1/26/14

Spells from Der Hexenhammer


I accidentally ended up spending Sunday morning reading parts of Malleus Maleficarum, Der Hexenhammer, The Hammer of Witches. The book written 1486 by Heinrich Kramer arguing that witchcraft was real and witches was a real threat. Also a whole bunch of stuff about how women were the most common agents of the Devil due to being weaker and easier to fall to temptation and also how to torture them into confessions. 

For a long time it was thought to have been a very influential book, 20 editions were published the first 40-ish years so I guess it's easy to think so. Later historians have argued that Malleus Maleficarum was just a tiny part of several reasons to why everyone got into this witch-hunt craze in the following 150 years. What we do know is that the Catholic Church condemned the book as false only 3 years after it's publication and that the members of the Spanish Inquisition was told not to trust anything in it, not even when the book have what looks like solid proof. 

It's also of course a great source of inspiration, especially if you, like me, are running a game set in Europe in the early 1600s.  

Part I, Question VI: How Witches Impede and Prevent the Power of Procreation.
For a certain wizard who had been arrested confessed that for many years he had by witchcraft brought sterility upon all the men and animals which inhabited a certain house.
Curse of the Dying Bloodline
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: 6 Months/Level
Range: 60'
If the target fails a Save vs Magic it becomes unable to create offspring, and any child not yet born die. The target gets a new save every 6 months of the duration of the spell even any save succeeds.
A willing target are able to adjust the save with +/-4 at will.

Part I, Question IX: Whether Witches may work some Prestidigatory Illusion so that the Male Organ appears to be entirely removed and separate from the Body.
... for since devils can do greater things than this, as killing them or carrying them from place to place [...] therefore they can also truly and actually remove men's members.
Crotch Curse
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: 1 Turn/Level or Permanent
Range: Touch
The target of the spell see and feel how it's genitals rots and falls off or closes shut. The target gets to Save vs Magic, with a -4 modification if the target willingly let the caster undress him/her before the spell was cast, if the save succeeds the spell was just an illusion and everything will seem normal again after 1 Turn per Level of the caster. If the save fails the effects are real and permanent.

Part I, Question X: Whether Witches can by some Glamour Change Men into Beasts.
... a certain girl would not consent to a young man who was begging her to commit a shameful act with him. And the young man, being angry because of this, caused a certain Jew to work a charm against her, by which she was changed into a filly. But this metamorphosis was not an actual fact, but an illusion of the devil ...
Shape of the Beast
Magic-User Level 2
Duration: Permanent
Range: 60'
This spell disguises the target as that of an animal. The target must Save vs Magic, a success means that the target sees itself as normal except in reflections a failed save means the target will see and believe it has been turned into the animal, the target will then start behaving as the animal and will not remember any details of what happens during the duration of the spell. Everyone who sees the target will have to Save vs Magic, with a -4 modification if the Target failed its save. A success means that the person will see the target as it's normal form.
During the duration of the spell Holy Water becomes harmful to the target as it is to other magical creatures. If the target takes half it's total hit points in damage from Holy Water, the spell is broken. The spell can also be broken by a Bless, Remove Curse, Dispel Magic or similar spell.
A willing target gets a +2 bonus to it's Save.

Part II, Question I, Chapter III: How they are Transported from Place to Place.
A number of scholars had met together to drink beer, and they all agreed that the one who fetched the beer should not have to pay anything. And so one of them was going to fetch the beer, and on opening the door saw a thick cloud before the grunsel, and returning in terror told his companions why he would not go for the drink. Then that one of them who was carried away said angrily: “Even if the devil were there, I shall fetch the drink.” And, going out, he was carried through the air in the sight of all the others.
Flight of the Silent Hours
Magic-User Level 3
Duration: Special
Range: Touch or Special
This spell is only useable in the darkness of the night, and only in a overground, outside environment. It allows the target to fly with a speed of 1 mile per Round for up to 2d6 Rounds plus 2 per level of the caster. If the spell is cast upon more than one target, the duration are split up between them. Flight is only possible in a straight line and during the flight no actions are possible.
It is also possible for a Magic-User to cast this spell in advance on an object. The object has to be ingrained with parts of the caster, like a necklace with a band braided of the casters hair, a book decorated with nail clippings or a potion the caster spat in. After this the caster are able to call upon the object to fly towards the caster. It has the same limitations, only works at night and only above ground and outside, but the object can be in a bag or similar. If someone is holding the object, or have it strapped upon the body, person gets a Save vs Magic to see if he/she will also take off.