The Dragonlance Nexus

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5th Age Magic

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by André La Roche

At the close of the 4th Age of Krynn, the gods left the world, taking divine and arcane magic with them. Years after, mysticism was initially discovered by the Hero of the Lance, Goldmoon. This magic was able only to affect the living and once-living. Yet despite these limitations, it served as a beacon of hope. Following Goldmoon's discovery, Palin Majere, nephew of the great Archmage Raistlin and son of Caramon Majere discovered another branch of magic, Krynn's primordial magic. Calling it sorcery, Palin set about to making this knowledge available to the world at large. It was different in structure from the arcan and divine spells that Wizards of High Sorcery and clerics cast in ages past. Instead of requiring hours of study or prayer to achieve the ability to cast time-honored and developed spells, this new magic could be used on a whim, requiring the wielder to feel and shape the magic as they saw fit.

Dividing sorcery up into groupings called "schools", and mysticism into ones called "spheres", this new magic spread across Ansalon like wildfire. Though this magic had many advantages, it likewise had it's own disadvantages. The most notable being that despite how hard casters of both orders tried, they could not get spells to last longer than one hour at most. It is important to note that even though some schools of primordial magic and spheres of mystical magic share their names with schools or domains listed in the Player's Handbook, usage of these terms does not refer to them unless mentioned otherwise.

Also, none of the metamagic or item creation Feats from the Player's Handbook can be used by spellcasters in the 5th Age. These Feats depend upon the structure of arcane and divine magic which does not exist in the 5th Age.



The school of aeromancy, encompassing the spells of elemental air, can create anything from a breeze to a gale. Aeromancers might shroud their enemies in clouds of choking vapor, call up cloaking patches of dense fog, fly above the trees, or encase themselves in a bubble of air to travel underwater.

Aeromancy also allows a primordial sorcerer to affect the weather, at least to a limited extent. Such a dramatic action, however, proves very difficult because of its broad scale; only the most powerful spellcasters can wield most weather magic.


Some primordial sorcerers consider cryomancy nothing but a hybrid of aeromancy and hydromancy (water magic). However, such contenders cannot deny the fact that a skilled cryomancer can accomplish feats no aeromancer or hydromancer could: he can manifest great cold and call into being large quantities of ice.

The spells of cryomancy can create walls of ice, freeze rivers solid even in the heart of summer, and sear enemies with a wicked frostbit that stops them dead in their tracks.


Divination is one of the most widely practiced forms of magic on Krynn. Through the use of primordial power, a diviner attempts to gain information about the world around him. A spell of divination might allow him to see magical auras or to note the presence of a trap in an otherwise harmless looking hallway. It even offers glimpses into the past and future. The trick to divination is knowing what to ask and when to ask it.

Divining spells are not flawless, of course, and they do not make a primordial sorcerer effectively omniscient. Because of primordial sorcery's natural limitations, divination does not let a hero read another's mind. In addition, while a diviner might be able to see events of the past with great clarity, his visions of the future remain subject to change—they may not even come to pass at all. Indeed, many sages say that the very act of observing the future changes it.


Few natural forcers prove more powerful or widespread than electricity. From the devastating potential of a lightning strike to the all-pervasive sting of a static spark, most people come into contact with the forces of electromancy every day.

A skilled electromancer can unleash streams of lightning from his fingers to burn or terrigy his enemies, or he can summon a faint blue aura of charge to light his way in the night.


The magic of enchantment can imbue common objects with primordial energy. Heroes may well encounter a variety of enchantments during their adventures.

Examples include an enchanted weapon (offers a bonus to attack bonus and damage rating) or an enchanted shield or suit of armor (provides a magical AC bonus).

Enchantments can take many forms, however; primordial sorcerers should not limit them to combat. A clever enchanter with spectramancy might use his power to cause the crystal on the end of his walking stick to glow, effectively eliminating any need for a torch or lantern. Of course, at present, an enchanted item retains its magic for only as long as the spell's duration allows.


Just as primordial sorcerers can command the air above, so too can they make the earth below do their bidding. Geomancers are noted for their ability to draw great stone walls from the earth or cause the ground to turn into quicksand beneath the feet of their enemies.

A geomancer's powers can affect stone, earths, metals, and even gems and other crystals. No aspect of the geological world—even alloys such as steel—can resist this primordial sorcerer's will.


The ability to manipulate all the life-giving waters of the world appears most frequently within coastal communities, althougth hydromancy is not unknown in other regions. More than one tribe of desert barbarians exists only because one of its members can draw water from the arid ground. Hydromancers can prove quite valuable during ocean voyages, as their powers can cause swift currents to run beneath a ship, hastening it along its route.

However, players should note that a hydromancer's power affects only water in its liquid state. This primordial sorcerer can manipulate ice or steam only in an extremely limited fashion, even though both are forms of water—something about the solid or vapor state makes the substance proof against the power of hydromancy. Of course, as ice melts or steam condenses, it becomes the tool of the hydromancer again.


Among the most ancient of mankind's tools is that of fire. For millennia it has heated homes and driven away the beasts of the night. Is it any wonder that the magic of fire holds a particular fascination to primordial sorcerers?

"Palin's Pyre," a spell which burns a large number of enemies at once with a giant fireball, exemplifies just some of the great potential of pyromancy.

The power of pyromancers makes them among the flashiest of Ansalon's primordial sorcerers. Indeed, more than one bard has described them as living, breathing fireworks shows.


Light and color have always fascinated manking. As such, the schools of spectramancy numbers among those most commonly studied by young primordial sorcerers. A spectramancer can create light, alter the color of existing radiances, and otherwise manipulate luminescences.

In addition to simply creating or extinguishing sources of illumination, knowledge of spectramancy permits primordial sorcerers to create images and illusions. While these phantasms remain nothing more than tricks of light and shadow, they can easily fool the unsuspecting. Some of the most common spells of illusion are those of invisibility.


Through the magic of summoning, a primordial sorcerer can transport himself or others across distances by actually folding space. Those who have mastered such powers provide great service to adventurers and other traveling folk. Of course, transporting a large number of people any great distance can prove such an exhausting, time-consuming, and difficult ordeal that few summoners embrace the challenge frequently.

Primordial sorcerers can combine the art of summoning with those of other schools to draw powerful magical creatures into the world from the various elemental planes of the universe. For example, a character gifted with knowledge of both pyromancy and summoning might draw a living creature of fire into the world from the elemental plane of fire.


The spells of transmutation involve magically manipulating unliving matter at its most basic level. While those with limited knowledge of this power can alter the structure of matter in only minor ways, a master transmuter can totally change the nature of an object. A primordial sorcerer who opts to study transmutation only can induce only limited types of changes. He might transform one type of metal into another, for example, but he could not change it into stone or glass.

A true master of transmutation, can alter the very nature of matter, to some extent. The exact limit of his ability depends on which of the schools he has studied. For instance, one schooled in aeromancy, geomancy, and transmutation could turn a stone wall (something geomancy affects) into a cloud of fog (an aspect of aeromancy). Changes made with transmutation remain impermanent, however—every spell must include a duration. When that duration lapeses, the transformation reverses itself.



Those with access to the powers of animism can commune with any living thing. By harnessing these forces, animists can communicate with and control the beasts and plants of the world. The animist can affect only natural creatures and plants, not those with magical powers. In addition, creatures with Intelligence scores of more than 4 are immune to the magic of this sphere.

Some people call animists "druids," a term that actually describes the priests of nature from previous ages. While the name is not strictly accurate—the source of druidic power was not mystical—so many people misuse the term that most folk have no idea of its erroneous roots.


Characters who have mastered the art of alteration can physically transform their bodies into the forms of other creatures. For example, an alterer could assume the shape of another individual, an animal such as a horse, or even a creature like a wyvern. In addition, alterers can change the shape of sometone else, though casting alteration spells on another is harder than casting upon oneself, due to the increased range. Likewise, one could alter a specific portion or aspect of their body to result in changes, such as causing their fingernails to become vicious claws, altering damage for unarmed strikes and making it normal damage.

When changing forms, treat the spell as though one of the polymorph spells from the Player's Handbook in regards to changing forms, except all ability scores that would increase for the spell recipient are 4 lower than they normally would be.


Through sheer will, a mystic who has studied the art of channeling can use the magical energies within him to adjust his (or another's) physical ability scores. Thus, a channeler could make himself tremendously strong, or as nimble as a great cat.

If a mystic wishes to channel energy to adjust more than one physical ability score, he must weave a separate spell for each ability. Thus, a hero could not use a single spell to increase his Strength and Dexterity. This rule simply reflects the fact that the caster must direct energy in a particular fashion to attain each specific result.


Among the most potent of the mystic's arts is the ability to heal wounds, cure disease, and otherwise combat the ills of the world.

Players should note that healers can never use this sphere of magic to inflict harm. Actually causing physical damage with mysticism is an aspect of necromancy.


The sphere of meditation allows a hero to alter his (or another's) mental ability scores. In almost every way, the work of meditators mirrors that of channelers, including the use of a single spell to adjust each separate score.

One important factor to remember about the art of meditation is that a mystic cannot use it to affect his (or another's) number of spell points. Using meditation to increase or decrease a character's Intelligence or Wisdom score does not change that individual's total number of available spell points. Such increases do make it easier to cast spells, of course; a higher score in the spellcaster's key casting ability might improve the caster's ability modifier, thus increasing his chances of reaching the required Spellcasting DC.


Among the most interesting aspects of mysticism taught at the Citadel of Light is the skill of mentalism, or as many people call it, telepathy.

A character skilled in mentalism can project his own thoughts into the minds of others. In addition, he may attempt to read or alter the thoughts and memories of another, often learning valuable unspoken facts.


The mere utterance of the word necromancy can send shivers down the spine of the bravest warrior. If there is a forbidden art in the world of Krynn, it is this blackest of black magics.

Mystics who have mastered the sphere of necromancy deal in the very essence of life and death.. They can wound their enemies, sap their vital energies, or cause them to simply drop dead. By the same token, they can infuse a corpse with a sort of pseudo-life, forcing it to rise as a zombie or other forms of undead. Obviously, Goldmoon and her followers never practice this dark art.


The sphere of sensitivity gives mystics powers similar to the divination abilities of sorcerers. It allows a hero to read the spiritual auras that surround living creatures. Sensitivity can help a mystic gain information about an individual's alignment, personality, and disposition, it can even determine whether someone is acting under the influence of a spell and otherwise analyze the very nature of a creature.

Mystics with this ability can pick up on this by just looking at a person, the more powerful mystics can do this by even examining the company the individual in question keeps, or by detecting an aura on personal items.

While the end result of sensitivity occasionally overlaps that of mentalism, the two spheres remain functionally different. Sensitivity might reveal that a person felt angry and aggressive. However, it would not allow the mystic to see into the target's thoughts to determine the reason for these emotions, as mentalism could. Conversely, mentalism cannot help a hero sense things like the presence of spellpower, altered forms, and the like—the purview of sensitivity.


Although somewhat less scorned than necromancy, the sphere of spiritualism resembles it greatly. Unlike that dark art, which deals with the corporeal dead, spiritualism allows a mystic to commune with the dead and create incorporeal undead.

Practitioners of spiritualism can use this sphere to communicate with the spirits of the dead, or even force them back into this reality as incorporeal undead.

It is important to keep in mind the differences between necromancy and spiritualism. While both deal with the undead, the former magic focuses only on corporeal creatures, like skeletons, zombies and ghouls—all of which fall outside the sphere of Spiritualism.

Spell Casting

The act of casting a spell in the 5th Age is very different from the normal process as defined in the Player's Handbook. Instead of having a set amount of spell slots that the player may refill each day, they have a certain amount of spell points to expend on spells, as determined by their key casting ability. For use of sorcery, the key casting ability is Intelligence, and when using mysticism Wisdom acts as the key casting ability. Below is a sample chart for determining the amount of spellpoints characters have.

Spell Points
Key Casting Ability Score Spell Points
10 25
11 30
12 36
13 42
14 49
15 56
16 64
17 72
18 81
19 90
20 100

This is just a chart of the most likely PC key casting ability ranges. If you wish to find the spell points for characters with other ability scores, simply divide the score by two, and then multiply the result by itself. The answer should always be a decimal that ends in .25. However, disregard this and use only the integer itself. For example, say Grock the goblin with an Intelligence of 7 took one level of primordial sorcerer. His player, Rob divides the intelligence of 7 by 2 and gets 3.5. Now he takes that 3.5 and multiplies it by itself, getting an answer of 12.25 for his spell points. Rob then drops the .25 from the answer, and determines that Grock has 12 spell points to spend on sorcery.

Once a spell is cast, you subtract the amount of points a spell costs (see below for details on determining a spell's cost) from the total spell points a character has. Characters regain spell points at a rate of one point per hour.

Primordial and mystical magic are two very unique and mysterious types of magic. Differing from arcane and divine spells, those who cast from the schools of sorcery, and the schools of mysticism find that the very act of channelling the spells themselves is unreliable and can't come at a whim as it did in the 4th Age. Thus, a spellcaster must overcome a Spellcasting Check. The DC for each spellcasting check of each spell is equal to its point total. To overcome this, you roll 1d20 and add in the following modifiers:

Key casting ability modifier (Intelligence modifier for primordial sorcerers, Wisdom modifier for mystics)+ casting bonus (see class descriptions)

If this roll is succeeded, the spell is cast. Furthermore, if the spellcasting roll result is higher than the spell total, this is the amount of spell points consumed, but is also the Saving Throw DC of the spell.

For instance, say a mystic casts a 12 point spell. After rolling the 1d20 and adding in the relevant modifiers, the total comes out to 15. Thus, 15 points are subtracted from the mystic's spell point total, and if the spell is hostile, the Save DC of the spell is 15.

Determining Saving Throw Information: Unlike simply drawing up a spell from your imagination for arcane or divine casting, assigning a saving throw to spells cast using the magic of the 5th Age can be a bit more tricky. A good rule of thumb is that spells cast by use of primordial magic require either a Reflex or Fortitude saving throw (with the exception of illusions cast from the school of Spectramancy, of course), while those cast by mystical magic require either a Fortitude or Willpower saving throw. In cases where it becomes ambiguous over which type of saving throw is used, roll a 1d4, a result of 1 or 2 indicating that the saving throw is a Fortitude saving throw, and a result of 3 or 4 indicating that a saving throw would be Reflex or Willpower, depending on the type of magic used. All saving throws against primordial and mystical magic if succeeded normally result in the spell effect being negated.

Designing Spells

Creating spells for Dragonlance in the 5th Age can be a rather tricky business if not approached the right way. Thus, a simple step-by-step method follows for designing spells. It is greatly suggested that the above table be printed out for use during the gameplay. Should one memorize the rudimentary rules involved in spell creation, a quick glance at the table should be enough to allow for the creation of a spell in about the same time as it takes to look up your usual arcane spells.

Unlike arcane or divine magic, primordial and mystical magic is not easily organized, categorized, and characterized. It is something that the caster must feel through from beginning to end, manipulating the subtle magic inherent in everything on Krynn in the case of the primordial sorcerer, or the magic that lurks within the very essence of things living and once-living in the case of the mystic. To determine the point value of a spell as mentioned above, follow the procedures below. If they are still not clear, an example will be given at the end.

References in the following tables marked with asterisks (**) cannot be used until 15th level. (See the Primordial Sorcerer Class and the Mystic class, also by this author, for information.)

Step 1: Casting Time
As specified in the name, this is the time that it takes for the caster to complete the spell he is formulating for use. Find the time you want to take for the casting, and take note of the point value (the bold number) listed next to it.

Casting Time
+1 30 minutes
+2 20 minutes
+3 10 rounds
+4 1 Action
+5 Partial action

Step 2: Range
A spell's range is how far from you it can reach. After deciding upon how far you wish the spell's effects to extend, also take note of the point value listed next to the desired range. The ranges are as specified in the Player's Handbook, however their exact meaning is reprinted here for clarity's sake. A note on the "Unlimited" range: This doesn't apply for damage spells, and the exact area can only be selected if your character has been there before.

+1 Touch
+2 Close (25 ft. + 5 ft. / 2 caster levels)
+3 Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft. / Caster level)
+4 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft. / Caster level)
+5 Unlimited (Anywhere on Krynn)
+6 Elemental Planes
+7 Realms of the Gods**

Step 3: Duration
The duration of a spell is how long a spell can last. Take note that mystical and primordial magic spells may be intended any time before the duration's end if the spellcaster so desires it, or loses consciousness. Once more, keep the point value that corresponds to the desired duration in mind.

+1 Instantaneous
+2 2 rounds / level, 10 rounds max
+3 15 minutes
+4 30 minutes
+5 1 hour

Step 4: Area
The area of a spell is the amount of three-dimensional space that the space occupies. Most spells can only target either people or a an area in space. The first column "people" lists how many. The second column "places" lists the three-dimensional space of each selection. In said column is first a general description of the size of the area, followed by a listing in square feet of the same area. The third column refers to how far back and how far forward divination spells can look.

Difficulty Mod. People Places Time
+1 1 Individual area (25 ft) 30 minutes
+2 2 Small Room (100 ft) Hour
+3 5 Large Room (400 ft) Day
+4 10 Small House (1,000 ft) Week
+5 25 Large House (3,000 ft.) Month
+6 50 Keep (200,000 ft.) Year
+7 100** Castle (1,000,000 ft.)** Decade

Step 5: Effect
For spells that have an effect that either damages or heals, go by the first two columns in the effects table respectively. The number stated is the max amount of damage/HP that can be inflicted/restored. The die total in parentheses is the average dice to roll for each effect, though you may alter the total anyway you see fit. These were merely placed here for convenience. A word for wise DM's though: some players might desire to try and convince you into letting them cause "1d1+43 points of damage". Obviously not many DM's would go for this, however if there are players in your game who might seriously try to pull such a trick, or will take too long in deciding the perfect combination of dice to use, it's strongly advised to either go by the dice rolls specified on the chart, or make your own before the starting a game session. While one or both types players may not be trying to hold up the game, it happens and slows the pace of fun for all involved. The final column is for effects that can't be quantified in either damage or healing. Spells such as one to read a person's mind or change your own shape to that of a griffon use this column. Spells that have a painful effect on the spellcaster cause 5 points of subdual damage. This last column is also used when enchanting armor or weapons with a bonus. The point cost taken is equivalent to the bonus granted the armor or the weapon. (i.e. choosing a point cost of +2 will allow a +2 enchantment to armor or a weapon).

Difficulty Mod. Damage Healing Other
+1 6 (1d6) 8 (1d8) Irritating
+2 10 (1d10) 10 (1d8+2) Troublesome
+3 18 (3d6) 20 (3d6+2) Hindering
+4 30 (3d10) 25 (6d4+1) Impeding
+5 34 (3d10+4) 30 (5d6) Painful
+6 40 (4d10)    
+7 48 (8d6)    

End Result: Now, after selecting all five desired categories, add the point totals on the side of the tables up. This number is the Spell Casting DC. For example, Ranilyh, the 5th-level elven primordial sorcerer with intelligence 16 is attacked by an ogre. She has access to the school of cryomancy, needs to hurry quickly and can't waste much time. She decides to cast a spell to painfully chill the ogre to the bone. For her casting time she chooses 1 Action. The Ogre is at Close range, thus she naturally uses that to conserve points. For duration she chooses Instantaneous. The area she chooses is 1 person since it's only the ogre, and finally for effect she chooses 3d6 points of damage. She then adds up the spell points involved:

+4   1 Action
+2   Close
+1   Instantaneous
+1   1 Person
+3   3d6 damage
Total: 11 Points

In order to successfully cast the spell, she now rolls 1d20 and adds her Intelligence modifier and Casting Bonus to the die roll. If the total is greater than or equal to 11, she has successfully cast the spell. Ranilyh rolls a 6. Adding the totals up we get 12 (6+3+3). Ranilyh has succeeded in casting the spell. Now that we know her die roll result, we know the Save (DC) that the ogre must make. The ogre rolls the d20 and gets a 17. We don't even need to add his Fortitude modifier to know he succeeded. Thus, he takes only half-damage.

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