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Thursday, June 23, 2016

As I Was RedLining White Box, I Noticed a Problem With the Sleep Spell


I've been "red lining" a spare copy of Swords & Wizardry White Box for the S&W: Light project I'm working on. I stumbled across the Sleep Spell table, and noticed something wrong with it. Two somethings actually.

"1+" is on both the first and second line of the chart and "2+" isn't even taken into account. Now, for the purpose of White Box, I'd probably change the first line to "Less than 1 to 1" and the second line to "1+ to 2+". For S&W Light, I want to save space and do away with the chart all together.

So, I'm going with 2d6+3 HD of creatures, with less than 1HD counted as 1HD and ignoring "+'s". Any HD that can't be fully allocated are lost. Takes into account mixed groups fairly well and does away with the chart.

Snip snip...

17 comments:

  1. Lowest number of hit dice that can be affected at about 4. Highest number that can be affected is roughly 24 or 25. You could cover all of those bases with no charge if you just roll 4d6.

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    1. Highest number effected is 15 HD this way - 24 to 25 makes this hugely powerful

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    2. Yeah, I was thinking that too. Average HD for each level is about 12 ish, which frankly is still overpowered for a 1st level spell. 3+1d6 per level of caster would drop 4-9 1st level mooks, or 1-2 big 4HD guys.

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    3. I always found sleep overpowered, which is why I extended the time it takes the spell to take full effect to ten minutes. Which brings it back into line with all the classic uses of the spell in literature.

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    4. Not all literature. In Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica, Medea casts sleep on the dragon guarding the Golden Fleece. The magic seems to take effect at once, though the dragon did get a saving throw -- so she had to cast it twice.

      http://www.theoi.com/Text/ValeriusFlaccus8.html

      Scroll down to 67.

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  2. I'll be honest here, I really can't wait for S&W Light!

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    1. Same here...I'm interested in seeing four digest-sized pages that are able to devote ANY space to the specifics of a Sleep spell! This could end up being my go-to ruleset.

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  3. It's overpowered for a first level spell, perhaps, but to compensate, we added victims getting a ST in my home game. That way, I feel better about having NPCs use it on the players as well.

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    1. I'm with you, give it a save and it works out okay.

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  4. What about 2d6 + Caster Level of creatures? So a first level caster would get 2d6+1, and a 5th level 2d6+5?

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  5. I use 4d4 HD with a maximum of 4HD effected for the Sleep spell in my Majestic Wilderlands.

    Here is the exact text.
    Sleep
    Magic-User, 1st Level, Range: 240 feet, Duration: 1 hour, Art: Web
    This spells put all enemies of the caster to sleep within line of sight. Up to 4d4 HD may be effected by this spell. Only creatures of 4 HD or less may be effected.

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  6. sticking with d6, as the assumption is the person picking this up might not have polys

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    1. I choose 4d4 because the max amount of effected HD was 16 from AD&D 1st. So looking at White Box the max is 24 HD. So I would go with 4d6. Rolling a total HD for Sleep makes the spell a snap to adjudicate. Also I rule it always effects the lowest HD first.

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  7. I wonder how it plays if you go full 4d6 AND allow a save. Damn Sleep spell changes with every minor revision anyways.

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    1. Remember is not like the Magic User has a lot of spells in the first place. I just shrug and give them their moment of glory and move on. For example it could take out every guard in a tower in a castle. However there are three more towers to deal with.

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    2. Which would work fine if there was never an NPC with a sleep spell.

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