Spells Without Levels: Translocation

These spells are inspired by water breathing, teleport, locate object, and dimension door. See spells without levels for more information about this project. The last sentence of portal needs more work, but I think the idea should be clear.

Breath Transmittal

A number of creatures equal to the sorcerer’s level need not draw breath to sustain life for the duration of this spell. Instead, the sorcerer inscribes a breath sigil, and the atmosphere around the sigil is magically transferred to the lungs of the creatures selected during the casting of the spell.


A number of persons up to the sorcerer’s level are transported to the location of the sorcerer’s sigil of return. Carried and worn possessions are conveyed as well, though there is a 50% that any awkward or cumbersome object is left behind. The sigil of return must be scribed under the gaze of the sun and is destroyed if moved from its place of inscription.


Nonliving items marked with the sorcerer’s recall sigil are transported to the sorcerers current location. A number of significant items per level (following encumbrance guidelines) may be recalled.


The sorcerer places a portal sigil on two doors and by the casting of this spell connects them so that they become the same door as long as the sigils endure. A traveller stepping into one steps out of the other, with directionality of travel governed by the facing of the sigil (travellers enter toward the sigil and exit from it). This spell only works on doors of established essence, and is permanent, but closing the door after it has been opened from the sigil side destroys the enchantment and the sigils.

Altdorfer - Design of a portal (source)

Altdorfer – Design of a portal technology (source)


10 thoughts on “Spells Without Levels: Translocation

    1. Brendan Post author


      Yes, when it’s all done, I’ll put a PDF together, and also include a small selection of house rules.

  1. George Cassie (@castlin)

    How does Recall work – I thought you could only have one sigil of a type active at a time, so how do you put it on multiple items?

    Also what about just having a single Translocation sigil? It would require a decision about which of the spells is most important. Like you’ve set up your Revisitation point, but later on you encounter a situation where Breath Transmittal would be useful – but would it be useful enough to destroy your escape route?

    It’d also mean a bit less bookkeeping as to which sigils were active. Actually at the outset I was expecting one sigil per group of spells, and if any of them used a sigil they’d use that one.

    1. Brendan Post author


      Yes, that spell violates the “one sigil” rule. I think the exception is clear enough, but perhaps it is worth rewording it so that the one sigil rule is maintained, for generality and ease of interpretation. Maybe a container can be inscribed with the sigil, and then amount of contents could be related to level? I will think on it more.

      One sigil per category is attractive, though I would be worried that it would penalize sorcerers that chose to specialize compared to those that took spells from all categories. Further, some kinds of spells (like translocation) rely more on sigils than other kinds.

      Also, I don’t want to overly systematize, if possible. I’m aiming for suggestiveness rather than precision here. Part of the benefit of the three sentence rule, for me, is that I am simply not able to address all common contingencies, necessarily leaving a lot of flexibility for the end referee to interpret as appropriate for a given campaign.

  2. Gordon Cooper

    I think the use of the word “permanent” creates confusion, since most spells that are described as permanent in duration can only be terminated by dispel magic or a wish (at least in AD&D), if I recall correctly.

    It also sounds like it accomplishes the same thing as Revisitation (since you can only use it to return to a place you’ve been), but with more trouble (because the sigil must be placed on two doors instead of one location) and less benefit (because the sigils are destroyed if one of the doors is ever closed from the sigil side), unless I am misunderstanding it.

    1. Brendan Post author


      Perhaps continual, perpetual, or enduring might be better?

      It seems to me like revisitation and portal are different enough to deserve separate spells. As you say, there is a risk that someone will use your portal before you do, and close the door. However, it can connect doors, say, within a dungeon, whereas revisitation can only take you back to a place under the open sky. Also, revisitation causes actual teleportation, whereas with portal you need to physically walk through. I could see either of those methods being more useful depending on the context.

      I do think that portal is a trickier spell to referee in a satisfactory manner. I like it enough that I’d like to see it in play, but I realize that it might end up on the cutting floor if it doesn’t seem to provide the correct balance of atmosphere, utility, and requirement for creativity.

  3. Brendan Post author


    This is very useful feedback, so thanks for taking the time to help me think through the implications of these spells, both in terms of comprehensibility from a player perspective, and regarding actual effect in the game.

  4. Vanja

    I know this an 11 year old post at this point, but didn’t know where else to ask; if this blog isn’t active anymore, I enjoyed it while it was and hope you’re well.

    In the full Wonder and Wickedness, what does the spell Living Gate do? I love the evocativeness but unsure of the effect.

    The sorcerer must first inscribe a gate sigil on a conscious creature. By casting this spell, the sorcerer (and a number of companions equal to level) may step through the body of the ensigiled creature as if through a door. The creature must save or take one die of damage per traveller, though this damage will only potentially lead to unconsciousness, not death.

    I get that they can step through as if a door, but where does that door actually go?

    1. Necropraxis Post author


      The idea here is that one can step through the creature to where it is, from where the sorcerer currently is, which may be considerably distant. It is sort of like a teleport, where the destination tracks the ensigiled creature. The sorcerer and creature must be at the same place at some point, so that the sigil can be applied, but applying the sigil does not require casting the spell, only activating the sigil requires casting the spell.

      Remember, you can only have one sigil of a given type active at a time, which means you can only have one living gate target destination (see the discussion of sigils in the front section). Hopefully it should go without saying that casting the spell without a prepared sigil is useless in terms of the primary effect (though it could potentially still have secondary effects such as catastrophes, depending on your base magic system chassis).

      The published version of this spell is, ahem, far from my clearest work! Sorry about that.

      Looking back, I would probably specify that the sorcerer would need to open an actual door, which would lead to the place where the ensigiled creature is (stepping through the creature, and so forth)… and the rest of the spell remains the same.


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