Magic, Turn Undead, Spells & Scrolls

  • We're casting more spells! Yay!

    Let's delve into it a bit and clarify / rescind some things.

    Magic in Combat

    First, let's talk about the magic phase in combat. Magic is powerful and destruction. Think of magic as the artillery of the combat. It's slow and awkward and there will probably be collateral damage and if the enemy gets to attack it it'll probably get fucked up, but it's powerful and destructive and can turn the tide of battle in some cases.

    • Casters (both clerics and magic-users) must declare they are casting a spell. Do not say "Casting spell," goddamnit. Tell me which spell and any particulars, like targets. Using a scroll to cast a spell follows the exact same rules as casting a spell from memory.
    • The spell "goes off" during the Magic resolution phase. All of the effects of the spell are resolved then.
    • If a caster takes damage, fails a saving throw, or is otherwise harmed or knocked down or something, the spell is interrupted (this is why it's important to protect your spellcasters!). A magic-user that wins initiative against another spellcaster can interrupt their spells easily with the lowly magic missile, however. If they win initiative. Spells that are disrupted are lost from memory and return to the magic-user's spellbook unless they succeed in a % throw under their spell learning probability percentage (in which case, success means they retain that spell in memory).
    • Magical items and spell-like abilities require the same process. Using a wand, staff, potion, etc. must be declared in the declaration phase and "go off" in the magic phase. The difference is, using a magical item or spell-like ability cannot be interrupted like a spell.

    I'm going to tweak things a bit and say you can move and also cast a spell in the same round! The horror! This permits you to engage with creatures for touch spells (to shocking grasp or cure light wounds, for example), assuming they are within your movement rate. This also means you can move backward as you're casting your protection from evil or whatever. I've been doing this for healing and shocking spells, why not other spells. All other requirements are still in effect: you must be able to speak and gesture and see the target of your spell.

    Turn Undead

    Turn undead is a little different. It's holy magic and functions much like spells and spell-like abilities above. Turning undead must be declared like spells and using items. In order to turn undead, the cleric must call upon the name and power of his lawful deity and present a holy symbol. The unholy being must be able to "see" the cleric's symbol, through which the holy power is channeled.

    Turned creatures are repulsed and flee from the cleric if they can. Otherwise, they stay as far from the cleric and symbol as possible. The important ruling for our game is: if you attack a creature that is turned, it breaks the turn. Thus, turn undead is mostly used as a defensive measure and to ward off unholy creatures. It's not a way to pin them and unleash attacks on them.

    Since turn undead "goes off" after melee, turn undead can be used to repel undead even after engaging them in melee. This means, the next declaration phase the undead will attempt to flee. It's attacking them after they have been turned that is the problem.

    How to turn prior to engaging in melee with the undead:

    • Keep distance so you can turn them before they can move far enough to engage (the best "combat" speed for most creatures is 40' in a round)
    • Begin turning prior to encountering them (i.e. prior to combat) -- if you know an undead is in the next room, have your cleric up front and begin turning before entering as turn undead is a continuous effect

    For example, if you know a vampire lairs within a cavern, the cleric could announce they are presenting their holy symbol and reciting prayers to invoke the power of their god as they enter the cavern.

    Spells & Scrolls

    This was discussed last night after the game. I wanted to clarify some things and revise some things.

    It was brought up that magic-users could write duplicate spells into their spellbook and memorize each copy of the spell to memorize a spell twice. Last night I said, yes. I was incorrect. This cannot be done. Apologies. You can have one copy of a spell in your spellbook. You could cast a scroll of a second magic missile, however.

    Also, something to consider as you learn spells. There is a limit to how many spells a magic-user can learn each level, as noted below.

    Maximum Spells per Level: This number reflects the maximum number of spells any character with the equivalent INT should be able to learn per spell level. A character may have this maximum number available for memorization, and it should be noted that once the maximum number of spells are learned no other spells may be rolled for. This is true even if not all of the spells in the spell level have been rolled for.

    A magic-user can only hold dominance over a certain number of spells each level. Be mindful of which spells you learn. The tweak I will make to this rule is that you may choose to "release" a spell from your spellbook. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Permit another magic-user to learn and copy the spell into their own spellbook. This wrests dominance of the spell from you and to the other magic-user.
    2. Create a scroll of the spell you wish to release. Learn a new spell and copy it to replace the spell you are releasing.

    So, scrolls...

    Scrolls are a way to get around your "spells per day". As it stands, you have a couple numbers to keep track of as a magic-user:

    • Spell learning probability (and under our rules this is also retaining a spell after disruption)
    • Maximum number of spells (this is the maximum number of spells each level you can have in your spellbook ready to be memorized -- the basic 4 all magic-users know do not count toward this maximum per our house rules)
    • Spell Progression (this is the number of spells you can actually memorize -- modified by Wisdom Table II, but using the Intelligence score per our house rules)

    Let's say your Intelligence is 13 as a 1st level magic-user.

    This means you have a 70% learning probability, can learn and add 9 spells to your spellbook for each level, and you can memorize and cast 2 (1 normally +1 for INT score) spells each day.

    This magic-user knows the basic 4 (read magic, detect magic, identify, and scribe). Then, finds magic missile, jump, and charm person. The magic user must roll under 70% to learn each of those. He does. Now, he knows 3 spells of his total 9 for first level (remember, the basic 4 don't count against this).

    However, the magic-user above can only memorize two of those spells each day. The magic-user decides to memorize magic-missile and charm person. But, wants to be ready in case jump needs to be cast.

    This is where scrolls become important. A magic-user can scribe a scroll for 100 gp per level of the spell. So, the magic-user spends 100 gp and writes a scroll of jump. Now, when the magic-user adventures, he can cast: magic missile and charm person from memory, and jump from scroll!

    So, scrolls permit you to cast more spells than you'd normally be permitted. However, there are some downsides:

    1. Scrolls cost gold. 100 gp per spell level can add up. Perhaps a good use of party funds? After all, the Fighters get 450 gp every time their armor is dissolved by ooze. :laughing:
    2. Scrolls can be lost. A lost scroll can be copied into another magic-user's spellbook, which means that spell now returns to that magic-user's spellbook when cast.

    When you cast a scroll, it returns to the last spellbook it was copied into (presumably, yours). However, if you cast a scroll that has been found, you don't know what spellbook it belonged to. It goes back to that unknown spellbook, vanishing.

    I think that's it.


  • Nice and concise. I'm glad you clarified the Turn Undead rule as it relates to Clerics attempting to turn after they lose initiative and inadvertently find themselves in melee with the very creatures they're trying to turn through no "conscious fault" of their own.

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