The Lockwood Grimoire: Path of Sand



Path of Sand
INT spell (Level II Transmutation)

The caster points a little finger in some direction, and along the ground a 10-foot swath turns to a magical sinkhole of unstable desert sand out to NEAR distance, lasting D4 rounds (per POWER level). The magical trap is completely dry, yet it acts much like quicksand in a swamp; the sand mire will stop short in its formation at the edge of any water, or if it runs up to a heavy solid object, like a boulder or stone wall, but it does not require actual dimensional depth to function, as the sand is contained in a bottomless extradimensional rift. Any creature not significantly bigger than human-sized (GM’s discretion) touching the zone of sand during the round it is cast becomes mired (grappled) up to the knees (and the GM places a D4 timer at “4” next to the tabletop miniature); creatures fully within the 10-foot width of the zone at casting must pass a DEX check or sink in to the waist (with the timer die at “3”). Mired creatures cannot move and may only use their hands, and those sunken in to the waist suffer -1 to all STAT rolls.

Each round, at the start of the caster’s turn, mired creatures sink one level deeper into the sand mire (and the GM decrements each timer die by 1), suffering penalties and restrictions. Waist deep (timer “3”) is -1 all STAT rolls and the loss of movement and the use of legs. Chest deep (timer “2”) is -2 all STAT rolls. Neck deep (timer “1”) is -3 all STAT rolls and the lose of the use of both hands (no arcane spellcasting!). At all levels of submersion, creatures mired in the sand may attempt escape as their only action on their turn, with a STR or DEX success improving their situation by one level (adds 1 to timer die) and a HARD STR or HARD DEX success freeing them at the edge of the path of sand (GM’s discretion).

When the timer dice run out, creatures are enveloped by the sand with their heads under the surface, and the begin to be crushed as they asphyxiate, taking D4 damage per round. Enveloped creatures continue to sink approximately 3 feet per round and may only free themselves by rolling a natural (unmodified) 20 to return to “neck-deep” status. A creature able to anchor itself to a solid object outside the path (as by a successful rope toss) will not continue to sink (timer die is arrested) and makes EASY rolls (STR or DEX) to pull out of the sand. If aided by allies not mired within the sand with the ability to make physical contact, mired creatures can also make EASY rolls to escape the sinking sand. Creatures completely enveloped below the surface cannot use their arms and hands to grasp objects to aid their escape, but the can be hooked by unmired allies probing with appropriate mechanical aids, and a mired creature with hands free who is secured can join hands with another mired creature to delay further descent, making a STR roll each turn. An enveloped creature at 0 HP or below who fails all death saves dies in the extradimensional rift under the sand.

The Path of Sand’s area of effect remains dangerous until there are no more living creatures within it. When any enveloped creatures have died and no living creatures are in contact with it, the extradimensional rift closes, the sand fades away, and the dead are deposited on the ground where they sank into the path.


  1. This is a pretty powerful spell that provides some real options fo battlefield control and area denial without dealing immediate damage; opponents who don’t stop fighting to rescue themselves from the zone will be in deep trouble (pun intended) soon. GMs may wish to consider raising the casting cost to Level III or adding consumable material components or requirements that increase the casting time if the spamming of this spell is foreseen as a potential problem at the table.
  2. Undead creatures who are animated or otherwise not yet destroyed (i.e., dropped to 0 HP or below) count as “living” for purposes of this spell’s duration (see last paragraph of description). If for some reason an undead creature that just won’t die becomes mired and sinks deep below the sand, the GM can (and probably should) impose a reasonable fail-safe duration on this spell, so the sand goes away, either returning the undead creature to the location or trapping it indefinitely in the extradimensional void—in which case it will be really ticked off if it ever gets out…
  3. This is a really fun spell for a dastardly GM to unleash on a party of PCs who have never seen it before.
  4. Peruse the unseen pages of the Lockwood Grimoire.