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2E Wait, what? (Spell memorization in 2nd ed AD&D)

cavalier973

Explorer
So, I was skimming through the rule book for "Gateway to the Savage Frontier", and the section on magic says it takes 4 hours to prepare 1st and 2nd level spells, and six hours to prepare 3rd level spells, minimum, plus 15 minutes per level of spell.

So, preparing 2 first level, 1 second level, and 1 third level spell would take nearly eight hours.

Is this the official rule for 2nd edition, or is this a GttSF rule?
 

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ccs

40th lv DM
Sounds like the general 2e rule.

Its been a few decades since I read Savage Frontier so I dont recall why its being discussed there.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
My 2e PHB says under Chapter 7: Magic:
Memorization is not a thing that happens immediately. The wizard must have a clear head gained from a restful night's sleep and then has to spend time studying his spell books. The amount of study time needed is 10 minutes per level of the spell being memorized. Thus, a 9th-level spell (the most powerful) would require 90 minutes of careful study. Clearly, high-level spellcasters do not lightly change their memorized spells.
 


cavalier973

Explorer
My 2e PHB says under Chapter 7: Magic:
Memorization is not a thing that happens immediately. The wizard must have a clear head gained from a restful night's sleep and then has to spend time studying his spell books. The amount of study time needed is 10 minutes per level of the spell being memorized. Thus, a 9th-level spell (the most powerful) would require 90 minutes of careful study. Clearly, high-level spellcasters do not lightly change their memorized spells.
Thanks. I don't have the 2nd edition rules--and, in fact, was considering purchasing the pdfs.

I have the B/X and the BECMI rules. BECMI says that spell memorization takes at most an hour (for all spells, presumably), but only after a good night's rest.

I have the 1st edition rules, and they sound similar to what I posted from GttSF, but after a more careful reading, what the 1st edition rules say is that the wizard needs more rest prior to memorizing higher level spells. Therefore, to memorize a 9th level spell, the wizard needs to rest for 12 hours beforehand. Then, the wizard spends a quarter of an hour per spell level to memorize each spell. This seems exceedingly onerous. It would mean spending over two hours to memorize that one spell, plus a quarter hour for each level of each other spell to memorize whatever else the wizard wishes to cast. It sounds as if the wizard will spend all day just memorizing spells!
 


Yes. At higher levels that adds up. But if you compare it to natural hitpoint regeneration, this is more than fair.
2e timelines are a lot slower than 5e nowadays. And to a certain degree I find it better because it happens much more rarely that you go from level 1 to 10 in a few days.

That said, in 5e you can easily use a different rest method (1 week long rests to emulate such the 2e pacing).
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Houseruled caps on the maximum total time it took to memorize (or pray for) spells were common; otherwise, yes it could quite literally take a high-level MU an entire day or more to memorize her spells if she'd run herself dry the day before.

Then again, the expectation in 1e was that a party would take quite a lot longer (in game time) to complete an adventure than seems to be the case now.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Houseruled caps on the maximum total time it took to memorize (or pray for) spells were common; otherwise, yes it could quite literally take a high-level MU an entire day or more to memorize her spells if she'd run herself dry the day before.
I consider this a feature. High level casters are not supposed to unload all their spells each day. If they need to, then they need time to recuperate.
 

So, I was skimming through the rule book for "Gateway to the Savage Frontier", and the section on magic says it takes 4 hours to prepare 1st and 2nd level spells, and six hours to prepare 3rd level spells, minimum, plus 15 minutes per level of spell.

So, preparing 2 first level, 1 second level, and 1 third level spell would take nearly eight hours.

Is this the official rule for 2nd edition, or is this a GttSF rule?
From the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook

Memorization is not a thing that happens immediately. The wizard must have a clear head gained from a restful night's sleep and then has to spend time studying his spell books. The amount of study time needed is 10 minutes per level of the spell being memorized. Thus, a 9th-level spell (the most powerful) would require 90 minutes of careful study. Clearly, high-level spellcasters do not lightly change their memorized spells.

Thus the example you gave would require 70 minutes to memorize, not 8 hours. Long memorization times was even a plot point in Dragonlance, it's why the Towers of High Sorcery fell. . .they were under constant attack and the amount of time it would take a high-level wizard to rememorize spells every day after waking up meant that even on top of requiring a night's sleep first, it would take hours and hours to re-memorize spells, so their enemies could overwhelm them by taking advantage of not just the rest cycle needed, but the fact that a high-level wizard needs hours and hours to refresh their daily spells. A 20th level Wizard would take 1620 minutes of study to re-memorize all their spells (I just sat down and did the math), they literally couldn't do it in one day.

Oh, and it's "Memorization" in 1e and 2e AD&D. The idea is that you're committing complex things to memory that you'll only be able to accurately recite once. The term "Preparation" came about in 3e.
 

What a lot of people failed to understand is that memorization was the equalizer between casters and martial classes. It meant the following:

1) The higher level the caster, the more time was required to memorize. (obviously).Spell conservation was important and a real thing.

2) It also meant that casters would rely on lower level spells, wands and scrolls to get their job's done.

3) It also meant that casters would require melee and ranged weapons to still be relevant and useful. Be it slings, darts, xbows, bows. This was also one of the reasons demi-humans were so strong. They could multi-class and still be relevant even at high level because of their versatility.

4) It would also put more emphasis on martial characters. They were the main source of damage when the treath level was low. It made magic something really powerful as an accelerator. But that accelerator was not always available.

5) Creating wands, staffs and rods were really important not because they were adding power but because they were helping in reducing the amount of time spend in memorizations. A high level M-U would always prefer a wand of magic missile for "non consequential" fights over his own 1st level Magic missile. 20th MU's Magic Missile spell would do 10d4+10 dmg! A wand of fire ball, was stuck at 6d6 fire dmg while the fire ball of the same M-U was doing 20d6... but it took 45 minutes to commit to memory.

6) An exhausted magic-user with no spell left would take 27 hours to just memorize spells, but he could only do it for 12 hours at a time. This meant that in reality, the 1620 minutes, would take 12 hours rest + 12 memorizing + 10 hours + 12 Memorizing and 6 hours + 5 memorizing for a total of 57 hours before being to full power again or just about 3 days.

All of the above would apply to clerics, druids and illusionnists. Even paladins and rangers had to memorize/pray for spells. At max level it meant that the paladin had to spend 6 hours of sleep + 8h30minutes so no adventures for that day and the ranger would spend 6 hours + 4h30 minutes. About half the time of the paladin.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
What a lot of people failed to understand is that memorization was the equalizer between casters and martial classes.

Nor was it the only one. There were numerous other restrictions on spellcasters that were later jettisoned:

  • Wizards had to make a check to learn every new spell they came across, which after 1st level was the only way to gain new spells (i.e. you didn't gain new spells automatically as you gained levels). If you failed that check, you had to wait an entire level to be able to try and learn that spell again.
  • Clerics didn't actually get to pick their own spells. While low-level spells were gained through faith alone, higher-level spells had to be requested from your deity (or their divine servants), who might deny your request in favor of granting you different spells. So if you asked for an earthquake spell, and the DM knew you'd be facing a lot of undead, he might give you a spell that was more in tune with what you'd need instead.
  • Wizards could only learn so many spells of each spell level. I don't mean memorize only so many, either; they had a maximum number of spells (based on their Intelligence) at each spell level that they could learn. So they had to judge each new spell they came across carefully to consider if they wanted to add it to their limited repertoire.
  • All spellcasters automatically failed what we now call "concentration checks." If you were distracted, let alone injured, while casting - which was a very real possibility, as spellcasting times were measured in "round segments" that quite often overlapped other character's actions - you automatically lost the spell, no check.
  • Magic item crafting was something spellcasters could do automatically at certain levels, but was never just a matter of time, gold, or other predefined resources. It always required esoteric components, which were determined by the DM. If you wanted to make a wand of fireball, you conducted research (or paid a sage to do it for you) in order for the DM to eventually tell you that it required phoenix feathers, the blood of a noble efreeti, and a fire ruby that had been dipped into an active volcano. And just like that, your wizard now had three new adventure hooks that they were pressing the rest of the party to pursue.
  • The target numbers for saving throws were entirely determined by the characters/creatures you were attacking; they weren't set on your end. So if a high-level fighter had a "saving throw vs. spells" of 3, they just needed to roll a 3 or higher on their d20 roll against incoming spells, which meant that they were going to make their save almost all of the time. The best you got was to maybe inflict minor penalties to their roll if, for example, you were a specialist casting a spell from your favored school of magic.
  • Magic resistance worked differently depending on your edition of choice. While in AD&D 1E your chance to overcome MR varied depending on your level (specifically, the listed magic resistance for a creature presumed that you were 11th level; for every level below that, you added 5% to the value, and for every level above, you subtracted 5%). Conversely, in AD&D 2E the percentage chance of magic resistance was absolute. So if a monster had MR 50%, then half of your spells were going to fail regardless of whether you were a 1st-level apprentice or Elminster himself.
  • There were fewer safeguards written into the spells themselves. If you went off-target with a teleport spell, and ended up inside a stone wall, you were dead. No check, no saving throw, no "you shift to the nearest open space and take X damage." Everytime you used polymorph self, you made a system shock check, and while the percentage of success was slanted in your favor, if you failed then you died instantly. (On a related note, resurrection spells also had a chance of failure, and while that one was even more slanted toward success, if you failed it you were permanently dead barring divine intervention. Of course, you could only be resurrected as many times as your Constitution score anyway.)
  • The level of spells that clerics could gain was partially dependent on the power of their god. Demigods could only grant up to 5th-level spells, and lesser deities could only grant up to 6th-level. This was supposed to be counterbalanced by higher-level clerics being big fish in smaller ponds, meaning that you had an outsized role in your deity's religious organization (potentially among their divine servitors as well as their terrestrial church), but that message seemed to be lost quite often.
Those are just off the top of my head, but these were how AD&D avoided "linear fighters, quadratic wizards." But a lot of people didn't like restrictions on what they felt should have been super-powerful high-level spellcasters, and summarily ignored some or all of these. When they made D&D Third Edition, Wizards of the Coast listened to those complaints and did away with all of these restrictions, only for the Law of Unintended Consequences to come back and bite them hard, as 3E came to be known as "caster edition."
 
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Those are just off the top of my head, but these were how AD&D avoided "linear fighters, quadratic wizards." But a lot of people didn't like restrictions on what they felt should have been super-powerful high-level spellcasters, and summarily ignored some or all of these. When they made D&D Third Edition, Wizards of the Coast listened to those complaints and did away with all of these restrictions, only for the Law of Unintended Consequences to come back and bite them hard, as 3E came to be known as "caster edition."
In practice, most of those restrictions didn't actually restrict things very much.

The highest level of spells a divine caster could cast being affected by the rank of the deity they served? It would only come into play in a game where Clerics would be able to cast 6th level spells. In campaigns I saw, most ended before that. It would take about a year of regular weekly play to get to about 10th level and that's about how long most campaigns tended to last.

This is also why level limits didn't do much for balancing demihumans, games would usually end before the level limits came into play (especially with multiclassed demihumans).

The 2e method of magic item creation was so Byzantine and ornate that in practice, PC's just plain never made magic items. It wasn't adventure hooks, it was "don't bother".

I never once, ever, actually saw a DM override a divine caster on their spells in 2e.

I saw wizards usually get new spells via spell research more than anything else.

At a 19 intelligence, you had an unlimited capacity for new spells. This, in practice, meant that players of Wizard characters HEAVILY powergamed to get a 19 INT, such as doing anything it took to get an 18 starting INT and getting that extra +1 somehow.

Most of those various balancing factors just plain never came up, or players found ways around them, or there were optional rules that softened them that were widely used. . .and nobody missed when 3e came out because those rules were seen as archaic to begin with.
 

  • Magic resistance worked differently depending on your edition of choice. While in AD&D 1E your chance to overcome MR varied depending on your level (specifically, the listed magic resistance for a creature presumed that you were 11th level; for every level below that, you added 5% to the value, and for every level above, you subtracted 5%). Conversely, in AD&D 2E the percentage chance of magic resistance was absolute. So if a monster had MR 50%, then half of your spells were going to fail regardless of whether you were a 1st-level apprentice or Elminster himself.
It also depended on the type of monsters. Daemons and demodans had a resistance tied to spell level and to the spell caster too. A 12th level caster casting magic missile against an Arcanaloth would face a resistance of 95%. If he had casted a cone of cold, the same caster would lower it to 75% (only...).

  • There were fewer safeguards written into the spells themselves. If you went off-target with a teleport spell, and ended up inside a stone wall, you were dead. No check, no saving throw, no "you shift to the nearest open space and take X damage." Everytime you used polymorph self, you made a system shock check, and while the percentage of success was slanted in your favor, if you failed then you died instantly. (On a related note, resurrection spells also had a chance of failure, and while that one was even more slanted toward success, if you failed it you were permanently dead barring divine intervention. Of course, you could only be resurrected as many times as your Constitution score anyway.)
Wrong and right. Polymorph self was an exception (as well as chape change). The survival shock was not necessary nor required for these. It was on the polymorph other that it was used. So as to avoid potential problems. I polymorph the rogue into a T-rex... abuses. The risks of dying was simply to big to take that chance.

  • The level of spells that clerics could gain was partially dependent on the power of their god. Demigods could only grant up to 5th-level spells, and lesser deities could only grant up to 6th-level. This was supposed to be counterbalanced by higher-level clerics being big fish in smaller ponds, meaning that you had an outsized role in your deity's religious organization (potentially among their divine servitors as well as their terrestrial church), but that message seemed to be lost quite often.
That is why it was so important to promote your god. To get your god to have more power would allow its cleric to weild more power too. It was also related to plane of existance where a god living on the prime could grant one more level than what he could normally would but it also meant that the same god could be killed on that plane too. A good example is Iuz.

Those are just off the top of my head, but these were how AD&D avoided "linear fighters, quadratic wizards." But a lot of people didn't like restrictions on what they felt should have been super-powerful high-level spellcasters, and summarily ignored some or all of these. When they made D&D Third Edition, Wizards of the Coast listened to those complaints and did away with all of these restrictions, only for the Law of Unintended Consequences to come back and bite them hard, as 3E came to be known as "caster edition."
Yes, they were often ignored. And it is in campaign that these restrictions were ignored that many games led to believe that casters were too powerful for the martial casters. So often have I seen a wizard with no spells having to rely on his wands, scrolls and staff (when he had one) that it was a shock to me when I gamed with people at the university where these restrictions had been removed. It were the same people that complained that casters were too powerful. When you have no restriction, no reason to hold back on your spell allottement you just go out and nova.

I went to DM for them to show them how it was supposed to be with restrictions on. They played their usual characters and their regular DM played mine (a paladin). They were almost killed on their second day as they went nova, and tried to rest. The wizard and cleric could not get enough rests to memorize their spells as they were forced into random encounters as per the rules. It took them three days just to get back their spells and they were not 20th level but level 10.

In practice, most of those restrictions didn't actually restrict things very much.

You were obviously not in my games. They were there and people were applying them. The only rule I was a bit relax was encumbrance. As long as it was in a reasonable limit I could waive it.

The highest level of spells a divine caster could cast being affected by the rank of the deity they served? It would only come into play in a game where Clerics would be able to cast 6th level spells. In campaigns I saw, most ended before that. It would take about a year of regular weekly play to get to about 10th level and that's about how long most campaigns tended to last.

This is why clerics had to try to convert people to their religions. To enhance the power of their god and thus, their own. Converting people to your god was really something in my games. I had a cleric successfully raised the status of his deity from the lesser to greater god status in one of my games.

This is also why level limits didn't do much for balancing demihumans, games would usually end before the level limits came into play (especially with multiclassed demihumans).

These limits mattered a lot in my games. In fact, it was a limiting factor for the amount of demihumans in my games. A lot of demihumans would take thief as part of their multiclassing just so they could "rise" in levels after their limit was reached, as thief was the only class that was never limited (save the half-orcs that were unlimited in assassin level but limited to 8th level thieves).

The 2e method of magic item creation was so Byzantine and ornate that in practice, PC's just plain never made magic items. It wasn't adventure hooks, it was "don't bother".

It was about the same as in the 1ed. It was fun and just making one item required imagination. And the sacrifice 1 point of constitution was a real stopper. You would not do it unless necessary.

I never once, ever, actually saw a DM override a divine caster on their spells in 2e.

I certainly did. More than once and more than once per adventures. It was my way of saying: "You don't need that spells. You'll have it if you insist, but I would take "X" instead." Players would usually listened and take the advice.

I saw wizards usually get new spells via spell research more than anything else.

At a 19 intelligence, you had an unlimited capacity for new spells. This, in practice, meant that players of Wizard characters HEAVILY powergamed to get a 19 INT, such as doing anything it took to get an 18 starting INT and getting that extra +1 somehow.

Yes, and not. A lot of wizards were creating "traveling" spell book. Having a too big spell book would often be detrimental and the cost of creating an other was staggering. So wizards were often creating the travelling book with "utility" in mind.

Most of those various balancing factors just plain never came up, or players found ways around them, or there were optional rules that softened them that were widely used. . .and nobody missed when 3e came out because those rules were seen as archaic to begin with.
Yes, they were seen as archaic. And it also led to the CODZILA as people were no longer remembering the limiting factors of casters were there to prevent such a thing from happening. 3.xed was a caster's dream come true. Martial classes were there only so that the casters could rise to a high level enough to be CODZILA and after that, martial were irrelevant. That is why I love 5ed. Martial got back a lot of power that casters had taken away from them as they (the casters) no longer have restrictions. It is a good compromise between spells and fighting power.
 


Good luck everyone, my group and I never liked the D&D spell system, and I made my own ever since AD&D
Well, it depends on what you prefer. The Vancian spell systems was truly great at limiting casters. Spell points is an other take. Versatility at the cost of more power. The sorcery system of D&D isn't bad either but still has limits. The Marvel system was an other take both related to spell point and sorcery system in which you would chose an effect/power, apply some modifiers and roll a table to see if you would succeed. The Role Master was an other take in which you could specialize in a few laws and effects and almost cast them ad nauseam. Again, versatility vs specialization vs power at a cost. I do think that the Vancian system is one of the best compromise so far. Especially in its itteration in 5ed.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
In practice, most of those restrictions didn't actually restrict things very much.
For Clerics, I agree; but Cleric spell power in general is a significant step down from MUs in any case so no real worries there.

But those restrictions did do a lot to rein in Magic Users, and removing most of them and nerfing the rest was perhaps the single biggest mistake in all of 3e design. Dumb dumb dumb.

The 2e method of magic item creation was so Byzantine and ornate that in practice, PC's just plain never made magic items. It wasn't adventure hooks, it was "don't bother".
This is fine with me - I'd rather see the PCs out in the field using (and finding!) magic items than sitting at home making them. :)

That said, I'm quite happy to allow PCs to commission items from artificers, with the proviso a) that doing so is expensive and b) that it will take a considerable amount of in-game time for the item to be made.

I saw wizards usually get new spells via spell research more than anything else.
As in, designing their own new spells? Cool! I almost never see this in my games.

Most of those various balancing factors just plain never came up, or players found ways around them, or there were optional rules that softened them that were widely used. . .and nobody missed when 3e came out because those rules were seen as archaic to begin with.
Once I got a chance to see how 3e played in practice, I missed those rules in a real hurry.
 

Orius

Adventurer
I'm planning to put some of the old restrictions back in place in 3e to rein in caster power a bit.

Spell preparation times will be the first. I'll do 2e's 10 minutes/level times rather than 1e's 15 minutes because the math works better with cantrips which would be cosidered 1/2 levels. It's just more convenient to do them at 5 minutes than 7.5 minutes which would either be rounded down to 7 minutes per 3e's rounding standards or 75 rounds which just adds more complications to the math. I'm hoping that will strike a blow against the hated 15 minute workday.
 

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