Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Should Druids be Allowed to Cast
the Spell Hallucinatory Forest?

Simply put, Hallucinatory Terrain is the only clerical or druidic spell in the 1e Player's Handbook that falls under the "illusion/phantasm" classification. I can understand the rare divination spell like locate plants and even necromantic spells like cure disease. After all, those types of spells seem to fall into areas where a cleric or druid would have some spiritual "domain". But there just seems to be something out of place about a single illusion/phantasm spell from out of approximately 150 cleric AND druid spells (counting individual spells available to both, like cure light wounds, as 2 spells) that is an illusion/phantasm spell.



  1. As I can think of a bunch of other usefull illusion/phantasm spells that could be created and would be without doubt within the druid's spiritual domain, I see no proplem.
    One fast Example:

    Druid Level 3
    Duration: 1 hour/level
    You seem to every being with animal intelligence to be another, non-threatining member of their own species.

  2. While your point is well taken, my bigger issue/question is this...
    Should druids be allowed to cast any type of illusion/phantasm at all? There are no clerical illusion/phantasm spells, and the very nature of that type of magic seems much more arcane (within the realm of the magic-user) rather than the sort of "influence" and "alteration" spells that otherwise typify cleric/druid spells (e.g., healing, controlling, purifying, enhancing, et al.)

    As I've been working on magical thoughts for The System: Expanded, I've started to have more and more problems with the overwhelmingly "ad hoc" approach to spells in D&D (any version).

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  4. BTW, while I do like the "mimicry" spell you presented, I would argue that it is actually an "enchantment/charm" as it affects each individual differently, rather than presenting an affectation to the "space" which all individuals see the same.

  5. I think it's Druidic only because it affects terrain and is used mainly in the wilderness. Might as well remove it and tell anyone who wants to do that stuff with a spell to use Spectral Force or higher "general illusion" magic.

    Then again, if you're going to make a few spell list changes, you might as well overhaul the whole kaboodle for consistency and variety.

  6. @1d30 - That's kind of what got me thinking about it (eye on overhaul - but it's not a serious consideration, just some thoughts related to The System: Expanded and how magic should work under those rules). I was starting to dissect the 1e spell list by "type" and all of a sudden, "hallucinatory terrain" just seemed to stand out to me as an exception. As a spell, it was introduced in Eldritch Wizardry (at the same time as the Druid class), but at that time, the spells weren't denoted by type. When they added that descriptor in 1e, there wasn't any real reason at the time for the notation (since it didn't really impose any kind of restrictions on casters). So, you're right, without an overhaul, it doesn't really matter.

  7. I'd vote in favor of it. It just seems like a spell that druids should have, despite the spell type. Besides, "real" druids dealt in spells all the time.

  8. A case can be made for letting druids have a more 'fey' flavor, and is somewhat made in the spell description, in letting 'such creatures as centaurs, dryads, green dragons, nymphs, satyrs, and treants' know it's an illusion.

    And, really - imagine a highish level druid and her fey friends zipping straight through trees/underbrush/etc., harassing a company of orcs spread out through the illusionary trees on their way to some brigandage the druid objects to. (or against the PCs)

    Like a combination of Predator and Movie-Narnia.

    I think that's worth keeping just for that visual alone.

  9. I think in the end, it all comes down to "how magic works in your world." In D&D, almost any spell that makes moderate sense is allowable to anyone in that class. For example, in D&D magic-users are allowed to cast both fireballs and illusions. In some worlds, fire magic and illusory magic are separate "schools".

    BTW, Koewn, the Predator/Narnia image is one I'll remember for a while.