Anchoring Spells With Magic Items

1. So…anchoring spells. Seems like magic items would make for good anchors to hang a spell on. Might help in games where there’s a spare item that nobody is using, too.

2. What kind of spell to anchor? Hrm…I suppose a spell that targets the caster. Or perhaps one that can target objects. It’d have to be something that doesn’t go off instantly (like a [I]Fireball[/I]).

3. Magic item creation is never a simple thing (I’m thinking in-world here, and not rules-wise). It’s a lot like spellcasting: i.e. highly personal, even when spell formulae are used. That, and magic is magic. It’s highly unpredictable, even capricious. And despite what David Gerrold might tell you (in his immediately useful book [i]”Worlds of Wonder: How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy”), magic doesn’t always follow a strict set of rules–especially in the Forgotten Realms, where the rules of magic get rewritten and magic from other worlds is a thing.

4. So not just any old magic item will do for anchoring a spell. The spellcaster using a spell anchor would need to target an item that they are attuned to, or that they’ve personally crafted themselves.

5. That last bit might unbalance casters in general, but let’s leave it for now. Some DMs don’t even allow item creation in their games.

6. What else? If you anchor a spell to a magic item, that magic item’s properties are suppressed. Period. No getting around this.

7. How long should an anchored spell last? I’d say for as long as the caster remains attuned to the item, or until they spend an action to end the spell. If the spell anchor is an item the caster made, then I suppose the spell would last forever (even if the caster dies). This might be a fun thing to encounter in a dusty, long forgotten dungeon. One way for a rogue, say, or a spellcaster, to know that an item the party just found was made by whomever cast the spell anchored to it.

8. Which leads to another question: What if someone else besides the caster comes along and wants to attune to the item that’s being used as a spell anchor? You’ve already emphasized in #6 above that the item loses all of its properties while a spell is anchored to it…does that include attuning?

9. Well, the DMG (page 136) says a creature must form a bond with an item before its “magical properties can be used.” Seems to me like attunement falls outside the prohibition in #6 above. Thus, a creature can attune to a magic item that is being used as a spell anchor (though not an item a caster made, and then anchored a spell too).

10. It would be cool if the spell stayed anchored to the item, but no. If a new creature attunes to an item being used as a spell anchor, the anchored spell ends.

11. And as much as I like the idea of a spellcaster being able to anchor spells to items they have made, I think I am going to scrap that concept for now. It adds another level of complexity/exceptions, and if there’s anything that’s true about Fifth Edition D&D then it’s this: Keep It Simple.

12. I do thing there’s room to maybe steal spells that are anchored to items, though. That might be a spell all its own.

13. Anything else? How about limiting what kinds of items can act as anchors, and what level of spells can be anchored? This might add complexity, but maybe it will keep the cheese out, too.

14. Let’s say that Uncommon and Rare magic items can act as spell anchors for cantrips, and spells of 1st, 2nd and 3rd level. Note: There are no Common magic items that requires attunement (I just checked the DMG). However, there are a TON of Uncommon magic items that do. Anyway, Very Rare magic items can be used to anchor a spell of 1st to 6th level, and Legendary magic items can anchor a spell from 1st to 9th level. Again: this only applies to spells with a range of Self or Touch, and with a duration longer than Instantaneous.

15. You know what? Let’s limit it to spells that require Concentration only. Fits the them better that way (i.e., frees up a spellcaster from always having to cast a commonly used spell that requires Concentration).

16. A [B]Topic For Another Day[/B] will be to create spells that go outside of these limitations, and tie them to famous casters of the Realms and other worlds, such as [I]Leomund[/I] or [I]Agannazar[/I] or [I]Otiluke [/I] or [I]Presper[/I].

17. Might be a magic item in this, too. A kind of item that readily accepts spells requiring concentration, and then powers that spell until it’s either dismissed by the caster, ended by a [I]Dispell Magic[/I], or another spell is cast into the item. That’s a [B]Topic For Another Day[/B].

With all this in mind, let’s take a crack at writing the actual spell:

[SIZE=3][B]Spell Anchor[/B][/SIZE]
[i]3rd-level abjuration[/i]
[B]Casting Time:[/B] 1 action
[B]Range:[/B] Touch
[B]Components:[/B] V, S, M (one magic item to which you are attuned; see text)
[B]Duration:[/B] Instantaneous

You touch a magic item to which you are attuned and cause it to become an anchor for a spell you are maintaining by concentration.
For as long as the spell is anchored you do not need to concentrate to maintain it. During this time all of the magical properties of the targeted magic item are suppressed.
You may spend one action to sever the anchor. This ends the anchored spell, and causes the magical properties of the targeted item to return. If you become unattuned to the targeted magic item, or if the targeted magic item and the point of origin of the anchored spell are ever separated by a distance of one mile or more, the anchor is severed and the spell ends.
The rarity of the magic item limits the level of the spell that you can anchor, as follows:

Common: Cannot be used to anchor spells.
Uncommon: 0 to 3rd level spells.
Rare: 0 to 6th level spells.
Very Rare: 0 8th level spells.
Legendary: 0 to 9th level spells.

Spells that can be cast with a higher level spell slot require the use of rarer items in order to be anchored. Consult the table above to determine the rarity of the item required to anchor your spell.


If someone wouldn’t mind finding ways to break this spell, as well as leaving a post here describing the ways it can be cone, I’d appreciate it.


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