Tuesday, April 10, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 56: Morale, Mapping, Experience, Poison and Successful Adventuring

OBEDIENCE
This section briefly outlines some things to consider when trying to get other character to obey your commands.  It mentions the confusion that can result when a party caller dictates one action, and an individual PC declares another, and suggests penalising the party for this.  It's a pretty foreign concept to me, having never played with a caller.  I suppose it was useful in large adventuring parties, but in the groups of 3 to 6 that I generally average it's never been necessary.
  Obedience also applies to hirelings and henchmen, with morale and loyalty being factors.  It also mentions the possibility that characters might be controlled by a powerful magic item.
  The final point that Gary hits on is that henchmen asked to wear or test a magic item will generally consider the item to be theirs afterwards.  Once cursed items were introduced to the game, it no doubt became standard procedure to get your henchmen to test items first before your PC does anything with them.  Here we have Gary's method of combating such tactics.

MORALE
Here we get an outline of the concept of morale, and how it can affect the PCs.  Player characters never need to test it, as their actions are always dictated by the player, but monsters, henchmen and hirelings will all need to test it in various situations.  In general, a PC's henchmen will have better morale the better they're treated.
  Once again we have a section with no concrete rules at all.  It's odd just how much effort AD&D goes to in order to obscure the workings of the game from the players.  I really do think that this is all stuff they should know about.

MAPPING
It's recommended that at least one player makes a map while exploring a dungeon, and goes on to say that it doesn't matter whether the map is not exact, so long as it gives them an idea of how to get back.  I rarely get my players to map; in my experience the game flows better if I draw the map for them.  Still, I'd like to try it out, just to give them the possibility of becoming lost with an incorrect map.  The most important thing to remember is which character is actually making the map, so that if that character is separated from the party you can take the map away from the others.

Is it weird that is has teeth?

ORGANIZATION
This simply tells the players that they'll need to specify a marching order for various dungeon passage widths, recommending that they'll need a rear guard.  The concept of the caller is brought up again, which I've already mentioned above that I'm not a huge fan of.

EXPERIENCE
Characters gain experience points for defeating monsters and gaining treasure.  1 XP is gained per gold piece earned, with other treasures converted into their GP value for this purpose.  Magic items garner their full GP value in XP if sold, but are worth a minimal amount if kept and used.  XP earned is also modified downward if the monsters fought were weaker than the PCs, though nothing concrete is given.  Captured monsters grant as much XP as those killed, but you can also sell them on the open market, and gain XP for the gold earned, so obviously capturing and selling monsters is a quicker path to advancement.  It's also said that the amount of XP a monster is worth depends upon their hit points, which will be borne out in the DMG.  The Monster Manual had no XP values, so the exact worth of monsters was not yet apparent.
  PCs only get their XP once they have returned to a safe haven, so by the book there's no levelling up in the middle of an adventure.  We also get a little bit about characters only getting their full share of XP if they play their role effectively according to their character class.  Again, this will be elaborated on in the DMG, under the training rules.
  The idea of it being unrealistic to advance by gaining treasure is brought up, and dismissed quite thoroughly.  Gary pretty much just says that it's no more unrealistic than orcs, dragons and giants, and that things like training and study are assumed to happen during a character's downtime.
  Finally, I just want to note that it says right here that most NPCs are 0-level, without the ability to gain XP, and that PCs are "special" and "superior".  Obviously this is just a part of the game system, but what if it's baked into the setting as well?  What if only certain people have some undefined factor that makes them able to advance in power?  Some sort of divine blessing, or a genetic quirk?  I'm generally all for explaining the game system with in-world rationales, so I'll have to think a little more about this.

POISON
The various methods of using poison are discussed and ultimately discouraged.  Some methods, such as throwing a poison potion down a monster's throat, or tricking a monster into drinking one, are considered fair game, but Gary comes down hard on the use of envenomed weapons, declaring that they ruin the balance of the game.  He suggests a bunch of ways to discourage their use: social unacceptability, alignment restrictions, and the possibility that characters might nick themselves while handling their weapons, or hit their comrades.  It's even said that characters found with poison might be instantly slain, and have their bodies burned and ashes scattered (to prevent being raised from the dead, presumably).  Guys, Gary just really doesn't want you all using poison.
  There's an example at the end of what might happen should the Thieves Guild poison a gold-smithing and jewelry-making firm, rousing the ire of the Assassins Guild.  I'll take it as evidence that those Guilds would be present in Greyhawk City.  It also pretty much outright states that the activities of both are mostly tolerated, so long as they stay within their purview.  The Thieves Guild can pick pockets, rob homes, and waylay late-night revelers, and the authorities will leave them be.  Likewise, members of the Assassins Guild can commit premeditated murders and use poisons to kill people without fear of reprisal.  It's a weird set-up, but it's also a pretty solidly established fantasy staple, so I'm happy to roll with it.

Man, Gary really hates this guy.

SUCCESSFUL ADVENTURING
This fairly lengthy section gives a lot of general advice for surviving adventures in AD&D, but it mostly boils down to two things: have an objective and stick to it, and make sure you can trust your fellow adventurers.  Other things are addressed, like making sure you have all the equipment you might need, as well as a good variety of spells and classes.  Wills are briefly touched on, for when you want to make sure your character's stuff goes to a relative when you die.  The importance of mapping is stressed again, as is the notion that avoiding monsters is generally better than fighting them.  It's an interesting window into how things were run in the Greyhawk campaign.

Not sure what I love more, the guy hoisting his axe in triumph, or the guy giving a knowing smile to the reader.

Friday, April 06, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 55: Surprise, Initiative, Encounters, Combat Procedures, Damage and Healing

SURPRISE
The surprise rules are laid out in a fairly concise manner.  In a standard situation, each side rolls 1d6, and they are surprised on a roll of 1 or 2.  If the die indicates surprise for one side, the number rolled is the number of segments that side is surprised for.  If both sides are surprised, the difference between the two dice gives the number of segments the losing side is surprised for.  Some creatures and spells change the likelihood of surprise (1-in-6, 1-in-8, etc.), but the above rules are applied in much the same way.  It's all pretty simple, and not the complicated nightmare I'd been told to expect.  I'm wondering if the complicated stuff comes in with the DMG.
  One aspect of AD&D surprise that differs from almost every other version of the game is that a character who has surprise can make one attack per surprise segment.  That can add up to a lot of free attacks on the party, and I wouldn't be shocked if bad surprise rolls are one of the leading causes of TPKs in AD&D games that are run strictly by the book.

TRAPS, TRICKS AND ENCOUNTERS
This section briefly outlines the nature of the various tricks, traps and encounters that the party might encounter on their adventures, and some tips for avoiding or dealing with them.  It's rudimentary stuff for experienced gamers, and there was nothing like this in OD&D.  It's similar to a lot of the advice seen in Dragon to this point though.  Things like using poles to probe the floor ahead, avoiding wandering monsters that have little treasure, minimising random encounter checks by not wasting time.  I wonder perhaps if Gary included this stuff after seeing how the game was played outside of his immediate circle, by people who were less tactically-minded.  It's all good survival advice for those starting out.

INITIATIVE
Some guidelines are given as to who acts first in an encounter, though at this point it's not dealing with first strikes in melee and the like.  Basically, the PCs roll 1d6, the monsters roll 1d6, and the highest roll goes first.  Dexterity isn't a factor, but hasted creatures always go first, and slowed creatures always lose initiative.  Like the surprise rules above, it's shockingly simple, but I know that there are complications to come.

COMMUNICATION
I like that the first option given after Initiative is described is talking to the opposition: it's a clear indication to the players that there are more ways of getting through an encounter than killing.  There's not much here, though, besides bringing up the fact that non-humanoid monsters will be difficult to communicate with.

NEGOTIATION
This section spends most of its time talking about bribes, and how they can be the difference between life and death for the PCs.  It also points out that even dumb monsters will know when they're outmatched, and in those cases won't push their luck when making demands.

COMBAT
In this section is covered the various major actions that a creature might make in combat.  The order that these actions are given in is strangely arbitrary.  I can't discern any rhyme or reason to it, and it definitely reinforces the notion that Gary was writing a lot of this off the cuff, regardless of whether that's true or not.

Turning Undead
The ability of clerics to turn undead is described, and it should once more be noted that this ability extends to demons, devils, godlings and (in the case of evil clerics) paladins.  I find it curious that this section (and pretty much this whole chapter) is mostly devoid of rules.  What we get is more like rough guidelines about what the players should know, and advice on how to play well.  It's noted that a turning cleric must be able to speak and hold forth their holy symbol, and that they can't cast any spells at the same time.

Magical Control
Gary talks a bit about items and spells that grant control over certain monsters, but rather than give guidelines about how much control is conferred, he makes it clear that these items don't function automatically.  These items must be used, and there are many ways in which that use can be disrupted.  Or, to use one of his own examples "a scroll cannot be read in the whirlwind of an air elemental's attack".  Words of wisdom.

Spell Combat
It's pointed out that spells take a long time to cast, and often go last in a round.  Casting can also be disrupted by striking, grabbing, or otherwise attacking the caster.  It seems to me that only successful attacks disrupt casting, but it's not 100% clear.

Breath Weapon Attacks
There's not much here, just a reminder that certain monsters have breath and gaze attacks, and that there are certain precautions that can be taken that might minimise their effects.  About the only thing of note here is these attacks happen really quickly, and so are difficult to disrupt.

Magical Device Attacks
Again, more vague waffle that's not all that helpful.  There are devices, they usually have an area of effect, saving throws apply, and attacks made with them happen quickly.

Missile Discharge
All this section does is outline what counts as a missile attack.  Included are catapults, rocks thrown by giants, manticore tail spikes, fireballs from a necklace of missiles, and poison spitting.  I appreciate the weird specificity here.

Melee Combat
After a brief definition of melee, and a reminder of how initiative works, it's noted that Fighters with multiple attacks will always attack first against opponents who can only attack once.  I wonder, does this apply to monsters with multiple attacks as well?  Or to non-fighters who otherwise acquire multiple attacks?  Or is it completely restricted to the Fighter and its sub-classes?  I'd be inclined not to apply this rule to monsters, because a lot of them have multiple attacks, and AD&D is deadly enough as it is.
  In a description of the melee actions a character can opt to take, there's a rule for parrying: the creature gives up its attacks, and its Strength bonus to attack rolls is subtracted from the enemy's attack rolls.  I'm not a fan of this rule, especially because the majority of AD&D character's just won't have any bonus at all.  Monsters don't even have Strength scores.  For most creatures, parrying will confer no benefit.
  Falling back is described as moving backwards away from the opponent, possibly in combination with a parry.  Fleeing exposes a creature to a rear attack as they move away from melee at top speed.  With both of these maneuvers, the opponent has the option of following the one moving, which makes a lot more sense than the "you move, now I move" sequence that D&D combat often has.

Example of Combat
In this example, five PCs (a thief, a magic-user, a cleric, a human fighter and a dwarf fighter) surprise an illusionist and twenty orcs.  There's only one thing about this example that I don't understand.  The PCs have surprise, and the magic-user starts casting a sleep spell.  After the surprise round the orcs win initiative, and one of them disrupts the spell with a thrown spear.  Sleep only has a casting time of 1, though.  Shouldn't it go off in the surprise round?
  Regardless, I'll probably use this party as a group of NPCs, probably assigning this battle as part of the backstory for whatever appropriate pre-gens are in the modules.  Or I might just decide that they all die here, and place their corpses in the Greyhawk dungeons.  If I go that way, I'll have to create a lair for the illusionist and his orcs (even though said illusionist is killed here).

COMBAT PROCEDURES

Saving Throw
The process of rolling to save against various attack forms is detailed.  It's specifically pointed out that items need to make saving throws as well, although no guidelines are given.  Examples given include a cloak exposed to dragon breath, and (I love this one) a magic hammer flying through a cone of cold before reaching its target.

Armor Class
The various factors that can make up a character's Armor Class are laid out: armor, shields, Dexterity, other magic items, the dwarven bonus against giants, etc.  There's an example combat given in which it's made clear that a shield can only protect against a limited number of attackers (in this case it must be a large shield, because it's given as three).  It's also shown that a character can only react to those in front of him, so those attacking from the flanks and rear can ignore the defender's Dexterity bonus.
  The example character is a dwarf fighter, who's wearing splint mail, has a +1 shield and a displacer cloak, and has a Dexterity score of 16.  I might make him the same dwarf from the Example of Combat above, perhaps later in his career, and say that he survives both of these sample combats.

First Strike
No, it's not Jackie Chan's Police Story 4, it's the determination of who gets the first blow in melee combat.  Usually initiative determines this, but certain factors can influence it.  Fighters with multiple attacks will strike first, and take their remaining attacks last.  Slowed creatures go last, while hasted ones go first.  A creature with a significantly longer weapon than their opponent will get the first strike, at least in the opening round.  Dexterity and weapon factors are said to apply to important single combats only.

Weapon Factors
The various weapon properties are listed (damage, weight, length, space needed, speed factor, weapon vs. armor), but nothing is detailed.

Monster Attack Damage
Monsters either use weapon damage, or that of their own natural attacks.  No shit, Gary.

Attack and Saving Throw Matrices
All of the charts for attack rolls and saving throws, basically the whole guts of the combat system, are in the DMG.  I've always found this a little baffling, as I feel that it's really the sort of thing a player should have at their fingertips.  They should be able to look up the combat capabilities of the various classes, and compare them.  I know they can just get their own DMG, but I still find it a bit of an odd decision.  And then there's the fact that the DMG wasn't released for quite some time after the PHB, so at the time players could create AD&D characters but they couldn't run combats without referencing back to OD&D or the Basic Set.

DAMAGE
Damage is taken away from hit points, and if a character is reduced to 0 or below, they're dead.  Trolls and those with a ring of regeneration are pointed out as an exception.  (Note that we still haven't got to the point where characters below 0 are dying, and can be bandaged and healed.  At this point, it's still outright death.)

FALLING DAMAGE
Falling deals 1d6 damage per 10 feet, to a maximum of 20d6, possibly modified by the surface landed on.  The possibility that the referee might dish out broken bones and the like instead is alluded to.  I'm not 100% sure about this, but this might be the first time that falling damage has been outlined in the game.

HEALING
Natural healing occurs at a rate of 1hp per day of rest, and after 30 days of rest that healing increases to 5hp/day.  This can be slow for high-level characters, and creates the strange phenomenon whereby 1st-level characters heal up from their wounds much faster than those of higher levels.
  In OD&D, characters didn't heal anything on the first day of rest, and after that they regained a hit point on "every other day thereafter".  Depending on how you interpret "every other day", that could mean that healing rates have doubled since OD&D, or it could mean that they're pretty much the same (at least for the first 30 days of rest).

Thursday, March 29, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 54: Spell Casting, Encumbrance and Movement

SPELL CASTING
This section details the standard Vancian spell system for D&D, giving the basics of how it works.  It also specifies that if spellcasting is interrupted in any way - such as the caster being shot by an arrow for instance - the spell is lost.  There's a little bit about verbal and somatic components, and the kinds of things that can disrupt them: magical silence, paralysis, being grappled, etc.  Gary specifies at the end that any spell being cast in combat requires the player to be ready with his choice when the round begins: any hesitation, and the moment is lost.

Scroll Spells
There's a short bit about how spell scrolls work.  When read the spell disappears, and there's no need for somatic or material components.  Spells from scrolls are generally cast at 12th level, although attack spells are apparently a bit more variable.  Gary directs the reader to the Dungeon Master's Guide for more info.

THE ADVENTURE
In this section, Gary writes about the three main adventuring areas: dungeons, wilderness and cities.  There's nothing too revelatory here, just an outline of the basics, and some rudimentary survival tips.  The city section probably contains the most interesting stuff.  It's mentioned there that "questions about rank, profession, god and alignment are perilous, and the use of an alignment tongue is socially repulsive in most places".  There are a lot of setting implications in that short passage.

ENCUMBRANCE
A brief discussion of encumbrance and movement rates is given.  In very general terms, a character carrying about 35# (pounds) of gear can move at 12".  One carrying about 70# can move at 9", and one with about 105# can move at 6", and has their reaction time and initiative slowed.  Gear over 105# results in a character only being able to move at 3" or 4", and being greatly slowed in reaction time and initiative.  It's also mentioned that bulk should factor into these calculations as well, but that's left pretty vague.  Strength scores modify these numbers (which wasn't the case in OD&D until the Greyhawk supplement).
  We learn that ten coins weigh a pound (which makes for some pretty hefty coins).  The weights of items have previously been given in coins, so it's kind of irritating to be working with two different measurements here; I feel like AD&D should stick with one.  If I recall correctly, coins are the usual measurement, so I probably don't have to worry about it.  I guess it's also handy for when you have to come up with weights for items that aren't in the PHB.
  I'm kind of surprised that we're not given anything specific here for how armor affects movement.  It's mentioned in passing, but there were no weights given for the various suits of armor in the equipment chapter, as far as I can see.  Have I missed something, or will this be delayed until the DMG?
  It's interesting to note the differences in how much characters can carry between OD&D and AD&D.  If I'm interpreting OD&D correctly, then any character carrying up to 750gp can move as Light Foot (12").  One carrying up to 1,000gp can move as Heavy Foot (9").  One carrying up to 1,500gp moves as Armored Foot (6").  In AD&D, it would seem that 12" movement ends at 350gp, 9" ends at 700gp, and 6" movement ends at 1,050gp.  The numbers given for AD&D are much smaller, but it should also be remembered that Strength didn't originally modify encumbrance in OD&D.

MOVEMENT - TIME AND DISTANCE FACTORS
The scale of movement and how it interacts with the passage of time and your surroundings is detailed here.  Dungeon movement is tracked in tens of feet per turn, so that a character with a movement rate of 12" will cover 120 feet in ten minutes.  This seems ultra-slow, but it assumes mapping and exploring an unfamiliar area.  This rate is multiplied by five in familiar areas, and multiplied by ten when fleeing.  When the movement rate is so increased, it mentions that each move takes 1/5 or 1/10 of a turn; does this mean that wandering monster checks come more frequently, or does it only affect movement rates?  It also mentions that movement rates aren't increased during flight when you're encumbered, which is a little odd, but I guess it motivates fleeing characters to dump whatever treasure they might be loaded down with.  What do you do if you're in plate mail though?
  Combat movement is converted to tens of feet per minute (so the same pace as when you're fleeing), which is further divided by ten for each segment.  Again it seems slow - remember that a round is 1 minute and a segment is 6 seconds - but Gary counters by saying that the character is in a dangerous situation and probably on the defensive.
  For outdoor movement, the movement rate is converted to the number of miles the character can cover in half a day.  Combat in the wilderness is handled the same as in the dungeon, which surprised me.  I thought there'd be a mention of movement outside being converted to tens of yards rather than feet.
  In cities, movement is converted to tens of feet per minute.  If you're mapping, it reverts to tens of feet per turn (10 minutes), just as in the dungeon.  Mapping a city seems like a weird thing to do, though.
  There's also a note about mapping being impossible when pursued, and that light is required.  You can't map using infravision, either.  Is this the first indication that infravision is based on heat?  I can't recall for certain.  Gary also mentions that some standard maze navigation tricks - such as making marks or leaving a string - are useless, because monsters will come along and destroy them.




LIGHT
The range of illumination is given for various common light sources, although candles are a notable omission.  They're on the equipment list, so they really should be here as well.  Interestingly, the range of illumination is given for magic daggers, short swords and longswords.  Do all of these weapons glow in AD&D if they're magical?  What about other magic weapons?
  Infravision is described here specifically as "the ability to see radiation in the infra-red spectrum", and it's noted that most monsters and nocturnal animals will have it.  It's also mentioned that it's likely that not every member of an adventuring party will have infravision, and so a light source will probably be required.

INFRAVISION
Further information is given regarding infravision.  It detects heat radiation, so that warm objects are bright, cool objects are grey, and cold ones are black.  Dungeon dwelling monsters will have an infravision of 120', which is double that which will be possessed by most PCs.  Infravision is spoiled by regular light, and sources of great heat.  There's also a bit about it being able to pick up thieves that are hiding in shadows.  It's logical, but I feel like the poor old thief doesn't need to be hobbled in this fashion.

ULTRAVISION
Creatures with this vision can see into the ultra-violet spectrum (gamma rays and x-rays are specifically mentioned), allowing them to see well at night.  Wouldn't this type of vision be more suitable for nocturnal animals than infravision?

SILENT MOVEMENT
Basically, thieves and those with the relevant magic items have the ability to move with complete silence.  Anyone else is out of luck - they can move quietly, but not silently.  The percentage roll for figuring this out is explained, and it's noted that characters moving silently gain a bonus to surprise rolls.

INVISIBLE MOVEMENT
After a quick mention that cloaks of elvenkind provide invisibility to the area they cover, and that spells provide superior invisibility, it's noted that an invisible character still needs light to see, and that light will be visible to anyone else around as well.  Gary's always quick to point out logical stuff like this, especially when it can hose the PCs.  I guess it applies equally to monsters, but probably not, because most of them will have infravision.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 53: 7th-Level Illusionist Spells

There are six spells of 7th level for illusionists in AD&D, the same number as in OD&D.  The only difference is that maze has been replaced by first level magic-user spells.

Alter Reality: This spell is similar to limited wish, meaning that it can accomplish pretty much anything the caster desires, albeit partially or with a limited duration.  The major difference is that the illusionist must first visualise the effect they want with a phantasmal force.  (I assume this requires a separate casting of that spell, and isn't included as part of alter reality.)
  The OD&D spell is the same, although it only requires the casting of an illusion, not phantasmal force specifically.

Astral Spell: Like the 7th level cleric spell, this allows the caster to project into the Astral Plane, and from there enter the Outer Planes.  Check out this earlier post for my thoughts on the cleric version of the spell, and how it interacts with Gygax's previous writings on the planes.
  The OD&D spell seems to have been intended to allow the caster to explore the material plane in an astral form, rather than granting travel to other planes.  It doesn't mention the planes at all, as the spell was created before Gary had published his ideas about D&D cosmology.

Prismatic Spray: The caster fires seven rays, each of a different color and effect.  The ray that strikes the target is determined randomly, and it's possible that multiple rays may strike the target.  The various effects refer back to prismatic sphere, which I'll recap here: red - inflicts 10 damage; orange - inflicts 20 damage; yellow - inflicts 40 damage; green - save vs. poison or die; blue - save vs. petrification or turned to stone; indigo - save vs wand or driven insane; violet - save vs. magic or sent to another plane.
  Prismatic spray was mentioned in OD&D, as a new spell in an article from The Dragon #1.  But although it was in the list of new spells, it didn't actually get a proper description.  This is the first time that the spell has been given concrete rules.

Prismatic Wall: This spell is also similar to prismatic sphere, but it creates a wall that is 4' wide per caster level, and 2' high per level.  Anyone passing through is subject to all of the effects listed above under prismatic spray.  Each colour can be dispelled with a specific spell.
  In OD&D, the red, orange and yellow colours did slightly more damage.  The indigo colour turned creatures into crystal rather than driving them insane.  And the violet colour drive characters insane rather than sending them to another plane.

Vision: The caster contacts some sort of supernatural enemy, and asks a question which may be answered with a vision.  The result of this contact is determined randomly.  A high roll results in a useful vision, a medium roll results in a vision that may or may not be relevant, and a low roll results in the entity being annoyed and hitting the caster with a geas or quest.  The material component is the sacrifice of something important to the caster or the entity, and something very precious will grant a bonus to the roll.
  The OD&D spell doesn't specifically say that the reply comes in a vision.  It uses the NPC Reaction Tables to determine the result, but it is otherwise the same.  There's no mention of material components, though.

First-Level Magic-User Spells: Instead of gaining a 7th-level spell, the caster gains a number of 1st-level magic-user spells.  The list of spells to choose from isn't complete: dancing lights, detect magic, find familiar, identify, jump, light, push, spider climb, ventriloquism and write aren't included.  The illusionist gains four spells at 14th level, and an additional one per level above that - presumably this isn't set in stone when the spell is cast, and the caster keeps gaining m-u spells as they level up.  They don't get the spells automatically, though - they must seek them out like a magic-user.  To my mind this seems weak for a 7th-level spell, but I suppose it does give the illusionist a little more utility.  And magic missile is a pretty good spell even at high levels.
  The OD&D version of the spell was 4th level, and allowed the illusionist the use of every 1st-level magic-user spell.  No doubt Gary decided that this was too powerful, and pulled it back.  There was also a 5th-level spell that granted the use of all 2nd-level magic-user spells, but that was completely gotten rid of.

Some illusionist end-notes: So that's the end of the illusionist spell list, and the end of the PHB spells entirely.  Going back over my notes, I was reminded that the Illusionist spell list was rolled out in a piecemeal fashion.  The class was introduced by Peter Aronson in The Strategic Review #4, which gave spells up to 5th level.  For the most part they all made the transition, aside from the aforementioned 2nd-level magic-user spells.  Another article by Aronson in The Dragon #1 brought in spell levels 6 and 7, as well as introducing some more lower level spells.  Again, these made the cut for AD&D mostly unscathed.
  There was a third article about illusionists by Rafael Ovalle in The Dragon #12, which brought in a lot of extra details about illusionists and introduced a load of new spells.  None of these made it into the PHB, possibly because they were published too late.  Whatever the reason, it seems like they faded into obscurity.  I'll still have them in my Ultimate Sandbox campaign, but as spells that can be discovered in old tomes and scrolls rather than ones on the default spell list.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Play Report: Journey to the Sandbox

So I played some D&D yesterday, the first game I've had since... 2011? Can that be right?  Alas, yes.  It's one of the perils of growing up, and not really enjoying gaming with people I don't know.  It's left me with a small playing group of people who have very full lives, so chances to game have been scarce.

As to the game itself, it's a continuation of a 3rd edition campaign that's been running on and off - mostly off - since 2004.  The PCs just wrapped up all of the adventure hooks and subplots in the initial area (a wilderness fortress) and the goal for this game was to get them to a new area, the largest city in the world.

I haven't played much in recent years, but I've been thinking and reading about the game a lot, and I wanted to transition away from obvious pre-planned adventures and more into a sandbox style game.  So I mapped out the city, the catacombs beneath and the wilderness.  I came up with random encounter tables.  I wrote brief descriptions of a bunch of other adventure sites that the PCs could pursue or ignore if they wished.  To be honest I felt a little underprepared, but I'll have to get used to that if I'm going to keep things open-ended.

The first surprise to me is that the whole session went by without any combat, and barely any dice-rolling at all.  I've never experienced this before, and after the game I felt a little guilty about it.  There were certainly opportunities for conflict, and one scenario was right on the brink of it, but it just didn't happen.  The players who showed up were the cautious ones.  I probably shouldn't worry about it, because everyone was engaged and having fun, and interested in exploring their new home base.  But it doesn't quite feel like I gave them a real game.

In addition to that, I could see them struggling with a lack of obvious hooks.  I'm hoping they'll adjust in time, and become a bit more proactive.  I won't rely on it though, and for the next game I'll give them a choice of maybe three obvious things to do.  I've also told them outright that I don't care where the game goes, and that they should pursue their own goals both long term and short term.  I'm confident it'll work out, but it's going to be an adjustment.

The only other issue we had was a small bit of debate about how the spell detect thoughts works.  Does the target know that their mind is being invaded?  In this case the spell was cast right in front of the target, so I ruled that he knew.  In other cases, where the target hasn't seen any spellcasting, I'd rule that they don't know.  I need to look into this to see if there are any specific rules, but it's not a huge deal.

Other than those misgivings, it was great to be back in the saddle, and I'm looking forward to more.  The current plan is to make myself available to play once a month, regardless of who shows up.  The groups might be smaller, but I'll settle for it.  I'm not having another 6 year hiatus, that's for damn sure.

Friday, March 16, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 52: 6th-Level Illusionist Spells

There are 8 spells of 6th level for illusionists in AD&D, up from 6 in OD&D.  Shadow Monsters III has been renamed to shades, demi-shadow magic has been brought up from 5th level, and veil is brand new.

Conjure Animals: Like the 6th-level cleric spell, it allows the caster to summon a number of animals whose total Hit Dice are equal to the level of the caster.  It has a duration of 1 round/level (vs. 2 rounds/level for clerics) and a casting time of 6 segments (vs. 9 for clerics.)  I find the actual conjuring of for-real creatures somewhat of an odd fit for illusionists.  Doesn't it go against the theme a bit?  I suppose stage magicians are always pulling animals out of things though, so maybe it's fine.
  The OD&D version of the spell wasn't limited by Hit Dice.  It allowed the caster to summon one creature the size of an elephant, three the size of bears, or six the size of wolves.

Demi-Shadow Magic: The spell works like shadow magic (detailed in my last post), but it also allows the illusionist to cast quasi-real versions of wall of fire, wall of ice or cloudkill.  As with shadow magic, the spells function as though real to anyone who fails their saving throw.  Against anyone who makes it, the damage is reduced, and in the case of cloudkill it will only kill creatures with less than 2 Hit Dice.  It can still be used to cast the same spells as shadow magic, but they now deal 2 points of damage per level instead of 1 against those who make their save.
  The OD&D version of the spell was the same in that it dealt more damage then the weaker version of the spell.  It didn't allow for the casting of magic missile, cone of cold, or cloudkill.  The original spell allowed the casting of death spell, which seems to have been replaced by cloudkill.

Mass Suggestion: This works like the suggestion spell, but it affects one creature per level, as long as they're all within 3" of the caster.  Every target is under the same suggestion.  If cast on a single target, there's a penalty to their saving throw.
  The OD&D spell was the same, but it affected 1d8 targets rather than one per level.

Permanent Illusion: Like spectral force, it creates an illusion of a creature or object with visual, sound, smell, and thermal elements.  The main difference is that the illusion is permanent, requiring no concentration from the caster.
  The OD&D spell was exactly the same.

Programmed Illusion: This spell sets up a spectral force that is triggered by certain conditions, and last for 1 round/level.
  The OD&D spell had a flat duration of 12 turns, rather than 1 round/level.

Shades: Similar to shadow monsters and demi-shadow monsters, but the creatures created are 60% real.
  In OD&D this spell was called shadow monsters III.  It granted creatures a base AC of 7 (whereas the AD&D spell remains at AC 10), and allowed the creation of a total Hit Dice equal to double the illusionist's level (in AD&D it still remains equal to the caster's level).

True Sight: Like the 5th-level cleric spell (called true seeing), it allows the caster to everything within range in its true form, regardless of illusions, polymorphs, and other forms of disguise.  Unlike the cleric spell, the illusionist isn't able to discern alignment.  The illusionist spell has a range of 6" (vs. 12" for clerics) and a casting time of 1 round (vs. 8 segments).  Illusionists don't require any material components.
  The OD&D spell allowed the caster to discern alignment, class, level and the intentions of any target.  I'm not surprised that Gary jettisoned all of that.  It also had a complicated duration formula of the character's level minus 10, + 1d6 rounds.  In AD&D it's a simple 1 round/level.

Veil: The caster is able to change the visuals of their surroundings and/or their party.  These illusions can be touched without disappearing, and will only be penetrated by true seeing, a gem of seeing, or the like.

As you may have noticed, I'm powering through these entries as quickly as possible.  I started detailing these spells all the way back in 2016, and once I got started I felt obligated to see it the whole way through, regardless of how tedious it got.  Well, the end is quite literally in sight: I'm finally at a page in my PHB where the spell entries are done.  For those of you who followed me through this, thank you.  It should be quite a while before I do something like this again: I'm thinking it'll be when I hit the Moldvay Basic Set, and obviously that won't be anywhere near as long.  Regardless, I'm glad to be almost done.  It can only get more interesting from here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 51: 5th-Level Illusionist Spells

There are 8 spells of 5th-level for illusionists in AD&D, the same number as in OD&D.  The lists are a bit different, though.  The spells create spectres and 2nd level magic-user spells have both been dumped entirely.  Shadow magic is now 5th-level, whereas it was 4th in OD&D.  This means that demi-shadow magic has been bumped up from 5th to 6th.  Maze has been added in from the magic-user list, and shadow door is brand new.

Chaos: This is a variant of the 7th-level druid spell confusion, but instead of affecting 2-8 creatures it affects everyone within an area of up to 4" x 4".  The only creatures that get saving throws against this spell are straight fighters (not paladins or rangers), illusionists, and monsters with no magic and an Intelligence of 4 or less.  If I'm reading this spell correctly, it's incredibly powerful; you could take multiple high-level foes out of a fight unless they have magic resistance.  Going through this list is making me begin to realise why some 1e players love the illusionist.
  The OD&D spell only affected a 3" x 3" area.  It only gave a saving throw to high-level fighters and illusionists, whereas AD&D makes no such distinction.  It also lasted for as long as the illusionist maintained concentration, whereas AD&D changes it to 1 round/level. The range has also been changed from a flat 12" to 1/2" per round.

Demi-Shadow Monsters: This spell works exactly like shadow monsters (detailed in my last post), but instead of being 20% real the monsters created are 40% real, with an AC of 8.
  The only difference from the OD&D version is that the original spell allowed the caster to summon 1.5 times their level in total monster Hit Dice.  The AD&D spell keeps it to 1 level per Hit Die, the same as shadow monsters.

Major Creation: This spell is like minor creation (detailed in my last post), but it can also create mineral objects, things made from metals and stone.  These will last for 6 turns/level, and any vegetable-based items created last for double that.
  Again, as with  minor creation, the items created by this spell in OD&D were limited by weight rather than volume.  It also said that the caster gets "full djinni creation powers", which is a lot stronger than the AD&D spell, as it gives any vegetable matter created a permanent duration.  Metal items created were limited in duration based on the hardness of the metal, with gold lasting a day.

Maze: Like the 8th-level magic-user spell, it traps the target in an extra-dimensional maze.  The only difference between the two spells is that the illusionist spell has a casting time of 5 segments, whereas magic-users take 3 segments.  It has no saving throw, but a duration based on the target's intelligence.
  The OD&D spell had only minor differences in duration.  It also didn't mention that Minotaurs are immune to it.

Projected Image: Like the 6th-level magic-user spell (called project image), it creates an illusion of the caster that can be used to cast spells.  It has a range of 1/2" per level (1"/level for an m-u), and a casting time of 5 segments (1 turn for an m-u).  For some reason, the illusionist spell gives no duration at all, which I would assume is a mistake.  The magic-user spell has a duration of 1 round/level.
  The OD&D spell had a flat range of 24" and a duration of 6 turns.  It also didn't mention anything about the image being immune to damage, or specifically vulnerable to dispel magic.  It was otherwise the same as in AD&D.

Shadow Door: This spell creates an illusory door.  If the illusionist steps through, he turns invisible and can flee.  (No word on whether this spell functions like regular invisibility or improved invisibility).  Anyone else who looks through or enters this door will find a 10' x 10' room, and only a true seeing spell or a gem of seeing will reveal the truth.

Shadow Magic: The caster can cast quasi-real versions of the following spells: magic missile, fireball, lightning bolt or cone of cold.  It will deal regular damage on someone who fails their save, but against anyone who makes the save it deals 1 hp/level.
  The OD&D spell was similar, but it allowed the following spells instead: lightning bolt, fireball, wall of fire, wall of ice, and death spell.  As in AD&D, these spells were fully effective against those who made a saving throw.  Against others they dealt reduced damage, and the death spell would kill 1d8 1st-level creatures.

Summon Shadow: Summons one shadow for every 3 levels of the caster, fully under their control.  The material component is a bit of smoky quartz.
  The OD&D spell summoned one shadow for every level of the caster over 5th, so this spell has been significantly nerfed.

Monday, March 12, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 50: 4th-Level Illusionist Spells

There are 8 spells of 4th level for Illusionists in AD&D, the same number as they had in OD&D.  Two of the spells on the AD&D list were 3rd level in OD&D: phantasmal killer and dispel exhaustion.  They replace shadow magic (which gets bumped to 5th level) and 1st-level magic-user spells, which is bumped up all the way to 7th level.

Confusion: Like the 4th-level magic-user spell and the 7th-level druid spell, it causes all those affected within the area to act at random, as determined by rolling on a table.  It has a range of 8" (vs. 12" for magic-users), a duration of 1 round/level (magic-users get the same, with 1 round extra), and an area of 4"x4" (vs. 6"x6" for an m-u).  Illusionists have the same parameters for this spell as druids (except for a casting time of 4 segments, vs. 9 for druids).
  The OD&D spell gave no saving throw for creatures under 4 Hit Dice, where as this version has no such power.  It also had a delayed effect on any creature over 2 HD; again, that's not present in the AD&D spell.

Dispel Exhaustion: This spell restores 50% of a target's hit points, affecting up to 4 creatures touched by the caster in a single round.  It also allows a target to move at double speed for 1 round per turn.  This effect is illusory, and when the spell ends the targets all drop back to the hp total they had before (modified, one assumes, by any damage taken in the interim).  The spell has a lengthy duration, though, so it's actually worth using in lieu of genuine healing.
  This spell was 3rd-level in OD&D.  It didn't mention restoring hit points specifically.  Instead it "allowed action without rest", but after the spell the recipient had to rest for twice the amount that they missed.  It allowed those recently raised from the dead to act normally, as well as those badly wounded, but they took 1d6 damage while doing so.  It had a flat duration of 4 hours, whereas in AD&D the spell lasts for 3 turns/level.

Emotion: Causes all creatures within a 4" x 4" area to react with one of four emotional effects.  Fear causes them to panic and flee, like the fear spell, but the targets suffer a -2 penalty to their saves.  Hate grants the recipients +2 to morale, saving throws, attack rolls and damage.  Hopelessness makes its targets utterly dejected. They will turn back from any task, submit to any demands, and have a 25% chance of doing nothing at all in any round.  Rage drives the recipients berserk, giving them +1 to hit, +3 to damage, and +5 to hit points, but causing them to fight with no regard for their own safety.  Fear and rage counter each other, and the same goes for hate/hopelessness.
  The OD&D spell was the same in principle, but its practical effects were completely different.  Fear was much the same, mimicking the OD&D version of that spell.  Battle lust was the equivalent of rage, but its mechanical effects weren't quite so extensive.  It simply allowed the recipient to fight as a Berserker, granting them +2 to attack and and making them immune to morale checks.  (I suppose it could have been referring to the Berserker class from Dragon magazine, which would grant more extensive benefits.)  Fear could counter battle-lust, but not vice-versa.  Deprivation was the equivalent of hopelessnessBravado granted immunity to fear, and could counter deprivationHate didn't grant any bonuses. Instead it made the victim attack a random target, as rolled on a chart.  There was even a result for "hate self", meaning that they would commit suicide.  It's not hard to see why Gary tweaked that.  Also, the OD&D spell never specifies how many targets or what area it can effect.  It's completely open to interpretation.

Improved Invisibility: This spell works like invisibility, except the target can make attacks and cast spells without reappearing.  They can be detected by a tell-tale shimmer, but all attacks against them suffer a penalty, and they gain a bonus on all saving throws.
  In OD&D, the spell was said to be the same as Invisibility 10' Radius, which would have meant that it could affect numerous targets instead of the single target of the AD&D spell.

Massmorph: Like the 4th-level magic-user spell, it gives a number of creatures the appearance of a copse of trees.  Unlike the m-u spell it requires no material components, and only takes 4 segments to cast (magic-users take a full turn).  It affects a 1" x 1" area.  Weirdly, the magic-user spell affects an area of 11' x 1".  It's a very odd measurement for a D&D spell, and I wonder if there's perhaps a typo.
  The major difference from the OD&D version of the spell is that in OD&D it affected a flat 100 man-sized creatures.  The AD&D spell affects 10 per level.

Minor Creation: The caster can create a non-living, organic object of 1 cubic foot per level in volume.  This generally means things made out of wood, ropes, and "soft goods", which apparently means cloth and fabric.  The items last for an hour per level.  Material component is a small piece of the same kind of object being created.
  The OD&D spell creates the same kinds of materials, but is limited by weight rather than volume.  It also has a duration measures in days rather than hours, with a nebulous bonus or penalty to be applied by the DM based on the hardness of the item created.

Phantasmal Killer: This spell creates an image in the target's mind of the most horrible creature that their subconscious can dredge up.  This image attacks as a 4 Hit Dice creature, and if it strikes a blow the target will die from fright.  Saving throws against this spell are rolled in a nonstandard manner, being a 3d6 roll under the target's Intelligence (with various situational modifiers applied).  My favourite part is the note about helms of telepathy: not only does wearing one grant a -3 bonus to the roll, but it also allows the target to turn the phantasmal killer back on the caster.
  The OD&D version of this spell was 3rd level, and I can see why they bumped it up.  The spell works almost exactly the same, except that the various modifiers to the saving throw are different.  Having been attacked by this spell previously grants a flat -5 bonus, whereas in AD&D it's -1 per previous attack.  The OD&D spell had a range of 6", as opposed to 1/2" per level in AD&D.

Shadow Monsters: Creates a number of semi-real monsters, whose total combined Hit Dice cannot exceed the level of the caster.  They only have 20% of their usual hit points.  Against any target that fails their saving throw, the monsters defend and deal damage as normal.  Against those that make their save, they will have AC 10 and deal 20% of normal damage.
  The OD&D version of the spell also summoned semi-real monsters, with much the same parameters.  All those monsters had an AC of 9 (the worst possible in OD&D), regardless of whether the targets believed in them or not.  The spell was much more specific about monster special abilities, such as breath weapons and petrification: they only worked on those that believed they were real.  AD&D is a bit vaguer, saying only that they "perform as normal with respect to armor class and attack forms".  Shadow monsters in OD&D took double damage from silver weapons, a weakness not present in AD&D.

Monday, March 05, 2018

AD&D Player's Handbook part 49: 3rd-Level Illusionist spells

There are twelve illusionist spells of 3rd-level in AD&D, the same number as their were in OD&D.  Phantasmal killer was on this list in OD&D, but has been bumped up to 4th level.  Dispel exhaustion has also been bumped up to 4th level.  Replacing them are rope trick and dispel illusion, the latter of which has been bumped up from 2nd level.

Continual Darkness: Like the 2nd-level magic-user spell darkness 15' radius it creates a 3" diameter globe of impenetrable shadow.  It has a flat range of 6" (vs. 1"/level for m-u) and a casting time of 3 segments (vs. 2 for m-u).  The biggest difference is that this version of the spell is permanent in duration.
  In OD&D, this spell was based on the anti-cleric's continual darkness, which was a reversed version of continual light.  That gave it a whopping diameter of 24", which has been greatly nerfed here.

Continual Light: Like the 3rd-level cleric spell, it creates a globe of light that illuminates a 6" radius.  It has a range of 6" (vs. 12" for clerics) and a casting time of 3 segments (6 for clerics).  Both versions are permanent.
  As mentioned above, the biggest difference from the OD&D spell is that the illumination has been greatly reduced from 24".

Dispel Illusion: The caster is able to automatically dispel any phantasmal force created by a non-illusionist.  It can dispel any illusion/phantasm created by an illusionist, with a base 50% chance adjusted up or down depending in the level difference between the two casters.
  In OD&D, this was a 2nd-level spell.  It's able to dispel any illusions cast by a non-illusionist, which is a broader rule and probably a better one; the AD&D version doesn't account for new spells that may be introduced.  Against those of other illusionists it uses the OD&D rules for dispel magic, which was a ratio of the dispeller's level over that of the original caster.

Fear: Like the 4th-level magic-user spell, it causes creatures caught within a conical area to flee in panic.  The only difference is that it doesn't require any material components, and it has a segment time of 3 (vs. 4 for magic-users).
  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.  (Yeah, I did a a cut-and-paste from when I covered the magic-user version.  I have a life to live, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.)

Hallucinatory Terrain: Like the 4th-level magic-user spell, it can changes the appearance of terrain in a 4"x4" area (with 1" added to both dimensions per level).  The magic-user spell was a flat 1" square per level.  The illusionist version also has a 2" bonus to range over the magic-user version.  The illusionist spell has a casting time of 5 segments (vs. 1 turn for magic users, which is a lot longer).
  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" + 2"/level.  (See, I told you I'd do it again.)

Illusionary Script: Gary, the word you're looking for is "illusory".  Anyway, the caster can write something and then make it appear as though it's written in a foreign language.  Only those that the caster designates can read it, with all others being confused for 5-20 turns.  This duration drops by a turn per level of the victim.  Other illusionists can tell that the script is an illusion.  The material component is a lead-based ink that must be specially made by an alchemist.
  The OD&D spell only confused its victims for 1-6 turns, not affected by their level.  It also had a limit of one page of writing, which isn't present in AD&D.

Invisibility, 10' Radius: Like the 3rd-level magic-user spell, it casts an invisibility spell on every creature you want within 10 feet of the original target.  The only difference is that the illusionist spell requires no material components.
  The AD&D spell isn't clear as to whether it grants invisibility to multiple creatures within the area, or if it creates an area of invisibility that moves with a single target.  I've gone with the former option.  The OD&D spell was similarly vague.  It had a range of 24", whereas in AD&D it's a touch spell.

Non-Detection: Makes the caster completely immune to detection spells, ESP, clairaudience, clairvoyance as well as scrying from magic items.  It's a somewhat advanced version of misdirection, although by providing false information the latter spell remains useful.  Its material component is a pinch of diamond dust.
  The OD&D spell worked similarly, although it wasn't as specific about which spells it protected against.  It did specify protection against ESP and crystal balls.  It had a duration of 2 rounds/level, whereas the AD&D spell lasts for 1 turn/level, about five times longer.

Paralyzation: The spell creates an "illusionary muscle slowdown" in its targets, paralyzing them if they fail a saving throw.  It affects a 2" x 2" area, but can only work on a Hit Dice total up to double the caster's level.  A dispel magic or dispel illusion will end the paralysis, or it can be ended by the caster.  Otherwise, it apparently lasts forever.  Harsh.
  The OD&D spell worked the same, although it didn't limit the spell area at all.  It had a range of 18" (vs. 1"/level in AD&D).

Rope Trick: Like the 1st-level magic-user spell, this causes a rope to stand on end, and opens a portal to a pocket dimension at the top.  The only difference is that it takes 3 segments to cast, instead of 2 for magic-users.
  The OD&D spell could work with a shorter rope, but it could only let the caster and three others inside the pocket dimension; the AD&D version allows five others inside.  It had a duration of 6 turns +1/level, whereas AD&D gives it 2 turns/level.

Spectral Force: This spell functions like phantasmal force, but along with the visual element it also includes sound, smell and heat/cold.  It lasts for 3 rounds after the caster stops concentrating on it.
  The OD&D spell was called spectral forces.  It was otherwise similar, with one major difference: it created illusions that could not be destroyed by touching them.  This isn't specified in AD&D.  Also, it lasts for 5 "turns" after concentration, as opposed to AD&D's 3 rounds.

Suggestion: Like the 3rd-level magic-user spell, the caster is able to influence a single target.  The illusionist spell lasts for 4 turns + 4/level, whereas the magic-user version lasted longer at 6 turns + 6/level.
  The only real difference that the OD&D version of the spell had was its duration of one week.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

AD&D Player's Handbook part 48: 2nd-Level Illusionist Spells

There are 12 illusionist spells of 2nd level in AD&D, the same number as in OD&D.  The only difference between the two lists is that dispel illusion is now gone, and has been replaced by ventriloquismVentriloquism was a 1st level illusionist spell in OD&D, but now it's been bumped up a level.

Blindness: The target must save vs. spells or be struck blind, permanently.  Healing magic won't fix it: only a dispel magic will work, or the caster removing the effect.
  The OD&D spell was exactly the same, except that it had a range of 12" as opposed to 3" in AD&D.

Blur: The caster's outline becomes blurry, making him more difficult to hit.  The first attack by any foe suffers a -4 penalty, and subsequent attacks are at -2.  It also grants a +1 to saving throws against direct magical attacks.
  The OD&D spell granted a flat -2 penalty on all attacks, and a +2 bonus to saving throws vs. wands and staves.  It had a duration of 4+1d4 rounds, whereas AD&D has one of 3 rounds + 1/level.

Deafness: The spell strikes one target deaf if they fail a saving throw.  As with blindness, the spell is permanent and can only be fixed by dispel magic or the caster's dismissal.
  Again, the only difference between this and the OD&D version is that the original had a range of 12" and the AD&D version has a range of 6".

Detect Magic: This is the same as the 1st-level cleric/magic-user spell, in that it detects magical radiations within the area of effect.  The only difference between the illusionist and magic-user versions is that illusionists cast with a time of 1 segment, as opposed to 2.  The cleric spell takes a full round to cast, and has half the range (3", as opposed to 6" for the others).  The cleric spell lasts for a full turn, whereas the illusionist and m-u versions last for 2 rounds/level.  It also required a holy symbol; the illusionist and m-u spell has no material component.
  The only difference from the OD&D spell is that it had a duration of 2 "turns".  (Could be rounds or turns. You know, typical OD&D ambiguity.)

Fog Cloud: Creates a billowing cloud of fog that moves away from the caster at a rate of 1".  It looks like a cloudkill spell, but it only obscures vision.  For practical purposes, it's probably not as good as the 1st-level spell wall of fog, which covers a larger area when cast by a 2nd level+ caster.  Other than that, I guess it's used to scare enemies who think it's actually a cloudkill?
  The OD&D spell was simply called fog, but it otherwise functioned the same.

Hypnotic Pattern: Creates a pattern of colours in the air.  Up to 24 Hit Dice worth of creatures within the 3"x3" area of effect must make a save or become fascinated.  Such creatures will stand motionless for as long as the caster concentrates on maintaining the pattern.  The material component is a glowing stick of incense or a crystal rod full of phosphorescent material.  All told, this is a very useful spell - anything capable of negating a 24HD creature is pretty good, even if it's not all that likely to fail the saving throw.
  The OD&D spell had the same effect, but rather than a Hit Dice total it affects a number of targets based on their level: 2-24 1st level types, 3-18 2nd-level types, etc.  It tops out with 1-6 5th or 6th-level types.  This is a lot less potentially powerful, if you interpret level here to mean Hit Dice.  If you interpret it as referring to the levels from the Random Encounter Tables, it's a bit closer to the AD&D spell, but what do you do when its cast against monsters that aren't dungeon dwellers?  The OD&D spell lasted for 4-9 rounds after the caster stopped concentrating, whereas in AD&D it stops right away.  The OD&D range is 12", as opposed to a range of 0" in AD&D (AD&D covers this with an area of effect instead of a range).

Improved Phantasmal Force: Like phantasmal force, this spell creates an illusory creature or object that can damage anyone who believes it is real.  It doesn't require as much concentration to maintain, however, as the caster can move at half speed and still concentrate upon it.  It also lasts for 2 rounds after the illusionist stops maintaining it.  Most significantly of all, it can now make sounds, though not intelligible speech.  The silent nature of phantasmal force is probably the thing that most holds back its believability, so this is a pretty big deal.
  The OD&D version of the spell was called improved phantasmal forces, and it gave the caster the ability to move and still maintain the spell.  It also continued after the caster ceased concentration, but it lasted for 3 "turns" extra.  It didn't say anything about making sounds, but then again the OD&D phantasmal forces didn't specify that it was silent.

Invisibility: Just like the 2nd-level magic-user spell, it turns a character invisible until such time as they wish to reappear or make an attack.  The only difference is that it requires no material components.
  The only real difference between the OD&D and AD&D versions of this spell is that OD&D gives it a range of 24", while in AD&D it's a touch-based spell.

Magic Mouth: Like the 2nd-level magic-user spell, it allows the caster to endow an object with a magic mouth that can relay a short message.  The magic-user and illusionist versions of this spell are identical.
  The main difference from the OD&D spell is that it could be triggered based on the alignment of someone nearby, whereas that's expressly forbidden in AD&D.

Mirror Image: This is like the 2nd-lvel magic-user spell, but rather than creating 1-4 images to surround the caster, it creates 1d4+1.  It also has a range of 3" per level, as opposed to 2"/level for magic-users.
  The OD&D spell didn't grant the illusionist an extra image.

Misdirection: The caster places this spell on a creature or object, and any detection spell cast upon it (such as detect evil or detect snares and pits) will return the wrong information.  The caster of the detection spell gets a saving throw to avoid this.
  The OD&D spell was called misdetection, which was more literal but also a little awkward.  It used the same method as dispel magic to gauge its success, which was determined by the difference in level between the two casters.  Using a saving throw is certainly a simpler way to get it done.

Ventriloquism: Like the 1st-level magic-user spell, it allows the caster to make their voice come from somewhere else.  The illusionist version increases the maximum range to 9" (vs. 6" for magic-users) and also increases the duration, to 4 rounds + 1/level (vs. 2 rounds + 1/level).  Illusionists have a casting time of 2 segment, whereas magic-users could cast it in 1.
  The OD&D spell was 1st level for illusionists, but otherwise the same.  It had a flat range of 5".

Sunday, February 18, 2018

AD&D Player's Handbook part 47: 1st-Level Illusionist Spells

There are twelve illusionist spells of 1st-level in AD&D, the same number as there were in OD&D.  Two of these spells (audible glamer and dancing lights) are new to the list, replacing ventriloquism and mirror image.

Audible Glamer: Like the 2nd-level magic-user spell, it creates whatever sound the caster desires.  The m-u description says that, when cast at 3rd level, it creates a sound volume equivalent to four men.  Illusionists can cast the spell at 1st level, so I need to figure out if their spell volume begins at four men, or if it starts lower.  I'll probably start them at four, just to make the spell more useful.  The illusionist version of the spell lasts longer (3 rounds/lvl as opposed to 2), is quicker to cast (2 segments as opposed to 5) and requires no material components.

Change Self: The caster is able to change their appearance to that of another man-shaped creature, although they can't make themselves look more than 1 foot taller or shorter.  The illusion can affect their equipment as well.
  The OD&D version of the spell says that the user can appear as a creature of the same general size and shape, which I actually like better.  It makes the spell useful for dragons and other non-humanoid spell-casters.  The duration in OD&D was 10 rounds + caster level + 1d6 rounds.  In AD&D it's 2-12 rounds + 2 rounds/level.  Those durations seem a little needlessly complex, but I suppose it's to inject a little bit of uncertainty as to when the spell's going to end.

Color Spray: This spell creates a cone of clashing colors that affects 1-6 creatures within its area. Creatures with HD equal to or lower than the caster are struck unconscious, those up to 2 HD higher are struck blind, and those 3 or more HD higher are stunned.  Creatures with more HD than the caster has levels receive a saving throw, as do any creatures with more than 6 HD.  Its material components are a pinch of powder or sand colored red, yellow and blue.
  There's a line in the spell that seems contradictory to me: "The spell caster is able to affect 1 level or hit die of creatures for each of his or her levels of experience".  If that's the case, how would the spell affect creatures with more HD than the caster's level, as detailed above?  Is there something I'm missing here?
  The OD&D version might shed some light here.  It affects 1-6 levels of creatures, rather than 1-6 individual creatures, with the number of levels equal to the caster's level.  The target is randomly assigned, with fully affected targets receiving no saving throw and any partially affected one getting a save (with a bonus for every HD unaffected).  The spell couldn't affect creatures with more than 6 HD at all.  It also couldn't blind or stun targets: it always knocked them unconscious.
  I don't know, I can't get that line to make sense.  Perhaps it works like the OD&D spell, only partially affected creatures are blinded or stunned rather then getting a saving throw bonus?  However it works, the OD&D spell was more clearly explained.

Dancing Lights: Works exactly like the 1st-level m-u spell, creating 1-4 balls of light or a glowing, man-shaped figure.

Darkness: Works like the 2nd-level m-u spell darkness 15' radius, creating a globe that light and infravision can't penetrate.  The illusionist version doesn't last as long as the m-u spell (2-8 rounds + 1 round/level, as opposed to 1 turn + 1 round/level) but it's quicker to cast (1 segment vs. 2) and requires no material components.
  The OD&D spell was said to be the same as that cast by "Anti-Clerics," and was defined only as an opposite of light.  That gave it a similar radius of 15", and a duration of 6 turns + 1/level.  That could be a super-long duration, but as ever in OD&D it's hard to say if this was intended to be turns of ten minutes or combat rounds.

Detect Illusion: Allows the caster to know an illusion for what it is, and to allow others to do so with a touch.  Its material component is a piece of yellow crystal, glass or mica.
  The OD&D spell was the same, although it said nothing about bestowing the ability upon others.  It had a range of 6" (1"/level in AD&D) and a duration of 3 "turns" (3 rounds + 2/level in AD&D).

Detect Invisibility: Like the 2nd-level m-u spell, it allows the caster to see invisible, astral, ethereal, hidden, or out of phase creatures and objects to a range of 1"/level.  The illusionist spell is a bit quicker to cast (1 segment vs. 2).
  The OD&D spell was named detect invisible, and detected invisible creatures and objects.  It mentioned nothing about those that are hidden, astral, ethereal or out of phase.  It had a duration of 6 turns (5 rounds/level in AD&D) and a range of 1"/level (same as AD&D).

Gaze Reflection: Creates a mirror-like area around the caster that reflects gaze attacks back upon the gazer.  Extremely useful, but it only lasts 1 round.
  The OD&D spell only mentioned reflecting the gazes of basilisks and medusae.  It was given a range of 8", whereas in AD&D it's presumably effective at whatever range the creature's gaze has.  It lasted 1 turn, which might mean the same thing as the 1 round duration in AD&D.

Hypnotism: With gestures and a droning incantation, the caster can hypnotise 1-6 creatures and give them a suggestion (like the spell) that they will follow for the spell's duration (1 round + 1/level).  Suggestion as a spell in its own right only affects a single creature, so hypnotism is stronger in that regard, but it has a far shorter duration (minutes as opposed to hours).
  The OD&D spell worked like charm person, with a penalty opposed to the target's saving throw and the requirement that they look into the caster's eyes.  A completely different spell, basically.

Light: Works like the 1st-level m-u/cleric spell, creating a globe of light that illuminates a 2" radius.  It has the same specs as the m-u spell exactly.  It has half the range of the cleric spell (6" vs. 12"), a duration that's shorter by an hour, but a quicker casting time (1 segment vs. 4).
  The OD&D spell created a 3" diameter illumination, rather than the 4" of AD&D.

Phantasmal Force: Like the 3rd-level m-u spell, it creates a silent illusory creature or object that can damage foes who believe it is real.  It has a shorter range than the m-u version (6" + 1"/lvl vs. 8" + 1"/lvl), and a smaller area of effect (4" square + 1"/lvl vs. 8" square + 1"/lvl), but a quicker casting time (1 segment vs. 3).
  The OD&D spell, called phantasmal forces, mentioned nothing about the illusion having no sound.  It had a range of 24", far longer than most AD&D casters will ever manage.

Wall of Fog: Creates a fog in a 2"/level cubic area that obscures sight.  It can be dispersed by a strong breeze.  Its material component is a pinch of split dried peas.
  The OD&D spell mentioned nothing about strong breezes.  It had the dimensions of a wall of fire, which meant a flat wall 6" wide and 2" high, or a 3" diameter cylinder 2" high.  Its range was 16", far higher than AD&D's 3". No duration was given.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 46: 9th-Level Magic-User Spells

There are twelve 9th-level magic-user spells in AD&D, up from ten in OD&D.  One of those OD&D spells - maze - was changed to 8th level for AD&D, so we're looking at nine pre-existing spells and three new ones.

Astral Spell: This works much like the 7th-level cleric spell, in that it allows the caster and up to five others to travel through the Astral Plane, and into the Outer Planes.  The only difference is that a magic-user can cast it in 9 segments, whereas it takes a cleric 3 turns.
  See the link above for my comparison between the OD&D and AD&D versions of the spell.  One thing I didn't mention is that in OD&D if the caster's physical body was moved so that the spirit became out of range, they were sent to "jibber and shriek on the floor of the lowest hell".  The spell also had a much higher range when used outside than it did underground.  Really, the OD&D and AD&D versions of this spell have completely different uses.  In AD&D it's a spell for planar travel, but in OD&D it seems more useful for exploration, reconnaissance and perhaps some spell-casting on unsuspecting enemies.

Bigby's Crushing Hand: The final spell in the Bigby's hand series creates a giant hand that squeezes a single opponent.  It deals 1d10 damage on the first round, 2-20 damage on the 2nd and 3rd rounds, and 4-40 damage on every round thereafter.  It lasts for 1 round per caster level, so that's a lot of potential damage.  The hand only has as many hit points as the caster, though, which probably won't be a lot even for a high-level magic-user.  It's material components are a snakeskin glove and an eggshell.

Gate: Like the 7th-level cleric spell, this creates a portal to another plane and summons a powerful being that may or may not grant the caster some aid depending on the circumstances.  The only difference between the cleric and magic-user spells is that clerics have a casting time of 5 segments, and magic-users take 9 segments.  It's a rare case of the cleric spell being quicker to cast than the magic-user's.
  The link above (under Astral Spell) also details the difference between OD&D and AD&D.  Mostly it was that OD&D gave more specific examples of the type of creature that could be summoned (Crom, Set, Cthulhu, etc.).

Imprisonment: Any victim touched by the caster of this spell will be entombed far beneath the earth, in perfect suspended animation.  Nothing can free the victim except for the reverse of this spell, freedom, and even then the caster needs the victim's the name and background.  If this information isn't exact, there's a 10% chance that 1-100 other imprisoned creatures are also set free.  (One thing I love about Gygaxian D&D are the little touches that are there to screw over PCs who haven't done the adequate preparation.  High-level spells are powerful, but just about all of them have a catch.)

Meteor Swarm: I had a little trouble figuring out exactly how this spell works, but here's what I got. The spell creates either four 2' orbs, or eight 1' orbs, that streak to the distance chosen by the caster.  Any creature in that path is affected as though hit by a fireball.  The orbs explode in a pattern at their destination, with the larger orbs dealing 10-40 damage and the smaller ones dealing 5-20.  These explosions can overlap, so certain targets will be hit twice, or possibly four times if they are at the direct centre.  This is a spell that could really benefit from a diagram, particularly for the eight-orb version..
  The OD&D version of the spell simply creates four fireballs that can be thrown as the caster desires, or eight fireballs of half strength.  It's a much simpler spell, and still quite potent.  I'm not sure why Gary felt the need to overcomplicate it.

Monster Summoning VII: Summons 1-2 7th-level monsters, or a single 8th-level monster.  If we go to the OD&D spell, it recommends that the DM use their own special tables, but gives some example monsters: iron golems, a 20th-level lich, a ten-headed fire-breathing hydra, and others.  As for 8th-level monsters, those aren't catered for by the OD&D rules.  For this spell, I'm going to jump ahead to the at-this-time unreleased Dungeon Master's Guide, and see what this spell can really do.  For 7th-level monsters, it's a lot of demon and devils, and a bunch of other very strong monsters (including a 10-12 headed hydra).  For 8th-level, it's much the same, but has Type VI demons and purple worms, and just a load of very, very nasty creatures.  Neither of them feature a 20th-level Lich, so I feel like OD&D is still a more powerful spell on the whole.

Power Word, Kill: This spell will kill a single creature of up to 60 hit points, or a bunch of creatures with less than 10 hp (totalling 120 hp worth).  It has no saving throw, so it's good for knocking off one strong foe or a bunch of small ones.  Probably not going to work on any boss monsters, though.  (That said, my sense of AD&D's power scale is off because I haven't played it in so long - it might be that a lot of powerful monsters won't have more than 60 hp.  I remember the spider queen Lolth only having 66 hp in Vault of the Drow, for example.)
  The OD&D spell killed a single creature with up to 50 hp, so it's notably less versatile.  (It might be about as effective otherwise, due to OD&D monsters rolling their hp on 1d6, as opposed to 1d8 in AD&D).

Prismatic Sphere: The caster is surrounded by a number of shimmering globes, each of a different colour and effect as follows:
  • Red - prevents all normal missiles; inflicts 10 damage on those passing through; destroyed by cone of cold
  • Orange - prevents magical missiles; inflicts 20 damage on those passing through; destroyed by gust of wind
  • Yellow - prevents poison, gas, and petrification; inflicts 40 damage on those passing through; destroyed by disintegrate
  • Green - prevents all breath weapons; death to those passing through; destroyed by passwall
  • Blue - prevents detection and psionics; petrification to those passing through; destroyed by magic missile
  • Indigo  - prevents all spells; insanity to those passing through; destroyed by continual light
  • Violet - force field; sends those passing through to another plane; destroyed by dispel magic
The globes must be destroyed in order from red to violet, but they can be negated by a rod of cancellation.  Any creature of under 8 Hit Dice will be blinded at the sight of it.
  The OD&D spell was actually called prismatic wall, but it still created a globe.  It was the same spell in general, but the specifics were quite different, with the effects and weaknesses of the different colours being mixed around.  Red and orange, for example, have their effects swapped, and the red globe is vulnerable to ice storm rather than cone of cold.  The blue globe protects against cleric spells, and there's no globe that prevents poison, gas or petrification.  There's also no globe that sends the victim to another plane; it replaced one that freezes the victim to death.  No colour is exactly the same between editions.

Shape Change: For the duration of the spell (a hefty 1 turn/level) the caster can assume the shape of pretty much any being, gaining all of its physical attributes (although retaining the caster's own hit points).  The only restriction given is that the caster can't become a demi-god, greater devil, demon prince, greater demon, or a singular dragon (like Tiamat).  The caster can change shape as often as they want while the spell lasts, and doesn't incur a system shock roll.  Although at the start it says the caster can become a creature, some example forms given later are a bush and a pool of water, so I guess it extends to objects as well.  The material component is a jade circlet worth 5,000 gp.  This circlet is left behind during the first transformation, and if it is shattered the spell ends.
  The OD&D spell was much similar, though it had no stated restriction on the power of the creature that could be mimicked.  It didn't specifically state that mental abilities weren't gained, but a reference back to polymorph other implies it pretty strongly, I feel.

Temporal Stasis: This spell places a single target in suspended animation, permanently and with no saving throw.  It can be removed with dispel magic or the reverse of this spell (temporal reinstatement).  The material component is a powder made of diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire, although the reversed spell doesn't require it.  The biggest oversight of this spell, I feel, is that it doesn't say anything about what happens when the creature in stasis is attacked.  I'd be inclined to make them impervious to harm, because any creature hit by this spell is pretty much out of the game anyway.

Time Stop: The caster stops the flow of time within a 3" diameter sphere.  Anyone who enters will be frozen in time, except for the caster, who can move and act freely.  This is another spell that can use some clarification on whether murders can be done to frozen individuals.  For this spell, I would rule yes, because only the caster can act, and the duration is measured in segments - there's only so much one character can do.
  The OD&D spell affected a cube rather than a sphere, and had a longer duration of 2-5 rounds.

Wish: This spell can pretty much do anything, but is dependent on the exact wording used, and the DM is encouraged to punish players using it for unfair purposes.  (The example given is a character wishing another character dead, and thus being transported to a time in the future when that character is no longer living, thus putting the wisher out of the game.)  It has no negative effect on the caster if it's used for healing, resurrection or to escape from a bad situation, but for everything else it drains 3 points of Strength and requires 2-8 days of bed rest.
  The OD&D spell was the same, but it didn't require bed rest after casting; instead, the caster was unable to cast spells for 2-8 days.

And, that is finally it for magic-user spells.  I still have the illusionist list to go, but that has less spells per level to deal with, and less levels overall.  I can see the light at the end of this self-made tunnel.  I got caught in a similar trap of providing too much detail with the Monster Manual as well, but after this it should be a good long while before I encounter a similar situation.  The variety will be much appreciated by me, that's for sure.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

AD&D Players Handbook part 45: 8th-Level Magic-User Spells

There are 16 magic-user spells of 8th level in AD&D, up from 8 in OD&D.  All 8 OD&D spells have made the transition to AD&D at the same level.  One spell - maze - was originally 9th level.

Antipathy/Sympathy: This spell imbues an object or an area with an aura that either attracts or repels certain creatures.  It can be set up to affect a specific creature type (hill giant, red dragon, orc, etc.), or a specific alignment.  If set up to repel, all relevant creatures need to make a saving throw to remain in the area, but if they do remain they suffer some loss of Dexterity.  If it is set to attract, all relevant creatures need to make a saving throw or they'll feel an overwhelming urge to remain in the area, or to grasp the object.  Even if they make the save, they'll need to make another in 1-6 turns to prevent themselves from going back.

Bigby's Clenched Fist: Creates a fist that the caster can use to strike opponents with.  It always hits, with its effect dependent on a d20 roll, ranging from 1-6 damage to 4-24 damage and stunning for 3 rounds.  It has the same number of hp as the caster.  The material component is a leather glove, and a device made of four rings that sounds a lot like brass knuckles.
  There's a bit of an inconsistency in this spell that I'm not sure about.  It says that no other spell-casting can be done while the fist is in effect, but later it says that it can be used with any of the other Bigby's Hand spells.  So can those spells be cast and no others?  Or can the Clenched Fist also be made to perform the actions of those earlier spells?  I might be inclined to allow the latter.

Clone: This spell creates an exact duplicate of a person that grows over 2-8 months.  The clone and original know of each other's existence, and will seek to destroy the other.  If this hasn't been achieved within a week, there's a 95% chance that one will go insane (most probably the clone), and a 5% chance that both will go mad and commit suicide.  The material component is a piece of flesh from the original, and the clone will possess the attributes of the original from when that flesh was taken.
  The OD&D spell was much the same, but with that spell it was inevitable that clone and original would both go insane.  It also spells out that the spell is useful for being brought back from destruction, provided a lump of flesh and appropriate instructions are left behind with the right people.

Glassteel: Gives a small amount of glass or crystal (10 lb./level) the strength of steel, with a permanent duration.  It material components are a piece of glass and a piece of steel.

Incendiary Cloud: Creates a cloud that burst into flame after a number of rounds.  On the third round it deals damage of 1/2 hit point per level, and in the 4th round it deals 1 hp per level, before dropping back to 1/2.  After the 5th round, it is simply an obscuring cloud.  It requires an existing fire source, and affects an area 100 times that of the fire.
  I'm tempted to criticise this as yet another high-level spell that doesn't deal a whole lot of damage, but that area effect is potentially massive - under the right conditions, you could wipe out an army with this spell.

Mass Charm: This works like charm monster, but it can affect a number of creatures with Hit Dice totalling up to twice that of the caster.  The spell is potent, and all targets suffer a -2 penalty to their saves.
  In OD&D, the spell affected a flat 30 "levels" of monsters, with "level" here presumably referring to Hit Dice.  It had a range of 12", as opposed to 1/2"/level in AD&D.

Maze: The target of this spell is doomed to wander in an extradimensional maze of force planes, for a time determined by their Intelligence.  In a lovely mythological touch, Minotaurs are immune to this spell.
  This spell was 9th level in OD&D.  It was much the same, but it's duration based on Intelligence had less tiers.  On the whole the AD&D spell lasts longer - a creature of average Intelligence in OD&D will be trapped as long as someone with an Int of 17 in AD&D.  There was nothing mentioned in OD&D about minotaurs.

Mind Blank: The recipient of this spell is protected from all forms of mind-reading and also cannot be discovered by scrying devices and spells.  This also includes psionics, and even wishes, but doesn't extend to powerful deities.
  The OD&D spell is the same, albeit with a much shorter list of powers that it protects from.  It doesn't specify protection from psionics, or mention deities at all.

Monster Summoning VI: This summons 1 or 2 monsters of 6th level.  Once more taking a look at the tables from Supplement I: Greyhawk shows some exceedingly nasty stuff: titans, golems, balrogs, beholders, liches, purple worms.
  The OD&D spell only summoned a single 6th level monster.

Otto's Irresistible Dance: The target of the spell must dance uncontrollably, suffering a -4 AC penalty, losing all shield bonuses, and automatically failing all saving throws.  Note that this spell also has no save, although it does require a touch attack.  Still, if it works it gives you 2-5 rounds to throw spells at a target for which it will get no saving throw, which seems pretty deadly to me.
  From what I can gather, Otto was an NPC magic-user that lived on the second level of Castle Greyhawk, who was subdued by various PCs and became the henchman of Robilar. 

Permanency: This spell can be used to make another permanent, but there's a finite list of spells (twenty in all) that it can affect.  Some of the better examples are infravision, protection from normal missiles,  and enlarge.  Any spell that is made permanent on the caster drains him of 1 point of Constitution.
  The OD&D version was known as permanent spell, and had far more leeway in interpretation.  It was recommended that there be a limit of one permanent spell per object, and two per creature, but otherwise it's left up to the DM.  It specifically mentions levitate, haste, fly, and water breathing, all of which are not allowable in AD&D.

Polymorph Any Object: This spell can be used to transform any creature or object into anything else, with the duration determined by the difference between the two forms.  If the forms are closely related it will be permanent, but otherwise it varies.  It's barely been changed from the OD&D version.

Power Word, Blind: This spell affects up to100 hp worth of creatures, striking them blind with no saving throw.  The spell lasts longer the less hp worth of creatures it affects.
  The OD&D version of the spell worked on a single creature of up to 80 hit points, and its blindness effect lasted for days rather than rounds.

Serten's Spell Immunity: The caster can grant resistance to various spells to a number of targets, one per 4 levels of the caster.  It lasts for 16 rounds, but this is spread out between all recipients.  The spells it grants resistance to (in the form of a saving throw bonus) are mostly mind-affecting: charm, suggestion, fear, hold, geas, quest, etc.  The material components are diamond dust sprinkled over each target, and a diamond in the possession of each target as well.
  Serten was a cleric played by Ernie Gygax, which raises the question: why is an 8th level magic-user spell named for a cleric?  He most certainly didn't develop it himself.

Symbol: This spell creates a magic rune that has one of a number of effects when triggered: death (killing up to 80 hp worth of creatures); discord (loud bickering); fear; hopelessness (the targets are dejected and basically helpless); insanity (targets act randomly); pain (-2 dexterity and -4 attacks); sleep; and stunning.  It has a material component of 5,000gp worth of powdered opal and diamond.
  The OD&D version of the spell has less effects (fear, discord, sleep, stunning, insanity, death).  The first three of those have no limit on the number affected.  The latter three start talking about "level points", which isn't entirely clear.  If it refers to Hit Dice, then the "death" function kills 75 Hit Dice worth of creatures, which is pretty full on.  If it refers to hit points, then the power levels are somewhat comparable.

Trap the Soul:  The target's soul is trapped in a specially prepared gem worth 1,000gp per Hit Dice of the target.  The true name of the target is required for this spell to work.  It can be cast directly on the target (in which case they get magic resistance and a saving throw), or it can be applied to a "trigger object" that will trap the target when it is handled.  The soul is trapped forever, or until the gem is broken.  If the creature trapped is a powerful extraplanar being, the person releasing them may demand a service of some sort.  In a great touch, this can apply to high-level PCs who are so trapped outside of the Prime Material Plane.