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Jo'Mase's AD&D Magic System


Spell Points

All spell casters(mages, clerics, druids, bards(if you still use them), paladins and rangers) use spell points to cast spells. Total the spell levels they normally get and this is their spell point total(a 7th level mage has 20 points). Spells cost 1 point per spell level to cast if the spell is of a major school/sphere, and 2 points per spell level if of a minor school/sphere. Minor school/sphere access does not limit the level of spells that can be cast, it just makes them cost double normal cost(2 points per spell level rather than 1 point per spell level).

Spell Memorization

Mages/specialists can have as many spells in their books as they can find or research, without the usual INT limit. 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, 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. A mage can memorize a certain number of spell levels at one time. This is equal to (INT)X(Level)/3. The memorized spell takes up a number of such spell levels equal to it's own level(for major school access). If the spell was from a minor school for the mage, it takes up twice the number of spell levels. The mage can change which spells he has memorized by studying his spell book, but is limited to this spell level total. A mage can memorize a new spell, assuming he can learn it, in 1 day per spell level of the spell, this time is doubled if the spell is of a minor school of the mage, and doubled as well if of higher level than he can normally cast(quadrupled for a spell both above his normal casting level limit and of a minor school)-see below. 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. However, he must keep up with his study each day or lose the spells memorized. Each day he must spend at least 1 turn per level of mage he is to keep them fresh in memory. Failure to do so results in losing spells from memory, at a rate of 1 spell level per day(lowest level spells are lost first), until down to 1/3rd the full number he can normally memorize, at which point the loss stops. This core 1/3rd represents those spells the caster can retain without study(ie. those he has truly memorized and need not refresh his memory for each day). Spells lost from memory in this way are not totally forgotten, but are reduced to the Spell Familiarity category, detailed below.

Learning Spells

Spell casters learn spells by checking their % chance to learn a spell, with modifiers applied as required, and if they succeed, they will always know that spell. This is true even should they lose the spell from memory totally, if they can brush up on the spell again, they automatically understand it, as long as they learned it in the past at some point. Those who fail to learn a spell, must study with a mentor, which requires 1 week/spell level of the spell they want to learn, and costs at least 50gp/week. Once this time is spent, the mage can re-roll his % check, and if failure results again, the mage must spend the time with his mentor all over again if he desires to try again. This process can be repeated until the mage succeeds or gives up. The DM can give bonuses to this check to learn a spell if attempted before. This bonus is +5% to future checks against this spell only for each previous attempt at learning it.

Spell Familiarity

Mages can only hold so many spells in memory at one time, as detailed above, but can be familiar with more spells than this. The number of such familiar spells cannot exceed 2 times the number they can memorize(unless they have lost memory of some formerly memorized spells, in which case these also become familiar only, but can remain only so long as the mage’s full memorizing potential is temporarily diminished because he failed to keep the spells fresh in his mind, or for some other reason), but from these, they have some chance to recall and cast if needed. To try and cast from a familiar spell not memorized at the time, the mage must pass an INT check with a -1 per level of the spell. If successful, the spell can be cast, but the casting time is doubled. These familiar spells must be carried with the mage, as they only remain familiar if he can browse them each day. He browses these spells when he is going over the spells he has in memory, to keep them fresh. Adding a spell to those he desires to be familiar with, requires spending half the time as when actually memorizing a spell, thus, see above for how long it takes to add such a spell. Failure to keep familiar spells fresh, results in a loss of 1 spell level per day from those spells he was familiar with, just as with memorized spells above. This loss only affects those spells which were normally familiar. If a spell were once memorized, but reduced to familiar only status because of failure to keep them fresh in the mind, these familiar spells will not be lost with the others, as they represent those spells the mage is permanently familiar with, just as he has some spells he has permanently memorized.

Spell Books

Counting the spells he can memorize and those he can be familiar with, a mage can have up to his INTxLevel in spell levels in his traveling spell book. 1/3rd he can memorize, and the rest he is familiar with. Of course, he can have many more than this in other spell books, but he can only memorize and be familiar with the spells he places in his traveling spell book. Of these he has memorized, only 1/3rd of them are truly memorized(ie. he will never lose memory of these even if unable to go over his spells each day as required) and the rest, the other 2/3rds, cannot be lost totally, but at most reduced to familiar status. So, to summarize, a mage can truly memorize his INTxLevel/9 spell levels and be truly familiar with his INTxLevelx2/9 spell levels. If he is able to study his spells each day as detailed above(1 turn/level of mage each day), these truly familiar spells can be memorized, and he can add his INTxLevelx2/3 spell levels more as familiar spells. These, however, are lost at the rate of 1 spell level per day the mage does not study adequately, the truly familiar spells which were memorized falling back to being only familiar again, and those extra spells which were made familiar are totally forgotten.

Learning Spells Above The Normal Spell Level Limit

All mages/specialists and clerics/druids(not bards(if you still use them), paladins or rangers) can try to learn spells over their allowed level. However, specialists can only attempt this with spells within their specialty school, and priests only with spells they have major access to. Spells 1 level over their limit are tested at 1/2 their chance to learn % or 1/2 their WIS(on a d20) for priests. Spells 2 levels over(max. you can try) are tested at 1/10th their chance to learn % or 1/10th their WIS(on a d20). Success means the spell is able to be used but at double point cost(this double cost affects every aspect of casting the spell, including spell boosting). This double cost is very important to consider as mages are limited to the number of spell points they can cast into any spell without risking serious consequences, see SPELL BOOSTING below for details on this limit. Failure to learn the spell means the caster must wait until he attains a level which would allow the roll he made to succeed. This failed roll is kept and used for all further checks.(Thus, a 1st level mage finds fireball and tries to learn it. His INT is 18 so he has 1/10 x 85% or 9% chance to learn, kind of pointless as spell costs 6 points to cast for him, but for the sake of example, he rolls a 22, so he must wait until he attains a level where he could have learned it with that roll. At 3rd level he now needs 1/2 x 85%, 43% to learn it, so the 22 roll would succeed, allowing him to cast fireball now.) When a mage fails to learn spells within his allowed level, he does not get another roll upon advancing to next level, rather he must study it with a mentor 1 week/level of the spell, then he can re-roll. If he fails again he can repeat this process. I also make priests study with mentors when trying to learn a spell above their spell level limit rather than just testing every spell there is and taking those he gets. Each spell try costs 50 gp/level whether success or failure results, and takes 1 week/level.

Casting From Your Spell Book

Finally, mages who fail to learn a spell in their books(they can copy it in without understanding it with the read magic spell) can cast it by reading it from the 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 point pool but the drawback is the casting time is increased 1 time step, CT 3 becomes 3 rounds, 3 rounds become 3 turns, etc. 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.

Read Magic

If a mage makes his % chance to learn for a spell or scroll, he can memorize or use it. Spells above the normal spell level limit can be learned, but as reduced chances, as detailed above. If a mage fails to learn a spell or scroll spell, he cannot use it or copy it into his own spell book until he understands it. Read magic allows the mage to understand such spells as if he automatically made his % to learn a spell check. Such knowledge only lasts until the spell duration of read magic runs out, however. Once the spell expires, the mage is back to his former state of not understanding the spell. The read magic spell allows the mage to copy a spell he normally does not understand into his spell books. It also allows the use of a scroll spell not understood, so long as the scroll is used while the read magic spell is still active. Because of their special nature, scroll spells of any level are understood by the mage using read magic, allowing him to try to cast the scroll spell, but at the usual chance of failure if the spell is too high for him to cast normally. Other spells can be understood so long as the mage had at least some chance normally of learning it, the read magic spell amplifies existing understanding, it does not create new understanding. So spells 3 or more levels above the spell level limit of a mage will mean that read magic does not give him understanding, because he had no chance normally of learning it.

Spell Point Recovery

All spell users need 6-8 hours sleep and then must meditate/pray for 10 minutes per spell point to regain them.


Single classed spellcasters(no paladins, rangers, multi-classed characters or bards(if you still use them)) can use spell points to boost spells, detailed below. Casters can safely spend no more than their level in spell points into a spell, including both the spell cost and boosting. Spending more spell points than their level into any spell can have serious consequences. Specialist mages are only allowed to boost spells of their specialty school, and priests can only boost spells they have major access to. However, specialist mages are allowed to put up to double their level in spell points into one of their spells before suffering the consequences of over-exertion, while priests are allowed this double limit only with spells in the All sphere. If this limit is exceeded, each spell point spent beyond this limit, not only costs the spell point, but a CON point as well. If the mage/priest is reduced to 0 CON he is dead. CON points are recovered at a rate of 1 per full day of bed rest, or 1 per week of normal activity if no full day bed rest is taken.


Each extra spell point spent above the normal casting cost of the spell increases the casting level by 1. This boosting has a drawback in that it increases the casting time of the boosted spell by 1 unit per extra spell point pumped into it. Thus, a spell with a CT 3 goes to a CT 7 if 4 extra points are spent, while a spell with a CT 3 turns goes to a CT 7 turns if 4 points extra are spent.


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 10 extra spell points to reduce the CT to 0. The reduction is as follows: 5 rounds goes to 4 rounds, then 3 rounds, then 2 rounds, 1 round, then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and finally 0. You get the idea. This method is also limited in that the caster can only spend a number of extra spell points equal to his level. Also, unless the caster has the material components(if required) readied, he cannot cast any spell faster than his base initiative allows. So a medium sized mage has a fast base initiative, and unless he had the components ready, he could not cast any spell faster than the fast phase.


The final way to boost spells is to spend double normal cost to either give -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. Also, the specialist's ability has the same limitation, see the specialist mage description on the Class Modification page.

A Note on Spell Research

Another way mages and even priests can intensify spells is to research a more powerful(higher level) version of the same lower level spell. A simple method to intensify the spell is that for every spell level the new version is above the old, keeping the spell basically the same, imposes a -1 to the save(or -5% in targets magic resistance) per spell level above the original. This is a simple way for high level mages to upgrade those low level but useful spells, making them harder to resist.

Spell Point Defense

Mages and priests are filled with a special magic/faith energy, their spell point power. These points are always at their fingertips when needed to be used and 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 effects 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 they have 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(ie. those 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 magic 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. The only restriction is to what kind of magic this effect can be used against. If a mage or priest does not have access to a school or sphere, then magic of that type cannot be resisted. If the access to the school or sphere is minor, then when resisting such magic the user must spend 2 spell points for each +1 to his save. Finally, if the user is specialized in the school the power is from, he can spend up to twice his level in spell points to resist it. This is also true of spells the user actually specializes in.

Magic Critical Hits

Only spells that require a saving throw and inflict damage can inflict spell criticals as per PO: Spells & Magic. A spell caster can try to "aim" a spell that does damage but does not allow a save so as to give it a chance to critical, but this gives the target(s) a save vs. spells for half damage even if the spell normally does not allow one, and if the target critically fails this save, a critical occurs(the DM can also rule that this special save does not just cut the damage in half, but allows the target to avoid the damage totally if the save is made). A critical occurs if the target(s) fails their save by 5 or more and rolled a 1-3. If the caster is both the master of a spell(master of the circle to which it belongs) and either specialized in it or it belongs to the school/area of which he is a specialist mage, target(s) who fail their save by 5 or more and rolled a 1-5 suffer a critical hit.

Critical Severity

Critical severity is determined in a slightly altered way from that in PO: Spells & Magic:

Less than 1/2 full hps of target		   		d6
Less than full hps of target			  		2d4
Less than 3/2 full hps of target		  		2d6
3/2 full hps of target or more			  	2d8

New Spells For The Healing Sphere

I have modified existing healing spells and created new ones also. All have a range of 0 and effect 1 creature except cureall which allows the caster to distribute the 100 hp healing to all those holding hands at the casting any way he wants. The CT of cureall is 1 round, but the other spells CT is equal to their level plus 3.

SPELL:                  			Level:        Healing:     CT: 
Cure light wounds        			1st            	d8             4
Cure moderate wounds     		2nd           	2d6+4      5
Cure serious wounds      		3rd           	3d6+6      6
Cure major wounds        		4th           	4d6+8      7
Cure critical wounds     		5th           	5d6+10    8 
Cureall                  				7th           	100 hps   1 round