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    Default What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Magic Missile has been in every version of D&D since the beginning, and it's always had more or less the same effect: A low-level spell to provide a small amount of reliable damage. We've all cast it at some point or another, or been at a table where someone else has. But it occurs to me that I have no idea what it looks like. I've seen it depicted as glowy balls, black balls, arrow-shaped things, and other shapes, but I don't think there's any definitive description. Is there such a description, or failing that, what does everyone else think they look like?
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?






    Though ever since I saw the D&D arcade game as a little kid, I've pictured magic missiles as green spheres that zip out and around to hit their targets at oblique angles.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I like magic missile largely because of how flexible its description is. Since it's so iconic and considered an essential for wizards, I like to imagine every wizard has their own version, which becomes something of a signature of theirs.

    Some descriptions I favor include:
    • Invisible blasts of blunt force, less a missile and more punching someone with telekinesis
    • Sort of like fireworks, specifically the ones that go spiralling and looping in all directions before striking a target
    • Miniature shooting stars, hurled from portals that open behind the caster, through which the target can glimpse alien constellations
    Last edited by Amaril; 2017-10-19 at 09:21 PM.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Yeah, I think it is open to interpretation. In a western campaign, I had an NPC that threw magical daggers of force as his magic missiles.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    According to the Baldur's Gate series -- which is the authoritative source for 2e D&D -- the magic missile spell produces brightly glowing pastel-pink missiles:

    Spoiler: 2e Magic Missiles
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    Last edited by Nifft; 2017-10-19 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I tend to imagine glowing yellow darts, but it's not something I'm dogmatic about. I'd happily let a player customise the look of their character's magic missiles.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    They’re green bolts that, on contact, brand the target with “Jim Darkmagic”.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I see them as projectiles made of pure magic energy.

    The format or the colors depends on the caster.

    I'm found of both arrow like:

    Spoiler
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    And spherical:
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    Last edited by LughSpear; 2017-10-23 at 09:12 AM.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    If I am the DM, I have enough to do. You're the darn mage, you figure it out, it's your character. Well, as long as the result doesn't involve genitalia or other factors that make me or other players throw things at your head.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    If I am the DM, I have enough to do. You're the darn mage, you figure it out, it's your character. Well, as long as the result doesn't involve genitalia or other factors that make me or other players throw things at your head.
    Or worse, throw genitals at their head.
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    93. No matter what the character sheet say, there are only 3 PC alignments: Lawful Snotty, Neutral Greedy, and Chaotic Backstabbing.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Or worse, throw genitals at their head.
    Puts a new spin on the phrase 'crotch rocket'.
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    OK, answering seriously? As long as the description doesn't logically create additional effects beyond what the spell is meant to do, whatever the heck you want.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    OK, it's whatever you want... So what do you guys want?

    Or, to ask a slightly different question, if I wanted to create a depiction of a wizard casting Magic Missile, and wanted to make it recognizable to most gamers on sight, what should I show?

    It looks like a lot of the imaginings of them feature meteor-like trails behind the missiles... Is that accurate?
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I imagine it like the "arcane missiles" spell in World of Warcraft

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    When I GM, I will always require the caster to describe their magic missiles when they first cast it.
    I don't really do this with other spells, maybe because it is so nondescript and commonly used.

    The most common is small, glowing balls of different colors. I've also seen smoking skulls, and the before mentioned magic arrows.
    Personally I have used vibrantly red roses being thrown to people, hurting them.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I really like how they look in Temple of Elemental Evil, but I'm more used to how they look in Neverwinter Nights, where they look a lot like the Final Fantasy gif above there.

    Though I made a video of that 11 years ago.


    That was a frickin' long time ago and it was before HD video was a thing on YouTube.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    When I was six, I imagined they looked (and worked) like a 1 foot rocket (Everyone knows missiles explode, right? Just like on GI Joe and Voltron!). I was mightily disappointed when a single one didn't crack open the shell of a giant crab that was attacking us.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    Personally I have used vibrantly red roses being thrown to people, hurting them.
    *girlish sigh*

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I picture yellow-gold pyramidal polygons... like missiles from an old wireframe computer game.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernPhoenix View Post
    I imagine it like the "arcane missiles" spell in World of Warcraft
    That was my first thought.

    I think it would be whatever the character thinks is a "normal" ranged attack look liked. Darts, bolts, arrows, sling rocks, small harpoons, itty bitty comets. If they're more savvy, they may use something more to their theme, like playing cards, icicles, dragon skulls, glowing fists or flying fish

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I'll go ahead, just for amusement value, and also discuss briefly what I think of "force effects" doing as damage. It's easy to think of magic missiles, for example, as balls of force field (or arrow-shaped force fields) that bash or pierce the target, like a stone or dart hurled at them. But we know, from D&D mechanics, that this isn't what's happening. DR doesn't apply, for instance.

    So force effects must do damage in a different way. How I think of it is as raw force-vectors moving through the target. A spherical magic missile is actually a sphere of outward-pointing force vectors; when it passes through something, it exerts outward force in all directions on the material through which it passes. It whistles through the air because it shoves it out and lets it collapse back in behind it. It does bludgeoning-type damage for the first moments as it enters your flesh, but swiftly is doing ripping and tearing damage as it is within you and shoving parts of you away from each other and into the surrounding areas, moving through and continuing until the effect disperses after having been fully beneath your flesh. It does the same to incorporeal, ethereal, and inorganic materials and creatures.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    This is my standard go to:



    It usually varies on the shade of blue, but 9/10 its blue. Now, thats the default. I've had green glowing skulls, dragon heads, miniature ICBMs (complete with being a MIRV), knives, random assorted food (ok that was a buddy not me), rocks, runes that shoot the energy blast, claws, fangs, birds, wolves, snakes, scythe blades, etc.

    Basically you can make it look like however you want, cuz Damage Spell is pretty open.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    i've never cast magic missile or seen it cast (blame a dm that had a thing against magic missile), but i did have a similar problem with "searing light". depending on translations, it's either a pencil-thin beam of pure light, a 5in thick rod of flames, or said rod of pure light.

    ... as long as it's a "frikkin' laser beam!!" i'm completely fine with it. it also was my go-to solution for my rsop, funnily enough. the wizard threw gratuitously large fireballs (as in, 3m diameter things down hallways).

    were i to imagine magic missile, a white orb with a comet's tail, like some of the illustrations seen. were i to cast magic missile, probably a rude gesture. at least, that's what i did with anything created by bigby. the grasping hand becomes really humiliating when you're crushed in a fist whose middle finger is raised towards your allies.

    victim 1: "dude! you got hit in the face with a middle finger!"
    victim 2: "that's not too bad, you got hit in the face with a flying butt!"
    victim 3:"... i'm kind of happy i only got hit by a flying subpoena, all things considered".
    dm: "guizonde has had his magic missile privileges removed."
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    i've never cast magic missile or seen it cast (blame a dm that had a thing against magic missile)
    How did this "thing against magic missile" present itself? What was its cause and what did he do about it that made people never cast it? This sounds like a neat story!

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    According to old Elmore art, it conjures arrow-shaped missiles...

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    Puts a new spin on the phrase 'crotch rocket'.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Mine was always pretty much as pictured in BlackHawk's post only quite a bit smaller (about the size of a dart only fatter). I used to dislike people being able to customize their spells simply because there was a spell in 2nd ed which allowed you to customize your spells and I thought it stepped on that. Until I realized that the purpose of that spell was much different than I had originally thought (I was young when I read it).
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    How did this "thing against magic missile" present itself? What was its cause and what did he do about it that made people never cast it? This sounds like a neat story!
    neat, i don't know. basically, he had a "one true way" of playing dnd. he was (probably still is) of the "grognard no shenanigans allowed" variety about the fluff. for example, he banned halfling paladins (canon in faerun), halfling outriders (prc in dnd 2e), bards who specialized in fear using death growls, hitting people with a dobro guitar (even if it's one of the few instruments who can take that sort of abuse regularly)...

    as for magic missile, iirc it was the auto-hit capability of the spell that he found "cheap". all a wizard (or gods forbid a sorceror, he hated those) had to do according to him was load up on magic missile and bore himself to death spamming the same move. i played with him for quite a few years, too many to be perfectly honest, but credit where credit is due: the dude could spin one hell of a yarn. i mean, i played a game that i dislike the mechanics and crunch of just for the sake of the story, and looked forward to it every week. that's no mean feat.

    if we ever did something he disliked, he bullied us both in game and out of game until we stopped. he drove some players to tears. one time, he went overboard and decided to dump his fiancée at the game table. she was pregnant with their second child. his fiancée was my teammate in game, so when he got too confrontational about it, i kind of sort of slightly knocked him down. repeatedly. i ended up knocking him out, fearing for the safety of his fiancée and his kid and unborn. the game stopped after that. not proud of my violent side, but to be fair, he pushed his wang-waving too far out that time. just because mister psycho dm was supposedly ex spec-ops and a dm that had been playing for almost 20 years did not give him the right to threaten or bully anyone. i'm no fighter, but i'm nothing if not resilient and intransigeant in the face of abuse.

    now that i think about it, it may be the reason i prefer playing lethal joke characters to this day, just to unconsciously spite that guy.
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    regarding my choice of sustenance:
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    GM: “If it doesn't move and it should, use duct tape. If it moves and it shouldn't, use a shotgun.”
    dm is Miltonian, credit where credit is due.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    I've been rather influenced by Baldur's Gate, so I tend to imagine my magic missiles as being crimson orbs or possibly darts.

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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?



    But magical.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quoth Mark Hall:

    I picture yellow-gold pyramidal polygons... like missiles from an old wireframe computer game.
    You mean, like d4s?
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
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    Default Re: What do Magic Missiles look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    You mean, like d4s?
    The most painful type of die?

    The caltrop that hides in carpeting?

    That makes a horrifying amount of sense.

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