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View Full Version : Spells for a wizard above 1st level (3.5).



huttj509
2009-06-29, 10:18 AM
Hokay, going to be DMing a campaign in the near future for people who are not new to DnD, but are new to 3.5E. I'm planning a short thing at level 1 to get used to the mechanics, then I'm planning to kick em up to, oh, say level 3 or so, in order to increase durability, and fit in better with the campaign I have generally planned (details murky as my MM is in another state). Would be explained by time spent adventuring and building their skills, then we return to our intrepid adventurers who have arrived across the sea to *blah blah blah*

My question is, if one player is a wizard, how should I handle her spellbook after first level?

2 spells per level free and clear is a given, normal level up benefit.
If the newest character level gave a new level of spells, to start she could only get the 2 level up spells "free." It would basically be like they had just reached that level.

Considering something along the lines of "6 spells for 1 level below the max you can cast, 12 spells 2 levels below, as many as you like below that" but I'm not sure how to count it against WBL, if at all. If it counts against WBL, there'd probably be no restriction, as the cost of scribing them would cover that.

If there's some guideline for spells known by a wizard starting above 1st level in the DMG, I'm not finding it.

Advice?

By the way, I'm not planning to keep track of spell scribing costs for WBL after the character gets the free levelups, I'm planning to use the WBL chart as more of a guideline for comparing the players potential power to what's expected, rather than a number which MUST be met.

Tempest Fennac
2009-06-29, 10:47 AM
I've heard of other people giving players the free spells they would get from levels while using Wealth By Level to get other spells if they want them. That would probably work fine here.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2009-06-29, 11:06 AM
A Wizard character could spend money on scrolls of new spells, purchased as normal for any magic items in your game. Another option would be to copy them from another spellbook, either by trading a spell from mine for a spell from yours, or paying a fee to copy it. In the PHB on page 179, under "Spells Copied from Anotherís Spellbook or a Scroll" in the last paragraph it gives the price of spell level x 50 gp to copy a given spell from someone else's book. In a larger city with one or more wizards' organizations there would likely be a library of spellbooks which members in good standing could copy spells from for that fee. Simply making friends with another wizard and copying spells from each others' spellbooks would probably only incur the scribing cost. The number of spells a wizard character knows at any given level is really only limited by how creative the player is, especially considering spells like Secret Page to get around scribing costs.

huttj509
2009-06-29, 12:35 PM
The issue is there's multiple ways to obtain spells, all of which have different costs.

Kill enemy wizard, take his spellbook: 0 acquisition cost
Buy scroll: acquisition price varies significantly for the listed market price on DMG table 7-23. From spell level * 25G for most 1st level spells, to spell level * 250G just for some level 4
Buy/trade/rent from another wizard: cost anywhere from 0 gold (trade spells or find a reeeeally good friend who has one you want) to 50*level gold

The scribing cost is constant. 100 gold pieces per page (DM fiat, for your first scribing of a spell into your spellbook after you learn it, it must be done by hand. The manual transcription of the spell and all associated manipulations of arcane energy is an important part of truly understanding it well enough to cast, which is why it takes a full 24 hours per spell. If you're copying a spell from your main books into a travelling spellbook you're free to secret page it as long as the book already has a spell on that page, so you basically get 2 full books for the price of 1.)

And actually, looking over the spell learning rules, spells learned at a new level have the same cost to write them into your spellbook, they are just acquired freely. There's two parts to all the spells, learn it, then write it down.

I think what I'll do is for any level below the maximum you can cast you can pick spells freely for only the writing cost, which comes out of your starting gold based on WBL. Acquisition cost is assumed to be the most advantageous, or compensated for by having just happened to have had more than the recommended WBL, or other. For your maximum spell level you can cast, those can only be acquired from the level-up spells before play begins. If you want to get more once things start, you can, but you can't just assume you've already found anything you wanted for the max level.

Seem reasonable? My reasoning for having the spells come out of starting gold for the level is basically, well, the fighter needs to pay for his weapon, wizards don't get theirs for free (sorcerers do, in exchange for less flexibility in preparation, and clerics/druids do, in exchange for, um, being zilla? :-P).

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-29, 03:05 PM
Kill enemy wizard, take his spellbook: 0 acquisition cost
Killing an enemy fighter and taking his sword also costs nothing (unless you used up some expendable items doing it). But a fighter's sword doesn't count as part of his WBL any less because of how he acquired it.

The RAW are inconsistent about the gold piece value of a wizard's spellbook. "Captured spellbooks can be sold for a gp amount equal to one-half the cost of purchasing and inscribing the spells within (that is, one-half of 100 gp per page of spells)." Except that 100 gp per page of spells is only covers the cost of scribing the spells, not purchasing them. Anyway, the value in gp of a spellbook should be twice what you can sell it for (like everything else), whatever you decide that to be.

Personally, I say that a copy of a spell should be worth the cost of scribing it: 100 gp per page. That way, a mage's guild could sell a little spellbooklet with only one spell in it for 100 gp per spell level and then buy it back for half that. That way, buying a copy of a spell and then selling it back costs exactly as much as the stated fee for copying a spell from another wizard's book (spellís level ◊ 50 gp). And that makes sense, no?

Wizards would sometimes buy copies of spells instead of always trading in part because a wizard tends to want to avoid handing his spellbook over to anybody.

Random832
2009-06-29, 03:26 PM
Killing an enemy fighter and taking his sword also costs nothing (unless you used up some expendable items doing it). But a fighter's sword doesn't count as part of his WBL any less because of how he acquired it.

Not to mention, either one counts as part of the Treasure Value of that fight - getting that sword or that spellbook directly mean that there's going to be less cash in the treasure chests at the end of the dungeon.

Darkfire
2009-06-29, 05:38 PM
Not to mention, either one counts as part of the Treasure Value of that fight - getting that sword or that spellbook directly mean that there's going to be less cash in the treasure chests at the end of the dungeon.

That's always been something that bugs me. If you fight and kill a wizard then you can reasonably expect to find their spellbook (cunningly hidden in a (not necessarily nearby) disguised, locked and trapped container if not actually on the corpse that you're currently looting) and if the wizard is an equivalent level to the party that usually equates to an awful lot of the loot just from the spells they picked on level-up (3rd-level wizard => a minimum* of 2,900gp worth of spellbook; 900gp is the average treasure for the encounter...). Sure you can always ignore the cantrips as they're effectively worthless (all Wizards know them by default (excepting specialists who can't learn the ones they don't know) so there's no demand for them) but even then it's always going to be a large chunk of the loot that's only going to be of use to the Wizards in the party.

Does anyone else mitigate the loot imbalance by deliberately adding spells that the party Wizard(s) already know? Or the odd exploding rune? :smallbiggrin:

*Assuming a non-specialised wizard with Int 12, all 19 0th-level spells, 6 1st-level spells and 2 2nd-level spells

Triaxx
2009-06-29, 08:19 PM
I prefer to do it Baldur's Gate style, and just let them pick a couple of spells from the next level, then learn more from scrolls.

Geddoe
2009-06-29, 09:06 PM
That is what they are talking about Triaxx, they are just wondering how many of those scrolls it is reasonable for a wizard to find each level.

Random832
2009-06-30, 07:10 AM
I prefer to do it Baldur's Gate style, and just let them pick a couple of spells from the next level, then learn more from scrolls.

Well, yeah, but for creating a higher-level character from scratch you have to somehow come to a decision of how many of those 'learn more from scrolls' they've had over the course of their career to date. That's what this thread is about.

Irreverent Fool
2009-06-30, 10:47 AM
The spellbook-as-treasure problem can be partially solved by having enemy wizards carry/hide nearby a smaller 'traveling spellbook' which contains only the spells that wizard has memorized. It makes sense that a wizard wouldn't be carrying his full repository around with him. He probably has his full spellbook hidden somewhere quite far away, beyond the hands of the PCs.

As for coming in at a higher level, the groups I play in and DM for have always simply allowed a wizard to spend WBL on scrolls and (assuming they make the check) have them scribed into the spellbook already. So they pay for the scroll and the cost of scribing. Really, this is all a wizard has to spend gold on anyway, short of scribing their own scrolls (which every wizard should be doing at every opportunity).

(Interesting note about scribing: It's actually more efficient to try to memorize a spell from an unfamiliar spellbook and then scribe it into your book than to simply scribe it. The DCs are the same, but if you try to transcribe the spell you must spend 24 hours studying it first. If you try to memorize it first and fail, you have lost only a few minutes.)

I took a quick glance through the PHB, DMG, PHB2 and DMG2 and didn't see any guidelines for wizard spells when starting at a higher level. The equipment kits listed for wizards didn't even include scrolls. Bracers of armor are, though. Heh.

If your party hasn't had a chance to buy scrolls and such, I would recommend that any player coming in be limited in how many spells they can know.

But yes, by all means count it as part of WBL, as long as you're only using it as a guideline.

obnoxious
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