Cleric Spells for a Dying Earth

As most of you probably know, Jack Vance died two weeks back.

I have no special knowledge of Vance’s work. I impulse-bought Mazirian the Magician a few months back, but never got around to reading it. But reading all of the moving obits Jack merited, I felt compelled to pick it up and try again.

I stayed up until 3 a.m. that night reading, and till 2 the next day to finish it. As a real adult now with a real job and an increasingly Twitterified attention span, commanding my attention that long is a real feat.

As it happened, I was running D&D that Friday for the first time in forever (and B/X D&D for the first time ever; my fellow OSR nerds, I beg forgiveness). Inspired by Vance, I remembered the fantastic Dying Earth Spells for D&D (which I first encountered on Untimately). I ran Stonehell in a haphazardly-imagined “Dying Earth”-lite, and I was entirely sold. I loved the dramatically-named spells, loved the setting, loved the whole bag.

But while I had a much-more atmospheric Magic-User/Elf spell list, the Cleric was stuck with the generic. “Resist Cold”. “Light”. “Remove Fear”. All fine enough in their way, but they didn’t quite fit in with “The Metamorphoun of Fire” and “Phandaal’s Polyglottal Lobe”.

I did some scrounging for a follow-up, but while author John once alluded to a Cleric version, I never managed to locate one.

So, (asking my beloved reader to bear in mind that my knowledge of Vance, B/X, and Cleric spell balance is shaky) I humbly offer up “Cleric Spells for a Dying Earth: Level One”.

I tried to make them Cleric-y, of course. Few are particularly useful in the heat of combat, and most allude to supra-human entities. But I thought it was more important they be Vancian: I hope they evoke a world that is rich in history, deeply amoral, and in irrevocable decline.

Cleric Spells for a Dying Earth

Level One

Elshazzar’s Obliterative Visage

Range: 0
Casting Time: 1 minute
Duration: 3 days

Anyone who looks upon the target will entirely forget what the target looks like as soon as they lose eye contact.

The Adjuration of the Murderous Queen of Heaven

Range: 30’
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: 1 day

If the target fails a save against Spells, they act without any pity or mercy until the spell expires.

The Birthword of the Loyal Servitor

Range: 0
Casting Time: 1 minute
Duration: 2 turns

One small statue you touch animates and attempts to obey a single command.

The Cross of the Forgotten Savior

Range: 0
Casting Time: 1 turn
Duration: 4 turns

Draw a cross in the dust; no Chaotic creature can come within 10’ without taking 5d6 damage.

The Mantra of Marvelous Fecundity

Range: 100’
Casting Time: 1 turn
Duration: Permanent

All vegetation within a 10’x10’ area experiences a half-century of growth in a single turn.

The Paean to Earth’s Lost Moon

Range: 0
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: 3 turns

Target creature loses 6 points of Intelligence (with a minimum score of 3) and temporarily forgets all prepared spells, but gains +1 to melee to-hit and damage.

The Prayer to the Bloodied Heart

Range: Special
Casting Time: Instant
Duration: Instant

You and four creatures within 20’ of you each lose 1 HP, and one target you touch gains 1d8+1 HP.

Zanathiel’s Blessed Wineskin

Range: 0
Casting Time: 1 minute
Duration: 1 day

A wineskin you touch will dispense 2d6+level gallons of delicious wine.


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Image Credits

Cleric of Skulls by beelzebuddha, licensed CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Shoggoth by Pahko, licensed CC BY-SA 3.0