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D&D 5E D&D Next Blog: What's in a (Spell) Name?

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Some, yes. Ones that are very very much "so-in-so's such-in-such spell" and would seem awkward without. Melf's Acid Arrow? We've had it as "Acid Arrow" before and it's not a big deal. "Bigby's Hand of whatever" well that strikes me as more iconic.

If they're serious about reclaiming 1st and 2nd edition players, they will. Attention to the game's rich history is an important factor for them.

To me it makes them sound more like spells and less like super-powers.

But it's hardly a deal-breaker.


First Post
Spells have to come from somewhere.

If one of my characters creates a spell you darn well better bet that character is not only going to name it but his or her name is going to be part of it.

Using spells named after their creator gives the game a lived in feeling, at least for me.

The Human Target

Its one of those things I don't really care about one way or another.

But I will say this- keeping hard/impossible to pronounce words out of the game is for the better.

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I like having the names - I always reinvented the eponymous wizards for my own campaigns (not knowing anything about their Gygax campaign origins or Greyhawk lore).


I think it's important for the traditional wizard archetype. It reinforces the idea that spells are something which is invented by a wizard after years of research. Not just a manifestation of will, but a ritual created/discovered by an individual.

A world with just Acid Arrow is a world where there is a finite, limited number of spells, set down by the DM and the world.

A world with Melf's Acid Arrow is a world where my wizard can create a totally new spell to do exactly what he wants. Where inventing new spells can be as important as using them.


I think the the names give a certain flavour and implied richness that can be engaging to both old an new players (Even if some of the names are a little, ahh..lame. I mean Melf? Jim Ward's name spelled backwords?) So I don't mind it even if it does not fit all settings. It allows you to question, who was this guy? What did he do? However, D&D often goes too far in trying to expound to much on these allusions that are throw out for a bit of added flavour to the extent of adding elaborate back stories and a cumbersome cannon. What was a nice bit of flavour to something that gives me a hint of vast vistas for my imagination to work in and explore becomes an ever-increasing morass of predefined world events to chain your imagination rather than set it free to sore.

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