Why do I feel like the Most Interesting Man in the World this week? (Thank you Dos Equis.) Might it be that I started playing a new wizard in 4e D&D last weekend and the first spell I selected was Fireball?
What is it about Fireball that makes it the “must have” spell in D&D? I’ve played a lot of D&D wizards over the years, but the goal of getting to 3rd level was always to achieve Fireball and possibly Lightning Bolt, with Ice Storm being a distant third.
Why is that however? I’ve caused more than a few disasters with the spell. Dumping it into a 10′x10′ room and watching all the gold and silver treasure melt to slag was one of my favorites. It’s not like you can tell the fire NOT to melt the treasure. But I felt compelled to end the battle right then and there, dumping a Fireball in the middle of a perfectly placed group of monsters. Sure, there might have been a PC or two in the blast radius, but they knew the risks!
Fireball and Magic Missile have always been my go-to spells for wizards. Even playing 1st edition Palladium Fantasy I think I used a version of Fireball frequently.
That said, I began playing with a true Controller the other night. He was tossing Hypnotize and other Charm-related spell effects all over, making our foes beat themselves up. And I have to say that was pretty cathartic. Sure, Fireball is a momentary blaze of glory, but it’s satisfying when your enemies are attacking and doing large amounts of damage to themselves and THEIR allies, while ignoring you entirely.
What are your favorite spells of D&D past, present, or future?
Recently I was introduced to the idea of a “DM Kill Board” where DMs or GMs could jot down the particulars surrounding the death of a PC. Level and class details are intermixed along with the circumstances of the death. And I can’t help but be a little weirded out by this trend.
When did it become an “Us vs. Them” approach? Regardless of whether the GM kills a PC/NPC or a PC/NPC kills a favorite monster/NPC in the game, is it really something to celebrate? Sure, some deaths are a bit “Darwin Awards” at times. And I can certainly see a player lamenting the death of a favorite PC or relating the details of a particularly cool battle. But a kill list for GMs?
Am I old fashioned in my tabletop role-playing? I feel like the gaming experience is shared and that having fun and telling a good story is paramount, no matter which side of the GM screen you’re on.
Now I’m not averse to some occasional PC on PC battles, with or without the presence of a GM. Some games are built around this like good old Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games. Some of the MechWarrior/BattleTech stuff lends itself to an arena environment. And any nearly any fantasy RPG can be used in a gladiatorial battle kind of mindset. But those should be the exceptions, not the rule.
These days games like The One Ring use the concept of party harmony to enhance the experience of shared storytelling. I would hope that tabletop RPG would move towards that ideal of common goals, not away from it…
Obviously not everyone plays that way. Does the “kill board” approach apply more towards a list of cautionary tales or idea fodder for some GMs? Or does it have a different purpose?
I really am curious. It’s not a mindset I’ve ever found myself in.
Looking for some setting ideas? Here’s one that came out of the blue the other day…
In the age of the Wild Gods, it is said that waves of chaotic raw energy and force of will rose and fell across the land. Whatever those beings felt at the time, whether joy or sorrow, love or . . . → Read More: Game Fodder: Time of the Wild Gods
It should come as no surprise to anybody that my mind is crowded with tidbits (some useful, most not) from all the parts of my life. Movie quotes compete with song snippets, which fight for dominance with the useless trivia department, strange analyses nobody needs, and the ever present random firing neuron. There are days . . . → Read More: The Gassy Gnoll: Gamer Mind as Strange Cesspool of Correlation
Earlier this year, I backed the Tavern Cards Kickstarter from Hannah Lipsky (Swordgleam of Chaotic Shiny fame). It funded back in mid-February 2013 and I just received my cards at the end of January 2014. I was excited about the project because it combined two things I really like – random generation and easy-to-use RPG tools. . . . → Read More: Cards Review: Tavern Cards Kickstarter