If you were born in the 1960s and identify as a female, you may someday want to know the top ten spells you should put in your spellbook.
I’m a 59-year-old woman who plays (and runs) a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. Kinda weird, right?
Age-wise, I am technically considered a “boomer.” But if you call me a boomer to my face during a game of D&D, I will take you out.
Since I started playing in 2020, I have run into only one other woman of my age. There is a fairly decent number of women playing the game, but the vast majority are a lot younger. I do know a fair number in their 40s. But it’s been a critical fail on finding ladies of my age so far.
At first, I felt like a freak. But I don’t feel like a freak anymore – in the D&D community. I’ve gotten comfortable in my characters and confident of my right to be there.
But I do look around and wonder “why aren’t there a whole lot more of us in here”?
PICK – Which stack of books looks more interesting to you? If you said the one on the left, read on. Image by Carla Bumstead.
Get in here ladies
If you are a woman of my age, you should look into the many benefits picking up Dungeons & Dragons as a hobby. It beats knitting, hands down. It is less expensive than shopping. It’s not a video game and is something you can do with your friends on a Saturday night.
Attention ladies of my age:
You need to get your ass in a dungeon and slay some monsters. It feels good - equally as good as a pedicure - and lasts much longer. It also requires you to use your brain and communicate directly with other people. But there is something even better than all that. D&D offers the unique opportunity to fantasize about doing many things we wish we could do in real life - based upon a logical set of rules. And there are dice. Lots of sparkly color dice of all shapes and sizes. You can, and should, collect them. They take up much less space than all that other hobby crap you’ve been collecting since Elvis died.
Carla Bumstead (your friend)
Go For the Magic - Top Ten Spells
Personally, I find I get the most satisfaction out of a game when I play a spellcaster. That’s like a “mage” or “wizard.” (No, it is not a witch.) It’s a cool person with magical powers or skills. Like Hermione Granger.
Please tell me you know who that is.
Because I think weapons are boring, I tend to stay away from those classes that combine both spellcasting and weapon-whaking. This leaves me three choices when it comes to what kind of badass mage to play: 1) warlock, 2) wizard or 3) sorcerer.
I’m working my way through them all, to see which one I like best. I started with a warlock. Wimp. I’m currently deep into a wizard, and I am quite happy with it so far. I’m scared to make the move to sorcerer. I’m slowly going senile so I know it will be hard to keep track of both spell slots and sorcery points.
Fru the Wizard
This is one of my D&D characters. Her name is Fru Sumthinuruther. She is not like me. She can cast fireball and has never even been kissed. (She's 14.) It is fun to pretend you are a power wizard who can't wait until she grows up.
More is Better
It doesn’t really matter what class you play, as long as you have a healthy diet of spells. The more the better, I always say. This recommendation applies to all D&D players, not just women of my age. But I find it especially true for us.
Why? Because we know what we are doing. We were born in the 1960s. We are badass ladies. We have lived through so much real-life shit, we are not scared of dragons or devils or one-eyed freaks. Many of us would rather not rely on a weapon, so we need serious spell power.
As women of this age, we have learned every situation requires a different battle plan. Think Napoleon, or Ragnar Lothbrok, but with boobs. That’s us. Sometimes we know the advantage lies in being flexible and creative. Other times, the situation needs pure offensive power.
Basically, you gotta know your spells.
WITH BOOBS – This is how you feel when you cast the perfect spell in a game of D&D. But there should be a lot more lady wizards of this age out there than there currently are. Image by Carla Bumstead/WOTC
Top Ten Spells for Women of My Age
For the benefit of all the women of my age that will start playing D&D after reading this, I have prepared a list of the ten best spells, in ascending order. It’s like David Letterman’s top ten.
#10 - Leomund’s Tiny Hut
This spell provides you, and anyone else you deem worthy, with a safe, comfortable place to get a good night’s rest. Need I say more?
#9 - Counterspell
This is essentially the ability to shut up any spellcaster stupid enought to mess with you. It’s a reaction, so you can whip it out as needed. I love shutting up annoying NPCs who think warlocks of my age are an easy target.
#8 - Mage Armor
Speaking of getting attacked, the spell mage armor is virtually essential for straight casters of any age. But casters of my age are notoriously low in HP (ie, health). Think of mage armor like a daily multivitamin. Or coffee. It keeps that mature body of yours in the fight.
#7 - Find Familiar
You get a pet. It can scout ahead for you, to warn you of potential obstacles in your path or sticks in the road. I know most of us will either choose a dog or a cat, but this spell allows you to manifest lots of critters. And they can’t die. Well, they can die, but if they do, you just make another one. It’s magic!
#6 - Fire Bolt
Women of my age are big fans of efficiency. We don’t have time to fuck around. In D&D, if you want to get the most bang for your spellcasting buck, cantrips are essential. (They don’t cost spell slots.) I find it best to rock both a utility cantrip and a damage dealer.
Fire bolt can deliver a D10’s worth of serious pain – from 120 feet away. It is best, at our age, to stand as far away from monsters as possible. Their pants catch on fire, they will retaliate. But most monsters will simply aim for the nearest body. With fire bolt, that won’t be you.
#5 - Magic Missile
I admit, it is a little boring. But Magic Missile hits every time. Yes, every time. A little bit of for-sure damage every time is simply a wise choice. Women of our age are all about wise choices and reliability. It’s similar to how we choose our shoes.
#4 - Zone of Truth
This spell is excellent no matter who you are. It “guards against deception in a 15-foot-radius sphere centered on a point of your choice.” Only those monsters with high charisma (personal charm) can out roll it. How many charming monsters do you know? Not many. Pack Zone of Truth. It’s not for combat, but can show everyone who is full of crap and who is trustworthy. Gosh, I wish I had that in real life.
#3 - Message
Exchange private messages to anyone within 120 feet with this extremely useful cantrip. I use it all the time. I like to make sure every member of my party is fully aware of what I want to do and when I want to do it. With Message, you can make sure everyone in your party knows what you are thinking. For example, “Psst, Ashcar, if you don’t stop with the lewd jokes, I am going to go back to the tiny hut and take a nap.”
#2 - Fireball
Do I really need to explain this one? “A bright streak flashes from your pointing finger to a point you choose within range and then blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of flame. Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The fire spreads around corners. It ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.”
Use it ladies. It makes a serious statement.
#1 - Enlarge/Reduce
I have never actually used this spell. But just having it on hand is enough to encourage any male I run across to fear me. I can make both them and their weapons itty-bitty, teeny-tiny. Yeah, it shrinks their whole body, appendages and all. <really big grin>
Try it, you'll like it
I have personally tried to convince every real-life friend of mine, of my age, to give D&D a try. My success rate so far? Critical Fail.
I wonder why this is? (Subject for a future pondering)