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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Hey everyone! As those few who've read my witch hunter and sangromancer class posts know, I mainly play first edition D&D. Since then, I've played some more fifth edition. On to the point of this new thread, though. I will be posting combinations and singular spells and abilities in first edition that are often better than most think and often overpowered, and explaining how to use them.
    Last edited by Hubcat; 2019-04-05 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    First overlooked thing I'll be posting about is charm plants. Due to the way this spell functions, I see no reason other than availability not to go for this spell as soon as you can cast it as a magic-user at 14th level. Unlike most charm spells, charm plant's duration is permanent, most charm spells give saving throws every so often based on intelligence. As the spell name implies, this spell only works on plants and it is quite high level. However, it grants communication with any plants charmed via this spell, even if there normally isn't. This spell works on a 3" x 1" area of effect, and doesn't grant a saving throw except to intelligent plants, which get a -4. Using this spell, a magic-user can charm all of the plants around where they go often, and use the communication to be aware of anything odd happening there. This spell also let's you charm an unlimited amount of useful intelligent plants, like treants or dryads. Molds can also be charmed without a saving throw, and you can carry the mold with you, to throw at enemies and such. This can be especially be usefuly combined with cold mold, which deals cold damage and grows with heat, even something small like body heat in the cold's area of effect. Fireball, anyone?

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Hi everyone! This second post will be on a combo of spells. Stone Skin, Fly, and Fire Shield. Stone Skin makes you impervious to one physical attack sequence in the future, Fly let's you fly around, and Fire Sheild deals double any melee damage done to you back to the attacker, either in cold or fire damage, per the caster's choice at the beginning of the spell. While this combo requires level 9 to do, and I've only had the chance to do it once, it's very powerful. In fact, the one time I did use it, I one shot an anchient huge spellcasting red dragon who had a Stone Skin going. In first edition, and I think fifth too, fall damage is a d6 every ten feet, up to a maximum of 20d6. Using fly, you can reach this height of 200 feet above your enemy, and cast Fire Sheild. Don't forget to also have a Stone Skin as well, or this won't end well for you. Then, drop on your enemy. When you hit, they should take 20d6 damage from you hitting them, while you will take none due to Stone Skin. Now, your Fire Sheild comes into play. Since you would've taken 20d6 damage from them by falling on them, your Fire Sheild lashes back with double the damage. This means, in total, your opponent takes 20d6 physical damage, and 20d6 times 2 cold or fire damage, at your discretion. This is an average of 210 damage. Be sure to use this anytime some pesky tough enemy won't leave you alone!

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    The charm plants trick does look pretty effective, but I am not so sure about the fly + stoneskin + fire shield trick:
    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcat
    Fire Sheild deals double any melee damage done to you back to the attacker
    Since when is falling damage melee damage? Even if it is, arguably it is not being done by what you fall on to you, it is being done by you to yourself (especially when you choose to fall on something).
    Also, do you really do full falling damage to the object you hit ?

    I do look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

    PS: it generally considered bad form on these boards to make multiple consecutive posts unless wrting a handbook and setting up the sections. For things like this thread you are expected to wait for someone to reply expressing interest before continuing - something I have just done...

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    PS: it generally considered bad form on these boards to make multiple consecutive posts unless wrting a handbook and setting up the sections. For things like this thread you are expected to wait for someone to reply expressing interest before continuing - something I have just done...
    Ok, I'll keep that in mind for future threads. I'm trying to post an idea a day, and I'm not sure how to set up sections or a handbook, is there somewhere I can find the info on this?

    As for the fire Sheild, it is largly up to dm ejudication, and the actual wording of the spell is striking with body or handheld weapons. As for the equal damage, it is arguable that less would be dealt to them, but according to Newton's laws, the same force should be applied to them as to you, since you, them, and the air are the only ones in the system and the air's force is already causing terminal velocity. But, it's up to the dm in the end.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcat View Post
    Ok, I'll keep that in mind for future threads. I'm trying to post an idea a day, and I'm not sure how to set up sections or a handbook, is there somewhere I can find the info on this?
    It is in the Forum Rules under "Double Posting" - there's a link at the top of every subforum page..

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcat View Post
    As for the fire Sheild, it is largly up to dm ejudication, and the actual wording of the spell is striking with body or handheld weapons. As for the equal damage, it is arguable that less would be dealt to them, but according to Newton's laws, the same force should be applied to them as to you, since you, them, and the air are the only ones in the system and the air's force is already causing terminal velocity. But, it's up to the dm in the end.
    If you fall on somethng you are getting into Newtonian physics to say that the object you fall on strikes you and that's usually a mistake in D&D - this is one I definitely think DMs should not allow - if anything it is you striking yourself with their body and perhaps the fire shield should multiply the damage back at you".
    A novel way to commit suicide!

    Edit: as for avoiding the double post restriction - I think the best route is to discuss it with a moderator first and get their advice on what they consider acceptable for this sub-forum.
    Last edited by Khedrac; 2019-04-07 at 02:35 AM.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Khedrac View Post
    If you fall on somethng you are getting into Newtonian physics to say that the object you fall on strikes you and that's usually a mistake in D&D - this is one I definitely think DMs should not allow - if anything it is you striking yourself with their body and perhaps the fire shield should multiply the damage back at you".
    A novel way to commit suicide!
    It would be a great way to commit suicide indeed. It depends on your dm whether or not this trick works, and as I mentioned earlier mine does, but it is largly the dm's decision.

    I think it's time for another trick today, though. Today is another combo, this time with feeblemind and magic jar. Feeblemind is a spell which destroys a spell casting creature's mind, rendering it permanently with the "brain of a moronic child." This lower's it's intelligence and wisdom greatly, and makes very suceptuble to magic jar. Magic jar let's you put your soul in a gem, and then try to posses other creature's from it. Depending on the difference between yours and their combined intelligence and wisdom, this spell is less or more effective. If there is a 13 difference between your combined scores, which assuming 3s in int and wisdom after the feeblemind, only requires average int and wisdom to aquire, the creature will get a -3 on their saving throw, and they will only be able to repeat it once a week to break hold. Even if they do, just keep a magic jar memorized and recapture them, which should be easy with their reduced mind. I've found this extremely useful with an ogre mage. Their natural abilities give them a 1 hp/round Regen, invisibility at will, flight for a few hours a day, and polymorph self. Magic jar also simply places you back in your gem when you die in another body, granting you an extra life.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    that one is a fine one indeed. magic jar makes the cut period, but yes, to maximize it, one wants dummies for the targets, and feeblemind is a very good way to make that happen/widens the potential pool.

    Tons of spells in 1e are over or under powered for their level. Level apparently just didn't mean power, despite some rhetoric to that effect. It was also expedient to make some turds at higher levels so things like liches, demi gods, arch magi, etc, could be used vs characters that otherwise might be completely outclassed.

    polymorph other, polymorph self, slow, dispel magic, shape change, polymorph any object, animate dead, symbol, mind blank
    (UA) sepia snake sigil, chromatic orb, phantom armor, tempus fugit, eh, I can go on & on. To an extent, it really depends on the DM (calls, situations), the setting & scenarios played, and so forth.

    druidic Animal Summoning 1-3 can be very potent, or crud. along with animal friends or charmed beasts, sticks to snakes or whatnot & add animal growth...can be utterly devastating in unexpected or funny ways. Something like double sized hippos can give you a shock!

    cast glyph of warding(cold) on dead &/or skeletal giants, then apply animate dead.


    Still, as is the case across most editions, the transformation spells are always in the mix for problems, power &/or breaking games in some way.

    Edit: one should also beware feeding players ideas (if u r DM) & feeding DMs ideas (if u r a player). If one starts breaking the game, they ought expect it to get broken right back at them.

    fireshield doesn't really need any tricks, it's incredibly potent already. However, when used by monsters with large HP totals, such as a demon lord, demi god, or even something less exotic, like a high level fighter, it becomes much, much nastier than it is on the squishy wizard (as it's nasty on them already). If ranged combat or magical/spell combat is also highly impaired, it gets worse, perhaps even completely ruinous (& it's not that hard to stack those on too, with things like MR, minor globe of invulnerability, various darkness spells, various fog spells, wind( wall, etc), and so on.
    Last edited by CE DM; 2019-04-09 at 11:11 AM.

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    frown Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by CE DM View Post
    that one is a fine one indeed. magic jar makes the cut period, but yes, to maximize it, one wants dummies for the targets, and feeblemind is a very good way to make that happen/widens the potential pool.

    Tons of spells in 1e are over or under powered for their level. Level apparently just didn't mean power, despite some rhetoric to that effect. It was also expedient to make some turds at higher levels so things like liches, demi gods, arch magi, etc, could be used vs characters that otherwise might be completely outclassed.

    polymorph other, polymorph self, slow, dispel magic, shape change, polymorph any object, animate dead, symbol, mind blank
    (UA) sepia snake sigil, chromatic orb, phantom armor, tempus fugit, eh, I can go on & on. To an extent, it really depends on the DM (calls, situations), the setting & scenarios played, and so forth.

    druidic Animal Summoning 1-3 can be very potent, or crud. along with animal friends or charmed beasts, sticks to snakes or whatnot & add animal growth...can be utterly devastating in unexpected or funny ways. Something like double sized hippos can give you a shock!

    cast glyph of warding(cold) on dead &/or skeletal giants, then apply animate dead.


    Still, as is the case across most editions, the transformation spells are always in the mix for problems, power &/or breaking games in some way.

    Edit: one should also beware feeding players ideas (if u r DM) & feeding DMs ideas (if u r a player). If one starts breaking the game, they ought expect it to get broken right back at them.

    fireshield doesn't really need any tricks, it's incredibly potent already. However, when used by monsters with large HP totals, such as a demon lord, demi god, or even something less exotic, like a high level fighter, it becomes much, much nastier than it is on the squishy wizard (as it's nasty on them already). If ranged combat or magical/spell combat is also highly impaired, it gets worse, perhaps even completely ruinous (& it's not that hard to stack those on too, with things like MR, minor globe of invulnerability, various darkness spells, various fog spells, wind( wall, etc), and so on.
    Do you play first edition? I'm not sure I've ever run into anyone who does, outside of connections from my dad. Also, my dm pointed this out to me, but tempist fugit could be read as only speeding up bodily functions.

    Anyways, sorry I missed yesterday, there was an important project I was doing and completely forgot! Today, I'll go over slow. Slow is a third level spell for magic users, which means they can cast it at 5th level, which slows up to your level of creatures in the area of effect, namely 4"x4". The level thing could be seen as a downside, but it also let's you avoid slowing your friends in the middle of a battle when they're close to your enemies. Slow causes the creatures so effected to move and attack at half rate. For movement, you could just half their movement rate if you want, but for attacking, this means that the targets can only act every other round. The spell also specifically mentions that it stacks with other magical slowing, including itself. It also allows no saving throw. This means that when someone is within the range of 9" + 1"/level the creature can be slowed by you until you run out of slows without getting a single action, at which point they can act once. This works out like this: a slow halves actions, so the first spell is an action every 2 rounds, then 4, then 8, 16, ect. This means on the first round after casting a slow, they get 1/2 of an action done. Then, they get another 1/4 action, bringing them to 3/4. Then an eighth, meaning 7/8. This goes on and on, and at any point if you stop casting slow, then they get an action. Until then, they can't. And don't even ask about having multiple caster's doing slow at the same time, that's just a bit too much. Often the duration of slow can be described as: until the target dies.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    I do. I played 1e back throughout it's era, and came back to it about the time 4e came out. Crazy amounts of it. There are some 1e players here, and a whole bunch over on dragonsfoot. Lots of them are lapsed, and many have switched to 5e lately, but yeah, we are old farts, dads, etc

    on slow, it is already crazy without stacking. I house rule that part away, and suggest any that play do the same. attacks are not ALWAYS ever other round, as multiple atack routines can interfere. It's half rate though, yes, and that means "you win" , generally.

    ex: slow troll (& many other monsters) has no attacks, then 3. Often a DM spilts them up to be 2 claws one round, bite the next, but that's a house ruling
    but a L14 fighter has 2 melee attack routines per round, first & last. if under a slow spell, they get one each round

    what is potent sometimes varies with specific conditions too, it must be noted. Sleep, for example, is very powerful at low levels. Some are really great only at very high levels. And so on, and so forth.

    care for some more obscure spells? Lets do some Greyhawk adventures ones

    Bigby's Fantastic Fencers (for very high level casters): while under buff spells (such as prayer) &/or vs weapon users, even more so
    Bigby's Strangling Grip (vs NPC's, like mages, illusionists, monks, & most thieves, assassins & druids)
    Drawmij's Beneficent Polymorph & Drawmij's Merciful Metamorphosis (because: polymorph)
    Nystulís Enveloping Darkness can be cray cray, but it depends on the DM
    Nystulís Grue Conjuration is not usually going to make a list like this, but in specific cases, due to the power of grues to completely negate elemental magic, they can be key to stomping all over completely crazy mismatches vs monsters or casters that rely on such spells/magic. The water grue vs water breathing/airy water is particularly cruel.

    some of Otiluke's screens are meh, others are good, some are great (some are just odd, too, but hey). Otilukeís Radiant Screen is of special note to a veteran player who can exploit different monster weaknesses, His dispelling screen, at L4, is obviously of note, as it is effectively a dispel magic that lingers. Screens, like walls, clouds, etc, are great for battlefield control, and work well with numerous tactical applications.

    Rary's (mostly mental) spells are fun for more subtle (or insidious) types. Raryís Superior Spell Enhancer , & Raryís Spell Enhancer, though, are great for casters with slots to burn to boost damage spells & save or suck spells, respectively. This means NPC's & monsters, mainly, but hey, I'm calling myself CE DM, so...

    Nystulís Blacklight Burst is just a good attack spell, akin to fireball, lightning bolt, cone of cold, etc, but it's cool
    20'r AOE d4/level of negative/dark damage, save for 1/2, failed save means slow as well (& you know what that does); extra effective vs upper plane & + plane types, 10% chance to backlash & harm the caster. Undead are immune, so add this to various cold & lightning effects the lich can bring down atop themselves when pesky heroes dare mob it in melee. Good, not great for most PC's, although if they are a necromancer wanna be, it's great to toss unto foes fighting your meat shield ogre & hill giant zombies.

    Tenser's spells are usually warrior/combat oriented. Most aren't too big a deal, especially as fighter/mu usually cannot get to very high levels in 1e, but they gain lots of ground in 2e, and in 1e for super powered monsters (like a god, demi-god, titian, etc). Some are cool for all though.
    Tenserís Deadly Strike, for example. The caster does max damage on a hit for the short duration of d6+3 rounds. This is a bad spell for a mage. It can be nice for a fighter/mage, but still is not much to write home about. A Titian, however, can be dishing out 64 hp per strike (8d8).
    Last edited by CE DM; 2019-04-09 at 07:15 PM.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Sorry for the day wait again, my project distracted me again. Today, I will go over Call Lightning. This spell is druidic in nature (no pun intended), and is a third level spell, which also requires being a third level druid. This spell isn't much good for in the middle of quick fights, but if you can stay away from your opponent there's no better way to kill one at low levels. This spell takes 1 turn (10 rounds) to cast, and lasts a turn per level. Every turn, the druid may call down one lightning bolt anywhere within a 360 foot radius of him or herself. These bolts deal 2d8 + a d8 per level to everything within 1" of the bolt. This equates to an average of 121.5 damage at the level where you can first cast it. If mixed with another good strategy, it is very effective. At third level, the druid also gains the spell plant growth and the ability to walk through thick growth with no movement penalty. Plant growth creates just that, and is permanent. If the druid covers an area at third level in plant growths, then only them and other 3rd level druid's can move through it easily. This makes keeping ahead of someone and bolting them quite easy. However, it should be noted that call lightning only works outside and in somewhat stormy conditions, such as clouds and wind.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    It's a beast, and a mainstay.

    Note: "clouds and wind, hot and cloudy conditions" set it up that "storm" is very broad indeed. Certainly though, it varies greatly in use depending where you are climatically...Tropical forests/jungles are particularly awesome, for one example. BOOM!

    As you say, plenty of tactical options with it, but at L7, a very deadly one comes up...change form to a beast after you cast it. This could be as a combat supplement, but far nastier is an innocuous animal like a (non predatory, non game) bird.

    Post as you please, no worries
    Last edited by CE DM; 2019-04-11 at 07:08 PM.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Hubcat View Post
    ...Every turn, the druid may call down one lightning bolt anywhere within a 360 foot radius of him or herself...
    Should that be every round the druid may call down a lightning bolt?
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Torath View Post
    Should that be every round the druid may call down a lightning bolt?
    I don't think so. I am not familiar with the Original D&D rules, but my memory of 1st Ed AD&D was 1 per turn, but let's analyse the listed damage:
    Average of 121.5 at first level you can cast it
    Damage of 2d8 + 1d8 / level (you can see why this got redued to 1pt/level is later editions)
    3rd level spell so castable at 3 (how did that get into the original rules! - Were 9th level spells castable at 9?) which gives us 5d8/bolt

    Average of 1d8 is 4.5
    121.5 = 27 x 4.5 so 27 dice of damage

    hmm, at 5 dice per bolt 27 dice average doesn't work. Something has gone wrong somewhere in the spell's stats.

    My guess would be 5th level and 7d8/bolt/turn for 5 turns = 35 dice of damage = 157.5 damage on average.
    You can still see why the amount/bolt got reduced.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    turn=10 rounds

    it's 1 bolt per turn, and it's really good like that, even if half the bolts (or more) are typically unused

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    CE DM, thank-you for the confirmation.

    In the absence of Hubcat are you in a position to confirm the minimum level to cast and the damage per bolt? It would be nice to work out the correct average damage if spell fully used and low level.

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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    Damage is (2+1/lvl)d8, right? At level 3, you get 3 bolts at 5d8 each, resulting in total damage of 15d8, averaging to 15x4.5=67.5 damage on average. How are we getting from 67.5 to 121.5? Or am I misunderstanding the spell? (I confess I missed the 2+1/lvl bit at first, and was just assuming 1d8/lvl, which results in 40.5 average total damage for 3 bolts)
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    Default Re: First Edition D&D Overlooked and Overpowered Spells

    L3 druids in 1e get a L3 spell
    in 2e call lightning is pretty much the same, but druids get L3 spells at L5, along with other priests

    indeed, in 1e, one can do a maximum of 3 bolts of 5d8 each at L3 druid
    1e L10 bard does 12d8 up to 10 times (1 per turn for 10 turns)
    etc, etc

    A L3 character is usually happy to get one blast in, and that's awfully impressive anyway!

    the start up time (1 turn/10 rounds or minutes to cast) is something to always bear in mind too, as a mitigating effect.

    Again, it often looks better on paper: it is of no use indoors/underground, or without the proper weather conditions (which ARE broad, however). Some DMs will ignore everything but "storm"...& without the descriptive examples that follow "storm", it's pretty much junked. It generally requires planning, bane to many a group. However, it is worth noting, especially for later edition players, that the damage, impressive as it is in any edition, is far MORE potent than 3e-5e gamers can know...hit points tend to be lower in AD&D, much, much lower at higher levels. Call lightning bolts are KILLERS. So, even if it is only one blast, it's often a big deal. On that rare case one can use most of them to good effect, your druid (or bard, or ranger, etc) is going to seem like an awesome thunder god! (Zeus, Thor, etc)

    edit: hence the "average" damage is anything but average, but yes, at L3 it is 5x4.5=22.5, with 3 possible bolts for 67.5 hp.
    5d8 bolts generally kill L3 characters however, it ought be noted.

    oh, one more thing. Item saving throws vs lightning are devastating as well. Survive a blast & you may well loose your sword, &/or plate & mail armor, etc, etc.

    On spell progression in general: most classes actually looked much like later editions, or even stingier. However, there were exceptions, progress wasn't always even for spells, both in number & levels vs spell levels. The same went for xp for level progress. Druids had a very rapid early spell rate (& relatively slow xp/level rate), then went back to a more typical progression(with fast xp/level rate); L4 spells are not gained by druids until L6. Druids, being level capped at L14 (prior to some weird/odd later supplementary rules) resumed rapid spell level gains in their last few levels as well (but there are only a few druids of those levels, one must defeat a current druid of that rank to advance). Only magic users ever gained L9 spells (at L18 MU & a massive XP total, other classes are L20+); the other classes never gained anything past L7 spells (not that their L7 spells were weak!).

    Hmm, as an example of the other extreme for a druid, try 1e creeping doom; L7 druid spell, usable by the 9 druids (L12), the 3 arch-druids(L13) & the great druid (L14). if one got caught by it more or less point blank, it is 500-1000 bugs with damage of 500-1000 hp. 1e characters rarely ever broke 100 hp, no matter how high their level (only some warriors with high con scores will do so); the greatest gods/sky fathers all have 400 hp. Lacking proper immunity, it's death to all those in the initial 20' square carpet of scorpions, spiders, etc (and often those beyond). 4 uber fighter types with 100 hp each, say, dead no save, no to hit, etc, with plenty left over. It's slow to cast, and thus HL fighters would almost certainly drub the druid while he or she tried to cast it, but...

    druid vs mind flayer, Eorl Otis
    so awful a death, one might feel bad for anything less awful than a slimy illithid!
    Last edited by CE DM; 2019-04-12 at 03:53 PM.

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