Learning Opportunities for Spells and Powers
( ⇪ House Rules )
|GM’s Note: This is in the “GM-only” section of Maginomicon’s House Rules. That means that this is an optional behavior that we highly-recommended GM’s follow. I include it because it’s particularly useful in this setting.|
Wizards, Archivists, Erudites, Factotums, Sha’irs, and similar classes have an aspect of learning their spells and powers over time through scrolls or something similar. Generally, during a campaign try to only allow each of these characters access to learn one new appropriate spell or power of each spell and power level they have access to in the interim before their next character level (provide opportunities yourself as needed).
For example, at level 1, a typical Wizard has in their spellbook all wizard cantrips and the spells they gained for the level outright (three 1st-level spells plus bonus spells for a high Intelligence score which could be enhanced by the Spellcasting Prodigy feat). Unless that wizard took the Precocious Apprentice feat or has a similar effect, they only have access to 1st-level spells, and so some time before his next character level, try to give him free access to a scroll or spellbook containing a new 1st-level spell (that he then could add to his spell book). If such a spellcaster has the Precocious Apprentice feat, feel free to give him access to a 2nd-level spell as well. However, even if he is able to add the 2nd-level spell to his repertoire (through a spellbook), he can’t actually cast it until he gains the ability to cast 2nd-level spells normally as described in the Precocious Apprentice feat.
If such a character is starting the game at higher than their first character level, instead allow them to add appropriate spells or powers of each level they would normally have have had access to during their career before they joined the campaign.
To take the most generally-complicated possible example of this, a character starting with four levels in erudite should have accumulated new powers in the time between their 1st and 2nd erudite level, between their 2nd and 3rd erudite level, and between their 3rd and 4th erudite level as appropriate to the erudite class description (obviously, each appropriate discipline power should be treated as a learning opportunity one power level higher than normal since an erudite’s maximum discipline power level is one level lower than other powers they may learn). If these erudite levels were not consecutive and/or their latest character levels, they still had access to those power levels in the intervening character levels, so each of those character levels should still give them access to new learning opportunities (unless they trigger the erudite class’s other-psionic-class exception).
However, this does not mean you should limit them to only these options. If such a character wishes to actively expand their learning opportunities beyond what you hand them, let them do so, but only within the methods of plot development such as through libraries. However, try to rein-in those opportunities to the number described above.
Independent research should follow the same idea. In general, the more complicated the spell (either in level or in how much it differs from an existing effect), the more libraries and other research sources the character must access to complete their research. Of course, a character could research multiple items at once. For these circumstances, increase the amount of time spent at each resource location accordingly. Use “A Research Effort” (Cityscape page 10~11 sidebar), Arcane Guilds (Cityscape page 87), Scholastic Guilds (Cityscape page 92), and Dominant Churches (Cityscape page 107 assuming you have a divine character of that faith in the party) as inspiration for research sidequests.
Players can augment this out-of-game by providing the GM with a prioritized “wishlist” of spells/powers they want to gain access to through scrolls, wands, power stones, etc. This gives you as-GM time to look into each request and decide on your own whether they’ll be able to find it in-game. While you should feel free to openly deny an option, never openly promise an item on the wishlist, as learning opportunities should be a surprise.