Sunday, September 21, 2014

The tight spell lists of classic D&D

Magic is an integral - some would say indispensible - part of fantasy stories and fantasy role-playing games.  Sure, you can have a medieval game without magic, but it loses a significant element of the fantastic.  Even games that bar player characters from being spell-casters often do so not to expunge magic from the game entirely, but to keep it beyond the understanding of the players - to keep it wild and fantastic and fearsome.

I like magic in my game.  I like for the players to be able to choose to run spell-casting characters if they want to.  But I also like for magic to be magical - wild and fantastic and fearsome - as much as it can be without making it the province of DM and NPCs only.  That's why I like the tight spell lists of B/X and BECMI D&D - at least as a foundation upon which to build.

There is, it's true, a lot to like about the massive variety of spells in AD&D, as well as various supplements.  They can add a lot of flavor to the campaign milieu, and utility to characters, both PC and NPC.  They can serve this purpose without being added to the standard spell lists.

The tight lists of 12 magic-user spells and 8 cleric spells per spell level are the ones that are most commonly known.  Not every spell caster will know every spell, but most are at least aware of the existence of these spells.  If you don't know Phantasmal Force, you at least know that there is such a spell, and that with a little determination you can probably ferret out a source from which to learn it.  They're the magical meat and potatoes of the campaign.  They allow for a good diversity of functions, and the campaign will survive just fine on a steady diet of them.

Beyond those lists is the whole kitchen sink of spells, every one that's ever caught your eye in another rule set, or an adventure module or supplement, everything that you might devise from your own imagination, whatever you might fancy dropping into your current game world.  Rather than dumping them into the mix wholesale, you carefully pick and choose which ones fit, and where they'll be found. 

There could be any number of explanations why those non-list spells are so rare and obscure.  Perhaps the civilization that invented them fell and the knowledge was lost.  Perhaps they're leftover "beta" versions of common spells that fell out of favor with the discovery of new versions, with surprising bugs and maybe even a few forgotten utilities.  Maybe they were invented by wizards who keep their secrets close to the vest.  Maybe they're banned by the king, the church, or the mages' guild, for reasons ethical, spiritual, or commercial.  (The flimsiest pretense will do - look at the historical reasons in our real world for banning all kinds of things.)  Maybe they can be learned only by dangerous rituals or pilgrimages to sacred or magical sites, or by using ancient devices that project knowledge directly into the caster's mind. Some of them might even have inhuman origins, and can be learned only from dragons or fairies or demons or what-have-you; humans might be able to understand them well enough to memorize and cast them, but not well enough to teach them to another human.

These are the spells that you give judiciously to NPC opponents or allies to make them more menacing or mysterious.  These are the ones you place very rarely in treasure troves to get your spell-casting PCs excited.  These are the ones the players might hear about in rumors, motivating them to undertake expeditions and quests to obtain them.  These are the spells that might convey all sorts of interesting implications about the campaign world and its societies and history.  These are the spice that you add to the dish of meat and potatoes.  They're not essential, but a sprinkling of them adds interest and versatility. 

From a pragmatic perspective, a scheme consisting of a small staple list and a universe of supplemental stuff provides the ease and convenience of the former, while allowing you the freedom to tempt or bedevil your players with more exotic stuff as needed, and as suits the particulars of the campaign and the world in which it takes place.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dungeon mapping with paint.net

A few weeks back, I made it to the finals of the "So You Want to be an OSR Superstar" contest at Tenkar's Tavern, and was faced with the task of completing a map.  Normally I draw my maps by hand, with pencil and graph paper, old school style, but this time the map had to be in a format able to be submitted by email.  I don't have a scanner, so the most viable option was to draw the map in digital form right on the computer - a daunting prospect.  There was nothing to do but roll up my sleeves, figuratively speaking, and teach myself how to use image editing software to draw a serviceable dungeon map.  Along the way, I rediscovered the joy of mapping, and learned a few tricks, which I will now proceed to share in the form of this little tutorial.

I use paint.net, because it's free, and because it has a few features that are handy in drawing basic dungeon maps. If you don't already have it, get it here

Step 1: Find your background image, and open it with Paint.net.  I'm using a plain graph paper background for this project, but you could just as easily use a parchment or stone background, or whatever else appeals to you.  You could even use both a decorative background and a graph paper grid by layering the graph paper over the decorative background, and adjusting the Opacity setting on the graph paper layer so the layer underneath shows through it.

Pretty exciting so far, huh?
Step 2: Add more layers.  You'll see the Layers tab on top near the left side of the screen.  Click it and choose Add New Layer.  You'll want layers for rooms and corridors, dungeon details, room numbers, and optionally a path sketch of the dungeon.  This way, if you screw up something in one layer, you can erase it relatively easily without endangering the rest of your work.



Now, click on each layer in the small Layers window that will appear somewhere in the lower right of your screen.  Go back up to the Layers tab at the top of the screen, and select Layer Properties.  Here you can name your layers, which is important for keeping things straight.  You can also set the transparency of layers, which can be useful in just a bit...

Step 3 (optional):  On a blank layer, use the paintbrush tool (set at a size of about 4 or 5) to sketch out a rough path showing routes through the dungeon.  I find this to be a good way of laying things out in a rough sort of way, without being too concerned about perfection yet.  Once you do that, go back to the Layer Properties menu and turn the Opacity setting down, around 50 or so.  This makes the path grid lighter and less obtrusive when you go to draw your actual dungeon rooms and corridors.

Not the finest example of Jaquaying the dungeon, but you get the gist.

Step 4: Draw the rooms and corridors!  A line width of about 3 works well for this.  Make sure you activate your rooms and corridors layer before you start.  You can draw freehand with the paintbrush tool, draw straight lines with the line and curve tool (and drag the points on the line to stretch it into a curve), draw rectangles, ellipses, triangles, trapezoids, and more with the shape tool.  Rotate as desired using the arc-with-arrows icon that appears near the object.  Make sure you get the sizes right and the lines all lined up the way you want them.  After creating each element, you can grasp it by the four-way arrow that appears near the object and drag them around to place them just right.  Once you move on to the next thing, though, it's set in stone.  If you want to change it after that, you'll have to use Undo in the Edit menu.  If you do several things in between, you'll have to go back and Undo them sequentially to get to the one you really wanted to change, so it's worth getting it right the first time if you can.  Make sure all your lines meet with no gaps.

Most of the rooms here are drawn with the appropriate shape tool.  The rectangular rooms with one rounded side are drawn with the line tool, and the final wall is stretched into a curve by dragging the points on the still-selected line.

Don't worry that the doorways are blocked.  There's an eraser for that.

Step 5: Use the eraser tool to remove any superfluous lines.  Zoom in close to do the job right!  Use many clicks rather than holding down the mouse button the whole time.  If you mess up, you can Undo each click separately, without losing all your progress.

Step 6: Fill in the empty space.  Use the bucket fill tool, and select whatever texture pleases you from the Fill bar at the top of the screen.  I like Large Confetti for solid rock.  Click every null space between your rooms.  If the fill pattern spills into your rooms or corridors, Undo and zoom in to check for gaps in your lines.  Turning down the Tolerance slider next to the Fill bar will help to keep the fill from leaking through tiny gaps, too.






Step 7: Activate your path sketch layer (if you have one) and make it invisible by unchecking it.  Now activate the details layer, and add doors, statues, fountains, stairs, and whatever else your dungeon needs.  You can draw them individually, or open up another paint.net window and create icons - little rectangles for doors, circles with stars in them for statues, etc.  Crop as closely as you can around the icons.  Save them, then go to the folder where they're saved, find the one you want, right click and select Copy.  Go back to the paint.net screen with your map on it, and select Paste from the Edit menu.  Your icon should appear on the screen.  You'll probably need to resize it.  Once that's done, drag it to where you want it using the four-way arrow, and adjust the orientation if necessary by clicking and dragging on the arc with arrows that appears next to it.  Now, while it's still selected, go to the Edit menu and click on Copy.  Now click Paste, and you've created an exact duplicate of your icon, which you can drag and reorient to use in another location.  Keep doing this to make all your doors, statues, and such uniform in size and shape.  Make sure you get all the items of one type placed before you move on to the next one. 

Use the brush tool with a width of 1 to draw stairs, daises, and similar details.  Use single dabs of the brush with a wide setting for pillars.

Use the text tool for secret doors.  Click near the place the door belongs and make an S, then drag it into position.  For horizontally oriented secret doors, rotate the map clockwise 90 degrees using the Image menu, place your S, then rotate it back 90 degrees counterclockwise.


Step 8: Activate the room numbers layer.  Click on each room, type the room number, and drag the number where you want it in the room.

Step 9: On the file menu, select Save As.  Name your map, and choose a format other than .pdn, such as jpeg or png.  The program will ask you if you want to flatten the layers down into one.  Do so.  Your map is now ready for printing!

If you want to save before finishing the map, use the program's native .pdn format, which preserves the layers.


Just add monsters and treasure.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What else can the cleric do with Turn Undead?

During my overhaul of the B/X cleric spell lists, I noticed some gaps, things that I didn't care to address with new spells (or importing old ones) but that clerics ought to be able to do.  Most of them involve the dead or undead.  As it turns out, they're rather elegantly addressed by creative applications of the Turn Undead ability.

Animate Dead:  B/X has an Animate Dead spell on the magic-user lists, but no spell for making animated skeletons and zombies is present in the cleric lists.  While such a spell did make it into the BECMI edition of classic D&D, it seems suited primarily for evil clerics.  Generally, the "evil" versions of cleric spells are the reversed versions, but this one is neither "good" or "neutral" in its standard form, nor does it have a reversed version, making it a bit of an oddball. 

Instead, let's make it a reversed Turning roll.  Turn skeletons to animate skeletons, and turn zombies to animate corpses with the flesh still on the bones.  Number of Hit Dice of undead created is equal to the Hit Dice that would be turned by a standard turning roll.  The Mentzer edition Animate Dead spell includes guidelines for animating corpses larger than human.  When using a Turn roll to animate larger bodies or skeletons, just roll against the type of undead that has a similar number of Hit Dice.  A skeleton has the same HD as the creature did in life, while a zombie has one more HD.

Obviously, moderate to high level clerics are certain to succeed at the attempt.  The real limiting factors are the availability of suitable corpses - those complete enough to function effectively when animated, but not barred from reanimating by Last Rites (see below) - and the cleric's willingness to animate undead in numbers beyond his or her ability to directly control them (see below.)

Last Rites:  One of the cleric's primary duties is to perform last rites over the dead, that they may rest in peace.  In game terms, that means rendering the corpses and spirits of the deceased unable to be animated or otherwise return as undead.  A roll that will turn zombies prevents a body from being animated by the Animate Dead ability.  When a character is slain by an undead that causes its victims to rise as undead of the same type, a successful Turn roll against that type before the dead person rises will prevent it.  If desired, this roll may be made by the DM in secret, and success is only apparent when the corpse or spirit fails to rise again.

Summon Undead:  Sometimes a cleric may want to summon undead creatures.  In that case, make a Turn roll, and consult the notes for the location.  If undead are present, compare the roll to the undead type.  A successul roll means that a number of Hit Dice of undead equal to the number normally turned are drawn to the cleric's call.  The cleric may try to call for a specific type of undead, or even a specific individual.  Intelligent and unwilling undead may make a saving throw vs. spells to ignore the summons.  May also be used for seances and similar rituals.

Control Undead:  Evil or necromantically-inclined clerics may wish to control the undead created or summoned.  A successful Turn roll can be used to control a number of HD of undead equal to the number normally turned.  That's all the undead the cleric can actually control at once.  If more are created or summoned, the excess undead remain uncontrolled.

Raise Dead:  The cleric can attempt to summon the spirit of a deceased person back to reinhabit its body.  The body must be relatively intact.  The roll is made vs. a vampire; if the turning roll fails, the resurrection goes horribly wrong, and the person rises as a vampire.  Note that the roll is made even if the table indicates a T or D result, and a natural roll of 2 always fails.  Because of this dire risk, most good churches frown upon the raising of the dead.


Monday, August 4, 2014

B/X Spell List Overhaul: Cleric spells, level 5

In B/X, cleric spells top out at 5th level, so this brings us to the end of the line for the cleric lists.  These are the heavy artillery of the cleric class, and thankfully, there's not a lot to tweak or weed out.  As always, italics indicate a spell that has been changed from the original in some way, and bold italics denote a new spell of my own creation.

  1. Commune
  2. Create Food
  3. Dispel Evil
  4. Heavenly Choir*
  5. Insect Plague
  6. Part Water
  7. Quest
  8. United Will

4. Heavenly Choir*

Range: 0
Duration: 1 round

This spell calls forth a wordless choir of angelic voices and a ray of pure white light from above, washing outward from the cleric in all directions to a radius of 30'.  All allies within the area are immediately healed of 1d6+1 points of damage, while undead and evil creatures suffer a like amount of damage.  Additionally, there is a 5% chance per level of the cleric for any affliction suffered by allies within the area of effect to be cured.  This includes sleep, fear, paralysis, poison, disease, curses, blindness, petrification, polymorph, and charm effects, but not energy drains nor Quest and Geas spells.  This chance is checked once per affliction per creature.  Thus, an ally suffering from paralysis and disease checks once for each.  A second ally suffering from paralysis would have to check again, separate from the first creature's check.

The reversed spell, Infernal Choir, produces a demonic chanting and a wave of darkness.  The spell causes 1d6+1 points of damage to all hostile good or neutral creatures in range, while healing undead and evil creatures of a like amount.  The caster may choose to inflict disease (as a mummy), fear (as the reverse of the Remove Fear spell), paralysis (as Hold Person), or a curse (as reverse of Remove Curse) on all enemies within 30', with a saving throw vs. spells being allowed for each target to resist the effect.

6. Part Water

Taken from the 6th level magic-user spell lists.  I have no idea why this was placed there, when parting the sea is quite clearly the province of the cleric, not the magic-user.

8. United Will

Range: 30'
Duration: 1 turn

By means of the Chain of Will spell, the cleric and one other character per three levels of experience become linked.  Whenever any of the characters linked is forced to make a saving throw or other roll to resist a harmful spell or effect, each one rolls, and if only one succeeds, the initial target resists the effect.  However, if all fail, then all are affected.  For example, a 9th level cleric casts this spell to link himself with three other party members.  An enemy magic-user casts Charm Person on the fighter, who fails his saving throw.  However, the other three members of the party also receive a saving throw, and if any one of them succeeds, the charm is resisted.  If all fail, then all are charmed.


Leftovers

Raise Dead:  To be brutally honest, I just don't like spells that make death cheap, and I don't want them in my campaign.  Of course, your mileage may vary.

B/X Spell List Overhaul: Cleric spells, level 4

We're getting up into the higher echelons of B/X clerical magic now.  No altered descriptions of standard spells this time, but three new ones and an import from Labyrinth Lord.

  1. Create Water
  2. Dispel Magic
  3. Invulnerability*
  4. Leap of Faith
  5. Neutralize Poison
  6. Privacy Ward
  7. Protection From Evil 10' Radius
  8. Tongues


1. Dispel Magic

Exactly as the 3rd level magic-user spell of the same name.  (B/X does not include Dispel Magic in the cleric spell lists, but BECMI does.  It seems fitting that a cleric should be able to dispel potentially blasphemous spells.)

3. Invulnerability*

Range: 60'
Duration: 1 round per level

The spell of Invulernability may be cast on the cleric himself or on one other creature within range.  For the duration of the spell, the subject is immune to damage from non-enchanted weapons.  The spell does not confer immunity to cold, fire, lightning, poison, or acid, whether normal or magical, nor to the attacks of creatures with 8 or more Hit Dice.  The immunity does extend to normal physical traps, such as darts, blades, and falling rocks.

The reversed spell, Vulnerability, cancels a creature's immunity to normal weapons for the duration of the spell. No saving throw is allowed.

4. Leap of Faith

Range: 240'
Duration: Concentration

With a Leap of Faith, the cleric calls into being some non-living, non-magical object, which exists only for those who have faith in its existence.  The object must be of a type the cleric has seen before, and must fit entirely within a space of a 20'x20'x20' cube.  The caster automatically has faith in the existence of the object, but other observers must succeed at a saving throw vs. spells to believe.  Those of the same religious faith as the caster gain a +4 bonus to the save.  Those who believe in the object may interact with it as if it were real.  Thus, a ladder may be climbed, a bridge may be crossed, a boat may be boarded, or a pool of water at the bottom of a cliff may break one's fall.  Those who do not believe will see those who do seemingly interacting with thin air in ways that defy reason.  The objects created by the spell simply do not exist for them, and any attempt to use them will fail accordingly.
 The spell lasts as long as the cleric concentrates on it.  The level of concentration required is fairly light, allowing the cleric to move at half speed and defend himself, but not to attack or cast additional spells. 

6. Privacy Ward


Range: 0
Duration: 1 turn per level

When the Privacy Ward spell is cast, an area up to 30' in diameter centered on the cleric is shielded from detection.  The cleric may choose a smaller diameter if desired.  For the duration, the area is undetectable to scrying magic, including ESP, clairvoyance, and crystal balls.  In addition, the spell causes creatures outside the warded area to ignore those within it, similarly to the level 1 Sanctuary spell.  Characters or creatures actively searching for the cleric or associates must make a saving throw vs. spells, with failure indicating that they simply do not notice anything amiss in the warded area.  Others will only enter the warded area if they have some specific reason to do so unrelated to the cleric and his or her party, i.e. a known watering hole is within the warded area or a known path runs through it.  Random encounter checks are reduced to half normal chances while the ward is in effect.

8. Tongues* (adapted from Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion)

Range: 0 (cleric only)
Duration: 1 turn

For the duration of the spell, the cleric can understand and speak the spoken language of any and all intelligent creatures in a 30' radius circle.  The spell does not allow comprehension of written language.

The reversed spell, Garble, makes spoken language of any sort incomprehensible within a 30' radius circle.  It may be projected to a range of up to 60', so that the caster need not be caught within the area of effect.  Spell casting is not affected.



Out to pasture:

Cure Serious Wounds: Rendered superfluous by the level-scaling catch-all Cure Wounds spell, here.

Speak With Plants: Here's another one that belongs on a druid list.  It just doesn't fit my concept of a traditional cleric.

Sticks to Snakes: See above. 





Saturday, July 26, 2014

B/X Spell List Overhaul: Cleric spells, level 3

Here's another revised spell list that ended up substantially altered from its B/X origins.  As before, italicized spells have been tweaked from the original versions, bold denotes spells adapted from other editions or clones, and bold italics indicate a new spell of my own creation.  Asterisks indicate a reversible spell.

  1. Circle of Truth
  2. Cure Disease*
  3. Holy Flame*
  4. Locate Object
  5. Remove Curse*
  6. Sacred Oath
  7. Speak with Dead
  8. Spiritual Bond

1. Circle of Truth

Range: 0
Duration: 3 turns

For the duration of this spell, no creature within a 15 foot radius of the cleric may knowingly tell a lie.  Those within the circle are aware of the compulsion, and may choose to remain silent rather than speak the truth, or evade answering a question or omit details, so long as they believe everything they actually utter to be true.  Note that the spell affects all creatures, friend or foe, within its area, including the cleric himself.

3. Holy Flame

Range: Touch
Duration: 3 turns or special

When cast on a weapon, the Holy Flame spell calls forth an aura of white fire from the weapon, causing an extra 1d6 points of damage to any undead or evilly enchanted creature, and any adherent of an evil faith.  In addition, the wielder of the flaming weapon is able to Turn Undead as a cleric of 2nd level; if the wielder is a cleric, he or she turns as if two levels higher than his or her actual level. While the spell lasts, the weapon sheds light as the 1st level Light spell, and blazes more fiercely the closer it is to evil creatures.

The spell may also be cast on a normal combustible material, such as firewood or oil.  The Holy Fire used in this way must remain stationary, but actively radiates the Turn Undead power of the cleric who cast it in a 30' radius.  Non-undead evil creatures feel nauseated and uneasy within the light's radius, suffering a -2 penalty to all actions.  The spell lasts as long as the fuel, e.g. if cast on a pile of wood that would normally burn for 4 hours, then the spell lasts 4 hours.  The maximum duration is 3 turns per level of the caster.

The reverse, Unholy Flame, produces a sooty, blood red flame.  It causes extra damage to living and good creatures, and permits the wielder to control undead rather than turn them.

When cast in stationary form, Unholy Flame calls all undead creatures within a 240' radius to converge upon it.  It causes the same uneasiness in good creatures that the normal form inflicts on evil ones.

4. Locate Object

The range is increased to 240'; otherwise, the spell functions as described in the Expert Rules.

6. Sacred Oath

Range: 10'
Duration: 1 day per level

By administering a Sacred Oath, the cleric binds a living creature to fulfill its word.  The Oath can be to take some action, or to refrain from taking an action.  In either case, contemplating breaking the Oath causes the subject to feel a great unease and anxiety.  Actually breaking a Sacred Oath causes the faithless creature to be cursed in a manner specified in the wording of the oath itself.  A character who swears, "I will not reveal the location of the treasure, may I be struck blind if I do," will find himself blinded.  The Oath may be as simple or as complex as desired, and may include time constraints.  If the subject makes a sincere effort to fulfill the Oath but fails, the conditions are still considered to be met, and the curse does not take effect.  Only a subject who willingly swears the oath is bound by it.  An oath sworn under threat of bodily harm is invalid; for example, if the cleric or his allies threaten to kill the character or someone important to him if he does not swear, the Oath has no effect.  However, the cleric may make offers of aid contingent upon taking the Oath without violating this condition, even if refusing to render aid would result in injury or death.  If aid is promised, however, it must then be given, or the Oath is null and void.

A Sacred Oath supercedes the effects spells such as Charm Person; breaking the Oath is considered to be strongly against the creature's nature for purposes of charm effects.

7. Speak with Dead (adapted from Mentzer Expert Rules)

Range: 10'
Duration: 1 turn

This spell enables the cleric to ask three questions of a deceased spirit if the remains of its body are within range.  A cleric of 7th level or less may question a spirit dead up to four days, one of 8th to 10th level up to four months, one of 11th to 13th level up to four years, and at 14th level and above an unlimited amount of time.
The spirit will answer in a language understood by the cleric, but if their alignments differ the spirit may answer in riddles.  The spell lasts for 1 turn; if the three questions have not been asked within this time, any remaining questions are lost.  A spirit will only answer the questions of a particular cleric once per day at most.

8. Spiritual Bond

Range: Touch
Duration: 1 day

When this spell is cast, a bond is formed between the cleric and a living creature, linking them across distances.  The cleric is aware of the physical and emotional state of the subject, including injuries, diseases, poisons, etc. and may cast spells centered on the subject, no matter the distance separating them.  Thus the cleric could cast a Cure Wounds spell on a bonded fighter from across a battlefield or an even greater distance, without needing to touch him.  Harmful spells can be cast on the subject too, if the cleric so chooses, and the bond imposes a -2 penalty to any saving throw normally allowed.  Spiritual Bond requires the consent of the subject, and has no effect on an unwilling target.


Spells that didn't make the cut

Continual Light: Subsumed in the description of the 1st level Light spell, found here.

Growth of Animals: Really more the province of druids or elves than traditional clerics.

Striking: Replaced with the more versatile and flavorful Holy Flame.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

B/X Spell List Overhaul: Cleric spells, level 2

The 2nd level cleric spell list gets a pretty extensive makeover.

  1. Augury
  2. Dilute Poison
  3. Hold Person
  4. Iron Will
  5. Resist Fire/Resist Cold
  6. Silence 15' Radius
  7. Vigilance
  8. Water Walk

1. Augury (adapted from Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion)
Range: 0
Duration: 3 turns

The Augury spell allows the cleric limited vision into the future with regard to some proposed action.  The spell informs the caster whether the action is likely to be beneficial, harmful, or neutral to the caster's party.  The results may be cryptic, but the general tenor should be clear.  For example, if the party is considering opening a door in the dungeon, and the DM knows that the room beyond is the lair of a very wealthy red dragon that the party has little chance of defeating, the spell might give the result "Greed beyond skill meets a fiery death."  The spell can only "see" 3 turns into the future, so only consequences within that time frame are taken into account.

2. Dilute Poison
Range: Touch
Duration: 4 rounds

This spell weakens deadly poisons, increasing a poisoned character's chances of survival.  It must be cast either during the round the poisoning occurrs or the round immediately following.  Damage from the poison is divided by 4 and spread over 4 rounds, including the initial round of poisoning.  In the case of poisons that are normally lethal (save or die) the damage is considered to be equal to the character's entire hit point total.  Each round thereafter, the poisoned character receives another saving throw vs. poison to avoid that round's damage.  Failure results in loss of hit points and a cumulative -1 penalty to all actions.  The lost hit points and penalties cannot be recovered by magical healing except a Neutralize Poison spell; they persist for a full day.

In the case of non-damaging poisons such as the venom of a giant centipede, the duration or other effects may be applied in quarters.
 
For example: A fighter with 20 hp is poisoned by a trap and fails his saving throw, but the party's cleric reaches him the next round and casts Dilute Poison.  Damage per round is 1/4 of the fighter's total of 20, or 5 hp.  The fighter takes 5 hp damage the initial round, and also incurs a -1 penalty to all actions.  (The first saving throw was already failed, which made the Dilute Poison spell necessary in the first place.)  He fails his saving throws the next two rounds, taking 10 more points of damage.  Fortunately, he makes his last save, and survives, with 5 hp remaining and a -3 penalty on all actions for a day.  

Note that if the character is not at maximum hp at the time of poisoning, even failing one saving throw can still be lethal.  In the example above, if the fighter had only 14 of his 20 hp left at the time of poisoning, he would have died.

4. Iron Will
Range: 0 (cleric only)
Duration: 2 turns + special

While the spell of Iron Will is in effect, the cleric is able to resist all mind-controlling and mind-reading effects, including charms, sleep, quest spells, geases, confusion, and ESP. The effect of such spells is deferred for 1 round per level of the caster; if the mind-affecting spell's duration has not expired at that time, it takes effect then, subject to any saving throw normally allowed. The duration of this resistance is subtracted from the total duration of the mind-affecting spell.

For example, a harpy uses its charming song against a 4th level cleric under the effect of Iron Will. The song has no effect at all on the cleric until 4 rounds have passed; during those rounds the cleric may act normally. At the end of those 4 rounds, the cleric must make the usual saving throw vs. spells to resist the charm.

5. Resist Fire/Resist Cold
Range: Touch
Duration: 1 day

This spell may be memorized in either of two forms, Resist Fire or Resist Cold.  For the duration of the spell, the target is completely immune to normal fire or cold, respectively.  Additionally, the spell will absorb 3 points of damage from magical fire or cold for each level of the caster.  For example, a Resist Fire spell cast by a 4th level cleric will absorb 12 points of damage from a Fire Ball or a red dragon's breath.  The spell lasts until it has absorbed its maximum amount of damage or 1 day, whichever comes first. 

7. Vigilance

Range: Touch
Duration: 2 turns per level

While under the effect of this spell, the recipient's alertness is heightened, and the need for sleep is suspended. The subject is immune to Sleep spells and any other spell or effect that would otherwise force it into a state of unconsciousness or unawareness. If the subject is alone or in relative quiet it cannot be surprised. In a party, the chances of surprise are reduced by 1 in 6.

8. Water Walk

Range: 0 (cleric only)
Duration: 6 turns

This spell enables the cleric to walk on water as if it were solid earth.  The movement of the water's surface affects the ease with which the cleric may walk upon it.  Turbulent waters may require Dexterity checks or saving throws vs. paralysis to avoid falling, as the DM deems appropriate.  Walking on heavy surf is as impossible as walking on the surface of an avalanche in progress.  If the cleric falls or is knocked down, he or she will float as if swimming, but it is still quite possible to drown while the spell is in effect.  There is no weight limit other than the cleric's maximum encumbrance.


Spells that got the old heave-ho:

Bless: The cheesy +1 bonuses to hit, damage, and morale just aren't worth expending a precious spell slot.

Find Traps: I don't see how this really fits into the purview of a religious crusader or spiritual mystic.  I'm not overly concerned about niche protection for the thief class, but I'm also a believer in allowing any character to search for most kinds of traps, so this spell is expendable.

Know Alignment: If Lawful is always good and Chaotic is always bad, then this spell is the ultimate spoiler of NPC motives, mystery, and intrigue.  If alignment doesn't always indicate motives, it's next to useless.

Snake Charm:  Such a narrow niche spell doesn't really need to take up one of the eight slots on the primary spell lists.

Speak With Animal: Again, this doesn't fit my vision of the cleric.  It would be more at home in a spell list for druids and/or elves.