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Author Topic: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning  (Read 1955 times)

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Offline Cheka Man

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Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« on: January 03, 2009, 10:14:26 AM »
I have an idea for a lightning wand that can call lightning down from the sky and zap it at a target, but I can't thing of ways to stop it being far too powerful. What drawbacks might such a wand have?

Offline valadaar

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2009, 06:31:16 PM »
My first thought is that is not terribly unique at first blush. Rod of Lightning has been a D&D Staple for decades, and Rolemaster has that exact spell.  You will need to do something which makes it truly your own to start with, and that might suggest good weaknesses.

For a simple 'Call Lightning' rod - the best disadvantage is it needs to be used outdoors, with clouds.  But again, that is straight from the book and not the slightest bit unique.

As for power, one can always reduce the voltage, range, rate of use, add random other bolts uncontrolled by the user, etc. But take care there too, otherwise it begins to feel like a wand of wonder if it is too erratic.








   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 05:21:21 PM »
Each time you use the wand, you gain an aura of undischarged magical energy. The nest person or creature you touch takes this damage like a low level lightning spell. It would be enough of a zap to knock a normal NPC to the ground, possibly kill someone who is old, weak, sick, feeble, or very young.


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Offline Maggot

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 08:12:33 AM »
You could make it such that if the wand drew in too much of electricity, the wielder would be simply fried by the sheer voltage. Immense concetration and focus would be required to prevent such an outcome, something that only skilled mages would be able to accomplish.
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 01:53:36 PM »
An item that calls lightning from the sky might require intense concentration and focus.  Failure to properly channel the sky's power might harmlessly dissipate the energy, immersing all in the area with an unearthly aurora.  Careless or clumsy mages might find the lightning striking them or other nearby objects instead of their intended target.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2009, 05:08:00 PM »
Quote
Aelius the Pure ruffled his hair, sending a mist of water in every direction. Sticking out his tongue, deep in concentration, he thrust the iron staff deep into the moist soil. The downpour was relentless, so Aelius had to squint as he made sure the runes faced the proper direction.

Mekalith, the Dawn of Creation, was faced east, not north as it should be, so carefully the adept invoker of the Kesrothen Guild twisted the upper part of the staff. The rune clicked into place and Aelius respectfully withdrew. While the runes in the soil had not been drawn, and the verse of invocation had not been vocalized, the staff was now a powerful attractor of electricity - a lightning rod in its own right.

Three minutes later the last of the twelve runes had been finished, the first rune already partially eviscerated by the torrential rain. Aelius stepped back. All had been set for the fight that was to come.

All he needed now was to chant the verse thrice and point a finger at a target

Somewhat like Wulfies idea. I used the ritual magic approach as the run of the mill rod of lightning is, as you say: too powerful, and as the others say: a cliche.

But cliches can be recycled and ritual magic can revitalize most concepts.

For weakness you can use backfire / effect applied on user, or you could use some kind of spirit attraction or whatever. A particularly powerful backlash would be summoning storm spirits or some such.

Implied, but not stated, in my text is that the staff only works in rain / clouded conditions. That could be another limiting effect on whatever incarnation of lightning rod you create.
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Offline johntfs

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 06:34:09 PM »
This might be too limiting, but how about: The user must divest himself of all conductive material or the "Called Lightning" will strike him instead of the designated target.  That means his dagger.  And his coined money.  Also that iron pin he uses as a component in a "Hold Person" spell.  The belt buckle's got to go, too.  And those metal Bracers of Defense.  And that Ring of Protection.  Along with any scroll cases with metal in them.  Heck, the guy might have to strip stark naked just to be sure there's no metal on him.  And even then, let's hope the last time he got nicked by a sword it didn't leave too much metallic residue in the wound.

Offline nightmareshadow

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 03:43:43 AM »
Lots of good ideas already posted for this, but ill toss my two coppers in anyways.

Here is my idea when the person uses the rod he gets shocked not to bad but if he uses it to often to quickly he would end up electrocuted.

Offline chronoplasm

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2009, 10:24:13 PM »
Ideas:

1) The lightning cannot be aimed. The rod targets randomly. It could hit a foe, or it could hit a friend, or it could just hit a tree.
2) The rod needs to be recharged after every use.
3) It can only target creatures that are wet.

Offline Loz

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2009, 10:39:04 AM »
Try using the "conductivity" laws of electricity:
The bolt may hit the biggest mass of ferrous metals around the target zone (possibly an ally in plate armour) or the mass highest off the ground. It may not be able to affect some targets (those under trees for example)

Also the wand might short out violently if dunked in water.

Maybe it has a semi-aware minor elemental inside it.... who gets resentful if over used....

Just don't make it so handicapped that no mage in his right mind would make one!

Offline RGTraynor

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2009, 03:50:49 AM »
One way that isn't used enough with such objects is to make it horribly, horribly destructive.  Don't make it just zap the target.  Make a two hundred foot wide crater where the target was.  Have ten, twenty secondary bolts plainly called down striking random buildings in a star pattern centered on the caster, and devastate a measurable percentage of the city/countryside in the resulting conflagration.  Have one (or two, or more, or all) of the fellow PCs fall down, life energy drained almost to death, with ripples of amber light flowing from the collapsed body to the rod.  Make it quite clear that this is plainly one of the Great Terrible Weapons of the world's history, charged with divine power and not remotely meant for mortal hands to abuse.

It's in the hands of a munchkin?  Terrific.  Keep increasing the gain on its zone of devastation, until no civilized land will tolerate the wielder.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 03:52:41 AM by RGTraynor »
It's not that I don't understand what you're saying.  It's that I don't *agree* with what you're saying.

Offline Kolbeinn

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2009, 11:23:28 PM »
One way that isn't used enough with such objects is to make it horribly, horribly destructive.  Don't make it just zap the target.  Make a two hundred foot wide crater where the target was.  Have ten, twenty secondary bolts plainly called down striking random buildings in a star pattern centered on the caster, and devastate a measurable percentage of the city/countryside in the resulting conflagration.  Have one (or two, or more, or all) of the fellow PCs fall down, life energy drained almost to death, with ripples of amber light flowing from the collapsed body to the rod.  Make it quite clear that this is plainly one of the Great Terrible Weapons of the world's history, charged with divine power and not remotely meant for mortal hands to abuse.

It's in the hands of a munchkin?  Terrific.  Keep increasing the gain on its zone of devastation, until no civilized land will tolerate the wielder.


How can I not love this idea? =)

Offline EchoMirage

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Re: Weaknesses needed for Wand of Lightning
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2009, 01:39:24 PM »
...and make the rod the indestructible prison of an elder god.

Well, the above is campaign-defining.
I got an idea for a lesser nuisiance: make it the Hand of the Titan, a gauntlet that merges with the weilder's hand. Yes, he can throw lightning - but the hand is always charged. Try wiping your behind with that, or to climb a metal ladder :D

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