Codex Hex - Miscellany

We are crowdsourcing the miscellany for Codex - Hex! This one is called “Three Dozen Misfired Spells.” For each entry, we would like to know what the spell was supposed to do and what happened instead when it misfired. If you want inspiration for some spells and intended effects, pages 8-9 of Trophy Gold have some good lists and may be viewed here: shorturl.at/doMN7

Submissions should be no more than 1-3 short sentences. By submitting here in the replies, you’re agreeing to let us use it (you’ll get a credit on the issue). We’re looking for evocative things; the purpose of the miscellany is to inspire the reader. Please do not submit any entries with sexist imagery (we won’t publish it).

Note: if you’d like your name to be listed differently on the Codex credit, send me a DM here (but please keep your submissions in the thread).

For this miscellany, we’re looking for things that are fantastical, horrifying, and occasionally humorous or ironic. Here are some examples:

“Logan Stormcloak never considered widening the scope of his bound spirit ritual could force his companions’ spirits into the simulacrum, let alone his own spirit. Now the whole party harasses him as he tries to commune with his soulless body and get it to carry the simulacrum to help.”

“Casting magical force attacks seemed so easy, but no one mentioned that the true name for “force” and “phalange’’ were surprisingly similar. Here’s hoping hand regrowth spells are more straight forward, but that seems like wishful thinking.”

“Time magic never seems to go as intended. At least this misfire means you’ll have the chance to correct your misspent youth.”

4 Likes

Sleep. Such a simple spell to make another fall into a peaceful slumber. I just found out that it actually takes my sleep and gives it to the target. Too bad it didn’t not give away the nightmares that now haunt my waking existence.

6 Likes

Sense Impurities. Worked fifty times in the laboratory. But not last month. Not during the full moon. Sure I can sense impurities all the time now, in fact… I crave them, just… never stop feeling hungry unless I cram them into my mouth…

5 Likes

The story of the suffering plateau is now legend. The land was parched and dying, its people starved. A conclave of druids performed their rite, an error was made, and the weave of the land twisted. Now there is a verdant empty meadow stretching for miles, silent but for the black flowers screaming in pain, day and night.

5 Likes

What fun!

CW on this one: memory-loss
The time-wizard Acdemar is slowly losing her standing in the time wizarding guild. Many feel she has given in to old age and refuses to cast her way out of it. Her memory is weak and her care for maintaining the future is non-existent. What many attribute to age and senility is instead the misfire of a time spell that has her stuck eternally in the present. If asked how she feels, she says she feels quite good!

“Summon Cat” is a classic prank spell at sorcery schools. It never works, except when it works too well.

Grease, a well worn classic spell that any hedge mage worth their newt tails knows, was actually at first a spell blunder. The intended spell was to reduce the fat content of some pork shanks for a mage with a sensitive stomach, hence the required components of pork rind or butter.

2 Likes

Two proud Orkish warriors sat at a table in a rough tavern, with a young man in tattered robes kneeling beside one. “Get me another drink, human!” barked one. The man stood, smiled warmly, said, “Of course, Grak! Whatever you like,” and walked over to the bar. Grak shook his head and said said to his companion, “It is strange… our war band ambushed a group of humans, and during the fight that one tried to enchant me with sorcery. For a moment my mind clouded and I thought I knew him from somewhere, and the feeling passed. But then he tried to get his group to stop fighting us… which they did not. After we slew his companions, he began to follow me around, and now does nearly anything I command.” The man returned with a full tankard. “Here you go, Grak! You’re my best friend!

3 Likes

Shocking grasp is normally such an effective combat spell: You charge your hands with electricity and touch your enemy to give them a nasty zap. But if the dweomer never dissipates, your magical career is over: spell components burst into flames in your grasp, the pages of books scorch at your touch, and you can’t even give your black cat familiar a good scratch behind the ears without fear of killing her.

6 Likes

What’s the opposite of a fireball, you ask? A foolhardy pyromancer found out when he inverted a key part of the incantation, and created a spherical zone of intense cold and darkness. And while fire burns for a few incandescent moments, anti-fire never goes out—it merely expands. Slowly, inexorably.

4 Likes

It is said that the first zombie arose when a despondent priest cursed his god for letting a loved one die while beseeching a miracle that would make him walk again. A different god answered that prayer.

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You said that if I laid my palms on my husband’s broken face, and murmured words of mending, his wounds would heal. Should have warned me not to kiss him while doing so. See, as the spell restitched his severed flesh—working its way from my finger tips up to his once pretty face—wherever our lips met, the skin sealed. They say every marriage will struggle with intimacy, but now our faces are bound in perpetuity, we both are beginning to pine for some distance. Happen to have a good knife on you?

2 Likes

CW: Enclosed Spaces

This cyst in the earth encloses me, elastic but unyielding. I thought I could cheat the density of the rock itself, traveling through its heart with no resistance in a capsule of my own arcane design. But there was not enough energy to maintain mobility. I am stuck, entombed, deep in the clinging ground. It reaches for me, pressing in, and my magic ebbs.

3 Likes

I love this. In DW, my players and I had a ‘spell mishap’ bag which was equally loved & feared.

The user throws up an exact duplicate and for the next hour both act as if they are the original, until one begins to disintegrate.

Nearby insects grow to gigantic size and become affectionate to the caster and/or the target.

2 Likes

When Kara sent the messenger to their partner with the information for their next incursion, she never expected the badger who was in charge of it to stop every time it saw a living creature and to tell every single one of those the details of her plan with a complete lack of manners and decorum.

3 Likes

Uncle Semir, tell us the story of how you saved your companions by growing cauliflower on your head. – Not now my dear, or the other wizards eavesdropping with their crystal balls will learn my secret signature spell.

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Creating a Zone of Truth is simple enough magic, and it’s important not to over complicate it. Gryx, the Archmage at the local college, once up-casted it on his colleague to prove a point. Little did Gryx know that instead of forcing his friend to tell the truth, his version forced what his friend said to become true. You should have seen the room when his friend called him a “boastful, crotchety old mountain goat.”

5 Likes

Reanimating the dead is usually a simple, at times industrial, magic – binding lost spirits to old bones and rotted flesh, trapping the energy of the dead in forms it recognizes and forcing its screaming efforts to escape into new productive routes. Mistakes happen though when the untrained bring their own force and will to the process, and many a fledgling necromancer has found themselves staring mute at their own slumped body from behind the clouded eyes of corpse.

6 Likes

One of my ancestors discovered a loophole in magic. He made a kind of fiddly target self spell that worked in conjunction with others, so if he casted mass armor on 5 people, he gained 5 times the armor and they gained nothing. His demise was spectacular, as the target self hadn’t gone out when he decided to cast fireball on 30 goblins.

2 Likes

Prestidigitation is the first spell most casters pick up, useful for a million different small tasks around the house and in daily life! No one talks about the issues with pronunciation however, and the fact that new mages can be identified by the random numbers scrawled across their face, hands, and testing areas.

1 Like

Fire. A simple thing. Some stone and flint. But no, you wanted to get fancy. From old tomes, you found a spell called Spark written in a language you barely understood, wrapped in metaphor. A tiny flame is conjured, yes, but from the heart of an angry star. For 2 terrible seconds, a campfire’s kindling explodes with plasma and trees for miles around burst into flame.

1 Like

In the Unseen Academy they practice a spell to unveil the resonance of other realms: the sounds of hidden worlds brushing up against our own. Their drop-outs are most often those who weave the spell too well—so that they feel the music tingling on their skin & thrumming on the inside of their bones. Soon other voices whisper in their throats; soon, their hearts beat to the alien rhythm.

1 Like