Wednesday, April 14, 2010

M-U "Zap" Powers in OD&D

Lord Kilgore posted on his blog and the Labyrinth Lord forum about giving Magic Users a basic "Zap" power. Lawful Indifferent, JB at B/X Blackrazor and a few others have posted their own thoughts and ideas on the matter.

I recall allowing a 1d4 zap power myself for wizards way back in my rules cyclopedia days, and it didn't unbalance anything that I noticed.  Now I'm not sure if i would implement it that way.  It doesn't thrill me, and I think it's a combination of things.  For one thing, as JB writes, even an apprentice magic user is a fearsome foe as is.  On completely the other side of the coin, it isn't magic enough!  So here's my quick idea, a whole set of magic user zap spells.  And yes, they do feel pretty heavily impacted by 4e, maybe too much so. 

Zap spells are the bread and butter of the Magic User.  Less flashy and less powerful than even a 1st level spell, these effects can sill be potent.  The effects of the same zap spell (except for the basic Zap) in the same round are not cumulative. 


Zap!
Range: 30'
Duration: Instantaneous
Effect: One creature or object

When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target takes 1d3 points of damage. The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 25gp.  The damage increases to 2d3 at 5th level, 2d4 at 9th level, and adds a +1 point of damage every 4 levels thereafter (2d4+1 at 13, 2d4+2 at 17, etc.). 




Stupify
Range: 30'
Duration: 1 round
Effect: One creature

When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will suffer a -1 to attack rolls for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 225gp.


Drain
Range: 30'
Duration: 1 round
Effect: One creature

When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will suffer a -2 to all damage rolls for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 125gp.



Rictusempra
Range: 30'
Duration: 1 round
Effect: One clothed/armored creature

When cast the Magic User rolls to attack one creature or object.  Upon a successful hit the target will feel the sensation of being tickled and will suffer a -/+1 penalty to their armor class for 1 round.  The M-U may zap an unlimited number of times per day as long as he has a wand or staff worth at least 125gp. 

**Some spell names may be more suitable for those who don't try to act too grown up.

1 comment:

  1. I rather like your implementation. It reminds me of the 0th level spells as presented in an old edition of Unearthed Arcana. The edition escapes me, but I liked the idea- that magic users get to do a little more.

    I like that your Zap spells are a handful of useful effects that aren't just battle-oriented. I think it's a major shame that even people who espouse an old-school style still can't get beyond the fact that the game's not primarily about combat. You've got some Zaps that would be useful just trying to get along.

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