I’ve been toying with some thoughts about the “Vancian Magic” system of D&D; having come back to this grandmother of all games recently, I still love the simplicity of it, but it has its limitations and since I’m currently playing with lower-level groups many of them are rearing their ugly heads…
I did try to give some more options to the Magic-User through my Weird Magic system, and I like the risk and randomness this system adds to the mix. I did however also like some thoughts on G+ (by mr Greg Christopher) about spells as equipment and the various trade-offs between placing powers in gear as opposed to attaching them to certain characters.
I’ve come up with an option that I will start playing around with in my current campaign; it’s not terribly intrusive, and could be cleared out if it doesn’t work well enough, but I like the feel of it. Basically, it allows wizards the option to buy Spell Gems, items that let them cast their memorized spells without losing them from their memory. The price is hefty (about 1 000 sp/gp, depending on your standard, per spell level they are able to supply) and availability is still under the control of the GM. They cannot be crafted in the same way as scrolls and potions – they are craftable, but require investment in a Gem Cutting skill which means only specialists can do the work without significant loss of materials.
An item like this serves as a complement to scrolls; it seems more powerful, but there is a deceptive difference – scrolls expand the repertoar of the wizard, since he/she can still use scrolls with unmemorized spells. These gems empower the wizard to cast more spells per day, but only from his selected setup of memorized formulae.
I took the chance to add a more traditional magic item in the form of an Elven Spell Gem as well, while I was at it – more or less same function, but rechargeable (and, of course, effectively priceless due to it).