Another thought dawned on me in the context of my recent Wizards article in the context of spell books. How accessible spells are is a huge influence on the breadth of power available to your mage.
Corvell is primarily interested in necromancy and I have found access to this list rare in our campaign world to say the least. He is aware of only one Necromancer (by reputation) and is terrified of approaching her. Consequently Corvell feeds on the scraps he can find in the spell books he manages to capture during adventures.
For me this is a great focus. Finding a new necromancy spell I can cast is a huge bonus and far more rewarding than just popping to your local resident wizard and handing over some gold to copy a spell. I am not adverse to freely available spells and in other games we play this is the norm but if the same spell scarcity is applied to all casters, it places a new value on the spell book. It could even make you a target for other aspiring wizards.
I’m really interested in how others use spell access to shape the tempo of a game and the status/influence of wizards and would welcome your own experiences and comments on this aspect of D&D. In your campaign’s, are magic spells available through a wizard’s version of a 24/7 or are they rare arcana that only the brave can acquire?
P.s. Chris’ article on Ye Olde Worlde Magic Item Shop look at a different aspect of scarcity in a magical world.
Image Credit – The Mystery by Sally Butcher – CC-BY-2.0