I’ve a personal bias against any class acquiring wizard spells simply by multiclassing into it.

I’ve a personal bias against any class acquiring wizard spells simply by multiclassing into it.

I’ve a personal bias against any class acquiring wizard spells simply by multiclassing into it. To my mind Wizardry is a learned skill acquired after years of study, apprenticeship and practice. Barbarian Joe simply acquiring “Cast a Spell” on level up, doesn’t pass the sniff test. 

To correct this I present the Madwand (with a strong tip of the hat to Roger Zelazny):

“You have no organized or formal training but somehow have learned to use magic. Maybe you were the apprentice of some hedge wizard, maybe you are a natural talent who can see magic and pull its strings, or maybe you discovered your abilities in some ancient tomb. Whatever the origin, you can wield magic.”

Cast a Madwand Spell (replaces “Cast a Spell” on the Wizard playbook)

When you Cast a Madwand Spell, roll +INT.  On a natural 12 the casting is a major success resulting in maximum or bonus effect (GMplayer decide). On 10+ the spell is a success. On 7-9, the spell is cast, you lose the spell, and choose one: 

• You draw unwelcome attention to yourself. The GM will tell you how.

• You suffer the effects of lingering backlash:  take -1 ongoing to cast a spell until the next time you Prepare Spells.

• Take 1 Wound due to extra strain or harm caused by your own magic.

On a natural 2 you suffer an intense Arcane backlash causing you to botch the spell (lose the spell) and the GM chooses two.

The move below is also on the Madwand “Starting Moves” list

Person or Place of Power

A PersonPlace of Power plays a large role in your magic and theyit remain important to you. Once per year (at least) you feel compelled to visit to reconnect with your Source and perhaps gain further magical insight. You care about the well-being of your PersonPlace of Power and will aid if the need arises.

20 thoughts on “I’ve a personal bias against any class acquiring wizard spells simply by multiclassing into it.”

  1. Tim Franzke wound=damage (I suppose)

    Gordon Spencer I like the Person/Place of Power very much ! I use it very often with my players (the old thieve’s guild master, the grumpy archmage, the ancient battlefield where the fighter lost a cherished friend…).

  2. Just like everything else, advancements have to follow the fiction. If it doesn’t make fictional sense for the Barbarian to suddenly be able to cast spells, then the Barbarian should pick a different advancement.

  3. The correlary to that is that, if the Barbarian knows he wants to be able to cast spells, he and the GM should work together to lay the fictional groundwork for that advancement, so that it makes sense when he grabs the Wizard move.

  4. Brian Engard …and then after just acquiring spells at 9th level, Joe Barbarian can cast at 8th level of ability? Like I said, personal bias. “Cast a Madwand Spell”  is just a little fudge that allows me to sleep at night. 🙂

  5. Wouldn’t that Barbarian be casting as a 1st level caster?  I don’t think it is “level -1”, you just start counting levels from when you gained the ability (p. 31).

  6. Gordon Spencer If being able to suddenly cast 8th level spells doesn’t make sense in the fiction, then no, it doesn’t happen. The Barbarian picks something else. He only gets to suddenly cast those 8th level spells if the spirit of a long-dead archmage possesses him, or if he drinks deep of a dragon’s soul, or does something else to justify suddenly having that much magical clout after having none at all.

  7. Also bear in mind that, while your Madwand move does put some additional limits on spellcasting, it doesn’t do anything to keep him from suddenly having access to 8th level spells.

  8. Jon Sprague The multiclass moves allow you to take another class’s move and treat your level as 1 level lower. Also, something to keep in mind is that the Barbarian doesn’t actually have access to the multiclass moves. He’s got lesser versions that let him take Fighter, Bard, or Thief moves, but he has no way to get spellcasting. I think that, in general, the classes that do have the ability to get spellcasting moves are the ones that make sense to get access to them.

  9. Brian Engard I need to respectfully disagree… you can take a move of another class that is your level or lower, but it states: “If a move from another class refers to your level, count your levels from the level where you first gained a move from that class.” (p. 31)

    The example in the text shows a character picking up casting at 2nd level… that’s why it is casting at level – 1.  Perhaps this is where the confusion is coming from.

    Agreed, though… I hadn’t looked at the barbarian specifically for multiclassing.  Not the best example to be talking about.

  10. And htat is why you pick up Spellcasting early if it is important for your character. In this way you had time to “explain” your connection to magic in your first level and then you get the chance to cast when you level up.

  11. Having read it, yeah, it seems like that whole “gain access to 8th level spells suddenly” thing is impossible per the rules. If a Barbarian were to somehow pick up Wizard casting at level 10, he’d cast as a 1st-level Wizard.

  12. Yep. I missed that rule as well. It’s only in that one place in the book. Judging from the description in the playbooks, it looks level -1 is the correct interpretation – but I am glad to be enlightened.

  13. Brian Engard nothing is impossible by the rules. You could, as someone said, be possesed by a Dragon Soul and suddenly gain access to the spells. 

  14. I think its fictionally possible to acquire “Cast a Spell” without planning for it (even though I cotton to the idea). Maybe Joe Barbarian swallows the soul of an Arch-lich or is kissed by a dryad and acquires the ability – he didn’t plan on it, and maybe didn’t even want it (although the player does) – but now he’s flinging magic missle as well as a big ass sword. 🙂

  15. I’d actually be really interested to play in a run of DW where there was no XP system or levelling, instead just gaining new moves and such through love letters or in-fiction accomplishments and such. “I wanna learn to cast spells, yo!” says Bob the Barbarian. “Well,” says Dan the DM, telling the requirements and asking, “you’ll have to apprentice under a wizard for quite some time. Alternately, you could go the ‘easy’ route and drink a dragon’s heartblood, or make a pact with a demon for magical powers. What do you want to do?” Or whatever.

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