Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Revised GURPS Magic: Entombment

The party's druid just learned Entombment. You know, also known as Forlorn Encystment from the Dying Earth books.

This spell was much-used as a utility spell in my previous campaign, which featured three of the same players in my current group of regulars. In a dungeon setting, some of these are probably fine:

- storing chests

- storing prisoners

- caching treasure

- temporarily stopping someone from dying

Some really aren't:

- using it to pass through intervening earth (think, cavern 40' down, spell puts your 50' down into open air and you drop down, no Suspended Animation because the cyst doesn't form)

- if that fails, use it to test depth.

- using it to get rid of doors ("We'll Entomb the door!" - not that this came up)

So here is what I'm planning on:

As written, except replace the second sentence with this paragraph:

The subject remains in Suspended Animation (as per Magic, p. 94), in a tiny spherical chamber up to 50 feet underground. If open space exists where the subject would be encysted, the chamber will be 40' down; if that is also open, it will be 30' down, and so on. At least 10' of earth or stone must be beneath the subject or the spell fails automatically. The caster cannot determine how deep the subject was entombed. The subject remains there until rescued by tunneling or the reverse of this spell. Inanimate objects resist with their HT (usually 12) or the better of the DR or HP of any attachments (chains, hinges, etc.); some objects may not be separable from their attachments and are treated as part of the larger object (you can't Entomb parts of a wall.)

Otherwise works as listed.

I was tempted to make it "animate only" much like most attack spells are, effectively. But if people really want to Entomb corpses and chests, they can. The only doors vulnerable to this are going to be too weak to resist cheaper and more effective attacks. I still might, if my players prefer it.

I'll also rule that it only works if you're within a yard of the ground. A few inches of Levitate wouldn't do to make you immune - you need to be up at least a yard.

I also took pains to make it clear that staying awake is a cast-on-self only option. Also, it's worth reading Suspended Animation before you start making assumptions about what that means you can do with it. It's not Suspend Time . . .

For more revised spells for DF, see my appropriately-named Revised GURPS Magic for DF page.


  1. Never thought to Entomb a door, but the hinges and other attachments would make it difficult, no? Can you Entomb a tree? We can say that failing to resist includes scrabbling at the floor as you're swallowed up, but it seems like it should only work on discrete objects/creatures.

    1. As re-written, it should be more clear that it's discrete objects. However, sometimes discrete objects are being held, chained, holding onto something, etc. and that shouldn't make you immune to Entombment.

      Like I said, my intention is that it should remain as a powerful attack spell - save or suck, basically - but not be an all-purpose utility spell for travel, storage, attack, exploration, depth testing, etc.

  2. Neat thought, being able to Entomb doors and stuff, but I'd likely rule that the subject has to be animate, myself. I've never had to make that ruling before. I don't think a PC has ever actually cast this spell in all my 20+ years of running GURPS. I have no idea why, as I've had my fair share of Earth mages, but for some reason they all prefer Flesh to Stone.

    1. The very first GURPS mage we had, back in my first 1e game, took Entombment to start out. That was a 9th level spell in AD&D and he could start with it - sold!

      He also took Flesh to Stone. Heh.

  3. I really like these spell revisions; please keep 'em coming. Kromm's spell revisions are the thing I'm looking forward to most in Dungeon Fantasy RPG; if the RAW improve to the point where GURPS GMs don't need to tweak the spells so much, great.

    I don't think it's actually a very good attack spell, because of the 3 second casting time, cost 10, and R-HT. It's more the spell you use on an important enemy that you've already subdued to keep him prisoner until you need him. Or the spell you use on a dying PC to keep him alive and safe until you come back with a cleric. Or a way for the caster to hide for a few days, if he can breathe underground.

    1. It's a fight-ender if it works. You just can't deploy it on high-HT foes unless your skill is quite high. In DF, that shouldn't be a problem though.


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