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A Beginner's Guide to Spellforging for D&D

Updated: Apr 16, 2023


Whilst we’ve been expanding and growing this blog, we’ve focused mainly on standard 5th Edition D&D and very little on our own variant, Arclands. In the next few weeks and months we will bring you more lore, rules and other features directly from the Arcverse. If you haven’t already done so you can download our two core books by joining this site and our mailing list. In our firs book Arclands: The Spellforgers Companion, we designed a new system of spell creation call Spellforging. This article is a simple guide and recap on how to forge spells, with some examples for you to model your own spells on.

Spellforging is a unique and powerful system that allows forgers such as Tomebearers, Fateweavers, and Vowbinders to create customized spells by combining intricate symbols known as glyphs. This captivating process lies at the heart of Arclands' magical system, providing countless possibilities for those who dare to explore its depths.

In this beginner's guide, we will introduce you to the fundamentals of Spellforging, from understanding the significance of glyphs and Spell Forges to the enchanting of items with magical properties. Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or a newcomer to the world of Arclands, this guide will help you unlock the potential of Spellforging and harness the power of Fate energy to shape your destiny. So gather your magical knowledge and prepare to embark on an enchanting journey into the world of Spellforging!

Section 1: Understanding the Basics of Spellforging

1.1 The Concept of Fate Energy and Glyphs

To begin our journey into the world of Spellforging, it's essential to understand the core concepts behind this magical art. In Arclands, spells are manifestations of Fate energy channelled through energy symbols called glyphs. These glyphs are the building blocks of spells and are divided into five types: "target," "effect," "effect value," "duration," and "action."

1.2 The Process of Creating a Spell

Creating a spell involves layering multiple glyph terms from each of the five glyph types to form a composite glyph. This composite glyph represents the full spell and is brought forth by the forger at a Spell Forge. To cast the spell, the forger must plunge their hand into the symbol, channelling the essence of Fate energy while selecting a target. This process requires precision and understanding of the individual glyph terms.

1.3 Spellcaster Types: Tomebearers, Fateweavers, and Vowbinders

In the magical world of Arclands, there are three primary spellcaster types: Tomebearers, Fateweavers, and Vowbinders. Each of these spellcasters possesses unique abilities that contribute to their mastery of magic. While Fateweavers and Vowbinders have their distinct approaches to magic, their additional abilities are beyond the scope of this beginner's guide.

For the purpose of this guide, we will focus on Tomebearers, who have the power to temporarily change glyphs in their spells, modifying individual terms while maintaining the spell's integrity. Understanding the nuances of the Tomebearer class will help you tailor your Spellforging journey according to your preferred playstyle and character.

Section 2: The Five Glyph Types and Their Functions

2.1 Target Glyphs

The first glyph type in the spell creation process is the "target" glyph. This glyph determines who or what will be affected by the spell, whether it's the caster themselves, a single creature, or an entire area. There are various target glyphs available, allowing spellcasters to customise the reach and impact of their spells. For example, some target glyphs may specify an effect on allies, enemies, or all creatures within a certain range.

2.2 Effect Glyphs

The second glyph type is the "effect" glyph, which outlines the primary outcome of the spell. Effects can range from dealing damage of a specific type (such as fire, cold, or acid) to inflicting conditions (like blindness or paralysis) on the target. The variety of effect glyphs available allows for a vast array of possible spells, providing flexibility for the caster to create spells tailored to their character and the challenges they face.

2.3 Effect Value Glyphs

"Effect value" glyphs determine the potency of the spell's effect, whether it's the amount of damage dealt or the numerical value of a condition. These glyphs help define the power of the spell and can scale based on the spell slot level used. By selecting the appropriate effect value glyph, casters can create spells that deal varying amounts of damage or impose different levels of conditions.

2.4 Duration Glyphs

The fourth glyph type is the "duration" glyph, which establishes how long the spell's effect will last. This can range from instantaneous effects that occur immediately upon casting to effects that last for several rounds, minutes, or even hours. Some duration glyphs require concentration, while others can be made to last longer without the need for constant focus. Understanding the importance of duration glyphs is crucial in balancing the power and effectiveness of a spell.

2.5 Action Glyphs

Finally, the "action" glyph dictates the type of action required to cast the spell, which can include actions, bonus actions, reactions, full-round actions, or even rituals. This glyph type is particularly important because it determines how the spell fits into the action economy during combat or other high-stakes situations. Choosing the appropriate action glyph can make a spell more versatile and useful in various circumstances.

Section 3: Combining Glyphs to Create Unique Spells

3.1 Understanding the Process

Now that you are familiar with the five main glyph types, it's time to learn how to combine them to forge unique spells. The process of spellforging involves selecting one glyph from each category (target, effect, effect value, duration, and action) and combining them to create a new, customised spell. The combination of glyphs used in a spell determines its overall power, utility, and resource cost.

3.2 Managing FP Cost

Each glyph has an associated FP (Forge Point) cost, which represents the amount of magical energy required to create the spell. The total FP cost of a spell is the sum of the FP costs of all its component glyphs. Tomebearers, Fateweavers, and Vowbinders all have a limited pool of FP to draw from, making it essential to manage the FP cost of spells carefully. Creating powerful spells may require more FP, while simpler spells may be more cost-effective.

3.3 Balancing Power and Versatility

When forging spells, it's essential to strike a balance between power and versatility. More powerful spells typically come with a higher FP cost, which can limit the number of spells a caster can create and maintain. Additionally, more powerful spells may require a higher spell slot level, which can be a scarce resource for casters. On the other hand, versatile spells with lower FP costs can be used more frequently and in various situations, making them valuable tools for any caster.

3.4 Experimentation and Creativity

The true beauty of the spellforging system lies in its capacity for experimentation and creativity. As you become more familiar with the different glyphs and their functions, you'll start to see the limitless possibilities for unique and powerful spells. Don't be afraid to try out new combinations and see how they work in different situations. The more you practice and experiment with spellforging, the more adept you'll become at creating spells that perfectly suit your character and their adventures in the world of Arclands.

Section 4: Spellforging Tips and Tricks

4.1 Know Your Caster Type

As a spellcaster in Arclands, it's crucial to understand the unique abilities and limitations of your caster type, whether you're a Tomebearer, Fateweaver, or Vowbinder. Each caster type has specific strengths and weaknesses, and recognizing these can help you create spells that align with your character's abilities and role in the party. Familiarise yourself with your caster's specific features and consider how they can be used in combination with spellforging to enhance your character's effectiveness.

4.2 Plan Your Spells in Advance

Tomebearers are able to adapt spells on the fly, but it's a good idea to plan some spells in advance. By having a selection of pre-prepared spells, you can save valuable time during encounters and ensure that you have a suitable spell for various situations. Make a list of spells that you think will be useful for your character and consider how they can be adapted or improved using the spellforging system.

4.3 Consider Synergy with Party Members

When creating spells, consider how they can complement the abilities of your fellow party members. In Arclands, teamwork is essential for success, and spells that synergize well with your allies' abilities can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the entire party. Look for opportunities to create spells that can help to set up powerful combos, protect vulnerable allies, or capitalise on the strengths of your teammates. If multiple party members spellforge at the same time in anticipation of a difficult mission, battle or heist, they can spend their forge points on spells that compliment one another.

4.4 Don't Be Afraid to Experiment

As mentioned earlier, the spellforging system encourages creativity and experimentation. While it's essential to have a core set of reliable spells, don't be afraid to try out new combinations and see how they perform in different situations. The more you experiment with spellforging, the more you'll learn about the system's nuances and discover new strategies to employ in combat and exploration.

4.5 Consult Your DM

Lastly, remember that your Dungeon Master is an invaluable resource when it comes to understanding the intricacies of the spellforging system and the world of Arclands. If you have questions about the mechanics or need guidance on creating specific spells, don't hesitate to consult your DM. They can provide insights and advice to help you get the most out of the spellforging system and create a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone at the table.

Section 5: Mastering Spellforging and Beyond

5.1 Practice Makes Perfect

As with any complex game mechanic, becoming proficient at spellforging takes time and practice. The more you experiment with the system and use it during gameplay, the more comfortable you'll become with creating and modifying spells on the fly. Keep in mind that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them. As you gain experience, you'll become more adept at recognizing which combinations of glyphs work best for your character and the situation at hand.

5.2 Incorporating World Lore and Roleplay

Arclands offers a rich and immersive world, and incorporating its lore into your spellforging can help create a more engaging roleplaying experience. Use your character's background, beliefs, and experiences to inform your spell creation and give your spells a unique flavour. This not only adds depth to your character but also helps to create memorable moments within the game world. We will be adding a follow up article about how to integrate backgrounds with spellforging soon.

5.3 Expanding Your Glyph Knowledge

As you progress in your adventures, your character may have opportunities to learn new glyphs or enhance their understanding of existing ones. Be on the lookout for these opportunities, as expanding your glyph repertoire can open up new possibilities for spellforging and provide even more flexibility in combat and exploration.

5.4 Adapting to Challenges

Arclands is full of surprises and challenges, and as a spellcaster, it's essential to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances you'll face. Use the spellforging system to create spells that can address a wide range of obstacles and enemies, and be prepared to modify your spell selection as needed to overcome new threats.

5.5 Enjoy the Process

Finally, remember that spellforging is a unique and exciting aspect of the Arclands game world, designed to provide a fun and engaging experience for players. Embrace the creative freedom and flexibility that the system offers, and don't forget to have fun as you explore the countless possibilities of spell creation. After all, the most important aspect of any tabletop RPG is enjoying the journey with your fellow adventurers.

Case Study One

In this gameplay example, we'll follow a Knight Tomebearer named Elara as she visits a Spellforge to create a spell for future use during combat. Elara and her party have heard rumors of a group of Skabbakh dwelling in a cave system nearby, and she wants to prepare a spell that can target multiple enemies without affecting her allies.

  1. Elara and her party locate a hidden Spellforge in the form of a magical, burning coal within a blacksmith's cottage deep in the forest. Upon approaching the Spellforge, the Forge Keeper appears as a wise, talking owl, ready to assist Elara in creating her spell.

  2. Elara starts by selecting the "Target" glyph for her spell. Since she wants to target multiple enemies within a 30-foot radius, she chooses the Fehahn glyph (FP cost: 4).

  3. Next, she picks the "Effect" glyph for her spell. Elara decides to deal fire damage to the Skabbakh, so she selects the Teir glyph (FP cost: 1).

  4. For the "Effect Value" glyph, Elara opts for the Bein glyph to deal 1d6 fire damage (FP cost: 2).

  5. Since she wants the spell to take effect immediately, she chooses the Soffahns glyph for the "Duration" (FP cost: 0).

  6. Finally, Elara selects the "Action" glyph for her spell. As she wants to cast the spell as a standard action, she picks the Gnition glyph (FP cost: 1).

Now, Elara adds up the FP costs of all the chosen glyphs (4 + 1 + 2 + 0 + 1 = 8). She has enough FP to create the spell and describes it to the Forge Keeper, who approves the spell. The Forge Keeper then assists Elara in imbuing the spell into her magical tome, ready for future use.

Later on, Elara and her party confront the Skabbakh in the narrow cave passage. During her turn, Elara casts the spell she created at the Spellforge, targeting all enemies within a 30-foot radius and dealing 1d6 fire damage to each of them without harming her allies.

By combining the glyphs in the spellforging system and utilizing the power of a Spellforge, Elara has created a custom spell that suits her needs in the heat of battle, showcasing the flexibility and creativity that spellforging can bring to the Arclands game world.

Case Study Two

Let's create a non-combat spell for a Marauder Fateweaver named Sorin, who wants to create a spell to communicate with animals in the Arclands.

  1. Sorin begins by choosing the "Target" glyph. He wants to target one animal within 60 feet, so he selects the Raohn glyph (FP cost: 1).

  2. Next, he picks the "Effect" glyph. Since he wants to be able to communicate with animals, he chooses the Illadh glyph for minor illusory effects (FP cost: 1).

  3. For the "Effect Value" glyph, Sorin decides to go with the Biozig glyph, which doesn't have a specific effect in this case but carries the lowest FP cost (FP cost: 1).

  4. Sorin wants the communication to last for a few minutes, so he chooses the Viedluthtrier glyph for the "Duration" and works with the GM to determine that the spell lasts for 10 minutes (FP cost: GM discretion, let's say 2).

  5. Finally, Sorin selects the "Action" glyph for his spell. He decides to cast the spell as a standard action, so he picks the Gnition glyph (FP cost: 1).

Now, Sorin adds up the FP costs of all the chosen glyphs (1 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 = 6). He has enough FP to create the spell and describes it to the GM, who approves the spell. Sorin then adds the spell to his tome of magic, ready for future use.

During their adventures, Sorin and his party encounter a majestic stag in a peaceful glade. Sorin casts the spell he created, targeting the stag and establishing a magical connection that allows him to communicate with the creature for 10 minutes. The stag shares valuable information about the nearby landscape, helping the party navigate the Arclands more effectively.

Through spellforging, Sorin has crafted a unique, non-combat spell that adds depth and utility to his character and enhances the party's interactions with the game world.


From these two examples, we can conclude that Spellforging is a highly versatile and creative magic system that allows players to craft unique spells tailored to their characters and the specific situations they encounter in the game world.

In the first example, Elara created a combat spell to damage and immobilize her enemies, showcasing the system's ability to help players create tailored spells for combat situations. In the second example, Sorin created a non-combat spell to communicate with animals, demonstrating the system's flexibility in allowing players to craft spells with utility outside of combat.

Spellforging encourages player creativity and collaboration with the GM to bring new and exciting spells to life, enhancing the overall gameplay experience. It provides a level of customization that traditional spellcasting systems may not offer, enabling players to fully express their characters' personalities and abilities through the spells they create. Additionally, the system's adaptability allows for a wide range of spells to be crafted, accommodating various playstyles and in-game scenarios, making it a valuable addition to any tabletop RPG set in the Arclands.

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