Thursday, July 11, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 25: Supplement III - Eldritch Wizardry


Eldritch Wizardry, written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, was published in May 1976 as the third supplement for D&D.  The cover immediately signals a new era of production design for TSR, swapping the beige and monochrome of earlier products for vibrant colour.  The image apparently wasn't without controversy either, perhaps the first of many that the company would endure.

The interior signals a shift as well, moving D&D away from traditional mythology and Tolkienesque fantasy, and much more towards the weird fantasy genre. It's far more steeped in D&D lore than any other product before it, and a number of the game's most famous figures appear here for the first time.

I'll summarise the contents below. Note that I'm really skimming over this stuff, mostly as an aid to my own memory. For a more detailed look, start from this post right here.

New Rules Introduced

  • Psionics and psychic combat
  • A new initiative system that introduces segmented combat rounds.
  • Expanded wandering monster tables for the wilderness, the astral and ethereal planes, and psionic encounters.

New Classes Introduced

  • Druids (a sub-class of clerics)

Psionic Attack Modes Introduced

  • Psionic Blast (actually modified from the Mind Flayer ability)
  • Mind Thrust
  • Ego Whip
  • Id Insinuation
  • Psychic Crush

Psionic Defense Modes Introduced


  • Mind Blank
  • Thought Shield
  • Mental Barrier
  • Intellect Fortress
  • Tower of Iron Will

New Psionic Powers Introduced

  • Reduction (Fighters, Magic-Users)
  • Expansion (Fighters, Magic-Users)
  • Levitation (Fighters, Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Domination (Fighters, Clerics)
  • Mind Over Body (Fighters, Clerics)
  • Invisibility (Fighters)
  • Precognition (Fighters, Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Suspend Animation (Fighters)
  • Body Equilibrium (Fighters, Clerics)
  • Clairaudience (Fighters, Magic-Users)
  • Clairvoyance (Fighters, Magic-Users)
  • Body Weaponry (Fighters)
  • Energy Control (Fighters)
  • Telekinesis (Fighters, Magic-Users)
  • Dimension Walking (Fighters, Clerics)
  • Astral Projection (Fighters, Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Molecular Rearrangement (Fighters, Clerics)
  • Molecular Manipulation (Fighters)
  • Body Control (Fighters)
  • Mind Bar (Fighters)
  • Detection of Evil/Good (Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Detection of Magic (Magic-Users)
  • ESP (Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Hypnosis (Magic-Users, Clerics)
  • Molecular Agitation (Magic-Users)
  • Telepathic Projection (Magic-Users)
  • Dimension Door (Magic-Users)
  • Teleportation (Magic-Users)
  • Etherealness (Magic-Users)
  • Shape Alteration (Magic-Users)
  • Empathy (Clerics)
  • Cell Adjustment (Clerics)
  • Animal Telepathy (Clerics)
  • Aura Alteration (Clerics)
  • Telempathic Projection (Clerics)
  • Mass Domination (Clerics)
  • Probability Travel (Clerics)

New Spells Introduced

Druid 1st level
  • Predict Weather
  • Locate Animals
  • Detect Snares & Pits
  • Purify Water
  • Faerie Fire

Druid 2nd level
  • Produce Flame
  • Locate Plants
  • Obscurement
  • Heat Metal
  • Warp Wood

Druid 3rd level
  • Protection from Fire
  • Call Lightning
  • Hold Animal

Druid 4th level
  • Produce Fire
  • Protection from Lightning
  • Plant Door
  • Control Temperature, 10' r.
  • Hallucinatory Forest
  • Animal Summoning I (a different name for Conjure Animals)

Druid 5th level
  • Control Winds
  • Pass Plant
  • Hold Plant
  • Animal Growth (a different name for Growth of Animals)
  • Commune with Nature
  • Anti-Plant Shell
  • Animal Summoning II

Druid 6th level
  • Conjure Fire Elemental
  • Weather Summoning
  • Transport via Plants
  • Anti-Animal Shell
  • Animal Summoning III
  • Turn Wood

Druid 7th level
  • Fire Storm
  • Conjure Earth Elemental
  • Animate Rock
  • Creeping Doom
  • Transmute Metal to Wood

New Monsters Introduced

  • Demon, Type I
  • Demon, Type II
  • Demon, Type III
  • Demon, Type IV
  • Demon, Type V
  • Demon, Type VI (not actually new, just a new name for the Balrog)
  • Succubus
  • Demon Lord, Orcus
  • Demon Lord, Demogorgon
  • Couatl
  • Ki-Rin
  • Shedu
  • Intellect Devourer
  • Su-Monster
  • Brain Mole
  • Cerebral Parasite
  • Thought Eater
  • Mind Flayer (not new, but brought over from The Strategic Review #1 and given some psionic powers)

New Artifacts Introduced

  • Invulnerable Coat of Arn
  • Mace of Cuthbert
  • Sword of Kas
  • Axe of the Dwarvish Lords
  • Wand of Orcus
  • Rod of Seven Parts
  • Codex of the Infinite Planes
  • Hand of Vecna
  • Eye of Vecna
  • Baba Yaga's Hut
  • Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless
  • Queen Ehlissa's Marvelous Nightingale
  • Machine of Lum the Mad
  • Mighty Servant of Leuk-O
  • Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty
  • Crystal of the Ebon Flame
  • Heward's Mystical Organ (misspelt here as Reward's)
  • Horn of Change
  • Ring of Gax
  • Crowns, Orbs and Sceptres (one set for each alignment)
  • Throne of the Gods
  • Orbs of Dragonkind

Details and conjecture relevant to the Ultimate Sandbox

  • Druids and monks are unable to develop psionic abilities.
  • Of the player character races, only humans can develop psionics.
  • Druids are neutral, attuned to Nature, and worship no specific deity. They have a secret druidic language and a strict hierarchy: in all the world there are only four druids of 11th level, two Archdruids of 12th, and a single 13th level Great Druid.
  • The Astral Plane is given some more detail. Demons and other creatures lurk their, and monsters such as medusae and basilisks can gaze into it. Those projecting into the Astral Plane are connected to their body by a "silver cord", and there are psychic winds which may blow their astral forms away and snap the cord.
  • The psionic powers refer a lot to scientific concepts such as molecules and cells. While the technological level will be a fantasy mix of medieval and renaissance, magical research will have advanced a lot of scientific theory into a more modern time-frame.
  • The concept of parallel worlds is introduced, with some psionic characters given the ability to travel across them.
  • The Ethereal Plane is solidly established.
  • Invisible Stalkers can now be encountered on the Astral and Ethereal Plane
  • Demons of Type VI and above that are defeated on the material plane will be banished to the Abyss rather than killed.
  • Naming a demon might summon it.
  • The Balrog is reclassified as a Type VI Demon
  • The Abyss is ruled over by multiple Demon Princes. Orcus and Demogorgon are just two of them.
  • Orcus is Demon Prince of the Undead, and wields the Wand of Orcus.
  • Demon Lords, High Devils, Saints and Godlings are mentioned, and all said to be of like status to Orcus.
  • Demogorgon is rumoured to be supreme among demons.
  • Demon Princes and Lords keep their essences stored in small amulets. These amulets need not be kept by their owner, although lesser Demon Lords usually carry theirs or keep them near. Possessing the amulet gives the owner power over the demon for a time (never more than 24 hours).
  • Couatl are regarded as divine by the people of their homelands (warm jungle-like regions). They can also be found in the Ethereal Plane.
  • Shedu are cousins to Lammasu.
  • Brain Moles are said to inhabit "most places above and below ground".
  • The Coat of Arn (whoever he may have been) is the relic of a bygone age.
  • St. Cuthbert is mentioned for the first time, and was probably a cleric of Law.
  • Kas was once the bodyguard of Vecna, and the mightiest swordsman of his age. His sword was a thin, grey blade "of some metallic substance".
  • The Axe of the Dwarvish Lords was forged from the heart of a volcano by a long-forgotten dwarven king. It passed from father to son until it disappeared in battle a thousand years ago, and has been rumoured to have appeared in various places around the world. It apparently requires human sacrifice to function, so it's possible that it was forged during a particularly bloody dwarf/human war.
  • The Rod of Seven Parts was broken and scattered in various places around the world.
  • The Isles of Woe upon the Lake of Unknown Depths were once ruled by a wizard-cleric who owned the Codex of the Infinite Planes and used it to gain knowledge of great power. This knowledge caused the wizard-cleric's downfall, and the waters of the lake swallowed his domain. The Codex also requires human sacrifice, and frequent users may eventually become a demon or godling. (It should also be noted that wizard-cleric's are an impossible combination under OD&D rules.)
  • Vecna was an ancient lich who was so powerful that he was able to imbue his hand with great power before he was destroyed, enabling it to live on long after him. It's rumoured that one of his eyes also survived, although it's feline glittering casts doubt on whether it was actually Vecna's true eye.
  • Baba Yaga was apparently the greatest wizardress of all time.
  • Tuerny the Merciless, and the Groaning Spirit contained in his flask, remain mysteries.
  • Queen Ehlissa is said to have reigned for several centuries, bending her Marvelous Nightingale to her will and never allowing it to escape.
  • Lum the Mad, and his relationship to the machine named after him, remain a mystery.
  • The Mighty Servant of Leuk-O is a relic of a visiting race of space travellers, which could tie in to the aliens from Supplement II's Temple of the Frog, or perhaps the crashed ship in Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Oddly, its users are compelled to undertake a holy quest.
  • The Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty is rumoured to have once been the property of  'the fabled Shah Cham'Ponee'.
  • Heward (here named Reward), and his relationship to the Mystical Organ named after him, remain a mystery.
  • So too does Gax and his connection to the Ring of Gax. The stone set in it can't be identified by even a dwarf or a jeweller.
  • There are several sets of the Crown, Orb and Sceptres, one for each alignment, all scattered and well hidden. Does that mean Chaos, Law and Neutrality, or does it include Good and Evil as well? What about the various alignment combinations? (A look at the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide says that there are three: Good, Evil and Neutrality.)
  • The Throne of the Gods was carved into the heart of a mountain by an ancient race in honour of their gods.
  • There are five Orbs of Dragonkind, each with the essence of a dragon trapped within. They are: the Orb of the Hatchling, Orb of the Dragonette, Orb of the Dragon, Great Firedrake's Orb, and the Orb of the Eldest Worm.

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