Friday, 3 September 2021

Otto’s Spells

 

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
― Bob Marley


Otto, upon the Guild's Stage
Say what you will about Otto, the man loves his music. He’s a patron of the Arts, most specifically of the Guild of Performing Artistes in the Free City of Greyhawk, where he is often in attendance. He could have been a member of that noble and talented troupe. Those who’ve heard him sing suggest he might very well have been the greatest tenor of his generation, had fate dealt him another hand and he had pursued his love of opera instead of the Art he had. That said, he never strayed very far from his first and life-long love. His adoration of all things audio can be seen in his spell creations, as they focus largely on rhythm, rhyme, and harmony, to say nothing of tone and melody.
I might suggest that if you cannot hold a tune, that you should be very careful in articulation when casting Otto’s spells, lest all manner of foul happenstance fall upon your person.

Here’s a list of those we know of. I’m sure he’s researching more, even as I write this.

Level One
Otto’s Chime of Release
Level Two
Otto’s Soothing Vibrations
Otto’s Tones of Forgetfulness
Level Three
Otto’s Crystal Rhythms
Otto’s Sure-Footed Shuffle
Level Four
Otto’s Drums of Despair
Otto’s Rousing Anthem
Otto’s Silver Tongue
Otto’s Tonal Attack
Otto’s Tin Soldiers
Otto’s Warding Tones
Level Five
Otto’s Gong of Isolation
Level Six
Otto’s Triple Chime
Level Eight
Otto’s Irresistible Dance

No description:
Otto’s Imperative Ambulation


Otto’s Chime of Release (Alteration)
Level: 1
Components: V, S, M
Range: 60 yds
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 segment
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast, a delicate chime rings out, the vibrations of which will release any form of nonmagical bonds holding a single creature or person. Ropes will be untied, chains and shackles loosened, leather straps unbound, a gag undone, or a wooden stock will be opened by the chime. The spell can even be used to release a bit and bridle on a horse, freeing the mount from a rider’s direct control. The material component is a small brass tubular chime, which disappears when the spell is cast.
[GA – 65]

A Lulling Effect
Otto’s Soothing Vibrations (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 2
Components: V
Range: 60yds
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: 20’ radius sphere
Explanation/Description: As the mage casts the spell, all creatures in the area of effect begin to hear soothing vibrations that cause them to pause and listen. As the music continues, the creatures feel the mage broadcasting peaceful, kindly thoughts to them. The creatures will do nothing for one round until the mage is finished casting the spell. Thereafter, all animals in the area of effect of semi-intelligence or lower will feel kindly to the mage, and show no aggression or fear unless attacked first. All other creatures are entitled to a saving throw at +2 to avoid the spell’s lulling effect. All animals and those creatures who fail the save are more susceptible to charm spells cast before the spell’s duration ends, and suffer a -2 penalty against any charm spell cast upon them, such as animal friendship, charm person or mammal, or charm monster: There is no somatic or material component to the spell, just the soothing, vibrating voice of the caster.
[GA – 65]

“I… I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air.”
Good Vibrations—Beach Boys, 1966
[Sorry, I couldn't help myself.]


Otto’s Tones of Forgetfulness (EnchantmentCharm)
Level: 2
Components: V, S, M
Range: 10 yds/level
Casting Time: 2 segments
Duration: 1 turn/level
Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: When the mage casts this spell, the ears of the target creature are filled with exotic tones no one else can hear. Unless the creature makes its saving throw, the creature will lose all memory of non-weapon proficiencies known by the creature, and any attempt to use such a proficiency will meet with automatic failure. If the creature’s save is successful, the creature merely suffers a + 2 penalty to the chance of success with a non-weapon proficiency for the duration of the spell. The material components are a string from a sitar and a wooden mallet.
[GA – 65]

Otto’s Crystal Rhythms (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 3
Components: V, S, M
Range: 10 yds/level
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 2 rounds/level
Saving Throw: Negates
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: Unless the victim of this spell makes its saving throw, the creature’s ears will be filled with the sound of energetic crystal chimes that no one else can hear. The creature will immediately drop anything in its hands and begin clapping, so the creature cannot use its hands for anything else. Spells requiring a somatic component cannot be cast, thieving skills cannot be performed, tools cannot be used, and weapons cannot be wielded by the clapper. Obviously, only creatures that have hands will be affected, and any creature with more than one pair of hands will clap along with as many hands as the creature has. The material components for the spell are a pair of crystals worth 500 g.p. that vanish after the spell is cast.
[GA – 65]

Otto’s Sure-Footed Shuffle (Alteration-Enchantment/ Charm)
Level: 3
Components: V, S, M
Range: 30 yards
Casting Time: 3 rounds
Duration: 1 turn
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: All creatures within range
Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast, the listeners hear fiddle music for one round. Thereafter, the creatures are given the walking agility and sure-footedness of a mountain goat. The creature can climb an incline of up to 50 degrees with no trouble. In any situation where the creature might trip, slip, stumble, or lose his footing or balance, the creature is allowed a +4 bonus to a saving throw or -4 modifier to the creature’s dexterity check to avoid falling, using whichever roll is applicable. The material components are a fiddle string and a sliver from the hoof of a mountain goat.
[GA – 65]

Otto’s Drums of Despair (Enchantment/Charm) reversible
Level: 4
Components: V, S, M
Range: 20 yds/level
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 2 rounds/level
Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: 400 square feet/level
Explanation/Description: This spell will create the sound of oppressively loud war drums in a large area, filling all creatures in the area of effect with feelings of dread and despair. The spell will cover an area at the direction of the caster, so a 10th level mage could affect an area 200 feet by 20 feet, 100 feet by 40 feet, or 50 feet by 80 feet. All affected creatures will be -2 on all attack, damage, and saving throws, and will suffer a - 2 morale penalty. Creatures of 2 hit dice or less are not entitled to a saving throw to avoid the enchantment. Creatures of 2 + 1 to 4 hit dice make their save at -2, and creatures of 4 + 1 hit dice and higher roll an unmodified save. The material components are a pair of miniature bronze drums with onyx decorations, worth 1,000 g.p. in materials and workmanship, that vanish after the spell is cast.

The reverse of the spell, Otto’s rousing anthem, produces a loud trumpet call that raises the spirits of all allied creatures in the same-sized area of effect. All affected creatures will be +1 on attack and saving throws, and NPCs will receive a two-point bonus on morale checks. The material component for the anthem is a set of four miniature silver trumpets trimmed with lapis lazuli, worth a total of 5,000 g.p., which vanish after the spell is cast.
[GA – 65,66]

Otto’s Silver Tongue (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 4
Components: V, S
Range: 0
Duration: 2 rounds/level
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: The mage
Explanation/description: When this spell is cast, the mage’s voice takes on an enthralling sing-song tone that instantly catches the ear of any listener. Anything said by the caster will sound very convincing, as if the mage had a 19 charisma (+ 40% reaction adjustment). Any half-truth spoken by the caster has a 75% chance of sneaking past the notice of a listener using a detect lie spell and an outright lie has a 50% chance of not being discovered by detect lie.
[GA – 66]

Otto’s Tin Soldiers (Alteration)
Level: 4
Components: V, S, M
Range: 10 yds
Casting Time: 1 round
Duration: 5rounds + 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: Special
Tiny Tin Soldier
Explanation/Description: To use this spell, the caster must have a pair of small, tin soldiers appropriate for one of the four versions of the spell. When the spell is cast, rousing martial music fills the air as the tin soldiers grow to human size and come to life. The tin soldiers will obey all orders faithfully, even to the death. The type of soldiers that can be conjured into existence depends on the level of the caster, as follows.

7th level caster—two heavy infantryman: AC 4 (chain mail and large shield); Move 9’’ ; HD 1 + 2; hp 8; #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (spear or short sword); THACO 18; AL N.

9th level caster-two heavy foot archers: AC 5 (chain mail); Move 9”; HD 2 +2; hp 15; #AT 2 or 1 (long bow or short sword); Dmg 1d6 (arrow or short sword); THACO 16; AL N.

12th level caster-two light cavalrymen (if there is room for the horses): AC 6 (ring mail); Move 12”; HD 3 +2; hp 23; #AT 2 or 1 (composite short bow or broad sword); Dmg 1d6 or 2d4 (arrow or broad sword); THACO 16; AL N. They are riding light warhorses: AC 6 (leather barding); Move 21”; HD 2; hp 14; #AT 2; Dmg 1d4/ld4; THACO 16; AL N.

14th level caster—two foot knights: AC 2 (plate mail and large shield); Move 6”; HD 4 +2; hp 30; #AT 1; Dmg 1d10 + 3; THACO 15; AL N.

The material components are the pair of soldiers worth 100 g.p. in workmanship and a miniature brass bugle worth 50 g.p., which vanish after the spell is cast.
[GA – 66]

Otto’s Tonal Attack (Enchantment/charm)
Level: 4
Components: V, S, M
Range: 20 yds/level
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 turns/level
Saving Throw: Special
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: This spell will cause a spell-using creature to temporarily lose the knowledge of how to cast all spells unless a saving throw is made. Clerics and druids make their saves at +2. If the save is successful, then any spell cast by the affected creature is reduced in effectiveness, as if the spell were cast by a character two experience levels lower for figuring spell range, area of effect, duration, or damage. The material components are a sitar string and a crystal mallet (1,000 g.p.1, which vanish after the spell is cast.
[GA – 66]

Otto’s Warding Tones (Enchantment/charm)
Level: 4
Components: V, S, M
Range: 120 yds
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: 50’ by 50’ square
Explanation/Description: All creatures affected by this spell will have their ears filled with loud tones only they can hear. The notes will drown out all other sounds, effectively making the creatures deaf, but also rendering the creatures immune to all sonic attacks, such as sirens’ song, a banshee’s wail, drums of panic, drums of deafening, or the first use of a horn of blasting. The material components are two lumps of bee’s wax and a string from any orchestral string instrument.
[GA – 66]

Otto’s Gong of Isolation (Enchantment/Alteration)
Level: 5
Components: V, S, M
Range: 10 yds/level
Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: 1 turn/level
Saving Throw: Negates
Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: When this spell is cast upon a creature, the mind-numbing sound of an extremely loud gong fills its mind. If the creature makes a saving throw at - 2, the creature is only stunned for one round. But if the save fails, the creature loses all normal sensory input into the mind. The creature cannot see, hear, feel, taste, or smell, effectively making the creature helpless. If the creature engages in melee, all attacks are made at -6 to hit, but the creature has no idea of what it is attacking or even if the attack succeeds. Telepathic communication with the creature is still possible, and the creature might receive information about the world through such a link. A wish, heal, or restoration spell will completely cure the condition. The material components are a miniature gold gong and tiny gold striker with a jade stone as its head, together worth 7,000 g.p. in materials and workmanship, which vanish after the spell is cast.
[GA – 66]

Otto's Irresistible Dance (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 8
Components: V
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 5 segments
Duration: 2-5 rounds
Saving Throw: None
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Explanation/Description: When Otto's Irresistible Dance is placed upon a creature, the spell causes the recipient to begin dancing, feet shuffling and tapping. This dance makes it impossible for the victim to do anything other than caper and prance, this cavorting lowering the armor class of the creature by -4, making saving throws impossible, and negating any consideration of a shield. Note that the creature must be touched - possibly as if melee combat were taking place and the spell caster were striking to do damage.
[PHB 1e – 90]


“Jump around!
Jump around!
Jump around!
Jump up, jump up and get down!
Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! (Everybody jump)”
—House of Pain, 1992


“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche





One must always give credit where credit is due. This piece is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable.
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.


The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Falstaff und sein Page, Adolf Schrödter, 1866
Bigby and Otto of the Circle of Eight, by David Roach, from The Adventure Begins, 1998
Bigby, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #0, 2000
Bigby, by Ken Frank, from WGA4 Vecna Lives!, 1990
Bigby, by Sam Wood, from Living Greyhawk Journal #6, and Dragon #290, 2002
Bigby's Irresistible Dance, by David C. Sutherland III, from PHB 1e, 1978



Sources:
2010 Players Handbook 1e, 1978
011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
2011 Unearthed Arcana, 1985
2023 Greyhawk Adventures, 1988
Dragon Magazine

2 comments:

  1. You crack me up! I really liked this spotlight on Otto, he is underrated so I hope this post turns more DMs onto him as a benefactor NPC. Also, love the quotes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. In college, our epic year-long D&D game came to a head with the ultimate showdown of Good Hero just ascending to godhood against Ultimate Evil God. A fight of godly powers took place, no spell off limits, but we were losing because the Evil God could resist every spell and was a slightly better fighter.

    We desperately thought - what spell can't he resist?

    Otto's Irresistible Dance was the answer. The world was saved by Shuffling Off To Buffalo.

    ReplyDelete