Wednesday, July 22, 2009

B/X Companion: Spell Intro

[Figured you folks wanted a taste.]

From the B/X Companion, Part 3: Spells:

The following section lists contains spell lists for clerics and magic-users of levels 15-36. All notes from previous publications apply, though some are re-stated below for ease of play. Spells available at earlier levels are not re-printed. As stated, the Companion set is to be used in conjunction with other fantasy adventure games.

CLERICAL SPELLS: Clerical spell use and the acquisition of those spells remain the same as in earlier publications: clerics have access to the full range of spells available by their class and level. After a good night’s rest and a short hour or so of prayer and meditation, the god or goddess worshipped inscribes the magical supplications in the cleric’s mind. With reversible spells, a cleric may choose which version to use at the time of casting, though a cleric’s Alignment and deity determines which version is “normal” and use of its opposite requires a justifiable reason. Clerics must have a holy symbol to cast spells.

MAGIC-USER SPELLS AND SPELL BOOKS: Magic-users and elves must still memorize spells from a spell book, regardless of level. As stated in previous publications, the spell book of a magic-user, even a high level magic-user, may contain no more spells than the maximum number of each spell level that the magic-user or elf can cast in a single day. If the magic-user or elf somehow loses a spell book, it may be re-created at great cost: 1000gp per spell level per spell scribed. So a book with two 1st level spells and one 2nd level costs 4000gp (1000 + 1000 + 2000) to recreate. At high levels, recreating such a tome can be exorbitantly expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of gold pieces!

At lower levels, a magic-user or elf acquires spells simply upon attainment of a new level of experience. It is assumed the magic-user or elf is apprenticed to a higher level wizard or belongs to a local magic-user guild. Your DM will have to determine the availability of such guilds and the maximum level of any wizard masters. It is quite possible that as characters grow beyond the mid-levels they will surpass existing NPC magic-users.

Magic-users can be a secretive lot and jealous of their power. Remember that magic-users only gain power through risking their lives, adventuring, or through long and expensive spell research. A wizard capable of training apprentices (11th level and higher) may be willing to teach for services provided or as an act of charity or duty. But once the young magic-user has grown enough to have his or her own tower and apprentices, the master will see the student as a rival.

At this point, spell research becomes vital to the magic-user class. In order to gain new spells a magic-user must perform his or her own research (as outlined in earlier books). These spells can not only be used to fill the blank pages of a wizard’s own tome, they can be traded to other wizards for new spells the magic-user does not own. It is assumed that either wizard of such an exchange will retain a copy of his or her original spell as well.

If there is a “magic-user guild” it is best left to the DM to decide how such an institution functions, especially with regard to membership fees and service, as well as availability of spells. Perhaps only Name level and higher magic-users are required to pay dues; perhaps ancient spell books are readily available in the guild library. Keep in mind that if a guild exists for the purpose of sharing knowledge than the benefit of belonging to such a guild is inversely proportionate to one’s level of experience (higher magic-users have less to gain).

Training and spell research are not the only ways to acquire new spells. A magic-user or elf may find, steal, or otherwise acquire another spell-users tome of spells. Such should be a rare or difficult occurrence, as all but the clumsiest of magic-users will take precautions to guard their power. More than one dungeon full of traps, tricks, and monsters have been created to guard a wizard’s most precious commodity, the spell book.

A magic-user or elf’s spell book may be a slim book or a weighty tome depending on the number of spells it contains. All are well bound with thick, durable pages and possibly a lock or latch. The number of pages in a book is equal to the number and level of spells within; a 3rd level elf or magic-user would have a maximum of 4 pages of magical writing (one page, front and back, for each 1st level spell; 2 pages, front and back, for the one 2nd level spell). A 36th level caster would have a tome of 405 pages, front and back (810 pages of writing)!

Larger spell books can be exceptionally difficult to carry, especially depending on their construction and any special materials used. A wizard who scribes his book on pages of thinly, beaten gold or stone tablets may need to harness beasts simply to carry it on adventures! Many magic-users will create a magic satchel or bag of holding that allows for easy transportation of their spell book, though others may leave it in their tower and simply teleport home in the evenings for sleep and study.

ELVES AND HIGHER LEVEL SPELLS: Elves never achieve greater than 10th level ability in spell use, but otherwise all magic-user rules regarding spell books, memorization, and new acquisition of spells apply. As all elves are capable of using magic and many elves owe fealty to an elven liege and maintain a connection with their elven community, PC elves may simply decide to journey “home” to learn and acquire new spells.

Even though elves never gain the ability to cast spells higher than 5th level, they are still permitted to use magic-user scrolls (with a read magic spell) even if the spell inscribed is 6th level or higher. When crafting magical items, it is left to the DM to determine if a magical affect similar to a high level spell can be created by an elf.

SAVING THROWS: Unless otherwise specified in the text, all saving throws allowed should be made against Magic Spells, regardless of the effect of the spell.

[Yeah, I think my posts are going to be fewer, or at least more whimsical, until I finish this project…hopefully, I’ll have the writing done in a couple weeks. 34 of 58 spells complete, monster list is at 70 entries (about where I wanted it), and I’ve finally got some ideas for how to work the thief abilities. I figured I ought to "break off a piece" for those who are following my blarg and hoping for the regular content ]


  1. Nice. Thanks.
    --Keep up the good work. :)

  2. Good stuff, can't wait to see some of those monsters!

  3. Hmmm...I suppose I could post a monster or two without giving too much away...I have a couple favorites I'm thinking of...

    Maybe tonight I'll post one or two.

    Update: thieves figured out and statted, demi-humans nearly complete (i.e. made viable for high level adventures), figured out what I'm doing with clerics and "turning" (not a blessed thing!), PC combat tables complete.

    I'm going to lunch so I can work on spells per level and saving throws. OH...and to finish the last few magic-user spells. :)