Mark A Vandermeulen wrote:

> On Wed, 28 Oct 1998, Gary V. Foss wrote:
> > Mark A Vandermeulen wrote:
> >
> > > Two words: Material Components.
> >
> > How do you mean, Mark? The material components for the spells Pieter mentioned
> > seem pretty easy to come across. A drop of blood and a pinch of bone powder
> > for Animate Dead, a caterpillar cocoon for Polymorph Other, and a pinch of clay
> > for Conjure (Earth) Elemental. The material component for Invisible Stalker is
> > just some incense and a piece of horn, and the component for Magic Jar is only
> > a gem (or crystal.)
> Mostly I was refering to the DM's ability to "customize" the spells to
> include much rarer components if there was concern about overuse and
> abuse. So what if the requirement of Polymorph Other is not just any
> cocoon, but a cocoon of the rare Golden Moth that only occurs in the
> foothills of the Drachenspire mountains (or something). In otherwords, the
> best way to limit the use of spells is to make them more expensive to
> cast, or to make a quest one of the requirements (i.e. first must gather
> the components). Obviously, this option isn't for everyone, but I
> personally am of the opinion that some of the more powerful spells are too
> cheap. Of course, I am also a bit easier on my PC's, because I say that
> most components are used in the memorizing process rather than in the
> casting process, so wizards don't necessarily have to carry bags of leaves
> and spider webs and stuff around with them unless they want to rememorize
> spells.

Ah, OK. I gotcha. I like the way you mentioned you use spell components as part of
the memorization process rather than in the casting. I might try something like that
in my campaign.

Personally, I tend to ignore spell components. Having to ask a player where he got
the glass rod and bit of fur is really just too much nit-pickiness for me. For the
most part, I don't require spell components unless they are rare items that make a
lot of sense to require as part of the spell or something that would cost the PC a
decent amount of money to acquire. Certain spells will require a component (like the
Magic Jar spell I appear to be so fond of lately) as a fundamental part of the spell,
so I am strict when those kinds of situations come up, but the itsy bitsy stuff I let
slide. Besides, I don't want to have to listen to a player's explanation of how they
are going to walk around with a bit of spider web in their pocket so they can cast a
Web spell.

For similar reasons, I never made druid PCs explain all the different ways to keep
mistletoe fresh without refridgeration or plastic wrap. I've always ignored the
requirement that they have mistletoe or oak leaves in order to cast spells. It just
seemed like a waste of time. Besides, it's just... well, undruidic to force a
character to shimmy up a tree with a golden scythe in order to cast his spells. At
least it feels that way to me.

Spell components are one of the areas where the normally serious AD&D game designers
and writers have by their own admission gotten a little whacky. A pinch of dried
carrot for an Infravision spell, huh? Har, har! That's a good one, doc! A bit of
fleece is required for Permanent Illusion. Get it? Pulling the wool over someone's
eyes! Oooh! That's SO funny! You're killin' me! The material component for
Feeblemind "is a handful of clay, crystal, glass or mineral spheres, which disappears
when the spell is cast." Marbles! He lost his marbles! Hahaha! Stop, stop! I
can't breathe....

I like to joke around a lot during play, but this is a little too droll for me.

The only times I get really picky about "components" is in the creation of potions,
scrolls or magic items. In those cases, I want the player to prove they have the
materials required. Aside from that, I'd rather be lenient.