Thus, the niffin's armor class is 10 + Dex modifier + 3 (natural armor).

Base Attack/Grapple
The base attack of a niffin becomes equal to the caster level of the base creature.

Attack and Full Attack
The base creature loses any natural attacks it may have, and gains a slam attack.

Slam 1d6 + 1 per caster level of base creature.

Space / Reach

Special Attacks
The base creature loses all special attacks it previously had.

Special Qualities
Niffins gain Darkvision 60 ft., spell resistance 11 + base creature's caster levels, damage reduction 5 / -, immunity to poison, enchantments, paralysis and stunning; they are not subject to critical hits or flanking, cannot be raised or resurrected, nor can the niffin template be removed except by divine intervention.

Knowledge Arcana (Su): A niffin is effectively an elemental of magic. Thus, it has perfect knowledge of arcane magic. A niffin may not cast these spells, but it knows all spells which the base creature could have cast. That is to say, if a 14th level sorcerer becomes a niffin, the niffin would have knowledge of all spells level 7 and lower.
However, a niffin may cast any spells that the base creature had prepared, or knew, as though they were at will spell-like abilities, with the Quicken Spell metamagic feat applied to them.

Magic Body (Su): A niffin is harmed by spells that negate or cancel magic. Casting dispel magic on a niffin bypasses the niffin's spell resistance and causes 1d6 + CL points of damage if the caster passes a dispel check of 11 + the base creature's CL.
A niffin in an antimagic field must make a will save against the DC of the caster's spells. If it fails the will save, it winks out as if it were an incorporeal undead; if it succeeds, it takes damage as though targeted by a dispel magic. A niffin targeted by a disjunction makes a will save against the caster's DC; if it fails it is instantly destroyed. If it succeeds, it takes 20d6 + CL damage.

Base Saves
As base creature.

As base creature.

A niffin loses all skills the base creature had, and gains Spot +12, Listen +12 and Knowledge [arcana] + 50.

A niffin loses all feats which the base creature had.

Always neutral.