Dan’s Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook

The Rules of Magic

         Some of the most powerful weapons player characters have at their disposal in the AD&D game are magical spells. Through spells a player character can control earthquakes, cal1 lightning out of the sky, heal grievous injuries, hurl explosive balls of fire, create barriers of stone, fire, and ice, and learn secrets long forgotten. These are only a few of the things player characters can do once they master the strange lore of spells.


Types of Magic

         Magic comes in three varieties: Spells of the Natural World, Spells of the Divine and Spells of the Arcane.


         Natural Spells: Rangers and Druids have access to natural spells. Natural spells are manifestations of the power of life and the elements. These spells are effective for dealing with living things and dealing with the elements. Rangers and Druids use mistletoe, holly, charcoal and similar things for spell component as well as a few mundane items.

         It is assumed that rangers and druids keep re-supplying their stock of components whenever they can. If they cannot, one pound of components will last for about 100 spells.


         Divine Spells: Priests have access to divine spells as long as they have been faithful to the cause of their deities. Divine spells are given to these characters directly from their gods. These spells are effective for dealing with the body and spirit. Priests need their holy symbols to cast their spells (It must be grasped or held). It is not consumed in the casting. They use very few special materials. The symbol for a divine caster is specified by the church of which he is a member.


         Arcane Spells: Wizards and Spellblades have access to arcane spells. Arcane spells range from spells of simple utility to great and powerful magics. The arcane spell group has no single theme or purpose. The vast majority of arcane spells were created by ancient wizards for many different purposes.

         It is assumed that arcane casters keep re-supplying their stock of components whenever they can. If they cannot, one pound of components will last for about 100 spells.

         As Wizards and Spellblades learn spells, they record their arcane formulas into spell books. Within them are all his instructions for casting all the spells he knows. Without his spell book, a wizard cannot replenish lost spells.

         The exact shape and size of a character's spell book is a detail your DM will provide. They may be thick tomes of carefully inked parchment, crackling scrolls in bulky cases, or even weighty clay tablets. They are almost never convenient to carry around. Their exact form depends on the type and setting of the campaign world your DM has created.


Casting Spells

         All spell casters use the same rules for casting spells. To cast a spell, the character must first have the spell points available. If it is not, the spell cannot be cast. It requires spell points equal to the level of the spell to cast it. Natural and Divine casters have exceptions to this rule.

         The actions required to cast a spell are divided into three groups: verbal, somatic (gestures), and material. Each spell description lists what combination of these components is needed to cast a spell.


         Verbal Components require the caster to speak clearly (not be silenced in any way). These are normally very fast and unless he is gagged, are rarely affected by the spell caster’s situation.


         Somatic Components require free gestures (thus, the caster cannot be bound, held or grappled). These are normally very intricate and require the body to be held in exactly the correct position for exactly the right amount of time.

         Once the casting has begun, if the character is not standing still, he must make the most appropriate skill check to his current situation to successfully cast a spell. If the caster were on a moving horse, the caster must make a (Control Mount) riding skill check. If they were on the deck of a ship during a storm he would have to make a successful balance skill check. Your DM will have to make a ruling in these types of unusual conditions.

         It is hard to concentrate on your somatic gestures while someone is beating on you. A spell caster who has lost initiative and is struck by a weapon or damaged by a spell must make a fortitude save with a difficulty of 10+ the damage received in order to cast that spell. The spell to be cast must be declared before the save is rolled. Success means the spell goes off normally. Failure means that the points are expended but the spell does not go off. This does not apply to using wands or other items but does apply to reading scrolls.

         If the spell caster has initiative and casts a spell with somatic components, he will not get the benefit of his dexterity for his armor class or reflex saves until the next round. While casting this spell, he cannot move to dodge attacks.


         Material Components Material components are required to be on the caster's person. Most are consumed when the spell is cast. Those that are not are specified in the spell description. Special items listed in the spell description must be accounted for separately (For example, a large gem or crystal for Magic Jar. These items are not consumed and will usually weigh 1/10 of a pound.


         Spell Target If the spell is targeted on a person, place, or thing, the caster must be within the range limit of the spell and be able to see the target or know the location. Likewise, a magic missile cannot be fired into a group of bandits with the instruction to strike the leader. The caster must be able to identify and see the leader.


Replenishing Spell Points

         To replenish his magical energy, the natural spell caster must witness the dawn of a new day, the divine spell caster must spend one hour doing his morning prayers and the arcane spell caster must get 8 hours of good rest. He cannot take part in any encounters from the night before. Failing to meet these requirements means that the spell caster still has access to unused spell points from the previous day but cannot replenish to his maximum amount today.



         Illusions rely on the idea of believability, which in turn relies on the situation and the state of mind of the victim. Your DM must determine this for NPCs and you must role-play this for your character.

         The key to successful illusions is believability, which depends on three main factors: what the caster attempts, what the victim expects, and what is happening at the moment the victim encounters the illusion. By combining the information from these three areas, the player and the DM should be able to create and adjudicate reasonable illusions.

         When casting an illusion or phantasm, the caster can attempt to do anything he desires within the physical limits of the spell. Prior knowledge of the illusion created is not necessary but is extremely useful.

         Suppose Sermian decides to cast a phantasmal force spell and can choose between creating the image of a troll (a creature he has seen and battled) or that of a beholder (a creature he has never seen but has heard terrifying descriptions of). He can either use his memory to create a realistic troll or use his imagination to create something that may or may not look like a real beholder. The troll, based on his first-hand knowledge of these creatures, is going to have lots of little details-a big nose, warts, green, scabby skin, and even a shambling troll-like walk. His illusion of a beholder will be much less precise, just a floating ball with one big eye and eyestalks. He doesn't know its color, size, or behavior.

         Thus, spell casters are well advised to create images of things they have seen, for the same reason authors are advised to write about things they know.

         The next important consideration is to ask if the spell creates something that the victim expects. If you create an old and well used cave mouth on the side of a cliff, creatures local to the area are not likely to believe it. If you created a “magical portal” in the same place, the same creatures would likely accept it without a second thought. The key to a good illusion is to create something the victim does not expect but can quickly accept.

         Once the creatures begin interacting with the illusion, the situation and their intelligence will dictate how long it will continue to fool the creature. Your DM will have to judge these factors.


Magical Rituals

         Some things that spell casters can do are common to most all spell casters. These are tasks such as binding a familiar, researching a spell, recharging a magic item, etc. These are magical tasks and can be affected like spell casting but they cannot be done in the typical round sequence.

         The Arcane Caster does not need to know a specific spell in order to accomplish these things. It is presumed that the knowledge of the ritual is his when he achieves the appropriate caster level.  The only thing he has to do is meet the specific requirements of the Ritual and he will be successful if nothing interrupts him. Any interruption will ruin the ritual.

         Some rituals have a cost in materials or spell points or experience that are spent when the ritual is begun.


Spell Research

         As part of the level advancement for Arcane casters, the player can write up a description of a spell he wants to create and give it to the DM for review. Discuss what you want the spell to do. After this, he will either accept or reject your spell. The DM has the final say: Don't kick and complain, find out what changes are needed to make the spell acceptable. You can probably iron out the differences.

         The spell must be of a level that you can cast on your next level advancement and can be no more powerful than any other spell of that level (You cannot create a second level fireball). Finally, once the spell is approved, you can include it in the spell picks you take on the next level advancement. Your DM may revise the spell, perhaps reducing the area of effect or damage inflicted. Finally, all you have to do is name your spell.

         New spells can also be created at any other time by spending an appropriate amount of time and money on research. This takes a well equipped lab, complete concentration, two days per spell level researched and 100gp per day of research.

         If the Arcane Caster has a copy of the spell he wants to research, then it will take half the normal time requirement.


Making Magic Items

         Most spell casters have the ability to make magic items. The caster must be of at least the minimum caster level required to make the item, spend the required time and pay the required experience point cost. Some items are restricted by who can make them.


         Spell Scroll- Any single spell can be inscribed on a scroll and any caster of that type of magic can read it. It functions as the level of its writer. If this is unknown, The DM must assign a level to it. This must be at least the minimum level required to cast the spell.

         Protection Scroll- Anything can be the target of a protection scroll if the character can justify it.

         Potion-Any spell that affects the drinker's body or what it is applied to can be embedded in a potion and anyone can use it. Potions have a set effect.

         One Shot item-Any item imaginable can be created and any magic function can be embedded in it but the combination should make sense. Anyone who knows the command word can use it. The use of the item destroys the magic in the item.

         Once per Day item- This is an item that has a spell like effect that can be used X number of times per day. Extra uses per day follow the rules for extra embedding. Any item imaginable can be created and any magic function can be embedded in it but the combination should make sense. Anyone who knows the command word can use it.

         Small Charged Item- This is a small item such as a wand or ring that has one or more spells embedded in it and up to 20 charges that can be used to power the spells in it. Once the charges are used up, the effects requiring charges become inert until it is recharged.

         Medium Charged Item- As above but this is a medium item such as a rod or large piece of jewlery that has up to 35 charges that can be used to power the spells in it.

         Large Charged Item- As above but this is a large item such as a Staff or greatsword that has up to 50 charges that can be used to power the spells in it.

         Continuous Item- This is an item with an enchantment on it that works continuously or “at will”.

         Charged Items- Any character that wishes to use a charged Item must attune to it. This requires a ritual that takes three uninterrupted days and anyone can perform it. After that the character can use the item without restriction. Only one creature can be attuned to such an item and can only be attuned to one such an item at one time.

         Arcane casters have the additional ability to recharge an item that he is attuned to. This is a ritual that costs him two spell points plus a number of extra spell points that he wishes to recharge into the Item. This ritual takes one hour. There is no level restriction for this ritual.

         Divine items can be recharged fully by a divine caster that performs a three-day ritual of fasting and prayer.

         Natural items can be recharged to full by a Natural spell caster that perform a ritual that is started when the sun is shining and ends when it rains.


The Creation Process

         Spell casters who can make magic items know the rituals involved and the exact details of these rituals are not important but the caster’s specific contribution to the magic item is. What follows is that part of the process.

         Scrolls must be written. This takes 2 hours per spell level and the scroll can hold 1 spell.

         Potions must be successfully brewed for three days and then enchanted with a single spell.

         Items are a little more complicated. The player should write out a description of what he wants the item to do. The player should avoid the “I want to make a broom that casts fly 3 times per day” type of description. A better way to describe it would be “I want to create a flying broom”. The DM will determine the spell levels that would be required to make the item described and advise the player of the cost in experience and time that will be required as well as the order that the spell levels should be added to the item. At this point the item is ready to be made.

         The item must be created from scratch by up to three people. The caster must make it himself or directly assist another in the process. The result of the craft check must be at least 35 (Enchantable). At this point the caster spends the required experience and the ritual begins, The player must roll a will save for the first spell effect. Each spell effect after the first suffers a cumulative –2 to the save. These save numbers can be modified by up to +2 for good synergy and up to –2 for bad synergy. The first missed save stops the enchantment process. The creator of the item can have any save bonuses from class, abilities and items but not from temporary spell effects.

         The DM then takes a look at what was planned, what spells effects made it in and any possible combinations this could result in. There is also the chance of something unexpected sneaking in to the ritual.

         The experience point cost must be paid by the caster who is making the item. One person who helps him can contribute up to 25% of the cost in experience.


Summoning a Familiar

         Arcane casters can summon a familiar when they reach the 5th level of casting ability. The Arcane caster can capture a normal animal of diminutive, tiny or small size and perform the ritual. The ritual costs 500 gp for a brassier, incense and other components. It must be performed in solitude. Once the ritual has begun, it must be continued for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the animal undergoes a transformation. It gains a number of hit points equal to its new master's level.

         Future advancement in levels by the master adds hit points to the familiar. The familiar gains an unnaturally long life and gains average intelligence (10). The wizard gets + 1 to his surprise rolls and maybe some other benefit particular to the type of creature.

         The wizard can speak to the familiar so that it can understand him and he can understand it. Should the familiar ever be killed, All benefits are lost and another cannot be summoned for 1 year.

         Note that familiars are not inherently magical. They are not subject to Dispel Magic, Anti-magic or Mordenkainen’s Disjunction.

         If separated from the caster, the familiar loses 1 hit point each week, and dies if reduced to 0 hit points. When the familiar is in physical contact with its wizard, it gains the wizard's saving throws against special attacks.

         Deliberate mistreatment, failure to feed and care for the familiar, or continuous unreasonable demands have adverse effects on the familiar's relationship with its master. Purposely arranging the death of one’s own familiar incurs great disfavor from certain powerful entities, often with dire results.


Familiars List

All get  + 1 to Surprise

Chicken                 Ground Hog         Parrot

Chipmunk             Hedge Hog            Pigeon

Dove                        Opossum               Seagull

Duck                       Otter                       Skunk


Other Familiars

All get  + 1 to Surprise and:

Bat, Small     The best hearing, +5 on spot checks with sound involved

Bat, Fruit                              The best hearing, +5 on spot checks with sound involved

Squirrel                                  Extra +1 to surprise

Raven                                     Excellent vision, +5 on spot checks with sight involved

Falcon                                    Very superior distance vision, +8 on distance spot checks with sight involved

Frog                                        Wide-angle vision

Scorpion                                Sense motion, extra +2 to surprise

Spider                                     Infravision

Lizard, Tiny                         Wide-angle vision

Rat, Small                             Superior smell, +5 on spot checks

Rat, Large                             Superior smell, +5 on spot checks

Cat, House                            Excellent night vision & hearing, +5 on spot checks + no negatives for darkness.

Rabbit                                    Extra +1 to suprise

Raccoon                                 Good manipulative hands, The Raccoon gets the master's level bonus for Disable        Device, Escape Artist, Open Locks                                                  and Pick Pockets

Screech Owl                         Night vision equals day vision

Lizard, Diminutive             Wide-angle vision

Monkey, Spider                   +1 to Dex, Good manipulative hands, The Spider Monkey gets the master's level bonus for Disable Device, Escape

                                                 Artist, Open Locks and Pick Pockets

Weasel or Mink                   Superior hearing and smell, +5 on spot checks

Snake, Python or Viper     Excellent smell and taste, +5 on spot checks


         There are ways for others to get a familiar and ways to get a familiar that is more magical in nature. The exact ways this can be done will be decided by your DM.



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       Non-Spell Users

       The Rules of Magic

       Natural Spell Users

       Natural Spells

       Divine Spell Users

       Divine Spells

       Arcane Spell Users

       Arcane Spells Levels 1-4

       Arcane Spells Levels 5-9

       Mental Power Users



       Running a Character

Monster Manual

       Creature Statistics

       Normal Animals

       Goblinoids and Giants









       Elementals and Golems

       Angels and Demons

       Water Creatures

Book of Treasures

       Treasure Placement

       Treasure Types

       Magic Item Descriptions