Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Notes on OD&D - Part 14


It's been a hectic week, to be sure.  But here I am, ready to forge ahead again with my study, analysis and ruminations on OD&D.   Today I tackle Men & Magic p. 21 - the Spells Table.

Men & Magic 
  • p21 - Spells Table
    • Not much to say on this, and I don't think it's a worthy use of time to type out the table.  An image will do.


    • We a list of a variety of different kinds of Spells for Magic Users, ranging from first Level Spells to sixth.  The maximum number of spells for any level is 14, and there are a total of 70 spells.
    • At first Level the only offensive spell is Sleep, which does not damage the target.
    • At second Level we also have scarcely any offensive spells except, perhaps, for Phantasmal Forces.
    • At third Level we get our first combat magic in the form of Fireball and Lightning Bolt.
    • At fourth Level we have no offensive combat magic per say, though some of the spells could be used to help in combat (such as confusion, and Walls of Fire and Ice).
    • At fifth Level we have Cloud Kill, which is the only combat magic in the list.
    • At sixth Level we have Death Spell which certainly is intended be used in combat, along with Disintegrate.
    • In total out of 70 Spells listed the Magic User can obtain a total of 7 combat spells.  Or rather spells specifically designed for use in combat (though some of them may be used for other purposes as well, such as Phantasmal Forces).  Well folks, that ain't a lot of combat magic for the Magic Users.
    • The other spells range in effects and cover such things as detection of various sorts, protections of various kinds, transportation, mind control, transmute persons or the terrain in various ways, as well as a summoning spell.
    • The categories appear to be, therefore:
      • Offensive Combat
        • Sleep (1)
        • Fire Ball (3)
        • Lightning Bolt (3)
        • Cloud Kill (5)
        • Death Spell (6)
        • Disintegrate (6)
      • Detections
        • Detect Magic (1)
        • Read Magic (1)
        • Read Languages (1)
        • Detect Invisible (2)
        • Locate Object (2)
        • Detect Evil (2)
        • Infravision (3)
        • Wizard Eye (4)
      • Protections
        • Protection vs Evil (1)
        • Protection vs Evil 10' Radius (3)
        • Protection vs Normal Missiles (3)
        • Anti-Magic Shell (6)
      • Transmigration
        • Levitate (2)
        • Fly (3)
        • Slow Spell (3)
        • Haste Spell (3)
        • Dimension Door (4)
        • Teleport (5)
        • Pass Wall (5)
      • Mind Control
        • Charm Person (1)
        • Phantasmal Forces (2)
        • Invisibility (2)
        • ESP (2)
        • Hold Person (3)
        • Clairvoyance (3)
        • Clairaudience (3)
        • Invisibility 10' Radius (3)
        • Confusion (4)
        • Charm Monster (4)
        • Hallucinatory Terrain (4)
        • Hold Monster (5)
        • Telekenesis (5)
        • Contact Higher Plane (5)
        • Feeblemind (5)
        • Projected Image (6)
        • Geas (6)
      • Transmutation
        • Hold Portal (1)
        • Light (1)
        • Wizard Lock (2)
        • Continual Light (2)
        • Knock (2)
        • Dispel Magic (3)
        • Water Breathing (3)
        • Polymorph Self (4)
        • Polymorph Others (4)
        • Remove Curse (4)
        • Wall of Fire (4)
        • Wall of Ice (4)
        • Growth Plant (4)
        • Massmorph (4)
        • Transmute Rock to Mud (5)
        • Wall of Stone (5)
        • Wall of Iron (5)
        • Animate Dead (5)
        • Growth Animal (5)
        • Magic Jar (5)
        • Stone Flesh (6)
        • Lower Water (6)
        • Part Water (6)
        • Move Earth (6)
        • Control Weather (6)
        • Reincarnation (6)
      • Summoning
        • Conjure Elemental (5)
        • Contact Higher Plane (5)
        • Invisible Stalker (6)
    • First I have to admit my categorizations are probably a bit off, and some might find reason to increase their number in order to refine the list.  I was going for the simplest possible set of categories based on the spells I see.  I hope it will suffice, at least as a general outline.  That said, I continue ...
    • As we can see from the list, the lion's share of the spells are Transmutations and Mind Control.
    • I think this is interesting as it lends itself to a stylistic concept of magic as not being necessarily combat oriented.  Why should this be surprising?  Because the emphasis of OD&D appears to be on Battle Maps and combat.  I have to wonder, based on this spread of magic if that impression is entirely accurate.  It may be that the game as played was not really as focused on combat as I might have imagined.  I'm wondering if, in it's own way, back in the day, it was pretty much the same kind of story-oriented game as I play today, but with the simple distinction that the combats, when they occurred, would follow the Chaimail style of combat, with a focus on tactics and miniatures ... but that those combats were not necessarily every game and all game long.   Interesting indeed. 
Ok well that's it for today.  I'm so very busy lately.  What with trying to get my system finalized and such.  But still OD&D is so fascinating I can't help but want to complete my course of study/analysis and commentary.  I hope you are finding this of interest as well.

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