For those coming from D&D, spells in Cogs will be both familiar and a bit different.

In Cogs, you wield elements like weapons – and you need to be proficient with them to use them to their fullest extent.

Each of the four mundane elements (Earth, Fire, Air, and Water) have associated sub-elements. As part of our showcase, we’re going to look at Fire.

Element (Subelement)DamageCritical EffectProperties
Fire (Light)1d4 radiantblindedwide, versatile
Fire (Flame)1d8 searingburn 1d8versatile
Fire (Lightning)1d12 shockingspread 1d6two-handed

Let’s take a look at each of these.

Light. This element does a measly 1d4 damage as its base, but you can always bring that to 1d6 if you’re got a spare hand. If you get a critical hit against a target or they suffer a critical failure on a saving throw, they’ll be blinded for at least one turn. The wide property will double an area effect or allow you to get some collateral impact when a spell only targets one enemy.

Flame. This is your classic burning fire. It’s going to hurt. In the event of a critical, that burn effectis going to cause whoever or whatever you’re targeting to going to keep taking 1d6 extra damage for at least one turn. As a bonus, you can bring that base damage up to 1d10 if you’ve got a hand free.

Lightning. Lighting is for when you want to throw some destructive energy at an enemy. When you cast a lightning spell, you always need both hands. On a critical, spread allows you to pick one extra target and give them a smaller bonus jolt.

Now, let’s look at how these impact a spell.

In Cogs, knowing a spell lets you cast it at will as a cantrip or give it some extra oomph by expending spell slots. Today, we’re looking at how these new concepts apply to an old favorite, Fireball!

Range 120 feet
Components V, S
Duration Instantaneous
Channel Fire (any)
You hurl a mote of elemental fire at a creature or object in range.
Cantrip. Make a penetrating ranged spell attack. The target takes 1 elemental die of damage on a hit
1st Level. The fireball explodes out in a radius of 5 feet per spell level regardless of whether it hit, dealing two elemental damage dice per spell level to each creature in range. The explosion is undodgeable.
3nd Level. Apply a critical effect to any creature in range.

A quick glance at this spell block tells us a few things.

  1. We can throw this spell 120 feet away
  2. The spell has Verbal and Somatic components. You’re going to need to be able to speak and do fancy stuff with your hands to cast this spell.
  3. The Duration is Instantaneous. This means the spell happens right away and then it is done.
  4. We can channel any fire subelement into this spell.

Now, this spell is going to scale all the way up by the time we’re done playtesting, but for now, let’s focus on the first three levels.

As a cantrip (a spell level that can be cast at-will), the spell is pretty simple. You make a ranged spell attack. If you hit the enemy, you deal 1 elemental damage die to the enemy. Let’s see how each of our subelements looks when we use it as a cantrip.

Light. On a hit, we’re doing 1d4 (averaging 2.5) radiant to our target. If we used both hands, we get to bring that to 1d6 (averaging 3.5) radiant damage. But wait! Light has the wide property. If our attack would hit anyone else within 5 feet of the primary target, they’re taking that 1d4 or 1d6 as well. If we crit, they’re all blind for a turn.

Flame. On a hit, we’re dealing 1d8 (averaging 4.5) searing damage to the target. If we use two hands, we get to bring that up to 1d10 (averaging 5.5) searing damage. Unlike with Light, we can only target one person at a time here. If we get a critical hit, our target is going to take an additional 1d8 searing damage.

Lightning. On a hit, we’re a whopping dealing 1d12 (averaging 6.5) shocking damage. On a critical hit, we can spread the love to another nearby target, dealing them 1d6 shocking damage without making an attack.

Once we start spending spell slots, this spell starts looking a little more familiar, because our little tiny fireball is going to start exploding whether or not we hit our first target. At 1st Level, everyone within 10 feet of the first target must succeed on a Dexterity save or take two elemental damage dice worth of damage. This attack is Undodgeable, which means that anyone who succeeds on the saving throw is still going to take half damage. Let’s go back to our elements to see what these spells look like.

Light. Each creature who fails the save will take 2d4 or 2d6 radiant damage or half as much on a success. The wide property is going to DOUBLE the radius of this spell, bringing that 10-foot radius to 20 feet. If anyone rolls a critical failure (a natural 1) on this save, they will be blinded for a turn.

Flame. Each creature who fails the save will take 2d8 (or 2d10) searing damage or half as much on a success. Anyone who rolls a critical failure will get an extra 1d8 searing damage on their next turn.

Lightning. Each creature who fails the save will take a terrifying 2d12 shocking damage or half as much on a success. As before, any critical failures rolled on this save let us spread an extra 1d6 shocking damage to someone near them. We can absolutely pass that back to someone else in the blast.

At Level 2, we’re going to see the radius and base damage of the eplosion double with 4 elemental dice and a 20 foot radius (40 for Light!)

At Level 3, we get an additional bonus. Not only are we dealing 6 elemental damage dice (that’s 12d6 for Lightning!) we automatically apply a critical effect to anyone who so much as fails the save.

Light. In addition to taking 6d4 (or 6d6) radiant damage, everyone who fails the save will become blinded for one turn. Critical failures will be blinded for two turns.

Flame. Here, Fireball lives up to its name. In addition to damage, everyone who fails the save will burn for a turn. As you have probably guessed, critical failures will remain on fire for two turns.

Lightning. Those who fail the save and manage to survive taking 6d12 shocking damage will have to deal with the damage leaping off of their nearby allies. In addition, any critical failures will allow the spread effect to pass from the second target to a third.