D&D General The Original Reason for Spell Components: Balancing Bad Jokes


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ilgatto

How inconvenient
Interesting post! It has actually solved a lot of questions I now realize I had (fleece!) - and then some didn't even know I had. :)

The following probably don't classify as 'bad jokes' as per OP's definition, but they (as well as the Friends thing - ESPECIALLY THE FRIENDS THING) have always bugged me - which makes them bad jokes IMDO.

Aid (UA): The material components of of this spell are a tiny strip of white cloth with a sticky substance (such as tree sap) on the ends, (...).
Band... (Oh dear, I think I have sprained a muscle - this one always get me, NOT)

Repulsion: The material component of this spell is a pair of small magnetized iron bars attached to two small canine statuettes, one ivory and one ebony.
Really?

Bigby's Clenched Fist: The material component of this spell is (...) and a small device consisting of four rings joined so as to form a slightly curved line, with an "I" upon which the bottoms of the rings rest, the whole fashioned of an alloyed metal of copper and zinc.
He's not gonna say it, is he?

Oh, not a bad joke but on the off chance that someone doesn't know:
Wall of Fog: The material component is a pinch of split dried peas.
Pea soup fog.
 

AnimancyPress

Villager
I've always wondered about the tuning fork of the Plane Shift spell. I assume it's meant to evoke tuning to the specific frequency of the desired plane of existence, but I can't figure out what real world reference that might come from. Was there some New Age-y thing going on at the time, or some big physics story that hit mainstream news? Seems like it should be obvious, but I'm at a loss.
In the old days of UHF television, you would "tune" to a channel using a 'bunny ears' antenna, which are similar to a tuning fork as they conduct radio (TV) frequency, which could be a world unto itself? That's how I've always seen it.
 

Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
Both the goldfish swallowing fad and Cleopatra's pearl dissolved in wine have origins in "eating weird things to win a bet". Why that relates to Identify in particular, I don't get.

Perhaps it was Gygax's impenetrable, roundabout way of saying, "You're supposed to identify your magic items by paying sages heaps of coin after the adventure, but if you want to take a gamble on a dodgy 1st-level magic-user spell instead…"
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Perhaps it was Gygax's impenetrable, roundabout way of saying, "You're supposed to identify your magic items by paying sages heaps of coin after the adventure, but if you want to take a gamble on a dodgy 1st-level magic-user spell instead…"
I think that we have a winner...
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Perhaps it was Gygax's impenetrable, roundabout way of saying, "You're supposed to identify your magic items by paying sages heaps of coin after the adventure, but if you want to take a gamble on a dodgy 1st-level magic-user spell instead…"
Yeah, that's one spell that I don't recall having ever seen it cast.
 

Ondath

Hero
The material component for friends in 1E is "chalk (or white flour), lampblack (or soot), and vermillion applied to the face before casting the spell". You're essentially touching up your face, and those who fail their save like your glow up (2d4 increase to CHA), while those who succeed their save think that you painted your face with a bucket (1d4 penalty to CHA). It's essentially a "har har, make up deceives people to think you're prettier" joke. Of course, 5E kinda ruins the joke by spelling it out ("a small amount of makeup applied to the face as this spell is cast").
 

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