Barbecue Area

My University minor in Anthropology is bleeding through with the name of the strip.

I enjoy how wacky certain spells can make the game. Stone to flesh is the perfect example. Its purpose is plain: allow people to be de-petrified after a failed encounter with a medusa or gorgon, and it is the countering rock to stone to flesh’s scissors. And yet, divorced from its meta design background, you have a spell solely designed to it makes stone into flesh. There’s no reason it only has to work on petrified victims, right? And wackiness ensues.

Siege examples aside, the story of Pygmalion springs to mind. Spells like that cause the worldbuilder in me to surge with creativity. Imagine a Vlad Tepes who stacks victims in a wall of stakes before having them turned to stone, making for a horrifying defensive fortification. What if a wizard ran a series of brothels, populated entirely by statues made flesh? Suddenly, prostitution becomes a victimless crime. And the wizard would take commissions, making statues to order for the rich and powerful. (Okay, as written the spell doesn’t work like that, but it’s a neat idea).

At this risk of sounding like an edition warrior, this is one of the ways 4e fell flat for me. With “petrified” being a straight condition, spells or rituals designed to counter it just removed that condition (like remove affliction). All the related creative (and comedic) possibilities vanished, along with the worldbuilding ideas and creative solutions.