Adventuring at any level is a tricky business. Death is a constant companion and often the only thing separating a PC from its cold embrace are his wits and cunning.
Last week, I posted several inventive uses for low-level spells.This week, it seemed natural to examine some mid-level spells.
Stone Shape: This seemingly innocuous spell has so many uses an inventive player can get some serious mileage out of it. (Note, however, because this spell has so many uses, it’s more open to GM adjudication than most.) Your GM might not be happy with some of these tactics:
- Fly above a foe and stone shape a block out of the ceiling. The block plummets to the ground, squishing whatever stands beneath. (In 2nd edition, I killed a red dragon using this technique!)
- Create a pit full of dust by casting stone shape on the floor. Characters falling into the pit may suffocate before managing to climb out. (At the very least, they will be vulnerable to attacks of opportunity as they struggle to escape). For extra, bonus points cast it directly below a foe.
- If your foes must climb up (or down) stairs to reach you, use stone shape to turn it into a slide when they are halfway down. They’ll likely slip and fall, landing prone at the bottom of the slide.
Explosive Runes: This handy spell has several uses. Cast it on several scrolls and keep them about your person. You can do any of the following with the scrolls:
- Throw the scroll behind you to throw off (or blow up) pursuing enemies (assuming they can read and understand a dropped scroll might be valuable).
- Nail the affected scroll to the door of the room in which you are resting. Monsters are bound to look at the scroll before opening the door. The ensuing explosion should give you and your companions enough time to muster a defence before the scorched and singed monsters stagger through the door.
- If you encounter guards in the dungeon, loudly state you are on their master’s business and the scroll you carry gives you authority to act in his name. Offer to let them read it, if they don’t believe you…
Fire Trap: This defensive spell has similar applications to explosive runes:
- Cast fire trap on an escape pouch (preferably containing a couple of flasks of alchemist’s fire) and throw it behind you when you want to get away from a fight. Hopefully, a pursuer will stop to open it, and immolate itself.
- Use fire trap to defend your camp. Cast it on a door (in a dungeon) or tent flap (in the wild) and anyone not attuned to the trap passing through the portal will detonate it — giving you warning of their approach.
- Cast the spell on a small box, scroll case or pouch. Keep it safe, and use it as a “gift” if negotiations with a dungeon denizen are going badly. The resultant explosion will no doubt surprise and injure your foe. You might even get a surprise round!
Secure Shelter: At first glance, secure shelter does one thing only: it creates a comfortable cottage in which to rest. However, the spell has several combat applications that often go unnoticed:
- Casting secure shelter so it blocks a corridor gives you valuable time to run away. It can also block off one flank so you can focus on foes coming from another direction. (It can also be used as a strongpoint or fallback position). Note that due to the long casting time, this is best done before combat begins.
- Secure shelter creates a sturdy cottage, which with its arcane lock protected shuttered windows and door is hard to get into (or out of). This can make it an excellent — if temporary — prison.
- One of the problems adventurers often face is what to do with rescued prisoners. Leaving them in a secure shelter while the party continues its explorations is much better than leaving them huddled in some corridor or other unsafe locale.
Help Fellow Gamers
Do you have other inventive uses for mid-level spells? Share what they are in the comments below and help your fellow players survive where others would fall.