Spell engine was an arcane abjuration or alteration spell that created a magical device that absorbed virtually all spells cast in the surrounding area and produced a light that was conducive to magical study.[1][2][3][4]


There were at least three slightly different versions of this spell. The newer version was wholly in the abjuration school[1] while the older versions belonged to both the abjuration and alteration schools.[2][3][4] This spell took a full ten minutes to cast and produced an invisible and intangible disk: the spell engine.[1][2][3][4] The older versions placed the 12 ft (3.7 m) diameter disk at the point where the caster stood at the time of casting,[2][3][4] while the newer version produced a 10 ft (3.0 m) diameter disk that could be placed up to 65 ft (20 m) away (even farther for more experienced casters).[1] For all versions, the disk was 2 ft (60 cm) thick. The effect was permanent until dispelled or destroyed.[1][2][3][4]

Before the spell engine was activated, its presence could be detected by detect magic or detect invisible spells (if cast outside the spell engine's area of effect) or by the equivalent natural abilities. Once activated, the disk became visible but remained insubstantial.[1][2][3][4]

With few exceptions, any divine or arcane spell, any spell-like ability, or any magic item discharged within the area of effect would activate the spell engine and be absorbed, as if by a rod of absorption with unlimited capacity, causing the disk to turn and give off a white glowing light. All further magical casting in the area was prevented from having its desired effect as the energies were siphoned into the spinning disk instead. Magical effects such as a magic mouth or a glyph of warding that were in existence before the casting of spell engine were not absorbed and continued to operate under the protection of the spell engine.[1][2][3][4]

The older versions of spell engine protected a spherical volume with a radius of 10 ft (3.0 m) per level of the caster, ignored barriers such as walls and solid objects, and the disk spun faster and glowed brighter with each absorbed spell.[2][3][4] The oldest version also gave off a gentle susurration like rushing water.[4] The newer version covered only the physical dimensions of the disk itself, spun at a constant rate, and glowed like a silent torch.[1]

The glow given off by the spinning disk was beneficial to spellcasters. Studying or praying in the light of the spell engine allowed them to memorize spells in half the normal time. The amount of rest needed to recover was not affected, only the time to prepare spells.[1][2][3][4]

The spell engine could be destroyed by a disintegrate spell, causing a massive explosion of force. The same thing happened if a magic item came in contact with the glowing disk. Potions and scrolls were not enough to trigger the destruction of the spell engine, but contact with other magic items and artifacts would cause detonation. An artifact and anyone wielding it were shifted to another plane of existence,[2][3][4] but magic items of lesser stature were destroyed.[1][2][3][4] The only known method to safely remove an active spell engine was to use a properly worded limited wish, wish, or alter reality spell.[4]


In addition to verbal and somatic components, this spell required some material components to cast. The newer version took a small disk made of bone, one of the caster's tears, and a silver wheel worth at least 1,000 gp.[1] The older versions used a disk of bone, ivory, shell, or polished marble, a tear from the caster, and a cut gem stone worth at least 1,000 gp.[2][3][4]


This spell was added to a spellbook owned by the famous mage and explorer Sabirine. It was inserted before the title page of her tome Sabirine's Specular and hidden with a secret page spell by an unknown agent.[5] Sometime after it was discovered it was published in Volo's Guide to All Things Magical and became generally known,[6] but it was rare to find it.[7]


See AlsoEdit


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 121. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 64. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 91. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Ed Greenwood (August 1985). “Pages from the Mages V”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #100 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 12–13.
  5. Ed Greenwood, Tim Beach (1995). Pages from the Mages. (TSR, Inc), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-0183-7.
  6. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 44. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  7. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 153. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.