This is part of a series! Go here to see the other entries.

If I remember correctly, some monster books from 3e introduced the notion of living spells, creatures made from pure magic and patterned after one of the commonly available spells in the game. I guess Apocalypse Spells take some inspiration from those, but the end result is very different. The classificaion of Apocalypse Spell is only applied to those living spells that arise from the most metal of magics.

The Lore

Every once in a great while, someone manages to cast a truly epic spell. We’re talking the sort of thing that can slay a god, bind a primordial, instantly destroy an empire, create an astral dominion from nothing, and so on. These spells are so powerful the residual energy left in their wake can attain sentience and become a construct of pure magic whose powers and personality are modeled after the effects of their progenitor spell.

Despite their godlike power, apocalypse spells are simple creatures at heart. The kind of magic that gives birth to them is usually destructive and indiscriminate, and so are they at their cration. The passage of years allows them to develop distinct personalities and goals. Thus they can end up allying with other creatures who share those goals, or who manage to persuade them to help.

If all else fails, there are certain rituals that allow a powerful enough caster to assume full control of an apocalypse spell. They’re most commonly cast by the Forsaken, a society of epic villains who get an entry further into this book. Angels, devils and demons also frequently try to influence these living spells.

The book doesn’t say it, but I would guess the population of each type of apocalypse spell is fixed. The spells that generated them were unique, and were only cast once. Killing one of them permanently reduces that population.

The Numbers

Copyright 2010 Wizards of the Coast

All Apocalypse Spells are Animates with the Construct keyword, but that’s where their similarity ends. Each stat block described here represents the progeny of a different epic spell.

They do have a common signature trait, however: Unfettered Apocalypse is a reaction that triggers when they are first bloodied or when they take a critical hit, once per encounter. It creates a perfect duplicate of the spell that lasts for a turn. During this turn, it has the same HP and abilities as the original, and can act right after the original’s action. The duplicate can’t create another duplicate itself, however, so no infinitely spawning epic monsters for you.

Prison of Mual-Tar

The primordial Mual-Tar was defeated by the gods in the Dawn War, but couldn’t be killed. So it was bound in chains forged by Moradin himself and enchanted with a unique binding ritual. As Mual-Tar strained against these chains, shards of them broke off and fell into the Astral Sea, where they gained life. Prisons of Mual-Tar are born with opposing impulses to imprison and destroy, and their individual goals are related to one of these.

These apocalypse spells are Large Immortal Animates with the Construct keyword, and Level 26 Soldiers with 242 HP. They have a ground speed of 6 and Resist Force 15. Very few creatures have resistance to force damage!

The Prison is surrounded by an aura (5) of Cloying Chains, who marks all enemies caught inside. As an Agent of Divine Will, it ignores insubstantiality, concealment and partial cover (but not full cover or concealment).

It attacks with a Reach 4 Fettering Lash, which deals physical damage. If the target tries to make an attack that doesn’t target the Prison in its next action, the Prison pulls it up to 10 squares to a square adjacent to itself. It can make this attack twice per action against different targets, thanks to Double Attack. When the Prison is subject to forced movement, it can use Reactive Coils to pull the triggering enemy adjacent to itself.

The Prison’s divine origin makes it a bit reluctant to attack divine characters, and it might be convinced to lend its aid against elementals and demons. Their Double Attack ability makes them heavy hitters, and all the long-range pulling they can do makes them excellent at isolating PCs from each other.

Herald of Colorless Fire

In the ancient history of the Greyhawk setting, there were two great empires who were at war with each other, and who ended up using apocalyptic spells to erase each other from the world. The Rain of Colorless Fire was the more spectacular of the two, so it’s the one that gets mentioned most often in other publications. It turned the entire territory of the empire of Suel into a desert of ash and dust that was still a big feature of Oerth’s geography in its narrative present.

Heralds of Colorless Fire arose from the ashes of that desert and began wandering the planes. They are made from that same fire, and their innate motivation is simple: burn everything. They are, however, smart enough to toy with their victims and to lure powerful targets into favorable terrain.

Heralds are Medium Natural Animates (construct, fire) and Level 27 Skirmishers with 244 HP. They have a Speed of 8 (fly 6), and 15 fire resistance.

All of their attacks deal damage of the “fire and force” combined type, meaning you need resistance to both types to stop it. Fire or Force Resistance alone do nothing. This is a pretty good way of modeling supernatural fire that burns anything.

Their basic attack is a Caress of Flame, and they can also use a Storm of Colorless Fire (recharge 5+) that allows them attack a Close Burst 1, shift half their speed, and repeat the attack. Each of these bursts does more damage than the basic melee attack.

The Herald can use Flickering Flame to shift 4 squares as a minor action, but this ability gets shut down for a turn if it takes cold damage. I do notice it doesn’t have the usual 1/round limitation of minor-action movement abilities.

In combat, these are zippy fraggers, well-equipped for constant hit and run tactics. They should never stay still, and should never use a move action while Flickering Flame is active.

Shard of Uralinda

Once upon a time, there was a Winter Fey named Rodielle who was a member of the Winter Court. Rodielle tried to woo a member of the Summer Court and was spurned. He became so angry at this that, instead of resorting to the usual fey courtly intrigue, he did something truly terrible instead.

Rodielle devised a spell of ice and death, and cast it upon the eladrin city of Uralinda, the place which his former beloved liked the most in all the worlds. Ice shards rained upon the city and ripped it apart, killing thousands. That part was on purpose. Then the shards were animated by the souls of the slain and began wandering all the worlds. That part was an accident. Whoops!

The tormented souls inside the shards seek the release of final death, but they only have limited control over their icy cages. So they throw themselves at anyone who seems like they can put up a fight, hoping to be slain and released. Sometimes they also get controlled by spellcasters to do their bidding, which I imagine must be even less pleasant than their baseline state.

Shards of Uralinda are Medium Fey Animates (construct, cold), and Level 28 Minion Soldiers. Their basic attacks deal damage of the “cold and psychic” combined type, and despite being minions they also have the Unfettered Apocalypse ability. In practice, this means they last for an additional turn after you kill them.

Godslayer Inferno

Copyright 2010 Wizards of the Coast

These are the product of one of the many spells wielded by the primordials themselves during the Dawn War. It created a torrent of white and violet flames that prevented deities from discorporating and suppressed their immortal natures. As an unintended side effect, the flames also ended up absorbing some of the divine essence they burned away and became imbued with the spark of life. They remain steadfast in their original purpose of murdering the gods and their servants.

From the description, it seems that this was one of the few “apocalyptic” spells that was used repeatedly as a weapon of war, so I’d guess there’s a higher population of Godslayer Infernos than of the other monsters in this entry. Yay?

Godslayer Infernos are Medium Elemental Animates (construct, fire), and Level 28 Artillery with 194 HP. They have Resist Fire 15 and a ground speed of 6.

Both their Fiery Claws and the Fire Bolts they shoot inflict a large chunk of ongoing fire damage (20 aned 25, respectively) without dealing any immediate damage. They can also use a special attack named Godsbane Inferno (area burst 2, range 10) which does deal immediate damage as well as inflicting more ongoing fire damage. This ongoing damage is more presistent - it’s reduced from 15 to 10 with the first save, and only disappears after the second.

The inferno’s main source of immediate damage is Cloying Flames, which causes all targets taking ongoing fire damage within 10 squares to immediately take an amount of fire damage equal to that of ongoing damage.

Despite being artillery, the inferno also has good cause to stick close to the PCs. Its Elemental Inferno aura (2) strips all enemies inside of any fire resistance they might have and prevents them from rolling saves against ongoing fire damage!

I don’t think ongoing fire damage stacks, so it’s unlikely the inferno itself can inflict more than the 25 its fire bolts cause. But Cloying Flames makes them pair extremely well with other epic fire monsters. If nothing else fits, you could add multiple infernos in an encounter, but their danger level grows very fast in proportion to their numbers.

Light of Amoth

We already heard of the dead god Amoth during Demogorgon’s entry. He was responsible for splitting Demogorgon’s original head in two, just before being himself slain by the demon. Here we learn that there’s more to this story.

No less than three demon princes stormed Amoth’s domain to kill him: Orcus, Demogorgon, and Rimmon. They all fought Amoth at the same time, and while Demogorgon did strike the final blow in the fight, it didn’t kill Amoth immediately either. The god had time to unleash a death curse, one so powerful it consumed his remaining life force in order to take the three demon lords along with him in a universe-shaking explosion.

The three tried to get clear of the blast, but didn’t manage in time. Orcus and Demogorgon were a little quicker on the uptake than Rimmon, so they betrayed Rimmon first and used him as a shield to protect themselves from Amoth’s curse. Rimmon was disintegrated, which is why we never heard of him before.

As you might imagine, that curse generated living spells of its own. These crystalline giants also incorporate fragments of essence from both Amoth and Rimmon, so they’re compelled to hunt down demonic and divine creatures in equal measure.

Lights of Ammoth are Large Immortal Animates (construct), and Level 30 Brutes with 341 HP. They’re almost gods themselves! They have a ground speed of 6, but no special resistances.

They fight with their Reach 2 Fists of Wrath, which do a lot of damage. Fury of the Dead (recharge 6+) allows them to attack every creature in range with their fists. They can also use an ability called Legacy of Kalandurren that targets everyone in a Close Burst 2 for cold damage equal to that of a punch, and immobilizes them. Kalandurren was Amoth’s domain.

When a Light of Amoth takes damage, it releases a Wave of Retribution that does an automatic 5 damage to everyone within 2 squares of it.

All of this means you want to let them get surrounded by the PCs.

Final Impressions

I think these monsters are really cool! I don’t know if any more apocalypse spells were ever published, but I really like the basic idea behind them. I wonder if there is one for Karsus’ Avatar (FR) or the Mourning (Eberron). These magical disasters feel like they’re about the right scale for it.

Mechanically, I find them fairly interesting. They’re not mind-blowing but they display the consistently higher level of quality that would become standard from this point on.