Monday, July 20, 2020

Rend Soul and Melt: Black Magic for DCC RPG

 When I wrote my article on using One-Page Dungeons, I statted out a villain named Stoya,  minion of the demon prince Obitu-que. In Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG,  Obitu-que is only partially fleshed-out. He has no signature patron spells and only a short write-up... which was perfect for my purposes. I needed a master of an evil cult who could melt people into Gelatinous Humanoids and steal souls. 

Making those abilities  Patron Spells that Obitu-que could grant gave me a patron for the cult that was suitably demonic, and a pat way to note those powers without a lot of writing: they could just be spell names in Stoya's grimoire. If the players wanted more, I could always write them later.

Well, the campaign is on hiatus, but a reader, Voivode K., has asked for the spells so that he could run my version of ItDI. So here they are in full DCC RPG format. I might submit them to the zines, like The Gongfarmer's Almanac:

Rend Soul

Level: 2     Range: 20’    Duration: Varies    Casting Time: 1 round    Save: Will to negate

General      Servants of Obitu-que are taught how to tear souls drectly from living bodies and use them to fuel magic, or offer them up to the Lord of the Five. To use this magic most effectively, the caster must construct a Black Dagger of Obitu-que and a Soul Jar. The Caster gains the ability to create both when they learn how to cast this spell. 

                           Elves, faeries, and creatures without souls like demons and golems are immune to this spell. Creatures under the effects of a Blessing or Protection from Evil spell are also immune.

                           Black Dagger of Obitu-que: This knife must be made with an elf's thigh-bone for a handle. A mould of alchemically enriched (requiring 750gp in materials) clay must me made for the hilt and filled with lava that is then cooled into an obsidian blade and sharpened on a millstone whetted in the caster's blood. This is followed by a 28-day ritual during which the caster must not be disturbed. At the end of the ritual, the caster must perform Invoke Patron (Obitu-que) and getva result of 24. Sacrifices and offerings are advised, as failure causes the dagger to crumble to dust.

                           Soul Jar: A Soul Jar is an object for capturing a stolen spul. It must be made as a clay pot or a bronze vessel, stuuded in gemstones, and have an image of a human face embedded on it. A jar can only contain a soul if it has 50gp woth of gems embedded in it per hit die. Making a Soul Jar costs a point of Luck. A bronze Soul Jar grants a +4 bonus to the casting of the spell. If the face on the Soul Jar is deliberately made to represent the spell's target, the spell is cast using a d30.

                          Once a Soul Jar is filled, a character may offer it up to Obitu-que. Doing so grants them a bonus based on the Hit Dice of the creature whose soul is contained within.

                           1-3: +4 to the caster's next spell roll. Obitu-que considers this payment for a previous favour.

                           4-6: As above. Obitu-que is pleased and grants the caster +1 Luck.

                           7-9: As above, and Obitu-que grants the caster the service of a Type II demon for 1d3 commands. Obitu-que coniders seversl favours repaid.

                           10+: As above, only the demon serves the PC for 1d7+1 days.

                           Breaking a Soul Jar intantly frees the soul to either return to its body (if alive). If the body has died roll 1d6. On 1-5 the soul flees to the afterlife. On a 6 it becomes a ghost.


Manifestation    Roll 1d4: (1) The caster's jaw unhinges and stretches to horrid proportions as they pull the soul from their enemies with a supernatural inhalation; (2) The caster lets out a shriek that blasts the soul from the target; (3) Ghostly barbed chains extend from the caster's hand and hook into the target, letting the caster pull the soul free; (4) Swarms of ghostly devils fly out of the caster's clohes and buffet the target, tearing at thir soul until they pull it free.

1    Lost, failure, and misfire. (Potential patron taint, corruption, etc.)

2-11    Lost. Failure.

12-13    Failure, but spell is bot lost.

14-17    If the target fails its Will save its soul is shunted out of its body for 1d4 rounds. A ghostly version of the target can be seen floating next to the taget, connected to it by a silver chord. While the spell lasts, the target is in a daze, and acts on a d14 for all actions.

                          If the target is a Warrior, they may roll a Will save using 1d20 plus their deed die to attempt to force their way back into their soul on the first round of this effect.

                            If the silver cord is cut by a Black Dagger of Obitu-que (AC 15, 4hp), the soul is severed, and the target collapses. The caster may then try for the duration of the spell to draw the soul into a soul jar. The Target must make a Will save at +4 (using a d20) or be drawn into the jar.

Once the soul is in the Soul Jar, the body is in a coma takes 1d3 Stamina damage per day until it reaches 0 stamina,  at which point it dies. The body also may become posessed without a saving throw, if a ghost or similar creature comes upin it,

18-19    As above, only the soul is shunted outside the body for 2d4 rounds.

20-23    As 14-17, except the target's soul is shunted out of the body for 3d4 rounds, and falls unconscious until the soul can return.

24-27    As 20-23, except the soul is shunted out of the body for 3d6 rounds. The target gets no saving throw to avoid being trapped in a soul jar.

28-29    If the target fails its save its soul is immediately shunted out of its body and into a soul jar if one is available (otherwise treat as a rol of 24-27). The soul is stuck with its silver cord taut between the body and the soul jar for 3d6 rounds, and is unconscious..  During this time, the caster automatically suceeds in cutting the silver cord eith a Black Dagger of Obitu-que on their dext action, if they choose. If they do, the body instantly dies and rots away.

                           If the Soul Jar is made of Bronze, the Caster can force the soul to animate the jar: it can see, hear, feel, and speak, and possesses the knowledge and memories of the target. These vessels are often tormented with hot coals or noxious smells into giving up secrets.

30-31    If the target fails its save, its soul is ripped from its body and pulled into a soul jar. On the next round, a warrior may make an additional will save using their deed die to return to their body. If the target fails that save, or is not a warrior, the silver cord snaps instantly, and the body dies, rotting away to nothing.

                           A Soul Jar can be made into an animate vessel as described in 30-31.

32+    If the target fails its Will save, it is instantly killed, and its body rots away. Its soul is rendered into a tiny gem (White for Lawful, Yellow for Neuteal, Dark Red for Chaotic) worth 1,000gp per HD of the target. The target can be summoned as a ghost and commanded by the bearer. Offering this gem to Obitu-que will pay all debts and grant the caster +3 Luck.


Level: 1      Range: 30’    Duration: Varies    Casting Time: 1 round    Save: Varies

General    As a minion of Obitu-que you can channel the soul-tearing  heat of the underworld's alchemical furnaces to destroy mere earthly matter and flesh.With afew worlds weapons can melt in enemies' hands, armour slough off of bodies, walls collapse into sludge, or even living bodies be reduced to jelly.

Manifestation    Roll 1d4: (1) Beams of ctimson fire leap from the caster's eyes and melt the object under their  gaze; (2) The caster sweats quicksilver from their pores as the object they point to melts; (3) The caster spits a jet of jndigo sludge that covers the target and melts it; (4) A cloud of foul-smelling vapours rise from a fresh crack in the ground corroding the object whike mikdly irritatingveyes and noses.

Corruption    Roll 1d5: (1) The caster's skin becomes translucent, letting fat, muscle and bone be seen underneath in bright light; (2) The caster constantly reeks of ammonia, and irritates eyes and noses of those around them; (3) The caster's tissue becomes partially gelatinous: it is sticky and squishable causing body piercings to fall out; (4) Instead ofvshedfingvdead skin cells normally, they constantly liquify and drip off the caster as organic grease; (5) The caster's bones become rubbery, cutting the amount they can carry by 80%: they cannot wear metal armour without being contorted and left immobile.


1    Lost, failure, and misfire. (Potential patron taint, corruption, etc.)

2-11    Failure, lost.

2-11    Failure, but spell is not lost

14-17    A non-magical hand-held item like a weapon or tool melts into a pool of sludge unless the person holding it succeeds a Will save.

18-19    Up to 2d3+CL non-magical items or one magical hand-held item is reduced to sludge. Non-magical items do not get a save. If this targets a magical item, the item always gets a Will save. Alternately all the non-magical clothes and armour on a target can be melted unless the target suceeds a Will save.

20-23    All the clothes and armour, and equipment on a target are melted into sludge. Magical objects and grimoires get a Will Save to avoid being melted.

24-27    As above, except magic items save at -4 


                           Up to 20 cubic feet of Earth and Stone or 5 cubic feet of metal are reduced to a rubbery, gelatinous consistency. They character holding their breath can push through a wall at 1/6 their regular movement speed. If cast on the surface beneath creatures, they sink as if standing on quickstan; this effect lasts 1 hour.

28-29    As above, except that up to 100 cubic feet earth and stone or 25 cubic feet of metal can be affected; Creatures can push through walls at 1/2 speed. If the targeted area is a load-bearing part of a structure, the structure must make a fortitude save, or collapse as it squashes it gelatinized area out of shape. At the end of the effect's duration, squashed material collapse into rubble and sand


                          A creature begins to melt into goo. If the target is humanoid, it must make a fortitude save or be turned into a gelatinous humanoid. They cannot carry or where objects that weigh more than 5 lbs; their gear and armour sloughs off of them into a pile at their feet. After one day, they must make an additonal fortitude save: if they succeed, they returned to their humanoid form, but gain a corruption from the table above. If they fail, they become a gelatinous humanoid  permanently. A non-humanoid creature targeted by the spell suffers A- 6 penalty to strength and Constitution for one day, and can only carry one tenth their usual capacity.

                           Gelatinous Humanoid: Init: +1; Atk: Slam +2 melee (1d6); AC 14; HD 2d8; 9hp; MV 20'; Act: 1d20; SP: Half Damage from Slashing and Piercing, Grab; SV fort +4 Ref +2 Will -2; AL: C.

                           When a gelatinous humanoid strikes a target it may choose to turn its arm into a coiling pseudopod to entangle them. The gelatinous humanoids may use later actions to deal 1d6 constriction damage automatically or force the target to move 20'. On their turn a target may make a DC 12 Strength check to break free. Any other action is performed at -2d. Casting Melt on a Gelatinous Humanoid is done at a +10 bonus.

30-31    A targeted creature begins to melt into goo. If the target is humanoidm it must make a fortitude save or be turned into a gelatinous humanoid as described above, permanently. If it is a non-humanoid it must make a fortitude or be turned into a goo beast. After one day they must make an additonal fortitude save: if they succeed, they return to their original form, but gain a corruption from the table above. If they fail, they become a goo beast  permanently.

 Goo Beast: Init: -1; Atk: Slam +4 melee (1d6); AC 12; HD 3d8; 13hp; MV 10'; Act: 1d20; SP: Half Damage from Slashing and Piercing, Envelop; SV fort +3 Ref +0 Will -4; AL: N

                          A barely sensate creature made of living jelly, a Goo Beast lashes out at anything it can sense within 20', but has no senses beyond that range, and wanders aimlessly. When it hits a creature of human size or smaller it can choose to envelop that creature. As its action the  enveloped creature may make a DC 12 Fortitude save to escape. A Goo Beast may take an action to deal 3d6 damage to an enveloped creature from its digestive enzymes. A Melt spell cast on a Goo Beast automatically gets a result of 32.

32+    A targeted creature must make a fortitude save or be melted into puddles of it's various alchemical components. These components are worth of 1d6 x HD x 10 gold pieces to an alchemist, and may be used in the spells Brew Potion, or in the creation of magical items.


  1. Hi Brian, thank you for writing these up.

    My player's had a blast running through the adventure (but I'll comment on that post about it). Stoya was freed from the magic circle but was 'rescued' and then fled into the surrounding forests at the first opportunity. So he's still out there, his foul magical rites of Obitu-que ready to strike again!

    These are fantastic! How do you find writing DCC spells? I struggle to come up with complete tables, and as such have done little myself... I've mostly been shamelessly borrowing from every source I can find.

  2. DCC spells are time-consuming, to be sure. You need to go in with a lot of ideas. I spent a lot of time listening to psychedelic rock and playing movies in my head to come up with them before I started writing.