View Full Version : Flashy spell effects?

2015-12-21, 12:37 PM
I always find it tempting to narrate cool and impressive spell effects for my spells that don't explicitly say what they look like when they are cast. Unfortunately making them look cool is usually worse than just having them be invisible.

Does anyone have any favorite custom spell visuals they use? Do any DMs out there reward their players for customizing their magic in this way?

My Fey pact warlock has a patron who uses a rose as his symbol, so my Hex takes the form of an encircling ring of dead rose vines. When I deal damage with Hex, the vines constrict and stab into their flesh and absorb their life force. As the fight progresses, they gradually become greener, form buds and eventually bloom.

2015-12-21, 12:58 PM
As a GM I love asking "What does it look like?" For spells. I LOVE that.

And good answers are always awesome. People can pick up extra XP at the end for really good Roleplay of that sort. (Usually a 10% boost.)

I think that crap is awesome, and one of my favorite parts of GMing.

2015-12-21, 01:24 PM
Wish my last run of referees were into this. :smallfrown: They never bothered with roleplaying to such a degree that the thought of describing my spells' effects never came to my mind* (even desires and attempts to Bluff fell to the wayside when the party's very much "kick in the door, kill everything, speak with dead afterwards").

*(Well, that's not entirely true — if my archmage reaches the next level and gains "mastery of elements" I'd like to come up with something when describing the new elemental state of cone of cold/Keraptis' flamecone.)

2015-12-22, 12:15 AM
How many times is the spell cast before one stops describing the spell, knowing what it looks like already?

2015-12-22, 01:32 AM
Adding a bit of fluff to magic is always fun, especially adding a concrete description to a vaguely described spell. I'm kicking around an idea for a gloomy bard, and maybe refluff Hideous Laughter as making the target so depressed they lose the will to do anything. As for mid-battle, I usually leave it at "I point at *target* and blast them," but add extra if I feel it's a dramatic moment.

Example: last session I played (5e), my warlock got a crit for her ranged attack roll to hit a wolf with Firebolt. It killed it, and I described it as being similar to getting a laser crit in Fallout, a cloud of ash drifting off with a charred pile of bone and fur remaining :smallbiggrin: . Same session, fighting skeletons and getting decent but not spectacular rolls, I left it at "I blast 'em."

I guess what I'm saying is, it's fun to describe stuff, but save it for special moments. Also, that Hex sounds awesome! Always good to have well-themed fluff.

Lord Torath
2015-12-22, 02:23 PM
2E AD&D's Dragon Kings rulebook had visual, auditory, and olfactory (smelly) effects for casting wizard spells. There were several tables you could roll to randomly determine your effects, or you could choose them yourself. The higher level the spell you were casting, the more pronounced the effects were (in a world where casting wizard spells is generally illegal).

Darth Ultron
2015-12-22, 08:10 PM
I use a lot of flashy spell effects. I like them a lot. Though starting with 3E spells in D&D got boring. The spell does this bland effect listed on the page is so dull and boring.

It is rare I have a player that likes flashy spells, I get many more boring by-the-book players.