To be clear; I'm not planning on replacing spell scrolls with these, they are an addition. It's probably also good to point out I based these lightly on the pop culture depictions of jufu talismans from eastern (I think Japanese) religion.
I had this idea to make scrolls more widely usable. Since, spell scrolls can only be used by spellcasters and more specifically spellcasters that have the spell on their spell list, this limits how and by who spell scrolls can be used. This also doesn't even take into account that higher level spells could not work. The catalyst for me for making them was that I wanted to have encounters with magic, without the necessecity to have a spell caster.
Of course by expanding the usefulness and usability compared to spell scrolls, I also added some detriments to not just make them better than scrolls. So, to not further avoid the actual topic of the post I'll write out my current thoughts on how they would work. Please let me know what you think of the idea.
- To use a talisman, it has to be attached to an applicable target for the spell that the talisman contains. This can be done in melee or at range by attacking with the appropriate attack roll.
- After it has hit, if the spell still requires a saving throw, the spell effect will only work if that fail is saved.
- If the spell requires concentration, the talisman stays attached to the target for the duration of the spell. To stop the spell, the talisman can be pulled off with an action requiring a Strength (Athletics) or Intelligence (Arcana) check, the DC is 10 + the spell's level. (Talismans don't require concentration for any spell)
These are the things I've decided on. There are a few things that I've been thinking about that I also want to share, but are more nebulous. And I'll give reasons for why I'm considering them.
- Talismans of spells that have effects that have specific target types, like creature, (I'm mainly thinking of transmutation or enchantment effects) will not activate if the attack doesn't hit. This is mostly because of the visual I have of the piece of paper being thrown and landing on the floor and not activating because it only affects a creature. This does mean they are reusable, making it less of a gamble to use, although the enemy could use it against you.
- In combination with the last one. Spells that already required an attack roll, will be used up whether they hit or miss. This is mainly to balance it with spells that have a saving throw, because those can fail to work, by either missing or the saving throw being successful.
- A spellcaster can make a spell attack to hit a target with the talisman instead of a physical attack. Again this is mostly from flavour and the idea I had with them. It seems weird to me that a magic user would have a harder time (in general) to attack with a talisman or charm, than just casting a spell.
- Spells that have a point in range as the target, requiring an attack roll. I'm just not sure how to determining that DC, my current thought is something like 5x every 10 ft (because most thrown objects generally have a range around 30 ft). This is mostly to make spells like fireball less desirable in talisman form, because without the chance of it going off target, it would be better to have it in talisman form that scroll form, because then anyone could use it.
- The check for removing a talisman takes an attack action, instead of a full action. This is mainly for situations where someone might have buffed themselves with multiple effects that would normally requiring concentration. So, in other words to compensate for the last point of the rules I'm already confident on.
- How would you make true strike better? (plus blade ward)
- Player wants his wizard to R&D a spell
- The everyman’s contraption shield (high magic campaign, leveling magic item)
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Talismans; a homebrew variant on spell scrolls." specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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