Back in college, one of my room mates was DM for an established group. I was allowed to play and run a “version” of my character from my Brother Robert’s game. I couldn’t take the XP from his game and then add more XP from my brother’s game.
He ruled that Griswald showed up by some sort of inter-dimensional travel.
As a half-elf Fighter/Cleric/Magic User, he could do a lot of things. I don’t recall what levels he was in each class at the time, but he had levitate and fly, so he was at least 5th level as a magic user.
For some reason, the party split up to cover more ground. The group I was with was on the beach of the island we were exploring. I don’t remember if we were being chased, or something would happen to us if we didn’t get away from the beach fast. One of the party was a dwarf and could not run fast enough to make it. I think one or more of the party was unconscious.
I decided to cast levitate on the dwarf to neutralize his weight, and cast fly on myself so that I could move everyone quickly. As I recall, there were three of us.
The image of a flying half elf pushing a levitating dwarf with someone else hanging onto him gave the other players a great laugh. It may have been ridiculous, but it was effective.
One need not have a lot of spells that do damage to be effective in life or death situations. Defense, getting away, and information are just as powerful if played right, and the DM is in tune with what you are trying to do.