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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

RSA: Clairvoyance & Clairaudience

While I have seen some "psychic" spells used in games, mostly it's been ESP, usually to help interrogate a prisoner or dupe a guard. I've got no problem with either scenario, but it seems that the other scrying spells are less common (at least in my games).  Like Wizard Eye, these spells could be very handy for scouting and intel gathering. They have their limits, to be sure, but I can't help but feel they get short shrift because of players' leanings towards combat spells.

Clairvoyance (from Cook)
Level: 3
Range: 60'
Duration: 12 Turns

Clairaudience (from Labyrinth Lord/AEC)
Level: 3 
Range: 60'
Duration: 12 turns 

First off, their ranges aren't great for 3rd level spells. They are also blocked by 2' of stone or a lead coating. It takes a minimum of 1 full turn to "tune in" and hear/see anything, so it's not a quickie spell. Check out the durations, though! That's two hours of eavesdropping! Because they are 3rd level, I think they also get kind of drowned out by the MU's clamor to get Fireball and/or Lightning Bolt.

There are other limitations, like only targeting one creature, needing to have at least a general idea of in which direction the folks you want to spy on. In first edition AD&D, the spells center on an area/vantage point, so there are no saving throws. In B/X-LL, the spells link to a target's senses/mind, allowing a Save vs. Spells. This weakens it somewhat compared to its "Advanced" brethren. Still, there are so many possible applications for these spells. They are another great case for a mage that's something other than walking artillery. 

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