Anyone who’s ever held a spellbook can empathize with Wizard. The magic chapter taunts you with an infinitude of choice, but you’re bound to choose a meager handful of spells to slot into your repertoire. It’s even worse for the sorcerers of the world, who must make do with workhorse options like invisibility and lightning bolt rather than fun niche options like creation or grave words. Sure you can rely on spell scrolls for that sort of thing, but your day-to-day combat actions are going to be restricted to a handful of go-to options. While magic missile is never a wasted action, it rarely feels like a rewarding one to me. Weirdly, I think this has something to do with the old trope of “I got stuck playing the healer.”

When magic-users cast, they want to feel like masters of the goddamn universe.They want to shape the fabric of reality, set off a few fireworks, and laugh maniacally as the enemies turn themselves inside out like the puny muggles they are. Making the health bars go up or down rarely gives that feeling. A well-placed heal or meteor swarm can swing a battle, but that never seems quite as satisfying as finding the perfect tool for the job. For my money, the best part of playing a caster is paging through your options, realizing you’ve got the optimal solution to deadly encounter du jour, and then breaking that encounter in half.

Case in point: I once played in a mythic Pathfinder game with an archmage wizard. The dude had a ridiculous power called “wild surge,” which basically says “cast any spell in the book.” That may be too much of a good thing, but I’ve never felt like more of a badass than the time I pulled out a wall of light to wreck face against a homebrew shadow demon. Both I and my archmage felt like a couple of geniuses.

All of the above is to say that I think there’s a reason why Wizard has a book full of fun RP spells. He’s waiting for that time when he can raise his hands, mutter his incantations, and somehow foil a BBEG’s machinations with a well-placed guise of the yak-man.

Question of the day then: Have you ever had the perfect spell for the job? What was it? Did it wreck face, or did it flop in practice? Let’s hear your tales of impeccable spell selection in the comments!


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