Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Expanding the S&W Canonical Spells?

What can I say?  I'm very happy to have made it to third level with my first s&w magic user and I wanted to pose a few questions to the group and the DM regarding including a few variations on just a couple ad&d spells that I want to submit for inclusion in the spell canon of this dm's game.  I feel pretty confident that the selections I made wouldn't really risk unbalancing anything if interjected into the s&w core rules.  Let me know what you think

Suggested ad&d First Level Magic-User Spell Additions

Enlarge/Reduce (p. 65 PHB)

Excerpt:  This spell causes instant growth/reduction of a creature or object.  Any creature grows/shrinks 20% per spell caster level (200% max).  All objects grow/shrink 10% per level (100% max).  Does not make weapons more powerful per se, but an enlarged table would be heavier and an enlarged door more resiliant to damage, etc.  Unwilling creatures of this spell are given a saving throw to negate all effect.

Find Familiar (p. 66 PHB)

Excerpt:  A familiar grants certain benefits to the magic user.  However the magic user has no control over the type of creature it summons.  And this summoning can only be done once per year.  The familiar can converse and spy, etc. with the magic user who summons it.  

When within 12ft of its master, the magic user adds the familiar's minimal hit dice (2-4) to his/her own.  If the familiar dies double that number is permanently subtracted from the master.

Results Table
1-4     Black Cat     Excellent Night Vision and superior hearing
5-6     Crow           Excellent Vision
7-8     Hawk          Very superior distance vision
9-10    Screech Owl   Night vision, visual ability, superior hearing
11-12   Toad          Wide-angle vision
13-14    Weasel       Superior hearing and very superior olfactory powers
15         Special Table
16-20     No Familiar Available within Spell Range

Push (p. 67 PHB)

Excerpt:  When uttered, this spell allows the caster to cause an invisible force to strike against whatever object he or she is pointing at.  The force of the push is not great, being 1 foot pound per level of the caster, but it can move small objects up to 1ft in any direction away from the caster, topple objects, or cause a creature to become unbalanced (loses its attack that round).

Suggested ad&d Second Level Magic-User Spell Additions

Ray of Enfeeblement (p. 71 PHB)

Excerpt:  a magic user weakens an opponent by reducing their strength and ability to do hit point damage 25% or more (subtracting and addition 2% per level after 3rd).  Duration:  1 round per caster level.

Current Top s&w Second level Magic User Spell Choices

So this is my list of suggested additions.  For those of you willing to lend me your ideas, I'm also leaning toward selecting from the following 2nd level s&w spells.  You can also quickly view all second level choices here if you want to make other suggestions.



Riley said...

I would totally love to have access to a familiar. That would finally add something really useful to a first level caster's bag. It would be cool to have a scout and the added hp would be nice as well. I'm fine with adding any of these spells to the list.

For the second level spells, obviously pick whatever you want and whatever best fits your character, but I think there is a lot of sense to what Nellie suggested about continual light. To have cast on some object that we are carrying around anyway, would be a way to make sure illumination isn't a problem.

I had originally suggested ESP to you because it would be a great way to get information from people but also maybe an early warning system of enemies in the dungeon before we ran upon them. However, reading back over the description, I don't think it would help much in the dungeon since it can't penetrate 2 feet of rock. Might be a problem.

Invisibility could be a great tool for spying and sneaking as well. Doesn't seem like a great use in combat, but maybe if cast on our thief--assuming we could get her to *stay* for combat *ahem*--she could use her bonus to damage for backstabbing.

Web seems like such a great spell for dungeon combat. Hard to argue against not having it.

One other spell I might suggest as being very useful to us is Knock. It's one of those spells that seems silly to have wasted a slot on until you really need to open a door and then all of a sudden, it's a godsend. Do you know if it works on hidden doors as well? The way it reads in the book is that the spell works on "all doors, gates, and portals within its range [60 ft], including those held or locked by normal magic.

Ironbeard said...

I'm in favor of this. I think that all spells from the ADD PHB (first edition) should be considered available.

My only caveat is that when spells are listed in both the SW rule book and the PHB, the spell description in SW should be considered the official version of the spell for the purposes of our campaign.

I'll have the campaign update up by the end of the week.

Riley said...

By the by, I found a description of Charm in the DM guide that might help us settle our debate. It's under the discussion of the Druid version of the spell which works in exactly the same way as the MU. It says

"Remember the charmed creature's or person's priorities are changed as regards the spell-caster, but the charmed one's basic personality and alignment are not. The spell is not *enslave* person or mammal. A request that a charmee make itself defenseless or that he/she/it be required to give up a valued item or cast a valuable spell or use a charge on a valued item (especially against the charmee's former associates or allies) could allow an immediate saving throw to see if the charm is thrown off. In like manner, a charmed figure will not necessarily tell eveything he/she/it knows or draw maps of entire areas. A charmed figure can refuse a request, if such refusal is in character and will not directly cause harm to the charmer."

Now, admittedly the DM can play around with this, but the way I read it is that according to this interpretation, indeed Charm is a pretty weak spell and doesn't get you much more than good role playing and high charisma like Carl has suggested in the past. I guess all it does is dramatically shorten the time it would usually take to get the charmee to trust you like a best friend. So, even charmed, a target would still have to be convinced to risk his/her life for you, it would just be easier to do the convincing than having no charm spell in place.


Ironbeard said...

That quote, like many things in the DMG, seems puzzling.

It states that the spell is not called enslave person, but it suggests that if a character was ordered to attack his or her comrades while under its influence (an effect that implies a very serious loss of agency), that the character would get a saving throw. This means that the spell *can* actually be used to force the charmed individual to do something completely contrary to his or her nature, to be more or less enslaved. Basically, what the DMG is saying is that in order for the "enslavement" effect to work, the victim must fail a saving throw. But then how is this really all that different from so many other offensive spells that require saves (or multiple saves)?

The explanation also seems to open the door for more confusion rather than providing clarity. For instance, it suggests that the charmed individual becomes well disposed towards the charmer, but that his or her basic personality or alignment don't change. Well if a charmed evil character remained evil and still was allowed to behave as an evil character, how would he or she relate to the charmer as a friend or ally if the charmer was of good alignment? Used this way the spell just seems too weak.

Riley said...

Yes, some good questions, Carl, but I think the answer at the end of the day might be that it is kind of a weak spell like a lot of first level MU spells. Definitely some contradictions in the descriptions, so maybe the way to go is to play it like it is enslave person, but with saving throws when the DM thinks the request is too far away from what the NPC would normally do.

post festum said...

I'll chime in on the 'Charm Person' debate later tonight when I have more time. However, I'm now thinking that 'Find Familiar' and 'Web' might prove the best initial selections for Igmar this time around.

Even though 'Find Familiar' is a first level spell, I think that picking it up and sharing it with Abu would cumulatively boost the party's recon abilities (among other benefits) more than any single second level spell right now.

And 'Web' really seems too good to pass up to put to use in the tunnels and halls under Witchspire Hill if a hasty retreat becomes necessary.

Just curious, DM...Are targets caught in the web vulnerable to ranged attacks? What would be their immobile AC?

Batman 1970 said...

Hello everyone,

Sorry I haven't weighed in yet, but I agree that the web looks very good. I like the familiar as well, but I still maintain that the continual light spell would be very handy -- particularly since it can be cast during our frequent travel days and then whatever the spell is cast upon can be put into a bag or if it's a dagger or something into a sheath.

I don't know how well the enfeeblement spell would work against the undead -- the spell can only be used on one creature at a time and it only affects attacks that require strength. I don't know whether undead attacks actually require all that much strength.

Just because we get into as many fights as we do, I think we need to think about causing the most mayhem or defense against our opposition -- web and familiar seem like they meet those bills nicely.

Can't wait for tomorrow!

post festum said...

I think I agree, Jay. Although I am still open to a last minute ideas.

Oh, and Andy, according to the PHB description, 'Knock' does indeed open secret doors. Certainly makes it increasingly tempting, doesn't it?

Riley said...

Do you have to *know* that it's there or could it be a way--admittedly a costly way--to check for hidden doors?

post festum said...

Good question and one I'd like a ruling on. However, I suspect I know what the answer is likely to be.