Based on yesterday’s poll, I decided to actually compare side-by-side the OD&D magic-user spell progression and the Labyrinth Lord cleric spell progression up to level 15, ignoring spell levels above 5.  Here’s that chart:

OD&D MU LL Cleric
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
1 1 1
2 2 2
3 3 1 2 1
4 4 2 3 2
5 4 2 1 3 2 1
6 4 2 2 4 3 2 1
7 4 3 2 1 4 3 3 2
8 4 3 3 2 4 3 3 2
9 4 3 3 2 1 4 4 3 2 1
10 4 4 3 3 2 5 4 3 3 2
11 4 4 4 3 3 5 4 4 3 2
12 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 4 3 3
13 5 5 5 4 4 6 5 4 4 3
14 5 5 5 4 4 6 5 5 4 3
15 5 5 5 4 4 7 6 5 4 4

 

The first thing I notice about this chart is that if you chop off the 6th level spells from the OD&D magic-user chart, basically you stop getting new spells at level 13.  Secondly, I notice that for levels 1-9 the progression really isn’t all that different.  The magic user gets an extra first level spell at 4th level that the cleric doesn’t get until 7th and the cleric gets his first 4th level spell a level earlier,  but other than that the charts are basically the same.  Then at level 9 the cleric starts getting more low level spells, while the magic-user gets more high level spells.

Given that the cleric has fewer spells to choose from, and that his first level spell Cure Light Wounds is basically one of the most useful spells he gets, I’m kind of OK with this.  I think ultimately I’m just going to leave well enough alone here.  The cleric gets more low level spells, but has fewer to choose from and never gets a sixth tier of spells.  That’s about as balanced as I care to get, and frankly, I don’t really care all that much about balance.  I like that the classes are different and have different mechanisms.  It’s part of their charm, and frankly if you’re choosing your class based on these kind of concerns, you’re probably not someone I really want to play D&D with anyway.