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Friday, July 20, 2012

Spell Study Series: 2nd Level Cleric

Time to catch up on Cleric spells. Here are the 2nd level spells.
Find Traps: By means of this spell the Cleric will locate any mechanical or magical traps within a radius of 3". The spell lasts 2 turns.

Hold Person: This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users except that its duration is 9 turns and its range 18".

Bless: During any turn the prospective recipients of a Bless spell are not in combat the Cleric may give them this benison. A blessing raises morale by +1 and also adds +1 to attack dice. The spell lasts six turns.
Find Traps is mostly interesting because there is no Magic-User equivalent, other than Locate Object for specific kinds of traps (pit traps, falling rocks.) Clerics do get Locate Object, but at 3rd level instead of 2nd level. So, Find Traps in some ways is a more limited lead-in to the more generally useful Locate Object, while in other ways, it's a more powerful spell, basically detecting all traps in a small area.

The range for Find Traps at first seems disturbing to my nice pretty simplification scheme. However, I think the 3" radius is really an area of effect instead of a range, with the actual range being 0 (Cleric emits aura of revelation.) Thus, we could change this to a 30-foot diameter circle, reducing the area but keeping things simple.

Hold Person duplicates the M-U version of the spell, but Clerics get a boost to duration and range. Presumably, this is because Clerics are supposed to be better at preventing combat or providing defense than the M-U, but the numbers are kind of annoying. I'd rather redefine the range as Line of Sight and just say that Clerical spells that prevent combat are double duration, which makes Clerical Hold Person a bit stronger, but fits in with Clerical Protection from Evil.

Bless has two interesting features. One is that it cannot be cast in combat, or at least not on a character who is in the midst of combat. I believe this is the first spell where such a restriction is mentioned. The other feature is that, if you think about it, the effects of a blessing are a compliment to the effects of Protection from Evil: the former adds an attack bonus, the latter subtracts an attack penalty.
Speak with Animals: This spell allows the Cleric to speak with any form of animal life, understanding what they say in reply. There is a possibility that the animal(s) spoken with will perform services for the Cleric, and they will never attack the party the Cleric is with. (The manner of handling the probabilities of action by animals is discussed in the next volume). Duration: 6 turns. Range: 3".
Again, the non-standard range is annoying me. Either it should be reduced to 20 feet (in other words, based on spell level, as proposed for non-combat spells) or it could be redefined as Range 0, Area of Effect 30 feet diameter circle. The caster gains the ability to converse with animals. I think I'm actually leaning towards the first, since Speak with Animals seems to have another effect beyond mere communication, which I didn't notice the last time I was examining the spells: the spell prevents animal attacks ("they will never attack the party the Cleric is with." Emphasis added.) Plus, the spell seems to bestow temporary, limited intelligence upon the animal; there's no discussion of whether the animal will have limited speech skills or be unable to understand questions posed. Thus, the spell seems to target the animal, rather than the caster.

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