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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spell Study Series: Dimension Door/Wizard Eye

Dimension Door: A limited Teleport spell which allows the object to be instantaneously transported up to 36" in any direction (including up or down). There is no chance of misjudging when using a Dimension Door, so the user always arrives exactly where he calls, i.e. 12" upwards, 32" east, etc. Range: 1".

Wizard Eye: A spell which allows the user to send a visual sensor up to 24" away in order to observe the scene without himself moving. The "eye" is invisible. It moves 12"/turn. Duration: 6 turns.
I'm considering these two spells together not so much because they are related, but because both include a distance limit, as described for Levitate. But the distances are not identical: 360 feet for Dimension Door, 240 feet for Wizard Eye, and 20 feet per caster level for Levitate. I'd like to regularize this, and there are basically three choices (excluding less regular schemes):
  1. Make all three 10 feet/spell level per caster level. This keeps Levitate the same and sets the others to 280 feet, increasing Wizard Eye but decreasing Dimension Door (at first.)
  2. Make all three 120 feet/two spell levels. This increases Levitate dramatically, but takes out the variability and effectively caps it to 6th level of ability. Wizard Eye stays the same, Dimension Door drops substantially.
  3. Make the range Line of Sight, minimum as for #2. Depending on lighting, Levitate and Dimension Door become much more useful; Wizard Eye is mostly intended for peering into unseen areas, so it stays mostly the same.
I'm leaning towards the third option, since we could fold Limits into Line of Sight range and reduce the number of rules. It does mean that Levitate cast on the caster becomes limited only by duration. This might be a good point to reconsider the variable duration of the Fly spell. I wondered at the time why Levitate has a very predictable duration, but Fly has a 1d6 variable built into it. The difference, perhaps, is that Fly as written has an unlimited range of motion; effectively, the distance a flying character is able to travel is Line of Sight. Perhaps we can apply a 1d6 variable to all Line of Sight limits?

Dimension Door also has a casting range listed, which is unusually short; we could consider this to be the same as "adjacent to object/target", as for Remove Curse. The most interesting part of the spell description is something I never noticed until today: Dimension Door does not affect just the caster or an intelligent target. The exact wording is "[it] allows the object to be instantaneously transported" (emphasis added.) I don't recall ever hearing of anyone using the spell to teleport objects away from the caster.

Wizard Eye has a speed listed. It's no faster than the 3rd level Fly spell, and it's twice the speed of Levitate. From this, we could set a Speed Limit of 60 feet/two spell levels. The duration listed fits with Standard spell durations. This is only a problem if we redefine Standard as 6 turns/two spell levels, although perhaps that's an acceptable increase; it puts the spell in the same league as Clairvoyance.

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