Is it ever a good idea to take away the Wizard’s primary combat spell?
In the second (and final session) last night with the 8, 11, and 12 y/o, the 8 y/o playing the wizard had a run of bad luck. On his 6- I had his rainbow colored (he’s got a regenerating lolipop topped staff) magic missile blast a skeleton to pieces, but then have a strange interaction with the dark magic animating the skeleton and blast back to his wizard, causing damage and causing him to glow brightly with rainbow colors, making him the biggest target in the room.
He wanted to keep blasting skeletons and on his next 7-9 I told him that he was weakening and would take a -1 going forward on magic missile. On his next 7-9 I was out of ideas and it felt fair to tell him that the words for magic missile had faded from his mind.
This led to some excitement as he was surrounded by skeletons now and his druid friend had to swoop down and crush them in his giant bird form. There were still skeletons to fight though and I could tell the player of the wizard was getting frustrated. I had already warned him that fighting the skeletons with his staff would probably get him killed (true fictionally and mechanically) and he didn’t have any other spells that would help out in this battle.
I quickly recovered and told him that he could roll +INT to try to use the magic of one of his remaining spells to remember magic missile. He rolled a 13, so it was very exciting to narrate that he pulled in the rainbow light show emanating from his body and used that to recharge magic missile without forgetting any other spells. And like that he was back in the action, helping blast a few more skeletons as the druid stomped a bunch to pieces in wooly mammoth form and the halfling thief made the ultimate sacrifice by throwing a dagger into the evil priest, stopping his dark ritual, but taking a death spell to the heart (last breath followed – he was offered the choice to come back and did).
All in all I love the way it turned out, but would have felt terrible not giving the wizard some way to get back in the action and wonder if forgetting your main (and only) combat spell is ever the right price to pay for a low roll…