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

Personally, I think it would be cool if any wizard could learn the generic "Acid Arrow", and upgraded versions like "Melf's Acid Arrow" were available for research or to find in treasure.

I love this idea. It could be as easy as listing the spell entry, then having a note at the end:

Dweomer of Note -- Melf's Acid Arrow
Crafted by one of Mordenkainen's allies, a mage who humorously called himself Melf the Elf, this version of the classic acid arrow can be split to strike two or three enemies, doing one-half or one-third as much damage to each (rounded down). Scrolls with this dweomer are commonly offered as payment to adventurers who aid the Circle of Eight.

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If I were being consistent with my general philosophy, which is that D&D should encourage homebrew and avoid pushing setting-specific material in the core, I would vote to remove the names.

However, I am not consistent. These names are too deeply entwined with the history of the game. Vote to keep.

This was my feeling also. As a general matter, D&DN should encourage custom game worlds. In this particular instance, the flavor and shared cultural benefits exceed the need to make customization easy. After all, it's easy to cut the names out or replace them with campaign-appropriate names if that's what you want to do.

When I first looked at the poll I wanted to kill the names, but I felt like a killjoy or a nattering nanny. It's a bunch of flavor, it's iconic D&D and it's so damn easy to change if you campaign demands something else. Keep the names? If you need a generic names option, put it in a side bar.



The 8th Evil Sage
I like the concept of spells named after people (or groups or whatever). I like Rex Blunder's idea of named spells being awesomer than the plain ones. To keep the base game generic enough I would include named spells in an expansion module of some sort, maybe for additional wizard or setting-specific options.

Crazy Jerome

First Post
Why not simply have the generic name, followed by the more flavorful version--even if you don't have a more powerful version under the longer name? (Not that I dislike that idea, either, but it does take more space.)

Acid Arrow (Melf's Acid Arrow)

Not only does that harken to the D&D legacy, it aludes to the way spells were named in Vance's Dying Earth. Heck, do this for Golden Wyvern feats and other such things, too.

Then in the updated DDI, put all these proper names as replaceable keywords (not in the usual D&D sense of "keyword" but as something that can be changed in one place and be reflected throughout). Then give people the ability to change them in a campaign document. If you don't like "Melf", change it to an archmage in your setting.


I like the names, but I am not sure they need to be core. I would rather these names give their 'lived in feeling' to the actual settings they belong to. But that would mean the core doing without those spells.

Either way? Not that fussed about this.

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