Discussion:
Spell Mods
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Spalls Hurgenson
2017-10-13 15:30:01 UTC
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Magic Missile. Stinking Cloud. Sleep. Fireball. Almost every D&D
wizard had at least one of these spells in their inventory, and most
players could describe their effects at will. These - and numerous
other enchantments - were constants of the D&D game, as familiar as
the fighter's long sword or thief's dirk. But while that constancy was
comfortable and useful, it did sometimes make every game feel a lot
like every other game. So I encouraged my players to "modify" their
spells so they would be unique to each character. These changes, I
explained, were cosmetic only; the core functionality of the spells as
described by the rules could not be changed. As DM I had final say on
what was and wasn't allowed but beyond that their imagination was the
limit. These modifications didn't require any research; we just
assumed that the character had learned some variation of the base
spell. That said, once the player chose a mod, that's what he was
stuck with; he couldn't change the cosmetic effect on a whim.

Magic missile always got a make-over. My favorite was one player who
transformed it into a "pain touch". He removed the "missile effect"
from the spell; instead, ulcerated wounds would open on the target
(for 1d4+1 damage). A glow on the wizard's hand and on the wound
prevented this from being a stealth weapon, but the player used this
to great effect: his character wasn't merely shooting targets, he was
hurting them from afar, and he used this to terrify his victims. The
character would point and gesture as if he were touching the target
from afar and the wounds would appear as if the target was actually
being touched by his clawed hand (one mark/missile for each finger).
The NPCs of course had no idea as to the range limits, and the
character terrified them with threats of how he could "hurt them
whenever and wherever". It was a great mix of role-playing and
game-rules.

Other players went with simpler effects, just changing the aspect of
the missile. Shooting stars, bolts of darkness... one player wanted to
use flying penises; I nixed that idea. He instead went with sharpened
shards of bone to go with his character's necromantic theme (and
inevitably called the missiles "boners". <sigh>)

Fireball was also a commonly modded spell. One player changed the
spell to a "bouncing betty"; the wizard would "throw" a fist-sized
fireball into the ground, where it would invisibly burrow through the
earth to its target, whence it would then pop out and explode. Another
player's wizard character breathed "fire gas" out of his mouth; the
gas would stream to its target and go boom. Again, these changes were
cosmetic only (barriers, for instance, would still block the spells)
but they held individualize the enchantments.

One of the earliest mods to spells I allowed was as a result of my own
mistake as DM. A wizard was using Tenser's Floating Disk as a poor
man's levitation spell and I allowed it, not having read the spell
description closely enough. When my mistake was later pointed out to
me, we modified the spell into Tenser's Barking Disk. This gave the
spell the ability to move vertically (at a very, very slow rate and
within limits as to high it could get) ... but it also barked. Like a
dog. Loudly, irregularly and quite annoyingly. It may not have been
the best solution to the problem, but it was quite memorable. He named
it Rex and used the spell constantly.


What spell mods have you or your players used?
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-10-13 16:05:33 UTC
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one
player wanted to use flying penises;
there's one in every crowd.
What spell mods have you or your players used?
I recall a Fantasy Hero character that had a detect magic spell that
was zero range, and the sense that it fed into was taste. He had to
lick things to see if they were magical.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Justisaur
2017-10-20 00:01:18 UTC
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Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
one
player wanted to use flying penises;
there's one in every crowd.
What spell mods have you or your players used?
I recall a Fantasy Hero character that had a detect magic spell that
was zero range, and the sense that it fed into was taste. He had to
lick things to see if they were magical.
Haha!

I never had very ingenious players of wizards I guess. I've had M-Us
use the suggested magic missile that looks like flaming green skulls
that was either in 2e or 3e. My first M-U as a player I made some of my
own spells, though I, for the life of me can't remember what they were.

I've lately been tempted to toss all the spells and just start over
making wizards create all their own spells.

- Justisaur
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-10-20 02:58:09 UTC
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Post by Justisaur
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
one
player wanted to use flying penises;
there's one in every crowd.
What spell mods have you or your players used?
I recall a Fantasy Hero character that had a detect magic spell
that was zero range, and the sense that it fed into was taste.
He had to lick things to see if they were magical.
Haha!
I never had very ingenious players of wizards I guess.
I wouldn't ordinarily describe Tom as such, either. Usually, he
plays Tom Characters. On paper, they look like above avergae, if
not really exceptional, fighter types. In a fight, though, they
always do better than you'd expect, and are virtually impossible to
kill. Not because of any special abilities, or extraordinarly
skills, or GM favors, or cheating. It just works out that way,
while we all watch the dice rolls. He had a portcullis fall on one
character, and close all the way through his chest once, but it
wasn't *quite* enough to kill him. As the saying goes, "Toms
*always* come back."

That particular character, though, was just *weird*. Even by our
standards.
Post by Justisaur
I've had
M-Us use the suggested magic missile that looks like flaming
green skulls that was either in 2e or 3e. My first M-U as a
player I made some of my own spells, though I, for the life of
me can't remember what they were.
I once took a 20th level wizard out of play for a couple of months
to research a magic item that amounted to a disposable mouse sized
(because it was for intelligent mice) anti-tank rocket. Damned cats
had started wearing armor. (Or, rather, the lord of the castle had
started stuffing them into armor. The cats were ordinary cats, and
were very confused by this.)

The same wizard also assaulted the castle with a field of animated
wheat. They raised his flag on the top of the keep. Didn't really
do anything else, but they raised the flag. For months afterwards,
all it took for me to get the lord of the castle (who was a PC)
would fireball all his peasants' fields was to put a pair of
sunglasses and a newspaper on a corn stalk. As Granny Weatherwax
said, the most powerful kind of magic is headology, and there's no
magic involved in that at all.
Post by Justisaur
I've lately been tempted to toss all the spells and just start
over making wizards create all their own spells.
There's a certain appeal to the idea, provided you have some fairly
objective guidelines on how to do so, and what level the spell ends
up being. Hero works well in that regard (though it has its share
of flaws in other ways).
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Spalls Hurgenson
2017-10-20 12:38:11 UTC
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On Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:58:09 -0700, Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
I wouldn't ordinarily describe Tom as such, either. Usually, he
plays Tom Characters. On paper, they look like above avergae, if
not really exceptional, fighter types. In a fight, though, they
always do better than you'd expect, and are virtually impossible to
kill. Not because of any special abilities, or extraordinarly
skills, or GM favors, or cheating. It just works out that way,
while we all watch the dice rolls. He had a portcullis fall on one
character, and close all the way through his chest once, but it
wasn't *quite* enough to kill him. As the saying goes, "Toms
*always* come back."
I once took a 20th level wizard out of play for a couple of months
to research a magic item that amounted to a disposable mouse sized
(because it was for intelligent mice) anti-tank rocket. Damned cats
had started wearing armor. (Or, rather, the lord of the castle had
started stuffing them into armor. The cats were ordinary cats, and
were very confused by this.)
The same wizard also assaulted the castle with a field of animated
wheat.
Look, I'm fine with a character bouncing back after having two feet of
wood and steel jammed through his chest. Animated wheat? Not a
problem, seen it before. Heat-seeking exploding mice? Unusual, but
perfectly within the bounds of believability.

But jamming a cat into a suit of armor and expecting it to do anything
but sit there and wail? Not a chance. Ever try putting booties on a
cat? Or even a hat? Kitty don't stand for that nonsense. A bulky
cat-shaped hunk of plate-mail? The cat's gonna just sit there until
you come to your senses. Expecting anything else is... well, there's
fantasy and there's unacceptable nonsense, and this falls squarely in
the latter ;-)
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-10-20 15:43:28 UTC
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Post by Spalls Hurgenson
On Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:58:09 -0700, Gutless Umbrella Carrying
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
I wouldn't ordinarily describe Tom as such, either. Usually, he
plays Tom Characters. On paper, they look like above avergae, if
not really exceptional, fighter types. In a fight, though, they
always do better than you'd expect, and are virtually impossible
to kill. Not because of any special abilities, or extraordinarly
skills, or GM favors, or cheating. It just works out that way,
while we all watch the dice rolls. He had a portcullis fall on
one character, and close all the way through his chest once, but
it wasn't *quite* enough to kill him. As the saying goes, "Toms
*always* come back."
I once took a 20th level wizard out of play for a couple of
months to research a magic item that amounted to a disposable
mouse sized (because it was for intelligent mice) anti-tank
rocket. Damned cats had started wearing armor. (Or, rather, the
lord of the castle had started stuffing them into armor. The
cats were ordinary cats, and were very confused by this.)
The same wizard also assaulted the castle with a field of
animated wheat.
Look, I'm fine with a character bouncing back after having two
feet of wood and steel jammed through his chest. Animated wheat?
Not a problem, seen it before. Heat-seeking exploding mice?
Unusual, but perfectly within the bounds of believability.
But jamming a cat into a suit of armor and expecting it to do
anything but sit there and wail? Not a chance. Ever try putting
booties on a cat? Or even a hat? Kitty don't stand for that
nonsense. A bulky cat-shaped hunk of plate-mail? The cat's gonna
just sit there until you come to your senses. Expecting anything
else is... well, there's fantasy and there's unacceptable
nonsense, and this falls squarely in the latter ;-)
I hope you'll believe me when I say that, while you are entirely
correct, that was one of hte least bizarre things about that
campaign world. I fought a war with 6' tall mushrooms once. Nearly
lost, too.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Justisaur
2017-10-20 21:00:02 UTC
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Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
On Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:58:09 -0700, Gutless Umbrella Carrying
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
I wouldn't ordinarily describe Tom as such, either. Usually, he
plays Tom Characters. On paper, they look like above avergae, if
not really exceptional, fighter types. In a fight, though, they
always do better than you'd expect, and are virtually impossible
to kill. Not because of any special abilities, or extraordinarly
skills, or GM favors, or cheating. It just works out that way,
while we all watch the dice rolls. He had a portcullis fall on
one character, and close all the way through his chest once, but
it wasn't *quite* enough to kill him. As the saying goes, "Toms
*always* come back."
I once took a 20th level wizard out of play for a couple of
months to research a magic item that amounted to a disposable
mouse sized (because it was for intelligent mice) anti-tank
rocket. Damned cats had started wearing armor. (Or, rather, the
lord of the castle had started stuffing them into armor. The
cats were ordinary cats, and were very confused by this.)
The same wizard also assaulted the castle with a field of
animated wheat.
Look, I'm fine with a character bouncing back after having two
feet of wood and steel jammed through his chest. Animated wheat?
Not a problem, seen it before. Heat-seeking exploding mice?
Unusual, but perfectly within the bounds of believability.
But jamming a cat into a suit of armor and expecting it to do
anything but sit there and wail? Not a chance. Ever try putting
booties on a cat? Or even a hat? Kitty don't stand for that
nonsense. A bulky cat-shaped hunk of plate-mail? The cat's gonna
just sit there until you come to your senses. Expecting anything
else is... well, there's fantasy and there's unacceptable
nonsense, and this falls squarely in the latter ;-)
I hope you'll believe me when I say that, while you are entirely
correct, that was one of hte least bizarre things about that
campaign world. I fought a war with 6' tall mushrooms once. Nearly
lost, too.
Those are in A4, old hat. ;)

My M-U did make a lot of unique magic items. He had a cadre of crystal
golems who had the powers of the different colors of a prismatic sphere,
a helmet and a robe made out of a beholder and wands that could do the
beholder rays.

Oh I think I remember one of the spells he made - it was a lightning &
thunder bolt - like lightning bolt, but higher level and deafening too.

One of my players high level cleric/wizard got turned into a Lich by
misswording a wish from an evil AI god who had it out for the PCs... and
nearly everyone else. He got better. One time a cambion with a vorpal
sword followed him through a teleport attempted to behead him from
behind while he was surprised, and roll a 1... and then another 1,
beheaded himself, leaving a perfectly good vorpal sword lying there, of
which he or anyone else never used as they didn't want a repeat
performance. Then he got turned into an intelligent sword for several
sessions. He got better.

I did make a couple NPC themed wizards with unique spells, the Pea-Soup
Wizard and the Sand Witch. I'm sure I posted their spells here several
times already.

- Justisaur
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-10-20 21:34:22 UTC
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Post by Justisaur
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
On Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:58:09 -0700, Gutless Umbrella Carrying
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
On 10/13/2017 9:05 AM, Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
I wouldn't ordinarily describe Tom as such, either. Usually,
he plays Tom Characters. On paper, they look like above
avergae, if not really exceptional, fighter types. In a
fight, though, they always do better than you'd expect, and
are virtually impossible to kill. Not because of any special
abilities, or extraordinarly skills, or GM favors, or
cheating. It just works out that way, while we all watch the
dice rolls. He had a portcullis fall on one character, and
close all the way through his chest once, but it wasn't
*quite* enough to kill him. As the saying goes, "Toms
*always* come back."
I once took a 20th level wizard out of play for a couple of
months to research a magic item that amounted to a disposable
mouse sized (because it was for intelligent mice) anti-tank
rocket. Damned cats had started wearing armor. (Or, rather,
the lord of the castle had started stuffing them into armor.
The cats were ordinary cats, and were very confused by this.)
The same wizard also assaulted the castle with a field of
animated wheat.
Look, I'm fine with a character bouncing back after having two
feet of wood and steel jammed through his chest. Animated
wheat? Not a problem, seen it before. Heat-seeking exploding
mice? Unusual, but perfectly within the bounds of
believability.
But jamming a cat into a suit of armor and expecting it to do
anything but sit there and wail? Not a chance. Ever try
putting booties on a cat? Or even a hat? Kitty don't stand for
that nonsense. A bulky cat-shaped hunk of plate-mail? The
cat's gonna just sit there until you come to your senses.
Expecting anything else is... well, there's fantasy and
there's unacceptable nonsense, and this falls squarely in the
latter ;-)
I hope you'll believe me when I say that, while you are
entirely correct, that was one of hte least bizarre things
about that campaign world. I fought a war with 6' tall
mushrooms once. Nearly lost, too.
Those are in A4, old hat. ;)
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not where the gamemaster got these
from. In fact, it all started when a PC Druid started
"accidentally" leaving bags of magical fertilizer along the route I
was building a road. The gamemaster was a sadist.
Post by Justisaur
One of my players high level cleric/wizard got turned into a
Lich by misswording a wish from an evil AI god who had it out
for the PCs...
We had a PC, who was a demon, turned into a tree by the same Druid.
Who then started worshipping said tree, and doing plant growth, and
various protective spells. He got better, eventually, but it took
quite a while.
Post by Justisaur
I did make a couple NPC themed wizards with unique spells, the
Pea-Soup Wizard and the Sand Witch. I'm sure I posted their
spells here several times already.
The Metal To Water spell, I'm pretty sure, came from a published
adventure. Still, it was interesting, when the Druid got hold of
enough +10 swords (yeah, it was one of *those* games) to make a
gate for his castle (yeah, a Druid with a castl, one of *those*
games), and somebody turned it into a +10 mithril moat. The moat
monsters were cranky after that, so he left it that way. The Metal
to Rubber spell, I have no idea where it came from, but when the
Druid (who *hated* his castle's villagers) appointed an iron golem
as mayor, it wasn't long before it was turned into a rubber golem.
Given that it was still immune to normal weapons, attacking it with
a sword tended to end up with the sword rebounding on the attacker
for full damage.

"If you hit me, and I find out about it, you're going to be in big
trouble."
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
JimP
2017-10-21 00:37:32 UTC
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Post by Justisaur
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
one
player wanted to use flying penises;
there's one in every crowd.
What spell mods have you or your players used?
I recall a Fantasy Hero character that had a detect magic spell that
was zero range, and the sense that it fed into was taste. He had to
lick things to see if they were magical.
Haha!
I never had very ingenious players of wizards I guess. I've had M-Us
use the suggested magic missile that looks like flaming green skulls
that was either in 2e or 3e. My first M-U as a player I made some of my
own spells, though I, for the life of me can't remember what they were.
I've lately been tempted to toss all the spells and just start over
making wizards create all their own spells.
- Justisaur
One of my players misdid a Wish and wound up one of those wind up toys
that hit a wall, back up, and try a different direction... for
Asmodious.

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