Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Notes on OD&D - Part 21

Ah, finally back to the OD&D journey after a bit of reprieve due to other pressing items on my agenda.  So lets see, where were we?  Ah yes,..

Men & Magic
  • p26 - Explanation of Spells - 4th Level
Wall of Ice: A spell to create a wall of ice six inches thick, in dimensions like that of a Wall of Fire.  It negates the effects of creatures employing and / or fire spells.  It may be broken through by creatures with four or more hit dice, with damage equal ot one die (1- 6) for non-fire employing creatures and double that for fire-users.  Range: 12" (360').

Well, I'm not really seeing much to say about this spell.  It's ok.  So so, actually.  Not that impressed, frankly.  Considering the awesome and limitless power of spells like Polymorph, I'm kinda thinking this one is sorta weak, to be honest.  As we don't see what 4 Hit Dice creatures are in Men & Magic, I'm going to go and take a peek ahead at Monsters and Treasure to see what creatures we're talking about here.  Ah, ok... Ogres, Trolls, Giants, Wraiths, Mummies, Specters, Vampires, Coactrices, Basilisks, Medusae, Gorgons, Manticoras, Hyrdras, Chimeras, Wyrverns, Dragons, Gargoyles, some Lycanthropes, Purple Worms, Sea Monsters, Minotaurs, Centaurs, Unicorns, Treants, Rocs, Griffons, Invisible Stalkers, some Elementals (probably all), Djinn, Efreet, Ochre Jelly (um ... how?), and Black Pudding (um... ok), Well, that seems like almost ALL the monsters in the book.  So lets take look at which one's can't just bust down the Ice Wall, shall we?  That would be some Men, Kobolds and Goblins, Orcs, Hobgoblins, Skeletons, Zombies, Wights, Nixies, Pisies, Dryads, Gnomes, Dwarves, Elves, Pegasi, Hippogriffs, Green Slime, Grey Ooze, Yellow Mold, Horses, Mules, Insects and animals of various kinds.

Not sure how exactly Jellies and Puddings would bust through the Ice Wall, but ok.  Maybe they use pseudopods to bash it?  Um... well, lets skip over that lightly.  Maybe it won't come up.

Ok. As for fire-wielding monsters, I'm taking a quick glance at the list and find Chimeras, Red and Golden Dragons (I assume that fire breath counts), Fire Elementals, of course.  And as far as I can tell, other than NPCs with fire spells, that's about it.

So... how useful is this spell overall?  I'd say, especially when compared to the Utterly Stupendously Impossibly Powerful Polymorph, this is really pretty so so, and quite limited.  Of course that said, I'm sure it comes in handy now and then.  Maybe often if you are fighting lots of 1 to 3 Hit Dice monsters.  Otherwise... meh, not so much.

I rate this Spell 2 (out of 5) Stars for usefulness.


Confusion: This spell will immediately effect creatures with two or fewer hit dice.  For creatures above two hit dice the following formula is used to determine when the spell takes effect: score of a twelve sided die roll less the level of the Magic-User casting the spell = delay effect, ie - a positive difference means a turn delay, while a zero or negative difference means immediate effect. Creatures with four or more hit dice will have saving throws against magic, and on those turns they may make their saving throws they are not confused; but this check must be made each turn the spell lasts, and failure means they are confused.  The spell will effect as many creatures as indicated by the score rolled on two six-sided dice with the addition of + 1 for each level above the 8th that the Magic-User casting he spell has attained.  Confused creatures will attack the Magic-Users party (dice score 2-5) stand around doing nothing (6-8), or attack each other (9-12). Roll each turn.  Duration: 12 turns.  Range: 12" (360').

Wow.  No wonder this is called Confusion Spell.  Damn.  My brain is reeling just typing that up.  Ok Ok, lets see what this means... hmmm.... confused.  I guess I missed my saving throw.  haha.  Ok, lets see.  So Kobolds, Goblins and the like will be immediately confused.  Check.

Roll 12 sided die - MU Level.  So lets say MU is 5th Level.  So that's Roll - 5.   So lets say I roll a 6. That means that 6 - 5 = 1.  That means there is a 1 turn delay.  So my 5th Level MU casts the spell and rolls a 6 and so there is a one turn delay on it's effect on the monsters.  Ok, check.   If my MU rolled a 9 then there wold be a 4 turn delay.  If he rolls a 12 there is a 7 turn delay.  If my MU is 8th Level and rolls a 6 there is no delay.  If he rolls a 12 there is a 4 turn delay.  So the MU wants to roll his own level or less, and the higher level the more chance he has of doing so.  Ok, check.

Ok onward through the morass of this spell.  Creatures with 4 or more hit dice will get a Saving Throw against Magic each turn and when they make their Save they are not confused for that turn (spell duration is 12 turns).  The check happens every turn.

The spell will only effect up to the number rolled on the original 1d12 + 1 for each MU level over 8. So while the MU wants to roll his own level or less to avoid the delay, doing so limits the number of monsters affected. Sucky, but Ok, check.

Now for the rub.  2-5 (what happened to the 1?  We rolled a 1d12.  Ok, typo I guess).  Lets say that 1 means the Spell failed.   I am guessing this implies a second roll of the 1d12.  I guess.  Or maybe you take the initial roll and that is simply applied to this as well.  Hmmm... anyway... Ok so going with the rule as written... we don't roll again...

2 - 5 = 33% = Attack MU Party (if they wouldn't have done so otherwise?  Yup.  They're confused)
6 - 8 = 25% = Do nothing.
9 - 12 = 33% = Attack each other.

Ok so there is a 33% chance the spell will do nothing to help the party, and in fact may possibly make matters worse.  This could happen, for example, if the monsters happen to be the same alignment of the party (faction), but this has not yet been determined, and the MU casts Confusion, and the creatures miss their Saving Throw.  Crap.  No chance to negotiate a favorable outcome in this case as they will have only three options.  Attack the party, do nothing, or attach each other.

Next rub - you have to, one assumes, roll the Saving Throw for each monster separately.  Why? Because some may be 2 Hit Dice while others may be 4 Hit Dice, while others may be other Hit Dice.  This suggests monsters get rolled individually rather than as a group.  Ok.  That's a pain.  What this means is that some of them may make their Saves and others will do random things.  The ones who miss their Save, though, may be able to be rolled together.  It doesn't stipulate, but that might be reasonable to assume.  Otherwise, you would definitely have to roll the 1d12 again for each creature to determine their disposition.  Some would be attack the party, while others do nothing, while others still attack each other, and all the while some are not confused and doing what they would have done otherwise (like negotiate maybe?).

Ok holy super cluster fuck.  If you DARE use this in my campaign your Character will stand a 25% chance of Blowback, buddy, and be themselves CONFUSED for 1d12 turns.  Ok?  OK??   AND the Magic User's Player also has to keep track of the individual monsters states of confusion.  And if any cheating is detected with that the Player's Character is then Confused for 2d12 turns.  OK??

Damn.  I hate this spell.

Is it useful though?  Hmmm... hmmm... hmmm... I'd say it's at best entertaining.  What with so many chances for the confusion to go the wrong way, and even mess up an otherwise viably cool situation of gaining new alignment based allies - I'm thinking this spell kinda sorta sucks and is kinda mostly useless, frankly.

I give this Spell 2 Stars for usefulness.


Charm Monster:  The counter part of a Charm Person spell which is employable against all creatures. If animals or creatures with three or fewer hit dice are involved determine how many are effected by the spell by rolling three six-sided dice.  It is otherwise identical to Charm Person spell.

OMG.  Simple!  To the point!  And damn it all if that isn't a freaking fantastic spell!!  Remember, Charm Person has no duration!  It can only be undone by a dispel magic.  Crikey!  Take this!!  Take this!!  Charm Person is insanely cool and powerful, and this is ten times moreso!   Also note - you can charm ANY Monster.  But note - for monsters above 3 hit dice it only works against one at a time.  So you could Charm Monster a Beholder, dude!   Or a Dragon!  Or a Troll!  Crapola!!  As GM I kinda despise this spell, and fear it very, very much.  My Players will be disappointed that after acquiring this magnificent spell, they only run into kobolds from then on out.  Oh well.  Be careful what you wish for.  heh.

I rate this 5 out of 5 Stars for usefulness.
As GM I rate this 1 Star for damn-too-powerful for a 4th Level Spell!

Ok, that's good for today.  I'll try to keep these going a little more frequently again as a 1 month delay is, honestly, too long, I agree.  Till next time, ciao!  :)

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