Bonus Spells for Wizards

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Volen Akn'ubil
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Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Volen Akn'ubil »

It's been a while since I last posted, but I am back for more peer help.

Having finished our campaign using the magic point system from the Player's Option book, we have a new player who sees those rules as too complicated. I thought of houseruling that wizards get bonus spells for high intelligence exactly as priests do for high wisdom. Would that be too powerful? Possibly moving the starting bonus point up an ability score or two?

Also, keep in mind my group are not power gamers and our wizards commonly memorize general use/utility spells.

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by waylander39 »

If you feel it wouldn't unbalance your game then i say go for it. I've never been a huge fan of skills and powers myself so I can see where you're coming from. I wouldn't houserule it in my campaign but that's more due to knowing that my players would abuse it.

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by agathokles »

It's not especially unbalancing. However, you might want to give some extras to other classes (maybe at higher levels) to balance things out. The PO books are full of stuff that can be easily adapted to non-PO campaigns.

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Marco Fossati »

I used to give to wizards some starting bonus spells tied to the intelligence score, just like the wisdom cleric's bonus spells.

It was useful in the low levels game since it balanced the very low HPs and the usually high AC of the wizards.

When wizards reached mid level, around the 8th, it became unbalancing.

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by outlander78 »

Why not borrow the 4E per encounter and at will concept? Give the wizard an at will magic missile that requires a hit roll, perhaps, or allow them to recall one spell following each encounter (making a spell of their choice per-encounter).
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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Marco Fossati »

they're two interesting ideas...

expecially the second one...low levels wizards quickly run out of spells..

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Big Mac »

Marco Fossati wrote:expecially the second one...low levels wizards quickly run out of spells..
Hmm. Interesting concept. In theory, a wizard could cast just one spell per encounter and then keep getting it back. (They could Tim their weak enemies to death! :P )
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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by AuldDragon »

A little bit of thread necromancy here...

I came across a very interesting way of dealing with low-level wizards' lack of power in Dragon #221 (around page #20). It treated Cantrips as a proficiency (also available to other classes for additional slots), allowing them to make a proficiency check to perform minor magic a set number of times a day. They can't directly cause damage, but a smart player would be able to use them very effectively and not be completely useless after their Sleep or Magic Missile spell is used. It listed a number of viable functions; plus there are cantrips listed in First Edition sources and the Wizard's Spell Compendium. I think the Netheril set had Cantrip-like abilities, as well.

One advantage would be that they're not memorized abilities and can be used on the spur of the moment; I think even higher level wizards would find it useful when they only need a minor effect, but none of their memorized spells match the situation.

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Marco Fossati »

Big Mac wrote:
Marco Fossati wrote:expecially the second one...low levels wizards quickly run out of spells..
Hmm. Interesting concept. In theory, a wizard could cast just one spell per encounter and then keep getting it back. (They could Tim their weak enemies to death! :P )
A concept I've introduced some yeras ago was the chance to rest and memorize again the "used" spells in order to have all of them in next encounters. resting is needed 1 turn for spell/level, so if you have to memorize again 3 first level spells, 2 second level spells and one third level spell you have to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (3*10+2*20+1*30)

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by dulsi »

Marco Fossati wrote:low levels wizards quickly run out of spells..
For Worlds Within Worlds, I created two new magic books. The first can cast ray of frost an unlimited number of ties per day. The other one did another low-level spell but also provided a +1 caster level like an orange ioun stone.
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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Big Mac »

Marco Fossati wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Marco Fossati wrote:expecially the second one...low levels wizards quickly run out of spells..
Hmm. Interesting concept. In theory, a wizard could cast just one spell per encounter and then keep getting it back. (They could Tim their weak enemies to death! :P )
A concept I've introduced some yeras ago was the chance to rest and memorize again the "used" spells in order to have all of them in next encounters. resting is needed 1 turn for spell/level, so if you have to memorize again 3 first level spells, 2 second level spells and one third level spell you have to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (3*10+2*20+1*30)
I quite like this rule. It is an interesting way to do things. It would force the party to stop and rest, but avoid the "24 hours later" thing.

What would you do if the wizard could not rest for the entire duration? If your example wizard could only rest for 1 hour and 30 minutes, would you say that the attempt was entirely wasted, give out the low-level spells first or let the player decide the order their PC rememorised the spells? I think I would personally be inclined to say that the spellcaster needs to wait the entire time in order for this to work, but I would be interested to know how you do it.

Do you allow priests and other spellcasters to do this as well? Or is it just reserved for wizards?
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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by BlackBat242 »

I use cantrips in my 2E campaign*... but as in the 1E UA**, not the strange "Cantrip Spell" of 2E.

Here is how I do bonus spells for Int:

Bonus MU spells by Int. score:
14 Int = 1 cantrip; 15 Int = 1 ctp; 16 Int = 1 1st-level; 17 Int = 1 1st; 18 Int = 1 2nd; 19 Int = 1 3rd
These are cumulative, and the Cantrips cannot be combined into a 1st-level spell.


These are specifically to benefit 1st-3rd level Mages... therefore the lack of bonus higher-level spells.

I also wanted to only give real spells as bonus for those who get the XP bonus.



* if I was doing one... I tend to run 1E with some 2E imports... this is actually from my 1E house-rules

**the cantrip list & descriptions are also ported over.
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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Marco Fossati »

Big Mac wrote: A concept I've introduced some yeras ago was the chance to rest and memorize again the "used" spells in order to have all of them in next encounters. resting is needed 1 turn for spell/level, so if you have to memorize again 3 first level spells, 2 second level spells and one third level spell you have to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (3*10+2*20+1*30)
I quite like this rule. It is an interesting way to do things. It would force the party to stop and rest, but avoid the "24 hours later" thing.

What would you do if the wizard could not rest for the entire duration? If your example wizard could only rest for 1 hour and 30 minutes, would you say that the attempt was entirely wasted, give out the low-level spells first or let the player decide the order their PC rememorised the spells? I think I would personally be inclined to say that the spellcaster needs to wait the entire time in order for this to work, but I would be interested to know how you do it.

Do you allow priests and other spellcasters to do this as well? Or is it just reserved for wizards?[/quote]

Well, thanks

I give it to all spellcasters. For clerics is simpler: they must only fell down and pray their gods, a wizard needs his spellbook.

Low level spells are first memorized

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Re: Bonus Spells for Wizards

Post by Big Mac »

BlackBat242 wrote:I tend to run 1E with some 2E imports... this is actually from my 1E house-rules
I do like the mix-and-match possibilities that the multiple editions of D&D give us. Now we have the retro-clones arriving, we could have hundreds of different types of D&D rules. I'd be interested to see what sort of retro-clone you would make.
Marco Fossati wrote:I give it to all spellcasters. For clerics is simpler: they must only fell down and pray their gods, a wizard needs his spellbook.

Low level spells are first memorized
I do think that running out of spells crashes adventures. This is a very interesting solution.

I'm into 3e now, but I think that your solution would be just as valid for any edition of D&D and maybe even any other RPG that uses spellcasting. Pathfinder decided to go with another way (having freebie zero level spells), but that isn't a meaningful concept for 2e. I think that in the context of a 3e game, there would be pros and cons to both systems, but for 2e, I think your concept would be better at allowing the higher spells to come back and would also stop excessive use of cantrips.
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