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Field Notes

Damocles' Wild Ride: Time Walks Combo & Magic Mirror Strategy

Get Yoked Like Damocles with These Spellcasting Tricks

In which our favorite menace to society Damocles explains his insane magical exploits and strategies you can use to break OSR+.

The primary idea behind OSR+ is player freedom, thanks to the bottom-up storytelling. The GM is not painting a picture or telling a story or presenting a global problem for the party to solve, but rather the players create their surroundings, their own adventure, and their own problems through dialogue and their choices during the sessions. This premise and freedom is extended when looking at character creation. The players have complete control of their characters, their stats, and the spells they choose.

Spells in the OSR+ work a little differently than typical D&D; you have access to the entire spell list from the start of your adventure. There is no level requirement or any class requirements. The list at the time of writing this is 194 spells long. When I saw this, I knew what my goal would be: to mercilessly break the entire system over and over again, until Daniel was forced to patch the game. Here is my journey and the results of my findings.

My Favorite Spells

Divinely Inspire

If you spend some time before your first session perusing the spells, one spell that should stick out to you is Divinely Inspire (category: Thaumaturgy, type: Metamagic). The first iteration of this spell made it the most powerful spell in the game by no exaggeration. It allowed the caster to target anyone (including themselves) and grant them a single spell of your choosing for 24 hours. 

With Divinely Inspire, you are no longer limited to up to 3 spells at the start (that's the max number if you have 6 Smart)—you have all 194. This alone warranted a change in Divinely Inspire. It was against the GM's Note: First of all, Damocles is a monster! But what he says about the spell as it was written violating its intended purpose was very much on point. The goal of Divinely Inspire is to supplicate your patron for aid, so in the end, what we did was give the GM say over what spell Divinely Inspire grants the spellcaster. spirit of the spell : you were supposed to give other players an out to a situation, even if you did not have the solution yourself. It encourages teamwork rather than making it a one-person show.

Fate Link

Okay, so easy change! Make it say "target other than yourself" and that should solve the problem, right? Not even close! Enter Fate Link (category: Psionics, type: Astral). This spell binds you to your target: anything experienced by one person happens to the other. So we have a workaround. Just cast Fate Link on a friend, and then Divinely Inspire on them, and boom, all spells are at your access! The big negative is you are bound to another player, and this transaction costs an extra MP. This is still so insane that Daniel has talked about a second nerf to Divinely Inspire: make the spell given by Divinely Inspire only last until the next round, instead of 24 hours. As of this post, he has not implemented this change.


This is not the last we will see Divinely Inspire but for now we need to move onto my favorite spell: Simulacrum (category: Sorcery, type: Necromancy). If Divinely Inspire is the most broken spell in the OSR+, Simulacrum is the second. It divides you into two halves, with each simulacrum half as powerful as your original whole in every respect (half HP, half attributes, half MP). Your two halves are both you, so each half may take actions and cast spells independently. If one half is destroyed, both are. Why would anyone use Simulacrum? You get two big downsides: you are lifelinked to your copy and your stats are split in half! The benefit is that you have two actions per turn going forward. If you play it correctly, you have more than that though...

  1. Cast Simulacrum.
  2. You and your copy both cast Contingency (category: Sorcery, type: Metamagic), letting you cast 2 spells the next turn.
  3. You have access to 4 spells between you and the copy.

This example is with the current rules of Simulacrum, where the copy cannot act the turn it is summoned. This presents a big weakness, that your character can be killed more easily thanks to splitting your stats, and because in the first turn, all you’ve done is essentially weaken yourself (although I believe this weakness is well worth it).

Teamwork with your party is critical when you play this strategy. Overall, the current rules of Simulacrum are still amazing, but this spell in its pre-patch iteration broke so many things. The worst offense of this spell was that it gave you multiple actions in the first turn you used it, allowing you to set up insane combos that would normally take you and the entire party multiple turns to achieve. 

In the first iteration of Simulacrum, you decided how your stats were split up and your copy could act the same turn you casted Simulacrum to split your character. So on the first turn, the original splits with Simulacrum, and then the copy can use a utility spell, attack, create a setup, etc. This play, while safe, is unambitious.

Time Stop

With the spell Time Stop (category: Sorcery, type: Time), you are able to eliminate all threats to you and your copy on the turn your character is split. Time Stop freezes time equal to the amount of MP you put into it. So in the first turn, you have split into two counterparts and frozen time. On the next turn, you and your Simulacrum counterpart can touch the other players, bringing them into the frozen world, and then conduct the Contingency strategy from above, or any other setup you like in safety.

At the time, mages, clerics, psychics, and bards derived their MP from their Smart, times 2. Simulacrum was at its most broken when you could implement this Time Stop strategy with a bard's pre-patched abilities. Nowadays, the MP of these four classes is determined by their attributes. In the past, however, the bard was the best choice by far, because you could extend your spells until you stopped playing your instrument.

Since the bard's MP is now based on Deft + Mighty and the number of spell they know is based on their Smart, you are going to have to make a sacrifice somewhere. 

Damocles' Wild Ride

If we look at the Bard before their MP was determined by Mighty + Smart, we can do amazing things.

This combo (and this blog series) is called Damocles’ Wild Ride after the character I was playing when I came up with this.

Damocles' Wild Ride, Version 1.0

Daniel saw this and told me I could do this only once, and then it would be gone forever. With the original Wild Ride gone, and all of the current patches in place, I needed a new game-breaking exploit!

Time Walks

The first spell I returned to was Divinely Inspire.

Even in its patched state, it was still the most powerful spell in the game when paired with Fate Link. In Damocles' Wild Ride, I had to work alone for the entire setup, and then the end result, while quite good, did not break the game. This strategy I'm calling "Time Walks," because without a doubt, it breaks the game. Like Damocles’ Wild Ride, freezing time is critical in Time Walks. We are going to use the entire party for this one, and need several turns to do it. Magic University is a campaign setting that's on the books for release. It's a Harry Potter-style campaign setting set in the Magic City of Muraius (see A Quest of Queens) where you play college-aged wizards trying to grapple with a mystery while learning to be adults. I will use the exact party from our adventure, Magic University . The players are Damocles (12 MP), Alizaar (8 MP), Stormur (4 MP), Bex (6 MP), and El (6 MP). 

  • Turns 1-4: Damocles casts Divinely Inspire on each of the other 4 players to give them Sacred Geometry of Time (category: Sorcery, type: Artifice). This allows you to draw a sigil that makes the next spell cast within its boundaries have its duration increased by a multiple of the MP spent. It takes X rounds to create the sigil, where X is equal to the amount of MP spent. Damocles has 8MP left.
  • Turn 4: After Damocles has given everyone SGT, the party (minus Damocles, since he acted) casts SGT in the GM's Note: Damocles' insanity is thankfully short-circuited at this step, if you rule that Sacred Geometry of Time cannot be "stacked" in the way he is describing. (Which, being the mad genius that he is, he already anticipated!) You can interpret the situation as follows: Each sigil drawn is triggered independently by any spell cast upon it, therefore on Turn 12, when Damocles casts Time Stop, he must choose one of the sigils the party has created to enhance its duration. same area of effect . In the most ridiculous scenario, Alizaar casts SGT for 8 MP, Stormur for 4 MP, and Bex and El for 6 MP. 
  • Turn 12: When Alizaar's SGT resolves, Damocles casts Time Stop in the SGT sigil for 9 MP (8 MP + 1 MP, thanks to the Channeler kit). 

The result is that we have 9 MP for the Time Stop times 8, times 4, times 6, times 6, for a total of 10,368 MP on Time Stop. This means we have 10,368 minutes (a round is 1 minute) to act in the frozen time world. We needed at least 480 minutes to fully rest and recover all of our MP. In one iteration of Time Walks, we have 21.6 full rest periods or 7.2 full days. We now have as much time as we want in the frozen Time Stop world. We have "infinite turns," so to speak. And that was the maximum number for our party size! Here is the minimum:

After Damocles puts in 9 MP into the Time Stop, if three people in the party use 3 MP and one member uses 2 MP for SGT, we total at 486 MP. We still get the same result, but this only takes us 6 rounds to complete, instead of 12.

Although all of my previous findings were fun, Time Walks is the most game-friendly. It has a massive payoff thanks to party cooperation, and it takes several turns to implement. Daniel might patch Sacred Geometry of Time so that you cannot stack the sigils, but for now the spell remains as it is. This is all possible thanks to Divinely Inspire and its absurd power!

Magic Mirror

When I originally talked to Daniel about the spells, I told him I had two goals: to get infinite turns/time, and to get infinite MP. Pre-patch Damocles’ Wild Ride got me close to infinite time, but Time Walks achieved that goal with all the patches! I still needed to get infinite MP. Fortunately, this strategy still exists in game as of this post, and you can do it alone without the party.

You need to be a Channeler and have the spells Simulacrum and Antimagic Shell (category: Sorcery, type: metamagic). Essentially, any spell that passes the Antimagic Shell is converted into MP for you (you regain MP equal to the MP spent to cast the captured spell). You cannot regain more MP than your maximum. Antimagic Shell on its own is strong with Simulacrum, since you can create a copy with Simulacrum and have them use Antimagic Shell to defend against spells, while the other counterpart acts. For this strategy, we will abuse the Channeler's ability to add 1 free MP to all spells. Let's see how this strategy (which I call Damocles' Magic Mirror) works:

  1. Cast Simulacrum and split into Original and Copy.
  2. Original casts Antimagic Shell for 1 MP. Original is down 1 MP.
  3. Copy casts any spell on Original for 2 MP (1 MP + 1 MP from Channer = 2 MP absorb). Copy is down 1 MP. Original absorbs the spell's 2 MP cost. The Antimagic Shell around Original absorbs 2 MP, but since Simulacrum says "your two halves are both you" and "both halves represent a single body, so if either half is destroyed, so is the whole" it stands to reason that both halves would benefit from the MP absorbed by the Antimagic Spell.
  4. Since the Original absorbs 2 MP, so does the Copy, thanks to its being one half of the whole spellcaster: 1 MP down plus 2 MP absorbed = 1 MP gained for both halves!

When the Simulacrum ends (it can end right after turn 2 if you choose not to use the Channeler's ability to add an extra MP), the halves return to a single body and you have netted 2 MP total. You can keep doing this until you are at full MP again. In combat, this strategy isn't practical, but you no longer need to conserve your MP for any fight. Go all out and once combat is done, you can do this to regain all of your MP. Do you need to set up for a big fight or a certain event? GM's note: Damocles strikes again! I think his reasoning is sound, in that we could rule that both halves of the spellcaster, being thus divided into two bodies, should benefit from an effect like this applied to one half, since the spell explicitly says "both halves represent a single body." However, spellcasters cannot retain more MP than their magic pool's maximum, so either half cannot "net" more MP than its total pool. When rejoined, the whole spellcaster will never have more MP than s/he started with. Cast all the spells you want and then use this strategy to be at full MP before the encounter .

More to Come!

This concludes my initial research into the OSR+'s spell list. I did not begin conducting research with the Geometer kit yet (pay an extra MP to change a word in the spell's description), as my initial findings only dealt with the spells at their face value, and with the Channeler kit, but I am sure there are exploits to be found... and I will find them! 

Thank you Daniel for putting up with all of my constant questions and for creating this amazing system.

We are in an infinite loop of our own: I find an exploit, you patch it, I find a new one, you patch it, etc.

I look forward to finding more next time we take OSR+ for a ride!

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