direct cast from spellbook?



Feb 23, 2004 3:25:13
Sorry if it's not totally Greyhawk related but i know th ebest pool of knowedlge is often on this board. In ADD 1ed i, in UA if remember well, there was an articl about the possibilty of reading a page of a spellbook like a scroll, but it included to delete the page and there was some risk.
Is it still possible today, do you autorize it? By the way, do you let caster reading a scroll they haven't read with read magic (or they don't know/never have used read magic on) with some risk?
By ex: A 4 lvl ranger has a scroll of cure minor wounds, but don't know the spell (never has read or cast it) can he take the risk to read the scroll and try to use the magic?


Feb 23, 2004 11:57:07
Personally, as a DM for many years, I would not authorize using spellbooks to cast spells. This is my reasoing:

1) Spellbooks tend to be bulky and unwieldy compared to scrolls since they tend to contain all the source of the spellcasters magical knowledge.

2) I generally rule that when a mage records a spell in a spellbook, he uses a different process than when he "scribes a scroll." That is why there was a completely separate feat for Scribe Scroll. You can rationalize this by saying a spellbook is more of an index of the procedures of casting the spell. A scroll on the other hand is actually embued with certain arcane or divine enegies that allow a spell to be cast from it. That is why they don't require somantic or material components either.

3) Spells, for wizards anyway, are their lifeblood and they tend to hoard such knowledge and want to keep it safe. They would not be very likely to want to cast a spell off a spellbook and expose it as a target of attack in addition to the possibility they would loose that spell forever once cast (if you decree that the spell disappears like a scroll after casting).

Hope this helps.


Feb 23, 2004 23:23:26
Makoma, Yes I remember this optional rule from way back in the 1st edition AD&D UA. Sure I'll allow a spellcaster to cast directly from his spellbook. While I lost my old UA hardcovered book, I did decide to make this hard and fast rule.

First the chance for a spell to be lost from a wizards spellbook when cast directly starts at 100% with the following modifiers.
-1% for every level of the caster, -1% for every point of intelligence the caster has. +1%for every level of the spell,+5% if spell is not a spell the caster has learned.

Examples: A 5th level wizard decides to cast find familiar from a spellbook he has found. This wizard never learned the spell but wishes to cast it any way. He has an Intelligence score of 15. The modifiers are as follows 100-5+5-15+1=86%. So this wizard has an 86% chance of this spell being lost from this spell book forever.

Now their was another part to this rule. Their is also a slight chance that the spell backfires and actually causes an explosion which destroys or causes damage to the spell book and does 1d6 points of damage times the level of the spell cast. The chance of a spell backfiring is 1%per level of the spell double this if the spell is unknown to the caster.

In the case of scrolls I believe members of the warrior class were only allowed to cast protection scrolls. But if you like you could allow a ranger or paladin who knows the spell on the scroll lets say it's a plant or guardianship based spell that these players already know. Then they should be able to cast it. But if that same spell was found by a priest he should be able to cast it without a problem.

I hope this helps you out!


Feb 24, 2004 3:32:44
Thank you Argon and Rhineglade.
About spellbook I think i will use your method Argon, i find it enough dangerous to let a caster think twice before use it, but it's fair.
About the scrolls, i wwas not clear in my first post. Only spellcaster can use spell on scroll, and spell they are allowed to (this is in the rule). So a 4th lvl ranger has a spellcasteig lvl of 1. But my problem is to allow or not a catser to cast( lot of repetition of this verb, yes i know...) a spell he is allowed to use but has not learned before, or has not cast read magic on the scroll before.
In fact it's a bit if you read an repeat phonetically a sentence in a foreign language you don't understand. You have some basis, so you may be understood.. or not.


Feb 25, 2004 23:52:32
Well makoma that's entirely up to you! But I do remember that most spells in 1st and 2nd edition D&D were empowered by the casters level. So if you allow him to utilize it then either have the spell affect perform like a 1st level version of the spell or limit him by stating he needs a read magic spell or equivalent ability in order to cast from this scroll.

I would explain the later as follows, because of your novice understanding of magic your character cannot yet decipher the complicated structure of casting this spell without some form of aid. Now if you follow this line of reasoning when and if this character is able to cast 4th level magic you may allow him to use his chance to learn spell roll in order to decipher the casting formulae of this spell.

By the way Makoma what is your native tongue!

I hope this helps you out!


Feb 26, 2004 7:16:35

First i would like to present excuses to all readers on this forum for my strange and sometimes hard to dechiffer english. But i am not so bad as it may appear, in fact i am typing on the keyboard very quickly, so quickly that sometimes i forgot letters or even words.... (sometimes when i read back my posts i have difficulties to understand myself..).
And, worst of all, i never read again my post before to submit it. Yes, i am not a serious guy...
To ask your last question about my native tongue, Argon, i will try a little riddle:
-The next president of the US (OK... the one i hope will be president) has family in my country.
- The mother of this man has a sister, whose one son was a well known (and no more active) ecologist in my government.
- My country is preparing a big anniversary thank to you.

I think it's enough to find!