My goal is to create a mage who knows the maximum number of possible spells. I welcome workable ideas. And no, this isn't efficient - it's just what you get when you push the idea as far as possible.
- High Elf is a must for the bonus cantrip. This gives you four cantrips to start with instead of three.
- Green Mage is a must for the additional spells (Loremaster is not worth it; they don't have an expanded spell list and the bonus automatic spells don't kick in until level 6).
- If you are really serious about this, the party should have nothing but mages and clerics. One mage is a Green Mage and the other mage(s) and cleric(s) learn the difficult-to-find spells, get the recipes, and scribe the scrolls so that the Green Mage can learn them. I don't do that, so my current build (Paladin, Ranger, Mage, and Cleric) isn't optimal.
- This will take a lot of grinding, both for random scroll drops and for the money to buy scrolls and to scribe.
- This will require waiting to pick up a lot of spells until you either get the drop or can buy the scroll (which is also dependent on faction rep).
- Don't forget the ability for clerics to create scrolls for cross-class spells, which your Wizard can then scribe to their spellbook.
- Faction rep with the Tower of Knowledge is useful to get the recipes for that. Fortunately, complimenting Maddy gives faction rep (but it only works once per Caer Lem visit; maybe once per day). So you can grind the Tower of Knowledge rep up to Living Legend without giving them any items.
Levels 1 & 2 (first level spells)
- If you count the first level spell scrolls sold in Caer Lem, there are five spells that cannot be bought (and the Tower of Knowledge doesn't have the recipes), so they have to be picked up when you level: Animal Friendship, False Life, Goodberry, Hunter's Mark, and Longstrider.
- I have seen scrolls of Animal Friendship, so you can maybe hold off on that one and hope it drops while you are grinding, but I haven't seen scrolls of any of the rest.
- Result: All first level spells known: 26 spells.
Levels 3 & 4 (second level spells)
- If you count the second level spell scrolls sold in Caer Lem, there are two spells that cannot be bought: Protection from Poison and Ray of Enfeeblement.
- Both have recipes and I have seen Ray of Enfeeblement drop, so you can maybe wait on it.
- Result: All second level spells known: 22 spells. Now up to five cantrips.
Levels 5 and 6 (third level spells)
- If you count the third level spell scrolls sold in Caer Lem, there are eight spells that cannot be bought (dammit): Bestow Curse, Conjure Animal, Create Food, Fear, Remove Curse, Slow, Stinking Cloud, and Wind Wall.
- I have never seen scrolls of Bestow Curse, Create Food, or Wind Wall (they also don't have recipes), and there is a bug where you cannot transcribe from the Slow scroll, so those four have to be taken when leveling.
- I have seen scrolls of the remaining four, but it's a random grind to find them.
- Remove Curse is clerical and Maddy has a recipe, so you can get that one from a cleric.
- Conjure Animal is a Ranger spell, so you can get that one from the party ranger if they can create scrolls.
- Result: All third level spells (potentially) known: 20 spells. My character at tenth level is currently missing three.
Levels 7 and 8 (fourth level spells)
- If you count the fourth level spell scrolls sold in Caer Lem, there are eight spells that cannot be bought (again, dammit!): Black Tentacles, Confusion, Dimension Door, Fire Shield, Freedom of Movement, Giant Insect, Identify Creatures, and Wall of Fire.
- I have seen scrolls of all but Identify Creatures, so you have to take that one on level up.
- Freedom of Movement is clerical and Maddy has a recipe, so you can get that one from a cleric.
- All but Giant Insect and Identify Creatures have available recipes.
- Result: All fourth level spells (potentially) known: 15 spells. My character at tenth level is currently missing two.
Levels 9 and 10 (fifth level spells)
- If you count the fifth level spell scrolls sold in Caer Lem, there are four spells that cannot be bought: Contagion, Dominate Person, Hold Monster, and Insect Plague.
- I have seen scrolls of all of those, so random drops might get you there.
- None of the four have recipes, so there is no way to get them that way.
- Result: All fifth level spells (potentially) known: 8 spells. My character at tenth level is currently missing one. Up to six cantrips at level 10.
So that's it: with some planning and a lot of luck on drops, you can get a maximally knowledgeable spellcaster, with six cantrips known, and 26 + 22 + 20 + 15 + 8 = 91 spells known (230 spell levels = three spellbooks). Now to get there...
Best party composition for this BS: Cleric (Sun), Cleric (Oblivion), and two Greenmages. The mages get different spells each time they level, craft the scrolls (where possible), and trade back and forth. The two different types of clerics between them have 8 spells that they can craft scrolls for that are otherwise non-purchasable. That cuts the random drops required down to one (I think): one of the third level spells that need random drops. I did want to try out the alternate backgrounds...