Lesson #7: .lst - Spell Basics

By Professor Andrew McDougall (Tir Gwaith).

File(s) Covered: *spells.lst

PCGen LST Standard: PCGen 6.00.x

GameMode: 3.5e (RSRD)

Tags used:


Please notice the order of the tags I put them in. That is how I enter spells into LST format. I use this order mainly because it is order in which the information is provided in the spell blocks found in most sources. For my example, I'll be using Blasphemy from the RSRD. This spell covers most of the tags I'll be covering in this class. I'll use other spells as examples of the tags that Blasphemy doesn't use.

spells.lst is probably the most "data" like of all the different file types. This lesson is going to cover the basics on that data entry. Parts for Temporary bonus information (applying a spell to a character) will come later.

Part 1: Schools of Magic

Tags covered:


The line below the spell name is usually in this format: School (Subschool) [Descriptors]

Note that I mention "Descriptors" in plural. There generally is only one School and Subschool, but many spells have more than one descriptor. DESCRIPTOR can contain a pipe-delimited (|) list of descriptors, so put a pipe between more than one descriptor.

Blasphemy has Evocation [Evil, Sonic] so it has a School and 2 descriptors.


Animal Trance has all 3 tags:

Enchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-Affecting, Sonic]


The tag associated with Descriptor is VARIANTS, but I normally enter it when doing DESC, since this field usually comes from the body of the spell description, but is usually linked with the DESCRIPTOR.

Part 2: Linking to a spell list:

Tags covered:


This is only part of the way of linking. If adding a new spell, this is the method used. When adding a new class and linking an old spell, the SPELLLEVEL tag is used.

The first two are easy. TYPE is then based on the first two tags. Our example from Blasphemy:

Level: Clr 7, Evil 7

Would translate into:


Since both of these are for Divine spellcasters, it would get:


Both tags are pipe (|) and comma (,) delimited. As an example:

Antimagic Field
Level: Clr 8, Magic 6, Protection 6, Sor/Wiz 6

Which would translate into:

Antimagic Field

Now, because the above list has both Arcane and Divine spells, the next tag would be:


There are a lot more aspects to linking spells, castability, etc. but those are global tags not normally used in a spells.lst , and we can cover those later.

Part 3: Spell Components and Casting time

Tags covered:


This section is easy, especially for those people that like to cut and paste. For the following spell information:

Components: V
Casting Time: 1 standard action

Is coded as:

CASTTIME:1 standard action

Exact entry into the tag field. Easy.

Part 4: Range, Duration, and Target / Area / Effect

Tags covered:


Ok, the first two are easy.

1) Range - We have a nice bit of code that auto-calculates the Close / Medium / Long ranges for spells, which is done through a GameMode file so you can add more if you wish, so whenever you see one of those, you merely need to put in the word for the range.

2) Duration - We have a nice bit of code that will do math functions. Such math functions must be encapsulated within a set of parentheses (). The character casterlevel can be used in these calculations by using the variable CASTERLEVEL as part of the math function. Everything in the parentheses is reduced to a number. For normal parentheses, like those used for "(D)" where spellcaster can end the spell sooner than the listed duration, we use the square-brackets [].

3) Target / Area / Effect - I have only once or twice seen a spell that had more than one of these three. Hence we combine them into one tag.

Here is a example of these spell info items and how they are coded in PCGen:

Range: 40 ft.
Area: Nonevil creatures in a 40-ft.-radius spread centered on you
Duration: Instantaneous

Is coded as:

RANGE:40 ft.
TARGETAREA:Nonevil creatures in a 40-ft.-radius spread centered on you

Another example (from Antipathy spell):

Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One location (up to a 10-ft. cube/level) or one object
Duration: 2 hours/level (D)

Is coded as:

TARGETAREA:One location [ up to (CASETERLEVEL*10) cubes] or one object

Part 5: Saving Throws and Spell Resistance

Tags covered:


Again, this is easy copy/paste stuff.


Saving Throw: None or Will negates; see text
Spell Resistance: Yes

Is coded as:

SAVEINFO:None or Will negates; see text

Part 6: Description and Variants, and extra costs.

Tags covered:


These tags are from the spells description, and require some judgment calls.

1) DESC is usually pulled from the "one-liners" in spell descriptions, such as those found in the RSRD SpellListI.rtf etc. Otherwise, reducing a paragraph into something that will fit on a character sheet (and will require the user to still own the book the item came from) becomes an editing call. We try to keep these descriptions to less than 50 characters long.

2) VARIANTS are taken from the description, where the caster makes a decision on how a spell works when casting, such as Fire Seeds, where the caster uses either acorns or berries. This also applies to things like Energy Resistance , where the energy type is decided at casting.

3) COST gives the specific cost of material components, usually listed at end of the spell description.

4) XPCOST gives the xp cost, when one exists, when casting the related spell. As with the material component cost, the xp cost is typically listed at the end of the spell description.

Example from Blasphemy :

DESC:Kills, paralyzes, weakens, or dazes nonevil subjects.

Per SpellListI.rtf , Blasphemy does not have any listed variants, material component cost, or xp cost.(Copy/Paste from SpellListI.rtf)

Example from Clone :

Clone M F: Duplicate awakens when original dies.
Material Component: The piece of flesh and various laboratory supplies (cost 1,000 gp).
Focus: Special laboratory equipment (cost 500 gp).

Is coded as:

DESC:Duplicate awakens when original dies.

Now, adding the cost of the Focus may not be the right thing to do here (I just used the example from the RSRD, so I could find one for the field...). The deciding factor on that would be how the cost of the Focus would be added into the creation of an item based on this spell (Material component costs are added into item creation costs).

The XPCOST example is easier (from Commune )

XP Cost: 100 XP.


Throw in a SOURCEPAGE tag, and basically, that is a spell, minus any Temp bonus tags for applying spell effects to characters.

Tir Gwaith
LST Chimp