Strip 072 - "It's a very useful spell, that one"

16th Sep 2014, 12:00 AM in Forest of Doom
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dragonbrain 16th Sep 2014, 12:12 AM edit delete reply

Way to change the subject.
Story Time: while this is mainly a visual gag, has a GM/DM ever done something that has just left you dumbfounded?
Lynceus 16th Sep 2014, 3:19 AM edit delete reply

"Useful Useless Spell"
I really like Obscuring Mist, it usually finds it's way on my list of spells known/spells prepared at some point or another. The problem is, I rarely get to cast it because it annoys not only the GM, but all the other players!

I'll be all, "Oh man, we can't handle this, I'll cast obscuring mist to give us a breather/let us escape."

Response: "oh not that _ing mist again! We can't see in it, and we can't fight in it, it blocks line of sight for our spells, and it sucks!"

Me: "uh...yeah, that's kind of the point, it does that to the bad guys, too..."

Now on to storytime-

Once a friend of mine decided that, in his game, he would introduce a major recurring villain. I tried to warn him this is usually a bad idea, but he was convinced he could pull it off.

So, after being attacked by a mutant whatever on a train, and not only preventing it from hurting anyone, but also making sure it couldn't escape, this guy stands up who was watching the whole thing and starts clapping slowly.

Our Ranger immediately wanted to shoot him, but I calmed him down. The guy just smiled, waved, and beckoned us to follow him into his room on the train.

Once inside, he sat down and started eating his meal, explaining that we had two options- either come work for him as he thought we could be useful, or inevitably be destroyed for getting in his way.

While everyone at the table was yelling about killing him, the DM said the NPC was playing with his pudding.

The instant someone tried to attack the NPC, he vanished. Knowledge checks revealed that he'd made a magical glyph of teleportation with his...pudding.

This was intended as a display of the NPC's awesome intelligence, but it came off as patently ridiculous, so much so that, to this day, "the puddingmancer" has become a running joke in our group.
Raxon 16th Sep 2014, 4:32 AM edit delete reply
I love 'useless' spells.

I built Doctor Friggin Light as a character concept. Mostly focusing on spells that manifest as bright flashes of light and such. Dancing lights, flare, color spray, and ones that I can say manifest as bright lights. Blindness, blur, and symbol spells. Other spells included identify, and minor utility spells.

Turns out it's really not that broken.
Malroth 16th Sep 2014, 5:12 AM edit delete reply

I love combining Obscuring mist with Invisible spell on Illusionists, Blinds those that see invisibility and does nothing to everybody else.
Raxon 16th Sep 2014, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
I did a thing in a game where a wizard's apprentice went to a modern day Earth. He used his measly cantrips to make a hell of a lot of money in the paranormal.

He used dancing lights to fake aliens and ghosts. he could cause very minor injuries via acid splash and ray of frost. He used mage hand and ghost sound to 'haunt' places. He used message to whisper things in a slow, raspy voice to people at a distance, to make them think ghosts were haunting them.

He walked everywhere, with no umbrella when it rained. Yet he was always dry almost immediately after entering any building.

X Files games can be very interesting, especially when Fox Moulder is the only person investigation who thinks you're full of crap.

So, when Moulder writes to the office that this is all a waste of time, but five other agents make claims of paranormal occurrences, just imagine how that can dick with his credibility.

I'm not even joking. I was playing a person who, upon coming to Earth and learning of the existence of the X Files, decided to totally screw with them. I mean, he has no abilities that can be proven. And even the really cool ones can be brushed off as hoaxes. It all came to a head when he walks right up to Fox Moulder and told him, point blank, in front of all the others, that he has the ability to make lights appear. And then he uses flare, which is a bright light. Nobody is completely sure if he's legit, though Moulder is the first to point out that the dude is just dicking with them.

The best part? He gave Moulder, a parting gift. A flashlight that doesn't turn off. It was just a cheap plastic one, but he accepted it. They get outside, and the flashlight dies. Back in his hotel room, Moulder tries to change the batteries in the flashlight, but there were no batteries in it! Yeah, he cast Light on the bulb.

And, naturally, nobody believes poor Moulder. The epilogue had my dude being carted off by the X Files version of the MIB, until they came to the conclusion that he was useless to them, and more or less harmless. Mostly because he never showed his two extremely weak attack spells. He was labeled a person of interest, and they showed up at his door every now and then to check on him, make sure he's not using his powers for evil, etc.

When he told them he can detect poison, though, they were highly interested in that. Up until they had him test it, and he was detecting aspirin, benadryl, mustard gas, pepper spray, lead, and red number 40. He has an incredibly rare minor allergy to the food dye. He did mention that he can fight ghosts and zombies, but they didn't bother trying to test that.

All in all, mending was kinda neat. Arcane Mark was seen as potentially useful, but pretty much only for sensitive matters, and they didn't want to give this guy a security clearance. Mage hand, well... They were enamored with its potential, but after seeing that he is more a danger to himself than anyone else, they shrugged and moved on. (They asked him to demonstrate by levitating a base ball into his hand. He ended up with a concussion.) I very much enjoyed participating in the epilogue, with the guys laughing their heads off at my dude's incompetence.

They were initially very, very concerned about the ability to control any small object from a distance, but they took him to a test range, and it turns out that paintballs and bullets in flight are unaffected, so they don't have any cause for concern. After the baseball incident, they didn't bother trying to test him to see if he could levitate a knife or a gun into his hand.

Now that I think about it, maybe he should have told them that he can put out small fires with ray of frost. He could use it to cool drinks, put out small fires, and lower his room temperature. Displaying disgust at the mere mention of using it on a living thing, however, is a must! He's in a world where he doesn't have to fight anyone. That is a good thing.
Malroth 16th Sep 2014, 3:00 PM edit delete reply

Summon Instrument and Launch Bolt are both Extremely lethal cantrips especially since Launch Bolt can apply to any sized crossbow bolt including those designed for siege engines.
Debatra 19th Sep 2014, 5:03 PM edit delete reply

How exactly is Summon Instrument lethal? It's not like you can use it drop a grand piano on the BBEG's head.

Launch Bolt's description specifically says it flies "as if you had fired it from a light crossbow". There are no stated size limits, but just try to make the attack roll with those penalties.

That said, either use Reach Spell or the Archmage's Aecane Reach ability to get the spell's range away from touch, then use Chain Spell.
that one guy 16th Sep 2014, 10:14 AM edit delete reply

"obscuring mist"
sure it hinders your party, but thats why you cast faerie fire first!
Allan Mills 17th Nov 2014, 10:19 PM edit delete reply

It can hinder your party, unless you have one or more characters with some ability like blind sense or blind sight.
Disloyal Subject 19th Nov 2014, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Disloyal Subject
"Obscuring Mist"
My hobgoblin sorcerer-archmage started his empire by using Craft Wondrous Item to supply every raiding party of his clan with a Horn of Fog; larger coordinated groups would communicate via the Message cantrip. Bastard elves didn't know what hit 'em until it was too late; the clan's MO for small raiding parties became
1) Find hiding spots in and around a low point along a road or trail
2) Fill the area with fog
3) Either send in the rogues and wait for the screaming to start, then charge, or
3) Bury those damned elves under so many arrows they'd have concealment even without the mist

His early adventuring career culminated in arranging for the execution of the Wood Elves' xenophobic old leaders to end the worst of the racism between the races. Joining a Druidic circle helped him see that they weren't all assholes like the one who crippled his elder cousin's leg.
He kept using fog even into epic levels; obscuring visibility's his second-favorite intimidation tactic, right behind shock and awe. Coupled with the drow, they added up to evil Batman.
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