So an NPC wizard threw Mass Sleep on the PCs in my game the session before last, and put one to sleep.
There is an oddity in Sleep, which is it's not an especially deep or magical sleep by its wording. It's just sleep, with the caveat that slumping down doesn't wake you up. You can contrast this with Daze, which leaves someone standing oblivious to all but who is much harder to rouse.
"Any injury, or successful resistance to a spell, causes the subject to snap out of the daze and return to full alert status."
GURPS Magic, p. 134
"He can be awakened by a blow, loud noise, etc., but will be mentally stunned (see Effects of Stun,p. B420). The Awaken spell (p. 90) will arouse him instantly."
GURPS Magic, p. 135
Nevermind the Morpheus (aka Sleep) elixir:
"The subject must roll vs. HT-4 or fall instantly asleep. He sleeps for 16-HT hours, and may not be awakened by nonmagical means during that time."
GURPS Magic, p. 218
In a way, this makes Daze cheaper and more effective, which a problem for three reasons:
- asleep folks should be less aware and harder to arouse than people merely out of it.
- Daze is a prereq for Sleep, implying strongly that Sleep should work better than Daze.
- Sleep costs more to cast than Daze, further implying strongly that Sleep should work better than Daze.
Plus you can add on top the idea that the elixir version is vastly more potent than any spell, which isn't that uncommon in GURPS Magic but isn't something I am a fan of, either.
Yet for all of that, you can (by the spell as written) wake someone up with any damage, jostling, loud noises, or the Awaken spell. Sleep does last (potentially) much longer, as much as 8 hours, but it's a vastly more fragile spell to put on someone. It also gets rid of a potentially interesting use to cast on already-sleeping subjects to keep them under more deeply.
It's also a bit of a mess when combined with the wording of Awaken.
"Sleeping or unconscious subjects get a HT roll to awaken, at a bonus equal to the caster’s margin of success.
GURPS Magic, p. 90
Awaken can un-stun folks, too, but says nothing about Daze's effects. Nor is it 100% clear if Awaken's wording trumps Sleep's wording - does Awaken automatically wake up a Sleep spell victim, or does it allow a roll per Awaken's wording? I know my players favor automatic, but they use Awaken and not Sleep. They also argued that injury from low FP (losing HP instead of FP) was injury, and that all injury automatically wakes you up. I can see the logic in it, but then that means people under a Sleep spell wake up with a snap when hurt, breathing carbon monoxide, the poison fumes of a Stench spell, etc. but people who are just asleep without magic may not, or exhausted without being asleep might not, either.
I like the built-in duration effects of Morpheus, but not its inability to be countered without magic. It's too limiting, meaning only PC parties with a wizard with Awaken can shrug this off yet a wizard can't put someone that deeply to sleep. I think that makes the elixir a bit unfair, even for the cost.
Naturally, I'm going to unify the results a bit.
Here is the re-wording of the relevant portions of these spells for my game:
Daze: Any injury (even a 0-HP slap) or successful resistance to a spell, causes the subject to snap out of the daze and return to full alert status. A sufficiently loud noise (a Thunderclap spell, for example, or a nearby explosion) may allow a HT roll to snap out of it, at the referee's discretion.
Sleep: Any injury (even a 0-HP slap) or successful resistance to a spell, causes the subject to wake up, but he will be mentally stunned (see Effects of Stun, p. B420) unless woken with the Awaken spell. A sufficiently loud noise (a Thunderclap spell, for example, or a nearby explosion) may allow a HT roll to snap out of it, at the referee's discretion. The victim will sleep for 1 hour for each point by which he failed to resist (minimum 1 hour.)
Morpheus: The subject must roll vs. HT-4 or fall instantly asleep, exactly as the Sleep spell (see p. 135)
Awaken: Sleeping or unconscious subjects, including those under Daze or Sleep spells, get a HT roll to awaken, at a bonus equal to the caster’s margin of success.
Personally, I think that tidies up the effects. Sleep is more effective than before, which suits its cost, but lasts much less than its vague but potentially extremely long current duration. Daze now has more ways out, so you can't have to actually injure your friends to end the spell. The sleep elixir is now identical to the spell instead of being oddly powerful. And Awaken is broader and more effective against any of those three.
Not only that, but this is consistent with how I ran it last game on the fly when I realized the oddity.