First, you will need to read the original game’s manual. I recommend reading it from cover to cover, as this article will cover many of the most important details. It is also a good idea to look at the latest versions of the D&D 3.5 rules at http://www.wizards.com/en/resources/dnd/documents/treat/dndtreat/dndtreatrules_02142012.txt
Secondly, do some research about the environment of the place you want to play. For the D&D 3.5 environment, that means looking up the actual maps for the places where characters will be, including a couple of websites such as this one by “Lord Tarn”. I find these sites to be better than most books, because by looking them up yourself, you can find out quite a bit more about the place than from some articles and magazines.
This next step is a bit more important, and may take some doing. There are quite a few different types of magic that could or could not work in your area. You need to find out what the spells do, if any, and what the weaknesses of those spells are. These will determine how to write the spells up in your map.
Also, there are a lot of spell lists, so you might want to search there first.
The third, or least important, step is to go to the DMG in D&D 3.5 and read all of the descriptions of the spells you want. Make sure to read the spell descriptions, or at least enough to make out the general wordings of each one, so that you know that those terms mean what they say.
Once you have all of the information, it is important to see what weaknesses each spell has. In 4th edition, weakness was a special “flag” that was used in place of spell resistance or spell evasion. It indicated that the spells you cast were not suitable for certain characters, and they could only use those spells against the character. It would not give the character resistance or evasion. But it gave the character some abilities in comparison. There were many kinds of difficulty scores assigned to each spell, such as the DC of the spell, the effect it had on the target, and so on. This was how you could make an indication of what your character would have to do to hit that particular spell—in addition to his or her natural dexterity and strength scores, it would give a bonus
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