The Living Spells of Eberron

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on February 23, 2011

Glitterfire (Living Spell)The Mournland is one of the great mysteries of the Eberron campaign setting. It was created by some arcane accident that will never be explained. One of its more intriguing elements are the living spells that now haunt the land. Representing the spells being cast at the time of the Mourning, these spells gained some semblance of sentience and attack when the opportunity is presented.

Eberron is the campaign setting that the Dungeon’s Master team uses for our home game. During a recent stint of encounters the party was investigating strange disturbances that mirrored the effects of the Mournland. In an attempt to keep the party off balance and provide them with a new challenge, some some new Living Spells were created.

The monsters that are listed below have gone through some play testing. The Living Magic Missiles used to do a substantial amount of damage and has been adjusted down to a more reasonable level. I hope you enjoy them and look forward to hearing how you may work them into your own campaign. Original Living Spells designed by Bauxtehude (Liam Gallagher).

Living Magic Missile

Heroic Tier

Paragon Tier

Epic Tier

Living Greater Hammerfall Step

Living Flaming Sphere

Have your experimented with custom monsters in your campaign? How was the experience received by your players?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Psynister February 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

Living Spells are one of the coolest monsters that have come out in years, and they were one of the first things I experimented with when Eberron was first released.

Great job on these, I especially like the Greater Hammerfall Step.

2 Erik February 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

I create custom monsters all the time. It’s one of my favorite parts of being a DM. I especially like coming up with cool attack powers then giving said powers clever names.

My monsters tend to be balanced against those found in Monster Manual 3 (that is to say, slightly more powerful than MM1 & MM2). I’ve mostly made humanoids, never tried making Living Spells. When 4E first came out, my DM at the time made a Living Fireball that we ended up just running away from instead of fighting, so I can’t vouch for its abilities or balance.

3 Alton February 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

Funny, I have never heard of these. It is a really interesting concept I will have to look into. Good job on the spells.

4 Jacob Dieffenbach February 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I don’t see a living Mordenkainen’s Disjunction in there! If you want a terrified party, that’s the spell to make XD

I’ve always loved living spells. They’re also a great way to freak spellcasters out–“You cast Slay Living on the carcass crab? You feel a surge of energy in your spell, make a Spellcraft check for me.” “Fffffffff-! *searches for his lucky d20*”

Aw man… this just makes me want to play Eberron now though, but assembling a group is hard for me nowadays. I’ve done a ton of Eberron prep work, too–I want an Essentials-only game, so I’ve done a ton of work converting and polishing up to Essentials standards feats, monsters, rituals, the four races + gnome and goblin… I even did an Essentials-style rewrite of the Artificer! And I have it all printed out, cut up into Essentials-sized pieces and tucked into the books.

…now I just need to find people who want to play around here. Hm.

5 Sunyaku February 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I’m with Alton, this is the first I’ve heard of these, but these are awesome. It kind of makes me want to wander through lists of spells and rituals to create a few “living magics” to integrate into my home game. :-)

6 Wimwick February 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

@ Psynister
Thanks for the feedback. Most of the design credit goes to Bauxtehude (Liam Gallagher). We colaborated on the most recent campaign elements. He designed some encounters, including these monsters, and I wove the story elements together.

@ Erik
Creating custom monsters is fun, but you need to be careful. The original versions of these were a bit tougher in terms of the overall damage that was delivered. I have scaled them back a bit, though I’m sure Bauxtehude would run them at full strength.

@ Alton & Sunyaku
If you aren’t familiar with Eberron then most likely you haven’t heard of living spells. That’s one of the great sins I think WotC is has committed with 4e by releasing 2 books per campaign setting and then not really revisiting them.

@ Jacob Dieffenbach
Eberron is hands down my favourite campaign setting. The perfect blend of action, intrigue and adventure.

7 Psynister February 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

@Jacob
I’m 100% with you on Eberron as well as the lack of local players. I haven’t been able to get a group together since a couple of months before 4E was actually released. I only have 2 people that are remotely interested in playing and we’re all on opposing sleep schedules with different days off, so we’re just screwed all around. The curse of living in a small town, I’m afraid.

8 Quanerious Plumm April 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

I’m a little late to the party, but I just found this great place. I’ve had a lot of luck with living spells using the 3.5 MM3 version. The best one to date in the Living Mass Cure Serious Wounds Spell. My players hate when I roll out any oozes now. A living teleport spell is another great story hook for any party, or for lower levels a living dimension door causes a headache.

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