Friday, January 28, 2011

Fairy Tale Spell Names II

I posted previously on the fact that fairy tale titles sounded like Vancian spell names.  In the comments folks posted some fabulous interpretations of what those spells might do.  So I went back looking for more cool candidates.  I think I'd really picked my favorite titles for that previous post-- the most evocative and interesting.  But I found a few more candidates:
  • The Night of Four Times
  • Toads and Diamonds
  • How to Find Out a True Friend
  • What the Rose did to the Cypress
  • Grasp All, Lose All
  • Smoke Bones
  • I Know What I Have Learned
  • He Wins Who Waits
  • Well Done and Ill Paid
  • The Three Precepts
  • Diamond Cut Diamond
  • Money Can Do Everything
If your players find a scroll you could roll randomly to determine one of these and then ask them what they think the spell would do.

Another thing I noticed was a lot of these sound like Jackie-Chan-Drunken-Boxer-type kungfu moves how about these:
  • The Thief and His Master
  • The Peasant in Heaven
  • Baskets in a Little Cart
  • The Princess in the Iron Tower
  • The Sparrow with the Slit Tongue


  1. I really, really like this list of spell names. I know that I would be more excited about finding references in a game to spells with such evocative yet obscure meaning than I would for more straightforward spell names.

  2. Very cool. Now that Goblinoid Games has released the LL in plain text I'm very tempted to produce a little spell book with these sorts of names replacing the boring old "Magic missile" spell names. Maybe for the next campaign.

  3. If I didn't have a game in a few hours I'd write those up for Gigacrawler right now.

    As is, I'll probably play, work while listening to a bunch of stuff about Egypt, complain about it all night and completely forget about it.

  4. Diamond cut Diamond:

    Range: 100'/caster level

    Components: 1 Crystal

    Duration: 1 round/Instantaneous

    This spell will cause anything that happens to the crystal upon which it is cast to be transferred to all others of the same type in the area. The time in which these effects will be transferred is the first half of the duration; the effects are the second.

  5. The Night of Four Times

    Range: Touch
    Area of effect: 60ft radius sphere
    Duration: 4 rounds

    This spell advances in four stages, each lasting one round.
    1st round is dusk, which lowers the light levels of the area effected, giving all creatures in the area concealment.
    2nd round is midnight, functioning as a darkness spell covering the area of effect.
    3rd round is twilight, identical to dusk.
    4th round is sunrise. All creatures within line of sight of the area of effect must make a save vs spells or be blinded for 1d6 rounds, as a dazzling bright light baths the area of effect, dispelling any darkness spells that might be in effect within. All creatures within the area of effect do not get a save.

  6. Thanks folks!

    @shieldhaven and mikemonaco: Yeha it pushes back against the systemetization of magic, doesn't it. I used to love the spells with personal names in them in 1e too-- they evoked a lot of history and a sense you could make your own spells (thus my blog name).

    @Zak: I'm hopeful, when a government has to turn off the internet I think they've already lost. I'll add some of these to the gigacrawler page.

    @C'nor: like it. What if it affected any material the caster was holding? Cut a distant rope, doues a distant torch, etc.

    @Rubberduck: thanks, would be an eerie spell for an enemy caster.

  7. I posted this as a possible interpretation for Gigacrawler:

    The Three Precepts

    Caster chooses a precept of speech, of bearing, and of movement. These are rules that, as long as caster and companions follow them, must be followed by foes. Failure to follow a precept will cause a foe to become unable to act for an hour, while shamefully contemplating their failure. Example precepts: never threaten, never cover the head, never run.