It can easily be argued that there is no need to create any new spells, monsters or magic items for use in a D&D campaign. Between the various sourcebooks, modules, supplements and Dragon magazine articles, one could play a lifetime and never use the same thing twice.
That being said, there’s still a great deal of joy waiting for the DM who sits down to create something new to perplex, challenge or reward their players. There’s nothing like the shocked look on your most jaded dungeon delver’s face when he discovers that the magic item he was sure were gauntlets of ogre power turn out to be something completely different. Why else are there so many magic items in the DMG that resemble one thing but turn out to be a cursed version of the same?
For me, creating new things for the game also allows me to justify the things I spring on my players. While I can say that "the statue turns you all into 3’ tall green dancing crayfish" and wave it off as "DM Magic," it’s much more satisfying to have the spell written out that does such a thing. Like the old days of The Dragon, if it appears in print, it must be street legal.
It also inspires the players to seek out copies of these spells or to research their own versions. An interesting and yet never-before-seen magical item in the hands of an enemy can inspire more desire to thwart and defeat that enemy than a castle full of kidnapped princesses ever could.
Pursuing that vein of thought, I present to you a new spell and a new magical item. One is most definitely for use by the DM, although many a magic-user who has grown tired of the party’s thief might desire to get a copy for their spellbook. The other is a minor magical item; one interesting enough that it might cause some head-scratching before the players puzzle it out, but not so overwhelming to be kept out of the hands of low-level adventurers.
Whether or not these items might be found within the depth of the Dungeon Not Yet Named™ is something I’ll leave up to the adventurers to discover…
Ekim’s Minor Ingenious Warding Web (Alteration)
Level : 3 (Magic-user)
Duration: Permanent until discharged
Area of Effect : Object touched
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 3 rounds
Saving Throw: None
Ekim was a magic-user of minor repute who had grown weary of paying expensive trap-crafters to protect his valuables. Never being one to employ fire spells, Ekim sought an alternative to the common fire trap spell. After much experimentation and research, he created a spell that would allow him to delay the effects of certain low level spells by placing them within a cocoon of magic energy. Only when that cocoon was disturbed would the spell placed within it be triggered.
In order to use Ekim’s minor ingenious warding web effectively, the spell must first be cast upon an object. Immediately thereafter, the magic-user must cast one of the following first- or second-level spells: burning hands, magic missile, shocking grasp, sleep, ray of enfeeblement or stinking cloud. That spell then lies dormant within the ingenious warding web. Once the warding web is disturbed – usually by touching, opening or moving the object on which it is cast – the spell within the web is immediately discharged upon the person disturbing the object. In the case of spells with an area of effect, the spell’s center is the object in question. Other similar first- and second-level spells may be substituted at the DM’s discretion.
The person disturbing the object is affected as if the magic-user had cast the dormant spell directly upon him, including damage, duration and saving throws. Bystanders caught within the effects of an area of effect or cone also suffer the effects of the spell as normal.
The warding web may only protect objects that are directly interacted with. An open archway could not be protected by this spell as the archway itself is not directly disturbed by someone passing through it. Also, because the warding web requires some of the magic-user’s personal spell energy to maintain itself, a magic-user may only have one warding web in place for each three levels of experience he or she possesses, rounded down. Thus a 5th level magic user could only have one warding web active at any time while an 18th level magic-user could have up to six. Because the warding web employs the magic-user’s personal energy, he or she will be aware when one of the webs is triggered if on the same plane of existence at that time. In the case of multiple active warding webs he will not know which warding web was triggered, only that one of them has been.
The material components for this spell is 250 g.p. worth of powered gems, as well as any material components required for the cocooned spell.
Based on the name of the spell, it is possible that Ekim perfected a more potent version of this spell; one that allows higher-level spells to be cocooned within a greater ingenious warding web.
Ekim’s Bag of Bones
Experience Point Value: 1,250
Gold Piece Value: 7,500
This magical item appears to be a large draw-string canvas sack. When found, the bag contains the skeletal remains of one medium sized humanoid creature. If the bones are removed piece by piece, nothing amazing occurs. The bones simply seem to be the clean and complete skeleton of some creature. If the contents of the bag are dumped out all at once, the bones neatly assemble themselves into a skeleton (AC-7 HD-1 #Attacks-1 Damage-1d6). The skeleton will obey the commands of the person who emptied the bag as if he or she had animated it. The skeleton can be commanded back into the bag at any time and recreated at a later date. The skeleton does not repair itself or regain any lost hit points while within the confines of the sack and may be destroyed as normal, either in combat or by a cleric’s turning power. The destruction of the skeleton does not affect the magic of the bag. In fact, should the original skeleton be destroyed, the owner of the bag may replace it by refilling the bag with the complete clean skeleton of another creature. Attempts to replace the skeleton with an incomplete one, or with an only partially decomposed corpse will either fail or result in some other event of the DM's choosing. The bag can only hold one creature at any given time and the skeleton must be that of a M-sized creature or smaller for the magic to affect it.