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D&D 3.5 Magic help

D&D 3.5 Magic help

Hi guys, I've been confused by the magic system as it says in the title. My main point of confusion is the spells known and spells per day thing. Can you know more spells than you can cast per day? I understand the preparation part. How do you know how many times you get to cast a spell?


Which class are you talking about, specifically? Because each class works a little differently.

Your "spells known" are the different spells you know how to cast. If you know four first level spells. That means you get to go through the list of possible spells. And pick for you like.

Spells per day is the number you may cast. If you may cast 6 spells per day, that means you can cast you known spells a total of six times.

If you're doing a spontaneous caster (bard, sorcerer, favored soul)... you get to chose when to cast any of those spells. And once you cast a total number of spells to match your max, you're out of the ability to cast spells of that level.

Prepared casters have to chose where to put the bits and pieces of those six spells. If you're a wizard with four known spells (let's say you picked... magic missile, grease, mage armor, and invisible servant). And you have six per day.

You could then select a spread. Of any combo adding to a total of six. Two mage armors, two grease, a missile, and a servant. Is an example. Or you can do six missiles. Or whatever. However you want to distribute. But if you burn up the chosen spells, and find no use for the other chosen spells, you can wind up wasting your spell selections if you're not careful.

So that's an incentive to spontaneous cast.

On the other hand, prepared casters have much wider spell selections of awesome destructive power.

Also your 'spells known' are the base listed

'Spells per day' can be added to with a high magic stat. Int for Wizards, Cha for Sorcerers, Wis for Rangers. This will be in your bonus spells table up in the front of the PHB.

You can also follow the rules for learning new spells and add more spells to your 'spells known', but you have to burn time, gold, XP (i think) and all that. This can only be done if the DM says so....and now I think I might have made this confusion worse so I'll take my leave.

The chart for abilities and spellcasters can also be found here. It shows the bonus for every spell level except zero (as one doesn't receive bonus zero level spells).

Whether or not spells can be learned depends on the class. For some classes (bards, sorcerers), they have a fixed number of spells they know. The only way they can learn more spells is by taking a feat. There are some objects that can let them act as though they knew more spells, but nothing that actually grants them more spells known. Some classes (druids, clerics, rangers) know every spell on their list. Most often these classes prepare spells, and choose from anything on their class spell list. Finally, wizards (and archivists) can learn any new spell they like, provided they can find a scroll or another spellbook to copy it out of. This costs time and money (but not experience).

So, let's go with a few examples. Rainbow Unicorn the druid is level three. Her base spells per day are 4 zero level spells, 2 first level spells, and 1 second level spell. She has a wisdom score of sixteen. This gives her one bonus spell at both first and second level. She would also receive a bonus third level spell, but she can't cast those yet. So, a total of three first level spells and two second level spells. She can prepare any spell on the druid spell list. So, at level zero, she prepares detect poison, know direction, and resistance twice. At level one, she prepares goodberry, jump, and speak with animals. At level two, she prepares hold animal and owl's wisdom.

Vornax the sorcerer is level four. He has a charisma score of 18. His base spells per day is 6 0th, 6 1st, and 4 2nd level spells. With his charisma score, this gives him a bonus 1st and a bonus 2nd level spell (he'd also receive bonus third and fourth level spells, but again, he can't cast those yet). So, his spread is 6, 7, 5. Unlike Rainbow, he doesn't have to pick which spells he's going to use in those slots ahead of time. However, he only knows a small number of spells. 6 0th level spells, 3 1st level spells, and 1 second level spell. His 0th level spells are read magic, detect magic, resistance, ray of frost, ghost sound, and prestidigitation. For his first level spells, we'll say he knows magic missile, charm person, and sleep. His second level spell is scorching ray. He can cast any of these so long as he has the spell slots to do so. He can even use second level spell slots to cast first level spells (though he gains no benefit from doing so without metamagic feats).

Now, Omgwin Lolhax the wizard is level five, and has an intelligence score of 20 (he has a +2 circlet of intellect). His base spells per day are 4 0th, 3 1st, 2 2nd, and 1 3rd. Going by the chart, his spread becomes 4 0th, 5 1st, 3 2nd and 2 3rd. Now, as I said before, wizards can learn any spell on their list if they spend the time and money. His base spells known are 3+int spells at first level, and then two more at each subsequent level. Plus all cantrips. So, excluding cantrips, he knows 14 spells. For convenience sake, we'll say he learned the highest spell he could at each level, making it 8 1st level spells, 4 2nd level spells, and 2 3rd level spells. He's also bought scrolls to copy from (and paid to copy from other wizards' spellbooks as well). So we'll say he actually has 12 1st level spells, 6 2nd level spells, and 3 3rd level spells. He prepares his spells from those in his book. We won't get into just what he has in his spellbook, but we'll say he has as his prepared spells as follows: 0th are detect magic, read magic twice, and daze, 1st are grease, mage armor twice, true strike, and color spray. 2nd are glitterdust, web, and alter self. Third are haste and ray of exhaustion. This is a lot oless convenient than the sorcerer's spontaneous spells, but the wizard can completely change out his spells prepared the next day and have a completely different strategy ready.

Hopefully that makes everything clear.

Thanks! Now I can actually play magic class correctly.

Solo speaks truth, for to play a magic user correctly, your entire party should be as useless pawns beneath you.

It's why Treantmonk called the wizard's in-combat role in his
He may've done one for DnD 3.5 as well, I can't remember
Pathfinder guide to the class the "controller of reality". Aka; God.


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