... now with 35% more arrogance!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spell Study Series: First Level Cleric Spells

I'm going to bundle all the 1st level Cleric spells together, because I want to defer Detect Evil until later (when I do the M-U version) and three of the other spells are pretty much identical. Let's deal with the unique Cleric spells first.
Cure Light Wounds: During the course of one full turn this spell will remove hits from a wounded character (including elves, dwarves, etc.). A die is rolled, one pip added, and the resultant total subtracted from the hits points the character has taken. Thus from 2-7 hit points of damage can be removed.

Purify Food & Water: This spell will make spoiled or poisoned food and water usable. The quantity subject to a single spell is approximately that which would serve a dozen people.
No duration is listed for Purify Food and Water, but presumably that's because it's permanent or a change of state, like Charm Person/Sleep. Range is also missing, but it's not the sort of spell you'd think of as being used from a distance. We could easily use the tentative 10 feet/spell level range discussed before.

The wording of Cure Light Wounds is odd, as others have noted. It lists a one turn duration, but this reads like a delay before the spell achieves its full effect, which is to remove 1d6+1 damage. Someone once suggested that Clerics may cast the spell in advance, protecting against any injury that occurs in the next minute. However, the second sentence in the description uses the past tense ("hit points the character has taken",) not the future tense of the first sentence.

All but one of the Cleric spells that duplicate Magic-User spells have increased durations. Because defense against "evil" is the job description for Clerics, the duration is doubled for Protection from Evil. Light could also be considered a fitting Clerical power, but the wording is ambiguous: "... it has a basic duration of 12 turns". The M-U version, as we noted previously, is 6 + 1d6 turns. Does this mean that Clerics double the base duration, then add 1d6, or does it mean that Clerics get a flat 12 turns of Light, without any variable?

Some of the spells are reversed for anti-clerics. Cure Light Wounds and Purify Food & Drink are pretty easy to reverse, but Protection from Evil is problematic, as we'll see when I get to Detect Evil in a later post. The primary purpose of the spell is to protect against enchanted beings regardless of alignment, plus it provides minimal protection against attacks from hostile creatures. Making the reversed spell "Protection from Good" means either "protection from friendly or helpful creatures" or changes the intention listed under the M-U version of the spell. I'll have more to say when I discuss Detect Evil, but I suggest dropping the reversed protection spell entirely.


  1. One other possible interpretation of the "basic duration" clause is that the spell is that you employ some die rolling process with the maximum result being 12, just like the duration given in the magic-user description.

    1. The problem with that is that the wording of the clerical spell is: "This spell is the same as that for Magic-Users, except that it has a basic duration of 12 turns." So, whatever the interpretation, the end result is that the duration is different.

      Now, if the *average* result were 12, rather than the maximum (4d4+2 or 3d6+2, for example,) that would be different.