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Thread: The Power Words

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    Quote Originally Posted by HamsterKun View Post
    I like that idea. The one for Power Word Kill might be Hakai.
    Might as well go for broke and call it "Jusatsu no Kotodama".

    (Or the official Chikara no Kotoba: Shi, but that sounds kinda lame.)

    Edit: Fixed typo.
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-20 at 02:01 AM.
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    Default Re: The Power Words

    I wonder if the command spell is a version of this. It is language dependant though. A greater version that wasn’t would be interesting.

    Warlocks can shatter objects with a word of dark speech.
    Last edited by Particle_Man; 2019-09-15 at 10:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man View Post
    I wonder if the command spell is a version of this. It is language dependant though. A greater version that wasn’t would be interesting.
    You might have missed my earlier post:

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    They are fragments of Truespeak. ToM 191:

    LESSER TRUENAME MAGIC

    "Truename magic already exists in a limited form in every D&D campaign; it appears in the form of the command and power word spells. These spells originate from the power of truenaming, using a single word to wreak mighty magical effects. Though powerful, they are merely spells and lack the reusability and flexibility real truename magic."


    Putting aside the irony of saying that "mere spells" can't stand up to truenaming, in-universe that's the fluff explanation.
    Of course, that does seem to fly in the face of Command being language-dependent; if it was truly based on Truespeak, the target's ability to comprehend shouldn't matter. (Though you could also argue that it is, and therefore the descriptor, while present, does nothing.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    For a fantasy setting, I really like the idea of "ur language", the words of creation, the language the gods used to bring the universe into existence -- I have that in one of my settings. For those who've mastered the language, speaking the words with intent has effect, but how much effect depends on how much of the power you can handle without it "leaking" and cooking you from the inside out. Mistakes can be lethal, in the "we heard a loud 'CRACK' like thunder from his study, but all we found was a black scorch mark centered here, and charring on the furniture and books" sort of way.

    When one really intends to cause another's death, and speaks the word in that language aloud and directed at the target of one's enmity, with utter perfection, they might actually die -- because it's the word that the gods would speak to make a mortal die and carries that power with it.

    Also, because it's the ur language, any being that can understand any language can understand it when spoken, at a fundamental level that's as much psychic as it is audible -- as long as they're of the solar deities' creation or descended therefrom. (Which becomes a plot point in the fiction, as there's a character who is not descended from creation, and all she hears when someone's speaking it is meaningless random babble -- she needs a translator for the words that should never need translating.)
    The problem is that D&D has at least 3 of these languages: The Words of Creation, the Dark Speech, and Truespeak

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    Default Re: The Power Words

    i always considered that the word of power for paralysis was "POLIO!!!"

    my dm's, after chuckling briefly, always shot me down.

    don't even get me started on the other ones. they're just as cheesy and off-color.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I always pictured it as the caster screaming "KILL!!!!" (or whatever spell (s)he is casting) at the top of their lungs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    This was always my headcanon
    That's not what it is?

    I has just assumed it was the normal word with... ill-defined magical preparation giving it powerful effects. I didn't think there was anything special about them other than the fact they were a set of spells that had short verbal (and mental) activation requirements. Cleanly designed for easy use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The problem is that D&D has at least 3 of these languages: The Words of Creation, the Dark Speech, and Truespeak
    Because it's not enough for D&D to have the kitchen sink, it has to have multiple kitchens' worth of stuff.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-09-16 at 08:16 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    I always pictured it as the caster screaming "KILL!!!!" (or whatever spell (s)he is casting) at the top of their lungs.
    I've always imagined it along this lines too; pointing at the target [or for the dramatic, a finger gun]
    Last edited by LordCdrMilitant; 2019-09-15 at 10:59 PM.
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    Default Re: The Power Words

    Power Word Kill could also be "Then perish."
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    Default Re: The Power Words

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The problem is that D&D has at least 3 of these languages: The Words of Creation, the Dark Speech, and Truespeak
    'Words of Creation' and 'Truespeak' are basically the same thing, just Truespeech is approaching the idea without the assumption that the Words of Creation are only associated with Good (because it's dumb that the Lawful, Chaotic, Evil, and Neutral powers of the universe don't also have access to the power of creation/primal access codes/etc.) Dark Speech is explicitly a corruption of the Words of Creation, IIRC - it's the Vile Darkness 'evil opposite' approach to the concept.

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    I'd tell you, but you wouldn't remember them afterwards. Also, your ears would be bleeding.

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    Default Re: The Power Words

    Honestly I just figured it was a multi-generational decedent from Gynax ripping off some more of Tolkien who had "the song of creation" as a motif...and so looked up legends about song of creation at the library and thought "good, I could make a couple of these ideas into spells...maybe even one of the big 6th level ones, need more of those classical themed" without really getting into the nitty gritty of comparative mythology and the philosophy/theology of linguistics ... and since then it has been a bunch of gamers desperately trying to make a bunch of beer sodden/distracted/improvised choices into a logically coherent idea after the fact.

    but that may just be my thoughts. After the tourney style games of players DM's hopping with their characters had long faded into something else show just how much the game got away from its original runs I don't figure anything really HAS an answer but more that such questions have a bunch of good answers and there is no need to limit yourself to just one....(okay one per campaign or campaign world (which doesn't stop you running 12 versions of Greyhawk all basically identical except for the PC's and whatever the villains/NPC's of that campaign are up to))


    On a funnier note...I did see one player who claimed that Powerword Kill was "Achoo" said in a very nasal fashion...he swore he sneeze killed people.
    Last edited by sktarq; 2019-09-16 at 03:38 PM.

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    As far as I can remember, The Silmarillion was the first time we read about Tolkien's idea of the music of creation. PWK goes back all the way to 1st edition D&D, which came out a few years before.
    Last edited by oudeis; 2019-09-16 at 04:30 PM.

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    People need to watch Dune, and the weirding words. NB these were an addition made by David Lynch and are not in the Original Frank Herbert books.
    Muad’dib
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    Kaa,ja

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedantic View Post
    The take in Fantasy Craft fits neatly with this idea; the Power Word spells in that game are symmetrical, all reading "you and a character of your choice" then having some no-save irrefutable effect. Power Word Kill requires some setup to use safely, as it reads "You and a special character of your choice each suffer enough damage to kill them, even if they can’t hear you."
    This would be an interesting, if potentially OP, direction to take the power words in. Anybody who knows them can "cast" them, but suffers the full effect themselves without being able to protect themselves through sufficient HP. The magical preparation for power words would be a protective charm against the effects of a given word. (Which could then also be spent to protect yourself from someone else's casting.)

    Potentially very broken, since exchanging your action for a boss monster's reliably with PW:Stun can be a very attractive tradeoff, as can removing a big baddie with PW:Kill if you can expect a revivify to come soon. But interesting flavor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    That's not what it is?

    I has just assumed it was the normal word with... ill-defined magical preparation giving it powerful effects. I didn't think there was anything special about them other than the fact they were a set of spells that had short verbal (and mental) activation requirements. Cleanly designed for easy use.
    There's quite clearly the intention of more going on. In my view this is because the word requires incredibly specific tones and if any are out by as much as a hundredth of a hertz it doesn't work. 90% of the spell is actually feedback loops and checks to ensure everything goes correctly.

    That is, of course, until we get to Silent Power Word X from 3.X. Which is clearly a stage whisper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Because it's not enough for D&D to have the kitchen sink, it has to have multiple kitchens' worth of stuff.
    I've been considering a setting which had a symbol sey of creation, but instead I'm working on one where 'multiple languages of creation' is a thing. Essentially there's the Language of the Gods, which is what the world was programmed increated with, and then in the Time of Legends some of the mortals patched in a bunch of 'languages of powet', which cam be used to create effects. Essentially I'm running with a 'magic as programming' analogy, where the world is the operating system written in the LotG, while spells are cast using a language the universe interprets to do additional things. I'm still working it all out, but one of the miscasts is 'the universe does what you say, not what you want'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oudeis View Post
    As far as I can remember, The Silmarillion was the first time we read about Tolkien's idea of the music of creation. PWK goes back all the way to 1st edition D&D, which came out a few years before.
    Was Earthsea the first series of novels to truly popularize "True Names?" They were definitely a staple of mythology for ages prior (Rumpelstiltskin comes to mind), but I'm trying to think of the first mainstream modern take on the concept that D&D might have drawn from most directly.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I've been considering a setting which had a symbol sey of creation, but instead I'm working on one where 'multiple languages of creation' is a thing. Essentially there's the Language of the Gods, which is what the world was programmed in created with, and then in the Time of Legends some of the mortals patched in a bunch of 'languages of powet', which cam be used to create effects. Essentially I'm running with a 'magic as programming' analogy, where the world is the operating system written in the LotG, while spells are cast using a language the universe interprets to do additional things. I'm still working it all out, but one of the miscasts is 'the universe does what you say, not what you want'.
    So... spinning an idea off that...

    Universe is actually running the equivalent of machine code. If you have a specific creator or creator deities, they used this.

    The highest-order deities (other than the creators) are effectively using assembly language.

    Spells are written in various high-level languages, allowing for multiple "traditions" or "schools" in the same setting.

    Freaking scary "eldritch" entities are also able to work in or "hack" the "machine code", making them a real threat to the deities despite not having the raw power that the deities do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So... spinning an idea off that...

    Universe is actually running the equivalent of machine code. If you have a specific creator or creator deities, they used this.

    The highest-order deities (other than the creators) are effectively using assembly language.

    Spells are written in various high-level languages, allowing for multiple "traditions" or "schools" in the same setting.

    Freaking scary "eldritch" entities are also able to work in or "hack" the "machine code", making them a real threat to the deities despite not having the raw power that the deities do.
    What about microcode and RISC code? And hardware description languages?
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-17 at 10:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    What about microcode and RISC code? And hardware description languages?
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    For purposes of this idea, include microcode in "machine language" -- it's the underlying stuff that even most of the deities don't have access to.

    RISC is more a specific type of hardware and instruction set architecture than a level of programming language layer/level.

    Hardware description language would be orthogonal to the layers I laid out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    So... spinning an idea off that...

    Universe is actually running the equivalent of machine code. If you have a specific creator or creator deities, they used this.

    The highest-order deities (other than the creators) are effectively using assembly language.

    Spells are written in various high-level languages, allowing for multiple "traditions" or "schools" in the same setting.

    Freaking scary "eldritch" entities are also able to work in or "hack" the "machine code", making them a real threat to the deities despite not having the raw power that the deities do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Tangent...

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    For purposes of this idea, include microcode in "machine language" -- it's the underlying stuff that even most of the deities don't have access to.

    RISC is more a specific type of hardware and instruction set architecture than a level of programming language layer/level.

    Hardware description language would be orthogonal to the layers I laid out.

    I kinda want to see more about this idea, but think it might be a thread of its own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Power Word Kill could also be "Then perish."
    Like this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    ...

    New thread started:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...ing&p=24153290
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    Might as well go for broke and call it "Jusatsu no Kotowaza".

    (Or the official Chikara no Kotoba: Shi, but that sounds kinda lame.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl45DM! View Post
    onamae wa...shindeiru
    That fits Quivering Palm more though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    People need to watch Dune, and the weirding words. NB these were an addition made by David Lynch and are not in the Original Frank Herbert books.
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