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I'm new to DnD 3.5 and I'm wondering: how does a sorcerer learn new spells?

We have a party member who insists sorcerers have to learn spells from spell books or from other sources.

On the other hand the Player's Handbook says on the page 179:

For instance, when Hennet the sorcerer becomes 2nd level, he gains an additional 0-level spell. He can pick that spell from the 0- level spells on the sorcerer and wizard spell list, or he might have learned an unusual spell from an arcane scroll or spellbook.

Which I'm interpreting as Hennet the sorcerer getting the 0-level spell instantly without a need to learn it from anywhere as long as the spell is from the sorcerer and wizard spell list.

tl;dr:
Do sorcerers just gain "slots" when they level up and have to learn the spell from somewhere, or do they get the "slot" AND the spell?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean mechanically or lore-wise? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Aug 2 '18 at 14:08
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He learns primarily from leveling up, but not only that way.

A sorcerer’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A sorcerer begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of your choice. At each new sorcerer level, he gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Sorcerer Spells Known. [...] These new spells can be common spells chosen from the sorcerer/wizard spell list, or they can be unusual spells that the sorcerer has gained some understanding of by study. The sorcerer can’t use this method of spell acquisition to learn spells at a faster rate, however.

As I emphasized on this quote, the sorcerer can learn any spell from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. When learning these spells, he learns them spontaneously when he concentrates on his spells the first time after leveling up. Most times, the spell will just pop-up on the sorcerer's mind this way.

The other method, the study, is to allow sorcerer players to research and learn spells developed by themselves or others; spells that aren't on the book. Basically, originals or spells from a source that the DM doesn't use but allowed a PC/NPC to research that specific spell.

If your spell is on the sorcerer/wizard spell list from a sourcebook that your DM allows and he didn't forbid that specific spell, you just level up and learn the spell with no further effort from your character.

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