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(x-posted to dms_corner & Dungeon_masters) I hate the concept of… 
13th-Mar-2005 10:31 pm
(x-posted to dms_corner & Dungeon_masters)

I hate the concept of memorizing spells. To be blunt I think it sucks.

I would like to come up with a nice system that would allow both Clerics and Wizards to spontaneously cast spells. Maybe memorization could be incorporated somehow as a way to boost the power of the spell… sort of as a reward for limiting your choice for spells per day (versatility).

I’ve always allowed Clerics to spontaneously cast whatever they felt like. The only draw back was that I would sometimes limit what spells they could or could not cast based on how well they were serving their god. It forced the PC to role-play his character at least a little bit better if he expected to be able to spontaneously cast “Smite the Hell out of Random Bad Guy” without memorization.

As far as wizards are concerned.. I allow them to spontaneously cast by casting the spells straight form their spell book. This forces players to actually take steps to take care of their spell book (which many players forget even exists). It encourages role-playing. A spell book is supposed to be one of the wizards most prized possessions... all too often players and DM’s just forget about the thing.

Does anybody have any feedback on this? I’d like to know if there is a way to fine tune it somehow. Let me know what you think.

14th-Mar-2005 03:53 am (UTC)
I have done the same with clerics in the past. In 3E, though, letting wizards cast spontaneously begs the question: What about sorcerers? They exist purely as spontaneous casters that don't need to memorize. You cut them off at the knees when you give wizards the same power (and greater spell selection). Sure, sorcerers still get more spells per day but I don't know that that makes up for the difference.
14th-Mar-2005 03:58 am (UTC)
There's a spell point variant in Unearthed Arcana that applies to all spellcasters. Might want to check that out.
14th-Mar-2005 11:20 pm (UTC)
Others have told me and I'm looking into it. Seems like a fair balance. thanks for the suggestion :)

14th-Mar-2005 04:22 am (UTC) - Or you could just switch to psionics -nt-
-No Text-
14th-Mar-2005 11:21 pm (UTC) - Re: Or you could just switch to psionics -nt-
<-- hates psionics.

<-- willing to allow a player to use psionics, but probabally won't like it.

14th-Mar-2005 04:30 am (UTC) - Agreed
My system is this: prepared casters can spontaneously cast from a short list of "readied" spells. For every spell level, casters can have half their casting attribute (Int or Wis) plus the base number of spells readied. Spells modified by metamagic feats are treated as different spells (requiring an additional slot). For example, a 1st level wizard with 12 Int could have nine 0-level and seven 1st-level spells readied.

Spontaneous casters can use any single metamagic feat as a free action (but uses higher spell slots normally). Adding more than one follows the normal rules.

The system works pretty well, and I haven't had too many complaints. (Of course, NPC casters get the same advantage)
14th-Mar-2005 11:24 pm (UTC) - Re: Agreed
That's definately something interesting to ponder. I like your system :)

15th-Mar-2005 12:55 am (UTC) - Re: Agreed
I've been using it since 2nd Ed came out, and transitioned it over to 3E. The main problem I've run into is explaining to players the difference between spells that are in spellbooks, "readied" slots, and casting them. :)
14th-Mar-2005 05:21 am (UTC)
"Memorizing" spells is stupid. PREPARING spells is an entirely different kettle of fish - constructing and hanging the spell such that it can be triggered at short notice - in effect, pre-casting the spell.

I usually let wizards scrub and re-hang unwanted spells, given the same criteria for hanging spells in the first place (a quiet half-hour and light to read by). This lets them forgo the more esoteric, seldom-used spells (i.e. water breathing) until they actually need them, but doesn't let them run rampant.
14th-Mar-2005 05:30 am (UTC)
yeah, there's a feat in unearthed arcana that makes you not have to memorize them or some such....
14th-Mar-2005 10:22 am (UTC)
I've not experienced either of the role-play problems you've mentioned.
14th-Mar-2005 11:24 pm (UTC)
Consider yourself lucky.

14th-Mar-2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
have you checked out Arcana Unearthed from Malhavoc?

The spell casting system there is that you have x number of spells to prepare, and y number of slots. You can cast any of those spells with your slots, any number of times. No forgetting. Most spells can be heightened or diminished.

The spell templates that AU uses instead of metamagic are pretty sweet, too.
14th-Mar-2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the point system in Unearthed Arcana, but the old system in DragonQuest (ca. 1982) gave you a certain number of Mana points based on your experience, and spells had a certain cost of mana points to cast. Certain items would boost your available points, as would being in certain areas, such as mountaintops or cemeteries (but only for the colleges of summoning and necromancy). Wearing metal armor or being in certain other areas (cities, e.g.) lowered your available mana. That way, you could cast any spell that was available to you, as much as you wanted, depending on how much mana was available to you. Great system for magic, IMO. I think the authors really researched how magic worked in fantasy literature and even researched "real" magic. Shame the system died.
16th-Mar-2005 01:51 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, the problem there would be the need to accurately and fairly decide how many mana points each spell costs.
16th-Mar-2005 02:32 pm (UTC)
The spell level is a good place to start.
14th-Mar-2005 07:14 pm (UTC)
We always allowed spontaneous casting for clerics, but they still had to pray every morning. But they never had to set their spells.

With wizards, while we "memorised" spells in the morning, they could ditch a memorised spell and cast one out of the spellbook instead. However, this took longer to cast so wouldn't be a good solution in battle. If expecting a battle where different spells would be needed, we allowed resetting of spells. This took a long time per spell, but if you knew you would need to cast something spontaneously later but hadn't set it in the morning, you could still cast it. I think one other system we used was only allowing a first level spell to replace a second level spell, etc, so you'd be penalised for using a spell that hadn't been memorised in the morning.
16th-Mar-2005 04:09 am (UTC)
This is a cool idea. In most of the games I've run, spellbooks and prayers have been all but ignored.

My only qualm is that it could be tricky to set it up in such a way that did not make the Sorceror/Favored Soul look pointless by comparison. The closest thing to this that my DM has done, is for wizards: if you leave a spell slot empty for a day, you can spend 15 minutes preparing one for that slot. That's still not enough, IMO.

I may have to try this out sometime.
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