Thursday, June 09, 2016

Notes on OD&D - Part 26

Ok, finally back to OD&D. Sorry for the delays recently, but a lot has been going on here. Ah, nevertheless, lets continue on with the next 5th Level Spell...

Men & Magic
  • p30 - Explanation of Spells - 5th Level
Cloudkill: This spell creates a moving, poisonous cloud of vapor which is deadly to all creatures with less than five hit dice. Movement: 6" (180') / turn according to wind direction, or directly away from the spell chanter if there is no wind. Dimensions: 3" (90') diameter. Duration: 6 turns, but the cloud is dispelled by unusually strong winds or trees. Note that the cloud is heavier than air, so it will sink to the lowest possible level.

Ok. That's solid. Let's take a quick look at how solid.

Five Hit Dice creatures or less includes the following: Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs, Hobgoblins, Gnolls, Ogres, Skeletons, Zombies, Ghouls, Wights, Wraiths, Medusae, Gargoyles, Centaurs, Unicorns, Nixies, Pixies, Dryads, Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves, Pegasi, Hippogriffs, Green Slime, Yellow Ooze, Light Horse, Horses (all kinds). Also included are lower level men, some lycanthropes, insects, and large animals, all of whom have variable hit dice.

Ok so that's a hefty range of creatures. Now lets see how many that comes to, potentially. I'm going to assume that on average 1 creature can fit in a 5' space, though this is clearly quite variable. But lets take human size as average just for argument's sake. The dimensions are 90' in diameter and we will assume a circle shape. 6362 sq feet. 6362 / 5 = 1272 creatures. Since it can move at 180' per turn, which is twice it's diameter which means it can cover two of it's lengths per turn. So that comes to 1272 x 2 creatures per turn. 2545 creatures per turn, for 6 turns. That comes to 15,269 creatures in total before the spell dissipates. So we're looking at a spell that can potentially kill a small army in six turns. Granted all conditions would have to be right for this to happen, such as the army would have to situated in a 90' wide column stretching out in a straight line for 1080 feet, in the direction necessary for the cloud kill to pass over them all. Yet still, even if this isn't the case, the spell is frikking powerful, and well worth taking, even if conditions will never be absolutely ideal, and even though it can't kill creatures such as trolls, giants, Spectres, Vampires, Cockatrices, Basilisks, Gorgons, Manticoreas, Hydras, Chimeras, Wyverns, Dragons, Purple Worms, Sea Monsters, Treants, Rocs, Griffons, Invisible Stalkers, Djinns, Efreets, Ochre Jellies, or Black Puddings. It is still nevertheless the most powerful killing spell thus far. I say take it.

In addition, there are no stated downsides to this spell, and no limitations listed. Which is why I included Skeletons and Zombies on the list of things it kills... even though technically they're already dead, and so a cloud kill in theory shouldn't have an effect on them. But this is magic, and the poison is magical in nature and, well, them's the rules as stated. So there you have it.

Just make sure that you're party members are not in the path of Cloudkill, and the enemies are. Watch those winds carefully, Bub. But take this spell. It's a whopper.

I rate this spell 5 Stars out of 5 on usefulness.

Ok, I'll take a stab at the next spell too.

Feeblemind: A spell usable only against Magic-Users, it causes the recipient to become feeble-minded until the spell is countered with a Dispel Magic. Because of it's specialized nature the Feeblemind spell as a 20% better chance of success, ie lowers the magic users saving throw against magic by 4, so that if normally a 12 or better were required to save against magic, a 16 would be required against a Feeblemind. Range: 24" (720').

Feeblemind, therefore, is a spell designed to take down your opponent's Magic Users. And it comes with a hefty 20% bonus, too. And a pretty descent range, too. What the definition of feeble-minded is, exactly, is left to the GM to decide. Does this mean they become a sputtering imbecile? Or just too stupid to know that they shouldn't answer all of your questions truthfully? Doesn't say. But most certainly it would prohibit them from casting spells, and/or doing other useful things. So we need to take this with a grain of salt, as there's a lot of variability in terms of how the GM will interpret what the effect is.

I'd rate this spell 4 Stars for usefulness and still recommend it. But take Cloudkill first. That's my advice.

Ok, last one for 5th Level spells and we call it a day.

Growth of Animals: A spell which will cause from 1-6 normal-sized animals (not merely mammals) to grow to giant-size with proportionate attack capabilities. Duration: 12 turns. Range: 12" (360').

Ok this one sounds cool at first, but here's the catch. Nothing says the animals once enlarged will behave in any particular way. Animals can be highly unpredictable, especially when surprised. Growing to giant-size all of a sudden might just freak out the animals, and who knows what they could do. There is certainly nothing here to suggest that they will automatically become your friends and attack your enemies. They might even turn on your own forces. Who knows? They're animals. Unpredictable.

I rate this 3 Stars for Usefulness.

Ok, that's it for 5th Level Spells. The last leg for Magic will be the (undoubtedly) mind blowingly powerful 6th Level spells, which will be coming up next. Stay tuned (for hopefully not too long this time).
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