home> Every Book's a Sourcebook

tenth-level cleric spells from The Faerie Queene

September 21st, 2012 by paul

I've already plugged Spenser's amazing 16th-century D&D poem The Faerie Queene.

It's a pretty decent campaign setting. It already includes most of the D&D races: humans, of course; elves (the main character of book 1 is an elf knight); and dwarves (the dwarves are of the "let the dwarf mount the battlement and give signal on his trumpet!" variety, but you can fudge it). No halflings, sadly.

It also features the four big character classes: fighters and knights and paladins of all kind; a "guilefull great Enchaunter" with "magick bookes and artes"; "a stout and sturdy thiefe"; and clerics.

Here's a description of Fidelia, the highest-level cleric in the setting:

And that her sacred Booke, with blood ywrit,
That none could read, except she did them teach,
She unto him disclosed every whit,
And heavenly documents thereout did preach,
That weaker wit of man could never reach,
Of God, of grace, of justice, of free will,
That wonder was to heare her goodly speach:
For she was able with her words to kill,
And raise againe to life the hart that she did thrill.

And when she list poure out her larger spright,
She would commaund the hastie Sunne to stay,
Or backward turne his course from heavens hight;
Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay;
Dry-shod to passe she parts the flouds in tway;
And eke huge mountaines from their native seat
She would commaund, themselves to beare away,
And throw in raging sea with roaring threat.
Almightie God her gave such powre, and puissaunce great.

So what do we have here?

First of all, clerics use spellbooks in this setting, and although Fidelia is Good, her spellbook is written in blood. Bad Ass.

"She was able with her words to kill / And raise againe to life". She can case Raise Dead, and its reverse Finger of Death.

"Dry-shod to passe she parts the flouds in tway": This spell is called Control Water, according to the third-edition d20srd.org.

"Sometimes great hostes of men she could dismay;" Fear? Cause Fear? Some sort of epic-level version, like Mass Cause Fear? Note the "sometimes"; clearly the spell has a saving throw.

"She would commaund the hastie Sunne to stay, Or backward turne his course from heavens hight;" Now we're talking. Either she can stop and even reverse time, or she can command the sun itself. Either way, that sounds more powerful than the most powerful 9th-level spell (Time Stop only lasts 1d4+1 rounds, not long enough to notice an effect on the sun). We'll call this a 10th level spell.

"And eke huge mountaines from their native seat She would commaund, themselves to beare away, And throw in raging sea with roaring threat." This is a super-epic version of the 6th level spell Move Earth (which is much weaker: it has a maximum area of 750 feet on a side, and notes that "in no event can rock formations be collapsed or moved"). Since this spell can throw huge mountains around, it is clearly also a 10th-level spell.

There's a slight possibility that Spenser meant this section as a religious allegory ("faith can move mountains", etc) and not specifically as D&D spell list for an epic cleric. In my opinion, though, it's both!

More in

One Response to “tenth-level cleric spells from The Faerie Queene”

  1. ranthoron says:

    Hm, “written in blood” doesn’t mean, that the donor has to die…

Leave a Reply