Saturday, November 22, 2008

D&D vs. the Simulacra Analysis - Spell Lists

First, here is an Excel format file that lists all the spells in OD&D, the Supplements, B/X, BECM, AD&D, Unearthed Arcana, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC 2, Swords & Wizardry, Microlite74, Basic Fantasy RPG, and Spellcraft & Swordplay.

Cross-referencing the spell lists, here's what we find... by game:

Spells Comparisons Between the Source and the Simulacra

(note that the exact spell name may not be identical - having "Darkvision" instead of "Infravision" is common, for example, and are not noted in the Excel sheet above. For example, Basic Fantasy as Flesh to Stone as an other example, where almost all the other games list Stone to Flesh. But they're all reversible... so it's really the same spell and is counted as such. Still, I may have missed combining certain spells that have different names but are really the same thing. Corrections are welcome and begged for.)


All Spells from AD&D 1E PH are in OSRIC 2

None of the AD&D 1E UA spells are in OSRIC 2

Swords and Wizardry

All Spells from OD&D Box are in S&W

Spells in Greyhawk but not in S&W
  • Darkness 5' Radius (but see below)
  • Explosive Runes
  • Mind Blank
  • Phase Door
  • Prismatic Wall
  • Raise Dead Fully
  • Ventriloquism

(All but the Darkness 5' Radius are in the SRD...)

Spells in S&W but not in OD&D
  • Cacodaemon (from AD&D)
  • Darkness 15' Radius (from AD&D) (that 5' radius crap in GH... what is that?)
  • Enchant an Item (from AD&D)
  • Prismatic Sphere (from AD&D)

Labyrinth Lord

Spells in B/X that are not in LL
  • Create Food (but see below)
  • Create Water (but see below)

Spells in Labyrinth Lord but not in B/X
(these seem to be filling in high level cleric and magic-user spells, since B/X goes to level 14 and LL goes to level 20)
  • Animate Objects (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Antipathy/Sympathy (From AD&D)
  • Blade Barrier (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Clenched Fist (from AD&D)
  • Clone (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Conjure Animals (from Greyhawk)
  • Create Food & Water (from AD&D)
  • Crushing Hand (from AD&D)
  • Cure Critical Wounds (from AD&D/Mentzer)
  • Delayed Blast Fireball (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Detect Lie (from AD&D)
  • Duo-Dimension (from AD&D)
  • Earthquake (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Find the Path (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Flame Strike (from AD&D)
  • Glassteel (from AD&D)
  • Grasping Hand (from AD&D)
  • Heal (from AD&D)
  • Holy Word (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Imprisonment (from AD&D)
  • Incendiary Cloud (from AD&D)
  • Instant Summons (from AD&D)
  • Irresistible Dance (from AD&D)
  • Limited Wish (from Greyhawk)
  • Magic Sword (from SRD?)
  • Mass Charm (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Mass Invisibility (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Maze (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Meteor Swarm (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Mind Blank (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Phase Door (from Greyhawk)
  • Polymorph Any Object (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Power Word Kill (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Power Word Stun (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Prismatic Sphere (from AD&D)
  • Raise Dead Fully (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Regenerate (from AD&D)
  • Restoration (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Reverse Gravity (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Shape Change (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Simulacrum (from Greyhawk)
  • Statue (from AD&D/Mentzer)
  • Stone Tell (from AD&D)
  • Symbol (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Temporal Stasis (from AD&D)
  • Time Stop (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Trap the Soul (from AD&D)
  • True Sight (from AD&D/Mentzer)
  • Wind Walk (from Greyhawk)
  • Wish (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)
  • Word of Recall (from Greyhawk/Mentzer)


All Spells, and only spells, from OD&D Box are in Microlite74

Basic Fantasy RPG

Since this is a bit of an amalgam... let's see what we find.

Spells in both Mentzer and B/X not in BFRPG
  • Contact Higher Plane
  • Control Weather
  • Know Alignment
  • Move Earth
  • Read Magic
  • Snake Charm
Spells in Mentzer not in BFRPG
  • Aerial Servant
  • Animal Summoning I
  • Anti-Animal Shell
  • Anti-Plant Shell
  • Call Lightning
  • Charm Plants
  • Clone
  • Control Temperature 10’ Radius
  • Control Winds
  • Creeping Doom
  • Cure Critical Wounds
  • Delayed Blast Fireball
  • Earthquake
  • Gate
  • Heat Metal
  • Hold Animal
  • Holy Word
  • Legend Lore
  • Mass Charm
  • Mass Invisibility
  • Maze
  • Meteor Swarm
  • Mind Blank
  • Obscurement
  • Pass Plant
  • Permanent Spell
  • Plant Door
  • Polymorph Any Object
  • Power Word Blind
  • Power Word Kill
  • Power Word Stun
  • Predict Weather
  • Prismatic Wall
  • Produce Fire
  • Protection from Lightning
  • Reverse Gravity
  • Shape Change
  • Statue
  • Symbol
  • Time Stop
  • Transmute Metal to Wood
  • Transport via Plants
  • Turn Wood
  • Warp Wood
  • Weather Summoning
  • Wish
  • Raise Dead Fully
  • Contingency
  • Create Any Monster
  • Create Magical Monster
  • Create Normal Animals
  • Create Normal Animals
  • Cureall
  • Dance
  • Detect Danger
  • Dissolve
  • Explosive Cloud
  • Force Field
  • Immunity
  • Locate
  • Magic Door
  • Protection from Poison
  • Summon Object
  • Survival
  • Teleport Any Object
  • Travel
  • Wizardry

Spells in B/X not in BFRPG
  • Part Water
  • Transmute Rock to Mud
  • Wall of Ice

Spells in BFRPG not in either B/X or Mentzer
  • Heal (from AD&D)
  • Magic Mouth (from Greyhawk)
  • Regenerate (from AD&D)
  • Spiritual Hammer (from AD&D)
  • Charm Animal (from SRD)

Spellcraft and Swordplay

Spells from the Original Box but not in S&S
  • Death Spell
  • Lower Water
  • Read Magic (but is now class ability)

Spells in Greyhawk that are not in S&S
  • All except Magic Missile!

Spells in S&S that are not in OD&D or any of the Supplements
  • Circle of Death (from... ?)
  • Heal (from AD&D)
Here's some funny stuff... a lot of traditional guys, and surely people making Simulacra have to fall into that category, don't like Unearthed Arcana. Yet a good number of such people don't object to the spells found in there... at least some of them... right?

Spells from Unearthed Arcana that Appear Elsewhere Besides the SRD
  • Contingency (in Mentzer)

And that's it. Haha!

Verdict: The most faithful of the simulacra noted here, based on spell lists, are Microlite74, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord. Swords & Wizardry and Spellcraft & Swordplay are real close. Basic Fantasy is other.

(I don't have Castles & Crusades to include them in this comparison)

(in the next few days... Monster List comparisons)


  1. Cacodemon is in S&W? That's pretty cool. It's my favorite spell in the AD&D Players Handbook.

  2. I'm curious to see what you make of all of this. Do you think that the spell lists should match the original version being cloned?

  3. >>I'm curious to see what you make of all of this. Do you think that the spell lists should match the original version being cloned?

    It depends what the purpose of the "clone" is. If the point is to be a publishing guide for a certain older game, then the particulars should be as close as humanly and legally possible.

    If the point is to make a complete new game with all the oldschool trappings and methods, it's not as important.

    I'll have much more to say about this after doing the lists with the magic items and the monsters.

  4. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Personally, I think spells can have a huge effect on the feel of a D&D-style game. Not just which spells but the specifics of how they work.

    For retro-clones and simulacra, however, they can be a mind-field.

    When evaluating a game, they can be easy to gloss over since it takes some effort to take a close look at the spells, find the little details, and consider the implications. More effort than evaluating many other aspects of the game.

    As for UA, the findings match what I would expect. I don’t know how many times I’ve read someone with nothing good to say about UA except that it has some good spells.

  5. Thank you so much James, this is an incredibly useful tool, especially for anyone considering using the OGL to produce anything old school.

    I couldn't help myself, I had to add a column for Holmes before printing it out. From a D&D historical/evolutionary perspective, this is an extremely interesting document.