Book of Lost Spells 5e

The spells in this book vary wildly in power. Some are so weak for their level that they should never be used for any reason,and others are insanely powerful for their level and should never be allowed to be cast in the first place.

The spell ideas are pretty interesting,but the power levels of effects and damage numbers mean that each spell is going to have to be added or altered individually before bringing it into play.

The monster book seemed pretty well done,so after that, this book is a disappointment. 

Shadow Demon's picture

Books of this nature are GM discretion is advised. Many easily have average damage within the guidelines for Spell Damage given in the DMG p. 284. Use the ideas that are interesting and tailor to your needs since these spells are mutable. Everything perfectly balanced shouldn't have been an expectation from a company with the tagline "1st Edition Feel". These spells are very much experimental for any 5e game.

Is anyone supporting questions?  I had one on "Bloody Tentacles" as to what precisely is a "dying creature".  I'm assuming this means players as once a critter is dead, it's dead, there are no saves or otherwise so I can't figure out if this should simply say characters making death saves.

Shadow Demon's picture

Re: Bloody Tentacles

The Pf version has the following in parenthesis for a "dying creature": "those below 0 hit points and disabled". For 5e, it probably should have included the following: "those at 0 hit points making death saves". This spell is likely to only be used by a GM in this context.


Perhaps they don't containsuch language in order to avoid copyright infringement somehow? There isn't any OGL for 5E and THey've used the 3.x OGL to release this product. This might explain it.

Yes, a dying creature is one that is at 0ho and rolling death saves.

I have to admit, I'm very disappointed by the 5E Book of Lost Spells PDF. I think someone needs to take another pass at it before it goes off to the printer (assuming it's not too late).

First thing I noticed on flipping through - there are very few spells with an equivalent of the At Higher Levels option. Of the approx. 99 1st level spells, only 14 list an "Enhancement" option (14%). By comparison, in the 5E PHB, my quick count finds 62 first level spells, of which 31 (50%) have an "At Higher Levels" option.

A lot of the spells also seem highly situational and/or inappropriately balanced for their listed spell levels. It appears this book is a straight-up conversion of a list of spells that were written for another edition of the game - but a bit more attention needs to be paid to the expectations of the 5E ruleset. 5E character have fewer total spells available, so each of the spells a character chooses needs to offer a bit more flexibility, including such things as "Enhancement" options, multiple possible results (rock to mud and mud to rock are the same spell), or ritual casting option.

In its current state, this book makes me liable to assume that 5E products under the Necromancer Games/Frog God Games umbrella are going to be other-edition-first, pooly-executed conversions - which makes me extremely unlikely to spend my money on any other 5E products by this company. And that's a real shame.

I just want to speak out in favor of the book. Although I agree that more spells could have used enhancement or ritual options, there are a large number of very useful "role-play friendly" spells in this tome, spells with lots of flavor or useful in circumstances outside of killing things with fire (though there's plenty of that, too). My players have been taking voracious advantage of it for the last few sessions, and nothing has come off as overtly broken. 

In terms of a 1st edition feel, 5th edition rules tome goes: I got exactly what I wanted.

Are we allowed to discuss spells in specific details? Or is this bad form or smething?

Shadow Demon's picture

Nope, nothing like like. Ask and discuss specifically as you please. We will try to be as helpful as possible.

is there an update/erratta document around, in relation to some of the issues listed? personally i like a slightly skewed set of spells, they make interesting offerings in spell books even if they aren't superior choices.


Can I get some clarity on the spell Umbral Touch?

How long is the Shadow under the control of the caster?  And any Shadows created by the first Shadow are under the control of whom?

Shadow Demon's picture

As a side note, there are considerations that were not taken into account when the spell was converted into 5e. 

1) A shadow is formed from a non-evil humanoid only. 

2) A shadow is formed in 1d4 hours not 1d4 rounds as in 3.5e/PF. This goes with the 5e mandate of limits on propagating undead.

With the above in mind, this spell really doesn't work for use by a good-aligned humanoid cleric or wizard. The created shadow would not be able to form other shadows within the spell duration wiithout the 1d4 round exception. Even so, due to time constraints, it will be difficult enough to create a single shadow especially against martial opponents. As written, this could be an ok spell for a NPC necromancer or even a lich.



zhern's picture

@BubbaGrim - here is my interpretation:

Umbral Touch has a stated duration of 1 minute. The shadow that results from Umbral Touch reducing a creature to 0 Strength would be under the control of the caster until Umbral Touch ends, so when that minute is up. When that time is up, the shadow would cease being indifferent to the PC and attack the nearest living creature, with preference on those that are not tainted by evil.

Any shadows that spawn from the initial shadow would not be under the control of anyone, but per the flavor text in the Monster Manual, would recognize the shadow that spawned it (the text refers to the "parent" in the context of the original shadow being restored to a living state, but I interpret from that reference that there is a recognition between spawner and spawnee). 

Hope this helps. 

Frog V
Frog God Games

Perfect, just what I was looking for.

Has anyone taken a look at Caustic Spittle? This thing is wildly dangerous and definitely needs to be retuned. dealing 3d6 damage with an additional d6 every turn without a save? As a first level spell, it is ridiculous. With 10 turns of time, it deals 88d6 damage. That kills most CR20 monsters with good rolls.

Shadow Demon's picture

Not much else to say, there is some broken sh*t in this book. Use with discretion and purge with extreme prejudice.

Caustic Spittle has an upper limit since the spit can only be held for the duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute - which is 10 rounds max. So damage is 3d6 plus up to 9d6 extra. Still wildly OP if cast successfully at low levels, but the drawback is that "if the spell ends before an attack is made" the caster takes the damage. So if you make your caustic loogie and don't immediately spit it, the first attack by a foe could make you swallow it, and 12d6 acid damage to yourself is  bad news for anyone.