I’ve written before about a technique for assigning starting spells for a new magic-user character, based around the fact that the spell lists in Men & Magic and Greyhawk (and even in the AD&D Player’s Handbook) are numbered.
- Roll 1d8 (or 1d12, if using Greyhawk) and look up that number on the list of first level spells.
- The basic list of starting spells for that character is that spell and the next five spells, in order, six spells total.
- Roll another 3d8 (or 3d12) and consult the list three times. If you roll a spell again, drop it from the base list. If you roll a new spell, add it. The character thus starts with 3 to 9 spells.
Here is a recent modification of that process that makes some use of the Greyhawk Intelligence table (Spells Knowable.) You only need the “Minimum #” column on the table, although you can optionally use the “Maximum #” column, too (and I have some ideas about the “% Chance” column, too, but I’ll save that for later.)
Instead of the first 1d8 roll determining six base spells, use the minimum number indicated by intelligent. So, for M-Us of Int 15 and 16, the steps above remain the same: 1 die for 6 base spells, 3 dice for +/- 3 spells.
For an M-U of average intelligence (10-12,) the base list of starting spells is only 4 spells. For Int 3, only 2 spells. For Int 18, 8 spells.
The number of dice to roll for the spells to drop or add from the base starting spell list is half the minimum number of spells. So, 1d8 (or 1d12) for Int 3-9, 2d8 for Int 10-14, 3d8 for Int 15-17, and 4d8 for Int 18. You can optionally cap the total number of starting spells based on the maximum number column, but I personally would ignore it, and I would definitely not use it for spells found or learned afterwards.
Another option, which I think I will use, is to roll for random spells learned from the 2nd level and higher spell lists, when those spells become available. These would be spells mastered during training and research to level up. Not sure whether to use the exact same random range, or maybe halving the minimum number, so that the character acquires fewer spells later on. I think it’s a wise idea to halve it, so that players are kept hungry and given a reason to keep searching the dungeons for new spells. Under this rule, 3rd level Int 3 M-Us would get 1-2 new spells of 2nd level, Int 10 M-Us would get 1-4 new spells. and Int 18 M-Us would get 1-8 new spells. They would always get at least 1 new spell, the same way that starting characters should always get at least 1 starting spell.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
Written with StackEdit.