Friday, April 28, 2023


The technopriests—numinous technologists of the science-fantasy future. While they don’t follow a specific deity per se they revere an entity known as "Techne," which in one sense embodies the totality of technological and scientific understanding and in another refers more specifically to the application of such understanding to tangibly alter the material world.

This isn’t the mere fetishization of cogs and wires. Technology is a means to an end. In that sense, the technopriest cares less about theory than practical application—the understanding of how or why a piece of machinery works is only important insofar as it enables the user to harness it. A man with the right tools is infinitely more capable than a man with none, and yet without human will and ingenuity the tools themselves are worthless. Thus, Techne, the convergence of man and machine, is sacred for it allows us to become onto gods and shape the world to our whim. 

Posting Moebius feels like cheating, but the shoe fits

Technopriests function as clerics without the weapon restrictions, with the following changes to casting:

“Spells” (an archaic word used in the vernacular to describe uncanny powers beyond common ken) can be performed through the use of tech, either in the form of Gadgets or Implants. Unlike clerics they don’t have complete access to the spell list, and instead must acquire spells like magic-users in the form of new technological implements. When a technopriest acquires a new spell, the player chooses whether it is a gadget or implant. Prosthetics can also have a spell-function installed, but must be created using the magic item creation rules. Like spell books, a technopriest's bespoke tech is constructed such that only that technopriest knows how to make it work. 

Each day, a technopriest decides which spells to calibrate for the day. Each piece of tech can only be used safely once per day—a spell can’t be “prepared” more than once. To use as spell again, an Overclock roll must be made. Pieces of tech that were not calibrated during the day can also be used if the technopriest makes an Overclock roll. Failing to Overclock a calibrated implant locks out Overclocking all other implants for the day, whereas failing to Overclock a gadget breaks it, requiring a number of hours to repair equal to its spell level. Prosthetics can work as either gadgets or implants—the player chooses which Overclock penalty to take. 

Overclocking: Your overclock score starts at 11 and increases by one every even technopriest level starting at 4th. Roll a d20 below your Overclock score but above the spell level. Rolling your Overclock score exactly means you get the Overclock penalty, but the spell is cast as normal.

A technopriest also has the ability to Technobabble, which functions as Turn Undead but for sentient machines. When using Technobabble, a technopriest poses a paradoxical conundrum that causes robots to go momentarily haywire and flee. A high-level technopriest’s Technobabble is so complex and multi-layered that it can cause lesser robots to completely brick (smoke out the ears, sparks flying everywhere, etc.). 

In place of a holy symbol, technopriests have their hallowed tools. They are required to calibrate technopriest tech.

Every time a technopriest gains a new spell slot, they can spend two weeks and a number of gold equal to 100x the spell level to fashion a new gadget or implant that can cast a spell of their choosing. On levels where the technopriest gains multiple spell slots, they can create multiple spells this way. Otherwise, they can acquire new spells through typical spell research or acquiring and discovering new tech. 


New spells (or at least those not in B/X) are bolded and described below 

Level 1
  1. Cure Light Wounds
  2. Detect Magic 
  3. Flash-Flare
  4. Occlusion
  5. Ordnance
  6. Purify Food and Water 
  7. Repair
  8. Scan
  9. Sensor Ward
  10. Threat Analysis
Level 2
  1. Activate/Disable Mechanism
  2. Alarm
  3. Bless 
  4. Blight
  5. Detect Invisible
  6. Find Traps 
  7. Hold Person 
  8. Resist Fire 
  9. Silence 15’ Radius 
  10. Thermal Conversion
Level 3
  1. Excise malignancy
  2. Fabricate
  3. Greater Flash-Flare
  4. Greater Occlusion
  5. Induce malignancy
  6. Locate Object 
  7. Striking
  8. Turbocharge 
Level 4
  1. Call Vehicle
  2. Create Water 
  3. Cure Serious Wounds
  4. Force Ward 
  5. Inhabit Machine
  6. Neutralize Poison 
  7. Sacred Ordnance
  8. Universal Glossator
Level 5
  1. Consult Noosphere 
  2. Death ray
  3. Orbital Cannon 
  4. Pulsar
  5. Quantum Convergence
  6. Quest/Remove Quest 
  7. Reanimate
  8. Synthesize Nutriment


Level 1; Duration: 8 turns; Range: 80’

Creates a blinding flare that quickly fades to shed light in a 15’ radius. Everyone in sight must save vs. spells or be blinded for 1d6 rounds. This spell can be cast on an object, in which case it doesn’t create a flare but instead can be moved with the object. Casting Flash-Flare on a creature’s eyes makes them save vs. spells or be blind for the duration. PCs who are aware that Flash-Flare is being cast can close their eyes to avoid the effect of the spell.


Level 1; Duration: 8 turns; Range: 80’

Creates a vaporous darkness within which all light is swallowed. The vapor can be of any size or shape within a 15’ radius sphere. This spell can be cast on an object, in which case it cannot be shaped but instead fills a 15’ radius sphere that can be moved with the object. Casting Occlusion at a creature’s eyes makes them save vs. spells or be blind for the duration. Creatures with infravision are able to see through the occluding vapor. 


Level 1; Duration: Instant; Range: 140’; Gadget only

Fires an object up to 3 pounds at high velocity, striking as a +1 magic projectile modified by the caster’s dexterity. Weapon ammunition fired this way ignores the target’s armor. Projectiles deal 1d6+1 damage. Fragile objects shatter on impact, while more solid projectiles remain embedded in the target. 


Level 1; Duration: Permanent; Range: 90’

Completely repair a broken mundane object, making it as good as new. The object can be in any state of disrepair—rent asunder, shattered, corroded, etc.—though if unique vital components are missing the spell will fail. The area affected by the spell is no greater than 3’ in diameter. If the object is of greater size, only the space within the diameter will be affected. The casting time could either be instant, in which case the repair lasts for 10 minutes; or 1 turn, which makes the repairs permanent. 


Level 1; Duration: 1 turn; Range: Caster

Allows the caster to discern the nature and purpose of complicated machinery. Functions as Read Magic but for technopriest tech and other advanced or alien technologies. The caster might not necessarily learn how something works, but will get a rough understanding of what it does or what it might be used for. 

Sensor Ward

Level 1; Duration: 12 turns; Range: Caster

Projects a faint sheen around the caster making them imperceptible to constructed and inorganic creatures. The caster can not be targeted by attacks from affected creatures unless the caster engages them in melee, in which case the creatures suffer a -4 penalty to hit. This spell also prevents the caster from being detected by non-analog mechanical sensors—the caster won’t get picked up by a security camera, but stepping on a pressure plate (a tactile sensor) still causes it to trigger.

Threat Analysis

Level 1; Duration 6 turns; Range 120’; Implant only

Creates an instant readout visible to the caster detailing the potential danger of creatures within view. The analysis lists approximate power level relative to the caster (significantly higher, higher, lower, or roughly the same HD) and primary weapons or forms of attack. The analysis also scans creature’s behavior to detect hostile intentions, as well as the influence of mind control or possession. 

Activate/Disable Mechanism

Level 2; Duration: See below; Range: 60’

Trigger a single mechanism in range, as though it was activated by a user. Doors and locks open or close, traps activate, guns fire, servo arms lift or retract, etc. Vehicles affected by this spell move on their own, even without fuel, for up to a minute. Magic items or objects under the influence of magic are not affected, as well as mechanisms missing vital components (ie a crossbow can’t fire without a bowstring).

This spell can also have the opposite effect, rendering a mechanism inoperable for 1d6 minutes. Sentient constructs get a save vs. spells to avoid the effect.


Level 2; Duration: 6 hours; Range: 30’

Causes a designated area up to a 20’ cube to react to the presence of creatures other than those deemed by the caster. The caster is alerted to the intrusion and receives a mental image of the intruding creature(s). The caster can choose to have the alarm be solely mental or audible to everyone within 200’ (-10’ for each door and -20’ for each wall in the way). Casters of 6th level and above can create simple conditions for their alarm, like triggering only when a certain type or number of creatures are in proximity. Only one Alarm can be active at a time. 

Thermal Conversion

Level 2; Duration: See below; Range: 60’

Transfer thermal energy from one creature or object to another within range. Targeted creatures can make a saving throw vs. spells to avoid the effects; on a success, the spell fails. The damage this spell can deal to creatures varies depending on the amount of heat being transferred, but as a rule of thumb the amount of heat exchanged does not exceed the equivalent of 1d8 points of damage—enough to extinguish a torch or pool of burning oil. When transferring heat between two objects the conversion lasts for 1 turn per caster level, after which the thermal energy returns to its original source. 

Excise Malignancy

Level 3; Duration: Instant; Range: Touch

This spell functions as Cure Disease and Remove Curse, with a 6-in-20 chance of failure. The chance is reduced by 1 for every turn the caster spends “operating” on the target, as well as for every even technopriest level the caster has above 6. 

Greater Flash-Flare

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: 100’

This spell functions as Flash-Flare, although the light it creates after the initial flare illuminates 30’ and persists until the caster wills the effect to end or casts the spell again. If the caster has Flash-Flare calibrated when casting this spell, the light created by Greater Flash-Flare is as bright as daylight, making creatures penalized by daylight suffer the same penalties when in the effect of Greater Flash-Flare. 

Greater Occlusion

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: 100’

This spell functions as Occlusion, although the radius of darkness expands to 30’ and persists indefinitely, or until the caster wills the effect to end or casts the spell again. If the caster has Occlusion calibrated when casting this spell, the darkness is so complete it prevents infravision and magical or technologically enhanced sight. 

Induce Malignancy

Level 3; Duration: Permanent; Range: Touch/See below

This spell functions as either Cause Disease and Curse, determined by the caster when the spell is used. This spell can be imbued on a projectile or piece of ammunition, activating on a successful hit against a target. Creatures affected by the spell this way get a +2 bonus to their save. The caster can only imbue one projectile at a time, and the imbuing lasts 24 hours before the projectile returns to normal. 


Level 3; Duration: 12 turns; Range: 60’

Doubles the speed, damage, and load capacity of a vehicle. If this spell is cast on a single vehicle more than once in a 24-hour period, there is a 50% chance it falls into disrepair when the spell ends. 

Call Vehicle

Level 4; Duration 1 hour/caster level; Range: 50 miles

Calls an unoccupied vehicle to the caster. The caster can operate the vehicle even if it requires special knowledge or expertise to pilot for the duration of the spell. Once the duration has elapsed, the vehicle stops (landing, if necessary) and returns to its original location after 1 minute, regardless of its fuel level or state of disrepair.  Vehicles called this way can hold at most 10 people. If no viable vehicles are within the spell range, there is a 1-in-20 chance an autonomous flying craft will be somewhere in range and pulled from its trajectory to the caster; otherwise, the spell fails. If Call Vehicle is cast in a location no vehicle can reasonably access, the spell fails. 


Level 4; Duration: 1 hour/caster level; Range: Touch

Convert mundane material into finished goods. Non-consumable adventuring equipment, weapons, ammunition, and other objects can be created even with incongruous material—like using stone to make rope or dirt to make a sword. Once the spell duration has elapsed, the fabricated goods fall apart and return to inert material. This spell can affect up to 1 cubic yard of material per caster level. 

Force Ward

Level 4; Duration 12 turns; Range: 10’ around the caster/caster

This spell has two functions, determined by the caster when the spell is cast. The spell can either function as a Sensor Ward projected around the caster and allies within a 10’ radius. The spell can alternatively project a gleaming force membrane around the caster, functioning as Sensor Ward and additionally granting the caster complete invulnerability to lasers and other energy-based attacks. 

Inhabit Machine

Level 4; Duration: 1 turn/caster level; Range: 100’

Temporarily transports the caster’s consciousness into a machine. While inhabited, the machine can operate autonomously. Any sensory information normally detected by the machine is picked up by the caster. During this time, the caster’s physical body is immobilized, with their eyes rolling back in their head and soft machine beep sounds escaping from their mouth. Robots and sentient machines are allowed a saving throw to prevent being inhabited. If the inhabited machine is destroyed, the spell ends and the caster’s consciousness returns to their body, and they must save vs. paralysis or be stunned for 1 turn. 

Sacred Ordnance

Level 4; Duration: Instant; Range: 140’; Gadget only

This spell functions as Ordnance, but deals 2d6+2 damage to the target. If the caster has Ordnance calibrated when casting this spell, Sacred Ordnance can create up to three projectiles that can be fired at up to three different targets, each dealing 1d6+1 damage.

Universal Glossator

Level 4; Duration: 3 turns; Range: Caster

Allows the caster to speak and understand any language. 

Consult Noosphere

Level 5; Duration: 3 turns; Range: Caster

Functions as Commune, where the caster makes contact with networked overmind with which all mortal knowledge and understanding is connected to.

Death Ray

Level 5; Duration: Instant; Range: 120’

As Finger of Death. Death Ray heals 3d10 hp to undead creatures with at least 8 HD. 

Orbital Weapon

Level 5; Duration: Concentration (up to 1 minute); Range: 480’

Signal to a great satellite weapon from ages past to fire a beam of focused energy from the heavens. The beam has a radius of 5’ and appears in a place of the caster’s choosing in range. Creatures who start their round in the beam must save vs. breath or take 4d8 damage, half on a success. Around the beam is a 30’ (from the center) radius field of strong electromagnetic energy. Constructs and vehicles made of metal, as well as people wearing metal armor, are unable to attack while within the field and must move at half speed. The caster can move the beam up to 20’ each round as long as it stays within the spell’s range. This spell only functions outdoors with direct access to the sky.


Level 5; Duration: Concentration (up to 1 turn)/instant; Range: 30’ radius

By concentrating and remaining stationary, the caster emits strong bursts of electromagnetic energy. Constructed and synthetic creatures within range must save vs. spells or be destroyed. If the save succeeds, the creature must flee the area of the spell. The caster can alternatively direct the energy to a single constructed or synthetic creature in range, which causes it to save vs spells with a -2 penalty. Additionally, this spell can be used to rid a single piece of machinery of any sort of curse, corruption, or possession. 

Quantum Convergence 

Level 5; Duration: Permanent (see below); Range: See below; Implant only

When this spell is cast, the caster chooses two different prepared spells to integrate and merge their effects. The two spells could be used at once (like casting Induce Malignancy on an Ordnance projectile), one spell could trigger another (rigging an Alarm to cast Flash-Flare when it activates), spell effects could be combined (using Fabricate and Thermal Conversion to create a heat sink), or they could be used together in some other way of the caster’s choosing (subject to the DM’s approval). Using Quantum Convergence takes a full round, after which the affected spells are prepared and can be used at the caster’s choosing. Spells affected by Quantum Convergence must be calibrated, and cannot be cast normally unless the caster cancels the spell integration. Quantum Convergence cannot be Overclocked. 

Quest/Remove Quest 

Level 5; Duration: Until quest is completed/instant; Range: Touch

Aside from the change in range, this spell functions as the standard cleric Quest/Remove Quest spell. 

Note: The premise here is that the technopriest embeds some sort of  compliance-inducing device into the target like in Escape from New York. The reason why this is the only reversible technopriest spell is because having an entire spell dedicated to removing quests just isn't worth it. It is assumed the process of removing a Quest device uses the same sort of technology as embedding one and is straightforward but difficult enough to necessitate a skilled technopriest. 


Level 5; Duration: Permanent; Range: Touch

As Raise Dead, with the following change: when a creature gets re-animated, they return with 1d6 hp and otherwise does not suffer the usual Raise Dead penalty. There is a 2-in-10 chance the re-animated creature returns as a berserk, mindless undead under the DM’s control.

Synthesize Nutriment

Level 5; Duration: Permanent; Range: Appears in the caster’s presence

Functions as Create Food, but with the additional feature that three units of animal feed can be converted into one unit of fuel for a small or medium vehicle. 

Context and design notes FEEL FREE TO SKIP

The technopriest, or tech-worshipping cleric stand-in, was something I originally conceived for my science-fantasy Last Planet game which is sadly now a relic of the pandemic era. I ended up opting instead for weird black hole cultists as the cleric alternative, which were interesting but maybe a little too conceptually oblique for their own good. 


The spell list was designed such that most of the new spells are similar-but-distinct enough to the standard B/X cleric offerings that they can replace them fully or be used side-by-side as an alternate cleric-type.

While the technopriest spell list is longer, they’ll end up having slightly more limited casting, as they can’t reverse spells and don’t have access to the full spell list as clerics do. Instead they get the Overclock, which gives them more mileage out the spells they have to work with.