... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spell Study Series: Levitate

I hadn't planned on doing a post on the Levitate spell all by itself, but it doesn't really group with other 2nd level spells, and it has some unique features, so perhaps it's for the best.
Levitate: This spell lifts the caster, all motion being in the vertical plane; however, the user could, for example, levitate to the ceiling, and move horizontally by use of his hands. Duration: 6 turns + the level of the user. Range (of levitation): 2"/level of Magic-User, with upwards motion at 6"/turn.
Levitate is unusual in that it's the only 1st or 2nd level in the 3LBBs that causes a physical action (except maybe one other spell...) A couple spells (Light, Continual Light, Hold Portal, Wizard Lock) produce physical effects, but these count as a change of state; Levitate feels more physical.
Levitate uses the Light spell as a pattern for its duration: 6 turns + 10 feet/caster level. We might have the start of a simple pattern here, similar to the one for range:
  • Instant: open-ended change of state
  • Brief: 2 turns, preferred for combat effects
  • Standard: 6 turns
    • plus caster level, if physical
    • or 2d6 turns, if combat-related
There may be some later variation of Brief and Standard durations, and it may be worth it to work that 2d6 outlier from Hold Portal in better. Would it hurt much if Brief were changed to 2d6, or perhaps 1d6+1? We'll look into this as we go along.

Levitate lists a range, but this is not the range of the caster to the target. In fact, the spell description says it only affects the caster; the "attack" version of this is Telekinesis, a 5th level spell. The range listed is actually the range of motion, and it is 10 feet per spell level x caster level. This is one of the spells which prompted my idea of a "Limit" stat for spells, in addition to Duration, Range, and Area.

There is a little leeway in the spell description. The second half of teh first sentence says "user" instead of "caster", leaving open the possibility of casting the spell on others. I think I'll stick with the caster-only interpretation, though, perhaps on the grounds that other targets might not have the training to control their rate of ascent. This means that there could be a higher-level Mass Levitate spell that allows the caster to take others up at the same rate. Mass Levitate could even be useful as an attack spell: levitate yourself and your enemies, hand-walk across the ceiling to a ledge, release the spell.

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