Friday, May 28, 2010

OD&D Magic Champions Style Part 4


The next category in my queue is the Detection Spells. Mechanics are in ():
Detect Magic (1)[1] ("Limited" Range, "Short" Duration)
Detect Invisible (2) (Duration = 6 turns, Range = 1"/ level of caster)
Locate Object (2)[3] (Duration = instant, Range = 6" + 1"/level of caster)
Detect Evil (2)[1] (Duration = 2 turns [6 turns], Range = 6" [12'"])
ESP (2) (Duration = 12 turns, Range = 6", Blocked by lead/3' material)
Find Traps [2] (Duration = 2 turns, Radius 3")
Clairvoyance (3) (Duration = 12 turns, Range = 6", Blocked by lead/3' material)
Clairaudience (3) (Duration = 12 turns, Range = 6", Blocked by lead/3' material)
Wizard Eye (4) (Duration = 6 turns, Range = 24", Moves 12"/turn)
Please note: After looking at the mechanics, I decided to remove Infravision from this list and add ESP.
This is the most difficult category I have tackled thus far, because spell level, range and duration are all over the place. Part of this variance is due to the Cleric versions of these spells, so I am going to ignore them. If then, the base Detection spell has a range of 1"/level and an instantaneous duration, we can determine that a duration of 6 turns and a range of +6" each add one spell level. Given this, a base Detect spell can do one of the following:
  • General characteristic (Magic, Evil, Invisible)
  • Specific Object (Locate Object, Traps, Thoughts)
This is when things get muddied. ESP has a duration of 12 turns and a range of 6" which means that it should be a 3rd level spell. It does put a limitation on the range — the spell can be blocked. Thus, the base spell can optionally start with a 6" range if it can be blocked by a common element and a wall 3' wide and bigger; however, there doesn't seem to be a functional difference between ESP, Clairaudience and Clairvoyance. I am going to assume that ESP can only target one person at a time, whereas Clairaudience and Clairvoyance can target an area. This means that the base Detection spell is directional. Find Traps becomes the model for the area effect Detection spell — 3" radius.

Wizard Eye increases the range of Clairvoyance x4 and introduces the idea of moving the focal point of the spell. Buying a 12" range (2 levels) with a +1/caster level puts the range at 19" when a Magic User (at 7th level) can first cast a 4th level spell, thus approximating the 24" range. The duration of 6 turns adds another level and assuming that the eye has a 3" field of vision gives us a 4th level spell. This leaves the idea of a mobile focal point in question; however, mechanically it is meaningless. Functionally, there is little difference between the way Clairvoyance and Wizard Eye function. In the end, the moving "eye" is a special effect rather than a game mechanic.

Base Detection spell: Directionally detect a general characteristic or a specific object. Duration = instantaneous. Range = 1"/caster level or 6"+1"/caster level if spell will not work through a common element (i.e. lead) and cannot penetrate a wall 3' thick.

The following with add one spell level:
  • Range = 6"+1"/caster level
  • 3"r. Area Effect
  • Duration = 6 turns (max 12 turns)
Example Find Traps:
2nd level spell. Detect Trap. Duration = instantaneous. Range = 1"/caster level. 3"r area effect (one level).


  1. ESP is such a campaign wrecker, I'm not surprised it's 3rd level. Really should be 7th ;) Seriously, look at how carefully you step when designing any kind of intrigue encounter, when you know the party has ESP.

    That rant aside, I really want to encourage you to persevere in this series. Suitably pdf'ed up, it could end up as the standard document for OSR spell research and design.

  2. Roger,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I was actually do plan on doing something with all this, so it is nice to know that someone is interested...