Saturday, 11 December 2010

Elementalist spells in Labyrinth Lord

Inspired by Carter's comment on an old post about elementalists in Savage Worlds, I got to thinking about what spells an elementalist might have available in Labyrinth Lord. I was imagining that the list would be pretty thin, and that a lot of new spells would need to be added, but after poring over the AEC spell lists I discovered that there's actually a fairly good selection already.

(While making these lists, I was interested to note that while I consider cold-based effects to be totally within the sphere of an elementalist, I don't feel the same about lightning effects. I'm not sure why!)

1st level
  1. Burning hands
  2. Create water (C)
  3. Feather fall
  4. Manipulate fire
  5. Purify water (D)
  6. Resist cold (C)
  7. Unseen servant
  8. Wall of vapor (I)
2nd level
  1. Fire trap
  2. Fog cloud (I)
  3. Heat metal (D)
  4. Produce flame (D)
  5. Pyrotechnics
  6. Resist fire (C)
3rd level
  1. Fireball
  2. Fly
  3. Gust of wind
  4. Protection from fire (D)
  5. Stone shape (D)
  6. Water breathing
4th level
  1. Fire shield
  2. Flash fire (D)
  3. Ice storm
  4. Lower water (D)
  5. Move earth, lesser
  6. Temperature control (D)
  7. Wall of fire
  8. Wall of ice
5th level
  1. Atmosphere bubble
  2. Cone of cold
  3. Conjure elemental
  4. Control winds (D)
  5. Distort distance
  6. Flame strike (C)
  7. Passwall
  8. Transmute rock to mud
  9. Wall of stone
6th level
  1. Control weather
  2. Freezing sphere
  3. Part water
  4. Move earth
  5. Summon aerial servant (C)
7th level
  1. Control weather, greater (D)
  2. Earthquake (D)
  3. Fire storm (D)
  4. Statue
  5. Wind walk (C)
8th level
  1. Incendiary cloud
9th level
  1. Meteor swarm
Yes, so it gets a bit minimal at the higher levels, but it'd only require the addition of maybe twenty or so new spells to flesh it out into a pretty appealing spell list. And some of those spells are pretty obvious - ones dealing with summoning different kinds of elementals, for instance. Something for a rainy day :)


  1. Maybe you could get more, if you wanted more, by counting wood and metal as elements (as in the Chinese classical elements), and/or light and darkness (as in modern New Age writing).

  2. Well done! Somehow I agree with you about lightning.

    Inspired by your original post, I have also been working on some ideas around this and may start posting about it soon. In the meanwhile, you might wish to check out the spells available over at Ancient Vaults and Eldritch Secrets -- I've been raiding bat's excellent stuff for awhile now:

  3. @anarchist: Yeah I deliberately kept it to just the four classic elements so as to not tread on the toes of the Druid or Illusionist classes too much. In my mind, two of the Druid's main specialist areas are wood / plants (obviously) and lightning. And the Illusionist is master of light & dark. I guess that's the point about cold - no existing class is obviously in control of the cold based spells, so why not make that part of the elementalist's domain.

    @Carter Soles: Cool, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject! And yes, those spells at Eldritch Vaults are excellent! Somehow I couldn't manage to search them very effectively though, even with the index page...

  4. Maybe instead of an Elementalist you could have separate classes for each element (with druids counting as 'wood' and illusionists as 'light').

    Have you seen the Pyromancer? It's an unofficial OD&D class along that line.

  5. @elf23: Yes, I have trouble searching AVES too, even with ChicagoWiz's index. I usually just comb through the archives by month.

    Do you consider your elementalist class to be an arcanist or a divine practitioner?

    @anarchist: My own version of elementalists (forthcoming!) does indeed split them up by element as you suggest, and, like druids, makes them a Cleric (NOT M-U) sub-class. I hope you'll offer me some feedback once I start getting those ideas posted later this week. Also, nice catch on the Pyrologist / Pyromancer as well!

  6. Hey thanks for the tip re: the Pyrologist / "Fire-user", there's a lot of interesting ideas there!

    Maybe I should describe a bit where I'm coming from with my musings on an elementalist class... I really loved the way there were all those specialist wizards in AD&D 2nd edition, and I'd love to recreate a bit of that flavour in Labyrinth Lord. I say "a bit of" that flavour, as there was another aspect of the 2e specialists which I really didn't like - namely the way they all have access to almost all spells, with only one or two out of the eight schools disallowed to each type of specialist. That, to me, seems like a bit of a misuse of the term "specialist". Take, for example the dreaded Necromancer, who specialises in you-know-what, and by the way is also handy with a bit of Alteration, Divination, Conjuration / Summoning, Invocation / Evocation and Abjuration. Ok...

    What I'd like to see, and will probably get round to gradually, is some specialist wizard classes who are worth their salt as members of an adventuring party, and who, like the 1st edition Illusionist, really do specialise in just one kind of magic. Of course this rules out some of the 2e schools of magic as making viable PC specialists. I mean, a Diviner / Seer makes a fine NPC, but I don't think they'd hold their own as adventurers. So I came to thinking about what would make good specialist wizard classes? (The Illusionist being the "canon" example.) The Necromancer is a prime candidate, with all sorts of damaging, detecting, controlling and weirdifying spells. The next that came to my mind was the Invoker (to use the 2e terminology) - someone who understands the secrets of the powers of the world and can summon forth ferocious energies with a click of his fingers. In the next instant I renamed this character the Elementalist (which covers sort of more or less the same ground, and sounds a bit less academic to me, somehow). (I'm also slightly inspired by Earthsea's mages, who are masters of winds and oceans.)

    I think they make a nice trio: the Illusionist, the Necromancer and the Elementalist.

    Specialist runners-up: An Enchanter would definitely be viable, especially in a more urban-focused campaign, and the Summoner and Transmuter could both make very cool classes, if they had a good range of spells available.

    So that's where I'm coming from with this. Carter, your divine elementalist angle sounds very interesting as well!

  7. @elf23:

    I'd ignore the summoning/transmuting/alteration etc division altogether.

    Instead I'd group spells by giving elements symbolic attributes as well as literal ones.

    For example light would cover gaining knowledge as well as literally causing light, darkness could cover causing confusion, metal could cover increasing morale ('steeling' people), and so on.


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