Jeff's Top 5 D&D Spells


What little tyke doesn’t dream of having their remote cabin door smashed down by a savage and frightening half-giant only to have “Yer a wizard “arry” gruffed at them sharply? (Still waiting here btw bruh). Though regrettably, many of us will not be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year, the good news is that there does indeed exist an alternative means of flexing our collective magical prowess. In a game we rarely reference on this blog,  D&D offers  an opportunity, for those inquisitive and powerful enough, to master the mountains of ancient scrolls guarding access to the secrets of only the most powerful realms of magic - the wielders of which influence the course of the world down to their very whims.
One of the cool things JADE has noticed during the course of our adventures is that within almost every context arising in an RPG, there is potential for the use of magic for those clever enough to see it’s application. In this way, magic in D&D can almost act as a thoroughfare through which various social or combat interactions can play out in game - oftentimes offering solutions to drive the situation forward in a way that’s intriguing- and equally engaging. This becomes especially true when you look at the sheer volume  of Bardic spells that cause both social disruption and manipulation.
Now in compiling a list of what we consider to be D&D’s most powerful magics, JADE took a couple of things into account: Chiefly among them, is the spell’s ability to have a major impact on a given situation’s outcome in a way that is sly- while not being too cliché or straddling the line of deus ex machina (*cough* Timeslip *cough*) Thusly, most of the spells in our little wizard’s compendium here can only be learned at higher levels in game -which makes sense as the more powerful the caster gets, the more effectual and interesting their magical arsenal becomes. For every spell listed below, we’ve also included an honorable mention of another powerful spell that almost made the cut in it’s stead. So get crackin' on leveling your magic user up because ladies and gentlemen, variety is the spice of life. Here is what I consider to be the most powerful RPG magic:

Glibness

Transmutation
Level: 8
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: Self
Components: V
Duration: 1 hour 
Ah Glibness: The cheeky little ditty that lets you replace any charisma roll with a 15, and prevents truth-detecting magic from catching you in your shady, twisted lies NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY. So get ready to flaunt your tales of heroically making that hydra your bitch and absolutely not curling in the fetal position making noises akin to a dolphin being strangled. Just think of the beautiful house of cards you’ll be able to gracefully construct as you elegantly stack your lies atop each other to win friends and influence people. You glib little weasel you.
For those wishing to be an aficionado of the social arts, this spell is a powerful ally to help you weave seamlessly through the political stratas of society – very possibly even finding yourself in some Regal bedchambers if it tickles your fancy. Remember, not every escalation in D & D must end in combat, for to a powerful sorcerer, people are your playthings and the world is your oyster. To quote the Infamous Hercule D’Cyrano De Bergerac from JADE’s Elementia Campaign when asked what he could provide that a crime boss doesn’t already have loads of: “Bravado”.
Honourable Mention: Reverse Gravity. “If every creature not anchored to the floor falls upward into the sky, does that mean they fall into heaven?”


Maddening Darkness

Evocation
Level: 8
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 150 feet
Components: V, M (a drop of pitch mixed with a drop of mercury)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
Even just the name of this one offers potent promises of torment for thine enemies. Maddening darkness encompasses a 60 foot radius, preventing creatures even with darkvision from seeing anything. To top it off, Shrieks, gibbering, and mad laughter can be heard within the sphere, prompting every creature caught inside to make a wisdom saving throw: They take 8d8 psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much on a successful one. Now tickle us masochistic, but what better way to slaughter one’s foes than making their minds slowly implode into their own most terrifying depths.
If you must kill someone in game, surely it’s best to eradicate their very souls into the depraved blackhole that is loss and despair as well? That’s what we thought too. 😉 To picture a dark-hooded sorcerer in the shadows of an alley quietly watching a royal brutally screaming and clutching their head in the middle of the street creates an atmosphere of great danger that is utterly intriguing to say the least.
Honourable mention: Scrying. “While seeing or hearing through the eyes/ears of another creature is fun and invasively useful, it just doesn’t have enough maddening darkness for our more refined tastes”


Wrath of Nature

Evocation
Level: 5
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute 
In our wizardly opinion, magic comprised of/integrated with the natural elements is some of the coolest- and deadliest- around. One visual yours truly always kept in mind when creating the magic of Elementia was of a hooded figure standing in the depths of a heavily wooded forest, slowly raising their hands overhead, and summoning monstrous vines from deep underground to squeeze the blood and breath right out of their victims: A very immersive visual. The good thing about this spell is it basically does exactly that! How truly convenient. Using whipping tree limbs (4 D6 slashing Damage), hurling rocks (3 D8 bludgeoning damage), or vines and grass that make it painfully impossible to move, nature will break you’re enemy down the way it was always intended to be.  Perhaps it’s merely the beauty in the simplicity of that, however we know from real life just how terrifyingly deadly the wrath of nature can be.  When you have the power to call out to the elemental spirits to rouse them against your enemies, it’s a definitive game changer.  
Honourable mention: Stinking Cloud “We’re pretty sure everyone knows someone who doesn’t even need to use magic to create one of these”


Weird

Illusion
Level: 9
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute 
Ok who wants to get a little freak-ay? Now you before you start bow chicka wow wowing distastefully, understand what you’re signing up for here. Weird be a spell which draws on the deepest fears of a group of creatures matey, that if they should fail a wisdom saving throw, they be engulfed by manifestations of their worst nightmares shelling out 4 D10 psychic damage a pop. Hot damn does that ever sound titillating. Now if you’re beginning to sense a slightly flagellant theme with our spell selections here, consider your keen eye applauded. It’s always been about breaking your enemies down not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. If you’re not personally haunting every dream and moment of waking life your foes walk in, well you’re quite frankly not doing it right. Imagine gaining status or influence by slowly poisoning the thoughts of a political adversary and watching them succumb to the torment of their worst fears. The ability to take a fragile mind and run it through an insane odyssey of darkened malice is a truly sinister tool that only the most skilled masters are able to wield. For it’s deep within the bizarre and eerie where one finds true resolve.
Honourable mention: Wish  “Wish is the mightiest spell a mortal creature can cast. By simply speaking aloud, you can alter the very foundations of reality in accord with your desires.” No doubt fun, extremely powerful, and meeting JADE’s criteria, but just way too Deus Ex. This ain’t Aladdin folks, and if it is, then I’ve been grossly, grossly misinformed.


Finger of Death

Necromancy
Level: 7
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous 
While also doubling as a favourite nickname for a Wet Willy, Finger of Death is a savage spell that devastates the afflicted into a state of hopeless slavery. The caster sends negative energy coursing through a creature they can see within range, causing it searing pain, and should it fail a constitution save, it takes 7d8 + 30 necrotic damage - or half as much on a successful one. The rub?
A humanoid killed by this spell rises at the start of your next turn as a zombie that is permanently under your command. Think creatively with this one and find yourself quickly rising to the top of a kingdom’s hierarchy. If you don’t feel like being a powerful assassin rubbing out all of the rivals of the local High Lord in exchange for gold and glory, simply assassinate them and have the King clipping your toenails and serving you sangria while you’re flanked by your adoring, albeit zombified posse. Still want to pull my finger?
Honourable mention: Shapechange - While no doubt incredible to be able to assume the shape and stats of any creature matching your challenge rating, go watch “The Master of Disguise” with Dana Carvey and see your newfound enthusiasm rapidly wane.



Still with us? Consider your access to the magical secrets of tabletop RPGs granted. For it is only courage that crafts the greatest of wizards, and Harry P would be the first cat in line to say it. Your commitment to broadening your magical arsenal will not go unrewarded as we leave you this final tip: Cantrips. These 0-levels spells that cost no action to use should be a staple of any magic-wielders toolkit. Get your Bard to throw down some vicious mockery to troll that troll into some deep psychological damage to see what we’re talking about. You see words are like bullets, and when they sting, it’s some really funny shit. See you at Hogwarts bitches.


Written by: Jeff Clive

Image Sources: 2nd Ed Players Handbook, and 3rd Ed Spell Compendium

Jeff's Top 5 D&D Spells Jeff's Top 5 D&D Spells Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 11/09/2018 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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