Content of the article: "Homebrew spell scrolls, would love feedback!"
Hiya, I'm a fairly new DM about to introduce the mechanics of Spell Scrolls to my players (who are all new to D&D). Narratively they've already seen NPCs use spell scrolls, but the players have yet to get their hands on them. That's about to change as I'm planning to throw in some spell scrolls as a reward after their next mission.
Here's the thing though, I absolutely loathe the fact that RAW you can't use spell scrolls unless you're a spellcaster and the spell in question is on your class's list. In my opinion, it makes spell scrolls kind of bland as far as magic items go. They don't really allow you to do something you couldn't already do or will be able to do once you reach a higher level. However, I also understand the reasoning of it being difficult to cast something you're not familiar with in some sense. So I've tried to adjust and homebrew a way for anyone to be able to at least attempt to use a spell scroll.
- If the spell is on your class's spell list you can use an action to read the scroll and cast the spell with no ability check necessary. If the spell is on your class's spell list but of a higher level than you can normally cast, you must make an ability check using your spellcasting ability + proficiency bonus to see if you cast it successfully. The DC is 10 + spell level. If the spell is not on your class's spell list, or if you're not a spellcaster, you make an Arcana check to see if you cast it successfully using the same DC. Non-casters do this check with disadvantage unless they are proficient in Arcana.
Some things that obviously need to be addressed:
- The proficiency bonus is added when casting a spell of higher level to offset the possible imbalance between the Spellcasting ability modifier VS the Arcana skill modifier. A Wizard with a +3 Intelligence would get a lesser bonus than say a Cleric with +2 Intelligence and proficiency in Arcana when casting a Wizard spell from a higher level spell scroll and that seems a little silly from a narrative sense.
- The DC is kind of whack when it comes to higher level spells, I know. Especially the proficiency bonus added to the spellcasting ability modifier. On the other hand, spell scrolls become more and more rare the higher the level, so to me it makes sense that say a Wish scroll wouldn't be something easy to get your hands on. At that point, it's a difficult reward to get your hands on and if you do, you deserve it.
- Non-casters do the Arcana check with disadvantage because from a narrative standpoint they wouldn't know how to cast spells, making it more difficult. However, if a non-caster for whatever reason has proficiency in Arcana, it makes sense to me that they would have enough knowledge to balance out their inexperience in using magic.
So, any feedback? I'm personally fairly happy with this, but my group is also more casual so I don't know.
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