Spirit Nuke
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Basic Information

A spirit nuke is a fantasy WMD that relies on the presence of highly developed magitek. There appear to be two distinct flavours of this device:

  1. A device that generates a single use magical attack on a par with the detonation of an atomic weapon - this flavour is separated from highly destructive magic workings in general by being a device (and thus usable by non-practitioners) and being single shot (as opposed to the sort of highly destructive artifacts common in fantasy)1. This device may or may not be assembled from enriched, weapons grade phlebotinum.
  2. A conventional nuclear device with its output optimised to strike at supernatural creatures - either those flat out immune to a regular nuclear blast, those with some form of magical shielding that would generate the same outcome or those in the spirit world where the blast would not normally reach. The magical output may be partially substituted for the traditional yield or may be an additional bonus output. Bonus points if the blast leaves supernatural fallout as well as the regular kind.

The first type is probably more common in traditional fantasy worlds, especially when an author or GM wants to expy a real world story about atomic weapons (or to drop an Aesop on the same lines). The latter is more likely in wainscot fantasy when The Agency - or similar powers - go all out against the powers of the supernatural.


  • Good examples of type 1 would be Torque …and its slightly less ugly cousin the "Colour Bomb" from China Miellvielle's Bas Lag setting.
  • Type 2 was used extensively by the Technocracy in the finale of the Old World of Darkness setting.
  • In The Gods Are Bastards, one subplot deals with the political fallout from a type 1 being used long before the main story.
  • In the Eberron Campaign Setting for "that RPG", the waste known as the Mournland would appear to be the result of something that was functionally a type 1.
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • PCs may be racing against time to prevent some government agency solving the problem of the week by dropping a type 2 on it - alternatively they may need to smuggle one into Rhyleh or set Cthulu up for a ground burster.
  • May be the only good way to take down a truly malevolent Genius Loci or an area overrun with hostile ghosts.
  • May be an amusing surprise for PCs not yet part of the masquerade when they find a nuclear warhead covered in bizarre markings and with some inexplicable modifications made to it.
  • Conversely, they may need to figure out how to modify a normal warhead to strike into the spirit world or at a normally immune target.
    • In some cases, first acquire your warhead.
  • Type 1s allow traditional nuclear war tropes in a fantasy world, with the added bonus that the orcs can steal one without needing a powerful orc wizard to cast it.
  • An untested type 2 might have all kinds of fun effects. Start with "creates a bad place" and work up from there.
  • A particularly nasty type 1 might not only kill large numbers of people but directly re-animate them as undead.
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