Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Mt. Rushmore of D&D Spells

I'm kicking off a mini-series today, a short lived theme called Mt. Rushmore.

"Mt. Rushmore", in this blog's context, means the four most iconic or important items from a particular D&D topic. Today's topic is Spells, future topics will be Magic Items and Monsters.

What would your Mt. Rushmore of D&D Spells look like? You're only allowed four and for this exercise make the list without consulting any D&D books. After making your list, proceed to comments to see mine.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Sham aka Dave said...

Here's my Mt. Rushmore of D&D Spells: Charm, Fireball, Magic Missile, Sleep.

Also considered: Cure Light Wounds, Raise Dead, Power Word: Kill, Knock, Invisibility, Disintegrate, Lightning Bolt, Dispel Magic.

JB said...

Oh, that is too hard about 4 cleric spells and 4 magic-user spells?

If I HAVE to limit myself, I'll go with: sleep, charm, fireball, and cure light wounds.

My thinking is that if I was limiting characters in a D&D game to only 4 spells, these would be the ones that would provide the most utility and can't really be met by other means (for example, a thief can pick locks and hide, negating the need for knock and invisibility).

However, if potions of healing were readily available (say from an alchemist retainer), I'd consider changing the one cleric spell to remove curse.

Reese Laundry said...

I'd have to vote for Magic Missile, Sleep, Fireball, Cure Light Wounds

Christopher B said...

Magic Missile, Sleep, Light, and Read Magic (You said "important," right? M-U's kinda need Read Magic - in B/X, at least - to be able to read anything other than their own spellbooks...)

Santiago OrĂ­a said...

Magic Missile, Dispel Magic, Fireball, Cure Light Wounds

Timeshadows said...

Sleep, Magic Missile, Fireball, Wish.

Norman J. Harman Jr. said...

Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, and oh, I think I have to go with Fireball.

But, your list is good too.

Anonymous said...

Hah, mine were also Sleep, Charm Person, Magic Missile and Fireball. It must be a B/X thing.


Zzarchov said...

Magic Missile
Mordenkainen's Faithful Watchdog

Natalie said...

Sleep, Fireball, Magic Missile, and Wish over here. But Charm and Cure Light Wounds are definitely up there.

A very interesting set of responses, this is.

cr0m said...

Sleep, Magic Missile, Tenser's Floating Disc, Magic Mouth!

Sleep because it's the uber-spell at 1st level.

Magic Missile because it's magic missile!

Tenser's Floating Disc because nothing else says "this is a game about treasure hunting" like a spell for carrying treasure.

And magic mouth because of that illo. in the PHB. It's just plain trippy.

Will Douglas said...

I'm almost with you guys.

My list was Sleep, Magic Missile, Fireball, Metero Swarm.

I was thinking iconic, as opposed to most used (or even most useful).

verification word: vospo

Anonymous said...

Mine was Sleep, Protection From Evil, Cure Light Wounds, and Light.

Great idea, btw.


Chris Kutalik said...

No love for the 2nd level? Just to swim against the current, I'm going to have to give it up for Knock and Web.

Bard said...

Cure Light Wounds, Fireball, Lightning Ball, Wish :-)

Sham aka Dave said...

Great picks. Top Spells so far: Fireball, Sleep, Magic Missile.

I didn't want to differentiate between what I meant by iconic/important too much. There's no need to explain why, it is your list.

I can't believe I forgot Wish, but I don't know if it would have bumped Charm Person anyway, for me that is. I did consider Meteor Swarm, even though I didn't write it out. Both are great examples of iconic D&D Spells.

It was very hard for me to leave Cure Light Wounds and Dispel Magic from my list.

Alan said...

Going back to the first time I ever played D&D (Moldvay Basic Set), these arcane spells made the largest impression on me:

Web, Magic Missile, Fireball, and Lightning Bolt

Kevin Mac said...

I'd vote for the types of spells that would help against lonely nights stuck alone on a desert island: Magic Mouth, Summon Animals, Find Familiar...

Just don't ask what I'd start doing with those animals or Magic Mouths once I hit the 6-month mark. I'm only human.

The Pretentious Fool said...

Fireball, Magic Missile, Sleep, Hold Person

Sham aka Dave said...

Web and Hold Person are certainly spells I should have considered. Both are very good picks.

Brunomac, a Man from the Age when Men were Men and Sheep were afraid. Don't forget Stone to Flesh on those lonely nights.

tussock said...

Sleep, Hold Person, Fireball, Wish.

Hold Person: one level higher, less targets, allows a save, and still worth a mention alongside Sleep. Hehe.

Never did use Magic Missile much.

Big McStrongmuscle said...

Some love for the other AD&D spellcasters:

Magic-Users: Sleep, Continual Light, *Fireball*, Wish

Clerics: Gate, *Raise Dead*, Heal, Spiritual Hammer

Druids: Animal Friendship, *Entangle*, Goodberry, Plant Growth

Illusionists: *Phantasmal Forces*, Phantasmal Killer, Shadow Conjuration, Shadow Walk

Robo said...

Cure Light Wounds, Magic Missile, Fireball, Lightning Bolt

Sham aka Dave said...

Tussock: Good point about Hold Person. Sleep is extremely good at 1st Level.

I think Magic Missile becomes the default 1st Level min-max spell once high level M-Us begin to realize multiple missiles and Sleep loses its effectiveness.

Rob: I think picking four from all of the AD&D spell sets is a cool idea, but I have a hard time calling any Druid or Illusionist spells iconic or important. That's just me as my players rarely ever played either one of those classes.

Robo: I'm glad to see Lightning Bolt getting more attention. In my old high level AD&D campaign Lightning Bolt was more popular than Fireball (even though it might bounce back, it was easier to plan and control than Fireball).

Anonymous said...

Wish, Gate, Miracle, Time Stop

Sham aka Dave said...

I'm not familiar with Miracle, but the others were very important in my long running high level 1e campaigns. Time Stop in particular is a good pick.