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shadow_archmagi
2009-11-10, 08:04 AM
So far, two of our party members have died. Both of them were me. I'm really new to the game and so is everyone else, with the DM only keeping about one lesson ahead of the class, so to speak.

But this time I rolled an 18 for INT. I must treasure this.

So, um, first, I can't see to figure out how many spells i start with/have per day.

My DM seems to think that I start with exactly 1 spell and then have to scrounge around in the world looking for more.

I'm also unsure how casting times work.

I'm also TERRIFIED OF DEATH (I rolled a 4 for HP though yay)

Sooo yeah.

Tell me what spells I should pick, which ones are traps, how to stay alive, and what rules are commonly misunderstood.

ken-do-nim
2009-11-10, 08:34 AM
You might be only able to memorize one spell - two if this is 2E and you're a specialist - but in your spellbook you should have:
read magic
one offensive spell
one defensive spell
one miscellaneous spell

Hope that helps!

Edit: As for casting time, it's really up to the DM in 1E because everyone handles it differently and for 2E it is added to your d10 initiative roll.

Matthew
2009-11-10, 08:35 AM
Is this first edition or second edition? It is a little bit different between the two, but here is the situation in first edition:

You start with 4 spells:

1 Offensive (preferably sleep)
1 Defensive (shield, armour, or protection from evil)
1 Utilitarian (preferably charm person)
Read Magic

You can cast 1 (count 'em) spell per day (or possibly per 5 hours or so, depending on your game master), regardless of intelligence, at first level. If you possibly can (and with an 18 intelligence you have a very high chance) you are going to want sleep as your spell. This basically makes you the party's "ace in the hole". Unfortunately, it also means that beyond that one spell you will not really be able to contribute to combat, so if you are in a heavy hack and slash game, it's going to suck.

If, on the other hand, your game is primarily about exploration, then you will be spending most of your time on an even footing with the other party members, planning and role-playing. Any magical wands, staves, scrolls, and so on, found will increase your flexibility.

ken-do-nim
2009-11-10, 08:36 AM
Matthew: I call jinx first!

hamlet
2009-11-10, 08:41 AM
The number of spells per day you have (i.e., spell slots) is determined by the chart in the magic-user section of the PHB. Unless you're playing a specialist in 2nd edition, or there's some house rule in effect, you get one spell per day (or, more specifically, 1 spell, then eight hours rest before you can rememorize and cast again).

As for how many spells you start with in your spell book, that information is in the DMG in the section on magic. As I recall of the top of my head, young magic users start first with Read Magic (else you would be a poor wizard indeed) and roll randomly from a series of charts for whatever other spells their master decided to hand them. A kindly DM might permit you to choose a spell, but it's far more fun to roll randomly and take what you get and make the best of it. Typical is, I think, something like 4 first level spells.

All the rest you have to scrounge for, steal, or beg for as you advance in level. Or, if you're using that particular rule, I believe magic users get to scribe a spell per level advanced into their spell books. I've never used that, however, unless the magic user has access to a library of magical theory.

Congratulations on having 4 hp as a 1st level magic-user. You are 50% ahead of the curve. Don't forget that CON can give you bonus HP as well if it is high enough.

Survival techniques are all over this board if you search well enough, but suffice to say they can be boiled down thusly:

1) Do NOT engage in melee combat if at all possible. You are squishy and taste good with barbecue sauce. Furthermore, healing spells from the cleric are wasted on you since they should be healing the guys with armor, not your sorry butt.

2) Do NOT assume that you must be casting spells to be useful or to have fun. You have an 18 INT: use it. Flaming oil does lots of good damage. You can hold up the light source so that the fighters have light to protect your butt by. You can drag wounded comrades out of the fray (CAREFULLY) and bandage their wounds so that they can live to protect your butt again another day. Mapping can never go wrong. You're the guy who knows stuff: make sure you talk to the DM about what a character with an 18 INT who has spent his entire life in study might reasonably know and use it to your advantage.

3) At first level, being a magic-user and not having to buy things like armor, weapons, and so on, will leave you with "extra" coin. It's not extra. Use it to do things like hire men-at-arms to protect your sorry butt. Or, if you don't feel like dealing with the HR department, war dogs are your best friend. Little makes a goblin wet its pants faster than a mastiff chewing on his throat.

4) Remember that direct damage spells are not always your best choice, or even a good choice. Magic missile does 1d4+1 damage once at first level. A charmed orc or hobgoblin does 1d8 damage per round of combat until it dies or your spell wears off. Grease. Sleep. Color Spray. Know what your spells do, and learn to use them in creative ways. A magic user is not an arcane howitzer.

5) Have fun with it.:smallsmile:

hamlet
2009-11-10, 08:42 AM
Matthew: I call jinx first!

Dang you guys are fast.

jmbrown
2009-11-10, 09:03 AM
I'm also unsure how casting times work.

Depends on how your DM is handling initiative. If he's using the standard rules, then all attacks and spells with 1 round casting time are resolved at the same time. If he's using group initiative then spell casting adds on to your initiative score.

Remember there's no spellcraft for you to horde points in making spell casting nearly impossible to interrupt. If you get hit while casting, regardless of how few points, you instantly fail your spell.

Like Hamlet said, wizards have tons of extra coin lying around at early levels since they don't have to buy much stuff. Use this coin to buy meat shi-- I mean, loyal henchmen, and keep the party supplied with potions and the like. When you run out of spells you'll mostly be doing support stuff like tossing darts and passing items back and forth.

sambo.
2009-11-10, 09:10 AM
can i suggest getting thyself a light crossbow and a bunch of bolts.

if this is 1ed, you'll feel like a complete gimp for the first half dozen levels, then all of a sudden, you're flattening towns and summoning up demons to serve you before you know it.

high level 1ed 'Magic-Users' were stupidly powerful.

hamlet
2009-11-10, 09:14 AM
can i suggest getting thyself a light crossbow and a bunch of bolts.

AD&D magic-user can't use crossbows.




high level 1ed 'Magic-Users' were stupidly powerful.

Except not really. Blow your spell wad like that at higher levels and it takes days to reload it. Remember, 10 minutes per spell level per spell to memorize.

Practicing conservation in magic is a good thing.

sambo.
2009-11-10, 09:30 AM
so suck up the non-proficiency penalty.

or use a quarterstaff and get in melee range... oh, wait....

hamlet
2009-11-10, 09:31 AM
so suck up the non-proficiency penalty.

or use a quarterstaff and get in melee range... oh, wait....

A -5 non-proficiency penalty really sucks, especially when the ROF on thrown daggers is far in excess of any crossbow and no non-proficiency penalty applies.

Lapak
2009-11-10, 09:41 AM
so suck up the non-proficiency penalty.

or use a quarterstaff and get in melee range... oh, wait....Darts, you madman! Darts are what AD&D wizards use, if they have no other option whatsoever. Nine times out of ten, there's something more useful to be doing, even if it's just holding the lantern up high and keeping an eye out behind the party.

hamlet
2009-11-10, 09:43 AM
Darts, you madman! Darts are what AD&D wizards use, if they have no other option whatsoever. Nine times out of ten, there's something more useful to be doing, even if it's just holding the lantern up high and keeping an eye out behind the party.

Darts with poison!

If the Paladin asks why the bad guy fell down after a pin-prick wound, why it's an ancient martial arts secret utilizing pressure points . . .

Cyrion
2009-11-10, 10:18 AM
Make sure you load up on mundane goodies- the already mentioned oil flasks (molotov cocktails are a staple of many parties at low levels) are very useful, and I've managed to get some good mileage out of pepper and colored chalks as minor debuffs or distractions.

For wizards, it's a second or third level spell, but for illusionists, be in love with phantasmal force as a first level spell. AD&D left a lot of room for illusions to be uber spells- illusions CAN kill.

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-10, 01:54 PM
I'm not sure whether we're playing 2nd e AD&D or first, to be honest!

I know the DM SAID 2nd e, but the player's handbook he gave me doesn't seem to say 2nd anywhere, and having played Baldur's Gate 2, it doesn't seem very familiar!

Good to know about the molotovs and the hirelings and the random selection and stuff! All very helpful!

hamlet
2009-11-10, 02:20 PM
Baldur's Gate, despite ostensibly being AD&D 2nd edition, really isn't.

What's on the cover of the PHB you've been handed? (literally, you can tell by the artwork easily)

If your DM says 2nd edition, then ask him about school specialization and if he's using those rules. That might be something important that you'll want to know about.

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-10, 03:48 PM
Baldur's Gate, despite ostensibly being AD&D 2nd edition, really isn't.

What's on the cover of the PHB you've been handed? (literally, you can tell by the artwork easily)

If your DM says 2nd edition, then ask him about school specialization and if he's using those rules. That might be something important that you'll want to know about.

Um, uh

Oh hey the introduction makes the fact that it's second edition quite clear.

Matthew
2009-11-10, 03:56 PM
Um, uh

Oh hey the introduction makes the fact that it's second edition quite clear.
It is, but like any computer adaptation it takes, shall we say, liberties with the rules. :smallwink:

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-10, 04:06 PM
It is, but like any computer adaptation it takes, shall we say, liberties with the rules. :smallwink:

I was actually referring to my copy of the player's handbook.

:smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2009-11-10, 04:09 PM
I was actually referring to my copy of the player's handbook.

:smallbiggrin:

Oh right, gotchya. In that case, you definitely want the armour spell and should cast it on your own character and every other character in the party before setting out adventuring (might take a few days, but as long as you are not in a rush). The thieves in your party will be especially grateful, I would think. :smallbiggrin:

hamlet
2009-11-10, 04:15 PM
Oh right, gotchya. In that case, you definitely want the armour spell and should cast it on your own character and every other character in the party before setting out adventuring (might take a few days, but as long as you are not in a rush). The thieves in your party will be especially grateful, I would think. :smallbiggrin:

Grateful enough to part with some of their treasure to be sure. And if they're not, then you can tell them they can do without your magical protections.

If it is, indeed, 2nd edition that you're playing, then I suggest that you look up the info on specialist wizards. An extra spell slot per level in your school plus improved chances to learn and penalties on foes' saves at the expense of losing two or so schools of magic is, many find, worth the tradeoff.

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-10, 05:10 PM
If it is, indeed, 2nd edition that you're playing, then I suggest that you look up the info on specialist wizards. An extra spell slot per level in your school plus improved chances to learn and penalties on foes' saves at the expense of losing two or so schools of magic is, many find, worth the tradeoff.

I looked into it

"Ooh, yay, specializing is fun!" I said
"Not so fast, evil boss!" said the PHB
"What's that?" I replied
"There are minimum stat requirements for these" it laughed an evil laugh
"What. But I don't have a 15 in any stats! Why can't I be an illusionist with 13 DEX?"
"Backflips are an integral part of lying."

Dimers
2009-11-10, 05:43 PM
"What. But I don't have a 15 in any stats! Why can't I be an illusionist with 13 DEX?" "Backflips are an integral part of lying."

Maybe you have to very dextrously twiddle your fingers in the manner of a master puppeteer when concentrating on illusions. Or something. The requirement of Wisdom from Necromancy is what always confused me. I mean, what, you can't understand the idea of "death energy" below that point?


Do NOT engage in melee combat if at all possible.

Nonsense. The character has the THAC0 of a fighter of the same level! :smallamused:

Mark Hall
2009-11-11, 02:20 AM
Nonsense. The character has the THAC0 of a fighter of the same level! :smallamused:

And hit points on par with a gerbil.

hamlet
2009-11-11, 07:42 AM
I looked into it

"Ooh, yay, specializing is fun!" I said
"Not so fast, evil boss!" said the PHB
"What's that?" I replied
"There are minimum stat requirements for these" it laughed an evil laugh
"What. But I don't have a 15 in any stats! Why can't I be an illusionist with 13 DEX?"
"Backflips are an integral part of lying."

Ah, in that case, you'd be a generalist then. The upshot of that is that you will never find a spell that you can't (at some point) cast.


And hit points on par with a gerbil.


With a worse armor class.

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-11, 08:12 PM
Ah, in that case, you'd be a generalist then. The upshot of that is that you will never find a spell that you can't (at some point) cast.


Indeed. Apparently the way stats work is that there's a limit to how many spells of any given level I can learn

Unless I have INT 20 in which case I'm fine forever.

My middle-aged gnome will be oooook.

hamlet
2009-11-12, 08:33 AM
Indeed. Apparently the way stats work is that there's a limit to how many spells of any given level I can learn

Unless I have INT 20 in which case I'm fine forever.

My middle-aged gnome will be oooook.

You are correct in that you can only learn a certain number of spells per level, but at INT 18, you shouldn't have trouble there, really. Plus, if you survive long enough, aging effects will slowly raise your INT over the years, so by the time you're very old, you'll break past that particular barrier if you're still adventuring.

As for being a gnome, that might be an error on your part. Gnomes can't be generalist mages, but only illusionists.

Edwin
2009-11-12, 09:35 AM
The rule about only learning a certain number of spells per level is optional, is it not?

hamlet
2009-11-12, 09:48 AM
The rule about only learning a certain number of spells per level is optional, is it not?

It is, but a frequently applied one, and easy to miss it's "optionality" so to speak.