So most people in my group are looking into magic users if there other character dies and I was wondering what would be a good rule of thumb for how many additional spells they my have per level. Like, starting with 4ish spells at the start as if they where level one seems pretty underwhelming. Has anyone considered a good Lv. to spell ratio for new characters starting at a say level 14? I haven't found anything in the rule book for something like this. Only something for starting caps relative to level.
Ah yes the ol catch up. Well good news to you! I have a solution. As I have actually come across this a few times. So here we go! As per base page 250 info:
Number of spells 1. Free telekinesis
2. Free level 1 spell
3. Free cutiemark spell (this is optional, and GM can allow numerous things for this)
4. All other level 0 spells the pony needs to see done once (so really easy done there, my GM usually just gives away level 0s cause fuck it)
So that's 4-5 spells right there. And then if they go high INT stats they can also take the Arcane Devotion trait which grants 3 additional spells (as long as they got 9 INT to start) so that's 7ish. Now I cannot stress the god like ability of Arcane Devotion compared to say, Magical Savant. Magical Savant really? Is garbage in comparison. Arcane Devotion lets you get bonus spells, which on its own? Pretty awesome. But what's nice is that the character can now learn ANY spell simply by SEEING it cast once (assuming they have prerequisites), so as a GM you can ramp them up with spells of your choosing if that's what you wish. It's an amazing trait I can't stress that enough.
Of course then there's Additional Spell/Recipe trait which gives an extra spells. Finally there's also the fact that you player can choose spells for Perks so they can choose any valid level 1 or 2 spell for their perk choice so really, they can be bullshit OP as fuck at level 14. I would advise against "free" extra spells, because trust me magic gets out of control and if they build their character right they certainly don't need any help.
Also if it helps in my playgroup when someone makes a higher level character they get 300 caps per level they are to buy gear to help catch up with the party. So if you go that route they can buy magic spellbooks (there's proper costing for that now!) and read those to start with. Here I'll give an example.
So here's a good example, level 14, you can repair all the equipment, teleport party members (or enemies) 900 ft, and heal any crippled limb. Already you made the medic and repair skilled pony redundant and can transport the melee/tank to the front lines of every combat while keeping yourself out of harm's way. That is insane. Does that need a buff? No. Of course this is only one example, you could focus one tree or different skills. But the fact is magic is the single greatest tool in the game, it makes everyone more capable and be able to survive things better. Can it be used as a weapon? Less so than guns until you hit level 3 spells when they suddenly become god tier (stay away from Elemental/Weather, they are incredibly underwhelming).
tldr: Magic is OP enough. Ask questions if you want.
Well it does say quite easily it's great. For example as quoted:
Arcane Devotees start with an additional five ranks in Magic, and an additional number of spells or recipes at level 1 or 0 equal to their casting attribute (Intelligence or possibly Charisma) divided by 3, rounded up
...okay so I was wrong you get 4 spells if you go with 10 INT, but whatever. Still good! As for learning...
Their studies of magic and spells (or recipes) translate into their being able to learn how to cast nearly any spell (or brew any potion, or create any talisman) they can study for a sufficiently long amount of time – including just watching other ponies cast the spell or just examining a talisman for a few hours! This means that they can learn any spell or recipe that their level and skill with magic allows as long as they have access to a teacher, a spellbook, or an example (or for zebras, a sample of the final product that a recipe is for is usually sufficient).
Truly zebra's got a better deal out of it since they just can buy zebra potions or talisman, study them, and bam free new spell. Unicorns gotta work to see a spell cast. But really can ramp to madness. But ya there's really no need to "boost" magic casters per se, the manual already has ways to handle things for them if they build it right.
Well it's not instant but really just a matter of time tbh. See it once, practice it, boom. Saves a lot of time trying to find spell books or doing the insane Magical Savant route. But even excluding the spell learning the number of spells you start with is more than sufficient once you throw in perk options too (since not restricted to level 1 or 0). Then from there they can develop easily.
Err. I suppose this is an interpretation issue. In the case of Arcane Devotion as written, I can see how it is a bit vague. The meaning was that you can learn any spell, i.e. your magic is no longer limited by your character's cutie mark.
The learning through observation is sort of like "you can learn how to cast the spell as a novice, and don't have to find a specialized trainer to learn it - you can learn from anyone". I still interpret it as requiring a spell-perk, usually. Certainly not "I saw this spell once, now I can cast it as if I was born knowing how."
I did have a unicorn-cum-alicorn character in one of my games ("Bucky Balls" - boy did they tease him/her after that transformation) that took this and tried to learn through raw observation. Mechanically I represented learning how to cast like that with extremely difficult MFDs - 1/10 for first cast, 1/4 for subsequent casts, and so on until he had rolled under the spell's learning percentage and took the spell perk.
Ya see I could legitimately see that being an interpretation issue since I didn't read that the spells took perk points at all in the trait. I always thought it was more of a trade off with Magical Savant. Magical Savant being able to cast more magic (due to reduced strain costs) and push magic to new spells (that a character would actually want I might add) while Arcane Devotion is limited by what they see and obviously pre-reqs they may not have thus a GM could easily restrict and control what a PC learns.
Also freaking Bucky Balls! What a name! Also I am amazed someone actually managed to pass the checks required for the alicorn transformation...6 different campaigns (3 of them spanning years and 3 shorter under 20 sessions ones) and none of the GMs or players really wanna try going for it cause those rolls...