Dawn of the Emperors adds:Pegataurs with Wisdom 15+ can become shamans. Those with Intelligence 15+ can become wiccas. As with other non-natural spellcasters, pegataurs may choose to become spellcasters at any time after reaching normal monster status.... However, like elves, pegataurs also naturally progress as limited spellcasters. Those pegatuars who do not choose the wicca path gain spells as elves of the same level. Pegataur shamans have access to the druidic spell list, being freely able to mix clerical and druidic spells....
(This formula is the same in the Creature Catalogue and Vengeance of Alphaks.)A 5 HD pegataur has the spell-casting abilities of a first-level elf, while a 14 HD pegataur has the spell-casting abilities of a tenth-level elf....
Wow. This system seems weird.
The rules for pegataurs as player-characters provide for a maximim of ten hit dice (obtained by a pegataur at eighth level, which is a little odd to reconcile with the data in the descriptions of pegataurs as mere monsters having up to fourteen hit dice. One can either hand-wave the inconsistency a bit by assuming the simpler system is just the most efficient way to handle mere monsters, and the more nuanced stuff in Top Ballista should only be bothered about for player-characters or important nonplayer-characters meriting the extra effort and potential power – after all, a thirtieth-level pegataur under those rules, despite having only ten hit dice, likely has far more hit points than one with fourteen hit dice...). Alternatively, one could presume the monstrous pegataur with fourteen hit dice represents one with a level of, say, about twenty. I think the first approach is easier and more sensible, but vive la difference!
Also of note is that it can be interpreted to mean that those using the system to enable elves to reach thirty-sixth level could have pegataurs gaining abilities to cast spells beyond those of a tenth level elf (obtained when the pegataur is itself tenth level). Another approach is to limit spellcasting to that available to a tenth-level elf in any event, on the theory that the last thing pegataurs need, especially as player-characters, is more power.
Those aren't the weird bits though. The truly weird bit, to me, is why on Mystara would any pegataur in his right mind bother at all to become a wicca, since pegataurs will attain abilities up to at least those of a tenth-level elf in any case. A wicca passing several ability checks for successful rituals could theoretically advance as a wicca to say, twelfth level and beyond, but the odds are against it. Taking that path, for that remote possibility, would be like turning down a a billion dollars, with no strings attached, for the slightest chance at maybe winning five billion dollars: there would be no takers save the insane.
Another possibility, though, is to read the rules carefully:
Those pegatuars who do not choose the wicca path gain spells as elves of the same level.
- This statement does not require that those pegataurs who do become wiccas do not gain spells as elves of the same level!
[P]egataurs may choose to become spellcasters at any time after reaching normal monster status.... However, like elves, pegataurs also naturally progress as limited spellcasters
- Pegataurs "may choose" to become spellcasters" as wiccas or shamans but, "like elves," they "also" naturally progress as limited spellcasters."
- Shamans gain the clerical spells available to shamans and druidic spells available to shamans with druidic ability subject to their levels as shamans, in addition to their abilities to cast magical spells as elves of the corresponding level as pegataurs.
- Wiccas effectively gain additional spells from those available to wiccas, appropriate in number and level with their levels as wiccas, in addition to the spells they can cast as elves of their level as pegataurs.
What do you make of this analysis? Is this how those of you who have experience with pegataurs as player-characters have done things? Or did you limit pegataurs to either the elvish spellcasting or the path of a wicca or shaman? If the latter, didn't you encounter the business I mention about only a fool or a lunatic pursuing the path of a wicca? (There's more of an argument to give up the innate spellcasting as an elf for access to clerical and druidic spells, which are different; whereas the spells available to a wicca are actually fewer than those available to an elf....)