Choosing wizardly spells
can be an overwhelming task for new players, and a time consuming one for
veterans. There are hundreds of spells listed in GURPS Magic . By default, a Dungeon
Fantasy Wizard must choose 30.
In many fantasy
role-playing systems, wizards often sling lightning bolts and toss fireballs.
They are a ranged, magical damage dealer—the heavy artillery—often causing destruction in a wide
area of effect. GURPS wizards are often much different, and that throws some new
players for a loop. While the Wizard can probably deal the most one-hit damage
of any of the templates, it is so costly and takes so long to build up the power
to do so that its combat effectiveness is questionable. By the time a Wizard
throws a nine-dice fireball, a Knight and Scout has already done that much
damage or more, and has done it efficiently and reliably. Instead, a Wizard is
more of a multi-purpose utility tool in GURPS. They can understand, detect,
protect against and overcome problems with spells that other characters can't
Wizards are the most
powerful character type in Dungeon Fantasy, but not when stooping to dealing
pure damage to enemies like a common foot soldier. Leave that uncivilized
business to the dumb tin-can Knight and his wannabe Robin Hood sidekick, the
Scout. A Wizard has much more important things to do. There are many useful
spells in Magic . Below is just a sample of those to
consider. This list is far from comprehensive; there are several others that could be included.
Create Air (p. M23)
after a cave-in?
Prerequisite: Purify Air or Seek Air. Stench (p. M24) Area Quickly clears the room, heh, heh. Actually, the smell has nothing to do with its potency; it's a lot like a World War 1 weaponized gas. Those who remain in the area begin to suffocate (see Suffocation , p. B436). Good luck fighting while chocking and loosing 1 FP per second. Trouble is, the caster and allies are effected as well. Prerequisites (1): Purify Air. Concussion (p. M26) Missile Awesome combat spell, better than Fireball in many if not most cases. Target a hex , not an enemy (see p. B414). No damage, but everyone within 10 yards must roll HT-3 or be stunned requiring further HT-3 rolls to recover. In GURPS combat, being stunned is a bad, bad thing. Prerequisites (5): Shape Air and Thunderclap. Body Control Spells Fumble (p. M38) Blocking; R-DX The attacker must resist with DX or critically fail his attack. Bad things happen to those who critically fail an attack. Prerequisites (3): Clumsiness. Strike Blind (p. M38) Regular; R-HT While the effects of blindness on combatants is obvious, this spell is resisted by HT so the Blackout area spell is much better at inflicting that. Strike Blind has a better target: other mages. Victims can't see to target spells. That's a big problem. If a blind victim can somehow manage to target a subject with a Regular spell, but cannot touch or see that subject, there is a further -5 penalty in addition to range (see p. M7). Prerequisites (4): Spasm and at least two Light and Darkness spells.
Walk Through Earth (p. M52)
underground after a cave-in? Also: walk through dungeon walls (or floors or ceilings)! Silly GM and
your foolish planning.
Prerequisites (4): 4
Steelwraith (p. M54)
Impervious to metal
weapons. That's basically all of them. As a bonus, you can pass through
portcullises and jail bars, etc. Handcuffs, officer? I think not. Make sure to
wear rings over gloves. It's kinda stylish, like socks and sandals, amirite?
Magery 2 and Walk Through Earth.
Create Fire (p. M72)
Watch 'em all burn. See the effects of fire, p. B433. Part of a turn in fire: 1d-3. Full turn: 1d-1. Use Shape Fire to chase enemies with the flame!
Prerequisites (1): Ignite Fire or Seek Fire.
Fast Fire (p. M73)
Watch 'em all burn
really fast! Cast this on created fire to do lots of damage. One casting
effects all the fire in connected area.
Prerequisites (3): Slow
Deflect Energy (p. M73)
Defense against fireballs
and lightning bolts, etc., thrown by other wizards not smart enough to cast
Prerequisites (2): M1, Shape Fire.
Resist Fire (p. M74)
Subject is immune to
the effects of heat and fire (e.g., fireballs, lava, dragonbreath). 'Nuff said.
Prerequisites (3): Fireproof.
Create Food (p. M79)
It makes food out of
thin air, if necessary. Combined with Create Water, never leave home again!
Prerequisites (5): Cook, Seek Food.
Lend Energy and Recover
Energy, both on p. 89, are both essential spells.
Complex Illusion (p. M96)
Effects hearing and
touch. Confuse the heck out of enemies . . . or your mom when she tells you not
to go out and adventure.
Prerequisites (2): Sound, Simple Illusion.
Aura (p. M101)
Is it an illusion?
Vampire? Golem? Wizard? Great spell.
Detect Magic, which is good too.
Analyze Magic (p. M102)
Is the item or area
cursed? What spells are in effect here?
Prerequisites (3): Identify Spell.
Seeker (p. M105)
Where is the nearest
treasure chest? Where is my horse-drawn carriage? Finds basically anything.
Gives caster a vision of its location or leads him there if within a mile. Great
for the day after you've had too much ale or for screwing the GM and his secret
Prerequisites (2): M1, IQ 12+, 2 Seek spells.
History and Ancient
History (both 106)
Included just because I
like these spells and don't want them overlooked. They tell the history of an item or place, such as its
Light and Darkness Spells
Continual Light (p. M110)
Essential spell. One of
the most common. Cast on an object, turns it into a fire-less torch for days. Lanterns?
Dark Vision (p. M111)
See in total (-10)
darkness. "Cures" the effects of the Blackout spell.
Prerequisites (2): Night Vision or
Imagine trying to fight
in total darkness. Now, imagine trying to fight against a foe that can see just
fine with the Dark Vision spell. Nasty situation.
Suspend Mana (VH) (p. M125)
Stops all magic and
spells in the area. No resistance. Very powerful.
Prerequisites (11): Suspend Magic, 1 spell each
from 10 colleges.
Dispel Magic (p. M126)
Essential for Wizards.
Takes out magical defenses such as Force Dome and Blackout.
Counterspell and at least 12 other spells of any type. Mind Control Spells Panic (p. M134) Area/R-Will Very powerful area-effect spell resisted by Will. Make those high-HT, low-Will warriors flee in terror or cower in fear for 60 turns. Prerequisites (1): Fear. Mental Stun (p. M135) Regular; R-Will Works great against low-Will, low-IQ fighters. Being mentally stunned requires an IQ roll to recover, taking a victim out of the fight for at least one or two turns; but just as often as not, the whole fight. Prerequisites (2): Daze or Stun. Mass Daze (p. M137) Area; R-HT Included because some interpret this spell to be more powerful than I consider it. Unfortunately, the wording for this spell is a bit ambiguous. It does not cause a mental stun, but any victim "does not notice what is going on around him, or remember it later." I place heavy emphasis on "notice." There's a big difference between the guard in the spell description's example not noticing a thief walk past and a warrior engaged in a bloody fight "noticing" his current life-or-death struggle, so I don't allow much effect in ongoing combat. Still, it has a lot of uses. Prerequisites (2): Daze and IQ 13 or higher.
Apportation (p. M142)
Move stuff with the power of your mind. Flip the light
switch off and turn on the TV while lying in bed. Great spell.
Prerequisite (0): M1.
Glue (p. M142)
Roots feet in place;
takes a ST roll to move 1 hex. Melee weapon skills are -2 and Dodge is halved.
Haste. Haste has no prereq's and is a good spell.
Grease (p. M142)
Requires moving victims
to make DX-2 roll or fall. Combat at -3.
Flight (p. M145)
One of the best defenses against melee combat is not to be in it at all. Who needs ladders? Who needs to jump over the pit trap? Cheaper than a plane ticket, too.
Magery 2 and Levitation.
Great Haste (VH) (p. M146)
Awesome combat spell
when cast on fighters. Gives one level of Altered Time Rate (p. B38). Turn you
meat shield into a meat grinder.
Magery 1, IQ 12 or higher, and Haste.
Death Vision (p. M149)
No defense against a
mental stun! Takes 3 turns to cast, though. At high skill level, this is a
great combat spell.
Protection and Warning Spells
Return Missile (and
other missile defense spells) (p. M168)
Send the arrow or giant
boulder right back to its sender for an automatic hit. Combine with the Flight spell.
Prerequisites (3): Catch Missile.
Force Dome (p. M170)
Area This is the big one, the super-powerful defense spell that everyone loves or hates. Creates a physically-impenetrable force filed. Infinite
DR/HP. See also Utter Dome, but Force Dome is much more common.
Prerequisites (10): Weather Dome, Apportation.
Body of Water (p. M285) All the "Body of" spells are great combat spells, but water seems to see the most use in my experience.
Prerequisite (4): Shape Water.