Strict spell learning

S&W Complete revised cover (lifted from here)

S&W Complete revised cover (lifted from here)

I have already discussed this on Google Plus, but I figure I should put it in a post for officialness (and stable accessibility). These rules are somewhat similar to the spell training rules for the recent sorcerer class, but in this case are intended to apply to standard magic-users.

In the upcoming S&W Complete based Finchbox campaign, sorcerous classes (magic-users, elementalists, necromancers, vivimancers) will begin with three first level spells and learn one per level gained as described below. The same procedure will apply to clerics demon hunters (which will use the LotFP cleric spells), but with only one spell to begin with at first level.

Magic-users will learn spells from the Dying Earth list, while elementalists, necromancers, and vivimancers will use the appropriate spell list from Theorems & Thaumaturgy.

See also Alex S.’s related comments.

Characters may only learn spells when a new spell slot is gained. For odd levels (including first), this spell is determined randomly. For even levels, spells may be selected by the player from the appropriate spell list. One new spell slot is gained per character level, with spell level equal to character level divided by two, rounded up. This means that spells will be acquired by magic-users as follows: 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, and so forth.

Spells may not be copied from spell books or scrolls. There is no need for players to decide which spells to prepare, as each spell known may be cast once per session.

Read magic is a class ability rather than a spell, and requires a successful intelligence check (only one try per magical text is allowed per character). Magic-users can cast spells that they do not know using scrolls, talismans, and fetishes. Such items cannot be created and must be found by adventuring (or, occasionally, purchased from curiosity shops or wandering cheapjacks).

4 thoughts on “Strict spell learning

  1. Aaron

    Where are these spells coming from? I’ve never used automatic spells per level but always require them to be found in play. I also tend to use Guilds each with their own spell lists. Giving the player a choice of which guild to join removes the need for specialist wizards.

    1. Brendan Post author


      Research, insight, patrons, dreams. In this case, it’s below the level of abstraction.

      I think spells as treasure can be fun, but for this game I want lower power level and less flexibility. I definitely don’t think this approach is necessarily superior though, it’s just something I’m experimenting with right now.

      1. Ynas Midgard

        How has this house rule been working out for you?

        I am putting together a revised house rule set for my Rappan Athuk game and I think I would like to change how Magic-Users work. They were incentivised* to create scrolls but I think that emphasises planning and long-term engagement with the campaign too much; I’m looking for a more “casual gamer” approach.

        * Huh, my browser doesn’t know this word; is this a word, anyways?

  2. Pingback: Strict Spell Learning | Critical Grumble

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