So at last Alessandro i Maldolen, my high elven mage, has reached 5th level in Pathfinder. Fireballs and Lightning Bolts at last! But when I look at the Fireball spell, it seems that Pathfinder has nerfed it. The radius is only 20′ and there’s a reflex save. Where is the Fireball I remember from days long past? It is then that Delta’s D&D Hotspot comes to my rescue, because he has listed the full history of the Fireball spell, and helped me realize that it has always been about the same size and had a save. In my head, the Fireball spell shone so brightly that I exaggerated it. Too bad! It is a great way to look at one’s spells though, and if you are interested in learning more about the history of D&D, look at these similar posts:
Reading about Chainmail reminded me of all the war games we used to play back in the 1970s. War games came before rpg, and were the basis for them. We had a lot of fun playing H.G. Wells’ Little Wars and then TSR’s Chainmail and Swords and Spells. My image of a fireball is still based on the Chainmail version.
Of course, the indoor war game we played most frequently was for each of us to have the same number of Airfix plastic soldiers and wooden blocks. We created fortresses out of the blocks to hide the soldiers, and then sniped at them with two small plastic cannon with springs that shot tiny shells. These were the guns from the German defense battery that came with Airfix’s D-Day Operation Overlord Giant Gift Set, or something that looked very much like it. The guns long outlasted the emplacement. The LST (I think we only got one in our set) was destroyed by day 2, but the tanks lasted quite a while, and the shore defenses (plastic hedgehogs) continued to stab our bare feet every morning for many years. When the sniping failed to dislodge the best protected soldiers, we intensified the bombardment with bouncy balls, softballs, and finally a basketball. The last man standing won.
Of course, we also played Army outside, because it was the 1970s and the only video game we had in Manitoba was Pong. The favored weapon was the Thompson SMG or Colt .45 Auto, both of which came from the Sears Paratrooper Jump Master set. Later we got Mattel’s M-16 as well, but the stock broke off and that became a machine pistol instead. And of course, there were the ubiquitous sticks, so if you are appalled by the violence of toys back then, don’t imagine they changed our play. Sticks are either swords or guns, as any boy knows, and it hurts a lot less to get shot with a stick than to be hit with one. We had a fourteen acre farm in Manitoba, and my brother and I, and our friend Victor, and maybe other kids who came over to play, used to wage war by starting at opposite ends of the farm and advanced through brush, the pole barn, and behind the garage to ambush each other, over and over again.
Anyways, now I sit on my duff and throw fireballs. Not quite as much fun, but then again, New England has a lot more Lyme disease than Manitoba did. So I guess I’ll make some area of effect templates and get ready for the fun.