Wednesday, October 04, 2017

AD&D Players Handbook part 42: 5th-Level Magic-User Spells

Alright folks, we're in the home stretch now!  (Okay, I know the illusionist list is still to come.  Don't discourage me.)

There are 24 magic-user spells of 5th level in AD&D.  In OD&D there were sixteen, all of which have made the transition at the same level.  Of the remaining eight spells, all of them are new except for stone shape, which is new for magic-users but has appeared in the PHB before as a druid spell.

Airy Water: Creates a sphere around the caster that turns water (and "water based infusions or solutions") into a less dense substance that is breathable.  It can also be formed as a hemisphere, in which case its diameter is doubled.  It also affects movement, allowing creatures within to move unhindered by water.  Water-breathers can't survive within the sphere, and those with no movement other than swimming can't move while inside it.  Note that the duration of the spell is 1 turn/level: it's good for short-term exploration, but not for long underwater expeditions. Its material component is a handful of alkaline or bromine salts.

Animal Growth: Formerly known as growth/animal, this spell works much like the 5th-level druid spell of the same name.  It affects up to 8 animals within the spell area, doubling their Hit Dice and damage.  It has a range of 6" (druids have 8"), a duration of 1 rounds/level (for druids it's 2 rounds/level), and a casting time of 5 segments (it takes druids 7 segments).  The material component is a pinch of powdered bone.
  The OD&D version of the spell affected 1-6 animals, with a "proportionate" raise in attack capabilities.  As is often the case with OD&D, the specifics were vague.  It had a duration of 12 turns and range of 12".

Animate Dead: Works much like the 3rd-level cleric spell, in that it creates a skeleton or a zombie from the corpse of a dead human.  The caster can create a number of undead whose Hit Dice is equal to their level.  The material component is a drop of blood, a piece of human flesh, and some bone (either powdered or a shard).  The cleric spell was viable for combat use, with a casting time of 1 round, but for magic-users it takes 5 rounds, which kind of limits it to non-combat situations.
   In OD&D, the caster could raise 1d6 undead for every caster level above 8th.

Bigby's Interposing Hand: Creates a disembodied hand that places itself between the caster and the target for the whole duration of the spell.  The size of the hand can range from that of a human to that of a titan.  The hand can be destroyed by normal means, and has as many hit points as the caster.  Creatures can try to push past it, and any that weigh less than 2,000 pounds will be slowed to half normal movement.  (I wonder what happens when they push the hand right back to the caster?  Can they then attack, or does it still block them?  Can they push it back past the caster?)  The material component is a glove.
  This is the introduction of Bigby, who started life as an NPC ran by Rob Kuntz.  He was placed under a charm spell by Gary Gygax's PC Mordenkainen, and eventually became loyal enough that Kuntz allowed Gygax to use Bigby as his own PC.  He goes on to become a powerful archmage in TSR's official Greyhawk material, but I'm not too familiar with that stuff.  As with most of these characters, I'll be trying my best to square the history as laid out by TSR with the anecdotes we have from Gygax and co.

Cloudkill: Creates a cloud of yellowish-green gas (about 4" wide and 2" deep) that moves away from the caster at a rate of 1" per round.  Any creature of less than 4+1 Hit Dice caught within the cloud will be instantly killed.  Those of 4+1 to 5+1 Hit Dice get a save vs. poison with a -4 penalty, those of up to 6 Hit Dice get a save at no penalty.  Presumably those of over 6 Hit Dice are unaffected.  Winds can alter the course of the cloud (though they can't push it back towards the caster) and a strong wind will break it up in 4 rounds.  Any wind stronger than that makes the spell unusable.  Passing through thick vegetation will break it up in 2 rounds.  The cloud sinks to the lowest level of the ground, so it can be used to flush out dens and sinkholes (with an ant nest being the given example).
  The OD&D spell was deadly to all creatures with less than 5 Hit Dice, and moved at a rate of 6" per turn.  (This could be faster or slower than in AD&D, depending on how you interpret the OD&D usage of turns.)  The cloud had a 3" diameter (circular, rather than AD&D's more rectangular shape) and lasted for 6 turns (as opposed to 1 round/level in AD&D).  It was dispelled by strong winds and trees, but with no time frame given.

Conjure Elemental: Allows the caster to summon an elemental.  The type of elemental must be decided when the spell is memorised: air, fire, earth or water.  A large fire is needed to summon a fire elemental, and a large body of water for a water elemental.  (Presumably the same applies for air and earth elementals, but those are common enough that it wasn't called out in the spell description.)  The elemental conjured has 16 Hit Dice, but will only do the caster's bidding so long as the caster fully concentrates on it.  As soon as that concentration drops (which can happen when the caster is grappled or wounded) the elemental will attack its summoner (though it will finish whatever combat it's involved in first).  Even if the caster maintains concentration, there's a 5% chance every round that the elemental will break free.  The caster can protect himself with a pentacle, pentagram, thaumaturgic triangle, magic circle, or a protection from evil spell, but the rules for those are in the DMG (except for the spell).  The material components are burning incense for an air elemental; soft clay for earth; sulphur and phosphorus for fire; and water and sand for a water elemental.
  The OD&D spell was much the same, but as usual it doesn't get as specific.  The main difference is that casters were restricted to one elemental of each type per day.  That restriction is hinted at in AD&D ("it is possible to conjure up successive elementals of different type if the spell caster has memorised two or more of these spells"), but it's never stated in concrete fashion.  The spell had a range of 24" (as opposed to 6" in AD&D).

Cone of Cold: Here we see yet another offensive staple of the magic-user list making its debut much later in the game's history than expected.  It creates a cone that originates from the caster, and extends 1/2" per level, dealing 1d4+1 damage per level.  It's interesting that it's not actually a cone of frost, or an icy blast or whatever; the spell is said to "drain heat", so there may be no visual element to it at all.  Its material component is a small cone of glass or crystal.

Contact Other Plane: The caster can send their mind to another plane, to contact whatever power lives there for information (one question per 2 caster levels).  The power contacted is at random, and will resent the intrusion and give short, probably one-word answers (kind of like me being cold-called by a telemarketer).  The caster chooses how far removed from the material plane he wants to go: the further you go, the better the chance that the being contacted will know the answer, but it comes with a higher chance of being lied to, and/or driven insane.  You can also contact an Elemental Plane, which has a high likelihood of knowledge and a relatively low chance of being driven insane, but it seems that it can only work for questions pertaining to that element.  Characters with a high Int have their chance of being driven insane reduced.  Insanity lasts for 1 week for each plane removed from the material (to a maximum of 10), and there's a 1% chance per plane removed that they'll die outright (although this can be stopped with a remove curse).
  It's not made clear how this all meshes with the AD&D "Great Wheel" cosmology, but it does make sense in a way.  Most of the Outer Planes have levels, but the deepest "good" plane has seven, whereas Hell has nine, and the Abyss has 666.  So the deeper you choose to delve, the more likely it is that the power contacted is going to be something really nasty, and more likely to lie or drive you mad.
  In OD&D the spell was called Contact Higher Plane, possibly because it was created before the make-up of the planes was properly hammered out.  It only permitted answers of "yes" or "no", whereas AD&D allows other one-word answers.  The number of questions alloweed was determined by the depth of the plane contacted rather then caster level.  In general, the likelihood of knowledge in OD&D was lower than that in AD&D, the chance of being lied to was higher, and the chance of being driven insane was also higher.  The chance of being driven insane was lessened by being high level, rather than having a high Intelligence.  The planes were numbered 3rd through 12th, and the Elemental Plane could not be contacted (in AD&D, the planes begin as "1 removed" and go to "9 or more removed").

Distance Distortion: Bear with me, because I'm not entirely sure what this spell does.  You need to cast it in conjunction with a summoned earth elemental, I get that.  The elemental doesn't react with hostility when the spell is cast, which gets around the need to concentrate (which would normally be broken by spell-casting).  The spell affects an area of 100" square per level, and any dimensions within that area can be effectively halved or doubled for the length of the spell.  The example given is a 100' long corridor being made to seem as if it's 50' long, or 200' long.  (It affects the width as well.)  What I don't get is whether it's an illusion or not.  Are the distances physically altered?  Or is it in the minds of those who pass through?  The spell's in the Alteration school, so it's probably the former.  Either way, it's odd for a spell to require an elemental to function; I can't think of any other spell in the PHB with such a specific dependency.  A true seeing spell will reveal the elemental.  The material component is a small lump of clay.

Extension II: Prolongs the duration of a spell of 1st-4th level by 50%.  I wonder if this really required another spell to accomplish, or if it would have been better served to allow extension I to scale upwards with caster level.  (I guess you could say the same thing about monster summoning as well.)

Feeblemind: Works like the 6th-level druid spell, in that it reduces a single spell-caster's intelligence to that of a "moronic child".  This can be restored with a heal, restoration or wish.  Clerics get a save bonus against the spell, while magic-users and illusionists get a penalty.  Non-human magic-users have a lesser penalty than humans.  The range for the magic-user spell is 1"/level (it's 16" for druids). and the casting time is 5 segments (druids take 8).  The material component is a handful of spheres made out of clay, crystal, glass or minerals.
  In OD&D, the spell only worked against magic-users, but it could be fixed with a dispel magic.  It had a range of 24".

Hold Monster: Immobilises 1-4 creatures, with the spell being more difficult to save against the less creatures targeted.  It's only advantage over hold person is that it can paralyse creatures of any type.  I'm not sure what this line means: "partially negated hold monster spell effects equal those of a slow spell".  Is there anything in the AD&D rules about saving throws and "partial negation"?  It's a mystery to me.  The material component is a hard metal rod for each target.
  The OD&D spell worked the same, but the save penalty for targeting one creature was -2 rather than -3 (and there was no penalty for targeting 2 or 3 creatures).  The duration was 6 turns + caster level (it's 1 round/level in AD&D), and the range was 12" (it's 0.5"/level in AD&D).

Leomund's Secret Chest: This spell requires an expensive chest (not less than 5,000 gp) with some pretty specific material requirements: a wooden chest must have platinum corner fittings, etc.; an ivory chest must have gold fittings; a chest made of bronze, copper or silver must have electrum or silver fittings.  A miniature replica of the chest is also needed, and no magic-user may have more than one of these chests (a restriction that can't even be broken with a wish).
  The chest can then be hidden in the Ethereal Plane, and is completely undetectable to creatures on the Prime Material Plane.  It works a bit like a bag of holding, in that it can hold one cubic foot of material per caster level.  Living creatures placed inside are 75% likely to make the spell fail, though, so it's a little harder to stuff an enemy in there and shunt him off to the Ethereal Plane.  The caster can summon the chest as long as he has the miniature replica, but if that's lost there's no way to get the chest back.
  For every week that the chest spends in the Ethereal Plane, there's a 1% cumulative chance that some extraplanar creature will find it.  The creature might ignore it, put something in there, exchange an item, steal an item, or just take the whole lot.  Not only that, but whenever the chest is summoned back to the material plane a window is left open for the next 5 hours, with a chance that some creature might be drawn through.  Also, if the chest is left in the Ethereal Plane past the spell's duration (60 days), there's a 5% cumulative chance per day that it will be lost forever.  Obviously, with the many drawbacks, this is a spell for short-term use only.  In the long term, you stuff will be safer somewhere on the Material Plane.  (I do wonder about said extraplanar creature's ability to open the chest, though.  Does it just automatically bypass locks and traps?)

Magic Jar: The caster transfers their life force to a receptacle of some sort (usually a gem or crystal).  From there, the spirit can possess any creature that comes within range.  While in the gem, it can sense nearby life forces, but won't know exactly what type of creature they are.  While in possession of a creature, the caster has access to the creature's "rudimentary knowledge", but not to specific things like languages and spells.  (What this rudimentary knowledge is, I have no idea.  Memories?  Anything that doesn't pertain to class abilities and the like?)  If it's a humanoid form, the caster is able to use their own spell-casting abilities.  Possession attempts take 1 round, and the target gets a saving throw (which is modified up or down by comparing the combined Intelligence and Wisdom of the caster and the target).  This also determines how often the target gets a saving throw to cast the spirit out: once per round for targets far more mentally powerful than the caster, all the way to once per week for those much mentally weaker.  Once the creature regains control, the caster is trapped within it until it can either escape back to the jar or reassert control.  Destruction of the caster's original body does no harm to the spirit in the magic jar, but destruction of the jar destroys the spirit utterly.
  In OD&D, the magic jar could be any inanimate object, even a simple rock.  Otherwise it's much the same, but with nothing said about what knowledge the caster gleans from its target, or whether spells can be used in the new form.  None of the rules pertaining to the comparison of combined Intelligence and Wisdom were present, either.  The spell had a range of 12", whereas in AD&D it's 1" per level.

Monster Summoning III: Much like monster summoning II and III, summoning 1-4 third-level monsters.  Let's once again (remembering that the DMG was not yet published) look at the tables from OD&D to see what sort of monsters we're talking about.  (In previous entries I've been consulting the tables in the original three booklets, but I probably should have been looking at the ones in Supplement I: Greyhawk.  I'll do that from now on.)  Most of the entries are for classed NPCs and some giant animals, but there are also wights, harpies, wererats, and ochre jellies.
  The OD&D spell only summoned 1 or 2 creatures.

Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound: Summons a "phantom watchdog" that can only be seen by the caster, and can be set as a guardian.  If any creature larger than a cat approaches the area, the hound will start barking.  It can detect pretty much anything, even creatures that are ethereal, astral, or invisible.  If the intruding creature exposes its back to the hound, it will attack as a 10 Hit Dice creature for 3-18 damage, and can hit creatures normally only struck by magical weapons.  The hound can't be attacked, but it can be dispelled.  The caster has to remain within 3"of the area to be guarded at all times, or the spell vanishes (which really limits its usefulness, I have to say).  I do wonder, can a potential intruder simply get past the hound by never turning their back?  I suppose it's hard when the dog's invisible, but it is possible. The material component is a silver whistle, a piece of bone, and a thread.
  This is the first appearance of Mordenkainen, Gary's primary PC in the early days, who he apparently advanced to well past level 20.  Later TSR material places him as the most powerful archmage in the World of Greyhawk, and a force for balance as the leader of the Circle of Eight.  As always, this will need to be reconciled with Gary's various anecdotes.

Passwall: Creates a tunnel 5' wide, 8' high and 10' deep through wooden, plaster or stone walls.  Longer tunnels can be created with separate castings of the spell.  Its material component is a pinch of sesame seed.  (I'm sure Gary had something in mind for most of these components, but some of them are a real mystery.)
  The OD&D spell only specified a length (10').  It had a duration of 3 turns (6 turns + 1/level in AD&D), and a range of 3" (unchanged).

Stone Shape: Allows the caster to reshape stone into any form, with a volume of one cubic foot per level.  Anything can be created, but fine details aren't possible.  It's permanent though, so whatever is made will last forever (or at least until dispelled).  The material component is a lump of soft clay, which the caster must shape into the form desired. 
  The druid version of the spell could affect 3 cubic feet, plus 1 cubic foot per level, so it was slightly more effective.  It also needed mistletoe as a component in addition to the clay.

Telekinesis: The caster can move objects at a distance with the power of his mind.  The speed of this movement starts at 2" in the first round, then doubles every round until it hits the maximum of 1,024" per round.  Doing some math here, we're talking 10,240 feet per minute, or roughly 116 miles per hour.  The weight limit is 250gp per level (about 25 pounds), with no cap, but even at mid-levels something travelling at that speed should do some serious damage.  (And I'm wondering, is this converted to yards per minute outside?  That would give a top speed of just under 350 miles per hour, unless I've spectacularly botched my math.) The spell can be used to push around living creatures, but any sort of walking will negate it as long as the speed isn't up to 16" per round.  It can be stopped with an enlarge spell (provided this brings the creature above the maximum weight), by any of the Bigby's Hand spells, or by "many other magics" unspecified in the PHB.
  In OD&D, the weight limit was 200gp per level.  It had a duration of 6 turns (2 rounds +1/level in AD&D) and a range of 12" (1"/level in AD&D).  There was nothing in OD&D about speed of movement, using the spell on living creatures, or ways to negate it.

Teleport: The caster can teleport to any destination, so long as the travel is not interplanar.  The amount of weight teleported is equal to 2,500gp, plus 1,500gp per level.  For every teleport there's a chance for error, with the likelihood being reduced the more familiar the caster is with the destination.  This error could be coming in high (10" above the destination per % roll under the safe range), which is probably not so bad.  Coming in low is probably deadly, because materialising in a solid object is instantly fatal.  For example, there's only a 1% chance of coming in low for areas the caster is very familiar with, but for an area they've never seen before the chance is up to 15%.  Regardless of familiarity, every single teleport comes with a risk.  Apparently the area teleported to must have a substantial area of surface, such as a wooden floor, stone floor, or natural ground; there's no designating your destination as 20 feet in the air.
  The OD&D spell was even deadlier, with teleportation to an unknown area being 75% likely to result in death.  The spell was otherwise the same, but with less detail in terms of how familiar the caster is with the destination (OD&D had three categories, whereas AD&D has five).

Transmute Rock to Mud: Works just like the 5th-level druid spell, in that it turns natural stone into mud.  Creatures unable to free themselves from the mud sink and suffocate (with no timeframe or guidelines given).  The mud is permanent until dispelled, or until it dries up naturally.  It can be reversed as transmute mud to rock.  It has a range of 1"/level (as opposed to 16" for druids) and a casting time of 5 segments (7 segment for druids).   The material components are clay and water (or sand, lime and water for the reverse).
  The OD&D spell could affect sand and earth (which is perhaps possible in AD&D as well, it's open to interpretation), and affects an area of 30" square.  Creatures could be trapped in it, but there was nothing said about suffocation.  Evaporation took 3-18 days, whereas in AD&D it takes 1-6 days per cubic inch.

Wall of Force: Creates a wall of force that is impervious to pretty much anything except a disintegrate spell.  It can be shaped into a globe around the caster, but the caster's spell's can't pass through it.  Once created, the wall can't be moved.  Its material component is a pinch of powdered diamond.

Wall of Iron: Creates a vertical iron wall that's 15 square feet per level in area, and a quarter-inch thick per level.  (That's a real inch, not a game inch.)  It can be used to seal up a breached wall or block a tunnel, but if it's not supported it will tip over and crush anything beneath it.  (No guidelines for how much damage this does.)  It's permanent unless hit with dispel magic, but it can be breached and is subject to rust.  The material component is a small sheet of iron.
  The OD&D wall of iron had a maximum area of 5 square game-inches, and was always 3 inches thick.  It wasn't permanent, having a duration of 12 turns.  It had a range of 6" (0.5"/level in AD&D).

Wall of Stone: Creates a granite wall 20' square per level, and 1/4' thick per level.  The wall doesn't have to be vertical, but it does have to be anchored to an existing stone formation, like a wall or a bridge.  It's permanent unless destroyed with dispel magic or other regular means.  The material component is a small block of granite.
  The OD&D wall was always two feet thick, with a maximum height and length of 10".  There was nothing about it needing to anchor to existing stone.  It had a range of 6" (0.5"/level in AD&D).

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

AD&D Players Handbook part 41: 4th-Level Magic-User Spells

There are 24 4th-level magic-user spells in AD&D, up from 16 in OD&D (all of which made the transition at the same level).  Of the eight spells unaccounted for, all are brand new except for fire trap, which was previously presented in the PHB as a druid spell.

Charm Monster: Like charm person, but can affect any living creature.  The target will regard the caster as a friend and follow reasonable requests, but has a percentage chance every week of breaking free (with a higher percentage based on the creature's level/HD).  Multiple creatures of 1 to 3 HD can be affected, but at 4 or above it only works on one target.
  The OD&D version affected all creatures, with no stated requirement that they must be living.  The number of creatures of 3 HD or lower affected was determined on 3d6, which is much higher than the AD&D numbers (which allow for 8 at most). In general, creatures in OD&D had a smaller percentage chance of breaking the spell.

Confusion: This spell functions like the 7th-level druid spell, but with a higher range (12" compared to the druid's 8"), a slightly longer duration (2 rounds + 1 round/level as opposed to 1 round/level), a larger area (6" x 6", as opposed to the druid's 4" x 4") and a quicker casting time (4 segments, compared to 9).  It also affects a base number of 4-16 creatures, whereas the druid spell only affects 2-8; this number can be modified upwards if the strongest creature affected is of lower level than the caster.  Every creature affected will take a random action: wander away for 1 turn, stand confused for 1 round, attack the nearest creature for 1 round, or attack the druid and his allies for 1 round.  Its material component is three nut shells.
  The OD&D spell automatically affected creatures of 2 HD or less, and had a delayed effect against higher-level targets (based on a d12 roll minus the caster's level).  Only creatures of 4 HD or more got a saving throw against it.  There was no option for the targets to wander away, and a higher level caster got a bonus to the random roll, to influence the confused targets away from attacking the caster's allies.  It had a duration of 12 turns (much higher than that I detailed above for AD&D) and a range of 12" (which has been unchanged).

Dig: Creates a 5' x 5' hole that is 5' deep per caster level.  Holes deeper than 5' have a chance to collapse (15% per extra 5'), and that chance is even greater in sand and mud.  Creatures caught in the middle of the pit when it's created will fall in, and those at the side must make a saving throw (against their Dexterity score, which is an unusual one in AD&D) to avoid it, as must anyone caught moving rapidly towards it.  The material components are a small shovel and bucket which the caster must hold while the pits are excavated (which confirms that multiple pits can be created during the spell's duration).

Dimension Door: Teleports the caster 3" per level.  There's no error in the teleportation: the caster lands exactly where he desires.  There's still danger, though, because if that area is inside solid matter the caster will be trapped in the Astral Plane, with the only way out being rescue by some other creature.  There's also falling damage to consider if the caster appears in mid-air.  The caster can teleport with his gear, to a maximum weight of 5,000gp.  He can also take living matter to half that weight, so I guess you could pick up another party member and take them along.  It takes the caster 7 segments to recover from using the spell, though it's not clear what exactly this entails; possibly that they can take no actions, or are easier to hit?
  In OD&D the spell teleported an "object" up to 36" with no error.  The range was, of course, much greater than in AD&D, but the big difference was that the spell could be cast on another person or thing.  In AD&D, it's limited to the caster.  There was also nothing about being caught in the Astral Plane, or recovery time.

Enchanted Weapon: Makes a weapon effectively +1, although it doesn't actually confer that bonus.  It just means that the weapon can affect monsters that are only hit by magic weapons.  It affects one large weapon, or two small, but missile weapons lose the enchantment after being used. Everything else lasts for 5 rounds/level. The material component is powdered lime and carbon.
  It's a useful spell, but only in very specific circumstances.  Most parties with access to this spell will be loaded down with +1 weapons, and your average 7th-8th level magic-user probably has better attack options than this.  It's perhaps more useful in scroll form for low-level parties.

Extension I: This spell can be used to extend the duration of a previously cast spell of 1st-3rd level by 50%.  It's said to only work on spells where duration is meaningful, which almost certainly rules out making a fireball burn for longer.  The OD&D version of the spell was exactly the same.

Fear: All creatures caught within a 6" long cone must make a saving throw or flee from the caster at top speed.  There's also a chance they'll drop any items being held (60% for 1st-level targets, modified down by 5% per level higher than 1st).  The material component is the heart of a hen or a white feather.
  The OD&D spell worked similarly, but targets had a flat 50% chance to drop what they were carrying, unmodified by level.  The duration was 6 turns, whereas in AD&D targets will run for a number of rounds equal to the caster's level.  The spell had a range of 24", while the AD&D spell only goes to 6".  The OD&D spell functioned like the fear wand, though, so it's still a 6" cone.  Does this mean that OD&D casters could designate the beginning of the cone anywhere within 24"?  It feels a little odd, but I guess it's not that different from lightning bolt.  The AD&D spell almost certainly originates from the caster.

Fire Charm: The caster causes a normal fire to be surrounded by a 'gossamer veil of multi-hued flame'.  Any creatures observing the flame must save vs. magic or be forced to stand transfixed.  While in this state, they are subject to a suggestion of 12 or fewer words (saved against at a -3 penalty).  The trance will be broken by an attack, an object passing between a victim and the flame, or the end of the spell.  The material component is a super-thin piece of silk that must be thrown on the fire.  This is a new spell that fills an important niche: a mid-level charm spell that can work on a large crowd.  There's mass charm, but it's so high-level as to be inaccessible in most games, and has a Hit Dice restriction that limits the number of creatures that can be affected.

Fire Shield: Appearing surprisingly for the first time, this one was often the bane of my existence when playing the Gold Box CRPGs.  It surrounds the caster with a wreath of flame with two possible variations.  The blue-green flame protects against cold spells, but makes the caster more vulnerable to fire.  The blue-violet flame protects against fire, but makes the caster more vulnerable to cold.  Those aren't the most irritating effects, though.  What it also does is damage anyone who hits the caster in melee: the caster takes normal damage, but the attacker takes that same damage doubled, which is a real kick in the balls for a fighter with 18/00 Strength, or a girdle of giant strength.  The upside is that it only works on the caster, and magic-users have low hit points.  If it could be cast on stronger targets, it would be a game-breaker.

Fire Trap: This spell is new to the PHB, but it appeared earlier as a druid spell.  It can be cast on any object that can be opened.  The caster can open the item safely, but anyone else will discharge the trap, a 5' radius explosion which deals 1d4 damage +1 per caster level (save for half).  This explosion doesn't harm the object of the fire trap.  It's also twice as hard to detect as other traps (the regular chance is halved) and any failure to disarm it will set it off.
  There's a lot of business about how the spell interacts with hold portal, wizard lock and knock spells.  If an item has hold portal and fire trap cast on it, only the first spell cast will work (and both are negated if they're cast simultaneously).  Wizard lock is a little more complicated.  A fire trap cast after a wizard lock will negate the fire trap.  Simultaneous casting will negate both.  If the fire trap is cast before the wizard lock there's a 50% chance for both to be negated.  Nothing is said about what happens otherwise, but the implication is that both spells will be in effect.  As for knock, it has no effect at all on a fire trap spell.
  For the material component, the caster must "trace the outline of the closure" with a bit of sulphur or saltpeter.  Does that powder have to remain in place, or can it be swept up after the spell is cast?  Probably the latter.  Besides, there are certainly objects which will be moved around after the spell is in place.
  I'm often struck by just how little damage a lot of AD&D spell deal.  Seriously - 1d4, +1/level?  Is it really as ineffectual as I think, or have I just been corrupted by the numbers bloat of 2nd and 3rd Edition?

Fumble: Makes one target super-clumsy for 1 round/level.  The target will fall whenever they try to run, and will drop any item held.  Recovery from these takes about a round.  Even creatures that make their saving throw are affected as if by a slow spell, so this is actually a great spell for reducing the effectiveness of a single powerful foe.  It's material component is a dab of solidified milk fat.

Hallucinatory Terrain: With this spell you can change the appearance of wilderness terrain, such as making a pond look like a grassy field.  It persists until hit with a dispel magic or touched by an intelligent creature.  It's material components are a stone, a twig and a bit of green plant.  My main concern with this spell is the area: it affects a 1" square per caster level, which just seems too small for a lot of the effects you might want to use it for.  There's also the definition of "terrain" to be considered.  As written it seems as though it's meant for use in the wilderness, but there's nothing stopping it from being used indoors, or in a dungeon.
  The OD&D spell is similar, if a bit more vaguely worded.  It doesn't have a specific area of effect, it's simply said that it affects a "large area".  It had a range of 24", whereas AD&D has as range of 2"/level.

Ice Storm: As usually cast, it creates a storm of hail stones in a 4" diameter that cause 3d10 points of damage (with no saving throw).  It can also create sleet in an 8" diameter, which I've never seen used: this blinds all creatures within, and makes the ground icy, reducing movement by 50% and causing anyone who tries to move to slip half the time.  Its material component is a pinch of dust and a few drops of water.
  The OD&D version doesn't have the sleet option, and affects a 3" cube.  It had a duration of 1 turn, but that's undoubtedly a case of OD&D mixing up its turn/round terminology.  It had a flat range of 12", whereas AD&D has a range of 1"/level.

Massmorph: With this spell, 10 man-sized creatures per caster level can be made to appear as trees.  They can be passed through or touched without revealing their true nature, but wounding them will do so (because the trees bleed, which is a neat touch).  The spell persists until hit with dispel magic, or dismissed by the caster, but what happens when the creatures attack?  Do they still look like trees as long as they're within the area of effect?  Speaking of the area, it's said to be 11' x 1" square/level.  The 1" square/level I get, but that 11' sticks out.  Is that the height?
  The OD&D version of the spell affects up to 100 man-sized creatures, which sounds great but will eventually be surpassed by AD&D casters.  It had a range of 24" (it's 1"/level in AD&D) and no stated area of effect.

Minor Globe of Invulnerability: Creates a 1" diameter globe around the caster that completely blocks all 1st-3rd level spells.  The one exception to this is dispel magic, which can take the globe down.  The caster inside the globe can fire whatever spells he likes out of it, without affecting the globe at all.  The material component is a glass or crystal bead.  It's an essential part of the magic-user's buffing arsenal, and I'm surprised to see it entering the game so late.

Monster Summoning II: Works like monster summoning I, but summons 4-6 monsters of 2nd-level.  With no DMG out at this point for guidance, I'll go to the OD&D dungeon encounter charts to see what sort of things might appear: mostly it's a lot of humanoids (hobgoblins, bugbears and gnolls), some undead (zombies, ghouls), and a few weird monsters (giant ants, giant toads, carrion crawlers).  There's certainly a lot of variations in power level here: summoning 6 carrion crawlers could end just about any threat with the right dice rolls.
  In OD&D the number of monsters summoned was limited to 1 or 2.

Plant Growth: Works exactly like the druid spell, in that it causes vegetation to grow to form a barrier that is difficult to penetrate.  The magic-user version has a duration of 1"/level (druids get a flat 16"), an area of effect of 1" x 1" (druids get 2" x 2") and a casting time of 4 segments (druids take a full round).
  The OD&D version of the spell affected up to 30 square inches, and had a range of 12", a much more powerful spell.

Polymorph Other: This is one of the more problematic spells in D&D's history, and it fittingly has one of the longest entries in the PHB.  It transforms one creature into any other type of creature that the caster desires.  Apparently a creature can't be polymorphed into something with a higher intelligence than its original form, but the later examples seem to put a lie to that: one shows an orc being transformed into a white dragon, and another shows a human fighter being changed into a blue dragon.  (Actually, I might be wrong here.  Orcs and white dragons both have an Int of Average (low).  Blue dragons are listed as Very Intelligent, but there's no reason a fighter couldn't match that.)
  The polymorphed creature gets all of the abilities of the creature, but must pass a system shock roll to survive.  There's also a chance that the creature will take on the mentality and outlook of their new form: it starts at 100%, and is brought down by 5% for every point of Intelligence.  The difference in Hit Dice between the two forms also modifies this roll, making it harder to pass if you're put in a stronger form.  This roll is made every day, so it's inevitable that the polymorphed creature will eventually succumb, but before then they can still use all of the abilities of their former body as well.  There's also an implication that the target retains its old hit points: the example of a brontosaurus changed into an ant being impossible to squash is given.  It's not clear if this works in reverse (i.e., an ant changed into a brontosaurus having only 1 hp).  The spell is permanent, and can only be broken by a dispel magic.  The material component of this spell is a caterpillar cocoon.
  The OD&D version of the spell didn't require a system shock roll, and had nothing about the target eventually losing their minds to the new form.  It had a range of 6", whereas in AD&D it's 1/2" per level.  Basically, it was an amazing spell with no drawbacks whatsoever.

Polymorph Self: The caster can assume a form from "as small as a wren to as large as a hippopotamus".  It doesn't grant any of the new creature's special attacks or defenses, but it does grant their forms of movement (such as flight, swimming, sliding under doors, etc.).  There's no risk of system shock, though, and no chance of taking on the mentality of the new form.  The caster can change their form as many times as they want during the spell's duration, with each change requiring 5 segments.  Upon returning to their normal form, the caster restores 1d12 hit points if they were damaged while polymorphed.
  The OD&D spell says that the caster can turn into anything, though it seems that the intention here is for living creatures and not rocks or doors or a nuclear missile.  It had a duration of 6 turns + 1 turn per caster level (AD&D has a duration of 2 turns/level).  There was no mention of healing when returning to original form, but otherwise the spell is the same.

Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer: Allows the caster to retain the memory of a number of spells equal to three spell levels. So that would be three 1st-level spells, a 1st and a 2nd, or one of 3rd-level.  It can be used to instantly memorise those spells, or to retain a spell just cast.  Its material components are a piece of string, an ivory plaque worth 100gp, and ink made of squid secretion and either the blood of a black dragon or the digestive juice of a giant slug, all of which disappear when cast.  It's a handy spell to have, but that 100gp expenditure every time would make me reluctant to ever bother.
  This is the first in-game appearance of Rary, a magic-user played quite early on in the game's history by Brian Blume.  Apparently he played the character until 3rd level, when he could then be introduced as 'Medium Rary', then retired the character altogether.  There are a lot of later developments in TSR's Greyhawk history, wherein Rary becomes a powerful archmage, but these two accounts don't have to be mutually exclusive.  Either Rary went on adventures outside the confines of Greyhawk Castle, or he gained his levels through study (which is probably not allowable by the rules, but something I'm fine with as long as it takes a lot of time and exorbitant amounts of money).

Remove Curse: This spell works exactly like the 3rd-level cleric spell, with the only difference being that the casting time is 4 segments instead of 6.  It will remove any curse.  Though it doesn't permanently remove a curse from a magic item, it does allow a character with a cursed item to get rid of it.  The spell can also be reversed as bestow curse, which afflicts the target with a random effect: reduce an ability score to 3 (50%); -4 penalty to hit and saves (25%); or drop items half the time (25%).
  The OD&D version of this spell could remove any curse, and turn a cursed item into a normal item.  It wasn't reversible.

Wall of Fire: This is the same as the 5th-level druid spell, except that it has a range of 6" (druids have 8"), and a casting time of 4 segments (druids take 7 segments).  The fire created by a magic-user is reddish or violet blue, which is different from the yellow-green or amber fire summoned by druids.  It inflicts 2-12 damage +1 per caster level to any creature passing through (2-16 +1/lvl for druids).
  Now we need to do some interpretation: the druid spell deals 2-8 damage to creatures within 1", and 1-4 damage to those within 2".  Nothing is said about these being different for magic-users, but it stands to reason that if the base damage for passing through the wall is altered, then so should the damage for standing nearby. I would have the magic-user spell deal 1-6 damage to those within 1" and 1-3 damage to those within 2", which is roughly proportionate to how it works for druids.  Whatever the damage, only the side facing away from the caster radiates heat.  Creatures susceptible to fire may take more damage, and undead always take double.
  The spell lasts for as long as the caster concentrates on it, or for 1 round per level.  The area of effect is either a sheet of fire up to 2" square per caster level, or a ring with a radius of up to 1" plus 0.25" per level.  The sheet is stationary, but the ring can move with the caster.  The material component is some phosphorus.
  The OD&D version of the spell ends as soon as the caster stops concentrating on it.  Creatures of under 4 HD can't pass through at all, and any other creatures takes 1d6 damage.  It's still doubled for undead.  The spell can still be a wall or a ring; the wall can be up to 6" wide, and the ring is always 3" in diameter.

Wall of Ice: Creates a wall of ice that is one inch thick per caster level, and covers an area of 1" square per level.  The length and height can be decided by the caster, as long as it's within the area limit.  Creatures breaking through the ice take 2 points of damage per inch of thickness; fire-using creatures take more, and cold-using creatures take less.  The wall can be created to fall on creatures underneath, and in that case it works like an ice storm.  Strong magical fire will melt the wall in 1 round (resulting in a cloud of fog that lasts for a turn), but regular fire and smaller magical fire has no effect.  The material component is a piece of quartz or rock crystal.
  The OD&D spell was always 6 inches thick, up to 6" long and 2" high.  It's said to "negate the effect of creatures employing fire and/or fire spells", which seems to be pretty much the opposite to how the AD&D spell works.  It could only be broken through by a creature of 4 Hit Dice or more, and doing so resulted in 1d6 damage (doubled for fire-using creatures).  There was nothing about using the wall to crush your foes, and nothing about fog (fair enough given that magical fire seemingly doesn't work against it).  Its range was 12", whereas in AD&D it's 1" per level.

Wizard Eye: Creates an invisible eye that can be controlled by the caster.  It covers 3" per round, or 1" if you want it to examine the floor, ceiling and walls as it travels.  It can see 10' in the dark (like infravision) or 60' in a lighted area.  The material component is a bit of bat fur.
  The OD&D version of the spell had a range limit of 24", whereas AD&D seems to have no limit except for that imposed by the spell's duration.  The eye moved at 12" per turn, which is fast, and seems to make the 24" range even more ridiculously limiting.  It had a duration of 6 turns, as opposed to 1 round per level in AD&D.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

AD&D Players Handbook part 40: 3rd-Level Magic-User Spells

There are twenty-four 3rd-level spells for magic-users in AD&D.  In OD&D there were 18, and all but one of them has made the transition at the same level (rope trick got demoted to level 2).  Phantasmal force got bumped up to 3rd-level (it was 2nd in OD&D).  Five spells are brand-new: blink, feign death, flame arrow, gust of wind, Leomund's tiny hut, and tongues (although feign death and tongues have appeared previously in the PHB).

Blink: This spell causes the caster to "blink" in and out of the material plane in a random pattern.  The segment of the round in which the magic-user disappears is randomly determined using 2d4.  When the magic-user reappears, he will have moved to a space 2' distant from where he started, in a random direction.  There's a chance here that the caster can reappear in a solid object, which might result in being trapped in the Ethereal Plane.  The caster can't be attacked for the rest of the round after he reappears, unless it's by an attack that can reach both his starting position and the place he reappeared (such as an area affect like a fireball).  While blinking, the caster can make melee attacks normally, but any other activity has a 25% chance of failure.  This is a great spell, with just enough minor risk involved to deter players from over-cheesing it.

Clairaudience: Allows the caster to listen in on any area that he's familiar with, regardless of range (although it only works on the plane where it was cast).  It can also be cast to listen in on unfamiliar locales that are obvious and close by, such as the opposite side of a door, but it can be blocked by a thin metal sheet.  Its material component is a silver horn worth 100gp, which is consumed in the casting.
  The AD&D version of the spell is now far more powerful than it used to be.  In OD&D it could only be used to listen to areas close by, although this could be extended by using a crystal ball.  The older version of the spell could be blocked by over 2' of solid rock, or a thin sheet of lead, whereas the new version is stopped by any type of metal.  It also didn't require the silver horn; I'd be tempted to allow for short-range use of the spell without the horn.

Clairvoyance: This spell works like clairaudience, except that the caster can magically see from the area he chooses.  As with clairaudience the spell has an unlimited range within the same plane on which it was cast, provided that the area chosen is familiar, but sight is dependent on light being present in the area to be "clairvoyed".  (It must be a word, Gary uses it in the spell description.)  If it's dark, vision extends to 1", otherwise it's to the extent of normal vision.  Metal sheeting or magical protection will block it.  The material component is powdered pineal gland from a humanoid creature.  It's odd that this spell has a less valuable component than clairaudience; I would have thought sight more useful for scrying than hearing, or at the very least equal in importance.
  The OD&D version of the spell only had a range of 6", so it's much less powerful.  It last longer, though: 12 turns as opposed to 1 round/level.  Lead stopped the OD&D spell, whereas the AD&D spell is stopped by any metal.  It also wasn't necessary to powder some poor buggers eyeball to cast it, either.  Like clairaudience, I might be willing to let a caster use the short-range version if they don't have the necessary component.

Dispel Magic: Works like the cleric version of the spell, but its range is doubled and its casting time is halved.
  The OD&D version of the spell was written as dispell magic.  It had a range of 24", as opposed to 12" in AD&D.  It also had a duration of 1 turn, whereas in AD&D the duration is "permanent".  For some discussion of what this "permanent" duration means, and the new method for determining if a dispel is successful, follow the link above.  My conclusion then was that the OD&D spell is much more likely to succeed.

Explosive Runes: The caster can place these runes on a book, map, scroll or similar object, and anyone who reads them will trigger a blast that does 12-30 damage to the reader (no save) and the same amount to everyone within 1" (save for half).  The object the runes were placed on will also be destroyed, unless it's immune to magical fire.  The caster, and anyone else they instruct, can avoid triggering the runes.  A magic-user has a 5% chance per level of detecting them; thieves can also find them, but they only get a 5% chance in total. The runes last forever, until dispelled, or until removed by the caster.
  In OD&D the runes could only be placed on parchment, whereas AD&D allows the caster to place them on anything that contains writing.  This means that in OD&D there was no need to specify that some of these items won't be destroyed in the blast.  The blast only affected the reader, and dealt 4-24 damage. There was nothing about thieves being able to detect explosive runes, but magic-users two or more levels higher than the caster had a 50% chance to find them and a 75% chance to remove them.  Obviously, this spell's been upgraded to be more difficult to detect, and can only be magically removed with dispel magic.

Feign Death: This spell is new to AD&D, but appeared earlier in the PHB as a cleric spell.  It allows the caster to place himself or a target equal to or lower than his own level in a death-like trance.  (Clerics don't have this limit, and can use the spell on creatures of any level/Hit Dice).  The target can hear and smell, but can't see or feel, and won't react to being wounded. Any attack on the body only deals half damage.  (I think I said this when I covered the cleric spell, but the implication here is that half of all damage is due to shock and mental trauma.)  The target is immune to paralysis, poison and energy drain, but can still be poisoned (which takes effect when the spell wears off).  It only works on a willing target, and can be ended by the caster at any time. 

Fireball: Hey look, it's fireball, aka the best of all spells.  I'm sure nobody reading this needs me to go over what it does, but here goes.  Fireball creates a 2" radius explosion that deals 1d6 damage per caster level (save for half).  The fire ignites combustibles, and can melt soft metals (you know, gold, silver, copper, all the valuable ones).  Basically, any item caught in the fireball needs to make a saving throw to avoid destruction, although items on a person who makes their save are considered unaffected.  Here's a new one on me: the caster actually has to point their finger and speak the range at which the fireball will explode.  I don't think there are any other spells that require this, and perhaps Gary meant it to apply to the player rather than the character, but a guy shouting "150 feet" before loosing destruction is weird enough for me to like it.  A fireball "conforms to the shape of the area in which it occurs, thus covering an area equal to its normal spherical volume".  As I understand it this means that a fireball expands to fill 33,000 cubic feet, but I find the wording a little vague.  And then there's the bit where Gary says that it fills "33,000 feet [or yards]" - is this an error?  I thought the feet-to-yards conversion when outside only applied to spell ranges, not area of effect.  As everyone knows, the material component for fireball is a ball of sulphur and bat guano.  Or as we call it in the real world, "poo".
  In OD&D the spell was written as fire ball (two words), and didn't require the caster to shout the range out loud.  The language used to describe the fireball expanding to fill its space is clearer in OD&D - it actually uses the word elongate, so there's no ambiguity at all.  The OD&D spell had a range of 24", whereas in AD&D it's 10"+1"/level.  Otherwise, it's the same in damage and area, but there was nothing about it destroying items.

Flame Arrow: The caster can ignite arrows and crossbow bolts by touching them. One such missile can be ignited per segment, and the spell lasts for 1 segment per caster level.  These missiles are considered to be magical, and they deal +1 damage against creatures vulnerable to flame, but otherwise they get no bonuses at all.  The missile must be fired within 1 round, or it will be consumed by fire.  Its material components are a drop of oil and a small piece of flint.  Is it just me, or is this spell super-weak?  Sure, you can set things on fire from a distance, and damage creatures that can only be hit by magic weapons, but what else?  If you fired it an ogre, would you really only get a +1 damage bonus and nothing else?  There's no way it's worthy of being 3rd level.

Fly: Lets the target fly at a speed of 12" per move.  The speed is halved when ascending, and doubled when diving.  The spell lasts 1 turn/level + 1d6 turns, and the duration is always kept secret from the caster so that there's a chance of the spell ending while they're still in mid-air.  This spell hasn't changed one bit from OD&D, which is a genuine rarity.  Its material component is a bird's wing feather.

Gust of Wind: Creates a "strong puff of air" that can blow over light objects, blow out candles and torches, possibly extinguish lanterns (5% chance per caster level), fan larger fires out 1' to 6', force small flying creatures back, check the movement of man-sized flying creatures, and slow large flying creatures by half.  It's range is 1" per caster level, and the material component is a legume seed.  It's another spell that seems under-powered for 3rd level as written, but I could definitely see some creative uses for it.

Haste: Causes all targets (one per caster level) within a 4"x4" area to move and act at double speed. This means that movement rate is doubled, as well as number of attacks, although it doesn't apply to spell-casting. (Possibly there's a level of precision and timing involved with spell-casting that means it can't be performed any faster than usual.)  It negates the slow spell.  There's a line here about recipients of the spell being prematurely aged, but no numbers are given (they'll presumably come in the DMG).  It's material component is a shaving of licorice root
  The OD&D version of this spell was called haste spell, and it was hella-vague.  It was said to be the opposite of a slow spell, but that spell had no effect described either: all it said was that it affected up to 24 creatures in a maximum area of 6" x 12".  To get an effect, we need to go all the way back to the wargame Chainmail, which says that the haste spell increases movement by 50%.  The AD&D version affects far less creatures, but is more powerful in that it increases attacks as well as movement.  Also, there was nothing in OD&D about the spell ageing its recipients.

Hold Person: This one's like the 2nd-level cleric spell, being able to paralyse up to four "persons".  The fewer targets that are designated, the harder the spell is to save against.  Here's something I've never noticed before: if the spell is partially negated (a ring of spell turning is given as a possible example) then the spell acts as a slow spell.  We get a precise list of all the creatures that the spell affects: brownies, dryads, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites, and troglodytes.  I appreciate a list like this, but it comes with its own problems in that it necessitates the spell description being updated every time a new Monster Manual comes out.
  The OD&D hold person was odd in that it was said to be a more powerful version of charm person (although I'm pretty sure there's anecdotal evidence from the earliest players to suggest that it was used as a paralysis spell, as it is in AD&D).  Like the AD&D spell, it was more effective when cast at a single target (although the save penalty was -2 as opposed to -3 in AD&D, and there was no difference to saves when the spell targeted 2 or 3 creatures).  The duration was 6 turns + caster level (it's 2 rounds/level in AD&D), and the range was 12" (which hasn't changed).  The OD&D spell, as an extension of charm person, affected "two-legged, mammalian figures" of man-size or less.  Some monsters were specifically cited, but it's notable that lizard men and troglodytes wouldn't count as mammalian, and so wouldn't be affected by the original hold person spell.

Infravision: Grants the target the ability to see in infrared. It's noted that this type of vision is adversely affected by strong heat sources nearby, and that it can't detect creatures that are invisible.  It's material component is a pinch of dried carrot or an agate.
  The OD&D spell also granted the ability to see in infrared, but there was nothing about heat sources or invisible creatures noted.  In OD&D the duration of the spell was a whole day, whereas in AD&D it's been reduced to 2 hours, plus 1 hour per level.  The range of this sight was 40'-60' in OD&D, and it's a flat 6" in AD&D.  I do wonder how to adjudicate the variable range given in OD&D.  Is it a random determination when the spell is cast, or a rough guideline to be used by the DM in various conditions?  I'd go with the latter for simplicity's sake.

Invisibility 10' Radius: This spell works like invisibility, in that the targets remain invisible until they attack someone.  I'm still unsure exactly how this spell works, though.  It's said to have a single target, and an area of a 10' radius around the target.  Okay, but is it just that it affects every creature within that radius when the spell is cast, and those affected remain invisible regardless of where they move?  Or is it an area affect that moves with the target, necessitating that those wishing to remain invisible must stay close by?  Given that the creatures made invisible by this spell can't see each other, it seems logical that the former would be true.  It's certainly a more useful spell that way.  As with invisibility, its material components are an eyelash and a bit of gum arabic.
  The OD&D spell was similarly vague.  It had a range of 24", whereas the AD&D version requires the caster to touch the target.

Leomund's Tiny Hut: Leomund makes a second appearance, with a spell that creates a globe of force around the caster that keeps out winds up to 50mph and maintains a comfortable temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (about 21 degrees Celsius, as the civilised world would measure it).  Temperatures below 0 degrees lower this on a 1 for 1 basis, and those above 105 degrees raise it in a similar ratio.  The caster can also control the ambient lighting within the globe.  From outside the globe can't be seen through, but it's transparent from inside.  Up to 6 man-sized creatures can fit inside (along with the creator), and the spell ends when the caster leaves.  It's not stated what happens if more creatures try to enter, but the globe provides no protection from attacks.  The most surprising thing about this spell for me is that it's not actually a hut, it's just a boring old globe.  An actual hut might be a little silly, but D&D could use a bit more silliness.  The material component is a crystal bead that shatters when the spell ends.

Lightning Bolt: It's like a fireball, but electric, and in a straight line.  The caster designates the bolt's starting point and it blasts out from there, dealing 1d6 damage per level.  It can destroy wooden doors, about a foot of stone, and like fireball will melt most valuable metals.  The caster also decides the dimensions of the bolt: it can either be 1" wide and 4" long, or it can be 1/2" wide and 8" long.  If the bolt is blocked by a non-conducting barrier, it will extend backwards to its full length.  (Note that it says non-conducting; it won't rebound off metal walls, for instance.)  Material components required are a bit of fur and a rod made out of glass, amber or crystal.
  The OD&D lightning bolt did the same damage, but it had fixed dimensions of 3/4" wide and 6" long (funnily enough, that still works as a mid-point between the two AD&D options).  It still had the rule about extending backwards if the bolt hits an obstacle.  The spell had range of 24", and the end of the bolt could never extend beyond that range.  In AD&D, the range is 4" + 1"/level, but that range designates the beginning of the bolt; there's no maximum range, it just keeps growing indefinitely as you gain levels.

Monster Summoning I: Summons 1d8 creatures of 1st level within 1-4 rounds, that will attack the caster's enemies or perform some other task within their abilities.  They appear in the spot designated by the caster, so presumably they are magically summoned rather than wandering in from the surrounding area.  The monsters that appear are either randomly determined or decided by the DM, but there's no table given for what sort of creatures to expect, and with no DMG available at the time there weren't any random encounter tables to use either.  The best bet at this point in the game's history was probably the dungeon encounter charts from OD&D, which would turn up things like kobolds, skeletons or spiders (or gelatinous cubes, which could be fun).  The material component is a tiny bag and a small candle.
  Indeed, this is the method used in the OD&D version of the spell.  It's interesting that the older spell had provisions for doubling the amount of creatures summoned if they're particularly weak or small.  The default number summoned in OD&D was 1-3, and they arrived after 1 turn.  The spell lasted 6 melee turns (as opposed to 2 rounds +1/level in AD&D) and had a range of 1" (3" in AD&D).

Phantasmal Force: Creates a visual illusion that can affect anyone looking at it, to the point where it can even inflict actual damage.  The spell doesn't create sound, so obviously there'll be some illusions that just won't be believable.  Anyone who disbelieves the illusion gets a saving throw, and if successful can confer a +4 bonus to their mates by telling them about it.  The illusion will disappear if struck, although the caster can stop this by making the illusion react accordingly.  It also disappears if the caster stops concentrating on it.  Moving will break this concentration, as will being damaged.  The material component for this spell is a bit of fleece.
  In OD&D this spell was 2nd level, and was called phantasmal forces.  It worked like the AD&D version, but there was nothing said about it being unable to create sound.  There were also no rules about disbelief provided.  It had a range of 24", whereas in AD&D it's 8" + 1"/level.  This spell has been simultaneously moved up a level, and lowered in effectiveness, which is an odd combo.  Its guidelines are vague enough that it could probably work at 4th level; it's certainly very effective in the hands of a creative player or DM.

Protection from Evil, 10' Radius: It's the same as the 1st-level protection from evil (hedging out enchanted and summoned evil creatures, -2 on attacks from evil creatures, +2 on saves from evil attacks), except that it affects a 10' radius area around the target.  It also takes an extra segment to cast.  The material component is powdered iron and silver.
  In OD&D the spell lasted for 12 turns, whereas in AD&D it lasts for 2 rounds/level.  It also had -1/+1 modifiers on defense, instead of the -2/+2 in AD&D.

Protection from Normal Missiles: Completely protects the recipient from non-magical missiles and small stones, and reduces 1 from each damage die on attacks from magical missiles and larger stones.  It doesn't give any protection against spells.  The material component is a bit of tortoise or turtle shell.
  The OD&D version of the spell protected against normal missiles, but it also went on to clarify that it didn't protect against missiles projected by men that were "above normal".  I'd previously wondered if this meant that the spell was useless against high-level characters, but the AD&D spell indicates that it wasn't intended to be taken this way.  There was nothing in OD&D about damage reduction against magic missiles, either.  The range was 3" (it's a touch spell in AD&D) and the duration was 12 turns (it's 1 turn/level in AD&D).

Slow: Halves the movement and attack rate of creatures within a 4"x4" area (affecting 1 creature per level).  It can stack as well, which is a new one on me; two or three doses of this spell would render a lot of monsters useless.  There's nothing here about spell-casting being slowed, but I would say that it is. It's easy to rationalise that haste doesn't apply to spell-casting, as a hasted caster can deliberately slow themselves down to perform the various rituals.  If you've been slowed, you can't just voluntarily speed yourself up, can you?  Its material component is some treacle.  (It's a bit odd that this spell and haste aren't reversible with each other, but they're probably too powerful to combine in the same spell.)
  In OD&D it was called slow spell, and it affected up to 24 creatures in a 6"x12" area.  As with haste there was no effect given, so we have to go back to Chainmail, which says that the spell halves movement.  There's nothing in there about attacks.  The duration in OD&D was 3 turns (it's 3 rounds +1 round/level in AD&D), and the range was 24" (it's 9" + 1"/level in AD&D).

Suggestion: Allows the caster to make a reasonable suggestion, that the target will agree to if it fails a saving throw.  The more reasonable the suggestion, the more difficult it is to resist.  I was ready to declare this spell as useless compared to charm person, but there's an example in the spell description that clearly has it being used against a dragon.  Charm person could only affect humanoids, so that's a big difference.  It doesn't work on undead, though.  Material component is a snake's tongue and either a drop of sweet oil or some honeycomb.
  The OD&D spell was much the same, though it had nothing about undead being immune.  It also had a duration of 1 week, whereas it lasts for a much shorter time in AD&D (6 turns + 6 turns/level).

Tongues: As with the 4th-level cleric spell, it allows the caster to speak the language of any creature within a 6" diameter circle.  The cleric spell had a duration of 1 turn, whereas the magic-user version lasts for 1 round/level.  It has a faster casting time: 3 segments, as opposed to 7 for clerics.  It also has a material component that the cleric spell doesn't have: a small clay ziggurat that shatters when the spell is cast.  The spell can also be reversed, which confuses all verbal communications within the area.

Water Breathing: Like the 3rd-level druid spell, this allows the recipient to breathe underwater.  Its duration is only 3 turns/level, half that of the druid version.  Its casting time of 3 segments is faster than that for druids (5 segments).  It's reversible as air breathing, which allows aquatic creatures to survive on land.  The material component is a short reed or a piece of straw.
  The OD&D version of the spell had a duration of 12 turns, and a range of 3" (it's a touch spell in AD&D).  It wasn't reversible.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

AD&D Players Handbook part 39: 2nd-Level Magic-User Spells

There are twenty-four 2nd-level magic-user spells in AD&D, which seems like a lot but is a slight relief after covering thirty 1st-level spells in my last post.  Fifteen of these spells have been carried over from the OD&D magic-user list; there would have been sixteen, but in AD&D phantasmal force has been raised to 3rd level.  Eight spells on the AD&D list are brand new: audible glamer, fool's gold, forget, Leomund's trap, ray of enfeeblement, scare, shatter, and (surprisingly) stinking cloudRope trick was a third-level spell in OD&D, but now has been dropped to 2nd.

Audible Glamer: This spell creates illusory sounds, of anything that the caster desires. When used by a 3rd-level caster the volume is equivalent to four men, and every level above 3rd adds an extra four men to that volume.  Examples given are as follows: a horde of rats equals eight men, a roaring lion equals 16, and a roaring dragon equals 24 men (at least). It's said to be very effective in conjunction with phantasmal force, which I believe creates illusions that are soundless.  This spell helpfully provides some guidelines for disbelief: the character must state that he disbelieves the sound before getting a saving throw.
  Material components for the spell are a bit of wool or a lump of wax.

Continual Light: Works like the cleric version of the spell, but it's range has been halved and it can't be reversed as continual darkness. (The radius of this spell has halved since OD&D - from 12" to 6".)

Darkness 15' Radius: Creates an area of total darkness, in which no form of light functions, and infravision and ultravision are useless.  The spell is negated by a light spell, but it's not clear what happens with continual light - I would rule that light negates darkness and has no further effects, whereas continual light negates darkness and also functions as normal.  The spell's material components are a bit of bat fur and either a drop of pitch or a piece of coal.
  The OD&D version of this spell was actually darkness 5' radius, which was probably too small an area to make it worthwhile.  It had a flat duration of 6 turns (in AD&D it's 1 turn + 1 round/level) and a flat range of 12" (in AD&D it's 1"/level).  So the spell was smaller in area, but more potent for low-level casters.  It otherwise functioned much the same (though without the mention of ultravision, which wasn't a thing in OD&D).

Detect Evil: This works like detect evil for clerics, except that range is halved, and the duration is much less (measured in rounds instead of turns). The major advantage for magic-users is that they have a casting time of 2 segments, whereas clerics take a full round.
  The major difference between detect evil in OD&D and AD&D is that the older version of the spell detected evil intent, while the new version flags anyone with an evil alignment.  In OD&D it had a duration of 2 turns (5 rounds/level in AD&D) and a range of 6" (unchanged in AD&D).

Detect Invisibility: Allows the caster to see objects that are invisible, and creatures that are "astral, ethereal, hidden, invisible, or out of phase".  That's a healthy list that's much more useful than the spell's name would imply.  It's material components are a pinch of talc and a sprinkle of silver powder.
  In OD&D the spell was awkwardly called detect invisible (objects), and was used to detect invisible creatures and "secreted treasure hidden by an invisibility spell".  The latter is very specific, and one wonders if the spell was intended for locating other non-treasure-related invisible objects.  The spell had a duration of 6 turns (5 rounds/level in AD&D), and a range of 1"/level (unchanged in AD&D).  The spell has become more versatile since then, at the cost of its duration (although given the tendency to use turns and rounds interchangeably in OD&D, that's debatable).

ESP: This spell allows the caster to read the surface thoughts of any creature within range. It doesn't work on mindless creatures, with undead being given as a specific example.  I would have thought that vampires and liches might be affected, but it's quite clear that the spell is ineffective on all undead.  ESP is blocked by two feet of rock, two inches of metal, and a thin sheet of lead; primarily it seems that the spell is used to detect creatures lurking behind doors.  The material component is a copper piece.
  There's one thing about the spell that doesn't make sense, though.  The caster can probe the thoughts of one creature per turn, but the spell only has a duration of 1 round/level.  A turn is equal to ten rounds, so what happens to low-level casters whose duration is less than one turn?  Do they round up to the nearest turn, or should it be one probing per round instead?  I could go either way.
  The OD&D version of the spell had no guidelines on the number of creatures that could be probed, and no mention of it being ineffective on mindless creatures.  It was said to be blocked by 2' of rock and a thin coating of lead, but there was nothing about metal other than lead. It had a duration of 12 turns (it's 1 round/level in AD&D) and a range of 6" (in AD&D it's 0.5"/level, with a 9" maximum).

Fool's Gold: Temporarily transforms items of copper or brass into gold.  It affects one cubic foot per caster level, but for the purposes of this spell a cubic foot is considered to be equivalent to 4,000 gold pieces.  It sounds implausible to me, but magic's gunna magic I guess.  Anyone who looks at the fool's gold gets a saving throw against their Intelligence score, but the higher the level of the caster the more difficult the save becomes.  The gold can also be detected if struck by an item of cold-wrought iron, which might transform it back to normal, depending on the material component used for the spell.  It seems that the caster needs to sprinkle a powdered gemstone over the metal to be transformed, and the higher the value of the gemstone, the less likely that it will be revealed by this method.  (The requirement for a gemstone defeats one of the purposes I had thought of for this spell: using it to buy things when you're completely devoid of treasure; if you have a gemstone to powder, you're hardly broke.  I'd allow the spell to be cast without the gemstone, but the cold wrought iron method would detect it automatically.)

Forget: Causes 1-4 creatures within a 2"x2" area to forget the last minute of time; every three levels of experience allows the caster to erase a further minute of memories.  The fewer the targets, the more difficult the spell is to save against.  The spell in no way negates charm, geas or quest spells (although I do wonder why Gary felt the need to call this one out).  It can be cured by a heal or restoration spell, or by a wish.

Invisibility: The target is made invisible, and remains so until the invisibility is dispelled, the caster ends the spell, the target ends the spell, or the target attacks someone.  So effectively, the spell can last forever, at least in theory. It works against normal vision and infravision, although it doesn't make the recipient any quieter.  The material component for the spell is an eyelash and a bit of gum arabic.
  Here's a rule I didn't know about before: all creatures with a high intelligence and 10+ Hit Dice or levels have a chance to detect invisible creatures.  There are no concrete rules given about this here. Is it something I've missed earlier, or is it coming in the Dungeon Masters Guide? (Further research tells me that certain powerful characters had this ability in Chainmail, but it seems odd to me to apply it to any creature with enough HD.)
  The OD&D version of the spell works similarly, but is given a range of 24".  It's not entirely clear what this means: could the spell be cast on a target up to that range, or was that the limit within which the recipient could operate in relation to the caster?  In AD&D, the range is touch, which means that the caster has to touch the target to cast the spell, and then the recipient can go off as far as he likes while remaining invisible.

Knock: Opens doors that are stuck, locked, barred or wizard locked. It will also open secret doors, presumably getting around the need to find the relevant switch or trigger.  It also works on chests, shackles, and chains, but it won't raise a portcullis. Weirdly, it only works on two effects per casting; a door that is locked and barred will require one knock spell, but one that's locked, barred and wizard locked will require two knock spells to open.  It doesn't dispel a wizard lock permanently, but simply suppresses it for a turn.
  The OD&D version of the spell worked the same way, but only specified doors and gates, and had no requirement for multiple knock spells to open a single door.

Leomund's Trap: This spell places an illusory trap on any small mechanism, such as a lock.  Anyone searching the device for traps is 80% likely to find it and believe it to be real (with this percentage being less for higher level characters).  As the trap is false there are no consequences for opening or otherwise activating the device - it's simply a harmless illusion intended to scare would-be thieves.  Said thief has a 20% chances of believing he has successfully disarmed the trap (again, this improves at higher levels). The material component is a piece of iron pyrite (also known as fool's gold).  For some reason, only one of these spells can be placed within a 50' x 50' area.  I wonder, does this mean one spell per caster in that area, or one spell overall?  I assume that the purpose of this limit is to stop areas from being overloaded with these things to the point of irritation.
  This is the first mention in D&D of Leomund, whose name will appear on a number of spells in the PHB. Leomund was a character played by Len Lakofka, one of the game's earliest playtesters and a significant contributor to Dragon magazine and D&D as a whole. The character of Leomund is an archmage in the World of Greyhawk, but as with many of that setting's characters there's a disconnect between the history of the character as played by its creator, and the history laid out by TSR.  It's something to consider later on, though I'm inclined to favour the creator where possible.

Levitate: Allows the recipient to float up or down, though it doesn't allow horizontal movement except via pushing against other objects.  The caster can levitate a weight equal to 1,000 gp per caster level.  The speed of movement is 20' per round if the caster uses the spell on himself, and 10' per round on other targets.  The spell can be cancelled as the caster desires, but before you get ideas about levitating creatures in the air and dropping them, it should be noted that unwilling targets get a saving throw.  (You can totally murder your friends though.)  The material component is a small leather loop or a piece of gold wire bent into the shape of a cup.
  The OD&D spell works the same way, except that the spell is limited to the caster, and no weight limit is given.  The movement rate was 6"/turn, which is about three times faster than the speed given in AD&D.  The duration was 6 turns + caster level, as opposed to 1 turn/level in AD&D.  The OD&D spell was seemingly more effective, but being restricted to the caster was less versatile.

Locate Object: This works like the cleric spell, except that it has a range of 2"/level where the cleric spell's range is 6" + 1"/level.  It also has a casting time of 2 segments, faster by far than the clerical casting time of 1 turn.  (Oddly, in OD&D the range for this spell was the same as that given here for clerics.)
Magic Mouth: This spells enchants any object with a mouth that activates under certain conditions and speaks a message of 25 words or less; if the object already has a mouth (such as a statue), that mouth will appear to move in synch with the words.  It can't cast spells, and it can't be placed on intelligent creatures.  The conditions can be as general or specific as the caster desires, but the spell can only distinguish tangible features: things like alignment, Hit Dice, level and class aren't discernible, and it also can't see creatures that are invisible.  The material component is a piece of honeycomb.
  The OD&D version of the spell actually could discern alignment and class, at least based on the examples given.  It was otherwise the same, but that's a pretty major difference.  It probably doesn't matter all that much, because it's not a particularly powerful spell.

Mirror Image: Creates 1-4 exact duplicates, which mirror the actions of the caster exactly. They disappear when struck, and shift around in such a way that if the real caster is struck they can't be picked out with subsequent attacks.  I'd always just rolled a 1d4 to determine the number of images created, but the spell actually uses a percentile roll, with a bonus based on the caster's level.
  The OD&D version of the spell is mostly the same, but it has nothing to say that attackers can't pick out the real caster after striking him, and it doesn't use the percentile roll.  It had a duration of 6 turns, whereas the AD&D spell lasts for 2 rounds/level.

Pyrotechnics: This spell works like the druid spell, which can either create a flash of fireworks, or a cloud of smoke.  The magic-user spell has a range of 12", whereas the druid version's range is 16", and it doesn't require mistletoe.  It's also a little quicker to cast, with a casting time of 2 segment as opposed to 5 for druids.
  In OD&D, the spell had a range of 24" and a duration of 6 turns (the AD&D version lasts for 1 segment per caster level for the fireworks, and 1 round per level for the smoke). The OD&D spell created smoke in an area of 20 cubic feet, but the AD&D spell's area depends on the size of the fire affected, being 100 times the volume of that fire.

Ray of Enfeeblement: Reduces the target's Strength by 25% plus 2% for every caster level above third.  At least, it says that it decreases Strength, but then it goes on to say that the penalty is subtracted from the damage the target deals with any physical attacks.  Obviously the latter is worse; a drop from, say, 12 Strength to 9 wouldn't make much difference to your damage (although someone with Strength up in the percentiles might suffer more).  I'd be inclined to apply the penalty to damage, just as it says, mostly so that the effect works the same way for characters and monsters.

Rope Trick: Causes a rope to stand perfectly straight, and if climbed the rope leads into an extra-dimensional space where the caster and up to five others can hide.  The rope can be drawn within this dimension, but only if there are five people or less inside. Anyone still in the space when the spell expires will reappear and fall to the ground. Apparently any creature that finds the rope can pull it down, but there's nothing written about the consequences of this; maybe it just forces the occupants to drop to the ground when leaving the space?  The spell's material component is powdered corn extract and a twisted loop of parchment.
  In OD&D, the length of rope required was 6' to 24' (it's 5' to 30' in AD&D). The extradimensional space was only able to hold the caster and three others.  Strangely, the old version of the spell does specify what happens when another creature pulls down the rope, and it's pretty much what I said above.  It's weird that it got omitted from AD&D.  There's nothing in OD&D about drawing the rope into the dimensional space, nor what happens when the spell expires. The duration was 6 turns plus 1 per caster level, whereas in AD&D it's 2 turns per level,

Scare: Causes one creature of less that 6 Hit Dice to tremble and shake.  The target will fight back at a penalty if cornered, but otherwise does not attack.  It doesn't work on elves, half-elves, undead, clerics, or demons/devils (only the weakest demons/devils are listed, presumably because those are the ones below 6 HD). The material component is a bit of bone from an undead creature.  I'm not really sure about the utility of this spell, to be honest; only affecting one creature is pretty weak, and it doesn't stop them from fighting back.  Why take out one creature when you can use web or stinking cloud to immobilise a whole bunch? It would probably fit better as a 1st-level spell, in my opinion.

Shatter: Smashes any non-magical object made of crystal, glass, ceramics, or porcelain, with a range of 6" and a weight limit of 100gp per caster level.  The object gets a saving throw against crushing blow to resist, which kind of negates the usefulness of the spell.  Again, this one feels a little too underpowered for 2nd level.  A chip of mica is its material component.

Stinking Cloud: Making a surprisingly late debut is this staple of the magic-user list. It creates a cloud of 2" x 2" x 2", and any creature within must save vs spells or be made immobile and helpless with nausea.  Even creatures who make their save are helpless until they can leave the cloud, and for another round thereafter.  Its material component is a rotten egg or several skunk cabbage leaves.  Really, you can't go wrong with this spell - it's one of the best of its level, just as long as you don't catch your mates in it.

Strength: Increases a single character's Strength score by a number of points dependent on their class: fighters get the most, clerics and thieves are in the middle, and magic-users and monks get the least.  If a score is raised above 18, then each point is equivalent to 10% of percentile Strength.  Characters are still restricted to the limits set by their race and gender, however.  The material component is a few hairs or a pinch of dung from a strong animal.
  The major difference between the OD&D and AD&D spell is in the number of bonus points per class.  Fighters got an extra 2-8 (it's 1-8 in AD&D); clerics got 1-6, which is unchanged; and thieves got 1-4 (which has been raised to 1-6).  There was nothing about how the spell affects magic-users (or monks), so presumably it didn't work for them at all.  If a fighter-type's Strength was raised to 18, the percentile score was rolled randomly rather than based on the bonus granted by the spell.  It had a flat duration of 8 hours, wheres in AD&D it lasts for 1 hour per caster level.

Web: Fills an area with strong, sticky webs, but that area must be anchored on either side by walls, a floor and ceiling, or the equivalent.  Creatures with a Strength of 12 or less are stuck fast, those with 13 to 17 can break through 1' per turn, and those with 18+ can break through 1' per round.  Large, heavy creatures are considered very strong for this purpose, and sufficiently large creatures are said to be able to ignore these webs altogether.  The saving throw for this spell is a little different than usual; if you fail you're caught, but if you succeed you can leap to freedom if you have room; otherwise you are caught in the web, but the part that surrounds you is only at half-strength.  Here's a doozy: any creature caught in the web has a 5% cumulative chance to suffocate to death per turn; I never knew that.  The strands can be burned away in a single round, though any creature within will take 2-8 damage.  The material component is (duh) a piece of spider web.
  The OD&D version of the spell was given as a power of the staff of wizardry, and was somewhat vague.  There was nothing about anchor points, or suffocation, or saving throws, and for some strange reason it only gave the rate to break free for giants, leaving the DM to calculate a proportionate rate for any other creature based on size.  It had a duration of 8 game hours, so it's just as well that the suffocation rules weren't given.  It's range was 3", whereas in AD&D it's 0.5" per level.

Wizard Lock: Magically locks a door, chest or portal permanently.  A dispel magic or knock spell will temporarily negate the effects.  A strong character can break it open, which makes the spell disappear. A wizard 4 levels higher than the caster can also open it automatically.  Unlike hold portal, extra-dimensional creatures can't bust open a wizard lock.
  The OD&D spell is similar, but could be opened by a magic-user three levels higher than the caster.  There was nothing about it being exempt from the rule about extra-dimensional creatures, either.

And that's another step take on my ultra-tedious journey through the PHB spell lists.  I really shouldn't have committed to this much detail.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Brief Hiatus

Yes, I know it's been a while since I've posted here, but rest assured that the blog is not dead.  I still want to post, but the last couple of months have seen me dealing with some difficult personal issues and the emotional stress that comes with them.  I haven't had the mental energy or focus to do any sort of writing, or much of anything else to be honest.  The good news is that these issues are over, and and I'm in a good place right now.  I want to start blogging again soon.

The bad news (at least for readers waiting for the next post) is that the G1 Climax tournament is going on right now.  For those not in the know, it's a Japanese pro-wrestling tournament that is basically a solid month of hard bastards leathering the shit out of each other.  If WWE is the Nickelback of pro-wrestling, the G1 is like the Beatles, or a Mozart symphony.  Basically, it's great, but it also takes up a lot of my time, so I won't be getting back into writing until after it's done. So expect me back somewhere in mid-to-late August.

This is the part where I might ask for some monetary support, but let's be real here: what I write on the blog ain't worth charging money for.  But if you are looking for some more of my writing, I have a novel that's been available on Amazon for a few years. Jack Manley and the Warlord of Infinity is a fast-paced, B-movie sci-fi action adventure, and I have it on good authority that it's excellent (my Mum would never lie to me). So if you'd like to provide me with some lovely feel-good endorphins, please head over to Amazon and buy my book for the lovely price of 99 American.cents - it's totally worth it, and you can find it RIGHT HERE.

So, until my next post, I thank you for your patience (and ask you to forgive me for the blatant advertising).  I'll be back before you know it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

AD&D Player's Handbook part 38: 1st-Level Magic-User Spells

Notes Regarding Magic-User Spells: Before the spell descriptions begin, there's a short section that mostly deals with magic-user spell components. The most interesting thing here is that casting times are dependent on the caster having all of their components to hand and easily accessible; if that's not the case, a 30-second delay is recommended to rummage in packs looking for them. It's also said that any delay by the player in deciding on a spell to cast will impact on the character's casting time, with every 6 seconds of real-world delay counting as 1 segment of the combat round. It's a way to curtail magic-users somewhat, and it also enforces a certain style of play. Of all the classes, magic-users emphasise preparedness the most, and this rule really punishes players who don't live up to that requirement.

1st-Level Magic-User Spells: There are a whopping 30 1st-level magic-user spells, so grab some snacks, make a coffee and find a comfy chair, because this is going to take a while.  There were only 11 1st-level spells in OD&D, so it's obvious that there are a lot of new spells being introduced here.  All the spells in OD&D have made the transition, although read languages has had its name changed to comprehend languages.  We also have three spells that were in the first D&D Basic Set: dancing lights, enlarge (formerly known as enlargement) and Tenser's floating disc. That leaves 16 all-new spells, which is fine by me, because it's much quicker for me to write about them without doing comparisons back to OD&D.

Affect Normal Fires: Allows the caster to alter the size and brightness of a small fire. It can shrink a fire to as small as a candle, or increase a fire's brightness to equal that of a light spell (2" radius). The amount of light produced changes, but the heat of the fire doesn't, and the change in size also comes with a change in fuel consumption: quicker for brighter fires, lower for smaller ones. It's interesting to note that the spell says you can shrink a fire, but it says nothing about enlarging one; it seems that the only property of the fire that can be increased is its brightness. I had originally thought that it could be use it to set torch-wielding goblins on fire, but it doesn't seem so. Blinding them might be possible, though.

Burning Hands: Creates a jet of flame 3 feet in length, with a 120 degree arc (so it can hit up to two, maybe three opponents). It deals 1 point of damage per caster level, which... is pretty good for a 1st-level spell at high level, I guess, but what do you do with this as a 1st-level caster? Kill swarms of bees? It really does seem under-powered.

Charm Person: Charms any one "person", causing them to believe that the caster is their trusted friend. The spell has a long duration, with the target getting a regular saving throw based on Intelligence; for example, a creature with an Intelligence of 3 gets a saving throw every 3 months, whereas a creature with 18 Intelligence gets a save every 2 days.  The types of "persons" affected by the spell are specified as follows: brownies, dwarves, elves, gnolls, gnomes, goblins, half-elves, halflings, half-orcs, hobgoblins, humans, kobolds, lizard men, nixies, orcs, pixies, sprites and troglodytes.

In OD&D, the spell was said to affect "all two-legged, generally mammalian figures near to or less than man-size". The list included sprites, nixies, pixies, kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins and gnolls. The main difference here is that the "mammalian" restriction seems to have been lifted in AD&D, with the inclusion of lizard men and troglodytes. The OD&D spell also put the target under the caster's complete control. The periods of time between saving throws were different in OD&D, mostly skewing towards more frequent saves. Overall, the spell has changed to give less control over the target, but a greater duration on average and a slightly wider range of creatures that can be affected.

Comprehend Languages: Allows the caster to read an incomprehensible language, or understand speech in a language they otherwise don't know. The caster must touch the object to be read, or the creature to be understood, which could cause some complications if said creature is unfriendly. It doesn't allow the caster to read magical writing. The reverse of the spell, confuse languages, prevents comprehension or cancels out a comprehend languages spell.

In OD&D, the spell was called read languages, and it had a vague description about allowing the caster to read directions, such as those on a treasure map. It didn't allow the comprehension of spoken languages, and didn't have a reversed version. The AD&D spell is more versatile, and much more well-defined.

Dancing Lights: Creates one of three effects: 1-4 lights, each similar to a torch or lantern; 1-4 glowing spheres similar in appearance to a will-o-wisp; or one glowing, man-like shape. The caster can make the lights move however they want, and doesn't need to concentrate on them at all. They wink out if they get beyond the spell range. Useful for distractions, luring creatures into traps, or just plain old illumination I suppose.

It's meant to be 1-4 lights, you cheat.

Detect Magic: Like the cleric version of the spell this detects magical radiations, can scan a 60 degree arc per round, and is blocked by a foot of stone, an inch of metal or 3 feet of wood. It's detection range is double that of the cleric spell, though, and has a duration of 2 rounds per level instead of the cleric's flat duration of 1 turn.  The OD&D version of the spell was basically the same, but had a flat duration of 2 turns (which could mean rounds, because OD&D is very screwy with its rounds/turns terminology.)

Enlarge: The caster can make one object or creature larger. When cast on a creature, the growth is 20% per caster level, to a maximum of 200%. On inanimate objects, the increase and maximum are both halved. Magical properties aren't increased proportionately, not even for potions, which must still be consumed in their entirety to be effective. Natural properties, such as strength, weight and durability, are increased proportionately. It's stated that a person increased to 12' in height would be "as an ogre", while someone 18' tall would be "as a giant". Nothing is given statistically for these effects, and with the Dungeon Masters Guide still a couple of years away we can't look at the gauntlets of ogre power and girdles of giant strength for guidance. A look at the Monster Manual might give us a +2 damage bonus for ogre-sized characters; an 18'-tall character would be the equivalent of a cloud giant, and might deal 6-36 points of damage and be able to hurl boulders. At this point, it's all up to the DM.  (That +2 damage bonus for ogres is small, though; a full-strength human gets a damage bonus of +6. Perhaps the +2 could be in addition to whatever the character already gets?)

The spell was in the D&D Basic Set, under the name of enlargement. Curiously, it was more effective on non-living matter than on living creatures, which is the opposite of AD&D. It didn't give any guidelines for characters with increased Strength, so it's no help on that matter.

Erase: Erases any writing from a scroll or a piece of paper, even magical writing (though it doesn't get rid of explosive runes or a symbol). The spell doesn't always work, but it's more effective the higher level you are. I'm sure there must be situations where this spell has come in handy for somebody, but it really is highly specific and not particularly useful for adventurers.

Feather Fall: Causes the target to fall slowly, and thus land without taking any damage. It has a casting time of 1/10 of a segment, so it can be cast almost instantaneously.  It only lasts for 1 segment per caster level though, so at 1st level it won't fully protect from a fall longer than 12 feet.  What I can't figure out is if the spell can affect multiple creatures. It's said to affect an area of "1 cubic inch"; because it's written as the word and not the symbol, it should mean an actual inch, and not a "game inch" of 10 feet. That's weird, because it wouldn't even cover a single creature. Yet the spell does say it can affect "creature(s)", so I don't know what to think. I'd be inclined to interpret the inch as a ten foot cube, and allow the spell to affect creatures within that area up to the weight maximum of the spell. Another curious thing is that the spell can apparently affect missile weapons, which makes for a nice one-off defensive tactic.

Find Familiar: The caster summons an animal familiar that serves them and grants them some extra-sensory powers. The spell can only be attempted once per year, and the caster gets no choice in the type of animal that answers the summons. Most of them are regular animals (cats, crows, hawks, owls, toads, and weasels), and the powers they grant are mostly enhanced sight, smell or hearing. Sometimes there will be no suitable familiar within range, and the spell is wasted, and can't be tried again for a year. Rarely (a 1-in-20 chance) a special familiar will be summoned, dependent on the caster's alignment: chaotic evil or chaotic neutral casters will summon a quasit; chaotic good, neutral or neutral good casters will summon a pseudo-dragon; lawful neutral or lawful good casters will summon a brownie; and lawful evil or neutral evil casters will summon an imp.

Each familiar adds its hit point total to that of the caster when within 12", but if the familiar dies the caster loses double the amount permanently. The special familiars grant a host of abilities as follows:

Brownie: a Dexterity of 18, immunity to being surprised, and +2 on all saving throws.

Imp and Quasit: telepathic communication with the familiar, 25% magic resistance, regeneration of 1 hp/round, and an extra level of ability (!). That's dope as fuck, but if the imp or quasit is more than a mile away the character loses a level, and if it dies they lose four levels, so the risks are harsh. The familiar can also contact a lower plane once per week and ask six questions to help its master. Evil magic-users always get the best stuff.

Pseudo-Dragon: Telepathic communication, the ability to see invisible creatures, 35% magic resistance and maybe a chameleon-like power (it's not as clear-cut with the pseudo-dragon as it is with the others).

Friends: Either increases the caster's Charisma by 2-8 points, or lowers it by 1-4 if the creatures nearby make their save vs spells. The spell doesn't affect creatures of animal intelligence or lower. It requires the caster to rub his face with chalk, soot and vermillion, which would kind of make it obvious that they're about to cast a spell, wouldn't it? And technically, a crowd of onlookers would be split between those that made their save and those that didn't, unless you make a single save for everyone.  This one might be best used to influence a single person, or a small group.

Hold Portal: A spell that keeps a door or gate closed as though it were locked. It can be forced open by normal means, and also opened with a knock or dispel magic spell. A magic-user four or more levels higher than the caster can pass through at will, and an extra-dimensional creature can shatter any portal held with this spell.

The OD&D version of the spell had a duration of 2d6 turns, whereas in AD&D it lasts for 1 round/level.  The creatures that could shatter it were said to be "strongly anti-magical", with the balrog being called out specifically; AD&D has changed this to the more concrete descriptor of "extra-dimensional". There was also no indication that higher-level casters could pass through it at will (although this was in the description for wizard lock, so it's possible it was intended for hold portal as well).

Identify: This spell lasts 1 segment per level, and for every segment the caster has a chance to determine one magical property of a specific item (15%+5% per level). The caster has to hold or wear the item being identified, and so will have to suffer any possible curses or ill effects. An item never reveals exactly how many plusses or charges it has, but an approximate value might be given.

I might be wrong here, but it seems to me that in addition to the percentage roll above, the caster must also make a save vs. magic; if the save is successful the property is revealed. If the roll is one point short, a false property is revealed, and if it's lower than that the caster learns nothing.

The item must be examined within 1 hour per caster level of its discovery, or "all readable impressions will have been blended into those of the characters who have possessed it since". Is it just me, or does this make the spell mostly useless? If you're more than a day away from a large city when you find an item there's no way you'll ever get it identified.  And what about items that recently belonged to someone else? Wouldn't they already have their readable impressions all scrambled?  None of this makes a lot of sense, but it could all be tied into Gary's earlier notions about every creature having their own connections to various planes and pocket dimensions.  Perhaps only items that have been lying unclaimed for a while should be identifiable. It might be that killing the owner breaks whatever is scrambling the impressions. Food for thought.

Not only is there a time limit and a decent chance of failure, but the caster temporarily loses 8 points of Constitution, so it's not really something for one of your adventuring buddies to cast in the middle of a dungeon. Throw in the 100gp pearl that's required, and it becomes a spell that just has too many restrictions to be practical. Something tells me that Gary wanted to maintain the trial-and-error approach to magic items, rather than giving everything away with a simple spell.

Jump: One creature touched can leap 30' forward or 10' back or straight up.  At 4th level the caster can enable two such jumps, at 7th level three, and so on.  The material component is a broken grasshopper's leg.  It's a handy spell for low-level parties, before they get the ability to fly.

Light: Like the cleric spell it creates a globe of light similar to a torch, can be targeted at creatures to blind them, and is reversible as darkness. It has half the range of the cleric version, a much shorter duration, but a faster casting time.

Magic Missile: Creates one or more missiles that "unerringly strike" their target, each dealing 1d4+1 damage. For every 2 levels of experience, the caster creates another missile: two at 3rd, three at 5th, and so on.  They can be targeted at multiple creatures, so long as those creatures are all within a 10' square area. This is the rare case of a spell that gets more useful at higher levels. And there's no cap on the number of missiles that can be created, which could make this spell pretty devastating.

The OD&D version of the spell dealt 1d6+1 damage per missile, and it created an extra two missiles every five levels: three at 6th, five at 11th, and so on. The main difference is that the OD&D spell said nothing about the missiles being "unerring", so they would have required attack rolls to hit (and they were interpreted that way in the Holmes Basic Set).

Mending: Mends small breaks, cracks or holes in normal objects, but can't repair magic items. Requires two magnets or two burrs as material components.  It's another of the AD&D spells with everyday applications but not much use for adventurers, but it still seems like it would come in handy more often than erase.

Message: The caster can whisper a message, point to someone in their unobstructed line of sight, and that target will receive the message. If there's time left, the target can whisper something back. The material component is a piece of copper drawn fine.  Again, it's very situational.

Nystul's Magic Aura: Casts an illusory magic aura on a normal object (with a weight limit of 50gp per level). Anyone detecting magic can hold the object, and will get a saving throw to determine whether the aura is fake.

The biggest thing here is the introduction of Nystul, who will eventually be developed as a powerful archmage in the Greyhawk setting. At this point it's just a shout-out to Brad Nystul, a guy that Gygax had played with. (It's often attributed to Mike Nystul, his son, but that goes against Gary's own recollections and those of some other contemporaries of Gary; I could be wrong about all of this, but there's discussion about it over here. It's also the same guy who became an NPC in some Ultima games, which is pretty rad. I'll quite happily declare them as the same character, unless there are large discrepancies.)

Protection from Evil: Like the cleric spell, it stops bodily contact from all summoned, conjured or enchanted creatures (aerial servants, demons, devils, djinn, efreet, elementals, imps, invisible stalkers, night hags, quasits, salamanders, water weirds, wind walkers, xorn, and any other summoned animal or monster). It also causes evil creatures to attack the caster at -2. It doesn't last quite as long as the cleric version, but it does have a faster casting time. The material component is a powdered circle of silver and iron.

The OD&D version of the spell protected from attacks from "enchanted" creatures, and granted a +1 bonus to saving throws and AC against evil creatures.

Push: Causes an invisible force to strike the target, albeit a weak one of 1 foot pound per level. It can move small objects, topple them, or cause a creature to lose its balance and be unable to attack that round (but the creature can't weigh more than 50 lbs. per caster level). It can also be cast on an attacker's, subtracting the force in foot pounds from the attacker's to-hit roll. The material component is a pinch of powdered brass.

Read Magic: Allows the caster to read magical writing, which is normally unintelligible even to spell-casters. (It's noted that magic-users can read their own writing though, which isn't always true even of regular folk writing in English.)  Once a piece of writing has been read, it can thenceforth be read without the need for a read magic spell. The material component is a clear crystal or a mineral prism. It can be reversed as unreadable magic, which makes the writing indecipherable to read magic for the spell's duration.  The reversed spell has different components: a pinch of dirt and a drop of water. (Clear as mud, innit?)

The OD&D version of the spell was simply "the means by which the incantations on an item or scroll are read". That was pretty much it in its entirety.

(As for the reason that magic-users can't read the magical writing of others, I'm going with the idea that arcane magic is very idiosyncratic, and every magic-user learns and does things in their own way. Part of the reason for this is security, so that other magic-users can't steal their secrets at a glance.)

Shield: Creates a barrier in front of the magic-user that: completely negates a magic missile; provides AC 2 against hurled missiles like axes; provides AC 3 against small, device-propelled missiles like arrows, bolts or manticore spikes; provides AC 4 against all other attacks; and grants +1 on saves against all frontal attacks.

The OD&D version of the spell was much simpler: it granted AC 2 against missiles and AC 4 against other attacks. It lasted for 2 turns, whereas the AD&D version lasts for 5 rounds/lvl.

Shocking Grasp: Gives the caster an electrically-charged touch attack that deals 1d8 points of damage +1 per caster level. It's a lot more useful at low levels than burning hands, and it can deal more damage than pretty much anything else a wizard can use in melee.  Obviously it improves at high level, but probably never becomes more useful than magic missile.

Sleep: Puts a number of creatures within a 3" diameter to sleep, based on their Hit Dice. At most, it can affect 4d4 creatures of 1 HD; it can't affect creatures with more than 4+4 HD, and it's also ineffective against undead. Targets get no saving throw, but they can be awakened by slapping or wounding (but not by noise). It's noted here that one sleeping creature can be killed per slayer per round (a rule that should probably be in the Combat section to cover a bunch of situations). The material component is a pinch of sand, rose petals or a live cricket.

The OD&D spell was similar, but it had different - generally lower - ranges for the number of creatures of each Hit Dice that would be affected. It also wasn't clear whether targets got a saving throw or not (they don't in AD&D). The range was 24", whereas in AD&D it's been significantly shortened to 3"+1"/lvl. It seems as though range was sacrificed for power with this spell.

Spider Climb: Lets the target cling to walls and the ceiling, with a movement rate of 3". What's interesting is that, because the target's hands become sticky, they can't handle light items, which makes spell-casting impossible (at least for spells with material components). That's a bummer, but check it out: this spell has no saving throw. Technically, you should be able to use it as a touch attack that can temporarily disable an enemy spell-caster. The material component is a drop of bitumen and a live spider. Most people would be concerned about eating the spider, but I'd be more worried about the bitumen personally. At least the spider is organic.

Tenser's Floating Disc: Creates a "circular plane of null gravity", a concave disc 3' in diameter. It can hold a weight of 1,000gp per caster level.  (A weight requirement is all well and good, but there's only so many coins that will fit on the disc regardless of weight.) It always floats about 3' off the ground, and always remains level. The caster can command its movements (at a speed of 6").  If the caster moves out of range or the spell ends, the disc disappears and whatever was on it crashes to the ground. The material component is a drop of mercury.

This spell wasn't in OD&D proper, but it was in the first D&D Basic Set. There it functioned similarly, but with a few numerical differences. It could carry a flat weight of 5,000gp.  There was nothing in the spell about the magic-user commanding the disc's movement; it simply followed along six feet behind the caster. It had a range of 10 feet, as opposed to 2" in AD&D. It's duration was 6 turns, whereas in AD&D it's 3 turns + 1/level.

Tenser was described as being greedy for treasure in the Basic Set.  In AD&D he's described as a "famed wizard", known for his ability to locate treasure and his greed to recover every copper piece.

Unseen Servant: Creates an invisible force which can perform menial chores: open doors, hold chairs, clean and mend items, or whatever else the caster commands. It can only carry items to a maximum weight of 200gp. It can't fight, but it can be dispelled or destroyed after taking 6 points of damage. The material components are a piece of string and a bit of wood.  The most obvious use of this spell (and one called out in the description) is as a valet or butler, but there are definite uses for this one in dungeon exploration.  Touching potentially dangerous objects, mostly.

Ventriloquism: The caster can make his own voice appear to emanate from somewhere else (1"/level away, to a maximum of 6").  The voice can be altered to sound like someone else, or to make sounds that the caster would normally be able to make. (Can it be used to impersonate a specific person? It's not 100% clear.) Character with an Intelligence over 12 have a chance to recognise the ruse. The material component is a cone of parchment.

The OD&D version of the spell simply allowed the caster to make his voice issue from somewhere else, to a range of 6". It had a duration of 2 turns, as opposed to 2 rounds +1/level in AD&D.

Write: Allows the caster to transcribe a spell that he doesn't understand (either due to low Intelligence or being too low-level) into his own spell-book. Doing so requires a successful save vs. magic, with success being more difficult for higher-level spells. Failing the save results in the caster taking 1d4 points of damage per level of the spell; this is a mix of psychic and bodily damage that takes longer than normal to heal. It takes an hour per level to transcribe a spell, and during this time the magic-user is in a trance and will always be surprised by enemies.  It also requires fine ink of at least 200gp in value.

As far as I can tell, there was nothing in OD&D about copying spells from scrolls or other spellbooks, so this might very well be the first time this idea comes into the game. I've never used the spell, as we always just assumed that the process was automatic (if time-consuming). I like this method though; it's nice to add a little bit of risk to the obtainment of spells.