Monday, December 5, 2016

The Entities Colleges of DragonQuest

This post looks at the three Colleges found in The Entities branch:  Necromantic Conjurations, Black Magics and Greater Summonings.  When you need your traditional fantasy bad guys, Adepts from these colleges fit the bill.  While other colleges can be used for evil purposes, these Colleges are all touched by the Powers of Darkness to a lesser or greater extent.

In the 3rd edition of DragonQuest released by TSR they pulled both Black Magics and Greater Summonings.  I don't really hold it against TSR as there was considerably more public scrutiny on their products than on those released by SPI or any other publisher.  I consider it more important that they finally released the Arcane Wisdom colleges in the 3rd edition as this made them more available to the DragonQuest fans.  Anyone who really cared about Black Magics or Greater Summonings already had a previous edition with the missing colleges.


An interesting college that I think deserves some better spells that are more in fitting with its description as “concerned with the processes of life, death, decay, and putrefication [sic].” Where are the rituals for bringing a cobbled-together corpse back to life like Frankenstein's monster? Seems like flesh golems should fit right in here. What about halting decay and/or preserving the dead?  Or increasing the rate of decay?

Spell of Putrescence (G-2)

Why only food?  What does "generously feed 1 person" mean?  Are we talking about a large meal or food for a day or a week?  I think this could/should have been a more generally applicable spell.  A Necromancer doesn't like untidy corpses leaking all over the place and uses this spell to increase the rate of decay such that in a few minutes there are nice desiccated skeletons that can be set aside for later use.

Fire and Brimstone Spell (G-4)
Spell of Heating Metal (G-5)

Don't see how either of these fit in with the premise of the College.

Ram of Force Spell (G-9)

Interesting spell but what is the connection to Necromancy?

Wall of Force Spell (S-2)

Same question.

Spell of Scarring Terrain (S-6)

The name is odd but the effect makes sense for the College.  The area that it affects was discussed in my post on AoE and Wall spells.

Hellfire Spell (S-11)

Seems more appropriate to a college like Black Magics or one involving demonic powers.

Phantasm Spell (S-14)

Maybe re-named or described as sending a malevolent spirit which would be different from the invisible but physical being of the Sorceries of the Mind Phantasm Spell.

Ritual of Becoming Undead (R-3)

There are a couple problems with this one.  First is the notion of getting Rank in it.  A Necromancer is only going to succeed in it once and so while each failure leading up to the one success gives them a chance to increase in Rank and very incrementally improve their chance, each failure also gives them a chance of getting killed by a Wight or Wraith.  Then there are the choices of Greater Undead that they can become.  Note the lack of a Lich type undead in that category.  All of the choices means immediately giving up all of the Adept's experience investment into this College and starting again in a new College.  Are there training centers for Sorceries of the Mind or Celestial adepts that admit freshly minted undead among their students?  Guess all the classes must be at night or at least underground.


This is a good college for bad guys.  Lots of potential to cause difficulties for the characters both directly and indirectly.  The very definition of the College means that anyone that takes it is aligned with the Powers of Darkness and thus evil even if that wasn't their intent.  It has a large number of spells but overall I have few complaints or comments about them.

Summoning Enchanted Creature (G-8)

Because a Naga or Unicorn could be summoned by evil?  Those creatures are aligned with the Powers of Light.  Summoning creatures of Night & Shadow would make more sense.

Spell of Nightvision (S-2)

The College already has Witchsight as a Talent so the only reason I can see for this inferior spell is to throw it on minions such that they can see at night.

Spell of Blessing on Crops (S-5)
Spell of Blessing on Livestock (S-7)
Spell of Blessing or Curse on Unborn Child (S-11)

Blessings seem like an odd thing for a College aligned with the Powers of Darkness so it should be remembered that most uses of these spells will be in service of greed or self-interest. An evil overlord might have crops and livestock blessed so that he can reap better harvests and have more, healthier animals for the slaughter but his peasants might still be barely surviving. The Powers of Darkness certainly aren't going to look favorably upon the Black Magics Adept that bestows blessings that don't ultimately serve their purposes. An unborn child receiving a blessing from an Adept of Black Magics likely might show traces of darkness if Detect Aura were to be used on them.

Also curious is that crops and livestock have separate spells for Blessing and Blight/Pestilence but for unborn children it is just the one spell.  I don't really see a reason for that.

Earth Tremor Spell (S-22)

This was covered in my previous post on AoE spells in DragonQuest.


For me this is another NPC only College.  While not explicitly described as evil or aligned with the Powers of Darkness, all of their power comes through interaction with entities that are evil and are aligned with Darkness.  There will be strings attached and long-term consequences for every favor or gift they grant an Adept.  A good college for the big bad of an adventure. The association with demonic powers will grant a lot of power but ultimately they will be doomed to failure and destruction.  Remember the parable of the Scorpion and the Frog when dealing with demons.

Adepts of this college have no spells or talents - only rituals related to the summoning and binding of demons and their ilk - so there isn't a lot to say in that regard.  This doesn't mean that they will be helpless as they can learn [32.3] Investment Ritual and since they have a whole stable of demons that have Rank 20 in various colleges it should be expected that they would be well armed and protected.

They also can be granted either an Imp or a Devil as a companion by the various demons they summon.  Curiously they don't have rituals for summoning either of those on their own.  They can summon Incubi and Succubi which are certainly more powerful than the lesser Imps and Devils.  I wonder if this was an intentional design decision and if so, why.

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