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The 20 Most Useless Spells? Only If You Lack Imagination.

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Wizard casting a spellSome people should not play a magic-user -- especially in an old school game where every spell you find in a scroll or spell book is a real treasure. A real treasure even if it is not a well known and most desirable spell. The author of 20 of the Most Useless Dungeons & Dragons Spells Ever is apparently one of those people who should stick to either playing a character class that does not need a lot of imagination to play or stay with newer versions of D&D where you generally get the good spells if you want them.

Sure, some of the spells on this list aren't ones most people would choose to take, but if they are the random spell you find on a scroll in an old school game, you're going to copy it into you spell book and expand your spell knowledge. All of the spells on the list would be useful in some circumstances and a few would be useful in many circumstances. For example, the author puts Hold Portal and Tenser’s Floating Disc on his list of the 20 most useless spells. Theses are two of the most useful low level spells in old school spell lists. With the exception of those two spells, none of these spells will ever been on a wizard's list of spells he'd most like to find. However, all the other spells on the list could be useful at times to a player willing and able to think outside of the box. Playing a spellcaster in old school D&D isn't a walk in the park and if the player can't think up good uses for the spells you find (instead of the spells you wish you had found), he's going to have a much harder time of it.

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ProfessorOats said...
August 18, 2015 at 3:28 AM  

Aw, I thought you were going to provide examples of how each spell could be useful. That would've been an interesting read (and better than simply saying to author lacked imagination). Still, thanks for the link. Don't forget, the OSR does this stuff too. I don't know how many times I've heard people complain about spells being perfectly reliable, despite a number of them having potentially disastrous results, and do so in a way I find much more satisfying than some roll for fizzing out or a critical failure

That site wants me to make an account to comment, which I'm not doing, so I'll just post my response here instead:

Does Depth Warning only work in the ocean? ‘Cause otherwise that’d be a great counter to the ol’ gently sloping hallway trick

Detect Undead would be great in that abandoned monastary from the DMG

Who hasn’t needed to hide a body every now-and-then? That’s how you avoid detection!

Waterbane sounds perfect for protecting scrolls and material components

porphyre77 said...
August 18, 2015 at 11:10 AM  

Also; useless if you disregard certain elements of the old school play . Like encumberance rules.
If you write that a backpack can conveniently replace the 5000cn-capacity Floating disk, you obviously dont play the encumberance rules.

JB said...
August 20, 2015 at 12:01 PM  

I agree with your sentiment but, like Professor Oats, I don't feel like writing a comment/rebuttal on the other guy's site. Just not worth the time.

However, I find it strange that the majority of those on the list are spells I've never heard of.

How could hold portal be deemed "useless?" Only if you've never been chased through a dungeon by a monster more dangerous than your party can handle. Guy must play a game consisting only of set-piece encounters.

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