Friday, November 28, 2008

D&D Cover to Cover, part 18

Being a series of articles in which the author reads the indelible words of Gygax and Arneson as presented the Original Collector's Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, published by Tactical Studies Rules. Beginning with Men & Magic, and concluding with The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, the author will consider those earliest passages, adding elucidations and interpretations along the way for your consideration.

Men & Magic

MAGICAL RESEARCH: Both Magic-Users and Clerics may attempt to expand on the spell lists…”
I missed the fact that Clerics may conduct Magical Research in my initial read of the rules. I even listed magical Research as one of the advantages for Magic-Users in part 7. As we can see, this process is not at all limited to Magic-Users. Playing with the numbers as presented a bit, we can figure that in order to have a 100% chance of success when researching a new 6th level spell, a Magic-User will be required to spend 320,000 Gold Pieces, and six weeks of research. Not a very affordable hobby, to say the least. Sure a researcher could skimp on the gold investment, but at 64,000 GP per 20% block of success, I’m not sure if you’d be willing to gamble with such a fortune in hard earned cash. I’d consider revisiting those research costs for the higher level spells.

I find it interesting that at this point in D&D’s history, Clerics and Magic-Users are sharing the exact same magic system, albeit with different spell lists.

BOOKS OF SPELLS: If a duplicate set of such books is desired, the cost will be the same as the initial investment for research as listed above, ie 2,000, 4,000, 8,000, etc. Loss of these books will require replacement at the above expense.”
Carrying Spell Books along on an adventure is potentially an unwise decision based on the costs alone. That said, the fact that this guide is in the rules might suggest that at some point, spell-casters could find time mid-adventure (before returning to town) in order to change the spells they have memorized for their daily allotment. The Books of Spells are not required for once again committing said spells to memory; but only needed when the Magic-User or Cleric needs to change or add to his list. It is assumed, based on this passage, that a new Book of Spells must also be acquired before spells of the next level can be so remembered. We can assume that there is one Book of Spells for each spell level (six books and five books, for Magic-Users and Clerics, respectively). Casting spells is an expensive proposition, especially if the character is required, by the referee, to seek out and purchase a Book of Spells for these new spell levels.

This ends my re-read of Volume I, Men & Magic. In an upcoming post I will formulate some closing thoughts before moving on to Volume II, Monsters & Treasure.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Anonymous said...

That point on clerics using spellbooks and creating spells is important: they don't get their spells directly from the god/s, but trough research and tradition. This is the wy they used them which is important: that's probably why the abuse of Finger of death turns a cleric to an evil anticleric. So the relation between god/s and cleric is changed.

Sham aka Dave said...

That's true, Snorri. The concept of praying for spells or having divine magic granted by one's deity is simply not a part of OD&D. If the magic were granted 'by the god(s)', it probably wouldn't be possible for a non-evil Cleric to abuse Finger of Death in the first place. Instead, the spell might fizzle or bring some sort of retribution (other than an alignment shift).