In Blackmoor, magic followed the "Formula" pattern for most magic. The reasoning behind limiting the number of spells that a Magic User could take down into the Dungeon was simply that many of the ingredients had to be prepared ahead of time, and of course, once used wereThat's one of the fascinating little tidbits from The First Fantasy Campaign. I'll admit that I'm not entirely clear on what it means in practice. As presented, it's more a sketch of an idea than an actually fully detailed system. Nevertheless, I find it fascinating and praiseworthy for the simple reason that it suggests a way to interpret the OD&D magic rules that is unique yet doesn't require any significant alteration to the rules. That is, it retains the number of spells per day a magic-user gets as described in OD&D and then presents an alternate explanation for why the class is so limited.
then powerless. Special adventures could then be organized by the parties to gain some special ingredients that could only be found in some dangerous place.
Progression reflected the increasing ability of the Magic user to mix spells of greater and greater complexity. Study and practice were the man import factors involved. A Magic user did not progress unless he used Spells, either in the Dungeon or in practice (there was no difference) session1. Since there was always the chance of failure in spells (unless they were practiced) and materials for some spells were limited (determined simply by a die roll) the Magic User did not just go around practicing all the time. The Magic User could practice low level spells all the time, cheaply and safely, but his Constitution determined how often he could practice without rest. Thus, the adventurers might want a Magic User to come with them only to find him lying exhausted.
So to progress to a new level, one first learned the spells, and then got to use that spell. There was no automatic progression, rather it was a slow step by step, spell by spell progression.
I can't help but approve of this approach, as it nicely embodies the do-it-yourself sensibilities of OD&D and the early hobby I so love. As I said, I don't think the sketch presented in FFC provides enough details in order to emulate it accurately. But I do think it provides a potent example of how to take OD&D's rules and then make them your own. I'm very much of the opinion that what the hobby needs is more of this kind of thing and not less. The zeal for standardization and conformity is perfectly understandable and proceeds from rational impulses. Yet, I also think that zeal has inadvertently put a stopper in the parallel zeal for originality and uniqueness. Great as it is to be able to move effortlessly from one campaign to another, sure of the rules the referee will use in his campaign. it's often at the expense of the individual quirkiness that I feel is at the heart of this hobby and gave it such appeal.