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 (3.0/3.5) - Useful but underrated/underused spells
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Cosmar
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2022 :  02:16:58  Show Profile Send Cosmar a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hi all,

I just want to pick your brains for what you think are some of the most interesting or useful spells available in 3.0/3.5 Forgotten Realms that are either underrated or underused (maybe due to obscure sources or weird mechanics). From a DM-use (NPC/enemy) perspective as well as player perspective.

To be fair, as a DM and a player, I know some spells are really annoying for DMs to adjudicate (polymorph, I'm looking at you) and should be used cautiously or sparingly.

Every wizard, cleric or druid guide has similar recommendations for most-useful spells (dimension door, solid fog, black tentacles, dispel magic, etc). But what I'm interested in are spells that don't typically appear on best-of lists, but are nevertheless powerful/useful/entertaining (while still being at least somewhat useful). Especially spells that do bad things to enemies but are more interesting than just simply causing HP damage.

One example I can think of is Ghorus Toth's Magnetism (from Unapproachable East). This might fall under the "annoying the DM because it's super complicated" category. I've never used it, so I'm not sure how it actually plays, but it *seems* super cool: you basically target a creature wearing or wielding metal items, and then any metal items or metal creatures in a 30-foot radius of the target are drawn to the target magnetically, potentially leading to metal-item-wielders or creatures being flung toward and clinging to the target, or metal items being released from the hands of their wielders and being flung toward the target, dealing damage.

Anyone else think of any cool underrated/underused 3.0/3.5 FR-available spells? (Regardless of casting class?)

Edited by - Cosmar on 26 Jun 2022 02:22:36

Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7650 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2022 :  03:48:19  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Bluesteel. A low level spell from Volo's Guide To All Things Magical (and from Thay, apparently).

It "restores" metal objects to new condition. Magically repairs all damage, tears, holes, nicks, dents, and rust. It will even fill in any missing, corroded, eroded chunks. And it makes the item more resistant to all sorts of wear and tear, blades hold their edges longer, armor gains a little more flexibility and strength. It even gives the metal an attractive iridescent blue sheen.

You'd think this spell (or a dozen variants and ripoffs of it) would quickly become very commonplace after its introduction. For weapons and armors. And for tools, cutlery, cookware, hinges, locks, fireplaces, nails, rails, knobs, light fixtures, weights, switches, furniture, mirrors, statuary, machinery, coinage, barrel hoops, chains, a thousand other things. Greedy Red Wizards be damned, their alleged control over this spell can't possibly prevent a world full of determined mages from researching it themselves.

Any smith or artisan would be interested in a simple (cheap) spell which makes his metal wares more durable and more attractive. But I imagine that dwarves and elves would be particularly interested in easily enhancing their precious mithril craftsmanship, high value items which are built to last (and which are often built to be exposed to the sorts of damages Bluesteel helps prevent).

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 26 Jun 2022 08:25:45
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Marc
Senior Scribe

639 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2022 :  19:29:44  Show Profile Send Marc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
only FR spells? can't think of any 3e that I like, crafting stuff like Commune with Earth, Shape Metal from Races of Faerun, or Trobriandís Glassee from Waterdeep



.
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Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4322 Posts

Posted - 26 Jun 2022 :  22:10:03  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cosmar

Anyone else think of any cool underrated/underused 3.0/3.5 FR-available spells? (Regardless of casting class?)



Ever heard of Rune-Bombs? It's quite simple, but doesn't really work exceptionally well until about 9th level (I'm sure there's feats to make it easier to do levels lower).

So, essentially what one does is cast the spell Explosive Runes on a piece of parchment. You do this over and over. If you're a Wizard, I'd recommend at least once a day or even twice if you can spare the slots. Funny thing about Explosive Runes is that there's absolutely no limit to how many "rune" you can put on a single item. So here's the steps:

Step 1: Make the Bomb. Say, for example, you put 10 Explosive Runes on a single piece of parchment. That's a 60d6 "bomb" as each rune deals 6d6 damage.

Step 2: Throw/Cast the Bomb. You'll need to prepare/know the cantrip Launch Item (Spell Compendium). This allows you to fling "One Fine item in your possession, weighing up to 10 lb. up to (100 ft. + 10 ft./level). So assuming a 9th level caster. That's 190-ft. In 3.5 you can either A) Target a monster or target an area. In the case of using a Rune Bomb, it's kind of obscure how the DM will gauge what you're trying to do. You're trying to "hit" the target with the piece of parchment but not attempting to penetrate it's armor. Some may call for a Ranged Touch attack (which is fine). If they want you to hit the target's AC, then instead just target the ground in front of them (AC 10).

Step 3: Detonate Bomb. Here's the fun part. You'll need to have the feat Quicken Spell and know the cantrip Amanuensis (Spell Compendium, pg. 9). Once you use your standard action to cast Launch Item at said target, you'll need to cast Amanuensis as a quickened spell. The spell specifically says this: "The spell triggers (but does not copy) writing-based magic traps in the material being copied." thus detonating the runes.

How this effects your target: Well the Explosive Runes spell says: "The runes detonate when read Or in this case, detonated, dealing 6d6 points of force damage. Anyone next to the runes (close enough to read them) takes the full damage with no saving throw; any other creature within 10 feet of the runes is entitled to a Reflex save for half damage. The object on which the runes were written also takes full damage (no saving throw)."

So a DM might say that because the object wasn't "read" the target is awarded a saving throw. Then they might say that they get a saving throw per Rune (so 10 different saving throws). Up to DM discretion.

My interpretation, the target of the spell gets no saving throw. Each target in a 10-ft area of the origin square gets 1 saving throw against the Rune Bomb (as it's an instantaneous effect). But DM's may vary. Regardless, 60d6 Force damage is quite...interesting.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

"If WotC were to put out a box of free money, people would still complain how it was folded."
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LordofBones
Master of Realmslore

1443 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2022 :  05:09:24  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Any wall spell. Watch as your Cha 6 wizard becomes the greatest trade mogul in the world. Alternatively, fabricate.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
11211 Posts

Posted - 27 Jun 2022 :  15:08:04  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

quote:
Originally posted by Cosmar

Anyone else think of any cool underrated/underused 3.0/3.5 FR-available spells? (Regardless of casting class?)



Ever heard of Rune-Bombs? It's quite simple, but doesn't really work exceptionally well until about 9th level (I'm sure there's feats to make it easier to do levels lower).

So, essentially what one does is cast the spell Explosive Runes on a piece of parchment. You do this over and over. If you're a Wizard, I'd recommend at least once a day or even twice if you can spare the slots. Funny thing about Explosive Runes is that there's absolutely no limit to how many "rune" you can put on a single item. So here's the steps:

Step 1: Make the Bomb. Say, for example, you put 10 Explosive Runes on a single piece of parchment. That's a 60d6 "bomb" as each rune deals 6d6 damage.

Step 2: Throw/Cast the Bomb. You'll need to prepare/know the cantrip Launch Item (Spell Compendium). This allows you to fling "One Fine item in your possession, weighing up to 10 lb. up to (100 ft. + 10 ft./level). So assuming a 9th level caster. That's 190-ft. In 3.5 you can either A) Target a monster or target an area. In the case of using a Rune Bomb, it's kind of obscure how the DM will gauge what you're trying to do. You're trying to "hit" the target with the piece of parchment but not attempting to penetrate it's armor. Some may call for a Ranged Touch attack (which is fine). If they want you to hit the target's AC, then instead just target the ground in front of them (AC 10).

Step 3: Detonate Bomb. Here's the fun part. You'll need to have the feat Quicken Spell and know the cantrip Amanuensis (Spell Compendium, pg. 9). Once you use your standard action to cast Launch Item at said target, you'll need to cast Amanuensis as a quickened spell. The spell specifically says this: "The spell triggers (but does not copy) writing-based magic traps in the material being copied." thus detonating the runes.

How this effects your target: Well the Explosive Runes spell says: "The runes detonate when read Or in this case, detonated, dealing 6d6 points of force damage. Anyone next to the runes (close enough to read them) takes the full damage with no saving throw; any other creature within 10 feet of the runes is entitled to a Reflex save for half damage. The object on which the runes were written also takes full damage (no saving throw)."

So a DM might say that because the object wasn't "read" the target is awarded a saving throw. Then they might say that they get a saving throw per Rune (so 10 different saving throws). Up to DM discretion.

My interpretation, the target of the spell gets no saving throw. Each target in a 10-ft area of the origin square gets 1 saving throw against the Rune Bomb (as it's an instantaneous effect). But DM's may vary. Regardless, 60d6 Force damage is quite...interesting.



Interesting take. I know glyphs in at least earlier editions couldn't be cast in the same spot though. As a DM, I wouldn't allow stacking on the same general area. That being said, that's me being a DM and stepping in to change rules as written. This is why I really am leery about a lot of the 5e changes to spells wherein they removed previous wording to simplify things... but at the same time I'm not playing as much as I used to, so....

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
234 Posts

Posted - 28 Jun 2022 :  04:04:17  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Pebble Wind. It makes it into 3.5E in Dragons of Fareun. It's a nice low level attack spell for a little damage. It's bludgeoning, so it's a nice break from the endless energy damage spells. I give it to non humanoid casters and druids too.

It's nice for mid level caster to do a bit of damage (maybe 20-40), plus you get the gust of wind effects like maybe moving creatures and putting out fires.

It's a nice spell to quicken or maximize too.

The 3.5E spell has the note that if the objects used are weak there is less damage....BUT it's missing the 2E note that says strong/hard objects increase the damage of the spell. Adding this back works great for a lair or base where the spellcaster sets up several 'hard' danger spots.

Even better, a spellcaster can set up even more. Contact poison is a nice touch. Even better is adding a waiting touch trigger spell or two on a pebble or two.
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Cosmar
Seeker

74 Posts

Posted - 05 Jul 2022 :  08:22:32  Show Profile Send Cosmar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ooh, I like those ideas for Pebble Wind! I saw the version in...somewhere. Not Dragons of Faerun but some other 3.5 book. And it looked a little underwhelming. The fact that it's simply bludgeoning damage is nice though, very few arcane spells just do straight up physical damage like that. I like the idea for setting it up for specific ground-cover things, like poisoned rocks.

@Diffan, I like that idea for rune bombs! I love creative uses for cantrips especially, and I never considered the offensive capabilities of Amanuensis. I feel like my current DM might balk at that combination though. I suspect he'd allow it but would probably limit the number of active glyphs on a page. (As a DM myself, if one of my players wanted to do that, I might allow it but would probably come up with deterrents of some kind if they tried to keep doing it, lol)

@LordofBones, that's a cool idea. I never really thought about using wall spells for monetary gain, but I supposed you could cut apart a wall of iron and sell it. Also, I can't remember which FR book it's in (maybe Magic of Faerun?), but there's a transmutation spell that allows you to alter certain kinds of mineral/rock into other kinds. That could be an interesting use for that too. (I haven't had a chance to try this, and not sure if it'd be kosher, but one idea I had for that would be altering a normal Wall of Stone to be faerzress-infused).

@ayrik, is Bluesteel spell a 3.X spell? If so I think that'd be really cool. It seems like the Blueshine weapon/armor enhancement comes from that, maybe?

Edited by - Cosmar on 05 Jul 2022 08:24:35
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