The magic system in BECMI has it’s root in the miniature rules that the system came from. The system of memorizing spells, casting and forgetting them in order to re-memorize them is called Vancian Magic and is based on the magic system in the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance. It’s conceit allows for a simple set of rules that are able to reasonably be converted into a game system. It’s like spell bombs that have to be prepared in advance and doesn’t really allow for more flexible magic, spiritual type of magics. And doesn’t really allow for things like wizard duels at all. The style of magic is limiting in it’s creativity. In later versions of DnD, they have introduced other types of magic-users, Sorcerers and Warlocks, to address some of these limitations. Other systems like Dungeon Crawl Classics have expansive magic tables on how spell can be adjusted or how they interact. I have my own take on how to add magical complexity but still make for Vancian Magic be the primary system of magic in The Known World.

I conjecture that within the Schools of Magic there are pressures to control how magic works. The Immortals of Magic want to be able to control what their Spheres of Influence are able to do. There are social pressures to keep the chaotic nature of magic under control and maintain some predictability to it’s implementation. And there are Schools of Magic who tyrannical in their subjugation of Magic-users that lie outside of their paradigm.

So! That means that Vancian Magic-users in BECMI are the norm. In future iterations of this project I’m going to flesh out the following:

  • Vancian Magic Schools
  • Local Variations (Glantri, Alphatia, Alfheim, etc.)
  • Witchcraft
  • Sorcerers
  • Hedge Magic
  • spell interactions
  • Wild Magic
  • Immortal Influence
  • Clerical Magic
  • Druids
  • Powered Mutations
  • Curses
  • Magic Item Creation
  • Spell Components and Harvesting

The sources I will be using is Dungeon Crawl Classics, Mr. Welch’s Mystara 5e conversion, Some Lamentations of the Flame Princess, some Bruce Heard’s blog, Marco Delmonte and Matteo Barnabè’s Tome of Magic, and some awesome ideas Logan Knight posted. As always, I just will be adding stuff I read that is awesome and work to make the rules consistent but with no rhyme or reason. I’m recording this for fun, and some of the rules will be borrowed from other sources. I will be referring to the sources when I can.