Clairification of Disputed things

Magic Missile

This is a nice low level spell that gains in strength as the character gains in level. This low level simple spell however has been the topic of several heated disputes, so I will lay out what it can and cannot do and why. First off three descriptions of this spell based on three editions of the game.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition

Magic Missile (Evocation)
Level: 1Components: V, S
Range: 6 yards + 1 yard per levelCasting Time: 1 Segment
Duration: specialSaving Throw: None
Area of Effect: One or more creatures in a 10 foot area

Explanation / Description: Use of the magic missile spell creates one or more magical missiles which dart fourth for the magic-user’s fingertip and unerringly strike their target. Each Missile does 2 to 5 hit points (4d+1) of damage. If the magic-user has multiple missile capability, he or she can have them strike a single target creature or several creatures, as desired. For each level of experience of the magic-user, the range of his or her magic missile extends one yard beyond the 6 yard base range. For every 2 levels of experience, the magic-user gains an additional missile, i.e. 2 at 3rd level, 3 at 5th level, 4 at 7th level, ect.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition

Magic Missile
Range60 yards + 10 yards per level
ComponentsV, S
Casting Time1
Area of EffectOne or more creatures in a 10 foot cube
Saving ThrowNone

Use of the magic missile spell creates up to five missiles of magical energy that dart fourth from the wizard’s fingertip and unerringly strike their target. This includes enemy creatures in a melee. The target creature must be seen or otherwise detected to be hit, however, so near-total concealment, such as that offered by arrow slits, can render the spell ineffective. Likewise, the caster must be able to identify the target. He cannot direct a magic missile to “strike the commander of the legion”, unless he can single out the commander from the rest of the soldiers. Specific parts of a creature cannot be singled out. Inanimate objects (locks, ect) cannot be damaged by the spell, and any attempt to do so wastes the missiles used to no effect. Against creatures, each missile does 1d4+1 points of damage.

For every two levels of experience, the wizard gains an additional missile – he has two at 3rd level, three at 5th level, four at 7th level up to a total of five missiles at 9th level. If the wizard has multiple missile capability, he can have them strike a single target or several creatures. As desired

Dungeons and Dragons 3.0

Magic Missile
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sor / Wiz 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 feet + 10 feet/level)
Targets: Up to five creatures, no two of which can be more than 15 feet apart
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

A missile of magical energy darts forth from your fingertip and strikes its target, dealing 1d4+1 points of force damage. The missile strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has less than total cover or total concealment. Specific parts of the creature can’t be singled out. Inanimate object are not damaged by the spell.

For every two caster levels beyond 1st, you gain an additional missile – two at 3rd level, three at 5th level , four at 7th level, and the maximum of five missiles at 9th level or higher. If you shoot multiple missiles, you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for spell resistance or roll damage

So what can the dispute be? Range? Number of missiles? Both of these are fairly straight forward depending on the edition played, except for first edition, which has a “outside” range of 6 yards and an underground range of 6 feet. That never made sense to me.

The main issue is with whom and what can the spell affect. The words of; “The target creature must be seen or otherwise detected to be hit” is really what all the arguing is about. Some believe that all a caster has to do is “detect” the target to use the spell, even though there is not a clear line of sight to the target. These people feel that the spell should go around objects, through keyholes, and follow someone through a maze. So long as the target is “detected”.

For me as a game master, it is the “concealment” part that disputes this. If a caster cannot cast the spell at a target standing behind an arrow slit, then it cannot go through a key hole. If being concealed prevents the spell, then the spell cannot be cast around corners.

So here is my ruling on this controversy:

Any target of a magic missile must be 1) living or have intelligence of 1+ and 2) continuously in the line of sight of the caster. Barriers that conceal the target at any point after the spell has been cast will negate the spell. ( a targets shield is considered part of the target). Using a mirror will not work, the spell is being cast at a reflection, which is an inanimate object, therefore the spell will fail. Using wizard’s eye cannot allow the spell to be cast around a corner; there is no line of sight between the wizard and the target.

So what about undead or golems? In this game world there are several variations of the spell that can be used and some are specifically made for undead creatures. Additionally, many undead retain their intelligence, therefore only undead that do not retain any intelligence will not be affected. Most golems will have at least a 1 intelligence or they would not be able to follow the creators instructions.

Wish and Limited Wish

It has been a long tradition for game masters to make casting wish spells nearly impossible. In Norm’s Worlds, let me set the record straight. Magic has no intelligence; the spell is cast in exact manner for which the caster describes.

An example, if the caster says “I wish I had a gold coin in my hand” then the spell could put a gold coin “in” the casters hand, or considering the size of the coin was not specified, the greed level of the character could have created a coin 10 feet in diameter weighing over a ton, that appears in the casters hand, and then falls over and crushes him. Now if the caster called the coin out by name such as “I wish for a number of silver talon coins to exactly fill this sack”, then less of a disastrous result would occur.

Wish spells can also be used to duplicate other spells, these can be cast instead of the spell and have the exact same effect. The user of the wish however, must know the spell or at least have read enough about the spell for it to be properly used.

Using a wish spell to return someone from the dead is possible, if the spell is used as a resurrection or raise dead spell, then the effects of those spells will remain. However, if the wish is not used to mimic one of those spells, there could be some unforeseen side effects or it might even piss off a deity or a deities underling, by having the soul pulled from their care, or torcher.

Hide in shadows and Hide in Plain Site

Many people define hiding as not being seen, in D&D hiding is not being noticed. Unlike in video games where characters can just diappear when standing in frount of someone, in the P&P version of the game that is not something that can be done with out magic. Instead, a character conceals or attempts to blend into his surroundings, using thier clothing and skills to duck and strink into a shodow.

In Norm's Worlds, hide in shadows and hide in plain sight are the ability to conceal oneself from another or a group of people. Therefore a thief can hide in a crowded room, nearly everyone in the room may notice the thief moving about, except the people he is hiding from. The thief uses other people and objects to shield him as he moves, however, the more people looking the less chance the thief has to be successful.

Hide in plain sight allows a character to conceal thier appearance allowing them to blend in with the crowd or not stand out enough to be noticed. It doesn't mean the thief, ranger or assassin became invisible. People see him, they just don't realize he the one they are looking for.