This is all about the best D&D 3.5 spells ever. A few quick ground rules. First, I’m only using spells from the SRD. In fact, I’m using The Hypertext d20 SRD to be specific. If it’s not in there, you won’t see it here. Also, no epic magic. Epic magic can do anything assuming you can get your spellcraft high enough. I’ll be picking one spell from each spell level. That’s ten amazing spells total. If your favorite isn’t on the list, don’t sweat it, it could still very well be an awesome spell… unless it’s evocation or has a HD cap anyway. Then we might have to get into specifics. Finally, I’m not going for min-maxing on this one… I’m going for fun, possibilities for creative use, or the simple justification of I like using it a lot.
0th Level – Create Water
This one barely beats out Prestidigitation, another awesome spell, and certainly more versatile. However, create water also has its uses. For instance, free water in the desert, which is not only vital to survival, it’s also a great business once the local oasis dries up. It can also make difficult terrain if your DM is feeling generous and you’re on some form of dirt; this won’t work on rock unless it’s also cold enough for the water to freeze in the time you need it to. Finally, you can use it to pin point invisible foes if you’re high enough level. Just drop 10 gallons of water spread out in as thin a sheet as the rules allow on the battlefield, and watch for where the water breaks on it’s way to the ground. My personal favorite use when I’m playing the game with an unsuspecting DM.
1st Level – Detect Evil
The plot destroyer. Put this one up, start concentrating, and as soon as something suspicious happens, you know who to look for in order to get your answers. Seriously, when there are only two evil people in town, and someone has just gone missing, it’s not too hard to figure out who did it. Admittedly, this only works in areas where most people are good or neutral, and you aren’t dealing with complex plots in which good people are also villains sometimes. However, in many D&D games, this will tell you exactly who’s behind it, and what you should do about it. Here’s a hint: if it’s evil, you should kill it if you want to be hero, and team up with it if you want to take over the world. If you go the route of taking over the world, consider using detect good in place of detect evil.
2nd Level – Mirror Image
There are no words to describe how awesome this spell is. Well, okay, there are, it’s just going to take some effort. You get a bunch of illusory duplicates of yourself, all acting exactly like you, for the purpose of misdirecting enemy attacks. You always get at least two images, on a poor roll at low levels, and can have as many as eight on a good roll and at high levels. This translates into a miss chance of 66% at worst and 88% at best. Way better than the tepid stuff greater invisibility can do for you in terms of miss chance (though it has other uses that are quite nice). Of course, every time an opponent misses you due to the spell, the miss chance lowers a bit as that image is destroyed, but even with only one image left, it’s still just as good as full concealment at 50%. Not to mention, imagine how cool it looks to have five of you on the battlefield at once, even if only one is real.
3rd Level – Glibness
Like to lie? Then you’ll love +30 to bluff whenever you try to convince someone you’re telling the truth. You’ll also love that even if a spell compels you to tell the truth, or would reveal that you’re lying, there’s a chance the spell trying to expose your mischevous ways could fail to work on you.
Now, +30 to bluff will put you about on par with a low epic level rogue who maxes bluff. Assuming you don’t even have any training in bluff. If you do, you’ll find yourself convincing people of extrordinary things, and they’ll believe everything you tell them, hook, line, and sinker. Think of all the cons you could pull. One thing is certain: with this much persuasive power, you’ll be living the good life in no time flat.
4th Level – Polymorph
So many options. So much power. So many creative uses. So many ways to completely abuse this spell. Sure, you don’t get the supernatural and magical power of whatever you turn into. You do still get its extraordinary abilities. You can also still squeeze through small spaces, fly, and lay the beatdown on those lesser creatures who can’t turn into mean, lean, wrecking machines. Besides which, spying is a breeze as no one will ever suspect the bird eating from the bird feeder as listening in on an important conversation. Unless they brought along a wizard or a cleric anyway. And this is just scratching the surface.
5th Level – Control Winds
This was a tough pick, as 5th level has a lot of awesome spells, including awaken and nightmare. However, control winds wins out simply due to its raw power. You can cause the wind to go from calm to tornado force in six seconds flat assuming a high enough caster level. You can control the way the wind blows in a number of ways as well. My personal favorite is to have a calm spot where my allies and I are standing, then have it blow away from us in all directions, causing all enemies to go flying away from us. It’s quite fun. Very useful when there’s a convenient cliff or pool of lava nearby, I must say. Also great for wrecking structures, and even known to knock powerful dragons out of the sky for easier pickings.
6th Level – Irresistable Dance
This is the ultimate lesson in humiliation. The spell allows no save, and the hapless fool struck by it can do nothing but dance with gusto while the spell lasts. It makes the victim unable to effectively defend himself, and also look like a fool in the process. Quite possibly the ultimate save or lose spell. Certainly reason enough all on its own to invest in mind blank or similar effects.
7th Level – Reverse Gravity
Exactly like you’d expect from the name, everything falls up. Without something to hold onto, or the ability to fly, you’ll find yourself crashing into the ceiling or floating in the air unable to move. And it will be hilarious to watch for those lucky enough to be unaffected. It’s equally fun when the spell wears off and everyone falls back to the ground, only to have the cheeky wizard cast the spell again.
8th Level – Binding
If you don’t know what this spell does, read the entire entry. It’s that good. Ever wanted to trap a creature in a jar? Perhaps imprison it in a gemstone or a labrynth? Condemn it to eternal slumber? This is the spell for you then. Not only can it do these awesome things, among others, but you can even have assistants to help you make the spell more powerful so it can last longer or possibly deny the target creature a saving throw. No save imprisonment sounds like a win-win. Not only is this spell effective, it also has some of the best flavor of the spells in D&D.
9th Level – Astral Projection
This one barely beats out shapechange and time stop. Travel the planes, and if you happen to die in your travels, then you get to return to your body rather than actually dying. This allows for lots of exploration and risk taking, and a lot of fun. When you can’t die, you can do lots of things you wouldn’t ordinarily try after all. Just make sure your physical body is well-protected. Perhaps if you’re the paranoid type you should put up a wall of stone and prismatic sphere in a well-hidden location before projecting. Either way, it’s one of the ultimate exploration spells, and you should have no trouble finding new things to do, or surviving doing those things. You just might have to try them a few times to be successful. Not a problem when you can just keep going back for more though.