Spell Casting Rules

Preface to spell rules. Calculating a charaters spell points. Recovery of spell points. The time required to change a memorized spell. Rules regarding spell backfire. Backfire results table. Spell points exhaustion rules. Spell points exhaustion results table. Guidelines for acquiring spell reagents. Rules regarding all aspects of spell books. Physical properties of spell books. The cost of spell books. The spell capacity of spell books. Rules governing procedures for entering spells in spell books. Casting of spells directly from spell books. Use of armor by spell casters.


     I created these rules because I did not like the way spell casting is handled in most Fantasy Role Playing Games. In particular I do not agree with the idea that once a spell is cast all memory of that spell is lost form the casters mind. Please see the "Disclaimer"  for some legalize gobledegook.
     In my system a spell caster may cast any memorized spell as many times as needed. Provided the spell points are available. This method is balanced with the possibility that a spell may backfire. Additionaly this method has benefits over other systems in that.. My spell point system is directly linked to the spell casters level of experience and his natural spell casting aptitude. Under my sytem a spell caster would be able to cast any number of spells; or combination of spells; provided he did not expend his entire allotment of spell points. Although this system of spell casting may seem to be overly powerful, one should keep in mind that my system has a built in chance of spell backfire. Thus balancing the system.
     I created a system where a spell caster draws energy from around him (Manna) and stores it within. When the caster wishes to cast a spell, a certain amount of that energy is expended in order to bring the spell to effect. The amount of energy the spell caster can harness for spell casting is based on one of two things.

  The spell casters level of mental cognizance, and his level of experience. (If the spell caster is a priest then the priest's level of Wisdom is substituted for that of Intelligence.)

     The higher the casters Intelligence/Wisdom the more of this energy the spell caster can store. In addition; as a spell caster rises in experience level his ability to store more of this energy increases. My system also assumes that Wizards directly channel this energy from their environment. Whereas priests have this energy channeled to them by their deity, or an agent of their deity. Following this premise I permit priests to wear armor made of metal. However, a suit of metal armor, metal shield, or metal helm would definitely interfere with a Wizards ability to draw on this energy. Therefore, Wizards in my campaign are not permitted to wear suits of armor which consist mainly of metal. They may however wear leather, cloth, and similar forms of armor. Hopefully you will find this method of handling spell casting more to your liking than other methods where a spell, once cast, is wiped from memory.


     House rules on spell points. The acquisition/calculation of. The use of, i.e. Cost in spell points for each level of spell. The recovery of such spell points. etc.. As well as the time needed in order to change a given level of spell.


     The wisdom (for priests) or intelligence (for wizards) is multiplied by the experience level of the spell caster. If the spell caster is a dual classed character then those points are furthermore multiplied by .75 (round up). If the spell caster is a triple classed character then those points are furthermore multiplied by .55 (round up). If the dual or triple classed character has more than one spell casting class (i.e. priest/warrior/wizard). Then the points are totaled (added together) before being multiplied by the multi class factor.
       1st level         cost(4 sp) | 5th level          cost(36 sp)
       2nd level         cost(9 sp) | 6th level          cost(49 sp)
       3rd level        cost(16 sp) | 7th level          cost(64 sp)
       4th level        cost(25 sp) | 8th level          cost(81 sp)
                                    | 9th level         cost(100 sp)
       The rule for calculating spell point cost is level+1 squared.


     A spell caster will recover a number of spell points equal to 10% of his original/base spell point total per hour of uninterrupted meditation/prayer, study/memorization, or sleep/rest. If the spell caster is unable to partake in one of the above activities then he will regain a minimum of 5 points a day. Provided no extraneous activity is performed. (such as combat, running, mountain climbing etc...)


     The amount of time it takes one to change spells is determined by the following rule. (level x 2 = hours needed to change the spell.) This time must be spent meditating/praying, or studying/memorizing. Sleeping or resting will not suffice. Also, one may not change a spell and recover spell points at the same time. For example if a spell caster wished to memorize a different 3rd level spell other than the one already known. (exchange 3rd level spell fireball for 3rd level lightning bolt) It would take him/her 6 hours of study and memorization in order to accomplish the task. Once again this must be performed without interruption and through the appropriate channels depending on class. (prayer/meditation for priests, study/memorization for wizards.)


     Whenever a spell is cast at an opponent which may make a resistance check there is a % chance that the spell may backfire if the check is made. The base % of a spell backfiring on a check that negates the spells effect is 20%, -2% per point of intelligence or wisdom above 13. (Intelligence for Wizards, and Wisdom for Priests. If the character is of mixed class, i.e. wizard/priest then the chance of backfire is based on the type of spell cast.) In all cases there is a minimum 2% chance that such a spell will backfire. When a check is made for 1/2 damage/effect the base % of backfire is 15% with adjustments as above. If a spell does backfire the table below is consulted. If however, the opponent makes the resistance check against the spell and the caster rolls above the backfire % then the spell simply dissipates.
     All backfire results are cumulative. A character may be subject to backfire any number of times. All effects are cumulative. However, their exact nature and affect on a target may be subject to interpretation by the Game Master. In most cases however, when it is not feasible for a spell backfire to have the result indicated on the table below, there will be no backfire. And the result will be ignored.
  1. Whenever a loss of Spell points (spts) is indicated, it is in addition to those expended in casting the spell.
  2. When a spell effect is reversed a resistance check is permitted against the effect of the spell which backfired.
    1. If this check is made then there is no other backfire result(s).
    2. If however the check fails then there may, or may not be a check against any other backfire result(s).
    3. If this second check fails then any other backfire result(s) occur at full strength.
  3. When the table indicates that a check is permitted, it is against the effect of the backfire, and not against the spell which caused the backfire result.
    1. A check against the spell which backfired is always permitted.
  4. When there is no indication of whether a check is permitted against a backfire result, it is assumed that no check is permitted against the other effects of the backfire.
  5. When the backfire result indicates that the spell backfires at half, double, or triple effect a check indicates no effect. Otherwise the spell takes effect as indicated in the backfire table.
  6. In most cases where some effect may be cured by magic, a successful Remove Curse will work. The level of the 'curse' in this case is considered equal to the level of the spell caster who cast the spell plus 1dx levels, where 'x' is a die with a number of sides equal to the level of the spell caster who cast the spell which caused the backfire.


Die %                    BACKFIRE RESULTS
01-10 Fail to cast spell. spts are reduced = 1 x cost of spell.
11-17 Fail to cast spell. spts are reduced = 2 x cost of spell.
18-22 Fail to cast spell. spts are reduced = 3 x cost of spell.
23-24 Fail to cast spell. spts are reduced = 4 x cost of spell.
   25 Fail to castspell. spts are reduced = 5 x cost of spell.
26-35 Spell reversed. Takes full affect on caster.
36-45 Reversed as in 26-35. spts are reduced = 1 x cost of spell.
46-48 Reversed. Assign party #'s, roll xdx. Character 'x' is center of full
49-50 Fail to cast spell. spts are reduced = 1 x cost of spell.
51-55 Reversed. Roll 1d4. On 1-2 caster is center of effect. On 3-4 a random
      party member is center of effect. Spell causes 1/2 effect.
56-60 Fail to cast spell. Caster sleeps for 1d10 x spell level turns. May be
      awakened by magic only.
   61 Caster is afflicted with total blindness for 1d10 days. Resistance Check
      permitted. Cured only by magic.
   62 Caster is afflicted with total blindness for 1d10 weeks. Resistance Check
      permitted. Cured only by magic.
63-65 Random party member is afflicted with total blindness for 1d10 weeks.
      Cured only by magic. Resistance Check permitted.
66-68 Caster afflicted with total deafness for 1d10 weeks. Cured only by magic.
69-73 Caster afflicted with total deafness for 2d10 weeks. Check permitted.
      Cured only by magic.
74-78 Random party member afflicted with total deafness for 1d10 weeks. Cured
      only by magic.
79-84 Caster afflicted with total muteness for 1d10 weeks. Cured only by magic.
85-91 Caster afflicted with total muteness for 2d10 weeks. Resistance Check
      permitted. Cured only by magic.
   92 Caster afflicted with sex change. Cured only by magic.
   93 Caster afflicted with insomnia, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating.
      Regain 1/2 spell points when resting, for 1d10 weeks.
   94 Caster afflicted with insomnia, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating.
      Regain 1/2 spell points when resting, for 1d10 weeks. Resistance Check
   95 Caster afflicted with insomnia, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, and
      sleepwalking. Regain 1/4 spell points when resting, for 1d10 weeks.
      Resistance Check permitted.
   96 Caster afflicted with skin disease which causes pain, and disfiguration.
      -10 to Appearance, -5 to Charisma, -1 to Dexterity. Affected scores are
      reduced by 1 point per day (starting immediately) until maximum reduction
      is reached. Cured only by magic. Resistance Check permitted.
   97 Caster afflicted with seizures. 1 in 20 chance that seizures will occur
      every round. (The Game Master may find it necessary to check only when
      the Caster is attempting to cast a spell, work with delicate instruments,
      or engage in combat.) The seizures will persist for 1d10+2 rounds. During
      seizures the caster will have a -5 Dexterity, -2 to Strength, and -3 to
      Charisma. Cured only by magic. Resistance Check permitted.
   98 Caster suffers intense migraines -1 to Constitution, -2 to all Resistance
      Checks. Cured only by magic. Resistance Check permitted.
   99 Caster becomes arthritic, and enfeebled. -6 to Dexterity, -4 to Strength.
      Cured only by magic. Resistance Check permitted.
  100 Caster afflicted with creeping senility. -1 memorized spell now, and -1
      additional spell per week. Cured only by magic. Resistance Check 

     In most cases, specific reductions in numerical ratings are given when a spell caster or party member is affected by a spell backfire. However, any ancillary effects due to the result of a backfire must be determined by the Game Master using the description of the backfire as a guideline. Thus a spell casting character struck with senility would forget most of his knowledgeof magic during his illness. This character may have to relearn all these spells. Possibly even starting over at a lower level. The exact rate of loss or the actual determination of which spells were lost would all be determined by the Game Master. Similarly a spell caster afflicted with muteness would not be able to cast spells which require the caster to utter words of power. (Quite a few!). However, whether the 'player' would not be allowed to speak out-loud to other players is a matter for the Game Master to decide. Also, if we take another look at the Senility affect. It is possible that a Game Master may rule that the character not only losses spells, but other memories as well. Possibly even forgetting who he is, or who his friends are. In some cases (loss of sight, hearing, voice) the effects of the backfire have been left entirely up to the Game Master. Also the Game Master should try to keep secret the results, and duration, of any backfire result as long as possible. Of course this may not always be feasible, i.e. SEX CHANGE!


     Under certain circumstances a spell caster may find that he has zero or even negative spell points. EEGADS! If this should occur several things may happen. Roll 1d20 and consult the following table in order to determine the results of such a mishap. If a spell caster wishes to cast a 1st level spell that costs 4 spell points, but only has 3 spell points, the attempt may be made if a special saving throw is made. A d20 is rolled. In order for the spell to be cast successfully a roll of

((20 - Spell level) - short spell points)

or less must be made. In the example above ((20 - 1) - 1) 18 or less must be rolled on a d20 in order for a spell to be successfully cast. If a spell caster with 90 spell points wishes to cast a 9th level spell. he needs to roll ((20 - 9) - 10) a 1 or less on a d20 in order to successfully cast the spell. If a spell caster succeeds in casting a spell for which he has to few spell points he is in no way exempt from the exhaustion of spell points rules.


DIE ROLL                     RESULT
 1-14 The spell that the caster was just attempting to cast is lost from memory
      and the spell caster must spend double the amount of time to re-memorize
      the spell in question.
15-17 The spell that the spell caster was just attempting to cast is lost as in
      1-14 above. In addition the spell caster will also take an amount of
      damage equal to the level of the spell lost. The spell caster will also
      be knocked unconscious for a number of rounds = to the level of the spell
      that the caster was just attempting to cast.
18-19 The spell caster loses the spell s/he was just attempting to cast. (as in
      1-14 above) The spell caster also takes damage, and is knocked
      unconscious (as in 15-17 above) but the amounts/durations are doubled
      this time.
   20 The spell caster will lose/forget ALL memorized spells, (as in 1-14
      above) and suffer all other effects. (as	in 18-19 above)
Unconsciousness caused as a result of spell exhaustion must run itŐs full course/duration. It may be interrupted early only by a successful remove curse cast as if the unconsciousness was caused by a spell caster of a level equal to the spell casters level plus the level of the spell the spell caster was attempting to cast.

     Now comes the hard part. After going to zero, or negative spell points, the unfortunate spell caster must spend 10 times the normal amount of time recovering the spell points. (The spell caster must spend studying/resting time even for any negative points caused by any backfire results.) For example.

WAZO can be contacted on the alternate prime material plane where-in exists the planet Earth. He's staying at a place called Hilton Royal in a city named Las Vegas. (Adventuring pays well and NECRON sure was loaded). So think about it the next time you cast that 18th spell for the day at a measly Goblin. It just might be your undoing.



     When a character is attempting to locate the proper reagents (Material components used during the casting of a spell) for any spell requiring reagents; the following rules and guidlines apply.

  1. The character must locate a shop where reagents can be purchased.
    1. If the reagents are purchased from the Mages Guild by a guild member the cost will usually be 5-10% lower, but they will have a 20% lower chance of not having the required reagents; As the Mages guild uses a lot of reagents daily.
    2. The chance of any particular store having the required reagents for that particular spell are as follows: 100 - 10% per level of spell. Thus any shop will have a 90% chance of having the reagents for the first level Wizards spell; Spider Climb. (100 - 10 (1st level) = 90%).
    3. Also the same shop will have as many prepared packets of that particular spell as possible at the stated percent. For example; If the first roll succeeded that means the shop has at least 1 prepared packet for the spell in question. The dice are rolled again. This time a 37% is rolled. The shop has another packet. Another roll is made a 27% is rolled. The shop has a third packet. Another roll is made, 77%. The shop has a fourth component. Another roll is made. This time the dice come up 91%. Since this number is higher than the chance of the shop having any reagents of that sort. No further prepared packets of the spell are available. That player must come back another day to try again, Or find a different source for reagents.
  2. One must wait at least Level x 3 days (Where level is the level of the spell for which the components are being sought.) before they will have another chance of obtaining the reagent(s) in question.
  3. If a penalty is imposed on the chance of finding the reagent it is applied separately. After the normal chance is diced for. For example; Wazo the necromancer is looking for reagents to his 9th level spell "Gory Evisceration". The chance of finding them at the Mages Guild is 10%, (100 - 90 = 10%). The dice are rolled and Wazo gets lucky. He rolls a 02, followed by a 08, followed by a 32. So wazo has found enough reagents for two castings of the spell. However, since Wazo is purchasing spell reagents at the Mages Guild there is a 20% chance that those reagents are not available. (Wazos' spell is catching on.) This chance is checked after determining whether the reagents are available. The dice are rolled and Wazo rolls a 14, and a 33. One of the reagents is not available. Wazo will check back in 27 (Level x 3) days to see if the Mages Guild has gotten a new supply of this reagent.
  4. The cost of these prepared packets is Level squared GP's. This is a standardized cost. All prepared spell reagent packets also weigh the same .01 pounds each.


The Following rules governing spell books, are intended to provide a complete set of comprehensive rules regarding the subject at hand.


To keep things simple it is assumed that all spell books come in one of three sizes.
- LARGE: 15" x 12" x 12", contains 200 pages. Weight 30 pounds, encumberance 90 pounds. Too big to fit in your standard backpack. You'll need a large sack to carry one of these bad boys!
- STANDARD: 16" x 12" x 6", contains 100 pages. Weight 15 pounds, encumberance 45 pounds. One will fit in an empty backpack, or 2 in a large sack.
- TRAVELLING: 12" X 6" X 1", contains 50 pages. Weight 3 pounds, encumberance 6 pounds. 5 of these books will fit in an empty backpack, 10 in a large sack.


All spell books are expensive things. The rules regarding minimum spell book costs are as follows:
- LARGE: 2000 gp for materials, plus 100 gp per spell level in book. This sort of spell book is usually kept in large libraries and rarely carried around by a Wizard.
- STANDARD: 2000 gp for materials, plus 100 gp per spell level in book. The first spell book a mage acquires is one of these. It's usually free; provided the mage has a Tutor/Master.
- TRAVELLING: 500 gp for materials, plus 100 gp per spell level in book. Travelling spell books are never provided free. Spell books may even be found as part of a treasure.


Each spell in a spell book requires a number of pages equal to its level + 0-5 (1d6-1) additional pages. The actual number of pages a spell takes differs from wizard to wizard. Even if two or more wizards are recording the same spell, the number of pages varies, since there are differences in handwriting and notations. Furthermore, no Large  spell book can have more than 200 pages, no Standard  spell book more than 100. No Travelling  spell book will have more than 50 pages, and no ordinary non-magical scroll  more than 25.


Writing a spell into a spell book for the first time takes considerable time and effort. A mage must spend 1 to 2 days per spell level, when entering a spell into his/her spell book. This is no small task indeed. The cost to enter a first level spell=100 gp, 2nd level=200 gp, etc.


Although difficult and costly, a mage may eventually find it imperative that he/she cast a spell directly from his/her spell book. Perhaps tha mage has run out of spell points, or the spell needed is not memorized, but is needed desparately. In the event that the mage does cast a spell from a spell book, the following rules apply. The caster must know the spell. (i.e. if casting a spell from some book other than a personal spell book). There is a 10% chance that the spell will be destroyed, permanently removed from the book. If it is a spell that the mage knows, then it may be re-written into the book, requiring 1 to 2 days per level of the spell to do so. If the spell is not destroyed then the magic in the writtings is gone. A copy spell must be cast on the book before that spell may be either memorized, or cast from the book again. If the spell was a spell the mage did not know, then it is gone forever.


Wizards and preists differ in their ability to use armor. This difference is based on one fundamental fact. The gathering of magical energy is blocked by metal.

In my campaign spell points are a way of measuring the amount of magic energy, or "Mana", that a spell caster has access to. His or her spell casting potential. This "Mana" is all around us. It permeates the physical world. Yet only a select few can tap it's power; Spellcasters. Only spellcasters have the ability to harness this "Mana" and shape it into an external force; A spell.

Preists and Wizards differ in their ability to make use of this "Mana". Wizards are able to directly draw on this power. Whereas a preist acquires "Mana" through his/her deity. The power is channeled directly to the spell casting priest by the characters deity, or an agent of the deity.

Since a preist acquires his or her spell points/"Mana" directly, the presence of armor does not interfere with the acquisition or use of spell points. Wizards on the other hand, must gather/channel this energy themselves. Because of this fact a wizard must not wear armor.

A wizard who wears significant amounts of metal armor will not be able to channel or harness "Mana". Therefore A wizard may wear nothing containing more metal than a suit of studded leather. A wizard may wear a set of bracers, or carry a small shield (without any other metal armor). A wizard who wears armor containing more metal than this will not only be unable to recover spell points, but will be unable to cast spells. The "Mana" itself is not really stored within the spell caster, but the potential to access this "Mana" is created when a priest prays, or a wizard studies. This potential is measured in "Spell Points". When a wizard wears significant amounts of metal armor this potenital is blocked. The access to the "Mana" is blocked. The wizard will be unable to cast spells, or recover spell points until the offending armor is removed.

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Last updated:Mon, Nov 02, 1998 13:56

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