Thursday, August 3, 2017

Wizard Spells in Dungeon Crawl Classics

I'm really trying not to mod the shit out of DCC, which is hard because I love tinkering with rules (which should be obvious from reading this blog or any of my previous blogs).

However, a particular aspect of the magic system rubs me the wrong way and it has to go.

Wizards in DCC have a very limited number of spells they are allowed to know. As in, a level one Wizard could have books with 500 spells in them, but can only cast four of them. Not four in a day and the next day can study and switch them out. No, they know the same four spells forever, unchanging. Those other 496 spells collect dust, never to be used.

How does that make sense? How does that go with Appendix N which DCC constantly trumpets the virtues of?

Screw all that. It isn't fun. The Wizard already has a pretty crappy lot in life; spells have a good chance of hurting them (temporarily or permanently), patron bonding is arguably more hurtful than helpful, they have few hit points and armor makes it harder to cast spells. On top of all that, they can never learn new spells?

It's almost like the rule is a mistake, but apparently it's made it through four printings and the official DCC forums say it's for real.

Furthermore, the rules say a Wizard can not cast spells higher than their level chart indicates. So a level one or two Wizard can not cast spells higher than level 1.  A level three Wizard can not cast spells higher than level 2.

But later on in the magic section it says spells of higher level CAN be cast, but it is more dangerous. It doesn't say exactly how or why it's more dangerous, but I have to assume it's because the Spell Check is higher and the Wizard being of lower level doesn't have as good of a bonus to cast as a higher level Wizard would.

Not only that, but non-magic characters can cast magic, albeit with mandatory Luck burning, but still. If a Warrior can cast a spell at all, then a first level Wizard should be able to cast a 5th level spell (with all the associated penalties).

So, here is my very simple rule change.

A Wizard character can know any number of spells. The number they can memorize is equal to the number indicated on the Wizard chart in the class description. So a level one Wizard can memorize four spells, regardless of the level of those spells. A level two Wizard can memorize 5 spells, and so on.

Spells that are available to be memorized must be researched and a check roll must be made, as is written in the rules. A character isn't just automatically going to have access to a spell just because they have a grimoire or scroll in their possession.

When a Wizard character successfully checks to learn a spell that is in their possession, it goes into their pool of available spells to choose from. If the check fails, they must wait until they reach the next level of experience before attempting to learn the spell again.

So a level one Wizard has their normal four starting spells from level 1. In the course of an adventure they find a spell book with two level 2 spells in it. For brevity, we'll assume that the adventure ends with the Wizard making it to a town or other safe area to rest for an indefinite amount of time. During this down time, the Wizard studies the spell book and attempts to learn the two spells contained within. The fail the attempt at learning the first spell, but succeed in learning the second spell. 
Now, the first level Wizard can memorize a total of four spells per day, but has five spells to choose from. The fifth spell being a level two spell means it is more difficult to cast, and therefore more dangerous to the Wizard, but gives them another spell casting option.

Man, I think that is a simple rule change. Yeah, it's more like DnD, but it also makes sense.