AD&D Spell: Special Effects

Derek Holland

Special Effects is a AD&D second edition spell that I found in the Wizard's Spell Compendium. It is a simple spell that has so much potential for a variety of uses. A 4th level alteration spell, it permanently alters one of the sensory qualities of an object, creature or location (maximum 10' cube). Perfect for a 1st edition illusionist if one was willing to back convert. Here are some ideas for using the spell on objects and locations.

Prism- this allows the creation of new colors. Wizards looking for new prismatic effects should start here.

Wire and Sheets of Metal- instead of making a metallic squeal, when bent, the resulting object makes a different sound. It could be an animal call, a human voice (no more than one word), a single note from a cello or whatever the caster can think of.

Musical Instrument- this allows drums to sound like flutes, harps or even new instruments. For this and other auditory changes, I would add the spell to the bard's spell list.

Tree- druids, witches or others who want to prevent logging, one could alter the visual qualities of heartwood. It usually glows in strange and vile looking colors, enough to frighten lumberjacks. A variant works on stone in mines.

Potion Bottle and Wand- the sound they make when struck with a crystal or metal rod allows the owner to determine which is which without any labels or other signs of difference.

Glass- repeating patterns of colors and shapes on the surface or on an object within glass. One could have something like the photos in Harry Potter or artwork meant to draw the eye away from somewhere the caster wishes to conceal.

Fruit- the skin has a horrendous odor. This keeps pets, those with six legs or two, from stealing the fruit.

Stone and Wood- it is possible to give both of these a mirror finish with Special Effects. Handy when one needs to see around corners and make simple range traps (i.e. down a hallway or tunnel a mirror sits so that the reflection seems like the creature(s) casting the reflection.)

Area of Effect Water- this can affect clarity, alter the water so that it causes a slight sting or even a stench. How many people are expecting odors when they are under the effects of Water Breathing?

Area of Effect Air- casters that have hearing outside the range of humans may be able to set up subharmonics with this spell that cause mood changes. Depending on the emotion, it may even be addicitive. One of the examples given in the spell description is music affecting a location. If the music stops at the edges of the affected area, this could be used in traps or communication that breaks a group of people up- those in the area and those outside it.

Armor- not only can one make it appear more impressive, the spell can hide some types of armor. Leather, studded and hide can have their visual qualities altered so that they appear as clothing. It can also be