It’s been a while since I played my last warlock, but I’m pretty sure they get crayons as part of their starting equipment. Maybe that’s just tome-locks though. Hmmm…

OK. I double-checked the 5e SRD, and the other pact options have to make do with finger paints. That makes sense. As we all know, Charisma-based casters are more into self-expression than magical theory.

Any dang way, I feel like today’s comic is in part a follow up to “Incorporeal.” That’s because there’s an interesting tension between last week’s sage advice (you should prep for contingencies) and our present directive to choose your spells with care.

If you have access to A LOT of diverse abilities, as in the case of a D&D style wizard, then you’ve got plenty of room to go in for “silver bullet” effects. I’m talking about utility magic like identify or knock whose effects can be replicated sans magic; narrow spells like invisibility alarm or misdirection that address specific threats; or the fun but frequently useless spells like conjure carriage or speak with plantsThese are all situationally helpful abilities, but they’re not the options you go for when you’ve got only three “spells known” to play with.

There’s a reason that eldritch blast became a meme. It’s the same reason that Sorcerer loves fireball. When you’ve got limited resources, you’re going to seek out the most consistently-useful options. And in a game that leans heavily into combat, efficient battle magic is where it’s at.  That it turn leaves you in a bit of a pickle. You know it’s a good idea to prep for that ghost fight, but you’ll be damned if you’re gonna waste a valuable spell choice on some narrow malarkey like purge spiritWhat’s a mage to do?

You may have heard me refer to the “batman wizard” in the past, but you don’t have to be a wizard to make the playstyle work. With careful magic item selection, a golf bag full of scrolls, and the simple expedient of discussing your options with the other members of your party, you can collectively cover a lot of bases.

That in turn leads us to our question of the day! When it’s time for spell selection, what bread and butter choices always go onto your list? And by the same token, what “silver bullet” spells are good enough to make it into ye olde spellbook? More generally though, is there always a tradeoff between combat effectiveness and general utility, or is it possible to roll up a caster who actually enjoys the best of both worlds? Share the contents of your own Book of Shadows down in the comments!


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