The sleep spell of classic D&D was always a bit of a no-fun nuke spell that gave a magic-user one moment of glory in an adventure, but left them tossing daggers and holding the torch the rest of the session, or if they were lucky, ticking charges from a wand of something useful or casting from scrolls. Of course, the material costs of making scrolls meant no regular level one MU could have a bandolier of such scrolls handy to begin with, and even so, any sentient enemies would spot the pointy hat unrolling the parchment and make him their primary target...

Spell Card by Christopher Kosciuk
But I digress. What I am interested in doing is exploring ways to balance sleep. Some will argue there is no disparity, but granting NPCs the same cudgel and will to use it as the players, and a few TPKs later, if the game is still running, everyone will probably agree to rule-0 Sleep right out of existence.

First, simply allow saving throws for all targets. that will significantly cut into it's effectiveness and give both players and mooks a reasonable chance to remain upright. Apply a -1 to initiative checks for 2d4 rounds to simulate lassitude and away you go.

Further (or in lieu of allowing saving throws) allow the spell to affect 2HD of creature per level of the caster, and prevent success against foes whose HD exceed the casters level +1, or 5HD, whichever is less. I would treat half HD creatures as 0.5HD, not rounding, but otherwise disregard hp modifiers applied to HD. This allows 2 kobolds to be affected where one orc would otherwise be sent to dreamland. One might want to consider an upper limit on the number of HD affected, but leaving it open would provide for a significant non-lethal option that scales at the same rate as most other damage based spells (i.e. magic missile's notorious power scaling).

One may also consider introducing a variant spell to use either instead-of, or along-side the existing Sleep spell that instead of an area of effect, can be targeted on one or more individuals using either or both of the aforementioned mechanics. Targeted castings ability to take out the room sweeper and not the cannon-fodder should have restrictions. Clearly, this potential abuse of an already potent spell was appreciated when the spell was originally written, as it affects lowest to highest HD by default.

If one is using some sort of magic-point (mana) based casting solution, simply tie the number of targets affected to the number of magic-points expended on the spell. This allows the spell to remain a nuclear-option, while also allowing it to be used in more finessed situations for an appropriate cost (sleep only the guard on the left).


Hobgoblins and Bugbears

The Gnuae'Moblae, the enhanced soldier castes of the Enfae, splintered into sub-castes as the defilement brought on by their enhancement set in, each attempting whatever cures they hoped would thwart their corruption. The most fortunate perhaps, being the more technical and thoughtful, isolated and stabilized their corruption by weaving the natures of the Enfae's inferior simulacrums, the Elvorae (elves) back into their own lattice, and became those we know as gnomes. On the other extreme, the common soldier class, were left out of many attempted solutions, and show the greatest degeneration, becoming what is now the common goblin. There were other castes that fared better than the common goblins, while not doing as well as the gnomes.


The officers of the Gnuae'Moblae were the highest caste, warlords and commanders of noble lineage and superior prowess in mind and body. This privileged caste, through superior breeding, talents and opportunity afforded by their rank, were able to thwart much of the degeneration that afflicted their troops.

The hobgoblin clans are normally small, relying on skill at arms and tactics, often accompanied by small bands of goblins. When marching to war, they martial large armies of regular goblins and even beast-kin to fill the roles. Hobgoblins are always well armed and equipped in standardized arms and armor, presumably crafted by hobgoblin craftsmen.

Hobgoblin have long pointed ears, large sharp noses, narrow eyes, high cheekbones, a pronounced jaw and tusk-like teeth or fangs. They have little if any facial hair or body hair, and their heads are covered in thin hair, though balding is common. Head ridges and goat-like horns are rare and marks of strong fae-magic potential. They stand much taller than common goblins between six and seven feet tall, with thicker more muscular frames. Hobgoblin skin coloration is fairly consistent in any given clan: typically shades of tan, sienna, or rusty-red. Their hair, if they have any, is usually black, dark green, brown, or rust red, graying with age.

Hobgoblins have rudimentary affinities toward elemental magics, namely earth and to a lesser extent, fire. Strong elemental affinities are rare, and those with them become shaman or chiefs, depending on the strength and nature of their affinities. Their affinity to the fae life-force and mind influencing powers are rare, and typically present in the fairer skinned and slighter of frame. Individuals with particularly strong fae affinities are typically marked with ridges or goat-like horns on their heads, or even more rarely, tails or other animal like manifestations. Such traits in hobgoblin society are rare and ones so endowed are typically kings and warlords. Normally, only the fae endowed among hobgoblins are able to see and pass the veil between dreams, entering the Shhee-Veld or Ghost Land.


Among the Gnuae'Moblae there was a special caste who's purpose was to bend the lattice of life using their fae affinities in order to produce the beast-kin who served as the cannon-fodder of the Enfae armies. As the degeneration began to set in, this master class of life-shaping turned their talents upon themselves, hoping to find salvation from the twisting malformation by bolstering their natures with raw animal power. What they succeeded in doing was transforming their caste into something larger and more beastial than their hobgoblin brothers.

Bugbears have wolfish faces with pointed ears, rounded noses, sharp eyes, and slightly elongated muzzles
and jaws with vicious fangs. They are typically covered in course, brown, gray, or black hair, and what skin that shows is typically dark and ranging from gray to olive green or brown. They stand six to eight feet in height, with broad muscular bodies that defy their fae ancestry.

Bugbear affinities toward elemental magics are very rare, and the fae affinities of life-weaving that brought them to this state are almost completely lacking, though they are quick healers. Bugbear are quite stealthy, and their shaman and chiefs are often able to spin glamours over weaker minded beings. Of all goblinkind, bugbears have the easiest time finding and passing the veil between dreams into the Shhee-Veld. So much so, most bugbears dwell in the Ghost Lands, and only foray into the regular realm to forage and raid. Bugbears use whatever weapons and armor they find, although more organized troupes may force goblins or other creatures to craft such items for their use.