Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
Melf's Acid Arrow
Back in my day, we had to hunt down and find adders. Do you know how hard it is to find adders IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER? No, you don’t. Nowadays, all you youngblood hotshot sorcerers had to do is point your wand at an orc and POOF acid hits him upside the head, and it’ll splash him even if you miss! You didn’t have to deal with druids giving you the over-under-surcharge for powdered rhubarb leaf as if you were at the chariot dealership. And you had to deal with that over-under-surcharge, or else they’d bash you over the head with their magical clubs. – Ubin the Green, one of Melf’s earliest apprentices.
Melf’s Acid Arrow is the most famous spell created by the Archmage Melf. It was first published in the tome Weapons of the Ether co-written by Melf’s ally Mordenkainen. This spell has been modified by Melf’s apprentices to better suit their needs, and the original version of the spell is almost never taught to newer mages.
In the original form of the spell, Melf used an adder’s stomach and powdered rhubarb leaf to cast the spell. His apprentices later modified the spell in different ways, such as using a dart to focus the spell, making it more accurate. Later modifications included using arcane focuses such as orbs and staffs in place of the material components and how the spell affected the target. Regardless of the version of the spell, the main purpose of the spell was to do acid damage to the target, both on contact and shortly after contact.
Once the caster has pointed their index finger at their target, and spoken their incantation (Ubin used the phrase “I poke thee”), a shimmering green arrow streaks toward the target, and bursts on contact into a spray of acid. The original form of the spell dealt damage upon contact and dealt recurring damage based upon how powerful the caster was at the time of casting. Newer iterations traded the recurring damage for a “safety net” of sorts. The spell still deals damage on contact, and once more after, but if the spell misses, it will splash the target with acid, for much less damage, and none after contact.