Fragile Spell in Expedition Demeter | World Anvil


He sat on a tree stump, the battle raging around him. The sounds of iron collision echoed out, highlighted by the cries of death as friend and foe died and slaughtered. Yet, still he wrote.
The endless illegible scribbling in the margins were scars on the page, and these scars matched his own. The words brought pain, a torment like no other. His heart sank at the thoughts that leaped forward in his mind, like rabid dogs. Each sought to bite a piece of him away. Yet, still he wrote.
Men and women clad in armor danced around him. Their weapons reflected the sun in his eyes, but only where metal was still clean and free of blood. The color faded around him, lush greens and sky blues all faded to gray. Yet, still he wrote.
The poetic prose that polished the page wore him down. Several soldiers fell to their knees. Their cries of battle turned to sobs as they pondered his loss, unsure of what brought on the rush of emotion. They began to think of the one's they lost. Some lost mothers, lovers, daughters, and sons. Their attentions turned to the fallen, some slain by their hand. They had mothers too, they thought. They had lovers, daughters, and sons. Yet, still he wrote.
Their bones cracked under the weight, and some simply couldn't go on. Some just died. They willed themselves to part this wretched life. The battle was over, or so they had said. He never looked up for clarification. His quill and ink were nearly dry, and still by moonlight he wrote.
RPG Mechanics
Fragile requires a successful roll of 10 or higher on a D20. On success, the bard will begin their composition in whatever medium they choose. The effects of the spell will not cease until the Bard has completed their composition.

  All those who are in the area of effect must make a composure roll. If this role succeeds, they may act as if nothing happened for the remainder of their turn. Despite the success, when their turn comes up again they must make a successful role once more.

If the roll fails the individual can no longer attempt to resist in further rounds. When a roll fails the character loses one action for every round, roll a D6 on the following table to determine additional effects. You roll every time the bard begins their turn.
It should be known that this spell can affect other player characters as well. The range of the spell can be anywhere from 10 to 35 feet in radius. The bard chooses any number within this range at increments of 5, and can change the area of effect as they so pleased when their turn comes at the cost of an action.

Dice roll Effect Rules
1 the composition moves on, building in strength. Any damage realty next round is doubled.
2 The effected become crazed, seeking anything to alieviate the pain. The bard gets to control the effected during this round.
3 The characters effected are overcome with sorrow and drop to the ground sobbing. All effected lose their turn this round. Does not carry over to next round.
4 The cold reality of the composition is taking its toll deal 1 dmg to all effected.
5 bones strain and the vision blurs for those effected. Those effected are dealt 3dmg
6 Those effected are able to resist the spell, and shake off its effects. Those effected are no longer effected and must make composure rolls in future rounds


Depending on your medium, the spell can manifest in different ways. For musical compositions, the music can only be heard in the area of effect, for visual art, the area of effect can be a landscape on the canvas, altered when the area of effect changes. Those who are performers such as dancers may be at a disadvantage.

Theoretically the only area you'd be able to effect is the area that is surrounding you but in this spell a performer may change the area of effect and divide it up in increments of 10, choosing several small areas in a 60 radius instead if your gm allows it.
A spell circulated among Bards, fragile is a bittersweet melody or a painting that highlights the frail nature of life. It is a dance of longing that ends in broken hearts. The Bards of the The College of Woe teach this spell to any who earn their colors at The Bardic University of Estoya in Rouxsgate, but to use it, one must suffer great loss.       The spell was first used in Alfen singing stones. It is said that these Singing Stones could alter ones emotions. In the The Tablwood, one such stone was found by a wandering bard, whose name was Frailty. The bard adapted it to fit in the confines of bardic lore, and the college of woe would keep the tradition alive to this day.

The spell

Fragile begins with the mindset. The bard must enter a meditative state that attunes them to their environment. When the bard begins their work, there will be unnoticeable desaturation of color in the world around them. Those who are in the surrounding area must do everything they can to resist or succumb to an overwhelming depression. Those who are able to overcome this will suffer anxiety beyond compare as the bard continues to weave a narrative in their chosen medium that reminds them of their inevitable death.

what's in a name?

Fragile gets its name not just from the bard that discovered it, but also from the effect it has on those who fail to resist. As time goes on, the affected person will begin to unravel. Their mind and body will seemingly break under the pressure of their own thoughts.

The High Cost of Living

There is a requirement that must be met in order to be able to use the spell. Those who wish to use it must experience loss and the grief and overcome that loss and grief. This loss cannot be material and must center around the death of a loved one. It is hard to say exactly how much loss and grief one must experience. Regardless the loss must be substantial enough to break a person.

Cover image: by IARDACIL


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