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Jo’Mase the Wizard’s Optional Rules for AD&D, 2nd Edition

General Rules:

The Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition rules are a good general guideline, but there are some areas that need some "refinement" and "clarification". Also, any references to "his" or "her" are not meant to be gender-specific, so please don’t take it that way. ** It’s just easier to type one word as opposed to his/her. Thanks!

Spell Point System

The AD&D system of using a mage’s level to determine how many spells he can cast before needing to rest is tolerable. It is a definitive way to restrict the mage in what spells he/she can memorize at any given time during a day.

However, as a GM, I feel that a mage should only be restricted by his imagination, and not by the level of the spell. That’s why I’m writing these rules. A mage should be able to cast spells according to the amount of magic energy (manna) he has, and not by his level. Under my rules, a mage is allowed to cast spells that are higher in level than what he could cast normally under the AD&D 2nd Edition rules, however the spell will cost 4 times the normal points it would normally cost, and have a 75% chance of failure! This is due to the unmastered strength of the energies involved. It can also cause major damage (permanent damage) to the caster, resulting in 1 point of Intelligence being lost (with all bonus spell points being reduced). This chance is equal to 3% per level of the spell being attempted.

Example: Gandalf, an 8th level mage wants to cast a 5th level spell. Referring to the Player’s Handbook Wizard Spell Progression table Gandalf can cast up to two (2) 4th level spells, but not a 5th level spell. In order to cast a 5th level spell from a scroll or from his spellbook, it would cost 20 spellpoints and have a 75% chance of failure. If Gandalf succeeds, the spell goes as planned. If the spell fails, he has a 15% chance of losing 1 Intelligence point (and all bonus spell points associated); irregardless of if he fails or succeeds with this check, he loses the spell points (20, in this case), and if the spell failed, it fizzles with no effect.

All spells cost 1 point per level of the spell (i.e. 1st level spell: 1 point, 5th level spell: 5 points)

Determining the Spell Points

The power of the mage is truly magnificent in higher levels of ability. He has mastered the energies involved in creating spell effects from spells, and can cast a multitude of these spells.

However, a lower level mage is still developing, growing, learning… And, thus, the system at hand. My system goes on the basis of a mage’s learning and dabbling in the Art before attaining level 1. Here is my progression table:

Table 1: Spell Point Progression

Level of Mage Spell Points Level of Mage Spell Points

1

1d4

11

1d10

2

1d6

12

1d10

3

1d6

13

1d10

4

1d6

14

1d10

5

1d8

15

1d12

6

1d8

16

1d12

7

1d8

17

1d12

8

1d8

18

1d12

9

1d10

19

1d12

10

1d10

20

1d12

Total Max Points

74

112 (186 total)

This table will give a fair chance for the mage to develop more spell points than a normal mage would have, thus allowing him to cast more spells. If the player character rolls all 1’s to determine points, then he could feasibly not have the required points to cast the amount of spells per level as indicated in the Player’s Handbook, 2nd Edition. At the GM’s option, a player mage can have the minimum amount of points to cast all the spells he should be able to cast at his level. (i.e. a 1st level mage would only have 1 spell point since he can only cast one 1st level spell before needing to rest and re-memorize. Personally, I think a player would want the chance to gain more spell points, and thus, be able to cast more spells than 1 at 1st level!

A mage can also gain extra spell points for having high Intelligence and for being Specialized. Refer to the following chart:

Table 2: Spell Point Bonus Table

**Intelligence/Wisdom Score Range

Bonus Spell Points/level

Remarks

10-15

1

 

16-17

2

 

18

3

 

19+

4

God-like Intelligence.

**Priests use their Wisdom scores instead of Intelligence. In the case of dual class characters, use the class that the character has since changed to, in order to determine the bonus spell points. They retain all bonus spell points up until the time of switching. Multi-class characters choose the best score range to determine bonus spell points.

Specialized mages/priests get 2 bonus spell points per level gained, on top of what they receive for high Wisdom/Intelligence.

 

Spell Memorization and Spell Point Recuperation

Spell Memorization

Mages/Specialists can have as many spells in their books as they can find or research, without the usual INT limit, and in so long as they will fit in the spellbook. They are limited by INT as to the number of such spells they can actually memorize and hold in their memory at any given time. It is from these memorized spells that the mage casts using spell points. Casting the spell does not cause it to disappear from memory, but just uses the appropriate number of spell points. Thus, a mage could cast the same spell many times as long as it was one of the spells he had memorized that day (and had the spellpoints necessary to cast the spell). The mage can change which spells he has memorized by studying his spellbook, but is limited to his spell level total. Once memorized, the mage need not spend this time again, unless he loses the spell from memory for some reason. A mage can voluntarily forget any or all of his spells during this time to make room for new spells he wishes to memorize. Once memorized, the spells stay in the mage’s memory until changed or until he voluntarily forgets a spell to make room for another. Depending on the GM, the mage may be required to study for a certain number of turns to retain the spells fresh in the mage’s memory. If he fails to study (battle, fatigue, etc.), the mage will begin to lose spell memorization at the rate of 1 spell level per day (highest levels going first) until he studies properly.

Spell Casting Speed Boosting

The caster can also speed up casting by spending extra points. Each extra point reduces CT (casting time) of the spell 1 unit per point, with a drop below 1 going to half the next lower unit. Thus, a mage who wants to speed up the casting of a spell that has a normal CT of 5 rounds could spend 4 extra spell points to reduce the CT to 1 round. The reduction is as follows: 5 rounds goes to 4 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 2 rounds, then finally to 1 round. The caster can only spend a number of extra spell points equal to his level.

If a mage/priest opts to decrease the casting time of a particular spell, the number of spell points the mage/priest put into casting the spell to decrease the casting time is the number of rounds a mage must wait until he can cast another spell. The mage/priest has been drained physically, and must wait until the rounds have passed.

Example: Gandalf the mage wants to improve the casting time (CT) of a Fireball spell from 3 rounds to 1 round. He expends two (2) extra spellpoints to launch the Fireball at the end of the round. Now, being fatigued, he must wait 2 rounds before he can cast another spell. He can attack hand-to-hand if necessary, but this will increase the wait time another round. Once he has had 2 rounds of "inactivity" (no fighting, only moving his movement rate, drinking a potion, or other small action), he can then cast another spell.

Spell Power Boosting

For every two (2) spellpoints spent above the normal casting cost, a mage can increase the casting level of the spell by 1 level. Thus, a 5th level mage can cast a fireball spell as an 7th level mage, if he spends an additional 4 spellpoints to increase the casting level of the spell. This boosting has a drawback in that it also increases the casting time of the boosted spell by 1 unit per extra spell point pumped into it. So the same mage (5th level), casting a fireball spell (CT: 3), pumped four (4) spellpoints to increase the effective level to 7, the fireball would take 7 rounds to cast. Of course, he could spend another point to decrease the casting time by spending another 1 point. He has the option, though the Fireball spell would effectively take double the normal rounds to cast than normal, but he would get the added effect he desired. You see where I’m going. Only his imagination, his level, and the number of spell points he has limit the mage.

Total Spell Boosting

The final way to boost spells is to spend double normal cost to either give a –2 on target save or +1 point of damage per die. Triple cost gives both. This boost does not alter CT. Note that the –2 save for target option does not combine with the –2 save for being specialized in the spell.

Spell Point Defense

Mages and priests are filled with a special magic/faith energy, their spell point power. These points are always at their beck and call, and when needed, they are very much like an extension of the mage or priest. Because these points are so close to the mage/priest, they can be called upon, instantly, to perform a special effect. This effect is limited to the mage/priest alone, and in no way affects others. If the mage/priest is attacked by magic of any kind, he can use his spell point power as a kind of inner shield to lessen the impact. The mage/priest can only spend a number of spell points in this way as he has levels, each round. Against a single magic effect, the user gains a +1 to his saving throw for each spell point used. This special inner resistance only serves to strengthen the mage’s or priest’s natural resistance, and is, therefore, only effective against spells which can be so resisted (i.e. those spells that allow a saving throw). This effect is instant, and can be used provided the user is not surprised. This inner resistance applies to only a single magical attack. If the user is subject to more than one attack, he can resist any or all of them by distributing spell points separately to each attack. The total spell points so distributed cannot exceed the limit above, up to the user’s level in spell points. This effect can be used in addition to the user’s normal actions that round.

Spell Point Recuperation

Since this new spell system has spell points, there must be a way for a mage/priest to be able to replenish his/her supply. There is: rest! A good night’s sleep for an adult is from 6-7 hours. That will get the mage/priest back 100% of spell points. If a mage can only sleep for 1-2 hours at a time, then he can only recuperate 10% of spell points! The key is rest! However, a GM can create magical items/potions that will allow a mage/priest to recuperate spell points, whatever the GM sees fit for his campaign.

Casting from Your Spellbook

Finally, mages who fail to learn a spell in their spell books (they can copy it in without understanding it with the read magic spell) can cast the spell by reading it from their spell book. He must cast Read Magic or have it already active when he does this, so he can understand the spell. This does not make the spell disappear like a scroll because it is not a scroll, the caster will cast the spell from his own spell point pool, but the drawback is the casting time is doubled. The mage cannot memorize this spell because he does not truly understand it, but is allowed to cast it from the book because read magic allows him to understand it for a limited time. Of course, a mage can also do this with spells he already understands, but does not have memorized or is not familiar with at the time.

Specialization

Another item that I found necessary to create rules on is the area of specialization, both for weapons and for spell casting. I don’t feel that only a fighter should be the only class allowed to specialize in a weapon. Sure, he may use a sword more than, say, a cleric, who may not always use a physical weapon, but may also cast spells, turn undead, etc. A cleric will eventually improve with the weapon of her choice, but it will take longer than a fighter will. Let’s go into some specifics that I have made that seem to work well in my campaign. It makes it easier for characters to hit monsters, etc., but on the other hand, a kobold, goblin, orc, etc., can also become specialized in weapons and therefore can hit PC’s easier. Pretty nifty balance, eh?

Weapon Specialization (Fighters)

Of course, we all know that fighters can specialize in a weapon of his choice, and become a grandmaster of that weapon. He becomes truly exceptional, developing his fighting style, attracting followers as his fame and renown spread throughout the lands, etc. I let the player have the option of specializing in more than one weapon, if he has the weapon proficiencies to do so. He may also elect the option of specializing in fighting styles as deemed appropriate by the GM. Here’s a general guideline on specialization progression for a fighter:

Table 3: Fighter Weapon Specialization Table

No. of W. Prof. Slots Devoted

Mastery Name

Special Benefits

Remarks

1

Proficient No penalty for use  

2

Specialized (Skilled) +1 "to hit", +2 damage  

3

Master +2 "to hit", +3 damage Can learn fighting style

4

Master, 2nd Level +3 "to hit", +4 damage  

5

Grand Master +4 "to hit", +5 damage Can learn an additional fighting style

A fighter can truly become a fighting machine if he becomes a grand master. There are a couple of smaller rules that need to be combined and used if you use this specialization system. They are as follows:

A fighter can only devote two (2) weapon proficiency slots when initially created in any one weapon (this keeps him from possibly being a Master, 2nd level, at 1st level). Since a fighter initially has 4 weapon proficiency slots, he can specialize in two weapons, specialize in 1 weapon and be proficient in 2 others, or he can be proficient in 4 weapons. There is no limit as to the number of weapons a fighter can be specialized in, or even master.
Ambidexterity (the use of both hands equally) is a proficiency that can fall under either weapon proficiency or non-weapon proficiency. If used under my rules here, I consider it to be a weapon proficiency, under fighting style. If a fighter devotes 2 weapon proficiencies to ambidexterity, he can attack with two weapons as a ranger, with no penalties imposed. He cannot improve in this proficiency once he has specialized in it. A ranger has this ability naturally.
If a fighter opts, at Master level, he may become proficient (and eventually specialize) in a fighting style. A fighting style can be a multitude of things, using a combination of a sword/punch technique, a sword/shield technique, etc. The player can develop his character to fight in a way that he envisions with these rules. The technique would count as one of the fighter’s attacks he has that round.

Example: Geb the fighter is level 1. He opts to take the long sword as his specialization. He has 2 slots left, so he decides to take ambidexterity as well (devoting the other 2 slots). At 4th level, he gains yet another weapon proficiency slot, and can either put it on his long sword to become a Master, or he can become proficient with a smaller weapon (say, the short sword), so that he can attack with both weapons (raising his attacks per round by one segment – i.e. From 3/2 rounds to 2/1 round) with no penalties to his attack rolls. At 7th level, he gains another weapon proficiency slot, and can either specialize further with the long sword, become specialized with the short sword, or he can become proficient in some other fighting style, such as attacking with the long sword and shield punching with a buckler, etc. The possibilities suddenly open wide open for the fighter!

Dual class characters are able to use the abilities and proficiencies of his old fighter class in so long as they are usable by the new class. A cleric could use a shield-punch technique with a war hammer or mace (or other one-handed weapons as the GM determines). Multi-class characters can specialize as fighters, but it costs double the weapon proficiency slots, and triple the weapon proficiencies if the multi-class is 3 classes!

Weapon Specialization (other than Fighter)

A character should not be restricted in learning how to fight with a weapon, and being able to improve on said weapon should be allowed, though at a much slower rate than a fighter. As a general guideline, it should take double the weapon proficiency slots for each level as the fighter table.

Table 4: Other Character Class Weapon Specialization Progression

No. of W. Prof. Slots Devoted

Mastery Name

Special Benefits

Remarks

1

Proficient No penalty for use  

4

Specialized (Skilled) +1 "to hit", +2 damage  

6

Master +2 "to hit", +3 damage  

8

Master, 2nd Level +3 "to hit", +4 damage  

10

Grand Master +4 "to hit", +5 damage  

A mage would most likely never become a grand master with a quarterstaff, since he progresses on weapon proficiency slots a lot slower than the other classes do, unless you play on levels beyond 36th level.

There are a couple of smaller rules that need to be addressed for these character classes:

All character classes other than fighter (and subclasses under fighter class) can only specialize in one (1) weapon. They can become proficient in other weapons, can take ambidexterity to fight with multiple weapons, but can only specialize and progress further in one weapon only. This is to maintain game balance, since other character classes have other abilities than what a fighter has.
Character classes other than fighter may not learn fighting styles, unless the GM allows it. A GM may allow a cleric who follows a god of war to learn fighting styles, but a cleric who follows a god of the fields may not be allowed to.

Spell Casting Specialization

This subject is touchy at best. Should a spell caster be allowed to improve in casting spells, knowing and learning what intricacies are used to cast the spell, and get better and quicker with practice? I think so, since most everyone improves on whatever they do if they do it enough, and I see no reason why we couldn’t apply this to spell casting.

On the other hand, allowing a mage/priest to improve in spell casting can greatly affect the combat round. If a mage could cast a fireball in 1 round, as opposed to it taking 3 rounds, the power of play can shift greatly in the mage’s favor. We already discussed the option of the mage to improve the casting time of spells by adding spell points to the spell. Specialization would let the mage naturally improve the casting time of the spell in question after so many levels of experience and the proper amount of non-weapon proficiencies, without having to use spell points.

A mage can devote non-weapon proficiency slots to Spell Casting. Initially, when a mage character is created, he can only devote 2 non-weapon proficiency slots to Spell Casting, then can devote more as he gains non-weapon proficiency slots. Once he has 5 slots devoted, he becomes specialized in spell casting.

Due to the very nature of this specialization, it must be weighed heavily if a GM would allow it. I present the option below of including specialization in spell casting by using the following chart as a reference:

 

Table 5: Spell Casting Specialization Table

Level of Mage

# of Non-Weapon Profs.

New Casting Time

Other Bonuses

Remarks

9-19

5 (initial)

3/2 rounds

+1 to damage die Is now specialized

20-29

7

2/1 rounds

+3 to damage die -2 save vs. spell

30+

9

5/2 rounds

+5 to damage die -4 save vs. spell

A mage cannot be specialized in spell casting before 9th level (name level).

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