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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    I'm about to run a one-shot starting at 10th level, and I got asked something which I somehow had never considered. Wizards have a mechanism for gaining spells for their spell books as they level normally, but when you're generating a character starting at 10th level, is there any standardized approach for figuring out what your options are for spells you've picked up in your back story?

    I was planning to give them X number of spell levels and say they could have that many they'd found in prior adventures..... Leaning toward 1/level = 10 levels for a single-class Wizard.

    The same problem arises for Ritual casters.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    When creating higher-level character, you usually get some magic items. Those items can be scrolls with spells you can then scribe into your spellbook.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Scribing spells into a spellbook costs money. Therefore, I'd treat spells like any other item the wizard could buy with their starting wealth.

    They can spend as much of their cash as they want on expanding their spell list, but that leaves less cash for magical items and other gear. They shouldn't get any free spells, beyond what they get through their class features/feats/etc.
    Last edited by Tiadoppler; 2019-09-20 at 12:27 AM.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadoppler View Post
    Scribing spells into a spellbook costs money. Therefore, I'd treat spells like any other item the wizard could buy with their starting wealth.

    They can spend as much of their cash as they want on expanding their spell list, but that leaves less cash for magical items and other gear. They shouldn't get any free spells, beyond what they get through their class features/feats/etc.
    I would hesitate on this. The cost of scribing a spell isnít the only ďcostĒ involved in getting them. If you got them from scrolls, those would also either cost money or loot allowance or whatever. If you got them from other spellbooks, you would have to justify how your character got access to them in the first place. Keep in mind that you canít scribe spells you canít prepare, so itís a lot harder to justify having say, copied Animate Objects from your buddy in Wizard College.

    My opinion, charge the player the scribing cost, plus half the cost of a scroll of each spell they wish to copy. This is equivalent in cost to half the playerís extra spells being from scrolls, and half being from other spellbooks. I think this constitutes a fair ratio, though perhaps adjust if say, the PC has never even seen another wizardís spellbook, or if your world has spell libraries that wizards are free to copy from at no charge other than the scribing costs.
    Last edited by AdAstra; 2019-09-20 at 03:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Scrolls are much more expensive than spellbooks. And if you ever in your adventuring career defeat another wizard, you're going to take her entire spellbook as loot, including the spells you can't transcribe to your own book yet, and just hold on to the looted book until you've leveled up enough to transcribe all of them.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Additionally, the spells that a wizard finds during his travels are randomly generated or DM discretion. Allowing the player to choose these spells (even at cost) is significantly more desirable. I agree that a higher level wizard would have found some additional spells in his travels, but I think they should be reduced significantly. It is much easier to design a character at a given level than it is to get them there organically, hence the penalty for doing so. For example, the starting gold table gives you 500gp when starting at level 5, even though adventuring for four levels would yield much more.

    I would let them choose a spell or two and then give them a few rolls on the loot tables for scrolls. In the end, the wizard can function fine with only given spells from levelling and will probably find an evil wizard's book as loot soon enough.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    In worlds I run there are Wizard Guilds who will happily teach you from a list of common spells given membership, dues and various political issues. But each guild has specialties and only certain spells, others need to be found or researched. I don't believe 5e has any spell research rules but in a long running campaign I would retrofit some.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Sure, the spells gained from loot are at DM discretion, but that still leaves the player a lot of flexibility. Let's say that you want Fireball, and would have picked it up when you hit 5th level. But while you're still 4th, you defeat a more powerful wizard, and loot her spellbook. And the DM wanted that wizard to be able to Fireball the party, so she naturally has Fireball in her book. Well, now you don't need to spend one of your level-up spells on Fireball, and can instead use that choice to pick anything else at all that you want.

    In other words, because both the player and the DM made choices that made sense, that looted spellbook results in the PC wizard getting to choose at least one spell from the entire wizard list, beyond what they'd be able to pick otherwise.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    But while you're still 4th, you defeat a more powerful wizard, and loot her spellbook.
    How often does this actually happen though?

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    For balance purposes I have always been inclined to let wizards grow their spellbook quite easily. The whole point to the wizard over sorcerer and warlock is that the wizard has more flexibility in their spell choices. You kind of crimp that if you clamp down on the spells in their spell book.

    From an in-game justification perspective, I don't see why it wouldn't be to a wizard's advantage to generally be open to helping other wizards grow their spellbook. Certainly wizards are going to have other wizards as friends and there's no reason they wouldn't help each other out by letting each other copy their spellbooks. As mentioned above, some wizard guilds would hand out free spells for inscription to their members. The cost to inscribe spells isn't really very high when you consider the amount of gold high level adventurers encounter.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    I, as a player or DM, would consider it fair if the DM randomly determined 1d4 or 1d6 spells per spell level I could cast to add to my spell book that weren't there because of my picks. There shouldn't be none, and the player shouldn't get to choose. I think this coincides well with the idea that there would be a lot of overlap in spells known between wizards that the party is likely to have come into conflict with, and the player wizard.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    ...the player shouldn't get to choose.
    Definitely this. The stuff that comes up through adventuring isn't player choice. But it shouldn't be completely random either. Certain core spells are going to be pretty universal.
    Last edited by Shabbazar; 2019-09-21 at 05:02 PM.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Shabbazar View Post
    For balance purposes I have always been inclined to let wizards grow their spellbook quite easily. The whole point to the wizard over sorcerer and warlock is that the wizard has more flexibility in their spell choices. You kind of crimp that if you clamp down on the spells in their spell book.
    The wizard has advantage over sorcerer or warlock even without finding a single scroll or spellbook.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiadoppler View Post
    Scribing spells into a spellbook costs money. Therefore, I'd treat spells like any other item the wizard could buy with their starting wealth.

    They can spend as much of their cash as they want on expanding their spell list, but that leaves less cash for magical items and other gear. They shouldn't get any free spells, beyond what they get through their class features/feats/etc.
    This, with maybe an additional cost to represent the difficulty of finding the spells (somewhere between 110% and 125% should be reasonable in most cases). Although it worked far better in 3.X when buying magic items with your starting wealth was easier.

    Alternatively, in the rare case I'm running D&D I'll probably give them one spell per level beyond what they get from levelling (so a 10th level character would have 6+18+10 spells for a total of 24), but I also tend to have starting gear be an agreement between the player and myself and wizards get a much smaller allowance compared to everybody else.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by JackPhoenix View Post
    The wizard has advantage over sorcerer or warlock even without finding a single scroll or spellbook.
    And the DMG expected find rate for scrolls is pretty low.

    Of course, if the DM allows XTGE downtime and the PC has time available, it's fairly easy to find spell scrolls. It can get expensive though.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Why do scrolls always come up in the conversation of wizards finding spells? In every edition, spellbooks have always been cheaper and more abundant than scrolls. The point of scrolls is that they let you magically cast the spell without using your slots. You can scribe from them, but it's usually a waste.
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Why do scrolls always come up in the conversation of wizards finding spells? In every edition, spellbooks have always been cheaper and more abundant than scrolls. The point of scrolls is that they let you magically cast the spell without using your slots. You can scribe from them, but it's usually a waste.
    The scroll doesn't disappear once you copy the spell. There's no waste.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    ...Huh, you appear to be right. It was the case in every edition up through 3rd that transcribing a scroll consumed it, but I can't find any rule to that effect in either the DMG section on scrolls nor the PHB section on spellbooks. Previous-edition-itis strikes again.

    It's still the case, though, that if all you want it for is just to transcribe it, scrolls are still more expensive and scarcer than other spellbooks.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    My rule of thumb is to allow the wizard a number of spells of each level equal to twice the number of spell slots of that level.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Why do scrolls always come up in the conversation of wizards finding spells? In every edition, spellbooks have always been cheaper and more abundant than scrolls. The point of scrolls is that they let you magically cast the spell without using your slots. You can scribe from them, but it's usually a waste.
    Because unless your DM makes a custom opponent with custom loot, spellbooks aren't a part of found treasure. You can't assume them.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2019-09-22 at 09:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    So what's the argument against widespread cooperation among wizards in sharing spells? IF you believe wizards would freely share spellbooks, the amount of spells known increases significantly beyond what people are offering up here.

    One possibility is that wizards are just so few and far between that there isn't an opportunity to cooperate. However, I will assume that they are relatively common and that things such as wizards colleges and guilds exist.

    If you consider real life, to get help from someone with more expertise costs money. But to get help from a peer is often free, assuming you are friendly and reciprocate. Want a really great golfer to coach you? You'll have to pay a fee. Want advice from your golfing friends and an opportunity to try their new clubs out? Those opportunities are free and abundant.

    I know a great many lawyers. They wouldn't share briefs and research with competitors, but they freely share briefs and research with their friends, members of their firm and members of professional societies. The various criminal defense organizations and other specialty groups offer all kinds of briefs, research and help to their members.

    I'm genuinely curious why you guys don't think the same social norms wouldn't be at work with wizards. I'm not arguing that a wizard would foot the cost of another wizard inscribing a spell in their own book. But letting someone copy a spell from your book costs you nothing, gains you goodwill, and the probability of reciprocation. A minority of wizards might not act this way, but why wouldn't the majority work this way?
    Last edited by Shabbazar; 2019-09-22 at 12:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    There are a few reasons that wizards may be unlikely to share spells easily, depending on campaign setting.

    1. A wizard's spell list is his key to status, wealth and power. The more widely spread spells are, the less valuable they would be. Kind of like how the price of accessing technology goes down as it becomes more widely spread.

    2. Some wizards may feel responsible for any harm done by people using spells they shared. For example Enchanter Tim finds out that Bob the evoker blew up a small town with the fireball spell Tim shared with him.

    3. Another wizard is often the greatest threat to whatever plans a wizard has going.
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Because it also gives potential enemies access to your weapons and knowledge of your capabilities. This is D&D we're talking about. You have no way to know if your "friend" isn't secretly on the opposite end of alignment spectrum, if he's actually a disguised shapeshifter or illusionist, if he won't fall under someone's mind control in the future, or if he simply doesn't spread that knowledge further to people who really shouldn't have access to it, willingly or otherwise.

    Sharing your briefs and research can't kill you and everyone in 20' radius. Sharing your spellbook can.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quoth Tanarii:

    Because unless your DM makes a custom opponent with custom loot, spellbooks aren't a part of found treasure. You can't assume them.
    And by exactly the same token, you can't assume scrolls, either. But if your DM is using remotely realistic treasure, the most likely source for a scroll of a wizard spell will be another wizard, and while any given wizard might or might not have scrolls, they're guaranteed to have a book.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    And by exactly the same token, you can't assume scrolls, either. But if your DM is using remotely realistic treasure, the most likely source for a scroll of a wizard spell will be another wizard, and while any given wizard might or might not have scrolls, they're guaranteed to have a book.
    Spell scrolls are on the random loot tables of the DMG, it woudln't be unreasonable to expect them as a standard loot item, spell books aren't however and would have to eb custom placed by the DM (a nice touch of loot for the Wizard, but more work for the DM).
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    It would be weird to me if a wizard travelled outside of his home town without bringing with him at least a travelling spellbook of a few key spells that might come up outside his normal load out.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    OK, well people can obviously play it out however they like in their campaigns. But I find it absurd that wizards have no friends. If a wizard merely has 2 good friends from wizardry school and they agree to share all their spells they've just tripled the size of their spellbooks. I just don't agree that wizards, exclusively among classes, are such a paranoid lot that they don't cooperate.

    YMMV, yada yada yada.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    I think a wizard just from leveling to 10 will have 24 spells known (6+18). Thatís plenty for a wizard to stay competitive.

    To make it fair and from actually looting spell books from NPCs there are quite a bit of overlaps and even from three enemy spell books I only got about 5 extra spells known.

    Buying scrolls to scribe was even more dicey because when the scrolls are randomly generated most of the rolled scrolls were spells I had already. I think I got 2 spells from shopping for scrolls. I had much more luck from scrolls drop 5 scrolls that I didnít have yet.

    So from all that I have a total of 32 spells known. (Level 8) Obviously besides the 20 spells I picked the other 12 spells were mostly either useless or redundant with only a few that expanded my usefulness.

    So my suggestion unless youíre rolling random spells for your player after he picks his spells from class leveling, I think allowing him to pick an extra 1d6 + int in spells into the spell book would be more than fair.

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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Shabbazar View Post
    OK, well people can obviously play it out however they like in their campaigns. But I find it absurd that wizards have no friends. If a wizard merely has 2 good friends from wizardry school and they agree to share all their spells they've just tripled the size of their spellbooks. I just don't agree that wizards, exclusively among classes, are such a paranoid lot that they don't cooperate.

    YMMV, yada yada yada.
    I think with some spells that are relatively harmless, sure. If the player makes some friends. A lot of the spells are a bit more like loaning an acquaintance your gun.
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    Default Re: Spells in spell book for generating higher level Wizards

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    And by exactly the same token, you can't assume scrolls, either.
    You can't assume, but at least you can hope for lucky rolls.

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