Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Notes on OD&D - Part 30

And so... it is finally time to move on to Clerical "Spells"*!

Men & Magic
  • p31 - Explanation of Clerical Spells - 1st Level

Cure Light Wounds: During the course of one full turn this spell will remove hits from a wounded character (including elves, dwarves, etc.).  A die is rolled, one pip added, and the resultant total subtracted from the hit points the character has taken. Thus from 2-7 hit points of damage can be removed.

That extra pip is worth looking at briefly. What it means is that your cleric is guaranteed to deliver at least 2 points of curing. For low level characters who might start out with somewhere around 3 or 4 hit points that could make the difference between life and death.

Ok so first up is your basic cure spell. Ain't nothing wrong with that. I give this spell 5 out of 5 Stars for Usefulness.


Purify Food & Water: This spell will make spoiled or poisoned food and water usable. the quantity subject to a single spell is approximately that which would serve a dozen people.

Fair enough.  Not that snazzy, but if you are stuck in the wilderness and run into poison food and water ... well ... um ... seems um ... I dunno.  Not that great.  I don't see this coming up all that often actually.

I rate this spell 2 Stars for Usefulness.


Detect Magic: This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users.

Okee dokee.  Not much to see here.  I will just note that Clerics are basically conceived of as Fighter-MU's in OD&D, and so there's naturally going to be this kind of overlap... but with a focus, as we see, on healing.  Yep.  Ok.

It really depends on the world as to how useful this spell may turn out to be.  In some campaigns you might use it all the time.  In others ... only once in a blue moon.  So the usefulness varies based on the GM's world making inclinations.

I rate this spell 3 Stars for Usefulness.

Detect Evil: This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users except that it has a duration of 6 turns and a range of 12" (360').

Three times as long, and twice as far.  Ok.  Not a bad improvement.  As a reminder it detects "evil thought or intent in any creature or evilly enchanted object".  Of course this kind of leaves it open to interpretation as to "What is evil", but in most cases we can figure that it means "hostile intent".  Good enough.  You won't be caught by surprise very easily with this spell keeping an eye out for your party.

I rate this spell 4 Stars for Usefulness.

Protection from Evil: This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users except it lasts for 12 turns.

We should note that this spell only protects the Magic-User or Cleric themselves, and not the party and acts as a kind of magical armor against attacks.  In that regard it is very useful for the conjurer, but no one else.

I rate this spell 5 Stars for Usefulness (hell with the party - save yer skin, mate).

Light: This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users, except that it has a basic duration of 12 turns.

So that is 12 + the number of Levels of the Cleric.  Not equal to full sunlight (so won't zap trolls or the like).  Yeah well that's not too bad.  Probably useful when the torches get blown out by "the mysterious gust of wind" in the creepy depths of the dungeon.  I'm thinking I'd probably take this one as a precaution.

I rate this spell 3 Stars for Usefulness.

Ok, short and sweet.  Those are the 1st Level Clerical Spells.  Not that impressive.  But again, we have to remember, in OD&D Clerics are kind of like Fighter-MUs.  They're hefty dudes who also get to sling magic.  That's not bad. The focus on healing also gives them an extra level of usefulness.  OD&D Clerics are kind of kick ass.

Ok that's it for today.  As these will be relatively similar to the Magic-User spells, more or less, and I don't expect to find anything all that revolutionary, I will probably breeze through this section over the course of the next few weeks.  I'm not really anticipating doing a great deal of analysis on these.  That said, it might occur to me to do an analysis if anything stands out as worthy of such.  At the moment I'm not really seeing it.  If you have a suggestion, I am all ears.

Ok till next week then.  Take care, and good gaming to you.

*  - I kind of prefer the term "miracles" in order to distinguish them from magic, but for all practical purposes in D&D E1, they're spells, and referred to as such in the text of the rules.
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