Of all the areas of the AD&D game that you will be called upon to judge, magic is perhaps the most diverse and demanding. Magic allows characters to break all the natural laws of the universe, a situation that can lead to unforeseen, but highly exciting situations. Be sure you understand how magic works in the AD&D game and the different ways you can control its use.
Initial Wizard Spells
One control you have over the power of wizards is the choice of spells available at the start of the game. Each wizard begins the game with a spell book, but he has no information on what that book contains. You tell him. You can choose from several different answers. Based on your choice, the player acquires spells (and their reverse) for his character's spell book.
The simplest way to give a wizard spells is to throw the ball back into the player's court—ask him what spells he would like. As he names a spell, have him roll to see if his character can learn it. If he can, the player writes the spell on his character sheet. If he can't, one of you should note that he cannot learn that spell.
Keep doing this until all the 1st-level spells have been checked or until the character reaches the maximum number of spells his character is allowed to learn (depending on the character's Intelligence). This allows the player to get the spells he wants for his character, which usually makes the player happy. However, it has some drawbacks.
First, players tend to pick the spells they consider the most powerful. While this is not bad if you have only one or two wizards, a whole horde of the fellows, all with identical spells, gets pretty boring.
There is also a chance the character will overlook some basic spells he really needs to function as a wizard—read magic and detect magic, in particular. A wizard who cannot read a magical scroll is deprived of one of the important abilities of his class.
There is even a slim chance the character will hardly get any spells. And, while there is no minimum number of spells a character must know, a wizard without spells is hardly the type of character a player wants. If this happens, give the poor player a break and allow him to make some second checks on spells until you believe he has an adequate number.
You can automatically give the player character read magic and detect magic and four other spells of your choice. This starts all player characters off with the same number of spells. While it is not necessary to give each character the same spells, you should see that everyone has roughly the same balance of power. No rolls to learn these spells need be made. The character is assumed to have mastered them during his apprenticeship.
Finally, you can allow the player character to start with 3d4 (or up to the limit of his Intelligence) 1st-level spells. Two of these are automatically read magic and detect magic, which all wizards learn as part of their training. The remaining spells can either be chosen by the player, determined randomly, or selected by you.
If you select the spells, be sure to give the player a fair mix, allowing him to do a variety of things. Try to ensure that the player has a few of the spells he really wants.
If the character is a specialist in a particular school of magic, you should allow him to know one spell of his school automatically along with read magic and detect magic. All other spells must be checked for normally or discovered.