Newbie Question - Wizard/Sorcerer Spell Selection?




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  1. #1
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    Newbie Question - Wizard/Sorcerer Spell Selection?

    Okay, I'm really confused. I've read all the relevant sections in the PHB on this, but it still leaves me confused.

    I'm making my first spell caster (4th level Wizard). I looked to see how many spells I got, then turned to the back of the book, and picked 5 Cantrips, 3 1st level and 2 2nd levels spells.

    I assumed that these were all the spells I knew. But reading the PHB, some sections of the book make me feel like I already know ALL the spells from the PHB and just pick and choose which ones I have memorized, while reading other sections of the book make me feel like I have to fist FIND my spells (buy or loot) and then I get to use them.

    And what's the deal with "you get 2 spells every time you level".

    I guess I just really don't understand this, and the PHB confuses me even more. What I need is for someone to put it all into laymen's terms for me.

    Thanks for your time!

 

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    Well, you're playing a wizard, and wizards and sorcerers have completely different systems for learning spells. So step one is to completely ignore the table under the sorcerer class description. Forget it! Tear it out of your PHB if you have to! (Um, wait, I was just kidding about that last part ... OK, nevermind.)

    Wizards start at first level with all of the 0-level spells in their book, and 3 + their intelligence modifier first level spells. At each level, they automatically learn two more spells of their choice; in addition, they can learn more spells that they find (by research, in capturer/borrowed spellbooks, or from scrolls) by making a successful Spellcraft check & spending some time and money.

    You'll need to see how your DM is handling this last issue for a starting character above first level. But your base spells known would be:
    All 0-level; 5 + Int modifier 1st level spells (your 2 new spells at 2nd level would have to be 1st level); and 4 more spells of your choice of either 1st or 2nd level (from your choices made on reaching 3rd and 4th level-I recommend taking 2nd level rather than 1st level spells for these ).

    Make sure you're using the wizard chart for spells per day rather than the sorcerer chart, too.
    -Christian
    The psychic warrior's player, after watching my character disarm an opponent with a whip after blinding him with glitterdust: "That ... was the coolest thing I have ever seen a bard do."

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    Oh, and just because I feel like it-you'll notice the advantage to the wizard vs. the sorcerer here. The wizard will generally know a lot more spells than a sorcerer of the same level, especially if they make an effort to find/research extra spells to learn. They have no limit to how many they can know ... This (and the fact that wizards get 2nd and higher level spells a level earlier) is supposed to offset the sorcerer's advantages of having more spells per day and not having to prepare them in advance.

    You've probably made a good choice in running a wizard, by the way, given that you wanted to play an arcane spellcaster. For a new player, one of the hardest choices in playing a spellcaster is the right mix of spells. If you make a bad choice with your wizard, you can look for/purchase scrolls of better spells, and/or prepare a different set of spells on another day. If you make a bad spell selection for a sorcerer, you are, to put it in technical terms, screwed to the wall. You're stuck with that selection forever and ever ... Yeah, you'll get a few spells of that level later on, but never very many-and never enough.
    -Christian
    The psychic warrior's player, after watching my character disarm an opponent with a whip after blinding him with glitterdust: "That ... was the coolest thing I have ever seen a bard do."

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    Naw, just use limited wish to change out those sorcerer spells to spells you want when you reach a higher level.

    Seriously, Christian has it right on the ball.
    Robin Williams (1951-2014)
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    Hmm, I just had a new player ask me this the other day -

    Let me copy out of my reply email to him - Reference your PHB for the appropriate Tables, I don't think they'll format well, so I'm leaving them out.

    "Think of the difference between spells known and spells per day this way:

    For Example - using a Sorcerer (and the following tables) who is 7th level-

    (TABLE: Sorcerer Spells Known)

    If you look at the above table, you see the sorcerer knows two 3rd level spells. Let's say he knows Fireball and Fly.

    (TABLE: Sorcerer Spells Per Day )

    Now if we look at this table, we see that he can actually cast 4 3rd level spells per day (more if his charisma score gives him bonus spells of 3rd level). Since a sorcerer does not have to pick his spells for the day in advance (like a wizard or cleric), he can cast any combination of the spells he knows per day.

    For example:

    Fireball, Fireball, Fly, Fireball
    or
    Fly, Fly, Fly, Fireball
    or
    Fly, Fly Fireball, Fireball
    or
    Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, Fireball
    etc.

    This makes the sorcerer fairly powerful in combat compared to a wizard because he can pick what he wants to cast right before he casts it. However, there is a down side. The Spells known are never able to be changed.

    Let's say the same sorcerer was 6th level, meaning he knows one 3rd level spell, and he picked Fireball. When he advances to 7th level, he gets to pick an additional spell. But he has not found Fireball to be of much use! He can never "unlearn" a spell, he will know Fireball from now 'till whenever, he can never get rid or trade in that spell for another one known.

    This is where wizards have more flexibility, they memorize spells each day, but can pick whatever is in their spell books to memorize. There is no limit (other than cost) to how many 3rd level spells they can have in their books, they could have all of them! But they have to pick what they will have available at the beginning of each day, so they might not have picked what they might need. They also get the higher level (and thus more powerful spells sooner).

    Here is the Wizards Table -

    (TABLE: Wizard Spells Per Day)

    There is only one table, no spells known because if there are 20 3rd level spells, he could possibly have them all written in his spellbook.

    Compare a 7th level wizard to the 7th level sorcerer in spells they can cast per day. The wizard table shows 4/4/3/2/1 compared to the sorcerer 6/6/6/4. The wizard has less spells, but has access to at least one 4th level spell. But at the beginning of the day, the wizard has to pick his spells. He has to write on his sheet "Fireball, Fly" If he casts his Fireball, it's gone for the day. If he really needs to cast another one, he can't! So it's important to choose which spells you have memorized each day.

    Clerics work similar to wizards, except they have no spellbook. At the beginning of each day, they pray for spells. But like wizards, they have to select what they have for that day ahead of time.

    Here is a Cleric table -

    (TABLE: Cleric Spells Per Day)

    *In addition to the stated number of spells per day for 1st- through 9th-level spells, a cleric gets a domain spell for each spell level, starting at 1st. The "+1" on this list represents that. These spells are in addition to any bonus spells for having a high Wisdom"

    So, as a Wizard, so will have a spellbook. In it are written the spells you know. Under the Wizard class, it tells you how many you start with. Everytime you gain a level, you get to choose 2 more spells of any level you will be able to cast (including from you new level) and write them at no cost into your spellbook.

    So using your 4th level Wizard, he will have his basic spells, 2 more for getting to be 2nd lvl, 2 more from getting to be 3rd lvl and 2 more from getting to 4th. These will be in his book at no additional cost. See the spellbook section in the PHB, I believe it's around page 155 or so.

    Now, If you have an amount of funds, you could ask the DM if you can have purchased more spells. You could buy a spell on a scroll, memorize it (destroying the scroll) and write it into you book. Not only will this cost to buy a scroll, but also it will (by the PHB) cost an additional 100gp per page to write it into your spellbook, and take an amount of pages equal to twice the spell level. (3rd lvl spell take 6 pages, only 0 lvl spells take 1 page each).

    A book holds 100 pages. You will start with one with your starting spells (which will start to use up pages).

    Does this clear things up any?

    [edit - In the above examples, it does not address additional spells gained for you bonus in your casting stat, I was trying to keep it simple - see your DM to discuss that]
    Last edited by Zenon; Wednesday, 24th July, 2002 at 05:24 PM.

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    Originally posted by Christian
    You've probably made a good choice in running a wizard, by the way, given that you wanted to play an arcane spellcaster. For a new player, one of the hardest choices in playing a spellcaster is the right mix of spells. If you make a bad choice with your wizard, you can look for/purchase scrolls of better spells, and/or prepare a different set of spells on another day. If you make a bad spell selection for a sorcerer, you are, to put it in technical terms, screwed to the wall. You're stuck with that selection forever and ever ... Yeah, you'll get a few spells of that level later on, but never very many-and never enough.
    I would actually say that if you're a new player, you're better off going with the sorc rather than the wizard. The sorc chooses spells at each level; but the wizard has to choose spells every day. For a new guy who isn't familiar with D&D's spell preparation system, that can be a pain in the butt: "what d'you mean I can't fireball that guy? I still have 4 3rd level spells left!" The sorc requires less decision making on a day-to-day basis, and so is good for someone who just wants to jump into the game and get on with killing monsters and taking their treasure.

    The disadvantage is the spell choice, as you said. However, now that 3E's been around for some time, there should be enough veteran players to help them with this task. If nothing else, they can come to this board and ask which spells to take.
    Last edited by hong; Wednesday, 24th July, 2002 at 05:19 PM.

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    The trouble is, there are so many wiseacres on this board, how could a newbie sort out the serious answers?

    "Monster Summoning I. Definitely. Dire rats rule!"
    -Christian
    The psychic warrior's player, after watching my character disarm an opponent with a whip after blinding him with glitterdust: "That ... was the coolest thing I have ever seen a bard do."

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    Originally posted by Christian
    The trouble is, there are so many wiseacres on this board, how could a newbie sort out the serious answers?
    Good heavens.

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    Another spell question:

    Am I correct in assuming that Clerics/Druids/Paladins and Rangers know or can cast all the spells in the back of the PHB, but they just have to decide which ones to take for that day? They don't need to find scrolls or anything like Wizards do, right?

    Or wrong?

    Arrrg!

  • #10
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    As previously posted, you┤re right. Clerics & friends can prepare any spell they can cast, like a wizard that have all the spells in his spellbook.

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