Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
The Lich stood on the edge of the cliff, silhouetted by the frequent lightning strikes and soaked by the torrential rain. The druid’s party lay mostly dead and dying behind him, save the bard, who was slowly bleeding out. The druid cursed; he could no longer change his form, and could only cast one more spell of any significant power. If he didn’t act fast, he would join the rest of his party – the nearby cities would be doomed.
He had only one choice.
The Lich let out a slow, menacing, but above all, mocking chuckle. “What’s the matter? Are you too weak to challenge me?” the Lich leered. The bard’s head flicked up, flint in his eyes. He felt the energy of the storm around him, the terrifying potential of nature. He felt power building and flowing through him. He raised his arms, beckoning the lightning. He threw his hands forward, and the lightning, instead of grounding, leapt from his fingertips, emitting a shockwave in front of him. The Lich realized what was happening, and moved to brace himself – but then an arcane series of words wormed its way into his ear. He looked around for the briefest of moments, not seeing the prone form of the bard, sprawled in the mud. It was he who had just used cutting words. By the time the Lich locked eyes with the bard, it was too late. The shockwave caught the Lich in the upper torso. He was thrown back like a ragdoll. He reached out for the edge of the cliff, but in vain. He had been thrown too far, his hands met nothing but air and rain. He plummeted, hitting the cliff face at one or two points on the way down. He didn’t bounce, but smeared. By the time his remains hit the rocks below, there was little left. The marks on the cliff didn’t last long in the rain though. In minutes, only a few scraps of flesh and pieces of bone that had been caught on rocks and outcrops remained.
The storm softened. In the gathering calm, the druid administered a health potion to the cleric, who revived the dead and healed the rest. As they trudged towards a nearby city, the barbarian noticed a shiny flask thing on the ground, presumably dropped by the lich at some point during the battle, that he could flog for some different shiny in the nearby town. He picked it up, unaware of the nature of the flask.
Origins of Thunderwave
Thunderwave did not start out as a spell to be used in battle. Originally having a wave of pressure of sizeable width and height burst from the user had more practical effects. The Riverforge clan of Dwarves, a small clan that has since been wiped out, used to mine in rather difficult terrain. The spell’s exact origin within the clan is unknown, but it is believed an apprentice of magic was angered at the recent deaths in one of the mines at the hands of poisonous gas, sudden floods, fireballs, and all other variety of sudden, painful deaths. She worked on a way to push items away with a wave of force over many months of experimentation. She showed it to no-one, until one day she was being shown through the mines. She saw a glint of orange in the distance, a wall of fire rapidly approaching the group. After all the months of practice she let out the spell instinctively, and stopped the flame cold. She saved many lives with that one spell. The spell was quickly adopted by the Arcanists that helped in the mines after it was how to be as effective as it was. Over a hundred years later, that same apprentice, now much a much older, more powerful mage, was the witness of an ogre attack on her camp. Most of the strong fighters in the small camp had been knocked out or killed by the time she arrived out of the mine. It had been a long day, and she had used many of her spells. As soon as she realized what was happening, she ran toward the ogre, and unleashed the spell with an unprecedented level of fury. After a less specialized use of this spell had been shown to be usable, it gained popularity among beginning arcanists, especially those that like nature, (the druids, due to the thunder aspect of the spell,) and those that dealt with sound, the bards. It is now a staple in many beginning adventurer’s spells.
Observations and Notes on Thunderwave’s Effect.
Thunderwave is a fairly simple spell in terms of the effect. It has a clearly defined area which it affects with a large amount of pressure. The real technical difficulty comes in when you try to spread it over such a large area, maintain the pressure in a consistent shape and area. Thunderwave can vary from caster to caster, but often even between each use of the spell. Being a spell of pure energy, it can change its effect depending on the caster’s mood. This means the spell can vary from a sharp crack that shatters any solid object in its path, to being more of a sudden gust that knocks enemies back. It leaves the smell that you get after a strong storm in the area that it passes through. The exact reason for this is still unknown, but many bards are of the belief that a very weak form of Thunderwave can be used to make the olfactory aspect of one’s room more appealing.
Further Uses, Expansions, and Possibilities of Thunderwave
While somewhat limited at first glance, Thunderwave can be used for a variety of uses, such as attempting to break down a door, destroy a wall, and a more efficient way of killing someone, if they are near the edge of a precipice of some kind. It can also in theory be used as method of diverting something, such as an approaching fireball, or projectile of significant bulk, as something like an arrow or javelin travels through the air with little resistance, so Thunderwave would have little effect on them.
Other uses of Thunderwave are yet to be explored, but with such a simple spell there is much room to experiment and develop, as with many simple spells there are more ways to improve and/or change it rather than just funneling more raw power into it. Especially now that more people are pushing the borders of what can be done with magic, I believe that there should be more focus on the basic spells due to the amount of flexibility that they have.