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View Full Version : Incanting spells and calling attacks - Do you do it, and how often?



Greywander
2019-05-24, 02:24 AM
So I recently binge watched the first season of Goblin Slayer, and as with many anime some of the characters would call out their attacks. Except in that context, it was more that they were saying the incantations for their spells, which makes slightly more sense.

Obviously, calling out your attacks isn't a very sound battle strategy, but it can sure make things more dramatic. So I was wondering if anyone actually called their attacks or spoke an incantation when casting a spell, and if so, how often you did it. It would probably get old fast if you did it every time you used that attack or spell, and you don't want to hog the spotlight too much. But it seems like it could be a good way to sort of get into your character and RP without needing to actually socialize.

And really, something like:

"Wielder o' forge an' flame
Smelter o' silver an' steel
Purify this world o' wickedness
With thy Sacred Flame!"

sounds a lot cooler than:

"I cast Sacred Flame."

Although admittedly it could use some work. By the way, I've been working on building a cleric of Moradin for D&D 5e; did you know that every spell on the cleric list has verbal components?

I feel like it could be helpful to have some guidelines on how and when to do this, though, or, as I said, it will get old fast. You could have the longform chant (the full chant), the shortform chant (just the last line or the spell's/ability's name), and a nonform ("I cast [spell] again") for when calling out incantations is overused. As for when to use each form, perhaps something like the following:

Longform, the first time you use a new ability that you've never used before.
Shortform the first time during combat, then nonform thereafter, for spammable or not significant abilities (like spamming a regular attack, or, for D&D 5e, cantrips).
Longform the first time during combat, then shortform thereafter, for more powerful or rarely used abilities.
Longform, at dramatic moments, such as if the success of failure of the ability could dramatically shift the flow of battle.
Shortform or nonform, if you recently longformed or shortformed and it would feel excessive to longform or shortform again so soon.
Any form, out of combat, as appropriate for the flow of the narrative. More dramatic tends toward longform, more utilitarian tends toward nonform.

Thoughts? Anyone actually do this? Does it make the game more fun, both for you and for the others at the table, or does it just slow down the game and make you hog the spotlight?

Kyutaru
2019-05-24, 02:45 AM
And really, something like:

"Wielder o' forge an' flame
Smelter o' silver an' steel
Purify this world o' wickedness
With thy Sacred Flame!"

sounds a lot cooler than:

"I cast Sacred Flame."
I used to do this when roleplaying as Orphen because he literally does this in the anime. But even he or the creators gets tired of it and shortens the incantation to just the last line. Then they shorten it again to just the spell name. Then they just stop chanting and start firing it like it's a magic gun. It's cool for the getting people involved in the story but once it drags on I guess you slowly "master" the spell or stop caring.

BWR
2019-05-24, 03:06 AM
Very rarely. If there is a game or system that explicitly expects you to do something like this, fine, but we don't play any of those. Otherwise, only in dramatically appropriate moments, which means once a year or so. Like some divine caster invoking an appropriate punishment on a BBEG. Certainly not something we do every session.
As for incantations (or shouting your attack name for the more martially minded) sounding cooler than just telling people what you are doing, that's a matter of taste. I find them cheesy, and rarely the good kind of cheese.

Greywander
2019-05-24, 03:10 AM
I used to do this when roleplaying as Orphen because he literally does this in the anime. But even he or the creators gets tired of it and shortens the incantation to just the last line. Then they shorten it again to just the spell name. Then they just stop chanting and start firing it like it's a magic gun. It's cool for the getting people involved in the story but once it drags on I guess you slowly "master" the spell or stop caring.
This sort of mirrors what I was talking about, with having a longform, shortform, and nonform version of an incantation or attack call, with it always using the longform the first time, but gradually tending toward the nonform as it gets used more and more. Which makes sense, virtually all anime (that uses called attacks) does something like this, so it's not like I pulled it out of thin air.

I do feel like it would require a healthy amount of intuition and discretion on the part of the player to decide which form would be appropriate at any given time. So, something that would get better with practice, and with feedback from the rest of the table.

And even when you're playing with the same table, you can make it all new again with a new character who uses completely different incantations.

Jay R
2019-05-24, 09:02 AM
I would be so tempted to polymorph myself with, "Shazam!"

Or cast a programmed illusion spell with,
"Meeska, Mooska, Mouseketeer,
Mousecartoon time now is here."

Aotrs Commander
2019-05-24, 04:59 PM
I based an entire character around turnign a straight cleric/monk combo into not-quite-Naruto pretty much solely so I could do a lot of shouting about "Fire Style: Phoenix Flower Jutsu!" and "Shadow Clone Eight Trigrams: Four Palm Blitz!" and "Water Style: Frozen Blossom Jutsu!" and stuff, and reflavour most of the buffs into friendship-style shouty-phrases which I could also yell a lot.

Keledrath
2019-05-27, 07:53 AM
I've actually got a wizard who uses True Speech to enhance his fire magic. He also recently added cold magic to his repertoire (stolen from another PC after they lost their power).Since it's a 4e game, the language of choice is Supernal, which has some interesting properties
1. It cannot be learned at a starting language, you need to put investment into learning it after character creation
2. Creatures with an Immortal origin that speak Supernal can understand any spoken language
3. Angels and gods (a subset of Immortal origin creatures) speaking Supernal are heard by all creatures as if speaking that creature's native tongue
So, based on this, I decided to translate his command words into Welsh. He begins every incantation with "Iâtân", or "Frozen Flame" and then follows with a command
Iâtân Cynnwys: Frozen Flame Contain is a spell that makes a zone, and enemies I hit cannot leave or see out of the zone until they save out of it. (Mirage Arcana)
Iâtân Cysgod: Frozen Flame Shadow makes a huge area of obscurement for enemies (Dark Gathering)

So he does incant with all of his true speech based powers, which, mechanically, are the ones that he is using Elemental Pact warlock to convert into Thunder damage. His other powers are based off of his Fey Pact or his infernal heritage. Attack everyone next to me then teleport 10 squares is "Summer's Escape", while the power to make a zone of constant fire damage is "Hellfire Eruption". Shield became "Imp Block" since it's an off turn action in 4e.

Jay R
2019-05-29, 09:34 PM
I once ran a Dr. Strange type superhero, Dr. MacAbre (John MacAubrey, Ph.D.), who always cast his magic with alliterative phrases:


By Baggins's busted buttons!
By Conan's Copper Codpiece!
By Smaug's smelly smallclothes!
By the lush, lurid, living alliteration of Lee!
By the cosmic cartoon creations of Kirby!

jintoya
2019-06-01, 01:26 PM
We have kinda a style system in our game where if you wanted to do something cool, you can, just make the extra Dex or Str roll, other than that, the closest I've come to something like this was playing a knight who used annoying ye-olden talk both in and out of battle

"Fall before thine fabled blade, knave!"
The chaotic good knight, the party never even found out that he wasn't really a knight... Just looted some armor and romped around acting like a buffoon... It was good fun, he annoyed everyone by talking how he thought knights talked

Malphegor
2019-06-01, 01:34 PM
I am too much of a fan of mangled bad latin mixed with bad welsh since I speak welsh.

Summon Monster: Fiendish Ape has the incantation:

“DOMINUS! INFERNUS! SY’N ASTRA! PONGO PONGO, INFERNUS! DWAD O EICH GWELY COSMICIAU, I CWFFIO Y DYNION DRWG YMA!”

I used to look these up but now I prefer the looks I get when I fumble and make something truly awful on the fly.

(“Our infernal reign is through the cosmic reaches of space! COME FORTH, Infernal ape, from your slumber, to fight these bad people here!” Except mangled in the simplest way)