n.b. Dweomer Day is a series in which I convert a spell from an earlier edition of D&D to 5E or update a homebrew spell from previous editions/campaigns.
Agon’s Hammer is another spell penned by Eric Minton for my Aquerra homebrew setting that I ran from summer 1989 to fall 2009 (and played a game set there from 2012 to 2016), though with more of my input than many of the spells he created. As I mentioned before, he was a major part of the games I ran from 2001 to 2009 and during that time helped a lot in developing the setting. The spell is named for a figure famous in Aquerra lore, Agon the God-King (who is sometimes depicted as having the head of a ram), the living avatar of a god named Rahkefet, who ruled the Spice & Thread Islands for 140 years during that world’s the Third Age.
Agon’s Hammer is a spell meant to represent raw power that is difficult to control.
All that lore (and more) is not really relevant to the spell as presented here, except Minton and I discussed wanting a destructive spell that also had a good chance of knocking down the target. Back then (both in my late 2E period and throughout running 3.XE) we used rules for “Knockdown” adapted from the 2E Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics. We gave the spell a d30 knockdown die, in order to enact that high probability of knockdown and because we wanted more uses for non-standard dice. (I also made the d16 a regular part of play by using these knockdown rules.)
But since my current games don’t make use of the knockdown rules (as much as I loved them), when converting this spell I decided instead to focus on two things: being destructive to objects and pushing targets back. In addition, while the original spell allowed a Reflex saving throw for half-damage, I decided instead to make it a ranged spell attack with no save versus the damage, but a Strength save against the secondary effects. Furthermore, I added some conditions under which the spell can instead damage something other than the target (striking cover, though my games also uses rules for firing ranged attacks into melee combat involving allies) and for the spell to be held and the blast of force re-sent out on the occasion of a total miss.
Lastly, I imagine it needing to build up some momentum, so I added a stipulation that it simply fades away if targeting something or someone too close to the caster.
As I have mentioned in other installments of Dweomer Day, I like spells that leave room for collateral effects and DM adjudication, and I see this spell as a perfect example. It may also do a lot of damage (though at 9d6 it is only one die more than a fireball which can deal that damage to a lot more people than Agon’s Hammer’s one target), but I also see it as a great spell for knocking down a portion of a wall or blowing open a door or smashing an escaping a wagon.
Click here for a PDF version of Agon’s Hammer.
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