The Imperial sorcerers of old wove dark and terrible enchantments, crafted to wage their endless war. As the millennia went on, their spells grew ever more powerful, and ever more dangerous.
Most of them have been lost to time, but fortune hunters and obsessed sorcerers constantly scour the broken, ancient battlefields of the Dispute, hoping to recover these forgotten enchantments. They are considered incredibly valuable, and finding one might gain its discoverer a small fortune.
Note: This was designed for my Dispute setting, but should work in any Sword of Cepheus game.
Particularly powerful spells were written on vellum scrolls, which were stored in elaborate armored puzzle boxes. The spherical boxes were designed to be opened with special keys, most of which are lost. They can be forcibly opened with a Sorcery 8+ roll. Some particularly dangerous spells will be found in Sorcery 10+ boxes.
Most of the spells were designed for martial purposes, and tend to be grey or black magic.
The Seventh Circle
Many scholars theorize that in the ancient days, the sorcerers of both the Empire and the Supremacy developed a seventh circle of magic. According to legend, these were spells of power far beyond anything developed before or since. The existence of a seventh circle is hotly debated. Some scholars deny that any such power ever existed, or is even physically possible. There are no known seventh circle spells in existence.
If they exist, and can be learned, they would only work on a 13+ Sorcery roll. They would cause 2 points of corruption when cast. Any failure would require rolling on the Mishap table.
Searching for and finding a Seventh Circle spell would generally be the focus of an entire campaign.
Sample Battle Spells
Here are three examples of ancient battle spells that might be recovered. They’re all pretty horrific.
The Shattered Smile / Reign of Teeth
Tide of Blood & Memory
As the beings are not physical, they cannot be harmed.
To calculate damage, there are two methods:
The simplest way is to roll 3D for each of the sorcerer’s ranks. This will take place for each round the spell is active.
Alternatively, you can roll unique damage for each target. Total up all of the combat skills the target has (Melee Combat, Archery, Sorcery). Roll that number of dice each round the spell is active. This is intended to represent the idea that the more violent their history, the more spirits they will have to face.
The Innocence Clause (Optional): The GM may decide that any creature in the target area that is truly innocent (infants, holy penitents, horses) will escape unscathed.