INT Spells take Inventory; WIS Spells don't? WHY?



Howdy Howdy!

I’ve been perusing the ICRPG book, and I can’t find an explanation for why INT spells take up inventory, but WIS spells do not?

Does anyone know why this is? Are WIS spells weaker than INT spells? Do they drop less?

I can think of some INT casters being mighty salty with me if I don’t have a good explanation.


It goes back to the origins of priests and clerics. A priest’s “magic” is based on faith, not practice or scholarly learning like mages.

There has been at least a discussion in one of the early videos about mages as keepers of secrets and how they go out into the world and collect spells and magical artifacts. Conversely, priests typically are about faith and connection with their deity or nature or the universe. Maybe I’m stretching here, but I think it was a natural extension to make int based casters focus on collection (and subject to the item cap), while priests and faith have no such limitations.


I really like that distinction and I think it adds some real tasty flavor!

My worry comes down mostly to perceived fairness between casters. In your experience playing ICRPG for many years, is there a risk of INT casters feeling cheated because their spells take up slots while WIS spells do not?

I’ve also got players coming straight off DnD 5e and Pathfinder for context.


I’ve never had that happen with ICRPG, but I have definitely seen some folks act super precious about their characters. To me, that’s more of a personality issue and a conversation about being a grownup.

If it becomes a big deal, just hand waive the rule away, or require both Types to stick to the 20 item cap. Super easy fix.

But mages should feel like they are cultivating their spell books and their collections, while clerics should feel like they are reaching out to their deities.


Roger that! Thanks for you input Alex. I really appreciate an experienced player/DM givin me the low down


Also, if that’s Manji from Blade of the Immortal in your profile image, you have excellent taste.


Haha. It is Manji. Cannot resist the smirk!


I’ve been seeing this distinction pop up from time to time and I think a lot of people have moved into the MAGIC and newer books. As Alex said, WIS reflects faith and inherent powers while INT is knowledge and book based. But as a player of the Core 2E still, the fairness isn’t an issue because we still use Holy Backfire rolls for WIS based powers, causing more threat from failed rolls.


I’ve wondered the same thing, but I don’t have a lot of magic users in my games yet, so it hasn’t come up.

One thing I’ve been home brewing with a player is a kung Fu monk type character. He does things like stun opponents or make multiple quick attacks simultaneously. I have him treat these abilities like WIS spells, and for now they take up inventory spaces because that seems to fit the flavor of a monk who doesn’t allow himself to be weighed down by worldly possessions.

Maybe a way to flavor a typical priest would be to say WIS spells don’t take up inventory spaces, but the rules of your order forbid excess in material possessions. So a priest only gets 5-10 inventory slots.

Again, I haven’t run enough games with INT/WIS spell users to really know if it’s a problem, I’ve just been thinking about this question lately.


The bigger question to me about WIS spells is can they be lost, like other loot. I think losing loot is key to managing character evolution.

While INT spells can more easily be thought of as connected to a physical thing, the usual methods of destroying or losing loot makes sense. Maybe with WIS spell they get lost under different types of circumstances… like some kind of extreme mental or physical stress. When you drop to 0, you lose a WIS spell?


Now that is a very important thing I hadn’t thought about. I would definitely have them be losable I think. I’m not sure how, but if WIS spells weren’t losable, then that could really lead to issues in long running games


If WIS spells are coming from your faith/divinity, if you lose their favour, you might lose the spell (maybe temporarily)

That is just a proposal, but you can have a 10-Faith “loot” level, where you store WIS spells and a couple of Vows or Oaths or - something Vow of Poverty in the old DnD3.5

For example, the cleric starts selecting three oaths at character generation.
When they broke one, they lose access to three of their WIS spells. If all three are broken, they can’t cast at all.
Growing with power, they can get access to more powerful spells, but the oaths also might grow in number. So they are more restricted in their behaviour, as the divinity is looking at them more closely.

They can still lose them, but not for the attack of a viscous slime

I think it is quite simple, easy to remember, in the style of ICrpg - I guess - and it gets the feeling of old school clerics and divine power - again, I guess :sweat_smile:


There could be other interpretations about spells taking inventory:

If you like your magic all eye-of-newt and hen’s-teethy, inventory could be components in addition to paperwork. No need to specify, but call it a reason why WIS spells are lighter, because they do not need that stuff. Or you could change the balance by making WIS spells need components - or could need paperwork as well. Relics and psalters and whatever. And you could, if you need details and balance, alter the ratio of item to spell. A prayer book gives 3 spells because it inspires deep faith in the faithful, yet it takes a whole book with notes and commentary plus a jar of owl feathers for a single major arcanum.

I am kinda using a different interpretation in my game right now - that magic has a weight, the burden of knowledge is felt as a physical force, the ether drags on the caster like the Higgs field on a boson. There is weight to a spell book as well, but spells you put in it - or in your brain - are heavier than the paper. WIS spells are easier because the Deity does some of the lifting, but it isn’t zero. I am still thinking in inventory items rather than pounds so far, but when the characters get enough loot for it to matter I will probably make rulings like what spells are single, double, three-for-one etc.


I’ve always assumed like Alex that INT spells are learned and hoarded secrets. Whereas WIS spells are akin to holy/mystical revelations.

As for wisdom spell burn I implement a faith d4 die. Starting at 4 every failed cast ticks the dice down. At 0 you have a crisis of faith and can’t cast for x amount of rounds or until you can meditate and reconnect with your Source.


Nice, simple mechanic.


In my game INT spells are written in scrolls and can be used by highly intelligent people (INT effort). They do take inventory space but my players don’t need to “learn” the spells, they just need to read them correctly (int roll) to perform them.

As far as my WIS power, players are given the ability to perform magic by their god(s) but they must learn these spells from runes that contain the power. Holy backfire

By the way I also have a variation of each.

I have some people who perform Blood Magic. No need for a scroll as these people tattoo spells on their body but must spend some HP to perform them. Cursed backfire.

As far as the other Power (wis) variation, these people can attach runes to equipment to use them. They must still make a WIS attempt and have normal backfire rules.