Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

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giant
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Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by giant » Sat May 12, 2012 4:27 am

I wasn't sure if this should go in rules or magic, so I picked magic!

Is the number of known spells intended to be a minimum or a maximum? There is some evidence for each stance. My first read through I thought it was a maximum, but then I found the following two items:

on p. 126: "If your character should ever know more than this many spells [referring to the entire list of wizard spells], he will be a great mage."

This combined with the fact that a 10th level wizard is a near divine, once-in-history power level wizard makes the idea that he could only learn 16-18 (with a high intelligence) of the 716 spells a tad odd.

Anyone have any insight?

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by Bercilak » Tue May 15, 2012 12:16 pm

My reading assumed that the spells known was a maximum. But, I don't have proof. Good question.
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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by TheNobleDrake » Tue May 15, 2012 2:25 pm

I got a little confused by the spells known as well... especially because of patron bond, invoke patron, and patron spells.

Example: the wizard chart says 4 spells known at first level, and there is specific mention that you get patron bond and invoke patron if you get either and that those two count as 1 spell...

but then (patron spell) on the spell list has a note that mentions only that you should ignore that while rolling spells unless you also have patron bond and invoke patron

Then, when you cast patron bond, the higher results mention that the patron gives you patron spells as a gift and that casting those a patron spell counts against how many times you can cast invoke patron in a day

...it was confusing because I had a player roll his spells and get all 3 (patron bond, patron spell, and invoke patron) according the the wizard spell chart - then he cast patron bond and was given a patron spell as a gift... and we found out about the restriction on casting patron spells only then since it wasn't mentioned anywhere in the patron spell description..

The end result: I've decided that, until further notice, I will be counting the spells known on the charts as both minimum and maximum in most cases - and that patron bond, invoke patron, and any number of patron spells will all count as 1 spell known total.

Also that you can only get patron spells through casting of patron bond.

giant
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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by giant » Tue May 15, 2012 3:01 pm

My reading assumed that the spells known was a maximum. But, I don't have proof. Good question.
-Berc
It was my initial assumption as well - it is certainly the most natural reading.
I got a little confused by the spells known as well... especially because of patron bond, invoke patron, and patron spells.
I didn't even see that, good catch.

It is also interesting to note that a cleric ends up with 28 spells.

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by caveman » Tue May 15, 2012 9:02 pm

I think that's what you start with but you can find more through adventure.
Of course, the impression I get is that it is not so simple as sharing spellbooks between mages, as each spell is mercurially attuned to each magician, so some sorta something has to go down... quests for ex.

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by PeelSeel2 » Wed May 16, 2012 5:04 am

I take it as the number you know and can cast in a day. However, you could have a grimoire with 10 spells in it. In order to memorize one, you have to get rid of one in your memory.

giant
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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by giant » Wed May 16, 2012 2:19 pm

PeelSeel2 wrote:I take it as the number you know and can cast in a day. However, you could have a grimoire with 10 spells in it. In order to memorize one, you have to get rid of one in your memory.
Interesting! That possibility had not occurred to me. That combined with the requirement that learning a spell takes 1 week/spell level (p. 315) would mean you could have flexibility, but not flexibility quickly.

giant
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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by giant » Wed May 16, 2012 2:20 pm

caveman wrote:I think that's what you start with but you can find more through adventure.
Of course, the impression I get is that it is not so simple as sharing spellbooks between mages, as each spell is mercurially attuned to each magician, so some sorta something has to go down... quests for ex.
I've started leaning towards interpreting it something along those lines. Maybe you got those automatically, any beyond that have a cost.

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by goodmangames » Thu May 17, 2012 6:46 am

giant wrote:Is the number of known spells intended to be a minimum or a maximum? There is some evidence for each stance. My first read through I thought it was a maximum, but then I found the following two items:

on p. 126: "If your character should ever know more than this many spells [referring to the entire list of wizard spells], he will be a great mage."

This combined with the fact that a 10th level wizard is a near divine, once-in-history power level wizard makes the idea that he could only learn 16-18 (with a high intelligence) of the 716 spells a tad odd.

Anyone have any insight?
The "known spells" for wizards (per table 1-12 on page 50) is the maximum number of different spells that wizard can cast. Once a spell is "known" in this sense, it becomes a permanent choice and the wizard can't backtrack on it. This, a level 1 wizard may know four different spells (such as cantrip, charm person, magic missile, and mending). Note that those four initial spells are determined randomly (with some allowance for picking if the randomization is hard on the player; see page 124). Finally, note that Intelligence modifiers may increase the number of known spells (see page 18).

Invoke patron and patron bond count as one spell. If you get one, you automatically get the other, and they collectively count once. Patron bond is really a one-use prerequisite to invoke patron. (Well, you could use it twice, but that gets risky...) Patron bond could almost be the "intro paragraph" to invoke patron rather than its own spell; after all, one can't exist without another. There was a time in play testing where I had them count as different spells, but more than one player pointed out that "patron bond is like a waste of a spell slot; you use it once and then it's gone, and if you don't also have invoke patron it's totally useless." So they collectively count as one spell. Note that other patron spells aren't part of this "package deal" - other patron spells count as their own individual spell slots.

There are certain other rare circumstances which may also affect a wizard's known spells (e.g., the spell arcane affinity which is basically a mechanic for wizard specialization).

Now we get to the fun part: "spells in your spell book, on scrolls, and other reference materials" versus "spells known." As you guys know, DCC RPG is based on Appendix N, and there are many great tales of learning magical spells in Appendix N. Especially in Vance's Dying Earth series and the Harold Shea tales (as well as some Lovecraft) there are stories of wizards who know how to cast a handful of spells, going to great lengths to learn a single new spell. In many cases they acquire the spell's "recipe" - for example, they have the book in which the spell's rituals are written, and have acquired the materials, and are waiting for the right astrological confluence to cast the spell - but even after having everything in place, they just can't get it right. Or, they can't quite memorize it properly. So they may have reference for the spell (i.e., it's in their spell book) but they still can't cast it properly.

I suppose I should make this more clear somehow, and be careful in my use of the word "know"...but that dynamic is what I'm getting at it when discussing that a wizard may have possession of more spells than he cast. In play, your characters might find a scroll with two spells on it, and steal a spell book from a rival wizard with four more spells on it. So a wizard who levels up may actually have reference material for six additional spells. But such is his power level, ability to memorize, practice in casting, experience with nefarious powers, and so on, that he is only able to properly cast one of those six. And that one which he chooses to learn becomes his next "spell known" (per table 1-12) when he levels up.

Make sense?

All that said, there are some other interesting interpretations in this thread that sound like fun to play. So, as always, adjust to suit your own campaign!
Joseph Goodman
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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by TheNobleDrake » Thu May 17, 2012 12:40 pm

Thanks for the clarifications Mr. Goodman... though you seem to have gotten invoke patron and patron bond switched around.

Might we also get more of a reasoning why the patron spells, given as gifts by high patron bond results and tied to the same daily limit as invoke patron, are meant to count as their own spell known?

I guess I just don't see how having the option to either cast a patron spell or invoke patron 3 times stacks up to having invoke patron 3 times per day and any other spell without a daily limit... not that I expect every spell to be equal, it just seems like you are - one way or another - losing a spell known (invoke patron) by using a "gift" your patron gave you that you also had to give a counter-gift for.

Looking at it that way, though, I could see it being intentional that you always end up getting the short end of any deal with a patron.

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by giant » Thu May 17, 2012 5:22 pm

Thanks for clarifying! The explanation you gave right there is perfect and could go right in the book. Part of what it made it initially confusing to me is undoubtedly the D&D background of having access to dozens of spells potentially. I confess to having not read Vance or Shea, but while thinking this issue through I kept thinking about the wizards in the Conan stories who rarely displayed magical power. When they actually use spells they seem to only use one or two that are highly specific to themselves, so that certainly fits.

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Re: Known spells - a minimum or a maximum?

Post by goodmangames » Mon May 21, 2012 6:11 am

TheNobleDrake wrote:Might we also get more of a reasoning why the patron spells, given as gifts by high patron bond results and tied to the same daily limit as invoke patron, are meant to count as their own spell known?
The limit to daily castings of invoke patron reflects the limits of a patron's willingness to help his devotees. The patron is there to help in emergencies, not to be a solution to every problem. Thus, the patron will typically answer a couple callings each day, but no more. If a wizard gains the ability to substitute a patron spell for castings of invoke patron (as determined by the table of results for patron bond), that's part of the same concept - the patron will provide aid "here and there" but isn't available to focus all its attention on solving the problems of the character.

This is also a strong incentive to use spellburn when first casting patron bond. Start the level 1 spells off with a bang! :)

(Note that a wizard could also learn a patron spell as a "normal" spell slot later on, as well.)
Joseph Goodman
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