Sunday, March 1, 2020
Read That Magic
I'm a level 1 Magic-User. I get 1 spell per day and I only have 1 spell in my spellbook (if we're rocking B/X). If the DM allows me to pick my spell, I'm going to be super inclined to choose Magic Missile. Because I wanna kill a goblin and maybe defend myself. I signed up to be a WIZARD didn't I? But I understand how this game works and I know for a fact my DM is going to run it RAW. I really badly need Read Magic. So I go with that.
I don't have any scrolls. We're in the dungeon. We're ambushed by goblins. What do I do? Cast Read Magic on his ass?
Aaaaaand cue the groggy response: "I hate it when people play Magic-Users and think they can't do anything when they're out of spells. You can always throw a dart."
Except... the thing is... it's Friday night, someone was running some good old D&D, and I thought it would be fun to be a god damned wizard. I mean yeah, sure, I can get creative and use my chalk and beans and flour and darts. But I'm a WIZARD. And having Read Magic as my only spell is pretty fuckin' lame.
Lots of people house rule this one. They either wave the entire Read Magic requirement or they give first level Magic-Users more spells. Kinda like how Thief skills get house ruled... because the original rule blows chunks.
Look, just because you have wood for OD&D and you want a pure, honest, true game, don't do that shit to your poor players. Unless all of them look at you and say "We wanna play rules-as-written!". Give that first level MU some spells. Make reading magic scrolls a thing people can just DO. Or just wizards, if that's how you wanna game it.
If you absolutely must run RAW (nobody does, there's always a house rule of two), then start your PCs at level 3 and make god damn sure the MU has a fuckin' Read Magic spell. Seriously.