Sidebar: Spell Duel

You’ve seen it before. Two spellcasters square off in an epic battle of wits and magic, where winner takes all. It’s the sort of duel from which legends are made of. So why is it that every magical duel in Dungeons & Dragons goes a little something like this?

That’s why I created rules for the spell duel. I want something that feels as dramatic as the duels I see in movies, not a grocery list of spells that each spellcaster can cast until one fails their save, or happens to die first.

Now there are a few different ways that one could implement these new rules into their game. I added spell duels as a feat, because at the time, I felt like it was the least disruptive way to include these new rules into the game. However, as I think about it, I don’t really see any reason why one couldn’t do away with the feat and just include the skill encounter as part of combat rules. Granted, it gives spellcasters a way to tie up opponents for several rounds, but an ability that you can only use once per day isn’t all that game changing, and the fact that it’s an ability that’s only really useful in select situations makes me think that perhaps it would be better as part of combat rules.

I’d like to know what other people think. Do you think that spell duels should be considered a feat, part of the combat rules, or do you have other thoughts on the matter?

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3 Responses to Sidebar: Spell Duel

  1. I like the idea of spell duels but it difficult to work in the rules in an interesting and fair manner.

  2. dovearrow says:

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean. I guess I can see how tying up another spellcaster for several rounds does seem a little unfair, since it leaves them vulnerable to the attacks of other opponents. Perhaps if the opponent could break off the duel easily, allowing the one who instigated the duel to simply counter the spell, then it would address that issue. Of course, if the opponent can break off easily, then there’s the question of why they would choose to engage in a spell duel in the first place. Perhaps if there’s some penalty to outside aggressors. For example, what if the two engaged in the spell duel are surrounded in some nimbus of arcane energy that deals an automatic 1d6 points of damage per caster level based on the highest caster level of the two casters engaged in the duel.

    Those are just some of my own thoughts. I’d still like to hear what your specific objections are.

  3. Pingback: In Which Annabeth Unwisely Challenges a Spellcaster « FanFiction Fridays

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