Saturday, July 14, 2012

DnD Spells: Massmorph


Messenger To Macbeth
As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.
MACBETH
Liar and slave!
Messenger
Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
MACBETH
If thou speak'st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive,
Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth,
I care not if thou dost for me as much.
I pull in resolution, and begin
To doubt the equivocation of the fiend
That lies like truth: 'Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane:' and now a wood
Comes toward Dunsinane. Arm, arm, and out!
If this which he avouches does appear,
There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.
I gin to be aweary of the sun,
And wish the estate o' the world were now undone.
Ring the alarum-bell! Blow, wind! come, wrack!
At least we'll die with harness on our back.

While Shakespeare's march of Birnam Wood was an effective, if mundane, ruse, Gygax and Company give us the magical alternative:  Massmorph. 


This is yet another of the many utlility and miscellaneous spells that provide early versions of Dungeons and Dragons with their richness and depth. 

While my preference leans towards the player-created or organically-introduced spells, the existence of Massmorph and other non-combat spells within the DnD lexicon is welcomed. 

And it doesn't hurt that the apparent inspiration for this spell is found within the works of one of the greatest playwrights of western civilization.

2 comments:

Vincent Diakuw said...

Great nugget. The last time I ran an AD&D campaign was the same year we did Macbeth in High School, but I never put them together. Cheers!

yellowdingo said...

I would have gone with Animate Wood...a spell causing a grove of 1 tree per spellcaster level to animate and move at the will of the caster and made it a first level spell.