D&D 1E Why do Wizard hot dogs come in packages of 9, but Cleric buns come in packages of 7?

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
This question popped up in another forum of an absolutely precious newbie playing the OG Infinity Engine games and asked the eternal question: why do Cleric spells only go up to level 7? Why not 9 like Wizards? And obviously WotC agrees with their point, but that doesn't actually answer the question, does it? Why was it done that way? Game balance? Cleric hatred? Some obscure and unknowable aspect of the late Gygax's mind?

My (admittedly surface-level) scouring of Google came up empty; many acknowledgments that this was the way things were, 9 levels to Wizards, 7 to Clerics. None answering the burning question: why?
 

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aco175

Legend
It could have something to do with racial level caps, but humans could advance all the way up. It could also have something with the XP needed to advance each level. 1e had different charts for advancement where you could be a 3rd level thief before a mage got to 2nd.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
My interpretation was that cleric spells only go up to seven while wizard spells only go up to nine because wizards are supposed to have the most powerful spells, compared to their clerical counterparts.

The idea here is that the two spellcasting progressions, one ranging from levels one through seven and the other ranging from levels one through nine, don't cover the same range of power. Spells of eight and ninth level are supposed to be stronger/better than spells of seventh level and below, regardless of whether those seventh-level spells are on the cleric or wizard spell lists. And only the wizard gets them.

So why is that? Because the wizard has virtually nothing else besides spells. Clerics have better Hit Dice, a better attack progression, can use better weapons and armor, etc. So they don't get the strongest spells as a trade-off, and wizards do.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Tim the Magic User: My spells all go to nine. Look, right across the board, Time Stop, Wish, Bigby's Crushing Hand, nine, nine, nine and...

Karnak the Cleric: Oh, I see. And the other classes' spells go up to seven?

Tim the Magic User : Exactly.

Karnak the Cleric: Does that mean the spells are better? Are the spells any better?

Tim the Magic User: Well, it's two better, isn't it? It's not seven. You see, most spell casters, you know, will be casting spells at seven. Illusionist, druids, clerics... all on seven here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on seven when you're casting your best spells. Where can you go from there? Where?

Karnak the Cleric : I don't know.

Tim the Magic User : Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Karnak the Cleric : Put it up to nine.

Tim the Magic User : Nine. Exactly. Two better.

Karnak the Cleric : Why don't you just make seven better and make seven be the top number for all the classes and make that a little more powerful?

Tim the Magic User : ..... These spells go to nine.
 


Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Chainmail, the miniatures game that was a precursor to D&D, has wizards but no clerics. They have 14 spells, most recognizable as modern-day wizard spells, in 6 levels of complexity (which seems to be a modifier to the spell rather than a property of a spell itself). There are no clerics.

Going back to the earliest D&D rules, the D&D white box, we actually have cleric spells up to 5 and magic-user spells up to 6. The table even has a line showing the lack of cleric spells at level 6, indicating Gygax and Co. at least noticed this. Interestingly, clerics get 5th level spells at level 7, whereas magic-users (as they were called in 1st edition and earlier) have to wait until level 9, finally getting 6th level spells at level 12. Clerics also have no more than 6 spells per level, whereas magic-users have as many as 14 sometimes.

From the original description of Clerics: "Clerics gain some of the advantages from both of the other two classes (Fighting-Men and Magic-Users) in that they have the use of magic armor and all non-edged magic weapons (no arrows!), plus they have numbers of their own spells. In addition, they are able to use more of the magical items than are the Fighting-Men." They're an archetype now, but they were the original gish class!

So, the short answer is: they're not supposed to be as good magic-users as magic-users.
 

Lidgar

Gongfarmer
Tim the Magic User: My spells all go to nine. Look, right across the board, Time Stop, Wish, Bigby's Crushing Hand, nine, nine, nine and...

Karnak the Cleric: Oh, I see. And the other classes' spells go up to seven?

Tim the Magic User : Exactly.

Karnak the Cleric: Does that mean the spells are better? Are the spells any better?

Tim the Magic User: Well, it's two better, isn't it? It's not seven. You see, most spell casters, you know, will be casting spells at seven. Illusionist, druids, clerics... all on seven here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on seven when you're casting your best spells. Where can you go from there? Where?

Karnak the Cleric : I don't know.

Tim the Magic User : Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?

Karnak the Cleric : Put it up to nine.

Tim the Magic User : Nine. Exactly. Two better.

Karnak the Cleric : Why don't you just make seven better and make seven be the top number for all the classes and make that a little more powerful?

Tim the Magic User : ..... These spells go to nine.
rock band GIF
 

Orius

Legend
I suppose it helps to look at more than just cleric and wizard, though I should say magic-user here.

Look at the casters from Supplement 1 through 1e. There's cleric, druid, illusionist, and m-u. All of them, with the exception of m-u, go up to 7 spell levels. The m-u goes 9 levels probably because it's supposed to be the most powerful of the casters, like @Alzrius said. The m-u is also pretty much just the magic specialist, while the cleric had a balance between combat and casting ability. So traditionally the wizard is the exception, not the rule.
 

Yora

Legend
For some reason, AD&D does seem to believe that you can never have any two tables in the game that are matches of each other.All classes and anilities need to have tables that are slightly different in their numbers. Consistency must be avoided at any cost.
 


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