Analyzing a Spell

When the player presents his suggested spell, talk it over with him. What does the player really want to accomplish? Is this the same as what he claims the spell will do? Sometimes what is written for a spell description and what was intended are two different things. This should become clear in talking to the player.

Are there already spells or combinations of spells that can do the same thing? If a spell exists in the character's group that does the same thing, no research should be allowed. If the new spell is a combination of several spells or a more powerful version of a weaker spell, it can be allowed, although it will be difficult to research. Weaker versions of a more powerful spell are certainly possible.

Is the player trying to gain a special advantage over the normal rules? Sometimes players propose new spells with the unspoken purpose of "breaking the system," and, while spell research does let a player character get an edge, it is not a way to cheat. New spells should fall within the realm and style of existing spells. Clerics casting fireball spells or mages healing injured characters is contrary to the styles of the two classes.

Spells allowing changes in the game rules, god-like abilities, or guaranteed success are not good and shouldn't be allowed in a campaign. Fortunately, this problem doesn't come up too often. What limits does the player think the spell has?

In their desire to have their spells approved, players often create more limitations and conditions on a spell than the DM would normally require. Be sure to ask the player what limits he thinks the spell has.

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