Thursday, March 29, 2018

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.