I've recently been reading the 3rd edition Basic Fantasy RPG book, and on page fifteen it states that: "Some spells are reversible," and indicates that these spells are marked in the spell listings.

One such spell is Bless, which can be reversed to Bane another is Cure Light Wounds which can be reversed to be Cause Light Wounds.

Reading these spells it sounds like they are one spell that can be cast two ways, but that seems somewhat overpowered in this old school system. My question is: are spells that can be reversed one spell that can be cast two ways or are they two spells which must both be learned independently in order to cast them?

If possible, please provide a reference with your answer.


2 Answers 2


Well, this is interesting... I'm not supposed to make statements based on my opinion, but as the author of the game, I suppose the whole game IS my opinion. :D


A Magic-User who learns a reversible spell, for instance Light, can prepare it either as Light or its reverse Darkness. If said Magic-User can cast two or more first-level spells, he or she can even prepare an instance of each. The same applies to a Cleric, when he or she prays for spells; either the normal or the reverse version may be thus prepared.

The caster does not choose at casting time, but rather when preparing the spell. However, the cost to learn Light also grants Darkness, and so on for all the other reversible Magic-User spells.

Let me also say that I strongly recommend you join us on the Basic Fantasy RPG forums at http://www.basicfantasy.org/forums for answers to this and many other questions. It's the place where we create new products, the first place we announce new releases, and the best place to stay in touch with the Basic Fantasy Project community.

And before THIS becomes a Stack Exchange topic... the answer to the "human check" question (when registering on the Basic Fantasy forums) is


See you there!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hard to argue with the author I suppose. Thanks Chris! \$\endgroup\$
    – clyde
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 8:34

The cleric must decide which application of a reversible spell will be used prior to learning it; i.e., it is not possible to have one spell that can be used both ways.

Spell reversing is (character-wise) a questionable act depending on the Cleric's alignment. The use of spells which promote weal must be shunned by evil clerics in many cases. Likewise, spells which are baneful may be used only at peril by clerics of good alignment. Incautious use of spells will change the cleric's alignment, if such usage continues unchecked, and it is up to the player to guard his or her character's alignment with care.

In short, they are two separate spells. Meaning you must learn each independently. At your risk of course ;)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The question requests that answers be backed up with a citation if possible. Could you do that? If not, explaining why the answer can't be cited and why that's OK would improve the answer a lot. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is precisely how I would rule this at my table, but as SevenSidedDie noted above, I'd love to be able to reference this information in the book and have been unable to find it thus far. \$\endgroup\$
    – clyde
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 21:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .