So, question, Hold Person.

So, question, Hold Person.

So, question, Hold Person. Spell name says “Person,” description says “Creature,” which means it’s basically akin to “Hold Monster,” as well? Had a Cleric throw this down at a dragon and succeed with an 8. I didn’t want to summarily say “Nope, it’s immune to that,” even though I think it should be (and I hadn’t explicitly annotated it as “Immune to…”). Since the Drago could still speak, and therefore, I assume still use a Breath Weapon (plus cast the spells I gave it), the situation turned into a Parley, which had the PCs give up some valuables in exchange for dropping the enchantment and 1 day to leave the drag’s territory (Mr. Drags also cooked and ate all their horses). That said…

Seems like the ability to “Hold” anything, Person, Creature, whatever, is ridiculously overpowered for a 3rd level spell. versus what is supposed to be a possibly lethal encounter. I don’t want to negate the Cleric’s ability to use the spell on basically almost anything, but wouldn’t it be fair to say the intent behind “Hold Person” is really something Humanoid, or, you know, a “Person?”

How do/would you run it?

16 thoughts on “So, question, Hold Person.”

  1. Was it awesome? Did the cleric like holding a dragon at bay so they could talk?

    There is no such thing as “overpowered” in DW, as there is no balance. Cleric holds the dragon, cool, but on that 8, he also hears the hoots and hollers of a dozen or so kobolds as they step out of the tunnels.

    Reading between the lines of your question, it sounds like your players defeated your encounter in a way you didn’t expect, and you want to know how to do it the way you wanted. It sounds awesome to me. I bet your players thought so too.

  2. Well, six of one, half a dozen of the other…They had successfully hidden themselves. Their horses broke and run, and the dragon was intent on feasting on them. But one of their party, a lower level follower (who might one day be a PC), ham-fisted his hide while trying to hold his pony, and got dragged into the open. The Dragon lanced him with a fire bolt and scooped him up. The Wizard, playing on his Impulsive flaw, leaped out and fired a Magic Missile, and there they went.

    I would say it was pretty cool. The entire encounter was of the cuff as it was. The Wizard was trying to Shadow Step the whole party to an unknown location and botched the roll. I houseruled that a spell failure requires two choices from the failure list, so he took -1 ongoing, and “draw unwanted attention.” I had already concocted a nearby dragon with Kobold followers, which would only come into play if they got off course, or followed the clues they’d already found (shed dragon scales). Fighting the dragon was not on their agenda–they were headed somewhere else, taking the more dangerous route to get their faster, and to avoid detection/pursuit by enemies in their base town.

    In any case, “unwanted attention,” got me to looking at the wandering monster list I was using. The thing that made sense, logically, was to have a spell backfire, in this case a tremendous BOOM!, which I decided drew the attention of the hunting dragon from far away. They caught sight of it changing course, and took cover. There was no way to hide the horses, and, since they’d HAVE to be spooked, I had them bolt. Then the above happened.

    In the end, I guess it worked out satisfactorily. They were scared witless by the dragon. They started the parley as it drew breath to fry them –smart move. The caster gave up a magical orb in exchange for their fried, but still living hireling (that poor sob…he just got hammered). They slipped away. Then, when they got to their destination, tried telling everyone how they faced “M’nenieth, the ageless” and survived. No one believes them, of course, so this led to a bunch of eye rolling among those they spoke to. The Halfling was hit by a Curse spell that outlined him in Ruby Red, which forced him to contact the local mages guild to get it dispelled. The guild master there figured the party lied about the dragon thing, accused the party mage of accidently cursing his own party member, scoffed at them, and charged them a ton of coin to lift the curse.

    Now, of course, the mage wants to go back and take on M’nenieth, after they wrap up a trek into a deadly swamp.

    So…I guess that sounds pretty awesome?

  3. Undoubtedly.:-) Not to belabor, but everything on that tangent came from generating a random monster list from Wizardawn (GREAT resource). It had kobolds an dragons on it, so there’s a match made in heaven. Also had mummies and ghouls, so I figured there’s also a set of ruins somewhere nearby. And since ghouls HAVE to come from somewhere, someone must be snatching travelers and whatnot and turning them into the undead. On top of that, the Wizard performed a summon monster earlier during a night attack when he failed his Stay Sharp move on watch. I pulled another WM from the list (Land Shark), and that creature erupted from the ground, munched 3 Ghouls, and turned the tide of battle. Crazy stuff, but it seemed to work.

  4. Maybe it’s called Hold Person but says creatures referring to the size.

    This said, the powers of a cleric come from a god,

    if you think that said god is capable of overpowering a dragon, the cleric can hold it.

  5. That’s sort of how it went. Funny you mention that–the angry dragon asked the cleric who he followed, and added, “Your God must be powerful indeed to hold me…but he will not hold me long. And when he releases me, I shall send you to meet him!” (okay, I’m convinced–this whole thing was better with the hold than a straight up fight).

  6. I bet that dragon has two things on its agenda now:

    1) dig through its hoard for a Circlet of Unimpeded Movement to wear as a claw/earring so that never happens again (and to become cool loot when the party does come back for the dragon).


    2) Do whatever it needs to do to storm the gates of heaven to revenge this unacceptable insult against its radiant fire-breathing glory.

  7. “If only I weren’t such a hideous dragon that no one could ever love… perhaps you kind adventurers might be able to help me. My people have a story that the dragons of old were able to turn into human form. But that secret has been lost… help me won’t you, sweetie,” he says, winking at the halfling.

  8. Late to the party here. I’m all for being awesome taking higher priority than strict rules interpretations. That being said, you have to take the spirit of things into account as well. As the spell is called “Hold Person” I would expect it to only work on person-y creatures.

    So trick that dragon into polymorphing into a person first. 😉

  9. I haven’t seen the new playbooks. Where can I get them? As for the halfling, M’neniath was not pleased to give up his tasty snack. Someday, little one, you will grace his table.:-)

  10. Fictionally, I’ve used Hold Person before but made it a great effort. A strong warrior was stopped in place by a character, but the warrior was using all her strength to try break out of the spell and it was a serious strain on the caster.

    I didn’t add any rolls or undermine the effect of the spell, but I made it clear that the spell was temporary, required serious concentration and would have to be removed before the party could actually leave.

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