log in or register to remove this ad

 

Intelligence and Spell Scrolls - A lost opportunity

ad_hoc

(he/they)
So, Intelligence. I think it is fine where it is. It could use a bit more application than it does (eg. Warlock should use it to even out the casting stats among the classes). It's okay, but a small boost wouldn't imbalance it.

Let's talk about Spell Scrolls. Here's the thing, they're fairly common treasure. They're an iconic part of the game. But if the party finds a scroll and doesn't have a party member who can use it, they can't, and that isn't fun.

So...how about an Intelligence Ability Check to use a scroll not on your spell list?

Proficiences can be applied as follows:

Druid/Ranger - Nature
Cleric/Paladin - Religion
Wizard/Warlock/Sorcerer - Arcana

If a spell appears on multiple lists, choose.

The standard one still applies. One thing about the standard check is that since there is no proficiency to it, it doesn't get easier except by raising Int. This makes it easier to cast high level scrolls, but then, they still need to find them first.


Spell on list, level you can cast: No check
Spell on list, level above what you can cast: 10 + Spell Level
Spell not on list, level you can cast: 10 + Spell Level
Spell not on list, level above what you can cast: 15 + Spell Level

Note, this allows non-spellcasters to attempt to cast but the DC will always be 15 + Spell Level and they probably won't have a high Int either.



The effect, I believe, will make the Wizard the ultimate scroll user as they value Int. It will also allow another character who has a high Int despite their class not using it to be the party's backup scroll user which I think is fun. Any other effects good or bad I'm not thinking of?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Li Shenron

Legend
I think it would be fine, as long as it fits thematically your fantasy world to have magic generally accessible to non-casters.

I don't think it is necessary to allow the knowledge skills proficiency bonus. For non-casters it would be ok, but it's practically a freebie to spellcasters who normally already have the proficiency, but by the default rules don't get it (IIRC a simple spellcasting ability check is used). OTOH if every non-caster is now able to potentially use any scroll, you might be ok with the fact that casters become better with higher level scrolls at the same time.
 

Sadras

Hero
Personally I'm not thrilled on the idea of non-casters having access to spells without the required skill proficiency at minimum, but like Li Shenron says it depends on one's fantasy world.
The idea might have some merit with universal-styled protection scrolls again one would need to determine if skill proficiency would be a requirement for such scrolls or perhaps even some other cost (HD or other).
 

S'mon

Legend
I use Arcana (INT) checks for stuff like this a fair bit. Eg letting an Eldritch Knight learn new Wizard spells from a found spell book. I can see letting a Warlock cast a fireball off a scroll likewise - but fail by 5 or more & reverse effect/targets caster. :D
 
Last edited:

S'mon

Legend
Personally I'm not thrilled on the idea of non-casters having access to spells without the required skill proficiency at minimum

I agree, I think there should be some minimum level of investment - eg Gray Mouser the Rogue (Thief) has a background as a student wizard, so he has Arcana trained and can try to use spell scrolls, but you'd probably be wise not to give him anything too powerful like a Death Spell in case it accidentally backfires...
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I suppose the way I see it is that it just won't come up.

No party is going to have a non-spellcaster with 8 Int and no proficiency try to cast the scroll. A 3rd level spell scroll requires a 19 in that case. Failure loses the scroll.

There is always the scroll mishap table too.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I allow a simplified version of this at my table.

1. It's a flat Int check; no skill applies (just like when a caster uses a scroll of higher level)
2. The DC is 10 + spell level (just like when a caster uses a scroll of higher level)
3. If you fail, you roll on the Scroll Mishaps table (p.140) but with no save (UNLIKE when a caster uses a scroll of higher level -- for them, the scroll just fizzles and is destroyed)

Part 3 is the downside: for non-casters, or casting a spell off your list, there's a consequence for failure.



EDIT: In close to 50 game sessions, I think a PC has used this method of casting once. Players are just deathly afraid of that Scroll Mishaps table. Actually, players are deathly afraid of consequences in general; I think this may be a real-life example of Loss Aversion Bias.
 
Last edited:

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
The more I think about the int warlock, the more I am convinced some kind of "school of contracts" wizard would be better: you get a special familiar, which can fight, but you generally don't want it to, because as long as it is alive and on the same plane as you, it telepathically inserts some spells into your mind (don't count towards your prepared list, but still need wizard spell slots to cast).....
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I preferred the playtest notion of spell scrolls using spell slots so all they do is widen your range. I suppose you could rule that they use a slot one level lower than the spell level used to prepare the scroll.

As far as using spells that you cannot normally use (too high level, no appropriate spell slot, wrong class), an arcana / religion / nature roll based on the level of the spell could work, with disadvantage if that spell is not on your spell list (Rogue class features being specific over general).

Whether this would greatly expand the abilities of eldritch Knights or Arcane Tricksters is open to debate. Seems unlikely if they are spending spell slots to use scrolls with 100% success.

I agree that any tweak to the Rules is based on campaign flavour. My PCs just tend to forget they have spell scrolls.
 


Quartz

Hero
If you allow it, I think you should limit use of non-class spells to those with the Magic Initiate and Ritual Caster feats, and then only those with the correct class.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
I like this idea a lot!

I'd probably make the DC a straight 10 + spell level, though; no need to overcomplicate things.


That's fair. I thought about giving disadvantage instead but it is also fine to just do without the limitations entirely.


If you allow it, I think you should limit use of non-class spells to those with the Magic Initiate and Ritual Caster feats, and then only those with the correct class.

The entire point is to allow non-class spells.

Anyone can attempt to unlock the magic on the scroll.

Most of the time it's going to be the character who is themed the most around it that are going to be given the scrolls to read anyway.

No one is giving the 8 int character the scrolls. Though it's cool that they can try in some sort of dire situation.
 


ad_hoc

(he/they)
Doesn't this reduce the impact of the Rogue: Thief 13th level of ability "Use Magic Device?

Yes, but it also reduces the impact of all spellcasters. Currently they all get a special thing where they get to use scrolls. This is a far greater impact than a minor part of a minor high level subclass feature.

And Use Magic Device is still very good for spell scrolls, as they don't need to make a check at all.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top