Thursday, June 14, 2012

DnD Spells: Gate

"Jagreen Lern has succeeded in making a sizable breach in the Law-constructed barrier which has hitherto kept the creatures of Chaos from wholly ruling our planet.  He is forever widening this breach as his power increases.  This explains how he could summon such a mighty assembly of Hell's nobility where, in the past, it was hard to bring even one of the Dukes of Hell to our plane."

-- Michael Moorcock, "Stormbringer"

Few of the DnD campaigns that I participated in ever reached the player character levels necessary to access ninth level magic-user spells.  One of those spells, Gate, permits the magic-user to open a gate to another plane and entreat a powerful entity to come to the caster's aid.

I've always wanted to include scrolls with spells like this, as treasure.  To have a powerful one-shot item that the players could use, in this case, to gate in a powerful entity, would be handy for those occasions where the party is overmatched and otherwise needs some deus-ex-machina intervention by the DM to survive.

The problem is that a lower-level magic user are more apt to write the spell into their spell-book (for use when they reach the necessary level) as keep the scroll as a one-use item, thus defeating the point of scrolls as one-shot magic items.


Brendan said...

Totally. The cleric in my current game has a scroll with a spell called "the flaming fist of god." No one knows exactly what it does, but they determined historically that a similarly described spell was used on the battlefield to take out siege weapons.

So now whenever they are in a dicey situation, they're like: should we break out the flaming fist of god or save it for later?

Regarding copying M-U spells into spell books, I have always assumed that they could not copy a spell until they could prepare it naturally. Thus, they could save it for when they would be able to use it multiple times, but there is always a temptation to use it at lower levels to get out of a tight spot.

biopunk said...

I'm a more a low/limited magic kind of DM, but I've never let any spell simply be copied from scroll to spellbook without the scroll being rendered unusable.

There was a heap of preparation time and cost that goes into scroll creation and there is no way players should be able to circumvent that.

See the section USE OF SCROLL SPELLS as to why, on page 128 of the AD&D DMG.

JB said...

No scroll copying in B/X. Of course, there's no Gate spell (well, unless you have a copy of the B/X Companion).

Just FYI.

; )