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Old 12-21-2021, 12:14 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

Hi everyone,

A bit of a loaded question, I know. :) So when you're a Wizard and you've got XP to spend on a new spell, I was wondering about the financial cost of actually finding and learning one.

- ITL p144 indicates that to learn a new spell, you have "access to books and can teach himself". It's not clear if there's a rules requirement to teach yourself a new spell from a book, or whether you just spend the XP and learn the spell from a book with no further cost.
- You pay 1% of your income as dues to the Wizards' Guild. There's a possible range of membership benefits, which *could* include being taught new spells by guild wizards, or simply getting free (ie you don't have to pay) access to the guild chapter's library of spell books, assuming such a thing is available.
- ITL p144 also says the GM may require Wizards to find a teacher for a new spell. You may well have to pay the teacher in some way - money, quests, objects, etc.
- ITL p144 also says it's assumed the Wizard has been practicing the new spells "as he goes along". How has he been doing this, if not under the tutelage of a teacher Wizard? Has he been popping round the local guild chapter and consulting the spell books?
- Maybe you could pay to have a spell book made for the spells you want to learn? ITLp141 gives a price for a spell book of $20 per page, with a spell requiring a number of pages equal to its IQ requirement. So an IQ 10 spell written in a book has a base cost of $200, plus a possible additional $1 to $10 per page depending on your reaction roll with the person owning the book you're copying. That would be a minimum cost, presumably.

Unless I'm reading the RAW incorrectly, the intention is that learning spells is a case-by-case thing, with as much or as little complexity / detail as you want. There isn't a blanket rule that simply says that if you're a Wizards' Guild member, you can learn spells for no monetary cost, or for a set monetary cost, just by going to the guild house and learning the spell while paying the XP cost. And it's not clear exactly *which* spells would be available at a given chapter house - some would have larger libraries than others.

My game play preference is to have a compelling reason for Wizards to be spending time seeking out spell books (on adventures, for example), deciphering texts, researching how to learn existing spells (ie not just inventing new ones), etc. That would presuppose a fairly hefty financial and social cost to learning spells from teachers and even Guilds. My gut feeling is that to learn a spell from the Guild, you'd have to be a member in "good standing". Maybe you could then get access to the library for free, with an additional cost if you needed a teacher (ie if the library didn't have the spell in its books).

Any thoughts? Am I missing something in the rules-as-written about the financial (etc) cost of learning spells? What are you all doing in your own games?


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Old 12-21-2021, 03:05 AM   #2
hcobb's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

There are many different ways across Cidri for wizards to learn spells and it is up to each GM to state how this is done for their campaign area. Wizards can either use the Researching New Spells (ITL 144) technique to duplicate new spells or they can find a book or teacher that knows the spell.
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Old 12-21-2021, 08:08 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New England
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

My preference is for the Wizards’ Guild to be a secret society (or sets of secret societies), as opposed to an easily accessible professional organization like a Plumbers Union. This makes it difficult for PCs to just wander into a town and get items analyzed, Cleansing/Resurrection spells cast, and rent access to a library so as to learn Summon 7-hex Dragon or whatever. Instead, I prefer to have wizards need access to rare texts to learn spells, requiring them to either go find the books and keep them safe from prying eyes and filching fingers, or develop a relationship with someone who has some occult tomes as outlined over on my sporadic blog. This give me much more control as GM over what spells the PCs can actually learn, as opposed to having a player tell me, “I have 500 XP, so I’m learning Astral Projection.”
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Anthony Shostak
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Old 12-21-2021, 09:15 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Boston area
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

I guess I'm lazier than Shostak and Shaira so far. I've allowed the learning of spells and talents fairly easily.
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Old 12-21-2021, 12:14 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

It can range from free to difficult/expensive/rare, as the GM wishes, possibly depending on where you are in the game world and what spell you want to learn.

Some GMs don't want to bother with it, and only require XP, which is what Legacy RAW mostly suggests. Other GMs do, and can design their campaign settings as they like.

I think the RAW assumption is the Wizards' Guild is interested in making learning spells easily available to its members. RAW it also likes to insist every wizard be a dues-paying member of the guild, and be beholden in various ways to guild authority.

There were more detailed rules for the usual spell-learning situation in original TFT, with specific amounts of time, money, and periods when the wizard could only cast the spell at a penalty, depending on whether they learned the spell as an apprentice, or in a class, or from a book, etc. I rather like those, but also tend to customize them when not at a standard by-the-book Wizards' Guild chapter with a complete library and/or ample teachers available. I think it's more interesting even when there is such a guild chapter to play out looking for a book or teacher by talking to actual NPCs who then have the potential to be contact, gossips, adventure hooks, and/or rivals.
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Old 12-21-2021, 12:28 PM   #6
Axly Suregrip
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Durham, NC
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

I keep it simple.

As long as the wizard has access to a book or library, which they could have been visiting on occasion (say whenever in town), I let them state that they have been studying spell x (retroactively) when they go to cash in their 500 XP.

Or if there is another wizard on the adventure that knows the spell, then they are assumed to be teaching/learning during down time.
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Old 12-21-2021, 07:06 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: North Texas
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

I like simple, but I like reasonable cause-and-effect too. Spells represent power and power comes at a cost. XP is part of that, of course, but I think RAW (page 141 in particular) strongly implies that spells must be purchased or acquired through other means. Spells are complex and require specific formulae and time to learn.

I'm biased, however. I prefer (and still use) the old 'study' rules for spells as well as talents.
“No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style.” -Vladimir Taltos
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Old 12-22-2021, 12:31 PM   #8
hcobb's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

Perhaps you might apply:

  • Find the wizard who knows the spell (ITL 64)
  • Hire the wizard (ITL 60)
  • Pay them for the 3 months it takes to learn the spell (Extrapolating from the Thieves’ Guild training times.)
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Old 12-22-2021, 11:14 PM   #9
Steve Plambeck
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

Why couldn't a player:

(1) create a new wizard PC with a high IQ, who knows the spells your other PC wizards are hoping to eventually learn

(2) give that new wizard a strong passion for teaching and passing on her knowledge

(3) keep that new wizard out of the main action as much as possible

(4) you probably see where I'm going with this
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right."
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:07 AM   #10
Axly Suregrip
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Durham, NC
Default Re: Do Wizards Pay Money To Learn New Spells?

The bottom line for me is, can you make this (costs in $ and/or time for acquiring spells) a hook to adventures? If not, then it is unnecessary bookkeeping that takes your players away from the adventure.

Some of these GMs are very good at creating immersive cultures and this is a part of that. If it turns out to just be an obstacle to the adventure, then players will try to circumvent it or convenient forget it.
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learning new spells, wizards, wizards guild

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