The way I run magic in D&D, M-Us use common, easy-to-get “material components” as spell ingredients during their spell prep (not during spell casting.) This helps explain why there is even a need for spell prep and why it is usually done between adventures rather than during them.
But one particular idea I’ve had about this spell prep is: some spell prep involves using a material object to make a temporary ethereal duplicate of that object that the spell caster “carries” with them, as if it were equipment. Examples of this for 1st level spells:
Hold Portal (object: iron spike)
Casting the spell wedges an invisible spike under the door, preventing the door from moving for a short period of time.
Shield (object: wooden shield)
Summons an invisible shield between the caster and opponents the caster is facing at the time of casting.
Magic Missile (object: arrow)
Summons an invisible arrow or large dart into the caster’s hand that can be thrown immediately at an opponent.
Light (object: lit candle)
When prepped, the light from the candle is “stored” ethereally, attached to whatever is holding the lit candle (M-U’s hand, end of a staff, etc.) When cast, the light becomes visible above the attachment point and moves with it. Max duration = max burn time for a candle.
1st level spells would only be able to bring back one quality of the object used (like the light of a candle, or the obstruction ability of an iron spike.) The object itself would not appear (not a conjuration, in other words,) so you couldn’t use Hold Portal to summon spikes to use as climbing gear, for example. The effect is short-lived.
3rd level spells would allow actual items or material to be stored ethereally and conjured when needed.
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