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D&D 3E
Bonus Spells from Magic Item Boosts 
2nd-Aug-2005 12:21 pm
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Hello there. Time for another ruling or research from fellow DMs.

This time, it's me as a player, tackling an issue I've never really come across before. My group has always taken it forgranted that you do not get bonus spells from magic items that give enhancement bonuses directly to ability scores, ala cloak of charisma or headband of intellect.

The portion of the PHB that deals with improving ability scores says the following: Over time, the ability scores your character starts with can change. Ability scores can increase with no limit.
--Add 1 point to any score at 4th level and every four levels your character attains thereafter (at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level).
--Many spells and magical effects temporarily increase or decrease ability scores. The ray of enfeeblement spell reduces a creature’s Strength, and the strength spell increases it. Sometimes a spell simply hampers a character, effectively reducing his or her ability score. A character trapped by an entangle spell, for example, acts as if his Dexterity were 4 points lower than it really is.
--Several magic items improve the user’s ability scores as long as the character is using them. Gloves of dexterity, for example, improve the wearer’s Dexterity score. (Magic items are described in the DUNGEON MASTER‘s Guide.) Note that a magic item of this type can’t change an ability score by more than +6.
--Some rare magic items can boost an ability score permanently, as can a wish spell. Such a bonus is called an inherent bonus. An ability score can’t have an inherent bonus of more than +5.
--Poisons, diseases, and other effects can harm an ability (temporary ability damage). Ability points lost to damage return on their own at a rate of 1 point per day for each damaged ability.
--Wraiths and certain other undead creatures drain abilities, resulting in a permanent loss (permanent ability drain). Points lost this way don’t return on their own, but they can be brought
back with spells, such as restoration.
--As a character ages, some ability scores go up and others go down. See Table 6–5: Aging Effects, page 93.

When an ability score changes, all attributes associated with that score change accordingly. For example, when Mialee becomes a 4thlevel wizard, she decides to increase her Intelligence to 16. That gives her a 3rd-level bonus spell (which she’ll pick up at 5th level, when she is able to cast 3rd-level spells), and it increases the number of skill points she gets per level from 4 to 5 (2 per level for her class, plus another 3 per level from her Intelligence bonus). As a new 4thlevel
character, she can get the skill points after raising her Intelligence, so she’ll get 5 points for achieving 4th level in the wizard class. She does not retroactively get additional points for her
previous levels (that is, skill points she would have gained if she had had an Intelligence score of 16 starting at 1st level). (Page 10)

With that said, I can't find any line in any of the core books to say you do not. I've also found this in Once you have seen to basic defensive needs, your best bet is to boost your spellcasting ability score as soon as you can, with a headband of intellect or a cloak of Charisma</i>. (...) Your benefits from these are more spells and higher save DCs.

So as I can see it, improved ability scores would provide additional bonus spells. I would grant that the item would need to have been worn over a 24 hour period first, and the standard pre-spell rest period would be required before granting the bonus spells. If the item was removed, the bonus spells (prepared or slots available) would be instantly lost, and would again have to be prepared / gained after a standard rest period, just like any other time your spells fizzle.

Ruling from the community?

As a side note, the above information from the PHB would make it seem to me that a headband of intellect would also provide bonus skill points, as long as it was work during the transition between levels. The flaw being, "Ooh, this fight will bring my character up to 9th level, hey Richard, have your character toss over his headband, I'll give it back right afterward!" I personally would rule that the character would have had to have had the headband on the entire time he spent at 8th level, from the transition up from 7th, all the way through, to reflect that his enhanced intellect was working on "improving" the skills during the level to accurately reflect that he had more ranks to put in them, and that removing the headband would not remove the skill points in that circumstance because the skills had been built over time, not instantaneously.

Ruling from the community?

x-posted a few places for better response
2nd-Aug-2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
I can't give you pages numbers (don't have the manual with me), but I believe that you only get skill points from Int bonuses if you had that bonus for most of the previous level.

And yes, you get bonus spell slots from +Int items.
2nd-Aug-2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
Your stats don't affect your "spells known". What it affects is your bonus spell-per-day, and items improve those just fine if they are worn during perparation/meditation (because you can't prepare more than your allowance). The rules don't check what you were doing 24 hours before.

It is not true that you lose those prepared spells if an item is lost. If a Wizard five spells (of a given level) prepared and only two slots (because you lost your headband of Intellect and Ring of Wizardry) you can cast any two of them: the others stay prepared (as nothing, including some forms of death, removes a prepared spell). If you gain more slots, the one rule that stops you casting your prepared spells, that your spells per day is less than or equal to the number of spells cast that day, goes away and you can cast the spells you had prepared or prepare additional spells into any of those slots that were free.

Basically, when you cast a spell, you should cross off the spell (if not a spontaneous caster) and the slot. Normally it is enough to combine the two into one bit of accounting, but if they get out of synch you have to track them going up and down separately.

The Headband of Intellect entry in the 3.5 DMG says says that enhancement INT boosts from magic items don't affect skill points. "Inherent" bonuses do. Its a common house-rule to have it work like in 3.0 (where you can get skill points if you wore it for all (even in bed???) of a level) but that causes chaos when you then ask how it affects the Skill Mastery class ability. Or at least I suspect it will when my character levels up.

There are several rules in the Magic Overview chapter that are easy to gloss over as they seem to say the same thing (You shall sleep for eight hours and the number of hours of the sleeping shall be eight) but in doing so they do (just about) cover odd cases like this.

Just don't get me started on temporary hit points.
2nd-Aug-2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
The comment about the 3.5 DMG is cool, I did not have it on hand and was too lazy to look it up on the SRD. Skill points are definitely a much more convoluted area than other bonuses that occur on a level by level basis (such as bonus HP from CON).
2nd-Aug-2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
you get the skill points when the new level is achieved, so the character would only get the extra skill points on the levels they had that intelligence score (so when she goes to level 4 and increases her INT, that level's skill points are increased).

To solve your dilemma about the headband flaw... I would personally say that while it is very cheap and very metagaming *bad player, bad!* it would be valid to say that because the character was wearing the headband when they achieved the new level, the enhanced intellect granted by the headband allowed them to gain more understanding in some bit of study, thus allowing them the extra skill points. They would get to keep those extra skill points to reflect that extra learning capability they had at the time.

However... I would be smacking my players upside the head for doing something so asinine and power-gaming focused. Characters should not "know" when they are about to achieve a new level. Personally, when I DM, I keep track of XP earned throughout the adventure and only award it at the end, when the characters have some time to sit and reflect on their experiences (thus being able to grow as people). Of course, during long adventures I could break that apart and do it at various intervals, etc.
2nd-Aug-2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
My ruling would be yes on bonus spells, no on skill points. (in point of fact, that's how I run it when I DM)
2nd-Aug-2005 06:00 pm (UTC)
No on skill points. Its just to difficult and to easy to take the extra skill points put them where you want them and then take off and take points from other skills. Oops I messed up, let me adjust the skills the way I want them.

Yes to bonus spells. If you get the item you get the bonus spells period. It doesnt say anywhere in the DMG Players guide or anywhere else Ive read. You don't get bonus SPELLS KNOWN because that isnt dependant on your abilities unless your a wizard at level 1...in which case if you start out with a magic item thats boosts your INT then I say go for it LOL.
2nd-Aug-2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
My answer: Of course it gives bonus spells and extra skill points, but it's not an instantenous back-tracking. You're not going to put on a headband and then suddenly remember that you were smart enough to have prepared an extra spell slot that day, or that you're actually really good at something you had no idea how to do two seconds earlier.

Not that you mentioned it, but it's the same with bonus languages. =) If there was a headband that you could put on that would allow you to suddenly fluently speak a new language of your choice, I would have worn it since Junior-High School. >_>
3rd-Aug-2005 08:28 am (UTC)
Of course it gives bonus spells and extra skill points


This enhancement bonus does not earn the wearer extra skill points when a new level is attained
2nd-Aug-2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
A couple of notes:

1) There are items which give a bonus to specific skill rolls. An item that gives a bonus to all Int-based skill rolls is pretty impressive. An item that gives more skill points, in addition, is worth more than the items concerned.

2) Wearing a cloak or gloves, or an orbitting gemstone 24-hours-a-day for however long it takes to rise in level would be burdensome. I would impose similar burdens on the headband. It might be hard to sleep with all those memories and logical conclusions so much sharper in one's mind.

In other words, the moral fabric of my campaign manifests in a physical environment that resists allowing characters to game unintended advantages.
3rd-Aug-2005 01:10 am (UTC)
Yes on bonus spells, no on skill points.

I was fairly sure it said as much in the PHB.
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