For a homebrew project, I am creating a class that has an extremely small and focused spell list, and members of this class just know all their spells (assuming they have enough levels in the class). Does this wording work for that?

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

Your spell list is extremely focused: you learn all of the 1st-level ~ spells at 1st level, and you simply learn each of the other ~ spells at the levels where the ~ table indicates a ~ first gains spell slots of the appropriate spell level. These spells are described in the Player’s Handbook.

Where “~” is a placeholder for the name of the class (capitalized, in the case of the reference to its table).

Suppose the table includes something like

The ~

Level 1st 2nd 3rd
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 4 2
4th 4 3
5th 4 3 2

The goal is for the class to learn all the 2nd-level spells on their list when they hit 3rd level in the class, and all of the 3rd-level spells on their list when they hit 5th level in the class, and so on. I’m not including a Spells Known column in the table. I want this to continue working correctly even if they are a multiclassed spellcaster—that is, a “~ 2nd/wizard 6th” would have 2nd- and 3rd-level spell slots, but they would only know the 1st-level spells from this class (just as with other spellcasting classes) since they are only 2nd level in it.

I’m reasonably sure that the wording I’ve used covers this, and correctly describes what’s supposed to happen. I believe it’s about as concise as is reasonable for accomplishing that goal. I also think it’s fairly clear. But I’d like to double-check all of that before moving forward. I don’t plan to include an explicit example in the write-up.

Also, suppose I use this same wording on a class that doesn’t get any spell slots at 1st level, but they do get Ritual Casting and the spell list does include some 1st-level rituals. Does this wording (with its explicit reference to 1st level) cover that situation, and allow members of the class to cast those rituals as rituals even before they have spell slots? This would, of course, require that the Spellcasting ability be listed among those gained at 1st level, rather than 2nd or 3rd as is the case for most such classes. Does this interfere with the usual multiclass spellcaster rules?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Those interested in this question may find the 3.5e classes beguiler (Player’s Handbook II), dread necromancer (Heroes of Horror), and warmage (Complete Arcane) worth a look, since their spellcasting operates on a similar principle. I’m not specifically trying to recreate those classes in 5e, but the wording I use here presumably could. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 8, 2021 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do members of this class also have all of their known spells prepared? If not, then Cleric and Druid would be the language to steal. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2021 at 0:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoelHarmon No, I really mean that they know, in the sorcerer sense, all of the spells on the extremely small list. A 14 in the relevant ability score would be enough to prepare all of them anyway—and at many levels, you wouldn’t even need that much. So it doesn’t seem worth the extra layer of complication. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 9, 2021 at 1:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nitpicking, but to me a "focused" spell list would mean that you are very good at a very small number of things, not that you know everything. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olorin
    Nov 9, 2021 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olorin Correct—the spell list is literally 8 related spells. The list is hyper-focused, which is why the spellcaster just knows the whole thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 9, 2021 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


This reminds me of how land circle Druids have circle spells...so treat it the same way and just list them.

Whizbangs don't choose spells, instead they always gain the spells listed when they reach the corresponding Whizbang level.

1st: Foo, Bar

3rd: Baz, Biz

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is actually a really good idea. I’m including the spell list right there anyway because a separate chapter for 8 spells seems ludicrous, so why not do it this way? It seems so obvious now, but clearly no one thought of it. Too busy trying to apply the wrong formula, I guess. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 9, 2021 at 21:04

We can be more concise.

You mention conciseness as a desirable quality, and I think we can improve upon what you have:

Spell Known of 1st Level and higher

You know all ~ spells of each level for which you have spell slots.

And this works with multiclassing since the mutliclassing rules state:

You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class.

Now, in my experience, we cannot assume that a reader will remember or even be aware of this rule from the multiclassing section, so I would recommend including a sidebar or section outlining the relevant multiclassing rules, much like the "Multiclassing and the Artificer" section of the Artificer class description.

Now, this does not cover the case for a class that gets 1st level spell slots after 1st level, while still allowing it to cast 1st level rituals at 1st level, but this is easily patched by wording the Ritual Casting feature of the Spellcasting section as follows:

Ritual Casting

You can cast a ~ spell as a ritual if that spell has a ritual tag. Beginning at 1st level, you know all 1st level ~ spells with a ritual tag.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there an example for "a class that gets 1st level spell slots after 1st level, while still allowing it to cast 1st level rituals at 1st level" \$\endgroup\$ Nov 8, 2021 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Exempt-Medic No, but Kryan wanted that case covered, I'm assuming for a different homebrew class. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 8, 2021 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 8, 2021 at 20:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I must say that if I read 'for which you have spell slots' I would be asking myself if that meant because I only have 2 level 1 slots if I only got 2 of the spells. I actually find this really confusing because it isn't standard, and anything non-standard does warrant extra explanation in my eyes. Spell slots does not equal spell slot levels. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Nov 9, 2021 at 12:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri If I’ve learned anything reading D&D 5e rules, it’s that it’s impossible to make a rule that everyone will interpret the same. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2021 at 12:18

The wording certainly works

I just don't see any real way to misinterpret or misapply the wording you've chosen. It is very thorough. That said, I would personally simplify it quite a lot:

Your spell list is extremely focused: You always know all the ~ spells for which you have spell slots.

Because spells known are determined individually for each class, this alone covers any problems that can arise from multiclassing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, but I feel that requiring readers to put 2 and 2 together like that—in an unusual situation—is not a good design choice. Very, very easy for someone to miss that, not realize the implication, or think this is a special exception. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 8, 2021 at 19:43

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