"Spell level-appropriate" wizard spells?

I’ve been thinking about using ACKS for a potential campaign and have been going through the spell list with a fine tooth comb - magic has always probably been the most problematic part of D&D in my experience, and I’m looking at a couple of things - trying to quash “outliers” in the spell list and also I’m looking for advice on how to arbitrate certain spells.

Firstly, I’ve I’ve been trying to get slightly more “level appropriate” spells using the Player’s Companion spell creation rules, after being inspired by this thread. In it, a new statblock for the sleep spell is proposed to bring it more into line with other first level options (changes in bold):

Slumber - targets 1 creature of 4+1HD or 2d8 HD of creatures up to 4HD, affects creatures with fewest HD first, range 60’, duration 12 rounds, saving throw avoids spell

Here’s a couple of attempts at bringing Fireball and Lightning Bolt back into line:

Standard Fireball
1d6/level fire, 20’ sphere, 90’ range, save v. blast half (cost 32.4),
1d6/level fire, 15’ sphere, 180’ range, save v. blast half (total cost 33.4)

Standard Lightning Bolt
1d6/level lightning, 60’x5’ line, 120’ range, save v. blast half (total cost 31.8)
1d6+1/level lightning, 60’x5’ line, 60’, save v. blast half (total cost 30.3)

As far as I can tell, a good chunk of the extra “cost” for these spells comes from the extra range increments, which probably ends up mattering a lot less before the “army level” tier of play (240 feet is probably overkille for the confines of most dungeons).

This suits me just fine, and allows me to include the original versions of sleep, fireball, and lightning bolt as useful treasures that the PCs can aim for later, assuming domainal play is every reached. Are there any other notable outliers in the book, and if so, do they follow similar progressions?

Any comments at all? Is my math correct? Are my assumptions correct, for those who have actually played similar games - do the range changes make a big difference or not? Are there other outliers that are “above their level”?

My experience with RPGs comes from AD&D 2e and later, often in more narrative styles, long after the dispassionate narrative style that I’ve read was the norm for early OD&D. I’ll admit I don’t exactly trust my instincts completely for setting up a “classic” dungeoncrawl/hexcrawl, so any feedback would be very helpful.

Hopefully Alex can drop in with stats on spells by level that are over the thresholds in the Player’s Companion; I don’t think any of the rest of us have put the effort in to reverse engineer each and every spell. That said, if I were redesigning lightning bolt and fireball, I’d think twice about reducing only range. Fireball and lightning bolt are for the most part “outdoors spells” - both carry drawbacks that can make them very dangerous to employ in a dungeon (reflection and expands-to-volume). The acquisition of these spells greatly lowers the lethality of wilderness adventuring / hexcrawling - a well-timed fireball has enough volume and damage to force morale checks on a humanoid warband. It is in just these outdoor use-cases that range is actually important. A 240’ range, 20’ sphere fireball capped at 5d6 damage still retains most of its ability as a long-range warband-breaker at ~35 points. You could then differentiate lightning bolt by keeping it uncapped for damage but reducing range or area, to make it more of a “few-target dragonslayer” spell.

This is really useful feedback, actually; I’m more accustomed to more urban or at least town-based adventure settings where encounters at hundreds of feet are rare. I’m trying to get my head around GMing in a more old-school style, and as a city-slicker for most of my life this means I’m trying to dig up a lot of the assumed logic behind old-school play. You certainly don’t find details in fantasy novels about camp discipline, managing supply trains and henchmen, or marching orders most of the time either (but then again, perhaps I’m just reading the wrong ones!).

I agree that there are a lot of GMing assumptions in old-school / *crawling play that are not well-documented and didn’t make it into the literature. I made a project of unpacking as many of these as possible, and have some blogposts that resulted. Will post links when I return from work.

Well it was going to be a forum post, but it got too long so it was going to be a blog post, but then that got too long so it’s turning into a series of blog posts. First one is up at http://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2015/06/an-old-school-dming-blogiography-i.html , with more to follow over the next week or two.

Real life interferes, as is its wont. Part 2 on dungeon design is up at http://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2015/06/old-school-dming-blogiography-2-of.html . Almost all of this should also apply to the wilderness as well as the dungeon.