You guys would not believe the stink eye Laurel gave me when I turned in this script. That’s because she and Necromancer share more than a gothy fashion sense. They also have a mutual and rather unfortunate history with negative energy. Lemme explain.

So no shit there we were down in the dungeon. It was early days in Dragon’s Delve, and the party was only sitting on 3 HD worth of hit points. So naturally, when they ran into their first truly frightening incorporeal opponent, shit got real in a hurry.

“Did you say ‘drain?’ Are you sure you don’t mean ‘ability damage?'”

“What do you mean it takes a five foot step into the floor? This is bullshit!”

“How many more magic arrows do we have left?”

That last question was especially relevant. As every good Pathfinder knows, incorporeal critters are immune to nonmagical weapons. And when you’re only level 3, you’re lucky if you’ve got a glowing butter knife.

Happily, this was a well-prepared party. The bladebound magus and his sentient scimitar were chipping away. The alchemist’s bombs were getting in there too. The bard had a handful of +1 arrows, and between some lucky shots and the standard inspire courage, she was doing work. Constitution scores were getting dangerously low however, and Mr. Wraith was just one lucky roll from delivering the campaign’s first permadeath.

“Relax,” says Laurel. “I’ve got this.”

They were three or four rounds into the fight, so the wraith was also near death. And when you’re a dark tapestry oracle specialized in delivering bad touches, nearly-dead opponents are your bread and butter.

“Inflict light wounds!” she shouts. “That’s a 19 to hit! Come on big money… Max damage!”

The rest of the party looks on in horror. Yours truly sits behind the GM screen, head in hands. And if you’re not familiar with the inflict light wounds spell, then suffice it to say that the only important line for this little anecdote is the last one: “Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell cures such a creature… rather than harming it.”

When realization finally set in, it was hard to know whether the anguished cries of, “I’m sorry!” came from Laurel or her oracle. In the cold recesses of my evil GM heart, I like to think it was a little bit of both.

Have any of you guys made a similar mistake? I’m not just talking about negative/positive energy shenanigans, but casting confusions in general. Perhaps you’ve plunked down a wind walk at an inopportune time. Maybe you’ve miscalculated your AoE and trapped your buddies in black tentacles. We’ve all been there, and if you’re lucky (like my group) you managed to limp away from the encounter with your lives. So let’s hear it, guys! Tell us all about your favorite magical blunders down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.