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-   -   Least Useful Spells (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=164271)

MikMod 06-25-2019 02:48 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skarg (Post 2270758)
wizards who don't invest much in their staffs risk much less and so might tend to do more with using their staff for disposable purposes and schemes, compared to wizards with impressive and/or highly-charged staffs.

It would seem foolish for a wizard with a powerful staff to risk casting Staff to Snake on it.

But that also makes it less expected that such a wizard would fool around with such low-powered hijinks. (And less likely to be suspected and/or accused of having done so...)

This is all true, and very clever, but that's kinda my point - it's too 'clever' to be generally useful. There's no 'special circumstances' required to use illusion, and it's incredibly adaptable. That's just not the case with staff to snake.

The disposable staff is a terrible idea for several reasons. First you pretty much have to have a no mana or empty staff. Secondly, you are also very frequently turning staff-to snake into a 6 ST spell (since you're going to need a new staff a lot of the time) and especially for a beginning wizard you're removing the most useful item they can carry.

I cannot think of anything more practical for a wizard, especially a newbie, than a staff. It is the only thing you can hold which doesn't interfere with spell casting, you can use it to defend which is often your best combat option, and if you swing it as a two handed club it requires no talent, does more damage than a staff zap and costs no strength*! It's a no brainer. And this spell makes it disappear! :(


* the club attack can also get facing bonuses, which it's not clear the occult zap gets...

Chris Rice 06-25-2019 03:29 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Why not just change the wording to....

When the spell ends or the snake is killed, the staff immediately returns, undamaged, to the Wizard's hand."

MikMod 06-25-2019 05:51 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Rice (Post 2270808)
Why not just change the wording to....

When the spell ends or the snake is killed, the staff immediately returns, undamaged, to the Wizard's hand."

(1) This doesn't help with any of the issues outlined above. (Edit: apart from the 6 ST cost)

(2) I thought this was Least Useful Spells - not How To Modify Spells To Make Them More Useful ;)

Chris Rice 06-25-2019 06:12 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MikMod (Post 2270820)
(1) This doesn't help with any of the issues outlined above. (Edit: apart from the 6 ST cost)

(2) I thought this was Least Useful Spells - not How To Modify Spells To Make Them More Useful ;)

😂😂😂

The main problem, as I see it, is the risk to the Wizard's Staff. This is especially so now that Wizards can have powerful Mana Staffs. So my solution is specifically to address that problem.

None of my Wizards ever used the spell, but with the risk to the staff addressed, I can see it might get some use.

nemomeme 06-25-2019 11:03 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2270787)
Someone over on Dragon Magazine back then even came up with some clever uses of "Purify Food" that changed everyone's opinion on that one as well!

I was in a game just last month where the cleric used Purify Food & Water to neutralize a poison gas trap preventing a TPK.

Skarg 06-25-2019 11:20 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Staff to Snake is not obviously powerful and even looks to many like a bad idea, and I think that's actually a good thing, because otherwise all wizards would be staff-to-snaking all the time, which I wouldn't like much (but if someone does, modding the spell could arrange that).

I think it is true that it's not a great spell to use in the most obvious way - you can't go "Muahaha! now my staff is a SNAKE and you will die!" - but it's just a 1 ST spell so I think that shouldn't work that way.

Apart from clever tricks, though, I think it actually could work out well in low-level arena combat and/or for low-level adventurers. 1 ST is a bargain, letting you cast other spells, and it gives you a real combatant - I'd much rather have a ST 6 -3 DX-to-hit snake than have my wizard himself get engaged and try to fight with a staff rather than being able to avoid that happening and have time to cast other spells etc.

Shostak 06-25-2019 12:52 PM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
IQ 12
Staff to Venomous Snake.
Turns the wizard's staff into a serpent, as per Staff to Snake, except that anyone taking any damage from its bite must make a 4-die saving roll against ST or suffer 1d venom damage. Costs 3 to cast. Prerequisites: Staff, Staff to Snake.

Axly Suregrip 06-26-2019 12:40 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skarg (Post 2270855)
Staff to Snake ... 1 ST is a bargain, letting you cast other spells.

Skarg, I think you made a good case for this spell. To have a summoned creature that can engage foes at the cost of 1 ST with no continuing cost is a bargain.

The downside is the cost is not just 1 ST. It is also the loss of use of the staff.
Even if it is not broken, you are now empty handed. If you are just going to be defending, then your silver dagger will be enough. Or maybe carry a club in addition to your staff and silver dagger.

---

This is a great conversation as it is uncovering better ways of using spells. So, anyone else have a spell they hate?

JLV 06-26-2019 11:25 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip (Post 2270949)
Skarg, I think you made a good case for this spell. To have a summoned creature that can engage foes at the cost of 1 ST with no continuing cost is a bargain.

The downside is the cost is not just 1 ST. It is also the loss of use of the staff.
Even if it is not broken, you are now empty handed. If you are just going to be defending, then your silver dagger will be enough. Or maybe carry a club in addition to your staff and silver dagger.

---

This is a great conversation as it is uncovering better ways of using spells. So, anyone else have a spell they hate?

This one actually saw use when the Wizard got separated from his staff (I don't remember exactly how he managed to do that, though -- maybe they were surprised in camp and he was doing something else and had left his staff propped against a tree or something?). He immediately cast Staff to Snake and suddenly the attackers were confronted with a deadly snake coming at them from some direction where there were no enemies at all!

Skarg 06-26-2019 11:36 AM

Re: Least Useful Spells
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip (Post 2270949)
The downside is the cost is not just 1 ST. It is also the loss of use of the staff.
Even if it is not broken, you are now empty handed. If you are just going to be defending, then your silver dagger will be enough. Or maybe carry a club in addition to your staff and silver dagger.

It is a trade-off, but it seems to me that using a staff to defend or hit things should for most wizards be a last resort, and considering not having a staff to do those things with a big problem seems to me more like an indication the wizard might be wise to put more attention into avoiding getting into such a situation, than it is a case of "oh no, I can't hit things and defend with my staff" - because the situation where you need to do things, should for most wizards be an "oh no! must avoid!" whether they have a staff or not.


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