On Wednesday, Dither and I got into a conversation about the Fourth Edition Bard and his insults that kill (see the comments in Meaningless Problems that Wastes Far Too Much of Our Time for more). I really liked the idea that your Bard could yell something so terrible at a monster that the poor thing would just die from the insult.
Like most things when it comes to debating rules you're just making noise if you can't talk to one of the people who wrote the rules and find out what the actually meant. So I asked one of the authors on that book, James Wyatt, about it on twitter.
Dyvers: In the 4e PH2 the Bard has an at will ability called the "Vicious Mockery" which describes its damage as "a string of vicious insults at your foe, weaving them with bardic magic . . ." and it's damage is listed as 1d6+Cha psychic. I really like this description and spell . . . but I've always wondered: how your insults could kill someone.I realize the simple answer is "magic," but I kind of love the idea that you fill someone with so much existential doubt that they just sit down in the middle of the game, start smoking cigarettes, and give up their lives in some sort of Sartre styled crisis.
While it's not as enjoyable a mental image for me as the orc who puts down his axe and starts a journal with the words "Life is shit," it's still a good answer.