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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spells and Scrolls

The idea of casting spells from spellbooks gets tossed around from time to time. My approach is to treat it as emergency spell prep, as if you were memorizing the spell right there in the dungeon, which means it requires extra time and is basically ritual magic. Other people, though, have suggested treating spellbooks as scrolls, with no difference in casting.

But here is something to consider: can a Magic-User read a scroll while wearing armor? We're assuming the strictest interpretation of the spells and armor rules in the LBBs, for the moment, that M-Us can't cast spells while wearing armor. But can they use a scroll? If yes (the default assumption,) can they cast from a spellbook while wearing armor? Because if they can, that makes armor restrictions on general spell use seem pretty arbitrary.

My assumption is that there is a difference between a spell on a scroll and one in a book. The one in a book is a set of directions for casting a spell; the one on a scroll is a spell that has already been cast, with magic words inscribed as a trigger to activate the spell. So, scrolls can be read without problem.


  1. I think the intent was to forbid scrolls in armor.

    Myself ? I allow casting in armor. It doesn't really unbalance anything.

    A caveat though, casters don't get training so I'll put a penalty on movement actions in anything but simple armor (a textile jack aka leather in game terms and mail which is dead simple to use)

    Also I do have a "gifts" system or sometimes allow hybrid classes. They can use better armor if desired. Its not pleasant to wear though.

  2. I never made any correlation between spellcasting and armor. I don't like the "armor hinders the movements" explanation precisely because it raises such questions.
    I'm not totally convinced with the "iron interacts with the flow of magic" one because it has its own problems (is casting in bronze armor good, then?) , but at least , it is a little more coherent with legends and folklore.

    But to me, wizards are banned from using armor just because the litterary model is the robed, bespectacled , nerdy scholar.
    If you want to play a warrior-sorcerer "Elric style", then choose to play an elf!