Holy Word (spell)

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Holy word articulates an evocation of enormous power, capable of blasting the caster's enemies with the divine force of the spoken utterance. The exact word spoken is left to the imagination of the character; it may be designated as a specific word or selection of words, or may be considered to be something so powerful that the memory of every listener is effaced by the word's power. Perhaps the character knows the word, and is fearful to speak it aloud when not casting the spell.

Holy Word
Range self
Duration see below
Area of Effect 30 ft. radius
Casting Time 2 rounds
Saving Throw negates; see below
Level cleric (7th)

The holy word can affect the believer and non-believer alike, though the force of the spell can be selective against the caster's enemies. Those who hear the word spoken are separated into four groups, as described below. In each case, a levelled character is considered to have 1 more hit die (HD) than the number of levels they possess; for example, a 1st level character has 2 HD.

The Weak: these are creatures with 4 HD or less. Those who make saving throw are be made unconsciousness, remaining so for four hours. The remainder, who fail their save, are killed by the word.

The Fair: these are creatures with 4 to 7 HD. Those who save are knocked insensible and off their feet for 2-8 rounds; they require two rounds after the word is spoken to regain their ability to fight. The remainder who fail their save are rendered paralysed for 5-30 rounds.

The Strong: these are creatures with 8 to 11 HD. Those who save are stunned for 2 rounds. Those who fail their save are groggy, on their feet, counting as stunned creatures that are -4 to their armour class; they are not considered helpless.

The Exalted: these are creatures with 12 or more HD. Those who save are free to take any action. Those who fail are able to fight at -2 to hit, while experiencing a period of deafness for 1-4 rounds.


The holy word can be spoken with less force, if the caster wishes, so that it affects only three of the four groups, or two, or one. In each case, the severity of the word is reduced by one or more degrees, depending on which groups are to be affected.

For example, if the caster wished only to affect "the weak" and "the fair," then the weak would suffer the consequences normally attributed to the strong ... while the fair would suffer the consequences normally attributed to the exalted.

Thus the power of the spell allows for a threat to be made that is less devastating that an all out assault. If the lesser form is used, it every listener cannot help but understand inherently that the caster could have unleashed a far more potent word, had that been wished. For those listeners who are essentially good people, this will encourage a willingness to listen and to negotiate with the caster; while malevolent creatures will laugh at the caster's poor sense in not unleashing the word's full strength.