Time taken to learn a spell?

Hello again, everyone!

The lawyer-sorcerer is back with more questions! He would like to learn Shards, an Ob 2^ spell, so he has found a tutor who has agreed to mentor him every night.

Now the time for the test is 2 months, and that will be reduced by 10% for extra successes. I presume that our hero will make that test at the beginning of the time taken, so we know how long to spend working on it. But the book seems to leave ambiguous how long he needs to spend each day on this. I’ve made it a night class so he can continue doing adventures with the rest of the party during the day - neither of us are down with the idea that his character is totally out of action during this time, because our game’s timescale is pretty narrow.

So! 1) Is it enough to rule that as long as he works on it when he has a free moment, he will complete it in the allotted time?

I have a related follow-up: 2) What is the Ob of the First Reading of a spell whose obstacle is the target’s Will?

For 2) I’d follow the convention from the spell pricing (pg 205) and treat it as though the stat were 5

By the rules, instruction takes up your entire time, but in my games I’ve allowed things to take more days if less time is spent each day. While I definitely wouldn’t allow that for practice, because that would break the time economy, I’ve allowed enchanting to be done while traveling, with the time required tripled. I would have this take twice to three times as long, depending on how much sleep the character is getting. If they want to get it done faster, you could require forte or health tests (which I’m sure your sorcerer wants anyway) to stay up late studying. Going without sleep should get harder the longer they go, and the penalties should pile up, so it’s a meaningful decision to let the character go without sleep

This is the reason why so many fictional wizards hole themselves up into towers for most of their lives. Learning spells is dangerous and requires immense focus. That’s the intent behind the by-the-book rule that a PC can do nothing else during this time.

But that does make for hard decisions for the player and GM in a short campaign. Can the PC disappear for that length of time in the game as planned?

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Can any game support a PC doing that? Downtime is a thing, of course, but not every game uses that. Mine doesn’t, at least not yet, so I will probably have to shift this rule if the PC can do the things he wants. I guess the design intent that spells can only be learned in downtime, and that sorcerers just can’t do others tuff if they want to learn spells.

It’s a very natural reaction to keep the pace extremely up, but it’s a core part of the game that the characters will have downtime, whether to recoup lost resources, heal from their injuries, learn spells, receive instruction, or just practice. It may be the case that this character needs to wait a bit to learn this, or have it take longer. The other characters might also find things that they can do in down time. Martial and social skills have a short one month practice time for a reason. Remember that the world doesn’t just stop in downtime though. Periods of lesser action can be extremely good for the antagonists, and wanting to push further and further is part of the game’s design. There will eventually come a time when you all play the game of time management, it’s all part of the complex machine that is burning wheel


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