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       spellcast  -  a game of duelling wizards


       spellcast remotedisplay [ remotedisplay ...  ]

       One  game  window will appear on the default display (determined by the
       contents of the DISPLAY environment variable.) The second  will  appear
       on  remotedisplay,  which  should  be either an internet host name or a
       complete X display identifier (host:0.0, for example.) (If just a  host
       name  is  given,  display  0  and  screen  0  are  assumed.)   If  more
       remotedisplay arguments are supplied, additional windows will appear on
       those screens, and you will have a game with three or more players.

       All other machines must add your machine to their X access lists, using
       xhost + <machine_name>.  Please be careful with this since using  xhost
       + you open a really big hole in the security of your system. You should
       only allow access to trusted machines.

       There is a maximum of seven remotedisplay arguments --  ie,  an  eight-
       player game.


       The game makes use of two X resources:

       spellcast*name: namestring
       Sets  the  name  used for your wizard. If you do not set this resource,
       the game assigns the names "White", "Black", "Red", and so forth.
       By default, each character is male. You can specify a gender by  giving
       a namestring of the form

       name:f for a female character,

       name:m for a male,

       name:n for a character whose gender is ambiguous or not well-defined in
              human terms, and

       name:x for a genderless character.

       spellcast*font: fontname
       The font used for all text and labels in the game window.  This  should
       not  be  larger  than  about 12-point, or things will start to overflow
       their boundaries.


       This is a game concerning the imaginary conflict between  two  or  more
       powerful  wizards  in  a duel of sorcery. The opponents perform magical
       gestures with their hands  to  create  their  supernatural  weapons  --
       spells.  Some  are  so  potent as to be able to blind a man, call forth
       terrifying creatures, or even kill the  unfortunate  victim  instantly.
       Consequently  each  wizard  must  rely on his own cunning to be able to
       time enough defensive spells to avoid  the  brunt  of  his  adversary’s
       attack,  yet  force  in sufficient offensive spells of his own to crack
       the magical armour of his opponent, and kill the wizard  outright.  The
       inventor  wishes  to state that he has never been involved in a magical
       duel but would be interested to discover how realistic the game is  for
       those who have...


       In  a turn, each wizard can either gesture with his hands for part of a
       spell, stab with his knife, or do nothing. They use both hands, and the
       hands  can act either independently or in concert. Monsters cannot make
       magical gestures but will  obey  their  masters’  commands  exactly  --
       although  the  identity  of  the  master  could  change  as a result of
       enchantment. Since wizards are trained  intelligent  humans,  they  are
       able  to  gesture  and  attack,  using  both  hands independently or in
       conjunction. Each monster, being  an  untrained,  unintelligent  biped,
       attacks  the  same way every time and picks whichever victim its master
       decides. As a  result,  only  wizards  can  gesture  and  cast  spells.
       Players personally acquainted with monsters who wish to vouch for their
       ability to cast spells are requested to keep quiet.

       After choosing his or her gestures, each wizard  must  make  a  certain
       number  of  decisions  -- choosing targets for his spells, ordering his
       monsters to attack particular targets, deciding the effects of  certain
       spells,  and so forth. After all players have chosen their gestures and
       made any necessary decisions, the effects of all spells and attacks are
       resolved simultaneously.  The next turn then begins.


       The spellcast window is divided into seven sections.

       The text window
       This  is  a  large  rectangle in the upper left side of the window.  It
       describes what happens in the duel, blow by blow. There is a scroll bar
       on the left side of the text window.

       The gesture history list
       This is several columns of small squares in the upper right side of the
       window -- one pair of columns for each player. The player’s  names  are
       listed at the tops of the columns.

       Each  column  lists  the recent gestures made by each player’s left and
       right hands. The most recent gestures are at the bottom; as more  turns
       pass, the columns scroll upwards. Each square may show a spell-gesture,
       a knife stab, or no gesture (an empty square).  There  may  also  be  a
       ’disruption’ icon, indicating that an ’anti-spell’ has interrupted that
       wizard’s gestures at that point, or a ’fog’ icon, indicating  that  you
       could not see that gesture (because of blindness, for example.)

       Note  that  everyone’s  columns  in the history list do not necessarily
       scroll at the same rate. If one player makes extra gestures (because of
       a  ’time-stop’ or ’haste’), his column will scroll up extra spaces.  Do
       not assume that gestures that appear  to  be  lined  up  actually  were
       performed at the same time.

       You  also  use  the gesture history list to enter your gestures. At the
       beginning of each turn, the  bottom  (most  recent)  gestures  in  your
       column  will  be  empty. (The bottom gestures in your opponent’s column
       will be fogged, since you cannot see his gestures until you both finish
       choosing.)  If  you  move  the  mouse  into  one of your bottom gesture
       squares, and hold down the  left  mouse  button,  a  pop-up  menu  will
       appear,  listing  the  possible  gestures with that hand. When you have
       chosen gestures for both hands, press the "End Move" button.

       The status window
       This is the small window just below the gesture columns. It  lists  the
       name and status of every living being in the arena. Your name is at the
       top; your opponent’s names are on successive lines. Names  of  monsters
       are  indented, and listed below the wizards who control them. (Monsters
       who are uncontrolled are indented and listed at the top of  the  status
       window  --  this  occurs mostly in three-player game where a wizard has
       summoned a monster and then died.) There is a scroll bar on the window,
       in case you manage to have more beings than will fit.

       After each name is the number of hit points that being has left.  After
       that, there may be some letters indicating that certain spells  are  in

       I: invisible

       H: resistant to heat

       C: resistant to cold

       P: protection from evil

       b: blind

       d: diseased

       p: poisoned

       Speech window
       This  is  a  narrow  window,  one  line  tall, below the status window.
       Anything you type will appear here (the  cursor  need  not  be  in  the
       speech  window.)  When  you hit Return, the message you have typed will
       appear in each player’s text window.

       The common Emacs editing keys will work: ctrl-F, ctrl-B, Delete,  ctrl-
       A, ctrl-E, ctrl-K.

       Spell List button
       This is a button labelled "Spell List", underneath the text window.  If
       you press and hold the mouse button on this  button,  a  pop-up  window
       will appear, listing all the spells and the gestures that produce them.

       If you use the left mouse button, the spell  list  will  be  sorted  by
       gesture.  If  you  use the middle mouse button, the list will be sorted
       alphabetically by spell name. If you use the right  mouse  button,  the
       list  will be sorted by the reversed gesture sequence -- all the spells
       that end with a clap, then all the spells that end with a digit, and so
       forth.   This  is useful for looking up your opponent’s gestures to see
       what he might be producing.

       End Move / End Answers button
       This is a button labelled "End Move", underneath the text window.   You
       should  click  it  when  you are finished entering your gestures at the
       start of the turn. If the button changes to read "Move ENDED", then you
       should wait for your opponent to finish entering his gestures.

       When  the  last  player  presses  the  "End Move" button, the game will
       determine which players need to make decisions (about spell targets  or
       other  matters.)  The  decisions you need to make will be listed in the
       questions window below, and the "End Move" button will change  to  read
       "End  Answers".  When you are finished answering, press the button, and
       it will change to "Answers ENDED".

       If at any time the button reads "please wait...", then you have nothing
       to do but wait. (This may be because there are no decisions you have to
       make this turn, or because  your  opponent  is  taking  an  extra  turn
       because  of  a ’time stop’ or something similar.) When your opponent is
       finished, he will click his "End" button and the game will proceed.

       When the duel is over, this button will change to say "Quit". When  all
       players  have  pressed  it, the windows will be removed and the program
       will exit.

       Question window
       This is the wide rectangle at the bottom of the  screen.  Whenever  the
       game  has  decisions  for you to make, it will put them in this window,
       one per line. (There is a scroll bar, in case there are more  questions
       than  lines.)  Move  the cursor onto a question and hold down the mouse
       button to get a pop-up menu listing the possible answers.

       You must have answers to all the questions before you  click  the  "End
       Answers"  button.  In some cases, there will be default answers already
       listed. You may change the answer or leave it alone.


       At the end of the game, in addition to his "Quit"  button,  the  player
       who  started  the  game  will  see  the question "Do you want to save a
       transcript of this game?" If he answers "yes"  before  hitting  "Quit",
       the  program  will  store  a text transcript of the game in a temporary
       directory  (usually  /tmp,  unless  your  environment   is   configured
       otherwise.) This transcript will show all gestures made by each player,
       as well as all the text of the game, as seen by  an  outside  observer.
       Everything  said  by any of the players will also be in the transcript,
       including comments made after the end of the game. The filename of  the
       transcript will be printed on the standard output when all players have


       Spells are created by sequences of gestures made with the hands.  There
       are  five  single-handed  gestures:  the  fingers  spread "F", the palm
       facing forward, "P", the snap "S", the wave "W" and the pointing  digit
       "D".   Some   spells  use  two-handed  gestures,  which  must  be  done
       simultaneously with both hands to be valid. The most common  two-handed
       gesture  is the clap "(c", but the double digit "(d", double wave "(w",
       and double snap "(s" are also used.  The other things which can be done
       with the hand are the non-gestures: the knife stab "k" and nothing " ".
       (In the game, the gestures are represented by images of  the  hands  in
       the   various   positions.  The  single-letter  and  parenthesis-letter
       abbreviations are used only to make this man page readable.)

       To cast a spell, gestures are put  in  an  order  characteristic  of  a
       spell.  A  list  of  spells (including the gestures needed for them) is
       given later.  For example, 3 finger gestures on consecutive turns (F-F-
       F)  initiates a ’paralysis’ spell. The uniqueness of the game, however,
       is that gestures can be  made  to  operate  in  more  than  one  spell,
       provided that:

       a) the gestures have been made in the correct sequence without

       b) not more than one spell is created per gesture;

       c) all gestures for one spell are made with the same hand.

       For  instance,  the  left  hand could cast the F-F-F above and could be
       followed by S-S-D-D in the next 4 turns  to  finish  off  a  ’fireball’
       spell (F-S-S-D-D) as the last 5 gestures are those associated with that
       spell. Another alternative is to simply perform another F for a  second
       paralysis  spell,  as  the last 3 gestures are still F-F-F. Thus, it is
       apparent that if spells are used in a wise manner and  overlap  a  lot,
       the  overall  number  of  gestures needed to cast them can be cut quite

       If a gesture can be construed to create two or  more  spells  then  the
       caster must choose which one he wants to use. For example, the last two
       gestures of a ’finger of death’ are the same as ’missile’, yet only  on
       odd  occasions  would  the  latter be used. Another example of the one-
       spell-per-gesture concept is the following:

       Right hand:     P P W S    Last 4 gestures form ’invisibility’
       Left hand:      W W W S    Last 3 gestures form ’counter-spell’

       The trouble here is  the  ’invisibility’  spell  needs  both  hands  to
       perform  certain  gestures. However, since the final S of the left hand
       cannot complete two spells it is clear  that  a  choice  must  be  made
       between  the  W-W-S  of  the  ’counter-spell’  and the P-P-(w-(s of the
       invisibility.  The caster must choose one spell  if  the  gestures  are
       completed  in  the  correct  sequence.  Most  spells can be shot off to
       nowhere if not required, but some cannot be; for example, ’fire storm’,
       which  gets  you  no  matter  where  it is released. Some of the larger
       spells have smaller ones incorporated within.

       Spells can be  aborted  any  way  along  their  development  simply  by
       performing  a  gesture  with  the hand doing the spell which is not one
       needed for that spell. There is no penalty,  save  having  wasted  some
       time.  Note that no spells contain "stab", "nothing", or "C" (half of a
       clap) and consequently after pursuing one of  these  alternatives,  any
       spell  must  start  from  scratch. Note also that wizards only have one
       dagger each, so they cannot stab with  both  hands  at  the  same  time
       (although  they  can  change  hands for stabbing without wasting time.)
       Such are the disadvantages of physical violence...

       Certain spells cancel each other if they take effect simultaneously. An
       obvious  example  is  ’finger  of death’ and ’raise dead’. Cancellation
       occurs when the subject for the spells concerned is  the  same  person,
       although  there  are  some  of the heat versus cold variety which don’t
       care who is the subject.  Other  spells  which  cancel  harmlessly  are
       mostly  the enchantments, which direct that something be done which may
       be impossible to obey due to some contradiction (e.g.  you cannot  both
       repeat last turn’s gestures and give a random gesture with one hand, as
       you would if the subject of the spells  ’amnesia’  and  ’confusion’  at

       Since  spells  detonate simultaneously, there is occasionally confusion
       over spells which don’t cancel, yet  which  seem  to  depend  on  which
       happened  first.  The best example is when a monster is created and, on
       the same turn, hit by a ’fireball’, or  something  else  sufficient  to
       kill it. Since both are simultaneous, the monster will attack that turn
       whilst  being  destroyed.  (There  are   some   exceptions   explicitly
       mentioned,  for  example  ice  elementals  in ’ice storm’, or ’counter-
       spell’ / ’dispel magic’ against all other spells.)

       Another example of a seeming conflict is when someone who is  resistant
       to  fire  is the subject of both a ’remove enchantment’ and ’fireball’;
       the enchantment is removed as the fireball  explodes  (since  they  are
       simultaneous)  hence the poor victim is fried. If, instead, he were not
       resistant to fire and was hit by a  ’resist  fire’  and  ’fireball’  at
       once,  then  he would start to resist fire as the fireball exploded and
       thus be saved.

       Before the  battle  commences,  the  referee  casts  a  ’dispel  magic’
       followed  by  an  ’anti-spell’  at each of the wizards. This is so that
       they cannot commence gesturing prematurely.  Thus  being  resistant  to
       fire in your last battle doesn’t do you any good in the next.


       Each  wizard  can sustain 14 points of damage, but on the 15th or above
       he dies and the surviving wizard is declared the winner.   Simultaneous
       death  is  a  posthumous  draw. Damage given to wizards and monsters is
       cumulative (so you don’t have to do it all in one go!)   Dead  monsters
       take no further part in the game.

       There  is  another alternative to being killed, namely the ’surrender’.
       This is not a spell, but a pair of P gestures made by both hands at the
       same  time.  If any wizard does this (accidentally or deliberately), he
       has surrendered, and will be eliminated from the game  at  the  end  of
       that turn.  See the end of the spell list for details.


       There  now follows, in four sections, a list of the spells which may be

       Protection spells

       Shield: P

       This spell protects the subject from all attacks  from  monsters  (that
       is, creatures created by a summoning spell), from ’missile’ spells, and
       from stabs by wizards. The shield lasts for that  turn  only,  but  one
       shield  will cover all such attacks made against the subject that turn.

       Remove enchantment: P-D-W-P

       If the subject of this spell is currently being affected by any of  the
       spells  in  the  "enchantments" section, or if spells from that section
       are cast at him at the same time as the remove  enchantment,  then  all
       such  spells terminate immediately (although their effect for that turn
       might already have passed.) For example, the victim  of  a  ’blindness’
       spell would not be able to see what his opponent’s gestures were on the
       turn that his sight is restored by a ’remove  enchantment’.  Note  that
       the  ’remove  enchantment’  affects all enchantments whether the caster
       wants them to all go or not. A second effect of the spell is to destroy
       any  monster  upon which it is cast, although the monster can attack in
       that turn.

       Magic mirror: (c-(w

       Any spell cast at the subject of this spell is reflected  back  at  the
       caster  of  that  spell  for  that turn only. This includes spells like
       ’missile’ and ’lightning bolt’ but does not include attacks by monsters
       already  in  existence, or stabs from wizards. Note that certain spells
       are cast by wizards usually upon themselves  (e.g.   spells  from  this
       section  and  the "Summons" section); the mirror has no effect on these
       spells.  It is countered totally, with no  effect  whatsoever,  if  the
       subject  is  the  simultaneous  subject  of either a ’counter-spell’ or
       ’dispel magic’. It has no effect on spells which affect more  than  one
       person,   such   as   ’fire   storm’.   Two  mirrors  cast  at  someone
       simultaneously combine  to  form  a  single  mirror.   If  a  spell  is
       reflected  from  a  mirror  back at a wizard who also has a mirror, the
       spell bounces back and forth until it falls apart.

       Counter-spell: W-P-P or W-W-S

       Any other spell cast upon the subject in the same turn  has  no  effect
       whatever.  In  the  case of blanket-type spells, which affect more than
       one person, the subject of the ’counter-spell’ alone is protected.  For
       example,  a ’fire storm’ spell would not affect a wizard if that wizard
       was simultaneously the subject of a ’counter-spell’, but everyone  else
       would be affected as usual (unless they had their own protection.)  The
       ’counter-spell’ will cancel all the spells cast at the subject for that
       turn,  including  ’remove  enchantment’  and  ’magic  mirror’,  but not
       ’dispel magic’ or ’finger of death’. It will combine with another spell
       of its own type for the same effect as if it were alone.  The ’counter-
       spell’ will also act as a ’shield’ on its subject, in addition  to  its
       other  properties.   The  spell  has two alternative gesture sequences,
       either of which may be used at any time.

       Dispel magic: (c-D-P-W

       This spell  acts  as  a  combination  of  ’counter-spell’  and  ’remove
       enchantment’,  but its effects are universal rather than limited to the
       subject of the spell. It will stop any spell cast in the same turn from
       working (apart from another ’dispel magic’ spell which combines with it
       for the same result), and will remove all enchantments from all  beings
       before  they  have  effect.  In  addition,  all monsters are destroyed,
       although  they  can  attack  that  turn.  ’Counter-spells’  and  ’magic
       mirrors’  have  no  effect. Like the ’counter-spell’, it also acts as a
       ’shield’ for its subject. ’Dispel  magic’  will  not  dispel  stabs  or
       surrenders, since they are not spells (although the ’shield’ effect may
       block a stab.)

       Raise dead: D-W-W-F-W-(c

       The subject of this spell is usually a recently dead human  or  monster
       corpse   (it   will  not  work  on  elementals,  which  dissipate  when
       destroyed.)  When the spell is cast, life is instilled  back  into  the
       corpse  and  any damage which it has sustained is cured until the owner
       is back to his usual state of health.  A ’remove enchantment’ effect is
       also  manifest so any ’diseases’ or ’poisons’ will be neutralized (plus
       any other enchantments).  The subject will be able  to  act  as  normal
       immediately,  so  that  next  turn  he  can gesture, fight, etc. If the
       subject is a monster, it will be under the control of  the  wizard  who
       raised it, and it will be able to attack that turn.
       If  the  spell  is  cast  on a live individual, the effect is that of a
       ’cure wounds’ recovering 5 points of damage, or as many  as  have  been
       sustained  if  less  than  5.  In this case, ’diseases’, ’poisons’, and
       other enchantments are not removed.
       This is the only spell which affects corpses  properly;  therefore,  it
       cannot  be stopped by a ’counter-spell’, since ’counter-spell’ can only
       be cast on living beings. A ’dispel magic’ spell will  stop  it,  since
       that  affects  all spells no matter what their subject.  Once alive the
       subject is treated as normal.

       Cure light wounds: D-F-W

       If the subject has received damage then he is cured by 1  point  as  if
       that point had not been inflicted. (Recall that all spells are resolved
       simultanously; if a wizard is suffers his 15th point of damage  at  the
       same  time  as  he  is  affected by ’cure light wounds’, he will remain
       alive with 14 points of damage at the end of the turn.) The  effect  is
       not removed by a ’dispel magic’ or ’remove enchantment’.

       Cure heavy wounds: D-F-P-W

       This  spell  is  the  same as ’cure light wounds’ for its effect, but 2
       points of damage are cured instead of 1, or only 1 if only 1  had  been
       sustained.  A  side  effect is that the spell will also cure a disease.
       (Note that ’raise dead’ on a live individual won’t).

       Summons spells

       Summon Goblin: S-F-W

       This spell creates a goblin under the control of the wizard  upon  whom
       the spell is cast. The goblin can attack immediately and its victim can
       be any any wizard or other monster the controller desires.  The  goblin
       does  1 point of damage to its victim per turn and is destroyed after 1
       point of damage is inflicted upon it.

       Summon Ogre: P-S-F-W

       This spell is the  same  as  ’summon  goblin’,  but  the  ogre  created
       inflicts and is destroyed by 2 points of damage rather than 1.

       Summon Troll: F-P-S-F-W

       This  spell  is  the  same  as  ’summon  goblin’, but the troll created
       inflicts and is destroyed by 3 points of damage rather than 1.

       Summon Giant: W-F-P-S-F-W

       This spell is the same  as  ’summon  goblin’,  but  the  giant  created
       inflicts and is destroyed by 4 points of damage rather than 1.

       Summon Elemental: (c-S-W-W-S

       This  spell creates either a fire elemental or an ice elemental, at the
       discretion of the wizard upon whom the spell is cast (after he has seen
       all the gestures made that turn.)

       Elementals  must be cast at someone and cannot be "shot off" harmlessly
       at some inanimate object. The elemental will, for that turn  and  until
       destroyed,  attack  everyone (including its owner, and other monsters),
       causing 3 points of damage per turn. Only wizards and monsters who  are
       resistant  to  the  elemental’s  element  (heat or cold), or who have a
       ’shield’ or a spell with a ’shield’ effect, are  safe.   The  elemental
       takes 3 points of damage to be killed but may be destroyed by spells of
       the opposite type (e.g. ’fire storm’, ’resist cold’ or ’fireball’  will
       kill  an ice elemental), and will also neutralize the cancelling spell.
       Elementals will not attack on the turn they are  destroyed  by  such  a
       spell.  An  elemental will also be engulfed and destroyed by a storm of
       its own type but, in such  an  event,  the  storm  is  not  neutralized
       although  the  elemental  still  does  not  attack  in  that turn.  Two
       elementals of the opposite type will also  destroy  each  other  before
       attacking, and two of the same type will join together to form a single
       elemental of normal strength. If there are two opposite storms  and  an
       elemental, or two opposite elementals and one or two storms, all storms
       and elementals cancel each other out.

       Damaging Spells

       Missile: S-D

       This spell creates a material object of hard substance which is  hurled
       towards  the subject of the spell and causes him 1 point of damage. The
       spell is thwarted by a ’shield’ in  addition  to  the  usual  ’counter-
       spell’, ’dispel magic’ and ’magic mirror’ (the latter causing it to hit
       whoever cast it instead).

       Finger of Death: P-W-P-F-S-S-S-D

       Kills the subject stone dead. This spell is  so  powerful  that  it  is
       unaffected  by  a ’counter-spell’, although a ’dispel magic’ spell cast
       upon the final gesture will stop it. The usual  way  to  prevent  being
       harmed by this spell is to disrupt it during casting -- using an ’anti-
       spell’, for example.

       Lightning Bolt: D-F-F-D-D or W-D-D-(c

       The subject of this spell is hit by a bolt of lightning and sustains  5
       points  of  damage. Resistance to heat or cold is irrelevant. There are
       two gesture combinations for the spell, but the shorter one may be used
       only  once per battle by any wizard. The longer one may be used without
       restriction. A ’shield’ spell offers no defence.

       Cause Light Wounds: W-F-P

       The subject of this  spell  is  inflicted  with  2  points  of  damage.
       Resistance  to  heat  or  cold  offers no defence. A simultaneous ’cure
       light wounds’ does not cancel the spell;  it  only  heals  one  of  the
       points of damage. A ’shield’ has no effect.

       Cause Heavy Wounds: W-P-F-D

       This  has the same effect as ’cause light wounds’ but inflicts 3 points
       of damage instead of 2.

       Fireball: F-S-S-D-D

       The subject of this spell is hit by a ball  of  fire,  and  sustains  5
       points of damage unless he is resistant to fire. If at the same time an
       ’ice storm’ prevails, the subject of  the  ’fireball’  is  instead  not
       harmed  by  either  spell,  although  the  storm  will affect others as
       normal. If directed at an ice elemental, the fireball will  destroy  it
       before it can attack.

       Fire storm: S-W-W-(c

       Everything not resistant to heat sustains 5 points of damage that turn.
       The spell cancels wholly, causing no damage, with either an ’ice storm’
       or  an  ice  elemental.  It will destroy but not be destroyed by a fire
       elemental. Two ’fire storms’ act as one.

       Ice storm: W-S-S-(c

       Everything not resistant to cold sustains 5 points of damage that turn.
       The spell cancels wholly, causing no damage, with either a ’fire storm’
       or a fire elemental; it will cancel locally with a ’fireball’,  sparing
       the subject of the ’fireball’ but nobody else.  It will destroy but not
       be destroyed by an ice elemental. Two ’ice storms’ act as one.


       Amnesia: D-P-P

       If the subject of this spell is a wizard,  next  turn  he  must  repeat
       identically  the  gestures  he  made  in  the  current  turn, including
       "nothing" and "stab" gestures.  If the subject is  a  monster  it  will
       attack  whoever it attacked this turn. If the subject is simultaneously
       the subject of any of ’confusion’,  ’charm  person’,  ’charm  monster’,
       ’paralysis’ or ’fear’ then none of the spells work.

       Confusion: D-S-F

       If the subject of this spell is a wizard, next turn one of his gestures
       will be changed randomly. Either his left or his right hand (50% chance
       of  either)  will  perform  a half-clap, palm, digit, fingers, snap, or
       wave (chosen at random). (Recall that  a  one-handed  clap  is  useless
       unless  the  other  hand also attempts to clap.)  If the subject of the
       spell is a monster, it attacks at random that turn. If the  subject  is
       also  the subject of any of ’amnesia’, ’charm person’, ’charm monster’,
       ’paralysis’ or ’fear’, none of the spells work.

       Charm Person: P-S-D-F

       Except for  cancellation  with  other  enchantments,  this  spell  only
       affects  wizards.  When the spell is cast, the caster tells the subject
       which of his hands will be  controlled;  in  the  following  turn,  the
       caster  chooses  the  gesture  he  wants  the  subject’s chosen hand to
       perform. This could be a stab or nothing.  If the ’charm person’  spell
       reflects  from  a ’magic mirror’ back at its caster, the subject of the
       mirror assumes the role of caster  and  controls  down  his  opponent’s
       gesture.  If  the  subject  is  also  the  subject of any of ’amnesia’,
       ’confusion’, ’charm monster’, ’paralysis’ or ’fear’, none of the spells

       Charm Monster: P-S-D-D

       Except  for  cancellation  with  other  enchantments,  this  spell only
       affects monsters (including elementals, though it’s not very usefel  on
       them!).  Control  of  the  monster  is transferred to the caster of the
       spell (or retained by him) as of this  turn;  i.e.,  the  monster  will
       attack  whosoever  its  new  controller dictates from that turn onwards
       including  that  turn.  Further  charms  are,  of   course,   possible,
       transferring as before. If the subject of the charm is also the subject
       of  any  of:  ’amnesia’,  ’confusion’,  ’charm   person’,   ’fear’   or
       ’paralysis’, none of the spells work.

       Paralysis: F-F-F

       If  the subject of the spell is a wizard, then on the turn the spell is
       cast, after gestures have been revealed, the caster selects one of  the
       wizard’s  hands;  on  the  next  turn  that  hand is paralyzed into the
       position it is in this turn. If the  wizard  already  had  a  paralyzed
       hand,  it must be the same hand which is paralyzed again. Most gestures
       remain the same (including "stab" and "nothing"), but if the hand being
       paralyzed is performing a C, S, or W it is instead paralyzed into F, D,
       or P respectively.  A favourite ploy is to continually paralyze a  hand
       (F-F-F-F-F-F  etc.)  into a non-P gesture and then set a monster on the
       subject so that he has to use his other hand to  protect  himself,  but
       then  has  no  defence against other magical attacks. If the subject of
       the spell is a monster, it simply does not attack in the turn following
       the one in which the spell was cast. Elementals are unaffected.  If the
       subject of  the  spell  is  also  the  subject  of  any  of  ’amnesia’,
       ’confusion’,  ’charm  person’,  ’charm  monster’ or ’fear’, none of the
       spells work.

       Fear: S-W-D

       In the turn following the casting of this  spell,  the  subject  cannot
       perform  a  C,  D,  F  or  S  gesture  with  either hand. (He can stab,
       however.) This obviously has no effect on monsters.  If the subject  is
       also  the  subject  of  ’amnesia’,  ’confusion’, ’charm person’, ’charm
       monster’ or ’paralysis’, then none of the spells work.

       Anti-spell: S-P-F

       On the turn following the casting of this  spell,  the  subject  cannot
       include  any  gestures  made on or before this turn in a spell sequence
       and must restart a new spell from the beginning of that spell sequence.
       (This  is  marked  by  a  special  ’disruption’  icon  interrupting the
       subject’s gesture history.)  The spell does not affect spells which are
       cast on the same turn; nor does it affect monsters.

       Protection from Evil: W-W-P

       For  this turn and the following three turns, the subject of this spell
       is protected as if using a ’shield’  spell,  thus  leaving  both  hands
       free.   Concurrent  ’shield’  spells  offer  no further protection, and
       compound ’protection from evil’ spells merely overlap offering no extra

       Resist Heat: W-W-F-P

       The subject of this spell becomes permanently resistant to all forms of
       heat attack  (’fireball’,  ’fire  storm’  and  fire  elementals).  Only
       ’dispel  magic’  or ’remove enchantment’ will terminate this resistance
       once started (although a ’counter-spell’ will prevent it  from  working
       if cast at the subject at the same time as this spell). A ’resist heat’
       cast directly on a fire elemental will destroy it before it can  attack
       that turn, but there is no effect on ice elementals.

       Resist Cold: S-S-F-P

       The effects of this spell are identical to ’resist heat’ but resistance
       is to cold (’ice storm’ and ice elementals). It destroys ice elementals
       if  they  are  the  subject  of  the  spell,  but  doesn’t  affect fire

       Disease: D-S-F-F-F-(c

       The  subject  of  this  spell  immediately  contracts  a  deadly  (non-
       contagious)  disease which will kill him at the end of 6 turns counting
       from the one upon which the spell is  cast.  The  malady  is  cured  by
       ’remove  enchantment’,  ’cure  heavy  wounds’  or ’dispel magic’ in the

       Poison: D-W-W-F-W-D

       This is similar to the ’disease’ spell, except that ’cure heavy wounds’
       does not stop its effects.

       Blindness: D-W-F-F-(d

       For  the next three turns (not including the one in which the spell was
       cast), the subject is unable to see. If he is a wizard, he cannot  tell
       what  his  opponent’s  gestures are, although he will sense what spells
       are cast. If he tries to cast spells (or stab) at other beings, he will
       miss.  Blinded  monsters  are  instantly destroyed and cannot attack in
       that turn.

       Invisibility: P-P-(w-(s

       This spell is similar to ’blindness’; the subject of the spell  becomes
       invisible  to  his  opponent  and  his monsters. His gestures cannot be
       seen, although his spells can. No other being can attack or cast spells
       at  him,  with the exception of elementals.  Any monster made invisible
       is destroyed due to the  unstable  nature  of  such  magically  created

       Haste: P-W-P-W-W-(c

       For  the  next three turns, the subject is speeded up; wizards can make
       an extra set of gestures, and monsters can make an extra  attack.   For
       wizards,  the effects of both sets of gestures are taken simultaneously
       at the end of  the  turn.   Thus  a  single  ’counter-spell’  from  his
       adversary  could  cancel  two spells cast by the hastened wizard on two
       half-turns if the phasing is right. Non-hastened wizards  and  monsters
       can see everything the hastened individual is doing.  Hastened monsters
       can change target in the extra turns if desired.

       Time stop: S-P-P-(c

       The subject of this spell immediately takes an extra turn, on which no-
       one  can  see  or  know  about unless they are harmed. All non-affected
       beings have no resistance to any form of attack, e.g. a wizard  halfway
       through the duration of a ’protection from evil’ spell can be harmed by
       a monster which has had its time stopped. Time-stopped monsters  attack
       whoever  their controller instructs, and time-stopped elementals affect
       everyone, resistance to heat or cold being immaterial in that turn.

       Delayed effect: D-W-S-S-S-P

       This spell must be cast upon a  wizard.  The  next  spell  the  subject
       completes,  provided  it is in one of the next three turns, is "banked"
       until needed -- i.e. it fails to work until its  caster  desires.   (If
       you  have  a  spell  banked, you will be asked each turn if you want to
       release it.) Note that spells banked are those cast by the subject, not
       those cast at him. If he casts more than one spell at the same time, he
       chooses which is to be banked. Remember that P is a ’shield’ spell, and
       surrender  is  not  a spell. A wizard may only have one spell banked at
       any one time.

       Permanency: S-P-F-P-S-D-W

       This spell must be upon a wizard. The next spell he completes, provided
       it  is  in  the  next three turns, and which falls into the category of
       "Enchantments" will have its effect made permanent.  (Exeptions: ’anti-
       spell’,   ’disease’,   ’poison’,  ’time-stop’,  ’delayed  effect’,  and
       ’permanency’ cannot be made permanent.  Note  that  ’resist  heat’  and
       ’resist  cold’ are inherently permanent enchantments.)  This means that
       the effect of the extended spell on the first turn of its  duration  is
       repeated  eternally.  For example, a ’confusion’ spell will produce the
       same gesture on the same hand rather than changing randomly each  turn;
       a  ’charm  person’  will mean repetition of the chosen gesture, etc. If
       the subject of the ’permanency’ casts more than one spell at  the  same
       time  eligible  for  permanency,  he  chooses  which  has  its duration
       extended. Note that the person who has his spell  made  permanent  does
       not  necessarily have to make himself the subject of the spell. If both
       a ’permanency’ and ’delayed effect’ are eligible for the same spell  to
       be  banked  or extended, a choice must be made; whichever is not chosen
       will affect the next eligible spell instead.


       Surrender: (p

       This is not a spell; consequently, it cannot be cast at anyone, nor can
       it be dispelled, counter-spelled, reflected off a mirror, or banked.  A
       wizard who makes two simultaneous P gestures, irrespective  of  whether
       they  terminate  spells or not, surrenders and the contest is over. The
       surrendering wizard is deemed to have lost unless his gestures complete
       spells  which kill his opponent. Two simultaneous surrenders count as a
       draw. It is a necessary skill for wizards to work their spells so  that
       they never accidentally perform two P gestures simultaneously.  Wizards
       can be killed as they surrender (if  hit  with  appropriate  spells  or
       attacks)  but  the  "referees"  will  cure  any diseases, poisons, etc.
       immediately after the surrender for them.

       Stab: stab

       This is not a spell, but  an  attack  which  can  be  directed  at  any
       individual  monster  or  wizard.  Unless  protected  in  that turn by a
       ’shield’ spell or another  spell  with  the  same  effect,  the  target
       stabbed  suffers  1  point of damage. The wizard only has one knife, so
       can only stab with one hand in any turn, although  which  hand  doesn’t
       matter.  The  stab  cannot be reflected, counter-spelled, dispelled, or


       Does not conform exactly to the original Spellcaster rules. Tough. Some
       points of divergence:

       The  choosing  of  targets for monsters is handled much too late in the
       round, and monster attacks are not perfectly  simultaneous  with  spell
       attacks.   This  results  in  a  number  of  minor  effects  which  are
       inconsistent with the original rules. Since I don’t plan to do a  major
       rewrite anytime soon, you just get to live with it.

       If  ’remove enchantment’ is cast on a wizard who is also the subject of
       a summoning spell, the  summoned  monster  should  be  destroyed  after

       If  a  mind-control  spell (paralysis, confusion, amnesia) is cast on a
       monster by a time-stopped wizard, the spell should take effect  on  the
       next turn, rather than (as currently happens) the turn after next.

       The  ’delayed effect’ and ’permanency’ spells should be able to bank or
       extend spells cast during the same turn, as well as those  cast  during
       the next three turns.


       The   original   paper-and-pencil   version   of  this  game,  entitled
       Spellbinder, was created by Richard Bartle; it was printed in his  zine
       Sauce  of the Nile.  He attempted to have it commercially produced, but
       apparently didn’t get very far.
       It was reprinted (with some changes) as Spellcaster in the fanzine Duel
       Purpose, written by Mike Lean. From there, it was scanned and posted to
       the Net by Andrew Buchanan ( I grabbed  it
       and wrote this X version.
       Richard Bartle <> would like to point out that
       he is not at all dead. He has nicely given his permission to distribute
       this program, as long as it remains free.


       Andrew Plotkin <>