spells for the after school class

Explanation: Tavis and I are running an after school Dungeons & Dragons program for some elementary school kids.  Most of our prep consists of wishing we’d done more prep while on the subway to class.  But I made up this list of spells for the Magic-User.

Every morning, Magic-Users can cast different spells! Roll the d12 a number of times equal to your level, and look on the chart for the spell matching that number. If you roll a spell once, you can only cast it one time a day. If you rolled a spell more than once, you can cast it that number of times per day. So, if you rolled Fire Ball twice, you could cast it twice in one day, but not three times.


Roll Spell What Does the Spell Do?
1 Animate Dead You create a number of zombies equal to your level, who obey your orders.
2 Anti-Magic Shell For 1 hour a shimmering aura around you blocks all magic, including yours.
3 Charm Person Unless the target resists with Will, he or she becomes your friend for 1 day.
4 Contact Weirdo Ask an angel, demon, or space alien several yes-or-no questions ( # = level ).
5 Disintegrate Point at a target. Unless it resists with Fortitude, it is destroyed completely.
6 Fire Ball Everyone within 20 feet of the target must roll Reflex or take 5d6 damage.
7 Haste For 1 fight, you and your friends move double-fast and attack twice a turn.
8 Hold Portal Magically seals a doorway, trapdoor, etc. For 10 minutes, no one can open it.
9 Locate Object Name an object: this spell will point you in the right direction to find it.
10 Phantasmal Force You create an illusion that lasts for 10 minutes. Enemies resist with Will.
11 Polymorph Self You can take the shape of any animal for up to 1 hour, but you cannot talk.
12 Wall of Ice Your breath becomes a huge icy surface – a wall, a bridge, a dome . . .


Magic-User Research

Each time you gain a level, you can spend one thousand gold coins to research a new spell! The spell can be anything you want. This new spell takes the place of another one on the list. You can choose what spell it replaces. (Example: I don’t like Hold Portal, so my new spell replaces it.) If you don’t have one thousand gold coins, you’ll have to find more treasure or persuade people to fund your work.

Here are ideas for research. Ancient books mention these spells, but I don’t know what they do!

  • Turn to Slime
  • Perfume of Trickery
  • Zolobachai’s All-Powerful Laxative
  • Contagious Dancing
  • Maldoor’s Lesser Apocalypse
  • Hazart’s Infinite Sandwich
  • Speak with Ghost Sharks
  • Levitate Head
  • Turn Light to Amber
  • Summon Monkey Butler
  • Xindi’s Cupcake of Insanity

Commentary: random selection isn’t just done for its own sake, but rather to force the children (especially little boys fixated on killing things) to think laterally.  The best part of playing a Magic-User in a “real” game is the Eureka! moment when you figure a great use for a seemingly lame spell.  The kids, in particular, are in love with Wall of Ice.  At one point in Tavis’s game, they proposed using Wall of Ice to create an airtight bubble to survive an ICBM flight outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

7 Responses to “spells for the after school class”

  1. 1 Gratuitous Saxon violence
    March 19, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I kind of like the random spell idea. Not sure how to justify it in game. Maybe for clerics (of Chaos gods?).

    But I LOVE those spell names. Consider them stolen. You no longer have rights to them!

  2. 2 Blair Algol
    March 19, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Those are some good Encounter Critical Warlock spells on that d12 table!

  3. March 19, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Awesome. I think spells for adults should all be as clearly and succinctly described. That kind of clear simplicity is what I constantly strive for. You guys are doing great things.

  4. March 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Summon Monkey Butler: The nearest butler will bring you the closest monkey and then return to his duties.

  5. March 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Also, what if you name “A Burstinigian Gorphlumbrex” (or something else that doesn’t exist), for locate object? Would one be placed in the world?

  6. March 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    C’Nor wrote, “what if you name “A Burstinigian Gorphlumbrex” (or something else that doesn’t exist), for locate object? Would one be placed in the world?

    I presume so. The great thing about that type of request, is that EITHER you can play it as a complete surprise to yourself as the guy running the game, BUT ALSO there’s so many ways you can mess with the kids.

    “The Burstinigian Gorphlumbrex snarls at you and breathes fire at you!”

    “WHAAAA?!? That’s not what we wanted, it’s supposed to be a huge strawberry pie decorated with gold and weapons!!!!”

    “But that’s not what you said. You’re thinking of a Burstinigian GorphlumBRAG. You should work on your accent.”

    Gratuitous Saxon Violence wrote, “I kind of like the random spell idea. Not sure how to justify it in game.

    We just siad, “Hey, this is how magic works. It’s really unpredictable.” And the little buggers just took our word for it.

  7. March 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

    What were you seeing for the BG? I’m thinking of some sort of pseudo-cockatrice with a bit of wolf thrown in now, but what was the thing you had in your head when you wrote “The Burstinigian Gorphlumbrex snarls at you and breathes fire at you!”?

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Past Adventures of the Mule

March 2011

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