Monday, 7 May 2012

J is for Jump (And Other Useless Spells)

I'm not a big fan of the "edge case" spells in the D&D games.

Jump is the perfect example - sure, it's awfully handy to get a  +20 bonus to your Jump skill (the fact that it's a skill is also something I'll talk about at some point...), but exactly how often is it going to be a big deal? I have to spend a spell slot on this, when I could take Feather Fall, Tenser's Floating Disk, or Disguise Self? Never mind the more broken 1st-level spells (Sleep,  Colour Spray, and Ray of Enfeeblement, I'm looking at you). Gods, with Animate Rope, I could most likely get wherever it was I was wanting to get by Jumping, and still have more control and utility!

Another one I remembered off the top of my head was Fist of Stone (?) from the Spell Compendium. Your hand turns to stone. You gain a slam attack (pretty meh for a non-physical Wizard) and a bonus to breaking objects. How often is that going to be a big issue? Either blow the object apart with a Magic Missile/Fireball etc, or get the Fighter to do it. Kinda rubbish.

There's a bit of me that wants to rub these spells out, and replace them with a more "generic" spell, that gives a bonus to physical skill checks (say +10), which you can fluff any way you want. Means it will be more valuable, more flexible, and way cooler if the player gets to describe how the spell helps him to what he wants to do. Grants him a boost of momentum for Jumping, maybe a burst of eldritch speed for an Athletics test, etc.

It also compounds one of the problems with Wizards in 3.5 - what can the Fighter do? He needs to break something down, but isn't strong enough? Tough shit. Unless there's a handy Wizard about...

Fighters are self-made men. They don't need fancy magic to get shit done. Or they shouldn't, at any rate.

Mind you, there's a bit of me that wants to scrub the Wizard spell list and take a bash at making my own...

Maybe when I have time!

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