PDA

View Full Version : [3.5] Spellcasting and Independent Research



Echoes
2010-11-14, 10:24 PM
Okay...

Ever since I first read the sections on independent research for spellcasters in the PHB and DMG, I've had enough questions on the topic to fill an entire sub-forum of its own.

- Firstly, in the PHB, it specifically mentions that wizards can research new spells, then later mentions that "A divine spellcaster also can research a spell independently, much as an arcane spellcaster can." (PHB 180). This would lead me to believe that the only arcane caster that can research spells is a wizard, and any divine class can do the same. However, in the DMG, it says "a spellcaster of any kind can create a new spell." (DMG 198). So, what exactly are the limits on spell creation... can you be a sorcerer/bard, do you even need to be a full caster, and do do you need to be able to cast spells of that level, or just succeed on the Spellcraft check?

- Very closely related to that, is there anyone that would be brave enough to interpret this passage by RAW?
With the DMís permission, sorcerers and bards can also select the spells they gain from new and unusual spells that they have gained some understanding of (see Spells in the sorcerer description, page 54). For instance, when Hennet the sorcerer becomes 2nd level, he gains an additional 0-level spell. He can pick that spell from the 0-level spells on the sorcerer and wizard spell list, or he might have learned an unusual spell from an arcane scroll or spellbook.If I'm not mistaken, it's fairly explicitly saying that sorcerers and bards can take spells off their class list... Is this so?


- Next, why do I literally never heard of wizards or psions (the EPH declares all manifesters can perform independent research as well) using the independent research mechanics to research already-existing spells to add to their spellbook/known powers? As with the excerpt above, it would appear that this allows them abilities normally restricted to their character, and the experience/gold cost is far less than crippling. Is there a huge stigma associated with researching, even when its used to just add existing spells to your library of spells known?


Sorry for the mountain of questions. I am just so very confused that it seems like every DM has taken scissors to this chunk of the rulebook, set it on fire, and scattered the ashes, leaving me with little idea why.

Tvtyrant
2010-11-14, 10:27 PM
Its an opening for homebrew spells. It lets you create new spells as any casting class, because if only wizards could they would be even more broken.

Echoes
2010-11-14, 10:38 PM
It does more than just homebrew spells though. From the PHB: "A wizard also can research a spell independently, duplicating an existing spell or creating an entirely new one."

If it does indeed allow you to take spells which are off your own class list, it seems like a rather inexpensive way to really branch out and expand your party role (and in the case of psion, completely depreciate the "Expanded Knowledge" feat). And again, when you say "any" caster, does that include half-casters like rangers and paladins? If so, does it include them from level one, or only after they gain their spellcasting ability?

Tvtyrant
2010-11-14, 10:42 PM
Right, duplicating as in making a new one that is like a different classes. Its meant to allow players and DM's to make new spells.

And the whole thing is up to the DM's perusal. As for the Ranger or Paladin, sure but they couldn't cast them. They don't get spell slots yet.

AslanCross
2010-11-14, 10:48 PM
Given the very loose and non-mechanical way that clause is written, I do think it ventures into "subject to DM" territory.

I was reading up on Dragon's article on the Far Realm (DR 330) which has the Cerebrosis feat, which grants a bunch of spells that involve madness and the Far Realm. Cerebrosis can be gained by getting high in an area stained by the Far Realm, and meditating on its insanity. This, I think, is a good example of independent research: Yes, you can get extra spells, but it isn't as simple as sitting down and saying "I read some books. I get a new spell."

Psyren
2010-11-14, 10:54 PM
If it does indeed allow you to take spells which are off your own class list, it seems like a rather inexpensive way to really branch out and expand your party role (and in the case of psion, completely depreciate the "Expanded Knowledge" feat).

Just wanted to note that (in the case of psions, sorcerers and other "limited spells known" casters) that researched spells take the place of one of their spells known slots. So while a psion could indeed research something functionally identical to another class power or a foreign discipline, he could still find use for Expanded Knowledge to add extra powers known.

Now Erudites are the ones that can really go to town with this. Like Wizards, they have unlimited powers known, and they don't even need books (blessed or otherwise) to store all their crib notes in.


And again, when you say "any" caster, does that include half-casters like rangers and paladins? If so, does it include them from level one, or only after they gain their spellcasting ability?

Well I would say that those classes are welcome to research at low levels, but knowing a spell without having the ability to cast it isn't going to be very useful :smallwink:

Trundlebug
2010-11-14, 11:05 PM
Haha! As primary DM I tend not to draw players attention to that section or if already interested, hopefully intimidate them with the homework involved. An experienced player (or even not experienced just creative) can create a perfectly legit spell with an unusual effect that can create mass problems if used well. They are almost always used well because, that's what the player made it for.

As for the sorc/bard thing, yeah. I noticed that the very day I read the 3.0 books and was already liking sorcs and despite all lights green no one will let me take a bards healing spell and learn it. Poppycock I say. I personally feel that should be the sorcs deal. One DM let me do it, but he was pretty awesome.

It all comes down to spells breaking an already cracked system, and giving players the freedom to create their own is just...headache. Plus then what? No BBEG's do any divination and looking to the future with some time spent in a timey place to make 'kill/neutralize the party' spells? No, it just makes it too, much. Clever parties under clever DMs already have enough on their plate.

Also, these days, look at some of the published spells. The range in power/usefulness is vast with clear winners. Now with these benchmarks available, why would any player make a spell far below that level's best spell?
Powercreep begins.

Personally if I know my group I may allow it, will most likely if it's for flavour. Or just pure awesome and a promise not to abuse. Like the prodigy wizzy with his ancestral spell of kickbutt. Remember to you'll get spells with drawbacks easily countered by party members for extra oomf and, well I could go on for a while on this topic :). Hopefully my rambling answered at least one of your questions.