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Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Ultimate Wand of Wonder

Not a toilet plunger among them, goldurn it.
Last week when I was cooking up some stuff for my Monday Dungeon Crawl Classics game, I found a really weird alternate wand of wonder in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess supplement/zine called Green Devil Face #4. That thing is full of useful stuff.

I am seriously considering giving that wand to my players and then standing back and cringing. This thing has got some ridiculous results. Originally I was going to detail it here, but this blog got so gigantic that I figure I'll hold it off for a later date.

In case you are new to the game, a wand of wonder is a magic item that you point and shoot... and random stuff happens. You roll on a chart. It's an item that goes way back.

I can't find too many depictions of the wand of wonder online. I guess we're going to get a look at what the wand of wonder looks like in the 5th edition Dungeon Master's Guide. They did say in the Wizards Q&A that they ordered a pile of art for the magic items which have never been depicted before. I would guess that the wand will make the cut as a worthy piece of art.

I decided to dig up a bunch of old books and pick out my favorite effects from the the different wand variations. Maybe you could make some kind of uber-wand out of them. A "best of" wand. At the very least, this list has what I consider to be the most inspired or interesting random magical effects that could add something to an encounter.

I am focusing on the more random and unique effects of each wand. All of the wands have fireball, fear spells and darkness. Those should be a part of a wand of wonder, they just aren't useful for the purposes of this blog post.

This depiction of the wand to the right is, I believe, by  T. Jordan "Greywulf" Peacock. That's a pretty cool take on the wand. It should look weird and random.

Wand of Wonder - AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide page 136:

- Gust of wind, double force of spell
- Heavy rain falls for one round in a 6 inch radius of wand wielder

That's 6 inches from your miniature, I believe.

- Summon rhino (1-25), elephant (26-50) or mouse (51-00)
- Stream of 600 large butterflies pour forth and flutter around
- Vanish any non-living object of up to 1,000 pounds mass up to 30 cubic feet in size (object is ethereal)

Vanish is a level 7 spell: Objects are sent to the ethereal plane and replaced with stone. Living people can be teleported and caused to reappear at a "desired location".

- Diminish wand wielder to 1/12' height
- 10-40 gems of 1 g.p. base value shoot forth in a 3" long stream, each causing 1 h.p. of damage to any creature in path - roll 5d4 for number of hits 

I find that last one especially amusing. It does damage and gives out money.

Wand of A Wonder - Temple of Elemental Evil page 127:

A few years ago, I ran a 4e version of the Temple of Elemental Evil. I put my heart and soul into this thing. I had played the PC game recently, and despite the weird bugs, I really loved it. But unfortunately what I discovered was that the temple was pretty dull. So was the moathouse from Hommlet. I don't know if that's sacrilegious to say, but that is how I feel. The one thing that spiced up the dungeon was the Wand of a Wonder. I was stunned when I saw it in the back of the book. I couldn't believe I had never heard about it. This thing is full of wackiness (some of it too wacky):

- Target loses all hair, fur, or feathers.
- Pit 10' deep (any necessary width) opens under target's feet.
- Target grows wings, arms, or tentacles.
- Cage of heavy iron bars (10' * 10' x 10') surrounds the wielder.
- Target's color turns to hot pink.
- All gold within 10 feet of the wielder turns to lead.

That one is pretty brutal. I don't know if the players would ever use the wand again after that.

- Target is covered with a thick layer of honey.
- In each of the next 5 rounds, 2-8 sp shoot forth from each of the wielder's ears.
- Target is polymorphed into a giant rabbit (as the polymorph other spell; check for mental change).
- Tree grows under the wielder, lifting to the ceiling or 50' height, whichever is less.
- One hundred dead and putrid fish rain down within 30' of the wielder.

That's a fun one. Now we ramp it up:

- Wielder is polymorphed into a mule-centaur.

Wow. And:

- Eight fiery spheres of different hues shoot forth at 1-segment intervals, striking the target and seemingly causing great amounts of damage (actually only 1 point from each).

Honestly I would change this and have the balls each do some different type of damage. Maybe when each one hits, it generates its' own and effect! But wait, there's more:

- All weapons held in hand within 30 feet turn into bunches of flowers.

This is amusing but again... kind of cruel. Your PCs' favorite magic items... I guess you could say that dispel magic could fix them. Now for the big finish:

- Death ray at target.

Awesome! That is the result of a roll of 100 and seems fitting to me.

Wands of Wonder from Dragon Magazine #147 July 1989:

Last year I would go over to a friend's house and play games with three other people. Board games and Munchkin, mostly. Board games are ok, but wow, Munchkin brings out the worst in people. If I'm going to get people together, I'd rather play D&D. We're building a story, we're creating something. So, they agreed to play some D&D if I would also play some of those other games.

I ran parts of Stonehell Dungeon. Dungeon crawling isn't for everyone. I love it, but it seems like I have a hard time making it exciting when I run them. So to inject some life into this, I dug out a variant wand of wonder from an old Dragon Magazine. It instantly became the best thing about the campaign. The new player said by far her favorite thing in the game was the wand. I got the wand from an article in Dragon Magazine.

Richard Hunt, the author of this article, says he made these variants because he was so tired of his players using the original wand over and over. Their catch phrase was, "I'm going to WOW 'em".

Here's something I didn't know: "In the hands of a leprechaun, a wand of wonder is very dangerous, as he is able to create any effect he so wishes upon command." Uh, holy crap. Note to self: Make a leprechaun NPC.

Wand of Wonder II

- 800 small rubber balls rain down for d4 rounds on the wielder and those nearby. Dex check or trip.
- The target and wielder are covered in liquid chocolate 
Uh, yeah, sure, your bouncing power. Great work.

Well, hello there..

- The target inflates like a balloon for d4 rounds

You're like that guy from the legion of superheroes!

- 100. The target is disintegrated as per the spell.

Blam! I think that number 1 and number 100 should be major effects from the wand.

Wand of Wonder III

- The wand begins to gripe about the wielder's treatment of it - bad working conditions, long hours, etc.
-Summon a buzzard or giraffe or large kitten

This is probably my favorite animal summon

- The target and wielder are exchanged - each takes the place of each other and is wearing the other person's clothes and equipment!
- The target's weapon becomes a teddy bear or a leg of mutton (mmm... mutton!) or a ladle or a herring.

I'd like to bring this to a screeching halt for a sec. When I looked up that picture of Bouncing Boy, I saw some images of a woman that is buried so deep in my mind. When I was four or five, my grandmother got me a legion of superheroes comic. I couldn't make heads or tails of it, but I remember staring at this lady for a long time. Something stirred in me! I may have grown my first chest hair on that very day. My first imaginary girlfriend was PRINCESS PROJECTRA!

Wand of Wonder IV

- One of the following appears over the target's head: A pillow, a small table, or an ANVIL
- The wand summons an ugly painting, bellows or a storm giant's boot
- The target is imbued with improved invisibility


- The wand summons a leprechaun..!

Wow. Remember, leprechauns can choose which effect they use from the wand. That is really cool. The leprechaun of course tries to trick the PCs into letting him use it.

D&D 5th Edition

The Wand of Wonder is on page 212 of the DMG, and bah gawd there's an artistic rendering of the wand! Looks pretty cool, I guess.

This wand has 7 charges and regains d6+1 expended charges at dawn each day. If you use the last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand is destroyed.

There are some amusing results:
  • You are stunned until the start of your next turn, believing something awesome just happened.
  • An object of the DM's choice disappears into the Ethereal Plane.
  • Leaves grow from the target.
  • The target's skin turns bright blue for d10 days.
There you go. Now you can have your PCs face off against five wizards, each with a different wand of wonder.

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