House-Rules and Setting Fluff About Certain Base Spell-Casting Classes

Everybody Is Spontaneous:

Obviously wizards are an underpowered class in 3.5.  (That's what we call sarcasm, son.)  No, really, I just never liked the Vancian system or the reliance upon spellbooks.  It gives me heartburn. Further, in a pbp system where it can take literally weeks (if not longer) to play out a single day, it just seems ridiculous to me to stick a player with a daily spell-list that was chosen eons ago in "real life" time.

So, in this world, all users of magic (wizards and clerics included) are spontaneous spell-casters: Anyone can cast whatever spells are available at an appropriate level, without having to prepare it or pray for it the night before. Spell-books are not required for wizards; however, to learn new spells, a wizard must either have written instructions, or be taught the spell by another wizard.  This becomes a role-playing aspect of the game -- find someone to teach you a new spell.

Players have the option, if they want, to play wizards and clerics (or other "prepare-ahead-of-time" spell-casters) in accordance with the Rules As Written.  However, NPC wizards, clerics, etc., will all be played as spontaneous spell-casters.  Yes, this means the change in the rules is a way for the GM to screw you over --  So don't bother expressing any suspicion about how that wizard you just fought managed to have the most advantageous spells available for casting.

Caveat with the change to Pathfinder:  Because Pathfinder spell-casters get unlimited use of their selected 0-level spells, anyone playing a Pathfinder class that would by RAW be required to select daily spells must select their 0-level spells on a daily basis -- otherwise I would end up with people with unlimited use of all 0-level spells every day, which is just a tad much.

The basic premise of magic-working is that the spell-caster draws upon the magical energies of the world around him, and uses his own will to weave those energies into a spell.  Summoned monsters are not brought from other "planes" -- other than something referred to as "between," seen most often during teleports, there are no separate planes.

The Politi Order of Wizards:

All mages/wizards in this world belong to a particular order, membership in which will have specific role-playing consequences.  We will have to determine what house you are affiliated with, who your mentor is and the like.  The identity, status and friendliness of your mentor will determine how many spells you can learn at each level.  If you are a less than full-Shal (i.e., elven) mage, then certain parts of society will look down on you.

The Politi Order historically was limited solely to those of Shal (a replacement for "elven," 'cause I don't have those little, frail, millenniums-old types in this world) blood. Over the past three centuries, however, those of mixed and even pure human blood have become members. To be trained as a wizard, an individual must be accepted to a particular house, and be apprenticed to the house. There are three ranks within the Order:

As an apprentice, a Politi trainee is restricted in travel, and receives his training within the household. The center of the training is a mosaic laid into the floor of the central chamber of the house. The mosaic is a magical focus within the house, with magical energies bound into it. Each member sworn to the household can draw upon the mosaic, and also invest it with his or her own energies. The mages of a house can gather on the mosaic and work together to cast spells of a higher level (or maximize the power of a spell) than any of them could do alone.

At 3rd level, a Politi mage is free to leave the chapterhouse and travel wherever he or she wishes to go, returning only for a trial to determine whether he or she is ready to be advanced into the ranks of Dominti/Dominta. If sworn to the chapterhouse at that point, the wizard may draw upon the mosaic even at a distance.

Politi generally wear grey somewhere in their outfit. Apprentices wear a single silver loop in their left ear; journeymen wear two loops; and Dominiti/Dominta wear three.

The Evandin

The Order also has as its members, Evandin – or Oathbound –who typically combine fighting prowess with lesser magical abilities. Evandin take an Oath to a house or to a particular mage. Once sworn, the Evandin is distinguished by a silver link necklace. Custom prohibits a Politi-trained wizard from attacking an Evandin with magic. There are practical reasons for this: Any wizard casting a spell upon an Evandin takes 1d6 per spell level of damage. Further, the Evandin has spell resistance or a saving throw against all spells cast by a wizard even if spell resistance does not normally apply or a save is not normally allowed.  Such spell resistance or saving throw does not apply to spells cast with his or her consent, or spells cast in an effort to aid the Evandin.

For PCs, the Evandin are a prestige class.  Prerequisites: Ability to case 1st level arcane spells; base attack bonus +6; to take the class, the player must role-play advancement into the class by forming an alliance/relationship with a mage or household.  In other words, your ability to take this as a prestige class depends upon your ability to role-play your character into this role -- this is not simply an issue of, "Hey, I meet the mechnical prerequisites, now I'm becoming an Evandin."


Sorcerers are arcane spell-casters trained outside the Politi order.  Other than a secret society, the Stregoni, that is currently (as of May 2012) being developed in the context of a particular PC's storyline (Iminye Shal Tamasi) (and which will in fact include non-sorcerers as members), I haven’t come up with any particular orders or guilds, and will entertain any ideas by the players.


Bards have their own guild, the Skaldings, with their own chapterhouses throughout the lands.  Membership in the guild is not required. Bards are hired as emissaries and messengers – and when acting as official representatives of their principals, they are considered to be inviolate. An attack upon a bard fulfilling such a role can lead to war.

The bards have a series of competitive festivals throughout the year, culminating in the final and most prestigious contest at a two-week long festival in Darilei after the autumn harvest.


As a divine spell-caster, you can propose which domains are favored by your deity. A cleric of Hamal has all domains available, though only two may be selected as the character’s favored domains at character creation.  Clerics have the option of being spontaneous spell-casters if you want -- and NPC clerics will be.

The standard D&D pantheon does not exist in this world.  If you want, you can always use one of those gods as a deity for your PC; just keep in mind that you should not assume that the deity is recognized by other PCs or NPCs, nor that any other members of the "canon" deities are recognized.

A number of people believe in the five avatars, from whom all the magical energies of the world flow:

Most societies follow an animist religion, in which local powers or spirits – manifestations of one or more avatars –are revered, shaped and strengthened by the beliefs of their followers. In turn, they grant power to their followers. Clerics of such local animist deities can increase the scope of their “god’s” influence by recruiting worshippers beyond the local village, city or country. Traditionally, however, none of these gods are considered to be “creator” spirits.

You are not required to pick a god, or an elemental avatar.  If religion is important to your character, feel free to roleplay that.  But it's not something I require as GM, nor something that is necessarily expected by NPCs to be important to the PCs.

The Temple of Hamal: In the past few decades a new church has formed in Torei, the Temple of Hamal. The Temple is a religion born from the slaves ... er, indentured servants of the Shal-elite in Sa'iph.  It is outlawed in Sa'iph, and practicing the religion can result in summary execution.  Its followers in Torei have come westward, seeking converts. It has a centralized bureaucracy in Torei, and is actively seeking to persuade people to join the church. Congregations have begun to form outside Torei, and its clerics have generally been well-received, performing charitable works and seeking to work with the local governments rather than against them.

The Temple has an number of Orders -- if you're interested in knowing the details, PM me.

Miscellaneous Stuff About Spell-Casters:

  1. What spells, in addition to the standard ones mages get per level/intelligence bonus, do you get?

    From the SRD:

    A wizard begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level wizard spells (except those from her prohibited school or schools, if any ...) plus three 1st-level spells of your choice. For each point of Intelligence bonus the wizard has, the spellbook holds one additional 1st-level spell of your choice. At each new wizard level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new wizard level) ... .

    Assuming you haven't pissed off your mentor, s/he will also have taught you:  4 additional 1st level and 2 additional second level spells.

  2. What are my options for a wizard, besides Vancian? There are spell-points; what else?

    If you're not inclined to simply use the "wizards are spontaneous spellcasters" option, you can use anything from the variant rules from Unearthed Arcana (the OGL part of which can be found here) or the spell slot/swap system from Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Evolved.

    I'm also open to other proposals, as long as you can supply me with a pointer to the system you would like to use.

  3. Is my familiar free?


  4. Divine Metamagic + Persistent Spell?

    House rule:  Your PC has to first be able to satisfy the requirements of the Persistent Spell feat (in other words, have access to the higher spell slot) before being able to spend turn attempts in order to buy off the cost of losing a spell slot to use Persistent Spell.

  5. What about using items to get additional turn attempts to burn?

    Magical items that grant additional turn attempts must be used to make actual turn attempts.  They can't be used to give you additional turn attempts to burn off the higher slot cost for feats.

  6. What spells are excluded in this setting?

    Check out the list at the bottom of the page over here.

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