Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Class: The Spelldancer


Requirements: DEX 15, INT 15, WIS 15
Prime Requisite: None
Hit Dice: 1d6
Experience, Attacks and Saves: As Magic-User
Spelldancers are an unusual subclass of magic-user. They may use the same small weapons as magic-users and are unable to use shields or wear any kind of armor. Although they share all of the same restrictions that apply to magic-users, dancers do not gain bonus experience points for high ability scores and so they have no prime requisite. Spelldancers may use many of the same magic items available to all characters. Most spelldancers are female, but spelldancers can be of either sex.
Spellcasting: Spelldancers have access to all magic-user spells. However, they do not use hand gestures or spoken words, but wild, passionate dances to bring about magical effects. Spelldancers do not have to memorize their spells. They are not limited in the number of spells they can cast per day, or in the level of the spell they try to cast.
To perform her dance, the spelldancer must have at least an area of 20’ diameter to dance in. The spelldancer slips into a magical trance and is unaware to her environment while dancing. Anyone attacking a dancing spelldancer automatically has surprise. However, the frenzied movements make the spelldancer more difficult to hit. While dancing, a spelldancer’s AC is reduced by 1 for every 2 experience levels of the character. For example, a 7th level spelldancer has a-3 bonus to her AC when dancing.
To cast a spell, the spelldancer must dance a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell. She may improve the chance of producing the desired effect by dancing longer, for a maximum number of rounds equal to her CON. After the desired number of rounds have past, the spelldancer must make a Dexterity check. The roll is modified as follows:
·         -4 for each level by which the spell exceeds the level of the spellcaster.
·         +1 for every two additional rounds the character dances, a + 1 bonus is applied to the roll.
·         +1 bonus per dancer beyond the first. No more than 8 spelldancers may aid the spelldancer at the same time.
When the spelldancer’s concentration is broken or her dance is interupted, and she has not danced the required number of rounds equal to the spell’s level, the casting fails and the spell doesn’t take effect. If she has danced the minimum number of round required to cast the spell, she may make her Dexterity check, but with a -4 penalty because of the abrupt end to the dance.
No matter if the attempt to cast the spell was successful or unsuccessful, after dancing the spelldancer is fatigued. While fatigued, all attack rolls and saving throws the character makes suffer a -2 penalty.
The spelldancer must rest for a number of rounds equal to the number of rounds spend dancing in the attempt before she can dance again.
Evasion: Instead of casting a spell, a spelldancer can use her dancing to make herself more difficult to hit. When attempting to evade an attack, a spelldancer is able to reduce her Armor Class by 1 point per level. The spelldancer must be aware of the attack. A spelldancer can use evasion for a number of rounds equal to half her CON (rounded down). Thus a spelldancer with CON 15 can evade for a maximum of 7 successive rounds. After using this ability, the spelldancer is fatigued and must rest a number of rounds equal to the number of rounds the character has been dancing, just as after spellcasting.
Reaching 6th level: When a spelldancer reaches the 6th level, a spelldancer may use her dancing to emulate the effects of a Hypnotic Pattern spell. The spelldancer cannot use this power at the same time as dancing to cast a spell. The target may make a save vs. spells to resits.
Reaching 10th level: When a spelldancer reaches the 10th level, a spelldancer may use her dancing to emulate the effects of a Sleep spell. To use this ability, the spelldancer must be of higher level than the intended target. Characters of higher level are immune to this ability. The spelldancer must dance a minimum number of rounds equal to the target’s level, after which the subject may save vs. spell.
NOTE: If the campaign uses skills or proficiencies, the spelldancer should gain Dancing, Perform, or the equivalent thereof as a free bonus skill. Instead of Dexterity, this skill should be rolled when attempting to cast a spell.


  1. Interesting stuff, very flavorful.
    I like magic that strays closer to ritual/performance/art (and further away from 'guns in disguise'... so I'd probably be inclined to make this form a lot slower... not something that could be whipped out in a flash moment of ambush in a dungeon or somesuch.
    It would be cool if they could bring in other dancers to boost the spell somehow. Not necessarily just other Spelldancers, but other characters with some performance ability as well.
    I can see a Spelldancer traveling from village to village and lead the locals in dances to bring rain, improve crops, bless homes, drive out spirits, or just create fabulous effects for entertainment at festivals.

    1. Thanks! I based this on a class in the Forgotten Realms book Wizards & Rogues of the Realms, so I can't take all of the credit. I simplified it a bit for use with Labyrinth Lord, and got rid of some of the weird 2E-isms that seem to crop up in that edition (like calling a class with magical dances a spellsinger).

      The thing I like about the class is that it could be used for portraying different archetypal dancers: ritual dancers, gypsies, arabian bellydancers, etc.

      I like your ideas for the class a lot. If the spellcasting works slower, the class probably needs some more special abilities to use in combat, akin to the Evasion ability. Getting help from other dancers is also a good idea, and maybe from other types of performers as well. I could see a bard and a spelldancer boost eachother's spellcasting, for example.

      I think the class needs it's own spell-list, to prevent spelldancers from casting wishes every half hour. I'll probably include some priest spells on the list, to enable the more ritual dances you describe.

  2. A list of Spelldancer focused spells would be cool!
    I would imagine them in combat as being big on spells that mesmerize, blind, distract, put an enemy to sleep... effects on vision and awareness... maybe create illusions of some sort.
    Probably similar stuff they could do pre-battle for their friends... put them in a frame of mind that would boost their valor somehow... spells to help them ignore pain. They could inspire lust or hatred or ambivalence.
    Afterwards maybe some spells to slow the heart rate/slow bleeding on the wounded.
    A single Spelldancer might have a shot at calming some big beast, even subduing it to become an ally... a large group of dancers may be able to enchant an army.

    I guess the trap to avoid is to have them come out as 'magical cheerleaders'... "Hurray, the Elf drill team is here!"

    1. I guess the trap to avoid is to have them come out as 'magical cheerleaders'... "Hurray, the Elf drill team is here!"
      Yes, their role shouldn't be just supportive. I see them much more as mesmerizing, seductive, mood-inducing. But I don't want to make them too much like the bard class, so I have to find the right balance.

      On another note, I'll probably remove the 6th-level and 10th-level powers. They're not different enough from just casting the spells Hypnotic Pattern and Sleep.
      Also, I think it needs some rules for determining what dances/spells a character knows or begins with.

  3. Very good man
    This can give a exotic flavor to any campaign.

    I thought the spelldancers like rare oracles in hidden temples or montains
    If i use in my setting i will try put some spells of divination, enchanment and cure in the spell-list

    Really is a great idea give some support to rituals involving many dancers

    And sorry for my english...
    Many google tradutor

    1. The idea of spelldancers as hidden oracles dancing in a state of dreamlike trance is really cool!

      It looks like every culture and campaign world can have it's own flavor of spelldancers. I like that!

      And don't worry about your english, I'm not a native speaker as well.