Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

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Spiralbound
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Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:43 pm

A few observations and questions about spell scroll creation, specifically regarding the cost and difficulty.

According to the Magical Research chapter in the core rules, crafting a scroll costs 500 gp per spell level for a magic item which is consumed upon use, and has a chance of failure during creation. Thus if a magic-user wished to create a scroll with a second level spell on it, they would need 1,000 gp and has an 80% chance of success. Producing a 6th level spell scroll costs 3,000 gp and carries a 40% success rate. The minimum level for a magic-user to even have a 6th level spell is 11th level or 600,000 xp. So a magic-user this advanced has a 60% chance of messing up the creation of a scroll containing a spell they already know?

Comparing the costs of crafting a spell scroll to the amount of gold coins one gets from adventuring seems to suggest that despite there being rules on creating scrolls, it isn't expected that any player will actually ever do it. Let's suppose four adventurers raid a Bugbear's lair. They are listed as having several treasure types, one of which is type B. The "100's of Gold" column lists "70% 3d6". For this post I rolled 76% on 2d10 and 600 gp on 3d6. Split 4 ways, the party's magic-user now has 150 gp. At this rate it will be a long time before they can craft even ONE scroll...

This makes one wonder why a fantasy setting would ever have magical scrolls? If it costs 500 gp and 1 day per level of spell on the scroll, then a magic-user could ever only create a combined total of 6 levels worth of spell levels of scrolls per week and still have a day available to use or sell them. If they want to sell them, they would need to make at least 6,000 gp for all of those scrolls, just to make a reasonable profit, meaning that were a player able to find the rare magic-user in some huge city selling scrolls they would cost a minimum of 1,000 gp per spell level of the scroll. Again, given the expectations of how much gold a typical treasure hoard will have (assuming the GM isn't running a 'Monty Haul' style campaign), buying scrolls are even less likely to occur than making your own. I understand magic items are intended to be rare, but as per the core rules they seem to not just be rare, but nonexistent. Players are very unlikely to spend the time and money to make them, nor will they buy them. That is, if an npc were ever to make them to sell, which of course they wouldn't do any more than a PC would.

So... scrolls are included in the rules, but not actually expected to be ever used? Or are GMs ignoring the costs and tossing scrolls into treasure hoards anyway? Do GMs house rule the creation costs lower or boost the gp in treasure?

Addendum: I looked in "The Magic Shoppe" supplement and a 1st level scroll costs 250 gp, 2nd level costs 375 gp, up to 6th lvl costing 3,000 gp. These numbers don't make sense as they are at or more often below the creation cost for them. I'm not trying to create a setting with "Ye Olde Majik Shoppe (TM)" on every street corner hawking level 6 scrolls by the dozen, but the rules suggest scroll creation simply isn't worth doing at all.

Am I overlooking something?
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Dimirag
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Sat Jul 10, 2021 10:44 pm

The item creation rules where added by a forum member if I recall, so they may not follow any other rules or game style. And probably haven't been review and fully tested...

An 11th Level MU creating a 6th level spell will have 19-29%A, lower than your values

A15% base + 55% (level 11*5%) + 9-19 (INT) - 60% (6th level spell).

I think spells are meant to be hard so MU don't stack on them, and that they can create lesser level spells.
So a magic-user this advanced has a 60% chance of messing up the creation of a scroll containing a spell they already know?
Magic User does not "truly" know any spell, they prepare them by following the steps on their spellbook, when creating a scroll they "compress" that prepared spell there, that is why it can fail...

If you want more accessible spell scrolls you can tinker with:
Changing the GP amount
Changing time required
Changing base % of success
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Solomoriah
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:49 pm

The rules are intentionally restrictive; it's always easier to give more than to take away if you've given too much. Feel free as GM to lower costs and/or increase success chances as needed for your game.

One good option for the latter is to allow items or conditions that add a bonus to the chance. I do this... anyone who can manage to get time reserved in the laboratories of Castle D'Angelo can expect a +10% to +30% bonus, depending on what exactly they are making.
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Pirate GM13
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 5:21 am

Spiralbound wrote: Sat Jul 10, 2021 7:43 pm A few observations and questions...
I may be wrong (I have literally 13 different rpg rules floating in my head) but aren't scrolls usable by all characters? So wouldn't they be more valuable to the fighter than the magic user? And can't magic users copy spells off of scrolls? (I feel that I may be very wrong on this, so please correct me). So wouldn't it be easier for apprentice magic users to copy spells from the scroll?
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:13 am

You need a Read Magic spell to use a Magic User scroll.
Only Cleric can use Clerical scroll.
Protection scrolls can be used by all.
It's easy to find in the rule and it's pretty clear, although every GM is free to alter to his tastes.
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 9:53 am

Transcribing spells from scrolls to spellbooks is something I personally do not allow in my game; but the Core Rules don't say you can't. They also don't say you can. This was intentional, as I want GMs to feel free to make their own rulings on these things.

So many modern GMs are afraid to touch the rules, afraid to use anything that isn't "official" as if we game designers were somehow superior. I mean, yeah, it's possible someone who has successfully designed a game may know more about game design than you, but that doesn't make us special or anything.
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Dimirag
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:14 am

An optional rule (that I can think right now) is to reduce costs and increase % chances if copying a scroll from another scroll as the character copies all the "prepare" data and does not have to deal with that part.
Sorry for any misspelling or writing error, I am not a native English speaker
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Tazer_The_Yoot
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Fri Jul 16, 2021 3:21 pm

Solomoriah wrote: Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:49 pm The rules are intentionally restrictive; it's always easier to give more than to take away if you've given too much. Feel free as GM to lower costs and/or increase success chances as needed for your game.

One good option for the latter is to allow items or conditions that add a bonus to the chance. I do this... anyone who can manage to get time reserved in the laboratories of Castle D'Angelo can expect a +10% to +30% bonus, depending on what exactly they are making.

I like the idea of playing on folklore and superstition, both real world and game-world in this instance too. Maybe magic of all types works better during the full moon, or the Solstice, etc. What really excites me as a GM is when clever players ask me "Do you think this or that would work?" and names something very creative, like maybe using fairy dust in their ink for the spellbook. I always reward that type of thinking, and apparently a lot of you do, as well.
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:39 am

Solomoriah wrote: Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:49 pm The rules are intentionally restrictive; it's always easier to give more than to take away if you've given too much. Feel free as GM to lower costs and/or increase success chances as needed for your game.
Huh. I thought it was intentionally made hard to encourage players to not bother.

"Why are you wasting time making a scroll when you should be out there adventuring!? You want a scroll? Go find it! Or commission one from one of those lazy NPC wizards. You're a PC! Get out there!"

That was my assumption.
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Re: Spell scroll creation - not worth doing?

Post Mon Jul 19, 2021 9:16 am

daryen wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 7:39 am Huh. I thought it was intentionally made hard to encourage players to not bother.

"Why are you wasting time making a scroll when you should be out there adventuring!? You want a scroll? Go find it! Or commission one from one of those lazy NPC wizards. You're a PC! Get out there!"

That was my assumption.
That's the beauty of doing it my way... if that's what you want, hey, it's already in the rules. If you want players making scrolls, you make it cheaper or easier.

There's madness in my method. Wait, that's backwards...
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