Monday, March 09, 2009

Ale Break: Questing for spells

One way to add some meaning (and difficulty) to spell-casting is to require spell casters to learn their spells in-character. Some characters may have a formal tutor, but many others will likely not, especially if they are sorcerers, woodland casters (druids, rangers, less-structured clerics) or rogue casters.

For these characters, there is a great way to make them (and their players) really respect and cherish their spells. Make them quest for them! Here are a few ideas.

* The party learns about an ancient tome containing a story about a historical figure who could disappear and reappear across town almost instantly. They decide to track down the tome, which leads them into a large city or the Plane of Knowledge (giant library, the size of a plane, with all known knowledge within -- see upcoming CCB post) for more information.

* Someone in the party is killed or otherwise rendered incapacitated (due to an expected player unavailability for the next few sessions), and the rest of the party needs to gather the rare reagents to create the ritual environment for a raise dead, remove curse or similar to be successful.

* A young apprentice wants to learn the invisibility spell, but in order for his master to feel that he has learned the spell, she will hide the scroll that must be scribed in a secret location, and the scroll itself is invisible. The apprentice will need to locate the scroll, and this earn the spell, before he will learn the spell. The master might quip, "First you must know what it is like to be on the other side before you are mature enough to wield the spell."

* A high-level spell is spread across multiple scrolls, which have been sent via courier to the princely barons of the land. Only by convincing these royals to hand over their parts of the scroll will the party acquire the spell, which happens to be, for instance, charm monster. This may require the party to perform tasks and take on quests for each of the barons, leading to even more adventure!

More to come in a future post...

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