Some Interplay Spells

Some Interplay Spells

A very nice friend sent me a PDF of the old Metagaming magazine, Interplay. I had always meant to go dig those up or find them on the interwebs, and this inspired me to go find the rest. I did not get a chance to read them back in the day, which is a shame–they are fun reads. One of my goals was to republish info from them–and here you go…

Back In the Day…

First, I want to say that it was fun to read the Interplay magazines–all 8 of them. It really was a trip down memory lane, from the ads for other games and articles about The Fantasy Trip. Even though there were only 8 issues before Metagaming went under, they put a lot of relevant info in them.

That being said, with hindsight–and the benefit of age and seeing the roleplaying industry of today vs. the early 80s–man, they were cheesy. What gets me most are the letters that look like obvious attempts to play up Metagaming, post-Steve Jackson. Another thing are the editorials about how they wanted to simplify TFT or come out with the new game that was better than it was. And don’t get me started on the production quality…

Overall though, they were still a blast to read. They are all part of the history of the game we all love, feuds and all…

The Spells

Anyway–these are the spells listed in Interplay #1. They had more sells in other issues, but this is enough for now…

IQ 17:
HEAT METAL: (T) [Interplay] The spell heats any metal (rings, swords, metal armor, etc.) to make it blistering to the touch. If used against a piece of jewelry, ring amulet, etc.) the subject must make a saving throw vs. ST 4 dice or be unable to use it for the turn. If used against a weapon, every turn it is used inflicts one hit of damage on the wielder. If used against armor, it inflicts 3 hits per turn on the wearer (It takes 5 minutes to get our of armor…) Cost to cast: 3 ST, 1 to maintain. Spell duration is 1 turn; casting time is 1 turn.

WEAKNESS: (T) [Interplay] Makes the victim very weak, half ST for all purposes except hits. In addition, movement is halved. ST cost is 4 to cast, 1 to maintain. Spell duration: 1 turn. Casting time: 1 turn.

14-HEX IMAGE: (C) Allows the wizard to create an image up to 14 continuous hexes large. (See IMAGES AND ILLUSIONS.) Cost: 6 ST. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 1 turn.

IQ 18:
BLIND: (T) [Interplay] Blinds the victim. Any attack made by the blinded subject is at -6 DX, any spell cast is at -3 DX. Victim does get a 4 dice saving throw against IQ before the spell takes effect. Spell cost is 5 ST, 1 to maintain. Spell casting time and duration are 1 turn each.

DIAMOND FLESH: (T) [Interplay] Stops 10 hits of damage per attack. This spell literally makes the subjects skin as hard as diamonds–it can cut glass! Because of the rigidity of his skin, the subject is at -2 DX, and has his MA reduced to 2. Spell cost: 5 ST to cast and 1 to maintain. Spell duration: 1 turn. Casting time: 3 turns.

LIGHT RAY: (M) [Interplay] Does 1d+1 for every St point put into the spell. The spell creates a very powerful beam of light, about 2 cm in diameter. Because it is so small, it can go through objects without destroying them–and it can kill more than one person. The maximum range for the spell is 10 MH for each ST point in the spell. Casting time and duration: 1 turn each.

14-HEX SHADOW: (C) [Interplay] Like other Shadow spells, but affects up to 14 continuous hexes. ST cost: 5 ST. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 1 turn.

14-HEX FIRE: (C) [Interplay] Similar to other Fire spells, but affects up to 14 connected hexes. Cost: 8 ST. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 1 turn.

14-HEX WALL: (C) [Interplay] Similar to Wall spells, but affects up to 14 connected hexes. ST cost: 9 ST. Duration: 12 turns, with a casting time of 1 turn.

14-HEX ILLUSION: (C) [Interplay] Creates an illusion of anything no larger than 14 hexes. Cost: 8 ST. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 1 turn.

TEMPORARY ENCHANTMENT: (T) [Interplay] Affects any weapon so that it is enchanted in 2 ways: First, it adds +1 DX to whomever uses it for every 3 ST used in casting. Second, the weapon is now capable of hitting anyone who is under the Astral Projection or Insubstantiality spells–but cannot be used against someone using Spell Shield or a Pentagram. Cost: 3 ST for each +1 DX, and 1 ST to maintain. Casting time: 1 turn.

IQ 19:
ANIMATE WEAPON: (S) [Interplay] This powerful spell animates any weapon that the wizard can use in accordance with his strength without any dexterity penalties, and the weapon can move at the same rate of the wizard. Any attack at the wizard is at -8 DX. To destroy the weapon, it must take hits equal to half the strength needed to use it, (minimum of 4), a quarter for a broken weapon. ST cost: 4 ST (6 ST for a 2 handed weapon) and 1 to maintain. (NOTE: every hex distance from the wizard, the weapon is at -1 DX).

METAMORPH OTHERS: (T) [Interplay] Changes the subject to anything the spell caster wants. The subject has the same attributes that he had before, and the ordinary abilities of the new creature (armor, attacks, etc.) but not any of the extraordinary abilities (i.e. A dragon cannot breathe fire but can fly). Any non-magical equipment that is worn changes with the person to the new shape. Magical equipment has a saving throw on 1 die against the number of spells on the item. (3 or less for 3 spells, etc.) If changed, then it will be useless while in the metamorphosed stated.

This spell is a temporary version of the Shapeshift spell with some other minor changes. A reluctant victim gets a saving throw of 5 dice vs. IQ. Cost: 5 ST plus 2 for each hex change. (1 hex to 3 hex takes another 4 ST). Cost is 1 ST per minute to maintain. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 3 turns.

METAMORPH SELF: (S) [Interplay] Same as above, but with a cost of 4 ST, plus 1 for each hex change, and 2 ST to maintain. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 3 turns.

LEVITATE: (T) [Interplay] Similar to the Flight spell but with no DX adjustments. The subject flies in accordance with their normal movement allowance. Cost: 4 ST and 1 to maintain. Duration: 1 turn. Casting time: 1 turn.

PIT: (C) [Interplay] Creates a one hex pit 4m deep. Falling in causes 1d-3 damage. A Pit lasts for only 4 turns and anyone left inside after that is trapped but not necessarily killed. The Pit does not have to be on the floor. Cost: 5 ST. Duration: 4 turns. Casting time: 1 turn.

IQ 20:
EARTHQUAKE: (S) [Interplay] This spell causes a powerful earth tremor that affects everything within 5 megahexes except the wizard. Any creature is thrown violently to the ground (no other actions) and takes 1 hit of damage, regardless of armor. The tremor lasts for 5 turns. If anyone attempts to get up during the 5 turns, roll 4 dice against DX to succeed, and roll again every turn to stay up. If they fall again, they take one more hit of damage. If they remain standing, all attacks and spells are at -3 DX, except the wizard–he is unaffected. It is NOT recommended to use this spell if underground. ST cost: 7 ST. Duration: 5 turns. Casting time: 6 turns.

FIRE BLAST: (M) [Interplay] This is a missile spell that affects any megahex (or 7 hexes in a cluster). It inflicts 1 dice damage per hex for every ST the wizard puts into it. Any multihex creature takes appropriate damage. Note that when rolling for the spell to take effect, a result higher than the caster’s dexterity would mean nothing happened. On a roll of 16, a Fire hex would appear at the center of the target megahex; on a 17, a Fire hex would appear in the wizard’s hex; and on an 18 the Fire Blast would appear around the wizard. Cost: 2 ST for each dice damage. Casting time: 1 turn.

GROUND: (T) [Interplay] Once thrown, the creature that this is thrown upon is unable to fly as long as the spell is maintained. Cost: 5 ST and 1 to maintain (2 ST if the victim’s strength is 30 or more). Duration: 1 turn. Casting time: 1 turn.

SUMMON LARGE DRAGON: (C) [Interplay] Summons a 14-hex dragon (ST 100, DX 14, IQ 24, MA 8 on the ground, 24 in the air, breath 4 dice damage, claws 2d+2) to obey the commands of the wizard. Cost: 10 ST to cast, 2 to maintain. Duration: 12 turns. Casting time: 3 turns.

MULTIPLE CREATION: (S) [Interplay] This spell is a preparation spell for any multihex creation. When a wizard casts this spell, the next turn the wizard MUST perform a creation spell (wall, fire, shadow, image or illusion–but not a summoning). It will then be possible for the creation to be more than one thing as long as it is not less than one hex each. It would then be possible to have non-connected walls, shadows, etc.–or have an illusion of 4 men instead of a 4-hex dragon. Note that any image/illusion still cannot use missile weapons! (Arrows are less than 1 hex in size). ST cost: 3 ST + the number of hexes created. Duration: As long as the creations. Casting time: 3 turns.

ENFORCE: (S) [Interplay] Makes ALL illusions within the area of effect more “realistic” (i.e. Harder to disbelieve) by increasing the number of dice to disbelieve by. Cost: 1 ST to cast, plus 1 ST per die increase (minimum of 4), plus 1 ST per MH distance. (1 St would affect the mega-megahex around the wizard). Cost to maintain: 1 ST for every 3 dice to disbelieve.

There you go, folks. I copied all of them here, almost word for word. I only made small edits to make things clearer (where even I had problems reading them!) Let me know what you think about them!

Marko ∞


  1. Yeah, I enjoy re-reading them as well (along with the relevant Spacegamers, of course). The feud between HT and SJ reminds me of nothing so much as the “warring clubs” period of the wargaming community back in the early 60’s, though to be fair, I never noticed SJ doing much feuding — it always seemed to be HT attacking or sneering at Steve. And most of the fawning letters were published (in my personal opinion) precisely because they WERE fawning. HT seemed to have a fairly serious ego problem, or at least some sort of inferiority complex; which is odd, because he actually did some truly excellent design work in his own right.

    Having said that, I can’t disagree with your evaluation of the overall quality — “cheesy” describes it really well. Of course, when the Spacegamer first started, it was exactly the same quality; which leads me to believe that in another year or two, Interplay would have been right back up there with Spacegamer in terms of quality of product (if not necessarily quality of writing).

    And there WERE a lot of good ideas in Interplay, once you got past the “politics,” so I’ve never regretted going to the trouble of finding them (both hard and soft copy) over the decades since Metagaming collapsed.

  2. It should be noted that some of these spells appear to be plagiarized from an article in Dragon Magazine No. 32. I should do a comparison between the two and highlight the similarities and differences.

    Regarding the HT vs. SJ feud, it was almost entirely one sided, with HT badmouthing SJ exclusively, even to the point of filing what appears by all accounts to be a frivolous lawsuit regarding rights to One Page Bulge (which, IIRC, had been proposed to Metagaming but not accepted for publishing). Amazing how many pages in Interplay were devoted to useless lampooning of SJ, that could have been better devoted to variants, adventures, etc. I think I touch on this in one of my blog posts.

    While not everything in Interplay was great, there were many good articles as well. There was an excellent article on Golems (a serious hole in the TFT Bestiary), some good spells and talents (Defensive Quickness, for example), weather rules, and so forth. Very worthwhile resource to have in whatever format you can get it.

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