Thursday, November 09, 2017

AD&D Players Handbook part 43: 6th-Level Magic-User Spells

There are twenty-four 6th-level magic-user spells in AD&D (argh), up from sixteen in OD&D.  All the OD&D spells have made the transition to AD&D at the same level, and there are eight spells that are brand new.

Anti-Magic Shell: The caster is surrounded by an invisible barrier that stops all spells, magical attacks such as breath weapons and gazes, and the functioning of magical items. It also blocks entrance by creatures that have been charmed, summoned or conjured.
  The OD&D spell only specified that it negated spells, not items and other magical attacks.  It was also very specific in pointing out that the caster couldn't send any spells out through the shell, which the AD&D spell doesn't mention.  The AD&D spell does say that it's impervious to all magic and magic spell effects, and probably does work like the OD&D spell, but I feel like this is the sort of thing that needs to be stated outright.  It had a duration of 12 turns (1 turn/level in AD&D) and no specified diameter (1 foot/level in AD&D).

Bigby's Forceful Hand: Much like Bigby's Interposing Hand, it creates a hand that blocks the target from reaching the caster.  The Forceful Hand exerts more pressure, though, and can push creatures weighing less than 500 pounds away.  Heavier creatures will have their movement rate slowed.  The hand has as many hit points as the caster. It's material component is a glove.
  Does anyone else feel like these Bigby's Hand spells are a little underpowered for their level?  I've been saying that for quite a few AD&D spells, but I don't have a lot of experience with high-level magic in this version of the game.  Is there something I'm missing?

Control Weather: Works much like the 7th-level cleric spell, in that it allows the caster to make a one-step alteration in up to three prevailing conditions (clouds/precipitation, temperature, and wind).  The only difference between the two versions is that the spell's duration for magic-users is half that for clerics.
  The OD&D version of the spell didn't take the prevailing conditions into account, and simply gave the following options that could be performed: rain, stop rain, cold wave, heat wave, tornado, stop tornado, deep clouds, clear sky.  Not as versatile, perhaps, but probably more immediately useful as part of a game.

Death Spell: Instantly kills a number of creatures within the area of effect, with no saving throw.  The number killed is based on Hit Dice, and ranges from a whopping 4-80 creatures of less than 2 Hit Dice, up to 1-4 creatures of 6+4 to 8+3 Hit Dice.  There's a system given for when the spell targets a group with a mixed range of Hit Dice.  Examples are given for the spell affecting the weakest creatures first, and also for it affecting the strongest creatures first, so I'm thinking that this is up to the caster.  Naturally the spell doesn't affect the undead, or creatures who aren't from the Prime Material Plane.  Lycanthropes are immune as well, which is a little surprising; I can't think of any other instances where they're immune to instant death effects.  The material component of this spell is a crushed black pearl worth 1,000gp.  So it's mega-powerful, but casting it is costly.
  (There's a bit in this spell description about the death being "irrevocable", which could be interpreted as not allowing raise dead.  Gary has clarified that this was meant to refer to the spell granting no saving throw.)
  The OD&D spell killed 2-16 creatures of less than 7 Hit Dice, with a fixed 6" x 6" area.  It's more effective against foes of 4 to 6 Hit Dice, but far less so against weaker enemies, and not being able to affect anything of 7+ HD is a big drawback.  I'm also pretty sure that, by the book, the OD&D death spell would allow a saving throw.

Disintegrate: Disintegrates one creature (including undead), or up to a 1" cube of nonliving matter.  Unlike the death spell, the target gets a save.  It has no effect on a globe of invulnerability or anti-magic shell.   The material components are a lodestone and a pinch of dust.
  The OD&D version of the spell works similarly, although it does mention that it can't affect magical matter, whereas the AD&D spell can do so.  The OD&D spell had a range of 6", whereas AD&D has a range of 0.5"/level.

Enchant an Item: This is the spell that is used to prepare an item for enchantment.  It takes 16 hours, plus an additional 8-64 hours to cast, but given that the caster can only work 8 hours per day this effectively comes to 2 days + 1-8 days.  This work basically consumes all of the caster's time during those days, and the object to be enchanted must remain close to him the whole time or the process is ruined.  At the end of the casting the item to be enchanted must make a saving throw vs. magic (using the caster's saves), and if it's successful it's ready to have further spells imbued into it (which must be done within 24 hours, or the enchant an item spell fades).  Each spell to be cast takes 4 hours, plus 4-8 additional hours per spell level, and each one requires a saving throw to take hold.  A permanency spell is then required to make the enchantment permanent, although this can't be done with any items that have charges, such as wands and staves.  Enchant an item can never be successfully cast from a scroll or a wand or the like.
  The material components for this spell are pretty much up to the DM.  The only actual requirement is that the item to be enchanted must be sound and undamaged, and of the finest possible quality.  The value of the item varies depending on what it is, but should never be less than 100gp.  As for the enchantments, some examples are given: a cloak of displacement needing the hide of a displacer beast; a dragon-slaying sword requiring the blood or body parts of a dragon; or a ring of shooting stars needing a piece of meteorite and the horn of a ki-rin.
  I fully expect that the Dungeon Master's Guide will expand on this spell significantly.  This spell wasn't in OD&D, but the times given here are actually quite modest compared to those in OD&D, where a simple scroll might take weeks to create, or a ring of x-ray vision a full year.

Extension III: Doubles the duration of 1st-3rd level spells, and increases those of 4th-5th level by 50%.
  The OD&D version of the spell also went up to 5th level, but doubled the duration of all spell levels.

Geas: Compels the target of the spell to perform a task as set by the caster, so long as that task isn't self-destructive.  Failure to follow these orders causes the target to get sick and die within 1 to 4 weeks, and attempts to deviate or twist the intentions of the orders result in a loss of Strength until the deviation ends.  Remove curse and dispel magic are not sufficient to remove this spell: only a wish will suffice.
  The OD&D spell gave no guidance for how long it takes a geas to kill someone who isn't following orders.  It had a range of 3" (it's a touch spell in AD&D).

Glassee: This spell makes an area of metal, stone or wood transparent (although it's not effective on lead, gold or platinum). The "window" is one-way, or it can simply be made to apply only to the caster himself.  In the latter option, it seems to me that the caster can make a different window every round until the spell expires, although it's not 100% clear. The material component is a piece of crystal or glass.

Globe of Invulnerability: This (surprisingly new) spell creates a globe that blocks all spells of 1st-4th level. The caster can still cast spells from inside it, though, which makes me think that this mustn't be the case for Anti-Magic Shell, otherwise there'd be no reason to take it at all.

Guards and Wards: This spell has the following effects within a radius of 1"/level from the caster: it fills all corridors with a mist that obscures visibility, it wizard locks every door, it covers a number of doors equal to the caster's level with an illusion that makes them look like a wall, it fills all stairways with webs, it gives every junction a minor confusion effects that makes those choosing a direction take the opposite passage half the time, and it makes the whole area radiate magic.  The caster can also choose from the following: dancing lights in up to four corridors; two magic mouths; two stinking clouds; a gust of wind; or a suggestion. These latter options (and the illusionary walls) can only be used if the area is super-familiar to the caster.  Remove curse is completely ineffective against this spell, and dispel magic can only remove one random effect per casting. The material components of this spell are burning incense, a small measure of oil and sulphur, a knotted string, some umber hulk blood, and a silver rod.
  I've never paid much attention to this spell, but navigating an area where it's been cast sounds like a nightmare.  I really want to give it to the next NPC magic-user that my players go up against.

Invisible Stalker: Summons an Invisible Stalker, specifically from the Elemental Plane of Air. The stalker will serve the caster until the task it is set is completed, but it will resent prolonged service, and will seek to pervert its orders. Material component for the spell is burning incense and a piece of horn shaped like a crescent.
  The OD&D spell is much the same, although it says that the stalker is "extra-dimensional" rather than being from the Plane of Air. (I prefer it the old way for the sake of mystery.) There's nothing said in the spell entry about the stalker's resentment of long service, but it's there in the monster entry. I won't go into the differences between Invisible Stalkers in the two editions, as I did that here.

Legend Lore: May reveal information about a person, place, or thing, provided that the subject of the spell is sufficiently legendary.  The casting time of the spell varies depending on how much the caster knows about the subject.  If the subject is present it only takes 1-4 turns, but if all the caster knows is rumours it can take from 2 to 12 weeks, during which time the caster can't do anything except cast the spell, eat, sleep and go to the toilet. Any information given by the spell will be in the form of a cryptic hint or rhyme. The material components are some incense and strips of ivory, but the spell also requires the sacrifice of a magic item or a creature. (Guess which the average player would choose...)
  The OD&D spell worked similarly, but the casting time of the spell was 1d100 days, rather than being based on the knowledge of the caster.

Lower Water: Functions like the 4th-level cleric spell, in that it causes water to be lowered by 5% per caster level. It has a range of 8" (12" for clerics), a duration of 5 rounds per level (1 turn per level for clerics), and an area of a 0.5" square per level (clerics affected a 1" square per level).  The material components are a vial of water and a vial of dust (clerics didn't need the water, but they did need a holy symbol).
  The OD&D spell was simpler in that it lowered water by 50% for ten turns, with a range of 24".

Monster Summoning IV: Summons 1 to 3 monsters of 4th level. As usual, with no Dungeon Master's Guide available at this point in history, I'll go to the tables in Supplement I: Greyhawk. It's an eclectic bunch of monsters, with the usual range of NPCs and some weirder selections: dopplegangers, wraiths, gargoyles, displacer beasts, phase spiders, and rust monsters. Nothing too overpowered, and perhaps a little underpowered given the level of caster that will be throwing this spell around.
  The OD&D spell only summoned a single monster of 4th level, so it was even more underpowered.

Move Earth: Allows the caster to manipulate dirt and earth, thereby collapsing embankments, moving hillocks, shifting dunes, and so on. It seems as though there's no limit to the area that the caster can affect: it has a casting time of 1 turn per 4" square affected, but there's no upper limit given to the area of effect, so time is really the only limiting factor here.  For moving terrain features, a summoned earth elemental is required in addition to this spell. The spell doesn't work on rock, only dirt (and sand, given the dune example above). The material components are a mixture of soils and an iron blade.
  The OD&D spell only works above-ground, and is used to "move prominences such as hills or ridges". It has no specified area of effect, and a flat casting time of 1 turn. The movement of said prominences is given as 6" per turn, something that AD&D doesn't bother with. No earth elemental was required for any of the spell's effects.

Otiluke's Freezing Sphere: This spell has three different applications:
  1. A globe of absolute zero temperature, which can freeze 100 square feet of water per caster level, to a depth of 6 inches. This ice lasts for 1 round per caster level.
  2. A thin ray of cold which deals 4 points of damage per caster level. A successful save from the target allows it to avoid the ray, but anything in the ray's path will still be struck.
  3. A globe that can be thrown or slung, that shatters on impact and deals 4-24 damage to all creatures in a 10' radius (with a save for half damage). The globe, if not thrown, automatically shatters after a number of rounds equal to the caster's level.
  The material component is a thin crystal sheet for the globe of absolute zero, a white sapphire worth at least 1,000gp for the ray, and a diamond worth at least 1,000gp for the shattering globe.  It's a good spell, but it's offensive capabilities really aren't enough to justify the material costs.  Fireball and lightning bolt are free, you guys.
  Otiluke is yet another prominent Greyhawk NPC, but I had some trouble tracking down his real-world origins. There was plenty about his in-world history, being a part of the Circle of Eight and eventually being murdered by Rary, but nothing on his history in Gary's campaign. That's because he wasn't an actual PC played in the original Greyhawk campaign - rather, it was a name that Gary came up with by combining the names of his son Luke, and Luke's first PC Otis. Otis was a ranger, so it looks as though Otiluke will be free of the need to reconcile gaming anecdotes with TSR canon.

Part Water: This spell is identical to the 6th-level cleric spell, in that the caster can create a tunnel through liquids that is 3' deep, 1' wide, and 2" long (with all dimensions multiplied by caster level). The range and duration of the spell are halved compared to the cleric version, and the material component is a pair of glass sheets rather than a holy symbol.
  The OD&D version created a tunnel with fixed dimensions of 10' deep and 120' long (no width specified), and a duration of 6 turns (it lasts 5 rounds/level in AD&D).

Project Image: This spell creates a duplicate of the caster, which performs any actions desired. Spells cast by the caster can originate from the duplicate.  The duplicate is immune to all damage, but it can be negated with dispel magic, and it will disappear if it is ever out of view of the caster. The material component is a small doll of the caster.
  The OD&D spell had the slightly altered name of projected image. It was otherwise the same, although there was nothing to say that it was immune to damage, or specifically vulnerable to dispel magic. It had a range of 24" (1"/level in AD&D), and a duration of 6 turns (1 round/level in AD&D).

Reincarnation: The bane of dead PCs everywhere: nobody wants this spell used to bring them back, except as an absolute last resort. Rather than restore a dead body to life, the caster touches the corpse, and a new incarnation of the deceased appears in 1-6 turns, in a new body. Mercifully, the magic-user version of the spell restricts the new body to humanoid forms, with the most outlandish being ogre magi and trolls. The major advantage of the spell is that it doesn't require a system shock roll. Note that creatures of a strong good or evil alignment won't be reincarnated in the body of a creature of the opposite general alignment. The material component is a small drum and a drop of blood.
  In OD&D, the form that a creature was reincarnated in was entirely dependent on alignment. Those reincarnated as humans had to determine their class and level randomly (demi-humans only had to determine level, as they had no class options at the time the original spell was written). There's nothing in the AD&D spell about changing class.

Repulsion: Repels all creatures in the area of effect (a 1" path with a range of 1"/level) away from the caster.  They will either move at 3" per round if the target is stationary, or the speed of the creature if it tries to move towards the caster.  The material components are a pair of magnetised iron bars attached to a dog statues, one ivory and one ebony.
  The OD&D spell causes the target to move "in a course opposite from their intended course towards the caster".  The major difference is that the spell had no effect on a stationary target.  It had a duration of 6 turns (1 round per 2 levels in AD&D) and a range of 12" (1"/level in AD&D).

Spiritwrack: Aside from having the raddest name, this spell is used to torture and banish a creature from the nether planes (generally demons and devils).  It only works if the caster knows the name of the target creature, and it also requires the preparation of a sheet of vellum bordered in gold leaf, and inscribed with ink made from powdered rubies and the blood of a demon of Type I, II or III.  This sheet requires 8-32 hours of preparation, 1,000gp for the vellum and other materials, and a further 5,000 gp for the powdered rubies.
  When the inscription is read in the presence of the target creature, it will be rooted to the spot.  A successful roll against its Magic Resistance will allow it to avoid this effect, but the target is then most likely to retreat to its home plane, as it can't attack the caster.  So the affected demon is paralysed for the first round, and for the second it is wracked with pain and loses 1 hp for each of its Hit Dice.  In the third round it will lose half of its remaining hp, and then be consigned to a prison in its home plane, where it will remain for a number of years equal to the level of the caster.
  The description ends with a note that any demon/devil so imprisoned will become an enemy of the caster, and so most casters won't finish the spell, instead using it as leverage to force the target into submission.

Stone to Flesh: Turns any stone into flesh, and restores any character who has been turned to stone back to life (assuming a successful system shock roll is made).  This works on walls and the like as well, affecting 9 cubic feet per level, if you feel like carving a particularly gory shortcut through the dungeon.  The spell can be reversed as flesh to stone, and is mostly used to turn enemies and their belongings into statues.  The material components are a pinch of earth and a drop of blood (lime, water and earth are used for flesh to stone).
  The OD&D spell is the same, although it doesn't mention anything about a target's possessions being turned to stone (or back to flesh).  It also doesn't give a volume for transforming regular stone.  It had a range of 12" (1"/level in AD&D).

Tenser's Transformation: This spell transforms the caster into a berserk fighter, granting them double hit points, a +4 AC bonus, +2 to damage, two attacks per round, and the use of the Fighter table when attacking.  The caster will keep attacking until all enemies are slain, or the spell is ended.  The material component is a potion of heroism, which would make the casting of this spell a pretty rare occurrence.  Does the spell stack with the effects of the potion?  In OD&D the potion of heroism was only usable by fighters, and the same holds true for the DMG, so it's something of a moot point.
  Tenser has appeared before as the originator of Tenser's Floating DiscTenser's Transformation was created by Gary as a tribute to Tenser's habit of charging into battle with no regard for his role as a magic-user.