Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Coming up for Air

Well, finals week is about half-way done, which is nice, but I've got three finals left, so not a lot of time to be blogging. I need a short break, though, after rescheduling a final I missed, and this has been on my mind.

I recently bought Tales of the Dying Earth, a compilation of Jack Vance' four Dying Earth novels, and have been reading it in snatches between studying and flying around the country to see friends and family graduate. I don't have a lot of familiarity with Appendix N material- I've only read a handful of Howard, Lieber and Lovecraft stories- but I'm shocked by how good and enjoyable Vance is.

One thing, though: standard DnD spell names must go. This "Invisibility" nonsense? Yeah, that's "Phandaal's Mantle of Stealth" now. "Water Breathing?" No, it's "The Charm of Untiring Nourishment." So, yeah, after I'm done with my work on a Thief/Rogue/Trickster class, we'll have to see about working with spell lists.

Also, why have I never seen Phandaal's Gyrator on any spell lists before?! It's a levitation spell where the target can be levitated quite a ways by the caster, but can also be spun around and around by the caster at will… "faster and faster until there was only a blur. A strangled wail came and presently the Deodand's frame parted. The head shot like a bullet far down the glade; arms, legs, viscera flew in all directions." That's a spell that I want in my DnD, both because it's creative and novel and because it's the kind of spell that encourages creativity in players. And no, I won't be just flat out telling any players that get this spell that it can be used to kill people; I'll just sit back and watch them find their own uses for it. I seriously doubt they'll be as violent with it as Mazirian the Magician was, which is totally fine by me.

Which reminds me: Mazirian the Magician. Liane the Wayfarer. Chun the Unavoidable. Prince Kandive the Golden. Valderan the Just. So cool! Characters should have such titles. I'm conflicted about whether I should encourage players to give these kinds of titles to their characters during chargen or if they should be earned… thoughts?


  1. Names like those are awesome! They definitely need to be earned in game, though, preferably bestowed by a powerful and influential NPC, and declared before an impressively large crowd.

  2. I love the added flavor your spell names provide. :)

  3. I agree that titles should be earned in-game. Titles should also be positive or negative if appropriate, e.g. "Bjorn the Beardless," "Hrun the Hairy," "Kawn the Confused," etc.