Classic Spell Sorter
for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition®
by Mark Shute
with assistance from Gene Morris, Bill Voshell, Jeff Stier, and Jonathan Christensen
Copyright 2001 by Mark Shute
|Spell Sorter for D&D 3.5 is now available|
Hopefully with the new features of 3.0 you'll each be able to expand Spell Sorter on your own, and customize it to fit your own game, and I'll be able move on to some other projects. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all the suggestions and encouragement As a result, I now have a more sophisticated tool to use in my own games. I never could have made it this far with out all of you cracking the whip on me. So here it is, Spell Sorter for Wizards of the Coast, Inc.'s Dungeons & Dragons RPG.
This utility was designed in order to quickly create easy reference spell information for spell-casting characters. I have included some basic instructions, introductory information, and comments on the functioning of this Spell Sorter below if you care to read them. The interface above is fairly intuitive however, and you can easily jump in and start sorting out your character's spells if you like.
The idea for the Spell Sorter was conceived when I was playing a second edition D&D Cleric. When it came time to prepare spells, I found myself flipping back and forth from the page of clerical spells listed by levels, to the detailed spell descriptions in the back, over and over and over again. One gave me a broad overview of all of the spells available, the other gave me the details I needed to decide which spells I wanted. Then when it came time to actually cast a spell, I'd have to look up the range, duration, effect, etc. all over again. It wasn't worth it to write the information down, since my prepared spells changed every day.
What I wished for was a comprehensive list of all of the available spells that included the important details of each. Ideally it would fit on as few sheets of paper as possible. As a cleric I wanted to be able to indicate which spells I had prepared each day. I thought the same would be useful for mages, only the list would include only those spells in the mage's spell book. Since I DM as well as play, I also thought it would be nice to have a way to randomly pick the spells in an NPC's spell book, or to randomly choose which spells an NPC caster had prepared and ready. At the time though, third edition was in the works and it's release was drawing closer, so I sat on the idea to see if WotC solved my problem for me.
Well they came awful close. I love the one-line descriptions that each spell gets, and I love the fact that I can look up spells in a single alphabetical reference (rather divided by class, then by level, then alphabetically), and I really love the fact that I finally know what material components are required for every spell. WotC's Character Generator program helped a great deal, but it listed all of the spells available for arcane spell casters, not just the spells they knew... a waste of space in my opinion. And while the Character Generator lists some of a spell's attributes like range and duration, it doesn't give them all. I still had to look up the spells components and effects.
So while the new third edition was several steps closer to what I wanted, it wasn't there yet. And since the ever-delayed Master Tools program shows no signs of providing additional support for spell-casters (or much of anyone else for that matter), I decided maybe it was time to consider that old second edition wish a little more carefully.
With the help of some of the other Laurel Cadre members, I created a database of all 542 spells in D&D3 (a daunting task!). Once the data was entered it was simply a matter of writing the scripts that would manipulate the data. The Spell Sorter was born. From the moment it went online publicly in June of 2001, I've been getting requests to expand and improve the program.
As a result, the Spell database now contains 684 spells from a variety of official WOTC sources. In addition I came up with a way for individual users to store their own spells, domains and even character classes as cookies on their own computers. You can also save a list of spells and open it up to edit later on, so that you don't have to constantly select the same spells over and over each time your wizard advances a level.
There may be a few more features I can add... I'm sure you'll let me know if you think of one... but for the most part I think version 3 is the culmination of this project. Oh, I plan to add more data when new WotC products are released, but I don't expect a "version 4" type overhaul will be necessary.
So anyway, that's my story. That's how this program came to be and where it's going. Thanx for taking the time to read it all. I'll move along to the useful stuff now.
Click the [Sources] button to select which source books you want to use spells from. While Spell Sorter provides a great deal of information on each spell, it doesn't provide the details required to effectively use that spell in game play, so if you don't own a particular book, you should probably un select it as a source. Or better yet, go to WotC's Online Store and buy the book! (shameless attempt to keep WotC lawyers off my back)
Clicking the [Customize] button gives you several options to customize Spell Sorter to suit your own game. By selecting the appropriate button, you can open up a list of spells that you've saved, add a new spell to the database, add a new cleric domain, or even add a whole new character class or prestige class. Each of these features will offer instructions of there own when you click the button.
To start actually using Spell Sorter, the first thing you have to determine is what class you want to create a spell list for. All of the basic D&D3 spell-casting classes are listed in the initial pull down menu, along with any custom classes you've added yourself. Once you have selected the class, more menus will appear as well as a button bar. You need to make choices in each of the pull down menus in order to define the character you are sorting spells for. You won't be able to use the buttons until all of the selections are made.
Wizard characters also have the option to become a specialist. You can either select a specialty school from the list, or you can let the computer pick one a random. Once you have selected a specialty, the appropriate options for prohibited schools will be displayed. Again, you can either select your prohibited schools, or let the computer select them at random.
Clerics have the additional option of selecting Domains. Hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard to select the Domains the character has access to. While the basic Cleric can only have access to two Domains, Defenders of the Faith provides rules that allow a character to have access to more, so characters can select as many Domains as are appropriate for the character. Since the Domains are an integral part of the Cleric's character, these can not be randomly selected.
Once all of the selections are made, click the [All _ Spells] button. In the main window you will see a listing of all of the spells available to the character based on the information you provided above.
Alternately you can choose "All Spells" from the list of caster classes. This option will display a list of all of the spells stored in the database, regardless of which class has access to them. You can then create a list of spells to use as notes for a creature with spell-like abilities or for a magic item with spell-like powers.
If the character is a divine spell-caster (a Cleric, Druid, Paladin, or Ranger) this list will include all of the basic information for each spell. You can use the [Print List] button to print out these spells as a quick reference, and then check off on paper the different spells the character prepares each day. The spells are broken out by level, and above each level you will be told how many spells the character can prepare per day.
Alternately, you can check off on the screen only those spells that your character has prepared for the day. The computer won't let you check more spells than the caster is allowed to prepare. You can then shorten the list considerably by clicking the [Spells Prepared] button. The resulting list shows only the spells that the character has prepared. This is useful for PCs who tend to prepare the same spells every day, or for DMs sorting out NPC spells. DMs usually have enough notes scattered about as it is. They don't need to be keeping track of a list of spells the NPC won't be casting.
At the bottom of the window is a button labeled [Save these selections]. Clicking this will allow you to save this list of selections on your hard drive as a cookie and open them up later. More useful for Arcane spell casters than divine casters really, but the option is there for you if you find a need.
If the character is an arcane spell-caster (a Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard) the list that is displayed will only include the names of the spells and their one-line description. From this list, check off the spells that the character knows. The computer won't allow Bards or Sorcerers to check more spells than they are allowed to know, but it will allow Wizards to check as many spells as they like; these are the spells that the Wizard has in his spell book(s).
At the bottom of the window is a button labeled [Save these selections]. Clicking this will allow you to save this list of selection on your hard drive as a cookie and open them up later. If this is a character that you expect to advance and gain new spells, it's probably a good idea to save your selections. It becomes tiresome clicking one at a time through the same spells over and over again when your character reaches higher levels.
Once you have checked off all of the spells that the character knows (or has in a spell book), click on either the [Spells Known] button, or for Wizards the [Spells in Book] button.
The list that results will include all of the basic information for each spell. For Sorcerer or Bard characters, print this list out using the [Print List] button and use it as a reference to the spells you can spontaneously cast at any time. The spells are broken out by level, and above each level you will be told how many spells the character can cast per day. For Wizard characters, use the [Print List] button to print out these spells as a quick reference, and check off the different spells the character prepares each day. The print out will tell you how many spells of each level the Wizard is allowed to prepare each day.
Alternately, for Wizard characters you can further click on only those spells that the Wizard has prepared for the day. The computer won't let you click on more spells than the Wizard is allowed to prepare. You can then shorten the list considerably by clicking the [Spells Prepared] button. The resulting list shows only the spells that the Wizard has prepared. Again, this is useful for PCs who tend to prepare the same spells every day, or for DMs sorting out NPC spells.
Any time the list of spells has checkboxes next to each spell, you have the option of selecting from the list and reducing the list down to just those spells selected. Occasionally, for minor NPCs, a DM might not have the need or inclination to think about every spells that and NPC knows, or has prepared for the day. In such situations, you can click on the [Random] button and the computer will automatically select the appropriate number of spells of each level at random.
For specialist wizards, this selection will favor spells from the specialty school. For Clerics, one Domain spell per level will also be selected at random.
Naturally this list can be edited. If you specifically don't want an NPC to have a particular spell, you can remove the check mark. If there are certain spells you know the NPC needs to have, you can uncheck one spell of the same level, and then check the spell you do want. Be careful though. Every time you click the [Random] button, the computer erases all existing check marks on the screen before making its random selections. If you want to ensure that a character has a few certain spells but you want to randomize the rest, use the [Random] button first, then edit the random choices.
One note about Wizard characters. Since there is no limit to the number of spells a Wizard can have in his spell book(s) the computer assigns a percentage chance for each spell level. All spells in that level have the same chance of being selected, and low level spells have a higher chance of being selected than high level spells. Ideally, a high level Wizard with randomly created spell books will have almost all of the Level 0 spells, and only a few of the Level 9 spells. Since it is random however, there is the chance that a wizard could end up with no Level 0 spells at all, but all of the Level 9 spells. I wouldn't bet on that though.
When spells are listed with all of their details, the small print may be difficult to read on the screen. This utility was designed with the intention that the information would be printed out for use in game. The small print size was designated so that the output would fit on as few sheets of paper as possible. Even though the print may be illegible on the screen, it should be readable when printed from any decent printer. If you need the print enlarged, you can change the font options in your browser to a larger font size.
All of the information in the spell database was entered by hand. Despite extensive proof-reading, errors may still exists. When information in the Spell Sorter differs from the WotC published books, the books should be considered correct, however the Official WotC Errata is consulted as soon as it is released, and spell data is updated to reflect any changes. If you own a first printing of a source book, be certain to consult the Errata if any discrepancies are found.
If any discrepancies are found, feel free to submit them to Mark, or any other member of the Laurel Cadre.