Eldritch Research

  • Now that y'all are getting some gold, it's time to introduce rules for... Eldritch Research! These rules slay and usurp the rules in Labyrinth Lord on page 126.

    While the default rules require a magic-user to be 9th level to perform research, in the Expeditions to Dwimmermount campaign magic-users of any level may perform magical research immediately upon establishing a laboratory.


    A laboratory is a collection of measuring instruments; distillation, subliming, blending, refining, and transmutation tools; storage containers (dry and fluid); glass-blown apparatuses, funnels, tubes, beakers, and vials; cosmic maps, globes and astrolabes, orreries; microscopes and magnifying lenses; common material components (rocks, crystals, metals, fabrics, animal parts and excretions, etc.); a summoning circle and divining pool; chalk board and chalk; timekeepers and pieces; journals, notebooks, reference manuals and handbooks, research tomes and grimoires; and even more fantastic accessories for the most elaborate laboratories.

    Laboratories are rated capable of researching an additional level of spell power for every 1,000 gp spent outfitting the laboratory. Thus, in order to research a 1st level spell, a magic-user requires a laboratory valued at least 1,000 gp.

    Laboratories can be built anywhere with enough space to harbor one, though wards and guardians are almost always present.

    Sharing Laboratory Space

    Most magic-users jealously guard their research since it can be stolen from their laboratory. However, some magic-users will form a covenant and share laboratory space, usually with a pact to not steal each others' research.

    The benefits of sharing a space is that each individual magic-user does not need to invest in their own laboratory. However, only one magic-user (and apprentice, see below) may use a laboratory at any one time.


    Some magic-users take on an apprentice. An apprentice is a 0th level adept to become a magic-user. The master will offer room, board, and knowledge -- eventually teaching the four spells one must know to become a magic-user when the apprentice is ready. While an apprentice assists in the lab and performs a magic-user's mundane tasks for them (cook, clean, etc.), the time needed to research can be reduced by 1d3 days for each week of research. Hiring an apprentice follows the same rules as other retainers and henchmen. Only one apprentice may ever assist on any one research project.

    Conducting Research

    Most eldritch research is conducted in increments of one week. The following tasks can be accomplished with eldritch research:

    • Learn a spell
    • Create a spell
    • Identify a magical item
    • Enchant an item
    • Other as permitted by the DM

    Learning & Creating Spells

    Magic-users can attempt to learn a spell by conducting eldritch research. Learning a spell requires a week of research (no matter the spell level). A magic-user must be capable of casting a spell they are researching (e.g. a magic-user must be 5th level to research fireball) and must have access to a laboratory valued at 1,000 gp per spell level (e.g. a laboratory of at least 3,000 gp is required to research fireball). A magic-user must have some prior knowledge or evidence of a spell before they may research it to learn the spell (e.g. witnessed another magic-user cast it, read a spell but never learned it, heard tales of a spell and its effects, etc.).

    A magic-user may also attempt to create a new spell. The player should work with the DM to determine the spell effects and level of the spell. A created spell is prefaced by the magic-user's name for any who learn the spell for at least 101 years (e.g. Cade's Fiery Ballsack). After this amount of time, the spell reverts to just its common name (e.g. Fiery Ballsack).

    A magic-user's research to learn or create a spell may be interrupted, but the research is paused. As the week of research nears completion, the magic-user will roll on the following table to determine the result of the research. Research generally succeeds or succeeds after a task is completed, unless otherwise noted.

    • Some results may have a gold piece cost and/or time associated with it. For example, if you roll a result of "Specimen!", the DM may tell you a troll's heart is required and you can find one in a large city (like, Adamas) for 5,000 gp and a month of travel. Or, you might be able to find a troll within Dwimmermount and slay it -- in which case, you can circumvent this time and cost.
    • Some results are optional. For example, if you are required to bargain with a demon, you may hear the demon's bargain before agreeing to it. If you agree, the research is completed. If you decline, the research is abandoned and may not ever be completed without making that bargain. The same is true for peering into the cosmic void. You may decide to abandon the research in lieu of risking madness.
    • Some results just happen. In these cases, the research only fails if the result explicitly says so. For example, a roll of 1 means an explosion in your lab. The result states research fails and you must rebuild the damaged portion of your lab before retrying. However, a result of radiation means your research succeeds (good job!), but you are automatically corrupted by it.
    • Some results say to roll on a table or be affected by some random effect. You won't know what these are until they happen. Eldritch research is experimental!
    Roll Research Result
    1 - Explosion! Your research fails. Roll 2d6 x (100 x spell level) to determine gp value of lab damaged. You may attempt the research again after the damaged laboratory equipment is repaired.
    2 - Delayed! Your research requires another week to be completed. Roll again as the second week nears completion.
    3 - Specimen! You must acquire a monstrous or material component to complete your research. The DM will tell you what. The specimen is destroyed in the process.
    4 - Tool! You must acquire a unique piece of equipment to add to your laboratory before research can be completed. The DM will tell you what. The equipment adds to the value of your laboratory.
    5 - Perplexed! You must consult a sage of renown on how to proceed before research can be completed. The DM will tell you which sage must be consulted and where they might be found.
    6 - Mysteries! You must find and study an ancient tome of knowledge before research can be completed. The DM will give you the title and where it might be found.
    7 - Radiation! You are corrupted by leaking eldritch radiation during your research. Roll on the corruption table.
    8 - Bargain! You must make a bargain with a powerful demon or spirit for the knowledge necessary to complete the research. The bargain will be commensurate with the level of research.
    9 - Madness! You must peer into the cosmic void in order to complete your research. Succeed on a saving throw versus Spells or be afflicted with a random madness.
    10 - Warped! You complete the research but your experimentation has cosmically warped the spell or item somehow. The DM will tell you how. You may cast the spell in its warped state and/or continue to research it (another week and another roll on this table) to hone the spell to its rightful state.
    11 - Doubles! Roll twice on this table and both results affect your research.
    12 - Eureka! You glean some deeper, cosmic understanding during your research. Your spell is honed and empowered. If it is an item, you unlock a deeper mystery unknown to all before. The DM will tell you how.

    Identifying Items

    As you've learned, the spell Identify isn't foolproof. And, requires fumbling and using the item, which means cursed items will be used before knowledge of such a curse becomes a realization. Items can be researched in lieu of using the Identify spell to learn the properties of the item. This requires careful study, tests, and consultation for a week. Roll on the research table above as you would learning or creating a spell.

    Enchanting Items

    Enchanting items is a far more complicated process than researching spells or identifying an enchanted item's properties. It is a two-part process.

    First, a magic-user must spend a week performing research to discover a schema for a magical item. A schema is the basic blueprint or recipe for how to create a particular magical item. Once a magic-user has a schema, they need to merely follow the instructions using their laboratory to enchant an item. Like researching a spell or identifying an item, a magic-user must roll on the table above and may need to perform additional tasks or bargain with demons before learning the schema for an item.

    Once a magic-user has a schema, they may begin the process of enchanting an item. Each schema is unique (even for the same item!) and may even come with its own set of risks or complications for more powerful items. The DM will tell you what the schema entails.

    An example schema:

    Potion of Healing
    Crush and brew the remnants of a blooming golden rose in the simmering blood of a throghrin for five days.

    +1 Sword
    Place a blade forged of adamantine steel by a master smith under the light of Ioun during a full moon phase while intoning an ancient demonic sonnet for three consecutive months.

  • @Mike

    So my mage could buy a lab and then spend his off screen time creating spells. Hells yeah!

    What is the rule on lab sharing?

    Spell idea for future creation.

    1. Burden- increases or decreases an object's weight.

  • @TomunistParty said in Eldritch Research:

    What is the rule on lab sharing?

    Good question! I'll have some rules for sharing of labs soon. Most magic-users are protective of their research space but some form covenants and have apprentices.

  • Are there modifiers to the die roll to determine success? Perhaps INT adjustment as a bonus (or penalty) or spend a shit ton more $$$ on research for a +1, etc?

  • @JohnY said in Eldritch Research:

    Are there modifiers to the die roll to determine success? Perhaps INT adjustment as a bonus (or penalty) or spend a shit ton more $$$ on research for a +1, etc?

    The roll doesn't determine success. You're pretty much always successful (except on a roll of 1). The roll just determines the circumstances of the research.

  • Think of the roll more like a random encounter roll. You must deal with this in order to complete research.

  • Enchantment of items updated.

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