02 April 2012

Magical Spell: Induced Reincarnation

The D&D spell reincarnation, although interesting (and at times very entertaining in execution), has two flaws. The first is its name. If the spell really involved reincarnation, then the recipient's soul or spirit would be reborn in another body as an infant, probably somewhere far away — not exactly practical for adventuring purposes. What we have in D&D's reincarnation is closer to what Time Lords are capable of doing in Doctor Who, except they call it "regeneration," which in D&D is the name of a spell that allows for the rapid recovery of lost hit points. When a Time Lord regenerates, his dying physical body undergoes a transformation at the end of which he emerges younger, perfectly healthy, and different. Not only does he look different in such things as facial features, hair color, eye color, height, and weight, but his personality has somewhat changed. He may have developed new quirks and eccentricities to replace others he has lost. In a way, he is a different person, yet he is still the same. This is what the spell reincarnation accomplishes, but with less efficiency: a character is reborn on the spot in a fresh new body, but with the same identity. That's the point of the spell — to revive a dead player character so he or she can continue with the adventure — isn't it? This is where the spell's second flaw comes in. According to the description, reincarnated characters not only have a randomly determined species, but a randomly determined level as well. The new level may not exceed the previous level, but it can certainly be lower (being "randomly determined on a six-sided die" in Basic/Expert). Furthermore, "a monster does not advance in experience." That's a discouraging state of affairs for a newly reincarnated individual who already has to cope with being a monster, much less a monster with no future. The following spell variant is an attempt to correct these flaws. The name induced reincarnation hopefully distinguishes it from the metaphysical version, which would be out of bounds for mere mortals, and the specifics of the spell ensure a much greater likelihood that the reborn character will be able to maintain his or her identity. Several new monsters are included in the tables, all of whom will be revealed on this site in the near future. Others may be substituted as desired.

Induced Reincarnation

Spell Class: Magic-user
Spell Level: 6
Range: 0
Duration: permanent

This spell restores life to a dead being by transforming its remains into a new, healthy, youthful body. This new incarnation will be different in appearance and may even be of a different species. Once induced reincarnation is cast, a roll should be made on the Induced Reincarnation Table to determine whether the new body will be a character class or a monster. If the latter, another roll should be made on the Monster Incarnation Table of the appropriate alignment. The new incarnation will retain the Intelligence and memories of the previous incarnation’s life, as well as those skills not rendered unusable by the new form. Other characteristics may remain the same or may be rolled again or rearranged to better suit the new incarnation. If the new incarnation is a character class, the incarnation’s level will be the same, but the hit dice may need to be rerolled if the new incarnation uses a different type of die. If the new incarnation is a humanoid monster, the monster will be treated as a character class of the same level as the previous incarnation. If the new incarnation is a non-humanoid monster, it will be treated as the same character class and level for which it makes saving throws, but rolling 1d8 for hit dice, and using the Monster Attacks chart for to hit rolls. If the non-humanoid monster’s hit dice are greater than the previous incarnation’s level, its hit dice (and saving throw level) should be reduced to match the previous level. Magic-users may cast this spell on themselves if death is near, up to 1 turn per level in advance of their expiration. Magic-users who cast self-induced reincarnation automatically return as magic-users if the result is Human.

N.B. Elves in campaigns that do not have level restrictions for demi-humans, thus enabling them to reach levels that would grant access to this spell, may switch the Elf and Human results of the Induced Reincarnation Table. Elves may choose to roll on either the magic-user or druid Induced Incarnation Table (q.v.).

Induced Reincarnation Table

1. Dwarf
2. Elf
3. Halfling
4. Human*
5. Human*
6. Human*
7. Monster**
8. Monster**
9. Monster **
10. Original Class
11. Original Class
12. Original Class

* Roll on the Human Incarnation Table.
** Roll on the Monster Incarnation Table of the appropriate alignment.

Human Incarnation Table

1. Cleric
2. Fighter
3. Magic-User
4. Thief

Lawful Monster Incarnation Table

1. Blink Dog
2. Giant Eagle
3. Neanderthal
4. Pegasus
5. Roc (small)
6. Unicorn

Neutral Monster Incarnation Table

1. Ape
2. Baboon
3. Beastfolk
4. Centaur
5. Griffin
6. Hippogriff
7. Lizardfolk
8. Monkey
9. Pixie
10. Snakefolk
11. Sprite
12. Werebear

Chaotic Monster Incarnation Table

1. Bugbear
2. Dark Elf
3. Dire Wolf
4. Gnoll
5. Goblin
6. Hobgoblin
7. Kobold
8. Minotaur
9. Ogre
10. Orc
11. Troglodyte
12. Troll


  1. Hi, if I follow this blog, is there any point in following Roundhouse #2? (I have a vanishingly low cross-post tolerance...)

    1. No, not really. Roundhouse #2 normally contains no content, just links. Feel free to follow this one instead. :-)