We have had a considerable amount of feedback on our previous two Hard Moves & GM Intrusion articles (links at the bottom of this page). This time we’re getting a bit more genre specific and covering the potential consequences of wielding mystic arcane power, channeling the essence of the divine, and manipulating powers not meant for mortals. What could possibly go wrong? I’m glad you asked…
Attack Spells in Combat
- Your area attack spell produces an amplified shock wave causing massive damage to the environment and physical objects.
- The elemental energies of your spell ground out through your body, damaging you and anyone near you.
- Your target somehow absorbs the spell and is able to project it back at you.
- A slight miscalculation results in targeting one of your allies instead.
- Your arcane power benefits the target in some way instead of harming it.
- Your arcane energy resonates with the target rendering it immune to your magic.
- The energy of the spell is absorbed by your target’s weapon, temporarily enchanting it.
- The spell only affects inanimate objects and the environment, however the effects persist for a while.
- Instead of the intended destructive energy (fire, lightning, etc.), your spell utilizes something much less harmful (feathers, rainbows, etc.).
- You become vulnerable to the type of energy you utilized in your last spell.
Channeling the Divine
- The power of your god causes you to glow brightly for the next several hours.
- You suffer from the damage, ailment, or curse that your remove from another.
- The power of your deity draws the wrath of your deity’s arch-nemesis.
- Your reckless use of your divine gifts prompts your deity to remove your power until you properly repent.
- Your healing power heals every creature nearby (friend and foe alike), including bringing back the fallen!
- The power overwhelms you, for a while your free will is stifled and you act completely in accordance with your deity’s motives and agenda.
- A holy chant can be heard emanating in your general vicinity; it is fairly loud but hard to pinpoint.
- Your divine trial begins, you become vulnerable to the attacks of your deity’s enemies.
- Your demonstration of your divine favor attracts several fanatics that begin worshipping you as a divine emissary.
- You see dead people! The harmless souls of the departed are drawn to your holy aura, only you can see them but they are extremely annoying.
Transformation & Necromancy
- The entropic energies of your necromantic spell dissolve all the tissue from your dominate hand; it remains fully functional, but completely skeletal.
- You successfully transform into your intended animal form; everything that is except your feet…
- Uncontrolled necromantic power gives sentience, and freedom, to your shadow. It hates you for all of the years you imprisoned it.
- None of your gear or equipment transforms with you.
- Random necrotic energy animates a nearby corpse and it attacks you.
- Your transformation spell turns your enemy into something even more powerful than it already is.
- Your transformation leaves you much smaller (or bigger) than you intended (or is useful).
- Your use of necromantic energy leaves your eyes clouded over and causes you to see all things as rotting and decaying.
- Your attempt to transform something, or someone, simply turns it into a clear (not invisible) version of itself.
- Channelling so much necrotic power renders you immune to any form of healing, natural or magical, for a while.
Divination, Enchantment, & Illusion
- You foresee your party turning on you and slaying you in the very near future.
- Instead of your target you are the one completely charmed and enamored.
- For the next several hours you and your allies are subjected to random, minor illusions.
- An unintended target falls totally in love with you as well as extremely jealous of you.
- Your illusionary effect becomes real for several hours.
- Your spell causes you to completely lose all memory of the past two days.
- You divination reveals a positive outcome to your actions; the exact opposite of what will happen.
- Lingering energies from your enchantment spells cause people around you to take notice of you and treat you like a celebrity; complete with stalkers and media attention!.
- Unfortunately you are the only one that can see the illusion you just cast.
- The helpful spirit you normally talk with during your divination spells is banished and replaced with one that is extremely antagonistic toward you.
Ritual Magic, Summoning, & Magic Items
- As you complete the summoning you find yourself bound in a magical circle on the home plane of the entity you were attempting to summon.
- All of the remaining charges in your item burst forth amplifying their effects, destroying the item, and causing you considerable damage.
- A slightly misspoken word results in your ritual having the exact opposite effect.
- The magic from your item recharges one of your enemy’s items.
- An uncontrolled surge of energy during the ritual removes all of your spell-casting abilities for several hours.
- Mystic energies seep out of a damaged magical item producing dangerous results for those that use or handle the item.
- Your summoning fails but marks you as a target by the entities you attempted to summon.
- Your magic weapon has an arcane “meltdown” exploding and damage items and creatures nearby, including yourself.
- Your ritual works, however you and everyone that was near you glow bright purple for the next day or so.
- Your summoned entity is completely unbound and able to act with their own intent.
Remember, the key to a great Hard Move or an unforgettable GM Intrusion is to continually ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” The answers to that question can fuel inspiration all day long. As you can see at the bottom of the page more Hard Moves & GM Intrusion are on the way! If there is a category or topic you would like to see (or see more of!) comment below and I’ll put something together.
I’d like to thank Gabriel Abreu Lugao of the Dungeon World Brasil Community for the suggestion of an article focused on magic. Several of the Moves and Intrusions featured in this article were sent to me by Gabriel and the members of their community.
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 1: Combat Calamities
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 2: Social Blunders
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 3: Magical Mishaps
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 4: Botched Skills
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 5: Unforgiving Environments
- Hard Moves & GM Intrusions Part 6: WTF!?