About the Sleep saving throw


The Sleep spell doesn’t specify any saving throw. Is that correct?

I mean, in the charm spells there is a saving throw vs spells, and I think is a bit shocking there isn’t a saving throw for this spell.


No save is how sleep worked in the older versions of the game. It’s nice and vicious.


It makes sense to me. If you’ve got one spell, and any bozo can whack your squishy face to interrupt it, it had best be pretty damn good when you get it off.

If you consult the Player’s Companion, you’ll note that Sleep costs 28 points to build; it’s equivalent to a 3rd level spell.

Sleep: Sleep targets (15), target 1 creature of up to 4+1 HD or 2d8 HD of creatures up to 4HD (x2.3), creatures must be living (x0.75), creatures with fewest HD affected first (x0.75), range 240’ (x1.25), duration 4d4 turns (x1.2), no saving throw (x1), total cost 28

So if you find it more powerful than other 1st level spells, that’s because it is.

If you find Sleep too powerful for your campaign, here is a reduced-strength version:

Slumber: Sleep targets (15), target 1 creature of up to 4+1 HD or 2d8 HD of creatures up to 4HD (x2.3), creatures with fewest HD affected first (x0.5), range 60’ (x1), duration 12 rounds (x1.15), saving t hrow avoids spell effect (x0.5), total cost 9.9 = 1st level

This spell retains the dramatic “nuke” capability of classic D&D’s Sleep, but it has shorter range and duration and permits a saving throw.

As a side note, would it be interesting to have “level-appropriate” versions of all spells that exceed their actual level? E.g. level-appropriate sleep, lightning bolt, fireball, etc.

I would be interested in it, both to watch for casters (either PC or NPC) having a lot of over-level spells and to be able to add the at-level spells to the spell selections.

Also, I noticed the at-level sleep spell doesn’t have “only target living creatures.” May I propose the following for a first-level no-save sleep?
Sleep targets (15)
1 creature of up to 4+1 HD or 2d8 HD of creatures up to 4 HD (x2.3)
Only target living creatures (x0.75)
Creatures with fewest HD are affected first (x0.5)
15’ Range (x0.6)
Duration 1 turn/level (x1.2)
No saving throw permitted (x1)
Cost = 9.315

Great catch. Thank you.

I mostly agree with you. The only problem will be when any chaotic mage will cast this spell to my players (The are under 4 lvl at this moment), and they will not have a saving throw. But I spoke it with them, and they agreed to use this version of Sleep, without saving throw.


Uhm, I didn’t thought the spells are not “level-appropriate”, BUT I think I’ll not change it. The magic should be mysterious, not a science. I mean: some spells are more powerful than others, but my PCs have to find that. Also, the arcane spellcasters gain their spells randomly (when they gain a level), and they have to find and study the new spells. On the other hand, the spells from divine casters (legal and neutral) are not so “deadly” as the arcane ones.

On the other hand, I think it would be interesting have a different versions of the same spell… The magic is not a science and each mage or guild could have their own version. The arcane spellcasters could enjoy the task of look for new and more powerful versions of the spells that they already know.

Thank you very much for your answers.

The thing about that is, if you have vastly unbalanced spells, then some spells will be no-brainer choices while others will barely be touched. Players will figure out the “optimal loadout” and use almost nothing else.

It’s a lot like what happened with 3.5 D&D. Among PC Mages whose players take time to read the rulebook and figure it out, there will be almost no diversity. They’ll only take the “best” spells, hoping to maximize success, and leave the rest high and dry unless you DM-fiat them to take worse spells.

As for different versions of the same level spell (i.e. Level 1 Sleep is weaker than ++Level 1 Sleep++, or is a higher spell level with the same effect), I just see that resulting in power creep and hurt feelings, as a PC Mage finds ++Level 1 Magic Missile++… except he’s already locked in with the worse version, and feels cheated because he can’t swap it out without spending thousands of gold. Alternatively, he keeps researching ever-more-broken versions of the same spell, and after a time starts overshadowing the Fighter by being so much better at combat.

I believe many would use the level-appropriate versions in lieu of the breakthrough versions, not in addition to. If a Judge would like to have both versions, “power components” can help to manage the breakthrough version. Except for rituals, ACKS spells do not have components, but adding a power component, like freshly harvested rose petals, can limit access to the breakthrough version. The “secret” or formula of preparing the power component is something that can be sought out and learned without affecting spell repertoire.

Also, a PC mage creating “revolutionary” (+2 level) breakthrough spells requires “radical” experimental spell research and is both dangerous and difficult.

I use random spell generation, which helps some of the more obscure spells see some use.

From what I heard, some truly skilled mage got lucky on his spell research to create sleep, and his work has been copied and spread across the world. There are ways for players to create similarly potent spells with luck and some bold experimentation.

If another spell like sleep or fireball is created by a player, it might attract attention of powerful (and power-hungry) mages. Some might wish to become henchman to the PC, others may wish to buy or trade for the spell, while a few may wish to take it by force. Perhaps more worryingly, some may wish to deny the knowledge to other (either for the safety of the world in the case of dangerous spells, or in order to jealously hoard the magic for themselves).

I do think regional variation on spells could be interesting too. They don’t even need to be more powerful than each other. Maybe one trades range for duration, or area of effect for the cost of reliability (ie requires a saving throw).