Spell Research and New Paths

Wizards (and only wizards1) may choose to create new spells. Like all spells, newly created spells must be constructed as part of a Path. Research, like all wizardly magic, is a logical and orderly thing, and must be pursued in a structured way.

Creating new Spells and Paths must follow the rules below. Feel free to start a page on the wiki and put any spell ideas you have up there. The DM review the drafts as time allows.

Path Creation:

All newly created spells must be part of a Path. A Wizard may create only 1 new path in his lifetime, and adding to the known corpus of magical lore in this way is usually considered the pinnacle of wizardly achievement. Development of a new path can begin at any point in the Wizard’s career (even at 1st level) and will likely take his entire lifetime to complete.

When creating a new path, the Wizard must abide by the following strictures:

  1. A new Path may contain a maximum of 27 spells, which must include at least 1 spell of each spell level (1st to 9th).
  2. If the Wizard is a Specialist, at least 50% of the spells must belong to his specialized school (note that Specialist Wizards receive a bonus when researching new spells of their chosen school).
  3. If the Wizard has the Signature Spell non-weapon proficiency, the new path must include all Signature Spells they have learned.
  4. Aside from Signature Spells, the new Path may contain any combination of unique and/or pre-existing spells. Any pre-existing spells used included in the new path must fit thematically with the Wizard’s Signature Spells and any new spells he creates for the Path (subject to DM veto).

A Path created in this way does not count against the Wizard’s limit of paths known (determined by his level and Knowledge). Likewise, unique invented spells do not count against his limit of spells known of a given level (determined by his Reason). Non-unique spells included in the path must be learned normally (if the Wizard has not learned them already).

A Wizard who by virtue of his level or his intelligence is unable to cast spells of 9th level (or 8th, 7th, 6th, etc), may still begin researching his new Path and even propose new spells of a higher level than he can cast, but cannot complete the Spell or Path research until he is of sufficient power to cast spells of that level.

Many aborted attempts at Path research may be found throughout the game, from Wizards who developed a few lower-level spells but who died before completing their unique Path(s). These will usually include notes on spells intended to be included with the path, and Player Character Wizards who stumble upon such are free to learn these paths with the spells indicated, or even take over the previous Wizard’s research — adding additional spells of their own devising to the incomplete path.

Designing new spells:

While creating a Path can often be as simple as a Wizard re-organizing their notes to find new relationships between the spells they already know, researching a new spell is an expensive and time-consuming process.

The first step in researching a spell is defining exactly what the spell is intended to accomplish. The player begins by making a rough draft of the proposed spell, including its effects, school, range, duration, and area of effect. This is then presented to the DM for adjudication—the DM may adjust the level or parameters of a new spell for balance reasons, or veto a new spell entirely.

Once the spell has been approved by the DM (out of character), the Wizard may begin conducting his research (in character). Research requires the character be in good health. Further, he must refrain from adventuring while undertaking the study. During research the Wizard studies over old manuscripts, both magical and mundane, experiments with spell components, and corresponds with his colleagues.

The minimum amount of time needed to research a spell is two weeks per spell level (or one week per spell level if the Wizard has the Research non-weapon proficiency). This includes both initial preparation and organization, reading and cross-referencing of tomes, and active magical experimentation.

While engaged in research, the wizard must pay the required Operational Cost (see below) every week. If he runs out of funds, he must interrupt his research to earn more money before he can resume. If the Research is interrupted for more than 1 week (7 consecutive days), the wizard must start his research all over again.

At the end of this time, the Wizard must make a Research check using 1d100. His chance of success is equal to his Chance to Learn Spell from his Knowledge score, plus his Level, plus any modifiers for Specialization, plus 5% bonus if he has the Research proficiency, minus 2x the level of the spell being researched. If the check fails, the character must spend another two weeks in study before making another check. This continues until the character either succeeds or gives up.

Mishaps: Any roll of 95 to 100 on the Wizard’s Research check results in a lab mishap (even if the check would be successful). On mishap 2d10 x5% of the Wizard’s Lab and Library (see below) are destroyed. This is subtracted from the total value of these Capital Investments (the DM or Player may wish to designate specific volumes or equipment that were destroyed in the explosion, up to the indicated value). If the % check would indicate success, the Wizard has still succeeded in creating the new Spell in spite of the damage done to his facilities.

Costs of Spell Research:

There are two categories of expenses required for Research: the Capital Investment and the Operational Cost.

The Capital Investment is a one-time expenditure, representing the funds spent to assemble a suitable research library, as well as the funds necessary to assemble a suitable laboratory. Once a library and laboratory are assembled, these are then available for all spells the Wizard chooses to research, though they may need to be expanded over time to accommodate higher level spells (see below). Capital Investment for these basic libraries and facilities can sometimes be waved if the Wizard has access to an existing library and lab, such as that at an academic institution or one belonging to another Wizard.

The minimum Capital Investment to research new spells varies depending upon the level of spells the Wizard wishes to develop. The Library’s value must consist entirely of Books—whether those be Grimoires stolen from other Wizards from which he can glean alternative examples of spellcasting methods, or mundane books on any topic from which he can derive new knowledge and insights. The Laboratory value is likely consumed in Furniture, tools, measurement apparatus, and reusable glassware.

Spell Level Minimum Library Value Minimum Laboratory Value
1st 500 gp 1000 gp
2nd 1000 gp 2000 gp
3rd 2000 gp 3000 gp
4th 4000 gp 4000 gp
5th 8000 gp 5000 gp
6th 16000 gp 6000 gp
7th 32,000 gp 7000 gp
8th 64,000 gp 8000 gp
9th 128,000 gp 9000 gp

A book’s or spellbook’s value as Research material does not directly relate to re-sale value. Even a lowly Children’s Book, with minimal street value, might hold valuable magical insights to the inventive Wizard. In general, each mundane book collected and added to a Wizard’s library counts as 50gp of Capital value (unless a specific value is indicated by the DM). A Wizard’s Grimoire added to a library is worth 25gp per Common Path it contains to the value of a library (i.e. a 1st-level wizard’s book with 4 paths is worth 100gp), 100gp per Rare Path, 250gp per Unique Path, and 500gp for an Original Path not in circulation.

The Operational Cost is an ongoing expense necessary to sustain the research. The Operational Cost must be paid every week and mainly represents the price of additional reagents, single-use equipment, consultations, and new books. There is no way for a wizard to avoid paying the weekly Operational Cost.

The weekly Operational Cost is equal to 200gp per level of the spell being researched. Half these Operational Costs can be considered to be new tomes. Therefore, over the course of his research, the wizard’s Library will increase in value.


1 Other arcane spellcasters (Bards, Sha’irs, Spellsingers, Lone Wolves, etc.) simply lack the focus and dedicated to engage in spell research (even the most Scholarly Bard or Loremaster relies on absorbing the research of wizards who have gone before, rather than crafting new magics).

Priests may attempt to petition their god to grant new miracles and blessings, but in order to do so they must have access to sufficiently powerful magic to converse with their god directly (such as a Gate or Plane Shift). For priests, gaining new spells is a matter of face-to-face negotiation with their deity—no amount of mortal research or mundane prayer can cause a god to expand his portfolio in this way. If such a negotiation is attempted and succeeds, the new spell will be available to all followers of the priest’s deity.

Spell Research and New Paths

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