Wizard Spells

Wizard spells range from spells of simple utility to great and powerful magics. The wizard spell group has no single theme or purpose. The vast majority of wizard spells were created by ancient wizards for many different purposes. Some are to serve the common man in his everyday needs. Others provide adventurers with the might and firepower they need to survive. Some are relatively simple and safe to use (as safe as magic can be); others are complicated, filled with hazards and snares for the rash and unwary. Perhaps the greatest of all wizard spells is the powerful and tricky wish. It represents the epitome of spell-casting--causing things to happen simply because the wizard desires it to be so. But it is a long and difficult task to attain the mastery needed to learn this spell.

Although some characters can use spells, the workings of magic are dimly understood at best. There are many theories about where the power comes from. The most commonly accepted idea is that the mysterious combination of words, gestures, and materials that make up a spell somehow taps an extradimensional source of energy that in turn causes the desired effect. Somehow the components of the spells--those words, gestures and materials--route this energy to a specific and desired result. Fortunately, how this happens is not very important to the majority of wizards. It is enough to know that “when you do this, that happens.”

Casting a wizard spell is a very complicated ordeal. The process of learning the correct procedure to cast a spell is difficult and taxing to the mind. Thus, a wizard must check to see if he learns each new spell (according to his Intelligence--see
Table 4). Furthermore, there is a limit to just how much of this strangeness--illogical mathematics, alchemical chemistry, structuralist linguistics--a wizard's mind can comprehend, and so he must live with a limit to the number of spells he can know.

As the wizard learns spells, he records their arcane notes into his spell books. Without spell books, a wizard cannot memorize new spells. Within them are all his instructions for memorizing and casting all the spells he knows. As the wizard successfully learns a new spell, he carefully enters its formula into his spell books. A wizard can never have a spell in his books that he does not know, because if he doesn't understand it, he cannot write the formula. Likewise, he cannot enter a spell into his books that is higher in level than he can cast. If he finds an ancient tome with spells of higher power, he must simply wait until he advances to a level at which he can use them.

The exact shape and size of a character's spellbooks is a detail your DM will provide. They may be thick tomes of carefully inked parchment, crackling scrolls in bulky cases, or even weighty clay tablets. They are almost never convenient to carry around. Their exact form depends on the type and setting of the campaign world your DM has created.

Ultimately, it is the memorization that is important. To draw on magical energy, the wizard must shape specific mental patterns in his mind. He uses his spell books to force his mind through mental exercises, preparing it to hold the final, twisted patterns. These patterns are very complicated and alien to normal thought, so they don't register in the mind as normal learning. To shape these patterns, the wizard must spend time memorizing the spell, twisting his thoughts and recasting the energy patterns each time to account for subtle changes--planetary motions, seasons, time of day, and more.

Once a wizard memorizes a spell, it remains in his memory (as potential energy) until he uses the prescribed components to trigger the release of the energy patterns. The mental patterns apparently release the energy while the components shape and guide it. Upon casting, the energy of the spell is spent, wiped clean from the wizard's mind. The mental patterns are lost until the wizard studies and memorizes that spell again.

The number of spells a wizard can memorize is given by his level (see
Table 21); he can memorize the same spell more than once, but each memorization counts as one spell toward his daily memorization limit. Part of a wizard's intelligence can be seen in the careful selection of spells he has memorized.

Memorization is not a thing that happens immediately. The wizard must have a clear head gained from a restful night's sleep and then has to spend time studying his spell books. The amount of study time needed is 10 minutes per level of the spell being memorized. Thus, a 9th-level spell (the most powerful) would require 90 minutes of careful study. Clearly, high-level spellcasters do not lightly change their memorized spells.

Spells remain memorized until they are cast or wiped from the character's mind by a spell or magical item. A wizard cannot choose to forget a memorized spell to replace it with another one. He can, however, cast a spell just to cleanse his mind for another spell. (The DM must make sure that the wizard does not get experience for this.)

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