Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wizard Spell Progressions Compared

Bryan Steward posted a question about the wizard (well, magic-user, whatever) spell progressions in B/X versus AD&D and made me realize that I had never formally compared the various editions of D&D in that regard. So I typed it all up in a spreadsheet that you may want to have a look at if you are interested in the details. (I should note that I suck at spreadsheets, so if you want to help me add more data or maybe some graphs, I'd appreciate it.)

The (perhaps not very surprising) conclusion is that wizards in AD&D and OD&D are more powerful (according to my metric anyway) than wizards in B/X. Between AD&D and OD&D it's sort of a toss-up with OD&D being slightly better at low levels and AD&D being slightly better at high levels.

Of course I couldn't resist and added my own spell progression to the mix, the one from my house rules. It mostly floats around AD&D except at level 14 where it clearly beats everything else with two 7th-level spells. But I should mention that the spreadsheet doesn't take XP requirements into account: it's pretty much impossible for anyone to advance to level 14 in my game because I keep doubling XP requirements forever.

So I am quite happy with my spell progression's power curve (mostly in line with the classics) and it's certainly a more straightforward pattern than what Gary and friends came up with.

Update 2014/04/15: Just added the BECMI progression from the Rules Cyclopedia and that wizard has it even worse than the B/X wizard. The Labyrinth Lord wizard is better off than most of the others, close to my progression actually. The Swords & Wizardry wizard is on par with mine as well, but the Lamentations wizard is in the AD&D range.

If that means anything, it's probably that most OSR folks like Dan Proctor, Matt Finch, and my humble self agree that the wizard's curve should have been a little better; just James Raggi (who would have thunk?) has to be different. Of course we all fervently disagree on how many XP it should take to reach, say, level 9 as a wizard: Dan says 310,000 XP, Matt says 100,000 XP, James says 288,000 XP, and I say 256,000 XP. Oh well...

Update 2014/04/16: Just for reference, B/X says 300,000 XP, AD&D says 135,000 XP, OD&D says 100,000 XP. For wizards to reach level 9. Go figure.

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