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Writing Scrolls

Part of the 3E design balances spell-casters by allowing them to write scrolls at 1st level.  This edition also allows for creating wands at an early level, but I don't think we need to go that far.  The rules call for the caster to spend Experience Points to write scrolls, but balancing them by giving them an ability that makes them advance slower seems harsh, we'll dispense with this cost as well.  The material costs will be used to keep scrolls somewhat in check.  Obviously we don't want every caster to have 100 scrolls at hand, but there should be a reasonable number (6 for a medium or larger sized creature, 3 for a small) that can be easily accessed (scroll tubes in pockets or on belts) with the extras tucked away in a pack.  As many as 3 spells can be put on a single scroll.

Skill Required: Spellcraft
Feat Required: Scribe Scroll (Free to Wizards & Clerics)

 


Cost: 30gp  x  (Spell Level + 2*Feat Adjustment)  x  Effective Level*  + Material Components** + Masterwork Cost***

Spellcraft Check to Create:  DC 15 + Spell Level + Effective Level + 3*Feat Adjustment** - Masterwork Bonus***

Level Check to Cast:  DC 2 + Effective Level + 3*Feat Adjustment** .. Required only IF: Reader is lower level OR Does not have applied Feats.

Time Required:  1 Hour per 100gp cost of scroll, minimum of 1 hour.  The caster is limited to writing 8 hours per day.

*Effective Level: This can be up to the level of the caster.  The scroll-writer can choose to write a scroll at a lower 'effective level'.  This makes the scroll less expensive and makes the Spellcraft check easier.  The effective level applies to all aspects of the spell; range, area, damage, SR, etc..  The minimum level is the level required to cast the spell (i.e. a Wizard must create a Fireball scroll of at least 5th level), including the feats applied (so an Empowered Fireball scroll, which requires a 5th level slot, has a minimum level of 9).

**Feat Adjustment: Applying a Feat such as Empower or Heighten increases the cost and difficulty of Writing a scroll, as well as the difficulty of Reading the scroll.  The final cost is increased for every additional Spell Level used by the Feat.  The DC of Writing is increased by 3x the Level Adjustment of the Feat. The Level Check of Reading is increased by 3x Level Adjustment of the Feat.   If the Feat does not have a level cost (i.e. Spell Focus) it usually cannot be added to scroll and is only usable by the wizard casting from the scroll if he has the feat.  Applying Feats to scrolls is expensive and difficult, so scrolls are rarely found with this power boost.  Feats such as Quicken Spell and Power Spell are useless on a scroll.

***Masterwork:  For an additional 30gp per spell level (better inks, quills from more exotic creatures, etc.) you can receive an additional +2 on your spellcraft check.



Example 1:
Tenidar decides to write a Delayed Blast Fireball spell.  He's 19th level, and it's a 7th level spell.  To get the most bang-for-the-buck, he goes all out and writes it to full effect.  30gp x 7 x 19 = 3990gp.  The Spellcraft Check is DC 15 + 7 + 19 = 41.  His Spellcraft Bonus is +28 so he needs to roll a 13 or better for a good scroll.  If he wanted to Empower Spell this scroll, the cost would be increased to 5586gp, and the Spellcraft DC would be 45.

Example 2:
Tenidar decides to sell some cheap Fireball Scrolls.  The spell caps at 12 dice, so he writes it to go off at 12th level.  It costs 1080gp to write, it takes 10 hours, and the DC is 30.  He succeeds on a 2 or better.

Example 3:
Ulanon has been drained to 1st level mage, and he decides he needs some Magic Missile scrolls.  The scroll will cost 30gp x 1 x 1 = 30gp, and take an hour to write.  Pretty cheap.  The Scroll DC is 15 + 1 + 1 = 17.  However, his Spellcraft Bonus is +8, so he needs a 9 or better to write the scroll.

Example 4:
Seamus wants a few extra special scrolls at hand, so makes an Empowered Fireball scroll at minimum level. Since Empowered is a +2 level bump, the minimum level that the scroll can be written at is 9th (for a 5th level spell slot). The scroll will cost 30gp x (3 + 2x2) x 9 = 1890gp, and take 19 hours to write. The DC to write the scroll is 15 + 3 + 3x2 + 9 = 33. The DC to read the scroll is a level check 2 + 3x2 + 9 = 17.  

A reader of this scroll would not have to make a Level Check if she was 9th level AND had the Feat Empowered Spell.

Example 5:
Ulanon has regained his levels, and he decides to make up for his prior flops with an Empowered, Extended, Maximized Bull's Strength scroll, at 18th level. The Feats add +6 to the level of the spell. The scroll will cost 30gp x (2 + 2x6) x 18 = 7560gp, and take 76 hours to write (almost 10 days). The DC to write the scroll is 15 + 2 + 3x6 + 18 = 53. The DC to read the scroll is a level check 2 + 3x6 + 18 = 38. Afterwards he realizes why Feats are rarely added to scrolls except for extreme cases. 

A reader of this scroll would not have to make a Level Check if she was 18th level AND was trained in all 3 Feats. This scroll would be unusable by most readers, even Rogues with Use Magic Device would have a VERY difficult time.

 

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