It can be fun to exploit a loophole. It can even be fun to permit such exploits. But if you’re the DM, you want to watch for exploits that rely on misreadings of the text. Lately, I’ve seen a few of these crop up on Facebook gaming forums.
The most amusing of these misreadings is bardic horsecasting. Before I go any further, the name of the exploit is fantastic. Even if your idea turns out to be wrong, name it. I kind of want the idea to work just because the name is so amusing!
The idea behind bardic horsecasting is this: The bard, at higher levels, gets to dabble in spells from other classes. If she chooses the paladin spell Find Steed, she gains an intelligent, speaking, outsider mount with this bonus property: Whenever the bard casts a spell that targets only herself, she can choose to have it affect the mount, too. The intent of the spell is clear: If the bard casts a movement or defensive spell, the mount also gains that advantage.
But…. the bardic horsecaster argument holds that cone-shaped offensive spells like cone of cold have a listed range of self (in that they use the caster as a point of origin for a cone). As a result, says the bardic horsecaster, “When I cast cone of cold, my horse casts a cone of cold, too, and I get to dish out twice as much frostiness!”
Aside from being a silly interpretation, the above reading is also … wrong. Plain wrong. Clearly wrong. Black and white wrong. Read-as-written, the spell has to target the spellcaster, and only the spellcaster, to get mirrored. A cone of cold aimed at orcs targets the orcs, not the caster. Now, if the caster really wishes to cast cone of cold on herself (!!), then well, I guess it’s her privilege if she wants to ice her horse, too.
Seems impolite to summon it just to hit it with liquid nitrogen, though.
|“Damn, Wilbur. Was it something I said?”|