A New Look at Infrequently Used Spells -- Transmutation Spells
Did you ever notice just how many spells are in the Player's Handbook? Roughly a third of the book is dedicated to describing the hundreds of spells available for clerics, sorcerers, wizards, and other spellcasters. A couple of dozen spells, often blatantly offensive or defensive in nature, tend to fall into the "no-brainer" list for all but the most specialized of spellcasters, such as magic missile, fireball, mage armor, cure spells,and protection from energy (and for you power players out there, miracle and wish). Beyond this immediate list, however, are spells that may not always get the recognition that they deserve -- for both the player and the DM.
This series focuses on several spells that do not get frequent use in play, but are nonetheless interesting and effective when used in the proper manner. What's more, we'll be giving a nod to the DMs out there, hopefully inspiring them to use these spells as a way to keep the characters on their toes, or perhaps even start an entire campaign simply by the casting of one . . . little . . . spell.
Next we look at the transmutation school of the sorcerer and wizard spell list. A little change goes a long way, so perhaps adding these overlooked spells to your spellbook could make a positive impact on your game.
Because of the rather unusual circumstances that adventurers find themselves in, everyone in a party should carry rope. Animate rope is a great spell that makes that rope all the more useful. Despite the name, remember that animate rope works on almost all ropelike objects -- including cable and string. Here are some tips and tricks to get the most of this spell.
Animate Rope -- For the DM
Although it doesn't say it in the Player's Handbook, there's little reason why animate rope couldn't be combined with permanency. Perhaps an eccentric wizard does this on a fine piece of silk rope, carrying it around as some form of a "pet" that twists and curls on its own like a strange snake.
Fabricate is a remarkably useful 5th-level spell that lets you take raw material and transform it into something useful. Here are a few ideas to spur you into taking this spell and placing it in your spellbook:
Fabricate -- For the DM
Again, fabricate is a great spell to give some flavor to an NPC -- a sorcerer that specializes in making magic items, but crafts mundane items on the fly. Or, perhaps you create an evil wizard that casts fabricate using whatever material is available to make an enormous and unique "calling card" at the scene of each slaughter, such as his personal sigil or even a statue of his likeness!
When adventuring, some items are extremely handy to have, but unwieldy and impractical to lug about. Think about the number of times where having even a simple ladder could make a difficult situation child's play. Shrink item is the perfect solution.
Shrink Item -- For the DM
Here are some ways that you can use shrink item in your own campaign, either as adventure hooks or something for an NPC to use against the PCs:
About the Author
Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Monster Manual IV, and the Tome of Corruption from Green Ronin Publishing. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.
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