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Alphatia: Spell Componentsby Jeff Daly
Much of a spellcaster's life is devoted to the acquiring of power. In the great game, the winner will be the one with the most toys.
An old saying of Blackmoor, "You can't take it with you."
An old saying of Nithia, "Oh yes you can!"
These thoughts on power, further bring to mind a saying of Darokin and Minrothad, "Life is a game, money is just a means of keeping score."
The saying in Alphatia, were it to exist, would be the same with the substitution of "power" for "money". Many archmages spend decades in seclusion, studying ancient tomes for that knowledge that will give them the one up on their fellows. Others experiment on new forms of magic, while still others study cultures both modern and ancient, in the hopes of finding some unknown magic. Though common consensus among Alphatian mages is that the latter are wasting their time on primitives.
Besides spells, scrolls, and items, Alphatian mages often seek out new uses for rare objects. It is common knowledge among all mages that the proper gem or metal or creature part will enhance a magic item. But Alphatian mages know that even common spells can be enhanced by the proper item, used up in the casting. They jealously guard this knowledge from each other, lest the usage become common knowledge.
An herbalist (or mineralist, or any other skilled profession that is applicable) will add +5 to all chances of finding the proper reagents. The chance of finding the reagent, in the appropriate spot, is 1% per searcher. The bright mage will have plenty of apprentices with him, in order to help search, and to keep watch lest wandering monsters accost him.
Spideroot Plant--found in the bogs of Dunadale, this rare plant will cause binding spells (such as Web, or Hold Person) to be slightly stronger. A -1 applies to any save vs these spells, or attempts to cut through (in the case of webs). 1 to 3 plants are found per successful roll.
Tyranium Ore--this item really needs an appropriate skill set, as the yellow ore looks very akin to gold. It aids Magic Missiles, giving an extra point of damage to each magical arrow produced by the spell. The ore found, and properly extracted, can be forged into 1 to 4 coins of sufficient size (one does not wish to produce an object large than a coin, as the whole of the substance is used up, and does not seem to produce any added benefit).
The GoGha Berry--This fruit may be found in northern Norwold, where the toughest of barbarians benefit from their shamans against the mighty Frost Giants of Frosthaven. The shamans mix the berry into a potion, and give it to the barbarians. Just before a battle, the barbarians drink the potion, and the shaman cast strength spells upon the warriors. The potions magnify the strength spells to twice duration, and add an extra point of damage. Each bush grows alone, and produces only one berry. It is rumoured the shaman actually know of a knot of bushes growing together, but no outsider has ever seen such a thing.
Fire Gem--Laying along the volcanic pools of the Arch of Fire, these gems will focus the might of a fireball into a single blast, directed at an individual. This can be useful for close combat. There is no extra damage, but the range is double that of a fireball. 1 to 3 gems are found.
Rahidian Marble--This marble, named for an odd "male medusa" which tends to inhabit quarries of this stone, aids Statue, Flesh to Stone, and Stone to Flesh. In each case, saving throws are reduced or aided by 1 (depending on what is appropriate), and duration (if applicable) is doubled. The stone is good for carving, but dangerous to extract, given the Rahid which guard the quarries. On other worlds, these creatures are called "Maedar". They seem to be able to cross to and from the Plane of Earth at the site of these quarries. One may extract one chunk of marble/week. The time, in hours, is divided by the number of specialists with the party.