Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Notes on OD&D - Part 23

Ok, Next up - 5th Level Spells... alrighty!  What have we got here...?

Men & Magic
  • p28 - Explanation of Spells - 5th Level
Teleport: Instantaneous transportation from place to place, regardless of the distance involved, provided the user knows where he is going (the topography of the arrival area). Without certain knowledge of the destination teleportation is 75% uncertain, so a score of less than 75% of the percentile dice results in death.  If the user is unaware of the general topography of his destination, but has not carefully studied it, there is an uncertainty factor of 10% low and 10% high.  A low score (1 - 10%) means death of solid material is contacted.  A high score (91 - 100%) indicates a fall from 10 to 100 feet, also possibly resulting in death.  If a careful study of the destination has been previously made, then the Magic User has only aq 1% chance of teleporting low and a 4% chance of coming out high (10-40 feet).

Right. Ok. Yup.  That's kind of harsh in a way.  It makes Teleport pretty risky no matter how well you've studied the terrain with a 5% chance of getting your scrawny butt killed or wounded even if you happen to be an expert on the topography of said terrain.  Given the penalty is instant death for an unlucky jaunt to hither thither and yon... woah.  I'm pretty sure my MU is going to use this one very sparingly, and be pretty damn nervous when he does.  Just a hunch.

Nevertheless, being able to Teleport is pretty damn cool.

Also notable... the MU can not Teleport others.  Which of course would be cool.  If you could Teleport monsters 20 feet down, for instance, or 100 feet up... well you get the idea.  Suddenly it becomes a pretty fantastic offensive weapon.  But no such luck.

I'm going to rate this a 3 out of 5 Stars for usefulness on the grounds that I would only use it sparingly.

Next!

Hold Monster: Same as Hold Person but applied to monsters.

Mmmm.... well it would have been much cooler if it had been Charm Monsters because the lowly Charm spell is the best!  But still, Hold Monster allows the user to affect up to 4 monsters for 6 + Caster Level number of turns.  And has a Range of 12" (360').  When that Quartet of Dragons arrives... you know what to do.  In fact that's pretty cool as there seems to be no restriction to what you can have the Monsters do for that 6+ turns ... including "go ahead and kill each other".  If you're lucky they will be taken care of and you can go on your merry way.  So ... not bad.  Not as great as the limitless Charm, but ... I'm ok with it.

I rate this 4 Stars for usefulness.

Conjure Elemental: A spell to conjure an Air, Water, Fire or Earth Elemental.  Only one of each type can be conjured by a Magic User during any one day.  The Elemental will remain until dispelled, but the Magic User must concentrate on control or the elemental will turn upon its conjurer and attack him (see CHAINMAIL).  Conjured elementals are the strongest with 16 hit dice as is explained in Volume II, Monsters and Treasure.  Range: 24" (720').

Yep, hefty stuff.  That bit about them doing your bidding as long as you concentrate on them is very cool. Of course it also says that they will tear you a new one if you lose concentration so that's kind of a big risk if you ask me.  If I see a wizard conjuring a Fire Elemental I'm thinking my first order of business is to throw pebbles at the poor unwitting bastard.  Doink.  Oh my.  He didn't last long.  And then the Elemental vanishes and all is good with the world again.   Yup...That stands out as a big risk in my mind.  On the other hand, what could one do with an Elemental given the premise that distractions won't be an issue?  A LOT!  And one of each type per day?  Wow!  That's pretty awesome!  Earth Elementals can build the castle, The fire Elemental create a molten moat.  The Water elemental a deep fresh water spring.  And the Air Elemental ... um ... well I'll think of something, I'm sure.  In fact, I'm sure that there's so much one could do with Elementals it is an awesome spell.  The risk factor, though, does take a bit of the shine off.  Hmm...

Ok, I'm giving this a 4 Stars for usefulness.

Telekenesis: By means of this spell objects may be moved by mental force.  Weight limits are calculated by level of the Magic User by 200 Gold Pieces weight.  Thus a "Necromancer" is able to move a weight equal to 2000 Gold Pieces.  Duration: 6 Turns.  Range 12".

Mmm... not bad.  200 Gold Pieces (ounces?) per Level MU, I am thinking.  Is that right?  According to this there are 10 Gold Pieces to the pound.  So that means that the MU can move 20 lbs per level. Our Necromancer can move 200 lbs (why didn't hey just say so?  Meh).  Well, that's still quite good! Duration is solid at 6 turns but does imply that you can't expect to do any long distance hauling.  But you can throw stuff around, or move heavy things out of the way.  You could even position a boulder or something over the enemy and let it drop at the right time.  I'm good with that.  And I'm not seeing any risks.  Solid spell.

I rate this 5 Stars for usefulness.

Transmute Rock to Mud: The spell takes effect in one turn, turning earth, sand and of course rock to mud.  The area affected is up to 30 square inches (900 square feet).  Creatures moving into the mud will become mired, possibly sinking if heavy enough, or losing 90% of movement otehrwise, unless able to fly or leveltate.  the spell can only be countered by reversing the incantation (requiring a Transmute Rock to Mud spell) or by normal process of evaporation (3 - 18 days as determined by rolling three six-sided dice). Range: 12" (360').

Ok so as anyone who knows military history - mud is the army killer.  This seems like a right good spell to have if you are going to be dealing with infantry or troops coming at you over rocky, sandy, or dirty(?) ground.  Mud!  They're trapped and sinking!   Archers Aim!  Archers Fire!  A few screams later you're ready to go on your merry way.  Not bad.   This would also hold true for all those heavy boned monsters that like to stomp their way over the party, such as giants, ogres and the like.  And not seeing much in the way of risk either.  So this is pretty good.

I rate this spell 5 Stars for usefulness.

Wall of Stone: The creation of a stone wall two feet thick with a maximum length and height equaling 10 square inches (300 square feet).  The wall will last until dispelled, broken down or battered through as a usual stone wall.  Range: 6" (120').

Roger that.  If you need to get away, this is your spell.  I'm thinking it's going to be pretty useful at certain times, but not all that often, actually.  I mean we're adventurers, right?  We don't run away from a fight, right?  Riiiight.  Anyway, not bad.  Don't see much Risk.   Not all that amazing but not bad.

I rate this spell 3 Stars for usefulness.

Wall of Iron:  Like a Wall of Stone, but the thickness of the wall is three inches and it's maximum area 5 square inches.  Duration: 12 turns.  Range: 6" (180').

To me this seems about as effective as a two foot thick stone wall, I guess.  Not sure what the advantage to Iron over stone is.  Both can be battered down, it would seem.  The only real difference it seems is that the Iron Wall has a limiting duration.  I'm not seeing any big advantage to it.  Maybe there is one, but it's not apparent from a reading of this rule.  I would take the Stone Wall, frankly.

I rate this spell 2 Stars for usefulness based on it's limitation.

Ok, I'm going to leave it here for today.  Not bad.  5th Level spells are risky, but also pack a lot of punch.  I'd be pretty jazzed to be a Wizard with access to these spells, I can tell ya.  Pretty jazzed indeed.
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