Have any of you ever worked with alternate Wizard spellbooks?

Have any of you ever worked with alternate Wizard spellbooks?

Have any of you ever worked with alternate Wizard spellbooks? Maybe for a themed game, or for different “schools” of magic. Do they work? Is it something I should try?

I was thinking of ransacking some of the AD&D magic compendiums as well as some Pathfinder books for cool spells and allow the wizard to pick and choose spells. Advisable, or not?

9 thoughts on “Have any of you ever worked with alternate Wizard spellbooks?”

  1. I am very much a fan of the Mage alternate class available on Drive Thru RPG as an alternative to the Vancian Wizard.  Ditto the Priest alternate class.

  2. In Mondo Sotterraneo issue 3, there’s an alternate even level spellbook, by Luca Maiorani and me. It’s in Italian, I am afraid, but there is a possibility that I will translate it sooner or later 🙂

    They are mostly utility spells though, as it’s meant to be complementary to the ordinary odd levels spellbook. However, there is Disintegration… 😉

  3. In terms of complete playbooks, Mike Wice has been putting together some based on individual D&D schools of magic — evocation, abjuration, transmutation, etc. And there’s the aforementioned Mage (notable for its extreme , probably excessive flexibility). There are a couple follow-up playbooks based around specific flavors of the Mage as well (Ice Mage, Time Mage, etc.)

    In terms of just using the base Wizard and expanding the spell list, I haven’t seen that. I would definitely suggest removing one of the existing spells for each 1 or 2 you add to the list though. One of the more frustrating pieces of being a non-spellcaster in D&D is that the spell list grows constantly while everyone else’s options stay limited.

  4. Jasper Griffiana, I think you’re saying: keep the Wizard class-is, but ditch the current spellbook and write a completely new set of wizard spells.  Or a different set of wizard spells per style of wizard.  Yes?

    If so: I’ve never seen something like that.  And I think it sounds like an awesome project.  Lots of design space to work in.  I say DO IT!

    Biggest caution I’d have is: make sure that you’re actually emphasizing differences in the available spells, not just differences in flavor.  Like, avoid giving each book a damaging spell at first level, and an area damage spell at 3rd level.  Make the differences more profound.  Like maybe the pyromancer book gets a couple combat spells at 1st level, or even one as a cantrip.  And trickster book doesn’t have any direct damage spells, but a variety of very useful illusions. 

  5. Hmmm…. shouldn’t be too hard to make up some nice Compendium Classes for the wizard which unlocks additional spells, assuming they have experienced X which made them more fundamentally aware of the way Y element / school works.

  6. I was thinking a small CC that adds more spells, maybe a couple more moves to enhance them. I’ve seen the books that +Mike Wice has been putting together, and they’re a bit overkill for my tastes. Maybe I’ll have a try at this.

  7. I started going through the SRD and some spell lists from games I picked up via Bundle Of Holding, and to the Sage Kobald team’s credit most spells I’m seeing that are DW appropriate are covered in the base Wizard / Cleric list.

  8. Here’s some new spells, and a few moves for an Archmage CC. I haven’t put any levels on them yet.


    School Mastery

    Choose one of the following schools of magic as a personal specialty: Summoning, Enchantment, Illusion, Divination, or Evocation. You may add the following spells of that chosen school to the list of spells you may add to your spellbook when you level up. 

    School Prodigy

    You prepare spells of your speciality school as it they were one level lower.

    School Perfection

    When you cast a spell of your specialty school you cannot get a 6-, treat that as a 7-9.


    Simple Creation

    You create one use of dungeon rations, adventuring gear, or ammo. The created items will only last a few minutes.

    Phantom Steed

    You summon a phantom horse of pure force for you to ride. (Large, Control +2, Fearless, 1 Passenger). The spell ends when you dismount.


    Cast this spell when you Make Camp; a small cottage with simple furnishings appears before you, lasting until you break camp. The cottage is magically insulated against the elements and warded against intruders. While you are camping in the cottage any Take Watch moves automatically succeed as if you rolled a 10+.

    Conjured Weapon

    You summon into existence a weapon of pure magical force; either a sword (close, +2 damage) or a bow and arrows (near, +1 damage, 3-ammo). You make attacks with the conjured weapon with INT instead of STR or DEX. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.


    Curse of Tongues

    A person of your choice that you can see becomes unable to speak intelligibly. While this spell is ongoing you can’t cast a spell.


    The person you touch while casting this spell forgets the events of the last several hours.

    Magical Cloak

    A piece of clothing that you touch while you cast this spell becomes as strong as steel until you dismiss this spell, granting 2 armor when worn. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.

    Enchant Weapon 

    The weapon you hold while casting this spell does +1d4 damage until you dismiss this spell. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.



    You create a simple, nonmoving illusion that affects one sense: sight, sound, or smell. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.

    Masterful Glamour

    You create a complex illusion that affects all senses. The illusion can move if you are around to direct it, or you may program it to move under certain conditions. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.

    Shadow Gate

    You and one person holding your hand step into a nearby shadow, and emerge an instant later from any other shadow that you can see.


    You fall into a trance when you cast this spell, and emerge in the dreams of a person of your choice, where you can communicate freely with your target.


    Comprehend Languages

    You can speak, read, and write any language until you dismiss this spell. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.


    You and your allies work together with remarkable efficiency while this spell is in effect. Any Aid given while this spell is in effect grants +2 instead of +1. While this spell is ongoing you take -1 to cast a spell.


    Name an object when you cast this spell. You learn its exact location relative to you. This spell lasts until the object comes into your possession or until you dismiss it. You may only have one Trace active at a time.

    Arcane Eye

    You create an invisible magical sensor that sends you visual information as long as you concentrate. It moves as fast as you can walk. You may Discern Realities through the Arcane Eye as if you were really there. While this spell is ongoing you can’t cast a spell.


    Gust of Wind

    A powerful burst of wind erupts from your hands, extinguishing unprotected flames, deflecting projectiles, and knocking over small objects.


    You create a powerful resonance that damages inanimate objects. Stone cracks, wood splinters, and glass shatters. Metals are not affected.

    Wall of Force

    You conjure an invisible vertical wall of pure magical energy. The wall blocks spells and energy. It has 20 HP and 5 armor. While this spell is ongoing you can’t cast a spell.


    A powerful whirlwind gathers you and your allies up, whisking you away to a destination of your choice.

  9. Jeremy Strandberg Precisely that. It seemed to me when I was looking at the Wizard Sheet that the spells and sheet are actually quite separable. The actual sheet gives no indication that the spell list given – dare I say “suggested” – is the only one you could use.

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