Below I take a look at the various AoE and wall spells in DragonQuest by college. I did not include spells that affect multiple specific targets. Just those that affect an area or create walls in various forms.
Ensorcelments and Enchantments
The EE Adepts are left out of the fun once again.
Sorceries of the Mind
The mind mages have but a single AoE spell to be looked at.
Spell of Telekinetic Rage (S-10)
RANGE: 30 feet + 5 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a storm of force emanating from him which hurls any object or character away from him at bone-breaking speed out of the range of the spell.
The range of effect doesn't seem like either too much or too little. So not much to say.
College of Illusions
Really much of what an Adept of the College of Illusion can do with illusions could be considered as having an area-of-effect. Only the range for the illusion limits how big that area might be. The ranges for the base General Knowledge illusions is 15 feet + 15 additional/Rank which doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
Illusionists do get an additional AoE spell and a ritual specifically for creating the illusion of fog.
Flash of Light Spell (G-1)
RANGE: 15 feet + 15 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: Unlike other spells of this College, this spell is no illusion at all. Instead, the Adept expends 2 Fatigue Points (in addition to the other Fatigue Point costs for the spell) to create a blinding flash of light. All entities who are facing the Adept when the spell is loosed must either resist or be blinded for 20 seconds.
The effective range is reasonable for what it is and doesn't merit much discussion.
Ritual of Illusory Fog (Q-1)
The Adept can, by spending one hour in the performance of this ritual, create the illusion of fog or mist in an area within 30 feet + 30 additional feet per Rank of the Adept.
The area-of-effect is reasonable for a ritual.
Other than casting the various counter-spells over an area (always 7 total hexes) Namers don't have any other spells that are AoE or walls. However Namers are taught the Generic True Names of pretty much everything.
"All such names when uttered in their ancient form by a Namer give the namer power to control the object, and these Generic names are taught to an apprentice Namer during the Namers' training."
An example Generic True Name given in the rules is "Granite". So if a Namer encounters a granite outcropping he could "control" it. How much of it could he control? What does that mean? Who knows. It isn't explained. GMs that have read LeGuinn's Earthsea trilogy will have some basis to work from but others will just have to wing it.
Getting to the first of the Elemental colleges we have:
Spell of Ice Creation (G-2)
EFFECTS: The spell creates a film of ice 1 inch thick and equal to one square foot per Rank or a cube of ice at the rate of 6 cubic inches per Rank.
This one is a head-scratcher. An Adept can create a thin layer of ice that is 144 cubic inches (1ft x 1ft x 1in) or just 6 cubic inches (2 in x 2 in x 1.5 in) for a cube of ice. That's per Rank. At Rank 20 you could cover a 20 square foot area (4 ft x 5 ft) to 1 inch thick or a cube of ice that was 120 cubic inches (6 in x 5 in x 4 in). Granted this is a General Knowledge spell and shouldn't be too impressive but why the volume disparity between a layer of ice and a cube of ice? As a thin layer the Adept can create 24 times as much ice by volume as when make a cube of ice. I think they should be pretty close to equivalent in volume with at most a 2:1 difference. Also even at R20 you couldn't cover an entire hex with ice which makes for a pretty low return on your EP investment. Fortunately for Air mages they can get:
Spell of Ice Construction (S-3)
EFFECTS: The Adept may create 10 cubic feet of ice (+10 additional cubic feet per Rank) in any shape(s) of the Adept's choice.
This is a pretty nice spell. The overall volume of ice created is less than that for Wall of Ice (see below) but decent enough. Also you can create multiple objects from the conjured ice. As a Special Knowledge spell it should have a greater effect than G-2 and it does. Per Rank it can produce an ice slick 120 times larger and 2880 times more ice in bulk than G-2. That says to me that G-2 really needs to be changed and I did do this in my revised Air Magics college making it an ice slick 25 square feet + 25 square feet per rank at 1 inch thick.
Air Magics has a similar spell in Wall of Ice.
Wall of Ice Spell (S-12)
EFFECTS: The Adept may create a wall 2 feet thick, 10 feet tall and 20 feet long or a ring 2 feet thick, 10 feet tall and with a 5 foot radius or a pillar 15 feet high and 4 feet thick made of ice. He may increase any dimension by 1 foot per Rank.
It produces a much, much larger volume of ice but because it is limited to a single mass of ice in one of three shapes (wall, ring or pillar) I don't find it to be unbalancing. Still at R20 an Adept could create a "pillar" that was 15 feet high and 24 feet across which is pretty cool.
In the same college is the Spell of Conjuring Mist:
Spell of Conjuring Mist (G-6)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a 10 cubic foot volume of mist or fog. He may add an additional 10 cubic feet per Rank to this volume. However, all the fog must fall within the Adept's range. It may be of any shape and may be moved by the Adept so long as it is all within range.
I have to believe that the author meant a 10 foot cube (1000 cubic feet) as what good is a 2.15 x 2.15 x 2.15 foot cube of mist? I guess you could put it around someone's head. As with Ice Creation I changed this in my version of Air Magics.
Moving on the first AoE spell in this college is the Spell of Calming Waters.
Spell of Calming Waters (G-1)
RANGE: 90 feet + 90 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The Adept reduces the height of all waves within range by 1 foot (+1 additional foot/Rank) and reduces the size of swells by 1 foot for every 2 Ranks (minimum, 1 foot).
As a General Knowledge spell you can't really expect it to affect a really large area and it is pretty limited. The Water Adept won't be saving an entire fleet from harm but will be able to cover the ship she is on and maybe one or two nearby.
The companion spell, Wave Making, covers the same area.
Spell of Wave Making (G-2)
RANGE: 90 feet + 90 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The Adept increases the size of all waves within range by 5 feet (+1 additional foot/Rank) and increases the size of all swells within range by 2 feet (+1 additional foot for every 2 or fraction of 2 Ranks).
The overall effect is greater but not out of line for the cost and base chance.
Air, Earth and Fire Magics all have a wall spell but not water. If Air Adepts can create tens or even hundreds of cubic feet of frozen water out of nothing why not Water Adepts?
This college also has a few spells that suggests that someone was unclear on the concept of volume versus area. First is the Spell of Light.
Spell of Light (G-4)
EFFECTS: One 10-foot cube (1000 cubic feet) area may be brightly lit. The lighted area may be of any shape (even pencil-thin) but must emanate from the spot occupied by the caster.
As discussed in my blog post about Light & Vision, this spell really can't be used as a substitute for a torch or lantern. Even reducing the height to only 8 foot high you can only get a cylinder that is 12.6 feet across. Best used for spot illumination of a small area or couple of opponents at a distance.
In Fire Magics the Wall of Smoke spell is General Knowledge and is somewhat limited in volume.
Wall of Smoke Spell (G-6)
EFFECTS: The caster may create two 5-foot cubes of smoke per Rank. He may vary the intensity of the smoke from light vapors to thick, rolling smoke.
Not as bad as Conjuring Mist but with a few ranks in it the volume is not bad for such a cheap General Knowledge spell.
The Fire Adepts Wall of Fire spell is Special Knowledge and is roughly the same as the Wall of Ice in dimensions.
Wall of Fire Spell (S-1)
EFFECTS: The caster can create a 5 foot high x 20 foot long wall of flames or a 5 foot high circle of flames with a 5-foot radius or a pillar 15 feet high with a 2-foot radius. The caster can increase any one dimension by 1 foot per Rank.
Curiously it is easier to cast and easier to get rank in than Wall of Ice. No thickness is given for the flames of the wall or circle and I've gone with 1 foot in the past. I think that this one is pretty much right on.
This college gets two Special Knowledge wall spells that are equivalent to the Wall of Fire in dimensions. One made of Stone and one made of Cold Iron.
Wall of Stone Spell (S-12)
EFFECTS: Creates a 10 foot high x 20 foot long wall of granite or a 10 foot high ring of stone with a 20 foot radius or a pillar of stone 15 feet high and with a 2 foot radius. The caster increases any dimension by 1 foot per Rank.
Wall of Iron Spell (S-13)
EFFECTS: Same as for S-12 (Wall of Stone Spell) except that the caster creates a wall of cold iron.
Like Wall of Fire the thickness of the walls and rings aren't specified and I've generally assumed 1 foot for stone and 1 inch for iron.
Earth Magics has two AoE spells:
Spell of Smoking Magma (S-16)
EFFECTS: The caster creates a pool of molten rock which wells up from underground. The pool has a radius of 5 feet (+1 additional foot per Rank).
Spell of Earth Transformation (S-18)
EFFECTS: This spell turns 3 cubic feet of stone into mud or vice versa. The caster may add one cubic foot to this figure per Rank.
Smoking Magma, for the cost and base chance, has a reasonable area of effect. Earth Transformation however is too expensive and with too low a base chance for the volume of mud that can be created. Certainly it is impractical to use it as a mud slick spell. At higher ranks it can be used in a more offensive manner where you could create a sufficiently deep pit of mud such that an entity dropped into it would suffocate.
Adepts of this college have both AoE and wall spells.
Spell of Light (G-2)
EFFECTS: One 10-foot cube may be brightly lighted as described in the spell of the same name (G-4, p. 45) of the College of Fire Magics.
Spell of Darkness (G-3)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a volume of darkness (1000 cubic feet) of any shape he desires. The volume of darkness created may be increased by 500 cubic feet per Rank.
The problems with Spell of Light were discussed above under Fire Magics. Spell of Darkness actually increases in volume with rank and so at higher ranks it becomes more useful.
Wall of Starlight Spell (G-5)
EFFECTS: Creates a 10-foot high, 1 foot thick Wall of Light 20 feet long or a 10 foot high, 1 foot thick Ring of Light with a 5 foot radius, or a pillar of starlight 5 feet thick by 15 feet high. The Adept can increase any dimension by 1 foot per Rank.
Wall of Darkness Spell (G-6)
EFFECTS: Works the same as the Wall of Starlight except that light aligned creatures (including Star Mages) suffer damage due to contact with it.
Of similar dimensions to the wall spells in Air, Fire and Earth but they are General and not Special Knowledge. Probably because without them there would only be 7 General Knowledge spells in the college.
Those wacky lovers of the dead have both AoE and wall spells and they have a number of them.
Spell of Conjuring Darkness (G-1)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a volume of darkness of variable intensity of 500 cubic feet (+500 additional cubic feet per Rank).
Spell of Obscurement (G-3)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a 5-foot cube of oily black smoke ( + 1 foot to each dimension per Rank). The vision of all entities except the Adept is reduced to 5 feet. The Adept's sight is unaffected, and any character who successfully resists is unaffected.
Spell of Noxious Vapors (G-7)
RANGE: 15 feet + 15 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a cloud of foul yellow vapor which will affect all characters (including the Adept) who are caught within it. The cloud covers the entire area within range of the Adept.
All of these were addressed in my Vision and Light post previously but here I'm just looking at the volumes/areas produced. Conjuring Darkness is similar to G-3 Spell of Darkness from Celestial Magics with only half the starting volume. Since both are General Knowledge and have the same cost and base chance don't know why this one starts off with less. Obscurement is different from most of the others. It starts off with a pretty small volume but thanks to the exponential nature of its growth ([5+Rank]^3) it catches up to Conjuring Darkness at rank 15 and then exceeds it. Noxious Vapors is given as a radius of effect and described as a cloud but doesn't say how high it extends. What if the adept is surrounded by a group of Frost Giants? Does it only come up to their waist?
Under Special Knowledge for Necromantic Conjurations you find these AoE spells.
Mass Fear Spell (S-5)
RANGE: 30 feet + 15 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The spell has the same effects as the Spell of Fear (S-13, p.56) of the College of Celestial Magics except that all characters within range except the Adept must resist or roll on the Fright Table.
Spell of Scarring Terrain (S-6)
EFFECTS: The Adept causes terrible ruin by burning out an area of ground equal to 25 square feet (+25 additional square feet per Rank).
Spell of Agony (S-13)
RANGE: 30 feet + 15 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: The spell causes all entities in the affected area except the Adept to suffer extreme agony.
Only Scarring Terrain seems to be overly limited in its affected area. At max rank you can only ruin some poor guys vegetable garden. A mere 525 square feet at rank 20. Mass Fear and Spell of Agony have reasonable areas.
Wall of Force Spell (S-2)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a 1" thick Wall of Force which is 10 feet high and 20 feet long or a 1" thick, 10 foot high Ring of Force with a radius of 5 feet. The Adept can increase the height or length by 1 foot (or radius by 3 inches) per Rank.
Wall of Bones Spell (S-3)
EFFECTS: The Adept conjures a wall of interlaced bones 1 foot thick, 10 feet high, and 20 feet long or a circle of bones 1 foot thick, 10 feet high and with a 5 foot radius. The Adept may increase the height and thickness by 1 foot and the radius by 3 inches per Rank.
These both follow the same pattern seen in the previous wall spells minus the pillar option. Note however that unlike Air, Fire and Earth wall spells, this spell, when in ring form, only increases by 3 inches per Rank. Somebody figured out that the area increases with the square of the radius. Wall of Bones does make me think once again that if Necromancers can create a wall of bones out of nothing why can't Water Adepts do the same?
This college borrows three spells from other colleges and these have been covered above.
Spell of Darkness (G-2)
EFFECTS: The effects of the spell are the same as for the spell of the same name (G-3, p.55) of the College of Celestial Magics.
Wall of Bones Spell (S-14)
EFFECTS: This spell has the same effect as the spell of the same name (S-3, p.58) of the College of Necromantic Conjurations.
Spell of Agony (S-16)
RANGE: 30 feet+ 15 additional/Rank
EFFECTS: This spell has the same effects as the spell of the same name (S-13. p.59) of the College of Necromantic Conjurations.
The two Crop spells affect fairly small areas but as these are probably meant to be used on an individual's crops and not that of an entire village they seem okay to me.
Spell of Blight on Crops (S-4)
EFFECTS: The spell causes 1 acre (+1 additional acre per Rank) of orchard or cultivated land within sight to lose fertility.
Spell of Blessing on Crops (S-5)
EFFECTS; The spell increases the richness of the soil of 1 acre (+1 additional acre per Rank).
Earth Tremor has such a small initial area that even at the highest ranks it just doesn't work for me. I can't see a 5 foot by 5 foot section of ground shaking and rolling and not have it also impact a fairly wide area around it. A minimum of a 5 hex diameter area growing by 1 hex in radius per rank would make more sense.
Earth Tremor Spell (S-22)
EFFECTS: This spell causes a 5-foot square area of ground (+25 additional square feet/Rank) to shake and roll as in an earthquake.
With a horde of demons on call they don't really see the need for such things.
The College of Lesser Summonings brings a couple spells to the discussion.
Wall of Thorns Spell (G-11)
EFFECTS: The Adept may cause a wall of thorns to grow out of any soil (but not out of solid rock). The wall will be 1 foot thick, 10 feet high, and 20 feet long. The Adept may instead choose to have the wall take the form of a circle 1 foot thick, 10 feet high, and with a radius of 5 feet. The Adept may increase the height and thickness by 3 inches per Rank.
This wall spell follows the pattern established with the other wall spells minus the pillar option.
Spell of Summoning Fog (G-12)
EFFECTS: The Adept may summon a bank of fog equal to 100 cubic feet in volume (+50/Rank)
The phrases "bank of fog" and "100 cubic feet" just don't belong in the same sentence. A 5' x 5' x 4' cube of fog doesn't summon up images of fog banks. A 100 foot cube – that is a 100' on a side – would be closer to a bank of fog.
Rune Magics has it's own set of AoE and wall spells.
Spell of Darkness (G-2)
EFFECTS: The Adept creates a volume of darkness (1000 cubic feet) of any shape he desires. The volume of darkness created may be increased by 500 cubic feet/Rank.
Spell of Light (G-3)
EFFECTS: One 10-foot cube (1000 cubic feet) area may be brightly lit. This lighted area may be of any shape (even pencil-thin), but must emanate from the tip of the Adept's Runewand...
Essentially the same as the Darkness and Light spells seen in other colleges and for Spell of Light, with the same problems.
Runewall Spell (S-1)
EFFECTS: The Adept places a single Runestick incised with the Warding Rune on the Ground and performs the Spell. The stick will, if the spell is successful, metamorphose into a translucent wall of force 1 inch thick, 10 feet high and 20 feet long that may be manually shaped by the Adept (and by no one else) into any shape of his devising (e.g., pillar, circle, dome). The Adept may alter the height or length of the wall by 1 foot per Rank.
At first glance Runewall is much like the previous wall spells in overall dimensions but it differs in that it can be formed into any shape. This is one of the niftier spells in DragonQuest. It an be used in all sorts of creative ways.
Shapers have but a single AoE spell.
Spell of Creating Mudslick (S-1)
EFFECTS: An area 20 (+10/Rank) feet square becomes slick with a 1/4-inch film of mud.
This has a reasonable area of effect even if what the effect would be on your opponents is not defined.
Overall the various wall spells follow the same template and make sense. Those AoE spells that use Range for their radius of effect also are mostly reasonable. A number of the fog, smoke, mist and light spells suffer from either some poor design choices or perhaps mistakes during editing. DragonQuest GMs are used to filling in the gaps and so a few problems here and there don't really matter but if a DragonQuest was to be rebooted these kinds of problems should be addressed.