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Apr 18, 2017

D&D Spell Cards

I've been really into D&D more and more lately, and am starting a work group to play it with, which is really fun. I just love how 5th edition is so accessible compared to older ones. If you haven't tried it (I don't care what your excuse is), you should! Seriously! It's such an inspiring game for creativity in many forms.

Anyway, I've been assembling resources in order to play the game in as easy a way possible based on my own likes and dislikes. I bought some knight figurines to use as crude miniatures (along with my better looking painted Talisman ones), I'm trying to find a reliable source of graph paper, music soundtracks, initiative trackers, better character sheets, and I'm saving up to buy an actual DM screen. But one thing has really been hard to adapt: spells. There used to be spell cards up on Amazon, but they cost up to $300 now, up from about $10 a few years ago. So I decided to make my own.

It took me at least a dozen hours, but after coming up with a clear format, I finally finished copying over all the spell cards, organizing them into Nature, Arcane, Divine, and Bardic categories. I also made weapon cards to make it easier to remember weapon types and properties.

One thing that I was able to do during this process that was an unexpectedly fun surprise was customize the cards. I took cards out. There were a few cards, such as Maze, Mirage Arcane, and Rope Trick, that I thought were stupid or redundant, so I simply didn't make them as part of my personal set. I modified cards. Some cards say you have to cast the same spell every day for a year for it to be permanent. I think that's simply too long, so I changed it to three months. I also changed the names of some spells I thought sounded stupid, such as changing "Arms of Hadar" to "Demon Nova," and "Geas" to "Enslave Creature."

I even changed fundamental mechanics, like the components. At first, I thought the free-cost components were kind of an unnecessary mechanic anyway, but I saw some things online that convinced me that in some situations they could be fun, so I kept them. But one thing I did not want to worry about when DMing in the future is different consumable components that cost the same amount. I thought it was dumb that some spells required "a diamond worth 1,000," so I instead standardized that entire system using runes. This will also help make the game a bit more like Warcraft, which is probably the system I'll be using most anyway. The runes will be available at mage shops and found in dungeons just like the random gems and whatnot will be, but they'll be easier to use for other spells if needed. Their prices are as follows, and you're free to use them if you wish:

  • Spark Rune - 10gp
  • Ley Rune - 25gp
  • Mystic Rune - 50gp
  • Astral Rune - 100gp
  • Void Rune - 150gp
  • Prismatic Rune - 250gp
  • Power Rune - 500gp
  • Nether Rune - 1,000gp
  • Eternal Rune - 5,000gp

  • These cover almost every spell in 5th edition D&D, but if there's an odd amount, you can just say the spell requires a combination of two more more runes. I also added "medallions" to the game to cover the weird ingredients that cost but aren't consumed; each type of magic has a different form of medallion needed to cast the spell: talismans for arcane spellcasters, relics for divine spellcasters, totems for druids, and trinkets for bards. For example, for Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion, instead of "A miniature portal carved from ivory, a small piece of polished marble, and a tiny silver spoon, each item worth at least 5 gp," I just say "a castle talisman or trinket worth 5gp." The player is going to have to buy them anyway, so why not make them all uniform, like a collection of arcane focuses?

    Oh, that reminds me: I took out all the proper names in the spells. They just don't work well in a Warcraft setting. So Bigby's Hand is just Arcane Hand, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere is just Resilient Sphere, and Hunger of Hadar is called Hunger of the Void.

    I also added weapons to the list based on the Warcraft Roleplaying Game for 3.5 edition. The game has weapons for the most part covered (even firearms), but I added the Tauren Totem, the Orcish Claws, and the Moonglaive.

    All in all, it's been a fun experience and a fulfilling one, since I've been able to familiarize myself with the spells in the game in anticipation of making new adventures in the future based on them. The only thing I need to do now is save up enough money to actually have all the cards printed, and hope that they don't violate any copyright laws.