This is primarily a reposting of a houserule/random table I posted a couple of years ago, but now updated for Castles & Crusades.
In my campaign casting a spell (arcane, divine or druidic) is not an automatic action.
Instead of a "to hit" roll, the spellcaster must make an ability check (Intelligence for wizards and illusionists, Wisdom for clerics and druids).
This counts as a class skill (naturally), so the spellcaster may his level to the roll, while the Challenge Level is the level of the spell being cast.
A failed roll simply means the spell doesn't "go off" that round, but it isn't lost and the spellcaster may attempt to cast it again on his next action.
However, a roll of a natural "one" is a magical fumble and necessitates a roll of a d30 on Table A.
Table A. Magical Fumbles:
- 30-21: Spellcaster is distracted and may not act next round (spell is not lost though)
- 2-20: Spell is lost, but no other effect.
- 1. Roll on Table B.
Table B. Magical Mishaps Table:
01. A random inanimate object within 60' becomes animate - and frisky!
02. Spellcaster changes skin colour for 1d6 hours. Roll on sub-table -
- (1) Blue
- (2) Red
- (3) Orange
- (4) Mauve
- (5) Green
- (6) Yellow
04. Spellcaster's clothing evaporates (only non-magical garments).
05. Spellcaster soils himself.
06. Random finger on spellcaster's hands turns into a tiny tentacle for 2d10 days (-1CHA).
07. Caster loses (1-3)/gains (4-6) 2d10lb weight (permanent).
08. Caster grows (1-3)/shrinks (4-6) 1d12" in height (permanent).
09. Caster grows little horns on top of his head for 1d3 weeks (-3CHA unless covered by hat etc).
11. Caster develops nauseating body odour which increases chances of attracting a random wandering monster. This lasts for 1d6 hours and cannot be removed prematurely by bathing.
12. Caster is irrevocably wiped from the space/time continuum... for 1d30 minutes then returns to exactly the same spot with no recollection of lost time.
13. Regardless of what caster is standing on a field of yellow and white daisies pop up in a 1d6 x 5' radius circle around him.
14. Caster changes sex (1-4 male to female/female to male; 5 Androgynous; 6. both sexes simultaneously).
15. Roll again and effects then kick in after a (1-2) 1d6 hour; (2-3) 1d6 day; (5-6) 1d6 month delay.
16. Roll again and effect targets a random member of the caster's party instead.
17. Instant mind swap with nearest sentient lifeform of comparable size (be it monster, party member, animal etc) for 1d6 x 10 minutes.
18. Physically exchanges places with nearest living blood relative.
19. Changes race to that of nearest sentient lifeform of comparable size.
20. Caster develops overpowering craving for a pint of ale (even if previously teetotal), to such an extent that all die rolls (except damage) he makes will be at -2 until he satisfies that craving.
21. Starts laughing loudly and uncontrollably for 1d6 minutes, then burps.
22. Caster's footwear contracts so that it is too uncomfortable to wear.
23. Caster collapses and starts flapping around like a fish out of water for 1d6 minutes.
24. A cow appears.
25. Tears a man-sized hole, in front of caster, in space and time to the room where the PLAYERS are! Will stay open for 2d30 seconds.
26. Caster believes he has "wasps in his brain" for 1d6 minutes.
27. Caster regresses/devolves to a primitive/neanderthal state for 1d6 hours (halve INT, WIS & CHA, add +3 to STR and CON, cannot use 'advanced' technology, such as pens, paper, crossbows etc, speech is limited to grunting which means no magical spells either).
28. Caster's skin hardens - permanently giving him a +1 bonus to AC, but a -1 penalty to DEX and CHA.
29. Caster regenerates into a totally new person of the same sex and race (but of random appearance) - rerolling all stats , but keeping memories, skills, experience points etc Change is permanent.
30. Caster's head swells up to the size of a watermelon for 1d6 hours (no other side effects, except -3CHA).
31. Caster goes deaf for 1d6 x 10 minutes.
32. Caster forgets a random, uncast, spell from his daily allocation and must spend the normal amount of time relearning it.
33. Everyone - within 100' of caster - forgets who they are and what they doing (for 2d12 hours) and must piece together who they are from the 'clues' at hand (see Buffy episode Tabula Rasa)
34. For next 2d6 days caster's spells only work if he sings the required incantation.
35. Random male party member experiences painful priapism for 1d6 x 10 minutes - very distracting, all die rolls (excluding damage) at -3.
36. The ghost of caster's nearest deceased blood relative appears and will answer 1d3 questions, to the best of his ability (but will lie [40-caster's Charisma] per cent of the time)
38. Caster's skin, muscles and organs become transparent (so, from a distance he appears as a clothed skeleton) for 1d4 hours.
39. Caster is forcefully thrown backwards 1d10 x 10 feet (CK to adjudicate damage if he hits a wall etc)
40. Caster suffers nose bleed and loses 1 hit point.
41. Caster goes berserk and attacks nearest sentient lifeform (fellow party member, monster, animal etc) in a murderous rage (gaining +2 to hit, but a -2 penalty to AC) until knocked unconscious. When wakes will have calmed down.
42. If in an enclosed space (indoors, in a dungeon etc) the caster suddenly becomes extremely claustrophobic and must get aside via the shortest, and fastest, route possible. Effect only wears off once out in the open again.
43. Roll twice more and combine the two effects.
44. Roll again and double the strength of the effect (double range/penalties/damage etc)
45. The next time the caster opens his mouth to speak out comes...
- (1) A puff of smoke
- (2) A venomous snake
- (3) A swarm of wasps
- (4) A mouse
- (5) A large (but not monstrous) spider
- (6) Bubbles
- (7) A canary
- (8) An egg
47. The CK passes a note to the spellcaster's player that says "nothing happens", but swears him to total secrecy or he will suffer a random effect when he breaks his 'vow of silence'.
48. SPELLPOCALYPSE! All the spellcaster's unspent spells for the day are cast at once - targeting random subjects within their range. He is then left with no magical capability for 48 hours, extreme fatigue and must take twice as long to relearn all his spells as normal.
49. Spellcaster transforms into the physical likeness of his deity (for 1d4 days) - except for the massive effective Charisma boost (probably +10 at least!), there are no added statistical increases or abilities, just a lot of grief from clerics, fellow worshipers, rival cults etc.
50. Nearest female humanoid (party member, civilian or monster) is suddenly (1d8+1) months pregnant with caster's child (even if spellcaster is a woman!).
51. A random limb on the spellcaster withers and becomes permanently useless (or until a remove curse is cast). CK to adjudicate specific penalties for withered limb. Roll to discover which limb:
- (1) left leg
- (2) right leg
- (3) left hand
- (4) right hand
- (5) left arm
- (6) right arm
52. Caster immediately goes into "warp spasm" (for a maximum of 2d10 rounds).
53.Caster's hair changes colour (permanently). Roll on sub-table -
- (1) Blue
- (2) Ginger
- (3) Green
- (4) Orange
- (5) Bright Yellow
- (6) Grey
55. Caster goes blind for 1d6 x 10 minutes.
57. Caster's nose melts into his face (Voldemort-style), just leaving a pair of slits for nostrils (permanent).
58. Caster hears a noise (that only he can hear), but cannot pinpoint where it is coming from. This will continue for 1d6 minutes, then happen an hour later for another 1d6 minutes. For the type of sound, roll on sub-table -
- (1) Scratching (mouse-like)
- (2) Children laughing
- (3) Bestial snuffling
- (4) Clanking of chains
- (5) Drip, drip, drip...
- (6) Indecipherable murmuring
- (7) Flapping of wings
- (8) Sighing
60. Caster (although he doesn't realise it for quite some time) stops ageing and will never physically get older (and will be immune to all magical, supernatural etc methods of forced ageing). He is not immortal though and can still die from wounds etc or once his allotted time is up. He'll just leave a beautiful corpse!
61. For the briefest of moments (although it's a lifetime for him) the spellcaster's mind is opened to the cosmic infinite, granting him an insight into everything, tearing the mask off Nature and showing him the face of God. He must make a Wisdom check (with a CL of 6) or be struck permanently insane. However, if he makes the roll his INT receives a boost of +1d6 points and he becomes totally insufferable and smug as the ultimate 'know-it-all' (although his mind has actually forgotten 99.999999999999 per cent of what he saw and learned). If the CK needs to select a form of insanity he should roll on his "insanity table" of choice (the insanity is curable by whatever methods are normal for that in your campaign).
62. From now on all food and drink consumed by the spellcaster tastes like ashes and poison and he can only gain sustenance from drinking blood. He is not a vampire though and gains no other abilities or weaknesses, he just has a very refined palate. As a curse, this can be lifted by use of a "remove curse" spell.
63. The caster is left permanently, physically weakened by the spell and loses 1d3 points from his STR, CON and DEX. His hit points are also temporarily halved (but can still be regained by the usual methods of rest, cure spells, medicine etc).
- (1) Kitten
- (2) Puppy
- (3) Duckling
- (4) Baby chicken
- (5) Bear cub
- (6) Wolf pup
- (7) Mouse
- (8) Hedgehog
66.The caster's body painfully (take 1d8 damage) contorts and reshapes itself as he grows extra muscle and toughens up, leaving him with a +1d6 bonus to his STR.
67. A random humanoid within 20ft of the caster breaks wind very loudly.
68. For 1d6 days the caster will become very indecisive, will always act last (regardless of Initiative score) in any combat situation, and unable to decide on a course of action, what spell to cast, which route to take etc until he makes a Wisdom save, with a CL of 6 (check for every major decision). Mostly played for laughs, except in serious life and death situations when his decisions will be controlled by the dice.
69. The caster's INT is halved for 2d10 minutes and he becomes sexually attracted to the nearest humanoid form of any gender and species (note this can be a statue or a mannequin, as well as fellow party members, monsters etc - depending on location).
70.The next time the caster tries to sleep he will be plagued by hideous nightmares, meaning not only will he not regain any hit points through resting but he will be unable to regain any cast spells from the previous day. This only happens once, but the following day he will be so shaken all die rolls (except damage) suffer a -1 penalty.
71. Festering boils erupt over the caster's body and unless magically cured will hang around (occasionally bursting and oozing puss) for 2d6 days - during which time the afflicted takes a -3 CHA penalty and -1DEX penalty (as free movement is slightly inconvenienced by the growths).
72. Caster's body is wracked with excruciating pain for 1d4 minutes. He must make a Constitution check or pass out for 3d6 minutes. During the initial attack, even if he stays conscious, he is unable to do anything except writhe around and scream loudly.
73. The caster is struck down with the "dancing sickness" and must keep dancing and moving for the next (1d3+3) days. He loses one point of CON per day and, once a day, must make a Constitution check or collapse from exhaustion (0 HP). This, however, will break the fever and he can recover normally. However, if he rolls a "1" on one of these saves then he suffers a random, possibly fatal, effect:
- (1) Takes 3d6 damage from exhaustion
- (2) Has a heart attack - make a Constitution save or die
- (3) Has a stroke (permanent loss of 1d3 from INT, STR, CON and DEX).
75. Caster grows additional limbs. The Castle Keeper will need to determine the benefits/penalties, depending on the size, age, race etc of the caster. Roll to see limbs are grown -
- (1) An extra arm (1-2. left side; 3-4. right side; 5. out of chest; 6. out middle of back)
- (2) Two extra arms (roll as above, but twice)
- (3) An extra leg (between his existing legs)
- (4) Two extra legs (outside his existing legs)
- (5) Large wings (1. Gull, feathery/White/angelic; 2. Raven, feathery/Black; 3. Leathery, reptilian; 4. Leathery, bat-like/Red/Demomic). These grant power of flight at a speed equal to (1.5 x ground movement rate), but are large, even when folded, and cumbersome in tight spaces.
- (6) Roll twice and combine results.
77.Spellcaster's nose turns into a small pig snout (for 1d6 days), causing a -2 CHA penalty for the duration.
78. Caster instantly grows facial hair (even if female, which would bring a -3 CHA penalty if culturally/racially inappropriate). If ever shaved off with grow back in (1d6 x 10) minutes. Roll for type -
- (1) Full, bushy
- (2) Pointed goatee
- (3) Soul patch
- (4) Enormous handlebar moustache
- (5) Pencil moustache
- (6) Hitler/Chaplin moustache
- (7) Beard down to waist
- (8) Massive mutton chop sideburns
- (9) A Van Dyke
- (10) Chinstrap beard
81. The caster grows 1d3 extra (1-3) fingers/(4-6) toes on (1-2) left side/(3-4) right side/(5-6) both sides. Will probably need bigger shoes if he gains extra toes and will require tailor-made gloves for extra fingers. There are no boni for these extra digits as they will probably not be as strong or flexible as the originals (permanent).
82. The caster has a vision (which the CK then needs to decide whether it is a portent of a future happening or just a daydream). Roll on sub-table for content of vision -
- (1) Distant, mist-enshrouded mountains
- (2) Seven geese flying backwards
- (3) A gate of iron slamming shut
- (4) The caster's god pointing at him
- (5) A stone skimming across a flat, silent lake
- (6) A one-armed old man gesturing the caster to follow him
- (7) The land's capital city in flames
- (8) A thin woman giving birth to a giant snail
- (9) A sacred-looking tree falling over in an empty grove
- (10) A trio of small dragons coiled around a naked, white-haired woman
- (11) A creature with glowing red eyes and insect-like wings flying at the caster
- (12) The caster's mother trying to whisper something in his ear, but he can't make it out.
84. Unknown to him, the spellcaster has acquired a 50 per cent magic resistance, which means all magic cast against him (including positive, curative types etc) has only a 50 per cent chance of working from now on (permanent).
85. The spellcaster grows a tail. It comes bursting out through his trousers and/or robe and brings with it a -2CHA penalty. It will only hang around for 1d6 days. Roll on sub-table for type -
- (1) Donkey
- (2) Pig
- (3) Cat
- (4) Serpentine
- (5) Monkey
- (6) Horse
87. A random inanimate, and non-magical, item on the caster's body, in his hands or in his backback/sack etc explodes in a small puff of flames. The item is lost, vaporised, and the caster - along with anyone within five feet - suffers 1d6 damage.
88. The caster's face - and face alone - ages (10 x 1d6) years. This can only be reversed by a remove curse spell, or something stronger.
90. Caster's head slowly revolves (painlessly) through 360 degrees, then he spews a jet of pea-soupy vomit (2d6) feet straight forward. Anyone who witnesses this must make a saving throw (versus fear) or be shaken for 2d6 minutes (-1 AC penalty and -1 on dice rolls). Anyone hit by vomit makes the save at a -2 penalty.
91. Caster spews out a jet of flame from his mouth (range: 1d6 x 10 feet) that does (Caster's Level x 1d6) damage to anything (or anyone) it hits. Those hit may make a Saving Throw to halve the damage.
92. The caster's fingernails harden like claws and he can now use them in physical combat to cause 1d6 damage per strike.
93. Caster starts sobbing uncontrollably and can't stop for 3d6 minutes (after two-thirds of that duration has elapsed he starts crying blood. There are no physical ill effects, but it quickly becomes very messy).
94. Unknown to the caster - unless he is with them - his nearest blood relative dies suddenly of a heart attack - unless it is a fellow player-character, in which case they suffer a stabbing heart attack that causes (their Level x 1d6 damage). Save to halve damage.
95. Caster shouts the rudest string of expletives he can think of at full volume.
96. A six-foot apple tree bursts out of the ground, (2d6) feet away from the caster directly (1-2) in front/(3-4) behind/(5-6) to the left/(7-8) of him. Anyone standing where the tree erupts up out the ground is knocked out of the way - in a random direction - for 1d4 damage.
97. The caster goes as stiff as a board and falls over (taking 1d4 damage). He will remain paralysed for 3d6 minutes.
98. The caster screams and collapses, clutching at his head which is wracked with excruciating pain for 1d4 minutes. He must make a Constitution check or pass out for 4d6 minutes. When he recovers, he has forgotten a chunk of his life and lost one level in experience.
99. The caster spontaneously combusts, bursting into bright blue magical flames that cause (his level x 1d6) damage (he may attempt a saving roll to take only half damage). Anyone within five feet will take half damage (save to avoid all damage). The fires go out after a single round.