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the same number as in OD&D.  The only difference between the two lists is that dispel illusion is now gone, and has been replaced by ventriloquismVentriloquism was a 1st level illusionist spell in OD&D, but now it's been bumped up a level.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