Tuesday, June 8, 2010

OD&D Magic Champions Style Part 6


This project has been fascinating. It has made me reexamine some of my own assumptions and prejudices. For example, I was sure Insect Plague was a summoning spell. Upon examining the mechanics, however, I come to find that it really is a Charm spell with a summoning special effect. Ultimately, this is why I want to do this project — so that we all can have spells that reflect whatever special effect we want and still have a solid, consistent mechanical system behind those special effects. Without Insect Plague, I am left with three spells:

Animate Dead (5)
Duration = permanent until dispelled. Area Effect = 1d6 corpses Creature HD = approx. 1-6
Conjure Elemental (5)
Duration = concentration. Range = 24" Creature HD = 16
Invisible Stalker (6)
Duration = permanent until task is complete. Range = ? Creature HD = 8


This category has five discernible mechanics:
  • Duration. All are permanent, but there are two qualifiers — concentration and a given task. Thus, their are three possible durations.
  • Range. Conjure Elemental has an explicit Range of 24". The others have no range.
  • Area Effect: Animate Dead affects 1-6 corpses. There is no explicit area given here. I am going to choose to understand this a "general area" (sewer, swamp, lake, etc.)
  • Creature Type: Conjure Elemental and Invisible Stalker both conjure extra-planar creatures whereas Animate Dead is dependent upon "creatures" that are already there.
  • Creature HD. There are three categories. Animate Dead initially can summon a max of 6HD (Zombies being 1HD creatures), Invisible Stalkers are 8HD and Conjure Elemental specifies a 16HD creature. This suggests three ranges: 1-6HD, 7-12HD and 13-19HD.
Every spell assumes that the caster has control over the summoned/conjured creature. Given these mechanics, Invisible Stalker ends up as a 5th level spell and Conjure Elemental is 6th level — exactly the opposite as they appear in the LBBs; however, I am not going to quibble.

Base Conjure/Summon Spell: 2nd level spell. Summons 1 extant creature of a specific type with 1-6 (d6) HD. Duration = concentration. Range = none. Area Effect = none. Caster has control of the summoned creature.

The following add one level:
  • Duration = fulfillment of a single task (no concentration necessary).
  • Range = 24" (the creature can appear/be anywhere within 24")
  • Number of Creatures = any number totaling the HD summoned (If 3HD are summoned, the base spell summons one 3HD creature. This allows those 3HD to be divided among a number of smaller HD creatures — three 1HD creatures or six 1/2HD creatures, for example). This is a general area effect (sewer, swamp, lake, etc.).
  • Creature Type = extra planar (creature does not need to already be available)
  • Creature HD = 7-12 (d6+6) HD
The following add two levels:
  • Duration = permanent
  • Creature HD = 12-18 (d6+12) HD

Example Spell Summon Rat Swarm:
3rd Level Spell. Duration = concentration. Creature Type = Rat (1/2HD). Creature HD = d6. Creature Number = 2 per HD Summoned (+1 level). This spell requires that rats already exists in the general area.

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