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5E Am I too strict?

For the first time, a player called me too strict for a ruling I made.
Here is the ruling:" Although the wizard learns too free spells to add to his spell book, I ruled that the wizard still have to pay for the materials (inks) to write it in his spell book." I also ruled that you can only add spells during downtime unless you want to risk a failure in case you are attacked during the transcription.

My reasons are two folds.
1) By Raw, the spells are free to add. But right in the side bar they say that whenever you find a new spell you have to copy in your spell book.

2) The spells do not appear out of nowhere. You have to have the special inks to put them in your spell book.

I gave the following example: A group is in the desert. They barely have enough food to get by. They have a weapon, an empty backpack (almost, the dried camel is stored in their backpack) and in case of caster, they have a spell focus. The group rise in level, they are now level 3! Yeah! The wizard adds two spells to his spell book but where did the ink came from? Did the spell appeared out of nowhere?

Nope, the new spells are a sudden inspiration. The wizard knows them, he gets them in his mind but now if he wants to change them, he needs to find ink to copy them in his spell book. Yes, they were free as in he did not buy them from an other wizard, he did not have to capture the spell book of an enemy, he did not have to make a quest to know it. But otherwise, he has to abide by the side bar.

I am a bit old school. Spells costs a lot in my campaign. First and second level spells cost 50 gold pieces per level just to copy. You still need to have the inks to copy them.
third through fifth level cost 250 gp per levels and 6th to 8th level are 1000 gold per level. A single spell of 9th level costs 15,000 gold and that is IF the other caster is friendly, very friendly to you (as in, (s)he owes you BIG TIME).

Is this too strict? Money to copy and acquire spell is a big money sink in my games and that is at all levels.
I have the feeling that he wants them totally free only to make more low level scrolls during downtime.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Well, the DM is always right, but I've never charged for the spells gained while leveling. I think the PHB is fairly clear on this one " add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook for free."

Your ruling is like saying the spell is free but the shipping is 100 GP/level. ;)
 

Was how you handle this made clear at some point earlier in the game? Because this sounds to me like it wasn't and really the player is objecting to being blindsided by the ruling, not the particulars of the ruling itself.
It was perfectly crystal clear from the beginning of 5th edition. This is the first time this player makes a wizard. This is the first time the ruling is brought to question.
 


PHB, page 114: "Each time you gain a wizard level, you can add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook for free." I'd say your player has the right of it here.
And what about the side bar? It does not say:"Except those you had free from leveling."
Like Oofta said. Free of charge, but not of shipping.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, the DM is always right, but I've never charged for the spells gained while leveling. I think the PHB is fairly clear on this one " add two wizard spells of your choice to your spellbook for free."

Your ruling is like saying the spell is free but the shipping is 100 GP/level. ;)
The DM is definitely not always right, and in this case, I think OP should have informed the player of this rule before the game began.

The OP has made the game more restrictive than it's intended to be, for one character, in a way that taps into a second increase in restriction, making it...very undesirable to play a wizard, after the player has already started playing a wizard.
 


prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
And what about the side bar? It does not say:"Except those you had free from leveling."
Like Oofta said. Free of charge, but not of shipping.
So you're saying that "add to your spellbook for free" doesn't mean "add to your spellbook for free"? I just want to be clear that's what you're saying.

I think the sidebar is general, and the leveling-up feature is specific, and specific beats general. I suspect that's how roughly every player wanting to play a wizard is going to interpret that and how they'll expect it to play. Trust me, you can hose a wizard pretty hard, just by reducing or eliminating access to spells beyond what they get for leveling up; there's no need to resort to this.
 

The DM is definitely not always right, and in this case, I think OP should have informed the player of this rule before the game began.

The OP has made the game more restrictive than it's intended to be, for one character, in a way that taps into a second increase in restriction, making it...very undesirable to play a wizard, after the player has already started playing a wizard.
It has been this way since the beginning of 5ed. The player knew it. The other players throughout various campaigns that played a wizard knew it and accepted it. It is only one player that is not in agreement of the ruling.

Is it too strict of a house rule?
 

aco175

Hero
I tend to go with the idea that a mage has more spells in his book than he can use. He may have 2nd and 3rd level spells that he studies and practices before he can actually use them. These can be backstory spells from his mentor or such and need not be chosen until that level. At some point new spells are harder to come by.

I find your ruling would make players not choose this class and choose one that is not burdened by a book. Also, the mage is spending all his cash on inks and such which is a penalty. Granted 5e is lax on what to spend cash on, but this feels like it is unfair.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It has been this way since the beginning of 5ed. The player knew it. The other players throughout various campaigns that played a wizard knew it and accepted it. It is only one player that is not in agreement of the ruling.

Is it too strict of a house rule?
Okay, your OP gave the impression that you informed the wizard of this in the desert.

As to the question, yes. It's too strict a house rule, particularly combined with the very expensive spellbook adding rules.

The wizard is meant to gain 2 new spells at every level, added to their spellbook for free.
 

I tend to go with the idea that a mage has more spells in his book than he can use. He may have 2nd and 3rd level spells that he studies and practices before he can actually use them. These can be backstory spells from his mentor or such and need not be chosen until that level. At some point new spells are harder to come by.

I find your ruling would make players not choose this class and choose one that is not burdened by a book. Also, the mage is spending all his cash on inks and such which is a penalty. Granted 5e is lax on what to spend cash on, but this feels like it is unfair.
And yet, in every group, there is almost always a wizard. I have seen two or three sorcerers and about 4 or 5 warlocks as arcane casters. This means that for every non wizard arcane caster there were about three to four wizards. The versatility of wizard is really hard not to ignore. This was my attempt to force people not to chose wizard and to try something else. It failed as wizards are still the most played at my tables. The ruling was never questioned before yesterday.
 

Okay, your OP gave the impression that you informed the wizard of this in the desert.

As to the question, yes. It's too strict a house rule, particularly combined with the very expensive spellbook adding rules.

The wizard is meant to gain 2 new spells at every level, added to their spellbook for free.
Nope this is an example to clarify why I made this ruling. Would you make the spell just appear in the spell book. The wizard does not have any ink, not even a feather write with. So how does the spells appear? I am curious about the mechanic of spell writting itself in a spell book.

To paraphrase Oofta: Free of charge, not of copying.
 

aco175

Hero
And yet, in every group, there is almost always a wizard. I have seen two or three sorcerers and about 4 or 5 warlocks as arcane casters. This means that for every non wizard arcane caster there were about three to four wizards. The versatility of wizard is really hard not to ignore. This was my attempt to force people not to chose wizard and to try something else. It failed as wizards are still the most played at my tables. The ruling was never questioned before yesterday.
That has not been my experience. Wizard was designed to be better at some things like number of spells. I never thought they needed this ruling, even if you warned them up front. Maybe if you had a training/level for all the PCs I can see this rolled into their training.
 

That has not been my experience. Wizard was designed to be better at some things like number of spells. I never thought they needed this ruling, even if you warned them up front. Maybe if you had a training/level for all the PCs I can see this rolled into their training.
Training is off the bat. Players (12 of them) voted against that one at the beginning of 5ed.
The reasons that wizards are so popular in my games (go figures, I want warlocks and sorcerers :( )

1) Ritualist. They do not need to have a spell in memory to cast it as a ritual. This makes spells such as detect magic and identify almost ridicule. As ritual, they do not need a spell slot to be used.

2) Spell versatility. The versatility the wizard enjoys as an arcane caster is unparalleled. The players consider the other casters as one trick pony (a bit of an exaggeration I know, but I say that to illustrate my players' mindset about the other casters). It is the versatility of spell choice that makes wizards so desirable.

3) Even without free spells they would make wizards! I tried it and they were still making wizards. Players are pooling their resources to buy spell for the wizards. Wizard is the character class most chosen for level dips... right before the warlocks, rogues and the fighters. This goes against everything I have seen at other gaming tables and on this forum (Paladin/warlock, or paladin/sorcer? Never saw them in my games... well, once but you get what I mean...)

In fact, even with this "limitation", the players are rolling dice to see who'll get to make a wizard when we create a group. The new group was created after a TPK and this is the first time, this player gets to play one. Do you see my problem? I want to see warlocks and sorcerers and yet, wizards dominate. Am I the only one????????
 

aco175

Hero
In truth, most of my games do not even have a mage caster unless a NPC tags along for an adventure. One player always takes a champion fighter, one is mostly a barbarian or thief, and the last is a paladin, cleric, or a ranger.
 


My groups are six players strong. This gives a lot of versatility for classes. And yet, almost no sorcerers or warlocks (very few of them crop up). But I do see barbarians, bards and druids (especially the moon variant, the Diablo druid was very popular as almost every druids want to play something akin to it...).

If I get two arcane casters, you can bet your shirt that it will be a second wizard.
 

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