Saturday 13 December 2014

D&D 5: Beginner PC Spellbooks

[I've made and updated version of these spellbooks, now with names!]

As mentioned in my last post, I found D&D 5 character creation to be a bit of a grind, especially with inexperienced players. Another point, which I didn't explicitly mention in the other post, was that spell selection for wizards adds a whole extra level of choices to make. Depending on the edition, this is also true of older versions of the game, so it's not a complaint specifically directed at D&D 5.

Spell selection (three cantrips and six 1st level spells, in D&D 5) is akin to the traditional method of equipping a new character: browsing big lists and trying to come up with a cohesive selection. D&D 5 has elegantly removed the list-shopping aspect of equipment selection, so I thought it could do with something similar for spell selection.

How about this: a set of pre-defined spell books with specific themes (conveniently tied to the schools of magic which the player will choose between at 2nd level).

Cantrips: Blade Ward, Light, Shocking Grasp
1st Level: Alarm, Grease, Mage Armor, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield, Sleep

Cantrips: Acid Splash, Mage Hand, Poison Spray
1st Level: Burning Hands, Find Familiar, Fog Cloud, Grease, Tenser's Floating Disk, Unseen Servant

Cantrips: Light, Prestidigitation, True Strike
1st Level: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Identify, Magic Missile, Unseen Servant

Cantrips: Dancing Lights, Friends, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Charm Person, Chromatic Orb, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Sleep, Tasha's Hideous Laughter

Cantrips: Fire Bolt, Light, Shocking Grasp
1st Level: Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Thunderwave, Witch Bolt

Cantrips: Dancing Lights, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Charm Person, Color Spray, Disguise Self, Illusory Script, Silent Image, Thunderwave

Cantrips: Chill Touch, Mage Hand, Ray of Frost
1st Level: False Life, Fog Cloud, Protection from Evil and Good, Ray of Sickness, Sleep, Unseen Servant

Cantrips: Mending, Message, Prestidigitation
1st Level: Burning Hands, Disguise Self, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Jump, Longstrider

Other themed spell books could easily be created, along lines such as: frost, dimensions, energy, life, etc. Finally, here's the "standard" (quick build) mage spell book:

Cantrips: Mage Hand, Light, Ray of Frost
1st Level: Burning Hands, Charm Person, Feather Fall, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, Sleep


  1. This looks like a splendid idea. I think if(when) I use it, I will allow some "elective" selection. Perhaps one cantrip and two 1st-level spells to be determined by the player.

    Also, allow me to say, I love the picture with your blog header. It has long been a favored piece for me. Bravo, sir.

    1. Right, you could let players choose a pre-packaged spell book then "customize" it by swapping spells out, if they have the time and will.

      Yes, I love that picture too :)

  2. Excellent Excellent Excellent! I'm running a character building workshop at my FLGS in a couple of weeks and I was thinking of doing this. Thank you for beating me to the punch. Also, WIzardzine is the bee's knees!

    1. Thanks! Hope the spell books come in handy and glad you've enjoyed Wizardzine!

  3. Even having spell packs would require the player to know the choices presented in each kit to make a proper choice. This means reading each spell individually still to gauge eack kit. A good idea as a base though but the system would have to be based around it.



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