Monday, July 21, 2014

B/X Spell Lists Overhaul: Cleric spells, level 1

In the not-too-distant past, I took a look at the spells of B/X D&D, both cleric and magic-user.  While there's a lot of good stuff, there's some room for improvement too.  Doing so entails retooling some spells to be more useful, and replacing some of the worst ones with better ones, either brand new or adapted from the cream of other editions and their clones and supplements.

First up, naturally enough, are the 1st level cleric spells.  I'm a fan of the tight lists of B/X as written, so I'm going to stick with the format of eight cleric spells per level.  (The higher level lists will need to be padded to bring their totals up to the standard 8.)  I also want to tighten the focus of cleric spells to center on matters of morality and ethics, spirituality, enduring hardship, and healing, leaving most of the miscellaneous effects and esoterica to students of the arcane.  These spell lists should have the appropriate "white magic" feel for a white mage or white witch class, too. 

Spells in italics have descriptions altered from the rules as written, as detailed below.  Spells in bold are adapted from clones, possibly with modifications, also detailed below. Bold and italics indicates a spell of my own devising.  Asterisks, as always, denote reversible spells.
  1. Concord*
  2. Cure Wounds*
  3. Detect Evil  
  4. Light* 
  5. Protection From Evil
  6. Purify Food and Water*
  7. Remove Fear*
  8. Sanctuary*
 1. Concord*
Range: 0
Duration:1 turn

The Concord spell subtly influences persons and creatures affected to seek peace and agreement with others.  The spell affects creatures within a 10' radius of the cleric.  It may be used on all creatures within the area of effect whose Hit Dice individually do not exceed the level of the cleric, or on a single creature within the area whose Hit Dice are up to twice the cleric's level.  The cleric need not speak in a language understandable to the targets, though this of course will facilitate greater cooperation.  The first reaction roll made for the affected creatures is adjusted one step in a positive direction; thus "immediate attack" is upgraded to hostile, hostile to neutral, neutral to friendly. Additionally, affected creatures are prevented from attacking for one full turn.  The cleric himself is technically unaffected by the spell, but must deal in good faith with the affected creatures, or the spell is immediately nullified and a new reaction roll is made, adjusted one step in a negative direction.

Undead, constructs, and mindless creatures are immune to this spell.

The reversed spell, Discord, heightens tensions and enmities between the affected creatures, adjusting their reactions to one another one step in a negative direction.  All creatures within range whose Hit Dice do not exceed the cleric's level are affected, and may be turned against one another without respect to faction or allegiance.  Depending on the nature of the creatures and the context of the encounter, hostilities may manifest in verbal altercations rather than physical combat.

2. Cure Wounds*

As given in the standard spell description, this spell heals 1d6+1 hit points of damage to a creature touched by the cleric.  It may also be memorized and cast at a  higher level, if a higher level spell slot is available.  For each level above 1st, add 1d6+1 points of damage to the roll for hit points healed, to a maximum of 7d6+7 if cast as a 7th level spell.  For example, casting Cure Wounds as a 4th level spell will heal 4d6+4 points of damage.

The reversed spell, Cause Wounds, inflicts the same amount of damage to a creature touched.  If used in combat, this requires a standard attack roll, but if this misses, the spell remains active and the cleric may attack again until the spell is discharged or one standard turn (10 minutes) has passed, at which time the spell dissipates harmlessly.

4. Light*

This spell functions exactly as in the Basic Rules, but also subsumes the function of Continual Light if cast as a 3rd level spell.  Rather than being truly permanent, the Continual Light lasts for 1 day per level of the caster.  Additionally, the cleric may only have one Continual Light in existence at a time; if another is cast, the previous one is dispelled.

6. Purify Food and Water*

The reversed spell, Befoul Food and Water, causes an amount of food or drink equal to that affected by the normal spell to become spoiled and unfit for consumption.  Consuming them anyway causes a character to suffer terrible nausea and fever for 1d4 days, inflicting a -4 penalty to all actions.

7. Remove Fear*

The spell's range is reduced to 0, and the area of effect is expanded to a 20' radius circle around the caster, affecting all friendly creatures within the circle at the time the spell is cast.  For the spell's duration, the creatures are immune to normal fear, increasing morale scores by 1 point, if applicable, and gain a saving throw bonus against magical fear equal to the caster's level.  Additionally, those failing may attempt a new save each round to recover and rally.  At the DM's discretion, a character under the effect of this spell may automatically succeed at non-combat tasks that would otherwise be difficult due to fear, such as walking across a plank over a deep chasm.

The reversed spell affects a similar area, and will cause all hostile creatures except those immune to fear, such as undead, to flee at their maximum movement rate for 2 turns if a save vs. spells is failed.

8. Sanctuary (adapted from Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion)

Range: Touch
Duration: 1d6 rounds +1 round per level

For the duration of the spell, any creature attempting to attack or otherwise directly harm the spell recipient must succeed at a saving throw vs. spells.  If the throw fails, the attacker will ignore the recipient in favor of attacking a different target, or some other action.  If the spell recipient attacks, the spell is broken at once, but otherwise it may cast non-offensive spells and take any non-aggressive action.  The recipient can still be harmed by area affect spells.

The reversed spell, Imperil, draws the attention of all hostile creatures toward the affected creature.  Each must make a saving throw vs. spells or seek to attack that creature.  The target cannot hide or become invisible while this spell is in effect; if already invisible that effect is canceled while Imperil lasts, resuming when the spell expires.  Note that Imperil does not make creatures hostile; it only affects those already in combat.

Spells that got the old heave-ho:

Cure Light Wounds, replaced by Cure Wounds.  One healing spell that can be scaled with level makes more sense to me than separate healing spells at various levels.

Detect Magic, which seems to me to be the province of the magic-user rather than the cleric class.

Resist Cold, which was of marginal usefulness at best.  Will be incorporated into the list of 2nd level cleric spells as a reverse of Resist Fire.

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