Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Holmes & Cook: Potion Spells

There is one more category of ancient spells implied by Holmes in his Scrolls Magic Items table: Potion Spells. Like Wand Spells and Ring Spells, there are those that duplicate known spell effects (Invisibility, Haste [Speed], Fly, Healing, Clairvoyance, Fire Resistance, Levitation, ESP and Polymorph Self); however, there are quite a few that continue to infer an ancient civilization that had immense arcane magic that is now lost.


This functions much the same as the 3rd level Clairvoyance spell, so it is also 3rd level.

Control Animal

Similar to the Ring Spell Animal Control, it specifies that the spell affects only normal or giant animals, not fantastic ones; however, it does not specify small, medium or large. Regardless 3d6 animals are controlled without a save. This suggests a 5th level spell.

Control Dragon

There are several types of this spell — each one tailored to a specific type of dragon (interestingly, Holmes only has stats for four types, whereas Cook suggests there are six). This spell controls 1-3 dragons and there does not seem to be a saving throw. This suggests a 6th level spell.

Control Giant

Similar to Control Dragon, there are different versions for each type of giant and it controls 1-4 individuals without a saving throw. Another 6th level spell.

Control Human

This is identical to the Ring Spell.

Control Plant

This is similar to the Ring Spell as well.

Control Undead

This controls 3d6 HD of undead, seemingly without saving throws. This seems to duplicate the reverse of Turn Undead. Given that it takes a 9th level Cleric to automatically turn every type of undead, this spell should only be available at 9th level or later. Thus, it is a 5th level spell.


The closest extant spell to Diminution is Polymorph Self, a 4th level spell. Since the transformation is less powerful (there is only one form — a 6" tall version of the target), it suggests a 3rd level spell.

Gaseous Form

Similar in effect as Dimension Door (a 4th level spell) without the benefit of not being a gas that cannot affect its surroundings. Thus, it is a 3rd level spell.

Giant Strength

This is a specific version of Polymorph Self, but without the external physical change. This suggests a 4th level spell.


See Diminution.


This is similar to Giant Strength, although it has a diminishing affect the higher level the target. This suggests a 3rd level spell.


This is a super-version of Protection from Evil and Bless. This suggests 3rd level spell.


This is not similar to any extant spell and is extremely powerful. This not only suggests a 6th level spell, but a very expensive physical spell component (say, 10,000+ gp per year gained through the spell).

Treasure Finding

This is similar to the Wand Spell Metal Detection; however, it is more specific. This suggests a 2nd level spell.

Potion Spell Table

  1. Clairaudience (3rd level)
  2. Control Animal (5th level)
  3. Control Dragon (6th level)
  4. Control Giant (6th level)
  5. Control Undead (5th level)
  6. Diminution/Growth (3rd level)
  7. Giant Strength (4th level)
  8. Heroism (3rd level)
  9. Invulnerability (3rd level)
  10. Longevity (3rd level)
  11. Treasure Finding (2nd level)
  12. Roll Twice
As with Wand Spells and Ring Spells, this powerful arcane knowledge is lost and can only be found through adventuring.

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