The magic of D&D in everyday life

Often I find myself wondering how I could change my life in small ways if I had magic. What seemingly useless cantrips and spells could I cast to impact my life in limited, but meaningful ways. Mage Hand would be great. The possibilities are endless. Then I remembered an old music video for the song ‘Weapon of Choice’ by Fatboy Slim. (Video below) It features actor Christopher Walken in an absolutely absurd situation, but when watched it I caught myself thinking, “This is what D&D would like in real life.”

The spell in question for this video is Otto’s Irresistible Dance. Essentially, the target becomes charmed and must dance uncontrollably in some capacity for the duration of the spell. This is one of those spells that always felt like someone threw it in for fun. Anytime I’ve seen it used in a game it’s been for comedic relief, a distraction, or both. It is an admittedly silly spell, but it is proof that nerds have a sense of humour.

What about real life? Are there real-world applications to this spell? My first thought when was performing in public transportation. A magic user shows up and enchants their friend to dance for coins outside a train or bus station. It might be a little bit coerced, but it might help generate someone enough change for a sandwich.

With regards to Weapon of Choice, it almost looks as if the spell were used to simply kill time. When the video starts it’s almost like a little voice should start the scene out by saying something like, “Nowhere to go and everything is closed? Why not just get up and dance uncontrollably? Can’t work up the motivation? Well, we have ways of making you groove!”

For proof that this spell can be amazing if it existed in real life, here’s a fantastic dance routine.

Alternatively, ‘Slam’ by the Australian electronic act Pendulum would also fit in with Otto’s Irresistible Dance. Even though it looks like the dance routine is premeditated, I felt like in-game this could work. If people were conspiring to cast a spell on someone, then a bard could show up with a tuned instrument ready to go, and accompany the enchanted person. It’s also possible someone lost a bet, and the loser had to succumb to the spell. This could also be a way to incorporate odd penalties for bad PC behaviour in a game. We’ve all heard those conversations between player and GM.

GM: “No, can’t loot the body if they aren’t dead.”

Player: “What if roll for Stealth?”

GM: “Are you picking the pocket, or are you examining their entire person looking for loot?”

Player: “Definitely loot, and dare I say, booty.”

GM: …shakes head in frustration…

Then an NPC could swoop and in cast Otto’s Irresistible Dance, and away we go with the choreography. I’d like to think something like that happened in the video for Slam. At least there can be fun ways of dealing with this kind of conversation.

In either case, this is about fun. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this spell used maliciously. The few times it has made its way into a game have been absolutely silly, but brought great moments to a session. Why sneak past the guard when you can force them to Moonwalk as you saunter right through the palace gates? Brilliant! Imagine playing the spoiler at a tense negotiation and someone suddenly can’t control themselves in the middle of the discussions.

It would be fantastic. Things like this make me wish magic was real in our everyday lives. I have a hard time imagining how I might make use of a Fireball spell, but Otto’s Irresistible Dance would be among my first choices if I could actually cast it.

The heroic versus the mundane. The dramatic versus the comedic. A spell that forces people to dance can be ridiculous in a game, but I wish we could make people stop and be just a little bit sillier in their everyday lives. I would love to walk down the street and see people just break into spontaneous and improvised dance routines. Who wouldn’t?

Then again, things could end up like they do in this video made for a song by the Dutch group, Noisia. If work meetings ever went sideways like this, I’m not sure I’d ever know how to handle myself. Like most people, you might not end up having any idea what the hell is going on. I’d probably show up on time for the next meeting though. Really, we should have more enchantment spells in our everyday lives, right?


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