Monday, 8 June 2009

Minor Cleric Spell List Tinkerage

Looking at the LL spell list there's a big gap in healing vs. damage-dealing ability. Currently the schema goes:

1. CLW (1d6+1)
4. CMW (2d6+2)
5. CCW (3d8+3)
6. Heal (all but 1-4 hp)

Now, for all it plays into the "avoid fights; find money" ethos of Labyrinth Lord I do wonder if this spread of spells doesn't make the cleric's life a little more difficult than it should be. I mean, by 6-7th level the poor guy will be loaded up on CLW in 1st level slots, to the probable exclusion of all else (any no double-dipping house rule aside, of course).

I'd suggest just swapping Cure Disease into the 4th level list (look, there it is with its good buddy Neutralise Poison!), and reducing CMW to a 3rd level spell. It looks a little more elegant on the tables, and means the cleric isn't just spamming CLW up into the mid-levels of the game.

Thoughts? Objections? Reasons why I am a fool who will bring it all crashing down around us?


  1. @Norman: Already done. It seems to be working. This is a piece of cake...

    {explosions and whimpering off}

  2. I would probably quite happily introduce a healing spell at every level into Labyrinth Lord for a home campaign, so no objections from me.

  3. Normally I would second the motion to supply Clerics with a healing spell of every level, and in fact that's what I did, such that you heal 1d8+1 times spell level up to Heal at 6th which is the whole chicken dinner. Light / Moderate / Serious / Critical / Deadly.

    However, I can see the wisdom (har!) of giving Clerics a healing spell gap. With nothing else decent at 1st level besides maybe Detect Magic, a Cleric is free to load up on Cure Lights. At second level, if he wants a healing-type spell he goes with Aid or something but the real spell at that level is Hold Person. Hold Person every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Spiritual Hammer is also pretty sweet in a low-magic campaign. Third level lacks many good things, but there isn't a healing spell, so the Cleric is still free to pick stuff like Wyvern Watch or Magical Vestments (again, a great pick in low-magic games). If you gave healing spells at those levels, the Cleric would be pressured into taking them, becoming a specialized healer which is sometimes a little boring.

    Why not make Cure Serious a 4d8+4 then? Because dishing out damage should be easier than recovering it. A 3rd level Fireball can do 10d6 at 10th level, but that 10th level Cleric's best Cure Critical is just 3d8+2 (I think). While on par with a (free) Potion of Extra-Healing, it's a little less than half the Fireball damage (or about equal if you saved). The healing also applies only to a single target, while the M-U's damage is often area-effect.

    Why, you ask, does this not just expand the 10-minute adventuring day (kill a thing then sleep 8 hours to get all your spells back) to a 10-minute adventuring week (kill a thing, then spend 7 days healing up)? Because of random encounters. Random encounters are the penalty for wasting time in the dungeon. If you waste other resources, like spells and health, you're really wasting time because you have to recover those. Best case scenario, the group ascends to the surface and suffers the easier random encounters at the first dungeon level during their healing-week. But that will quickly wear thin. Players will eventually realize they need to husband resources carefully to get as much adventuring done as possible. Limited healing tightens the belt on those resources.


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