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D&D General Fantasy Equivalent of the Nuke


I am a big fan of cold war espionage surrounding nuclear secrets -- mostly the real world stuff (but some fiction, too). I have long toyed with the idea of trying to create a fantasy campaign that fits embraces that genre, but I often get stuck on what the right equivalent of the bomb should be. Assuming D&D-isms (even if the game that I would use isn't strictly D&D), what do you think would make a good stand in for the nuclear weapon in such a scenario?

The one I keep going back to is dragon eggs. Like, the presumption is dragons are gone but eggs remain behind. Someone has figured out how to hatch them, though, and once hatched the dragons are loyal servants of the crown that hatched them(I am assuming some sort of "land magic" in the explanation). Also, these are not just dragons, but city buster dragons.

What do you think would make a good "nuclear weapon" equivalent in a D&D inspired fantasy setting? Remember, the pointof the thing is to drive espionage and fun spy action to try and acquire or preserve such secrets.

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Well, back in the old days, there was the possibility of the scry-and-die trick - using divination spells to remote-target cites with big area-effect spells like Earthquake or teleporting in some sort of plague vector...

I seem to recall that it used to be canon lore (or maybe it was in one of the video games) that either Waterdeep or maybe it was Neverwinter had laws preventing individuals from selling complete and accurate maps of the city for just that purpose.


In my world it would be a bomb that contained crystallized aether in super concentrated form. Aether is the source of all magic and supernatural power. Set it off and you get a massive explosion of magical energy that primarily causes a sphere of destructive force anf fire damage over several square miles but also turns the surrounding area into a wild magic zone.

In other words, I just made a magical nuke when I had a similar idea. I ended up not using it yet, other than my DM notes that it's ancient magic that nearly destroyed the world once. Some people are try to recreate it.


I once did something similar to Oofta - but mine had the sole effect of turning any magic currently functioning in the blast area into a living spell. It was meant to be targeted against a magocracy or other high-magic nation - one of the kingdoms in the campaign world was essentially run by (although not actually ruled by) their society's spellcasters, who basically controlled the economy since so much of their infrastructure was magic-dependent.

A ring of wishes would do the job quite nicely, to be honest, especially in a world where very high-level magic is scarce. Make it a variant that can only grant destructive wishes, but will grant them sincerely and without twisting, if you like.

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