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Living Magic

Flowers Nature Flower Blossom  - geraldlangphotography / Pixabay, Living Magic
geraldlangphotography / Pixabay

Living Magic outlines alternative methods of item creation used by druids. There are also rules for several new types of magic item almost exclusively used by druids.

The Quintessential druid
Author Robin O. Duke
Series The Quintessential Series
Publisher Mongoose Publishing
Publish date 2002

Potion Gardens

Woman Fireball Light Mystical  - firaangella1 / Pixabay, Living Magic
firaangella1 / Pixabay

Requires: Brew Potion, Knowledge (nature) 9+ ranks.

Druids wishing to produce potions rarely have the time or inclination to use alchemy or a laboratory. Instead, druids cultivate potion gardens. These small kitchen garden affairs are usually found within or near to a sacred grove, where they benefit from the protection of the grove’s defences, whatever they may be. Animals living near the garden sometimes eat from it and they begin to demonstrate the effects of the potion being brewed within the leaves and roots. If the potion is toxic or dangerous, they quickly learn to avoid the garden but, in places where druids cultivate potions of Charisma, Intelligence, Strength or some other beneficial elixir, the local wildlife can quickly be invested with such qualities.

Establishing a Potion Garden: Only druids with at least 9 ranks in the Knowledge (nature) skill can create a potion garden. Establishing a potion garden requires one week for every square yard the garden will encompass. If multiple individuals tend the same garden, divide the total time by the number of druids working together. A garden composed of 10 square yards, tended by 3 druids, would require 3 weeks to establish. At the end of this period, the lead druid must make a Knowledge (nature) check with a difficulty equal to 10 + the number of yards square included
in the garden to establish that the magical energies are correct and the plants healthy.

Tending a Potion Garden: A garden must be looked after if it is to flourish. At least one individual must look to the garden’s needs for a least one full hour each week or the garden will become less productive. If a garden is not tended for one full month, it loses one enchantment. It continues to lose enchantments at a rate of one each week until all of them are gone. Once all the enchantments are gone, the garden reverts to a completely normal state after one more week, at which point the druids would need to start the whole creation process again.

Enchanting a Garden: Only a character with 9 ranks of Knowledge (nature) and the Brew Potion feat can enchant a garden. To enchant a garden , the character must choose a normal potion and calculate its base cost following the rules outlined in the SRD. Enchanting a garden takes one full day and requires 1/10th of the base cost of the potion in experience and ingredients costing ¼ the base cost of the potion from the character. All of the materials for a potion garden can be provided through foraging (see the Bounty of Nature in the Tricks of the Trade chapter). A garden can only support enchantments with a caster level equal to or less than its size in yards squared.

Harvesting a Garden: When the druid wants, he may attempt to harvest the garden for a particular potion for which the garden has been enchanted. This requires only one hour but the character must make a Knowledge (nature) check to successfully harvest the garden. The base difficulty for the check is 20 but it is modified using the above table:

If the check is successful, the garden yields up a series of potion ingredients. A character eating these ingredients has a 25% chance of being affected as though by a single potion of the appropriate type. Alternatively, these ingredients can be boiled in water for one hour to produce 1d3 –1 potions of the appropriate type. On a roll of a 1, the harvest fails to produce a useful potion.

Cleansing a Garden: When the druid has as much of a potion as he desires, he may choose to cleanse a garden of the enchantment that is producing it. This requires one hour to tend the garden and a Knowledge (nature) check (DC 5 + the garden’s size in yards squared + the number of enchantments in the garden). Success removes the enchantment. A druid may remove any enchantment from a garden.

Scroll Flowers

Requires: Scribe Scroll, 8+ ranks of Knowledge (nature).

Scroll flowers are the druid‘s answer to the expensive material components of scrolls. Each flower is tended separately after being invested with the essence of a particular spell. Once fully mature, the flower gives up a thick black sap with which the druid can write a scroll of that spell on normal paper or any other suitable material at no cost to himself.

It takes one full season to grow a scroll flower. Each flower requires the attention of the druid or an aid with at least 8 ranks in the Knowledge (nature) skill for at least one full hour each week. At the beginning of the process, the flower needs to be enchanted. This requires an amount of experience equal to the caster level of the scroll multiplied by the spell’s level. A 4th level druid trying to create a scroll of a 2nd level spell would need to pay 8 experience points. The flower will require 4d4 months to completely mature. At this time, the druid makes a Knowledge (nature) check (DC 10 + the caster level of the scroll). If the check is successfully, he extracts the required ink and can begin to write the scroll. If he fails the check, the plant is ruined.

The process of writing the scroll requires both that the druid has the spell prepared and that he has the Scribe Scroll feat. There are no checks required and it takes only one hour. This must be done within 1d6 hours of the ink being extracted from the scroll flower or the ink is ruined and the druid loses his chance to create the scroll.

Circumstances Modifier
Garden has not been recently tended+ the number of days since last tended
Garden was harvested (or initially enchanted for specified potion):
Less than 5 days ago+40
Less than 10 days ago+30
Less than 20 days ago+20
Less than 30 days ago+10
Less than 60 days ago+5
Autumn (or similar poor condition)+5
WinterCannot be harvested
Multiple Enchantments on Garden+2 per additional enchantment

Spell-Like Investitures

Requires: Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Invest Magic, Knowledge (nature) 15 ranks.

A spell-like investiture is the ability to grant a creature with a spell-like ability that replicates one of the druid‘s spells. druids created spell-like investitures so that they would not need to carry scrolls and potion bottles with them at all times – items that could easily be destroyed in the wilderness. Constructs cannot be imbued with spell-like abilities.

Brewing an Investiture: To successfully brew an investiture requires Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Invest Magic and Knowledge (nature) 15 ranks. Each investiture is brewed separately with a specific recipient in mind. Creating the potion requires hair, skin or some other bodily material from the creature to be invested. druids follow the basic procedure for creating a potion when they brew an investiture. They can either brew the potion using the conventional method outlined in the SRD or they can use a potion garden. With a potion garden, it should be noted that, though a garden might continue to produce an investiture, only the original creature for which it was created can benefit from the investiture potions created.

To calculate the base cost for brewing an investiture, multiply the level of the spell x the caster level x 800 gp. The druid may set the caster level anywhere between his current caster level and the minimum caster level for the spell.

Administering the Cocktail: Once the investiture has been brewed, it must be administered to the chosen creature. Administering the brew usually requires one full hour and is usually done over several attempts. A brew must be administered to the subject within 24 hours of its creation or it is ruined and loses all its magical properties. The druid makes a check using the appropriate skill (see below) against a difficulty of 15 + the number of investitures the creature already possesses. If the check fails, the character destroys the potion and the whole process must begin again. If the check succeeds by more than double the base difficulty, the process of administering the brew takes only thirty minutes.

Surviving the Process: The creature to receive the investiture must immediately make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15 + the level of the investiture + the number of investitures it already possesses). This check must be made even if the administering of the investiture failed. Failing the check causes the creature to receive 1d4 points of Constitution damage. This damage heals at a rate of one point each day. On the last day of healing, the character must make a second Fortitude saving throw (same difficulty). Failing this check causes the final point of Constitution damage to become permanent.

Using a Spell-Like Investiture: Each investiture allows the creature to use the associated spell once each day as a spell-like ability. The creature must have either a Wisdom or Charisma score of 10 + the level of the spell to be able to use the investiture. In addition, creatures with an Intelligence of less than 5 must be trained how to use the investiture. Animal companions can be taught to use their investiture as a normal trick. If the creature is subjected to a targeted dispel magic, his ability to use any investiture is suppressed for 1d4 rounds. A mage’s disjunction or similar magic will affect a character’s investitures as though they were all a single magic item in his possession. The caster level of the original potion fixes the caster level for an investiture.

Type of CreatureSkill Required
Aberration, Animal, Beast, Dragon, Giant, Humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, Plant,
Shapechanger, vermin
Knowledge (nature)
Elementals, outsidersKnowledge (the planes)
undeadKnowledge (necrology)
Constructs ** Constructs cannot receive investitures.

Removing a Spell-Like Investiture: A character may attempt to remove a spell-like investiture from his system at any time. Once each day, the character may attempt to remove one of his spell-like investitures by making a Fortitude saving throw (DC 15 + the caster level of the investiture). Success removes the investiture. undead and other creatures without Fortitude saving throws must make a Will saving throw to remove an investiture.

Invested Trees

Requires: Invest Magic and one of the following: Craft Staff or Craft Wand.

Trees form an important part of any forest or woodland. Ancient, strong, with roots that reach deep into the earth, the tree symbolises longevity and resilience. These properties make trees perfect for druids to invest with magic. By soaking the roots of a tree with magical fluids and singing ritually to the tree, a druid or group of druids can awaken its magical spirit and spin those magical energies into something that in almost every way mimics the properties of a magical staff or wand.

A wand tree has many of the same properties as a wand. Investing a tree with the properties of a wand costs twice the amount for a normal wand of the same type. The rituals require the character to have all the materials, components and foci the druid would need to make a wand using the conventional rules outlined in the SRD. Once a wand tree has been awakened, the tree has 50 charges. druids often inscribe on the tree the name of the spell invested within it in Ogham, allowing any druid that discovers the tree to activate the investment. Wand trees use the
spell trigger method of activation and require the druid be touching them to activate the spell. The principle advantage of a wand tree is that the tree’s own energies regenerate over time. Every ten years, the tree regenerates 1d10 charges. A tree lost deep in the forest for a hundred years will almost certainly have rekindled all of its charges by the time it is rediscovered.

A staff tree follows all the normal rules for a staff. Each tree is covered in Ogham writing, detailing the tree’s investments and turning the trees inner spirit to the particular nature the druids have chosen for it. Each tree, like a staff, contains several related spells and the Ogham and other decorations will often make it immediately obvious to what forces the tree has been attuned. Like a wand tree, it costs twice as much to create a staff tree as it does to create the equivalent staff and a staff tree also regenerates its charges at a rate of 1d10 charges every decade, making these ancient and powerful trees one of the druid order’s most useful resources.

Living Items

Requires: Invest Magic.

Using the Invest Magic feat, the druid can incorporate living creatures into their magic item creation process. This process is highly contentious among druids. While some items have been part of the druid arsenal for centuries and are now wildly accepted, new creations incorporating living creatures are often greeted with ill feeling.

The process of incorporating a living creature into an item greatly extends the time it takes to create that item. Only aberrations, animals, beasts, dragons, elementals, fey, giants, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, oozes, outsiders, plants, shapechangers and vermin can be incorporated into a magic item. The druid must infuse the magic into the creature while it is still in the earliest stage of its life cycle. Only corporeal creatures with a proper life cycle can therefore be invested. The magical properties only manifest once the creature is fully matured. For example, a plant must be invested while it is still a seed, an animal while it is still in egg form or in the womb. The exception to this rule is an Ooze, which can be modified at any time during its life but will still take 1d10 months to complete its metamorphosis into a magic item. Though the magic will warp the creature throughout its life, there is always a delay before the creature fully develops its magical properties.

The process of creating a magic item using a living creature stills the creature’s development. The item creation time is added to the gestation period of the seed, egg or foetus. Oozes become inactive during the whole creation process. Essentially, the living creature is a material component required to produce the item. The living creature is a part of the principle components of the item. The item’s description will include the gold piece worth of the living creature in the item. The druid does not need to pay this normal item production cost but, of course, cannot begin the process until he has acquired a suitable specimen on which to work his magic.

Living magic items have two special properties. The most obvious is that the living creature will pass its magical properties on to its offspring. It is possible to create sterile living items but this does not reduce the creation cost. The other special property all living magic items share is their ability to resist the effects of dispel magic. As living creatures, many of the properties these creatures develop become supernatural traits as opposed to normal magic item qualities. If the item is targeted by a dispel magic or similar magic, the item may make a Will save (DC set by the caster) to avoid the effects.

Living magic items come with two specific flaws. Firstly, they age. All living magic items age and can die. A magic item that dies cannot be repaired but must be resurrected, a spell most druids do not have access to. Secondly, producing a living magic item is a difficult process. The druid must make a Knowledge (nature) check (DC 10 + the caster level of the item). Failing this check causes the item to mutate. This usually results in a living creature with a twisted sense of detachment from nature, an abomination usually intent on harming its creator and other natural creatures.

Living magic items are very rare. They are as intelligent and aware as the creature on which they are based. They have their own alignment, agendas and desires. Player characters will not usually be able to make living magic items because of the time it takes for a creature to mature into its full magical potential.

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