The Gassy Gnoll: Fireball, Fireball, Fireball!

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?

Most Interesting Man in the World - FireballWhat 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?

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4 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: Fireball, Fireball, Fireball!

  • John McCollum

    I preferred things like sleep and magic missile when I made my first wizard. When I got a little older I decided to choose more utility-oriented spells like unseen servant and remove curse (which I often played in reverse form to bestow a curse of my own devising). My group at the time already had a combat-oriented wizard, so I didn’t feel too bad choosing spells that would be more fun and functional outside of a melee. I found I actually enjoyed using the non-combat spells more because you could vary what you did with them, and it allowed me to be creative. My favorite example of this was when my group found itself having to fight a red dragon for the first time. We only had one fighter so all the magic users used their spells to try and enhance his combat ability. The “gift” I bestowed upon him was a curse that he would hate the dragon so much that he would fight the creature without ever considering retreat. Our DM ruled that the rage generated by this would give the fighter an attack bonus against the dragon kind of like when rangers or dwarves fight a race they really hate, and so it became a net advantage (at least for the group, if not ultimately the fighter).

    • Game Knight

      @John – I love the idea of a non-combat wizard. Obviously the “FIREBALL!!” approach is only one variety of spellcaster. In fact I’ve had multiple conversations with a friend of mine about just playing a wizard with buff spells. The idea of “cursing” another PC to get a combat advantage is brilliant in that way!!

  • If you’re talking old school (AD&D) spells: 1st level Magic Missile, 2nd level Invisibility, 3rd level Lightning Bolt, 4th level Ice Storm, 5th level Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound, 6th level Anti-Magic Shell, 7th level Delayed Blast Fireball, 8th level Permanency, 9th level Power Word, Kill . That was my must haves by level.

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