[Note: I have added the Cleric and Magic-User spells info to the CARCOSA Optional Rules doc in the download thingie over to the right, in case anyone cares.]
Carcosa is a world filled with magic, it’s a place that Doug Henning would love! But that magic is tainted by the dismal emanations of sorcery and the abominable crimes used to fuel that wicked discipline.
Magic-User spells have a base 50% chance of failure, modified downward by 10% per level of the caster (ex. a 3rd level M-U has a 20% chance of failure, at 5th level and above the chance of failure is removed). A failed spell counts as spent. Here’s a little chart in case you want to jazz up those failed spells, roll 1d6:
1. Spell fizzles with a comically tiny fart sound and brief stench of sulfur.
2. Spell fails with a dangerously thunderous fart sound and combustion of M-U’s clothing.
3. Spell energy is imparted into a random item carried by M-U; item will discharge the spell to full effect in 1D rounds, probably you should throw it before then.
4. 1d3 B’yakhee materialize to see what the fuck is going on. 50/50 whether they are aggressive or curious in the manner of children.
5. Spell energy soaks into adjacent terrain feature (ground, tree, dungeon wall) and imbues it with weird Carcosan life; generate random Shub Spawn and have it sort of erupt from the feature, rooted in place but able to attack/use abilities.
6. Raw magical energy builds up within the M-U then explodes outward from ears, nostrils, mouth, and eyes. Lose 10% of current hp per spell level attempted, stunned for 1D rounds.
Additional notes, per spell:
Animate Dead: Does as advertised and now you have Skeletons or Zombies running around, and the locals are all “Oh great, just when I thought this place was fucked up enough…”
Anti-Magic Shell: Beings conjured via sorcery or things powered by sorcery (including Elder Signs, Snake-Men Octacles and Sunstones, etc.) are either violently ejected into an adjacent dimension or permanently de-powered – lots of DM leeway to determine what either of those means and in which circumstances to apply them. Trying to conduct a ritual while within an anti-magic shell results probably in full-on head explosion.
Charm Monster: Have fun with your monster, use it wisely.
Charm Person: Works on Men, Amphibious Ones, White Lotus Zombies, and Diseased Guardians.
Clairaudience: 85% chance works as intended, 15% chance you get some interference and must roll 1d4: 1) listen in on Space Alien frequencies save vs. spells or terror reaction for 1D turns, 2) Mummy Brain sees what you’re up to save vs. spells or charmed and attempt journey to secret lair 10-100 miles away, 3) HAARP feedback save vs. spells or vegetative state for 1D days, 4) ultratelluric harmonics provoke cosmic epiphany, automatically pass next three saving throws
Clairvoyance: 85% chance works as intended, 15% chance you glimpse horrors from between time & space, save vs. spells or blind for 1D days and grossed out by Carcosa forever after.
Cloud Kill: 2% chance you actually summon the Putrescent Stench.
Confusion: Carcosa is really confusing even under the best of circumstances, so double the effectiveness, duration, etc. of this spell.
Conjure Elemental: Elementals on Carcosa? Not on my watch. Instead, it’s like you just activated a Fecund Protoplasmic Pit – whatever pops into existence obeys you for the duration of the spell.
Contact Higher Plane: Randomized invocation, roll d%: 1-50) entity is contacted per standard invocation ritual and responds accordingly, 51-75) entity answers with lies, 76-00) entity back-traces you and consequences will never be the same.
Continual Light: Roll randomly to determine color of light (white, green, dolm, orange, etc.). Black equals UV light. Some colors are more useful than others. Reverse: 50% chance of casting Darkness, 50% instead call down a portion of the interstellar void, any within suffer 3-24hp cold damage per round.
Control Weather: If you like add Radioactive Fog, Acid Showers, and Void Irruption to the list… but it’s up to you to figure out what those mean.
Death Spell: Go for it, you evil dick. Any chaotic sorcerer who witnesses you cast this spell must save vs. spells or offer to serve you for 1D weeks.
Detect Evil: ‘Evil’ on CARCOSA is relative, DM use judgment when determining effectiveness; in cases with any uncertainty, spell is ineffective. Reverse: ‘Good’ is also relative…
Detect Invisible: Yep, there they are!
Detect Magic: Sorcery counts as magic.
Dimension Door: 10% chance of a complication, roll 1d4: 1) curious B’yakhee arrives at new location with you, 2) departure and arrival doors persist for 1D days and lord knows what may come out of them, 3) teleportation appears instantaneous from Carcosa frame of reference but teleportee experiences event duration of 1D days and probably some weird shit goes down during the trip, 4) teleportee emerges at destination split into good/evil halves like in that Star Trek episode, what hijinks will ensue?!?!?
Disintegrate: Disintegrates the shit out of stuff, Space Aliens will be very curious to examine you.
Dispel Magic: Perfect for undoing the shit that happens from casting the other spells, can halt a ritual in its tracks, works like a banishing ritual (entity gets saving throw)… did I miss anything?
ESP: Works like the Carcosa psionic power, just to keep things easy.
Feeblemind: Also works against sorcerers, but with a duration of 1D weeks.
Fly: Transform into Spawn of Shub-Niggurath, generate all attributes as usual except movement type, which is always “land and flying.” Alignment does not change unless “neutral (unintelligent)” is rolled, in which case all bets are off – player should say a little prayer that she is not airborne when duration elapses.
Geas: Same ol’, same ol’ and this is such an evil spellcaster staple that sorcerers will have a hard-on to find out how you do it.
Growth of Animals: Change the words “giant-size” in the spell description to “friggin’ gargantuan” and calibrate stats/consequences accordingly.
Growth of Plants: Creepy, fast-growing foliage. 20% chance it is sentient.
Hallucinatory Terrain: Works the same, I got nothing for this one.
Haste Spell: Exactly the same.
Hold Monster: Works on Bone men.
Hold Person: Does not work on Bone men.
Hold Portal: Think weird, like the door swells into a mass of heaving flesh, or rigid tentacles spear out into the jamb, or the angles go non-euclidian and no one can’t even figure out how to open it.
Infravision: The recipient’s flesh runs as wax from a flame, liquesceing into a heaving, seeping pool of protoplasmic tumult amid gurgling screams of terror and agony. Then localized time rewinds, the spool flashes backwards and in a fraction of a moment the bilious plasm boils into rude form, features coalesce, colors balance, and the recipient is restored to familiar form. Thereafter, the spell functions as normal. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why.
Invisibility: On Carcosa, you can remain invisible when you attack. Yep, that’s better.
Invisibility, 10′ Radius: See Invisibility above.
Invisible Stalker: Summons a Spawn of Yog-Sothoth instead; no matter what the mission, chance it goes rogue is 1% per hour, cumulative (i.e. after 1 day, 24% chance it goes batshit and starts in with the tentacles and the penetrating and the yuckiness).
Knock: Works the same, except whatever is opened makes a really creepy drawn-out creaking noise as it opens.
Levitate: Caster emits a theremin-like noise for entire duration of spell, faint when near ground and rising in pitch as height increases, so forget sneaking up on anyone.
Light: See Continual Light above.
Lightning Bolt: Zap!
Locate Object: Can this spell be weirded out? I’m drawing a blank… Tracking things down is so crucial to the setting, this could be a very handy spell.
Lower Water: Works as normal, but what you end up revealing that was in the water could be super creepy.
Magic Jar: Caster can also place her consciousness into a robot, or better yet like a brain in a tank on top of a robot body.
Massmorph: What kind of trees will your army look like? Weird Carcosa trees.
Move Earth: 10% chance per 6” moved that a disgusting Tentacle Thing (AC 6, MV 6, HD 1D, 1 att. per HD, unintelligent) is unleashed from hiding.
Part Water: If cast on the Watery Death, Slime God, Shambler of the Endless Night, Lurker of the Putrescent Pits, Jale Slimes, Inky Crawler, Green Ooze Pool, Dolm Puddings, Dolm Oozes, Desiccating Slime of the Silent Halls, or Colorless Ooze, does 6D damage and stuns for 1d4 rounds.
Pass-Wall: Same effect, remarkably non-weird.
Phantasmal Forces: Yeah, make a bunch of illusions, go for it.
Polymorph Others: Try this shit on one of the unique beasties and they’re just gonna laugh at you, but pretty much anything else goes. And you can use it to change people from one color to another.
Polymorph Self: Not only do you gain all the abilities of whatever you polymorph yourself into, but each hit die of your new form is a 1% chance you turn into a permanent perfect clone of your new form, each special ability is a further 5% chance. (So if you turn yourself into Cthulhu it’s a done deal that you become Cthulhu II and go off to fight Cthulhu I. If you change yourself into the Fetor of the Depths it’s a 25% chance that you become FotD II, and otherwise you just get its powers for 6 turns + 1 turn/level.) Perfect clones assume the mentality of their new form and depart to slay any/all originals. How’s that for a campaign ender?
Projected Image: 5% chance a Mummy Brain inhabits and substantiates the projected image and immediately departs on errands of wickedry and woe.
Protection from Evil: See Detect Evil above.
Protection from Evil, 10′ Radius: See Detect Evil above.
Protection from Normal Missiles: Works against anything powered by kinetic energy, magnetic effects, or chemical propulsion.
Read Languages: Does not work for sorcerous writings.
Read Magic: Works only for sorcerous writings (i.e. not Snake-Man, Primordial Ones, etc.).
Reincarnation: Use of this spell is not recommended on Carcosa. Regardless of alignment, you can come back as any monster in the Monster Descriptions section. If a unique monster is rolled (Cthulhu, Crawling God, Squamous Worm of the Pit, etc.), recipient is a nerfed clone with 1D HD, no psionic powers, and no more than 3 attacks per round. Recipient’s alignment changes to match new form. Those unique monsters? They hate copycats.
Remove Curse: Works as advertised, also cures Diseased Guardian disease.
Sleep: Sure, works the same. You’re gonna need it.
Slow Spell: Exactly the same. If cast on a sorcerer during the performance of a ritual, target is not slowed but automatically saves against chance of unnatural aging. Every sorcerer will want you to be their special buddy.
Stone to Flesh: Casting this on a random outcropping of stone creates an amoeboid-type spawn of roughly man size (generate additional stats randomly) that will attack anything in its path; it unerringly heads for the nearest village.
Telekinesis: Like the Carcosa psionic power.
Teleport: Instead of death in cases of uncertain teleportation, the magic-user materializes on the transport pad of a Space Alien facility/ship amid 1d6 surprised Space Aliens. Where shit goes from there, that’s up to you guys.
Transmute Rock to Mud: Works the same, I’m out of ideas.
Wall of Fire: Summons and binds a Cthugah’s Flame Creature. It’s stunned and immobile for the duration of the spell, then 50% chance it disperses harmlessly, 50% it gets pissed and gets busy with the tentacles and the psionics and the mindless killing.
Wall of Ice: Standard wall of ice you know and love, except… every facet reflects a swirling, slightly disorienting image of I’thaqua. Disquieting, but seemingly harmless.
Wall of Iron: Roll 1d4: 1) weeps blood, 2) scalding hot and emits steam, 3) murmurs contentedly when touched, 4) you can ask it a question and there’s a 50% chance it answers truthfully. There’s your weird wall.
Wall of Stone: Just a regular stone wall but made out of evil rock like basalt or obsidian or mummyrock.
Water Breathing: Works like a charm. Deep Ones encountered underwater are predisposed to like you.
Wizard Eye: The eye should look super funky and all creepy and shit, like a Japanese tentacle eyeball and prone to lewd staring and can an eyeball drool? This one does.
Wizard Lock: Like Hold Portal above, with all the normal additional stipulations for this spell… except a sorcerer three levels above the caster can’t move through it.