Iconic Spells


As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm working on a Saga Edition conversion of older D&D, primarily taking stuff from 3E but looking at other versions as well. The classes are mostly finished -- what's slowing me down is the spells.

Let's face it ... D&D has a lot of spells. :confused:

So in order to be finished before, say, 2012, I figure I'll concentrate on the "iconic" ones in order to get things rolling, and then add more spells to the spellbook over time as they come up. But to choose "who lives and who dies" is not necessarily an easy task either, so I'm looking to ENWorlders with the question: what do you consider to be "iconic" D&D spells?

Right now I've got a lot of the more obvious choices, such as magic missile, spider climb, fireball, and the like. But I'm curious to hear what other people would choose.

Any thoughts?

-The Gneech :cool:

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El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
Oooh, tough one. How do you define an iconic D&D spell. Some might include all of the named spells (Mordenkainen, Evard, etc.). Others might only include spells unique (or iconic;)) to D&D only, and not other fantasy RPGs. Anyways, here's my list (not including the ones you already mentioned, and only arcane wizard/sorcerer spells):

Glassteel (I always wanted to see this updated to 3E, although I have found it presented on some fan sites)

All of the 0 level spells, especially Detect Magic
Mage Armor
Charm Person,Monster
Tensers Floating Disk
Shocking Grasp
Color Spray
Feather Fall
Rope Trick
Dispel Magic
Hold Person
All Illusion spells
Vampiric Touch
Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound
Summon Monster
Cone of Cold
Legend Lore
True Seeing
Power Words (especially Stun)
Mordenkainen's Disjunction

Have fun and enjoy your conversions. Please post them or include them in the Downloads when you're done. I'd realy like to see what you come up with.:cool:


First Post
Disintegrate, Fly, Meteor Swarm, Tensor's Floating Disc, Raise Dead, Prismatic Spray, Prestidigitation, Detect Magic, Detect Evil, Mage Hand, Burning Hands, Cure X Wounds, Ray of Frost.

I personally think Cloud of Daggers is cool enough to be a new icon, but you may disagree.

Polymorph, although you could probably be forgiven if you didn't include that one.

EDIT: Well, I was a bit ninja'd there, eh? And I forgot Feather Fall, that one's a requirement.


I gather cloud of daggers is a 4E addition? I haven't encountered it yet, but I'll look into it.

As for "iconic," what I'm really getting at is a spell that would make you go "What? You didn't include ______???" if it was missing.

Good lists so far, keep 'em coming! :)

-TG :cool:


First Post
It's controversial to some due to the argument of making rogues redundant, but it's an indelible mark on D&D from O to 3rd. It appears in every D&D inspired video game, from the old TSR Gold Box Engine games in 1988 to Dungeons and Dragons Online in 2006. It's the poster child of the Swiss Army Mage.

It's a cloud that kills. It's fun for a girl or a boy! It's also one of the first spells that marks the jump in power for mages from fireballs and magic missiles to "okay, let's let the wizard handle this..." It's got an iconic naming convention for D&D that is often repeated these days: Noun + Verb = Compound Word that sounds "kewl."

For marking that jump in power and iconic D&D names, I'd also nominate: the Power Word spells and the Finger Of spells.

Minor Image, Major Image, Hallucinatory Terrain.
The ultimate line in Illusion flexibility. The Swiss Army Illusionist or Illusion specialist has these.

Alter Self.
I think Alter Self gets a nod just for all the rules contortions they had to go through to explain what you can't do with it. At second level, it's the closest a low level mage gets to polymorph.

Cause Fear.
It's been around forever... and it's still around, and still level one.

It's also been around forever, it's also been in practically every D&D video game, it's widely known and it's also still around and still level one. You'd kick yourself for not including this one.

Among the druid's first major entries into crowd control and actually manipulating nature.

Edit: Lest we forget:

Unseen Servant
Who hasn't tried to push the boundaries of what you could do with one of these? Other than those that never played a wizard, that is.
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First Post
I'm throwing in with Sleep, Lightning Bolt, and Flaming Sphere. Also, Shocking Grasp/Burning Hands.

I've thrown those spells around so many times, that a game just doesn't really feel like D&D unless it's got those or some sort of analogue.

Especially Lightning Bolt. Remember the Lightning Bolt, for the love of god!


First Post
Top Twelve Most Iconically D&D Spells, as pulled directly out of Imp's hindquarters:

1. Magic Missile
Outside of D&D most magicians seem to toss fireballs or zap lightning as their go-to form of attack.

2. Polymorph
Sure, magicians anywhere can change shape, but Polymorph puts a number of unique quirks on the power.

3. Mirror Image
It's a pretty peculiar defense for mages to rely upon as a standard tactic. Weirder than Blink, even.

4. Silence, 15' Radius.
The gods want you to be quiet. 15' radius mandatory.

5. Phantasmal Killer
Not just an illusion – an illusion THAT IS THE MOST TERRIFYING THING YOU CAN IMAGINE and will kill you.

6. Wish
Do anything, limited only by your DM's patience and proclivity towards mischief! Spend hours crafting your sentence.

7. Feeblemind
What more classically D&D way to win a mage duel than to reduce the opposing sorcerer to a babbling moron? A poltroon! A veritable fool.

8. Conjure Elemental
The most iconic D&D summoning spell, what with the concentrating to maintain control and all.

9. Mordenkainen's Sword
The coolest of the Mordenkainen's spells. Ruined, RUINED, in Neverwinter Nights by making it summon a creature wielding a normal-looking (although flaming) sword.

10. Tenser's Floating Disk
D&D on a platter, baby.

11. Magic Jar
In D&D, possessing people is really complicated.

12. Creeping Doom
A particularly excellent way to cause death. Too bad nobody ever got to use it. But still: 1000 hit points of damage! Until 3e destroyed it, then resurrected it as a bool-crap epic spell.

Honorable mention: Fireball & Lightning Bolt. Wizards throw fireballs and lightning bolts all the time in other fantasy media, hence the honorable mention, but D&D fireballs and lightning bolts are very quirky.


First Post
Animate Dead
Walls spells
Magic Circles spells
Feather Fall
Charm person
Flesh to Stone
Dispel Magic

Glassteel (I always wanted to see this updated to 3E, although I have found it presented on some fan sites)

Look at Necromancer Games' Eldricht Sorcery. It contains a lot of good spells, including glass to steel...

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
Look at Necromancer Games' Eldricht Sorcery. It contains a lot of good spells, including glass to steel...

I already found a pretty good version at the Thieves Guild here, but I may take a look at that book also. Is it on RPGNow or ENpublishing?


First Post
Geas/Quest: for when you absolutely, positively want to create plot, accept no substitutes!

Charm Person: The Bard's fireball.

Charm Monster: The Bard's meteor swarm.

Nightmare/Dream: Because it opens up a whole new world to explore/describe.

Suggestion: And wackiness ensues.

Persistent Image and Programmable Image: Helps set up really creative layered encounters that mess with player's minds.

Modify Memory: the BBEEnchanter's best friend.


First Post
I can´t imagine nobody mentioned tentacles of forced... I mean Edvard´s Black Tentacles yet. To me that is the one that saves my players most of the time and makes my players cringe when they see a mage. Include it please or at least its smaller brother web.


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