No bonus spells per day from higher casting stat?

I noticed that Mages get bonus repertoire slots, but not bonus spells per day, from their casting stats.

Is this intentional? Is an 18 INT Mage only supposed to only have 1 spell per day at first level?

That’s how it works in B/X D&D, so yeah it was intentional. I personally have a house rule that give a bonus # of 1st level spells to mages equal to their Int bonus to give them a bit more omph at early levels.

I’ve found first level spells like sleep to be completely vital at low levels. Sleep and darkness have turned potential near-TPKs into triumphant victories with no friendly casualties. It is annoying that level one mages tend to be one-shot nova-blasts with glass jaws, but I wouldn’t want to go delving without one.

Yeah that is how it worked in all D&D, until 3E. And in those D7Ds you didn’t have a repertoire, so you had one spell and it was chosen (from those in your spellbook) at the start of the day. And if your DM rolled for your spells (and you only got one in your spellbook), well you could end up just being able to cast Tenser’s Floating Disk once per day as your moment of glory :wink:
I personally, in my house rules for Swords & Wizardry (a simple 0E D&D clone), give both Clerics and Wizards a bonus 1st level spell if they have a 13+ Prime Req. This is not over powered, gives the PCs a healing spell at 1st level and has little effect at later levels when the casters become extra strong.

I just started running ACKS for my regular face-to-face group and also a little side game for my two kids. Really enjoying the game and feel that the system runs smoothly!

I opted to give spell casters bonus spells per day based on their casting stat. A 13-15 nets them an extra 1st level spell per day, 16-17 nets them an extra 2nd level spell and 18 nets them an extra 3rd. I don’t think that is too over-powered but provides them with a little extra oomph. And these bonus spells apply to the NPCs as well as the PCs. I’ve wondered if I shouldn’t have just made it one bonus 1st level spell for a casting stat over 13 and left it at that and I hope offering bonus 2nd and 3rd level spells for higher casting stats won’t unbalance the game. I figure if the PCs and NPCs all have the same benefit, the only thing this does is make casters a bit more powerful than they are by RAW.

Just wondering… do you allow them both extra spells known and extra casting slots?

Just extra casting slots, not extra spells known.

This exactly what I do in my campaign. It hasn’t been over powered. However I’m not entirely happy with how some of my players view high casting stats as mandatory now for playing a caster. That’s really the main downside.

This is kind of a known problem, or difference if you prefer, with newer editions of the game: character class abilities are driven from attributes, meaning there are large differences in effectiveness between one character and the next based on stats alone. As you say it naturally leads to the thinking that a character that doesn’t have the best possible score in a prime requisite “sucks.”

I think I’ll use bonus spells for my campaign as well. These are an AD&D 2E feature, IIRC, and also a good way to usher 3.xE players into the old school without too harsh a landing. My proposed house-rules:

Casting stat 13-15: +1 1st level spell.
Casting stat 16-17: +1 1st level spell, +1 2nd level spell.
Casting stat 18: +1 1st level spell, +1 2nd level spell, +1 3rd level spell.

casting stat is Int for Mages and the likes, Wis for Clerics and the like or Charisma for Bards and the like.

This also means that a 1st-level Cleric with high Wisdom may cast spells - one spell per day.

What do you think?

It’s intentional that mages only get 1 spell at 1st level per day, regardless of INT.

If you give bonus spells, you are more-or-less doubling the combat power of the mage. This is a non-trivial adjustment to balance. It will make low-level ACKS much easier on the party. If you’re ok with that and you want to race more quickly to the mid- and high-levels, it’s a great choice. On the other hand, if you enjoy the “character-building” experience of low level, with all its trials and tribulations, it’s the wrong choice.

One side effect of giving out more stat-based bonuses, especially substantial ones like this, is that they tend to make players very dissatisfied with the 3d6 generation method, or indeed any method that produces a wide spread in starting abilities. This escalates into an inflation of expectations, where everyone wants a “minimum” stat value in order for a character to be worth playing.

That’s not a bad thing always, especially if you use a point-buy system to help equalize everyone’s abilities, but it definitely has an undesirable effect if you have one player with a lucky mage that has three spells at first level, and another that has only one spell.

Playing a weak character doesn’t bother me, and is most fun when all the players are similarly disadvantaged and have to work together to survive. But playing a weakER character than someone else is much more frustrating!

My problem is not with the one mage spell at level 1 but at no spells at al for the cleric at level 1.

I’ve thus far insisted on playing the rules as close to “as intended” as possible, since we don’t get to play that often. My players with casters have certainly grumbled over the paltry selection of spells during the first 3 levels.

My humble responses have been:

  1. choose proficiencies that can continue to make you meaningfully contribute throughout the session
  2. don’t go alone… there is a significant emphasis on hirelings and henchmen for many reasons… this being one of them

I also don’t want to change the overall assumptions in the game by giving low level PCs… and by extension low level NPCs access to more magic. The enemy can hire a bunch of low level casters too!

It’s possible to use the Player’s Companion design an alternate cleric who gives up plate mail in exchange for better early casting ability. I think you can just swap plate for chain and then use the Witch spell progression, and it should balance out fine. (Someone will correct me if I’m wrong!)

Dead-on. At low levels, wizards make better healers than clerics because they can stack up multiple Healing proficiencies due to high Int. Plenty of good support proficiencies on the class list too; Sensing Power, Magical Engineering, and Alchemy are all great for finding and identifying treasure, and Mystical Aura + Diplomacy or Intimidate makes a very useful face-wizard.

And stacking up a “team wizard” group as a mage PC with mage henchmen generates all kinds of fun spellbook-sharing synergy, as well as extra spell slots.