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Gorbash Kazdar
2004-08-14, 03:16 AM
JAKOB'S TIME-ALTERING SPELLS
Alternate realities are well known to mages - one simply has to observe the different planes, even alternate material planes, in order to know this. But this is not the only form of alternate reality. Nearly all worlds are deteremined by their past events, and these events are set more firmly than stone. However, magic can affect the past as much as the present. Despite this potential, very few mages dare tamper with the flow of time, fearing unintended consequences that can build on each other, a concept referred to as "temporal cascade."

But some cannot escape the lure of changing history. Most who attempt to alter the past do so to make certain an event of historical importance ends with an opposite result - a battle won that saves an empire, now lost; a childhood disease that the future Emperor survived, now fatal. Often, these attempts fail, sometimes because of the hubris of the mage or the interference of heroes attempting to prevent the change.

One mage, though, approached this dangerous field without glory, justice, or revenge in mind, simply a desire to study and learn. The wizard Jakob had long studied time, delving deep into its secrets. His studies, laid out in a series of papers, revealed that the longer since an event has occurred, the harder it is to change. He referred to this as "chronological momentum." Jakob therefore focussed his studies and experiments on altering very recent events, specifically those witnessed or experienced by the mage using time-altering magic.

Jakob posed two seemingly conflicting theories; in one, he argues that certain events in history hinge on a single decision point. If the decision point occurs in one manner, an increasing "temporal cascade" of events form a new timeline; if it occurs another way, the result is very nearly the opposite. Jakob's other theory, however, states that certain historical trends have such great momentum that, while the results of certain decision points can affect the details of the trend, none can stop or completely deflect it.

A close examination, however, shows that these two theories do not contradict each other. The first shows the potential power of time-altering magic; the latter, though, implies that only so much can be changed, so the magic is not as dangerous as it seems, since important events will still occur, just with different details. Of course, these "details" can be very important to those they effect; whether an empire collapses now or 20 years later can greatly change the lives of thousands of people.

Though Jakob himself disappeared after spending decades experimenting with this magic - some say as a result of those experiments - his notes were discovered, and his theories and practical results have inspired several powerful time-altering spells that have found their way into numerous spellbooks.

Jakob's Reversal
Transmutation [Time]
Level: Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V,S,M
Casting Time: One action
Range: Close
Target: Creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell forces the target creature to re-roll the last roll it made. This spell can be cast after the DM determines whether or not the roll resulted in a success or failure. If the new roll reverses the result of the action, re-resolve the effects of that action with this new result. A roll cannot be affected by more than one Jakob's reversal spell. The Luck domain ability cannot be used to affect an action Jakob's reversal has been cast on, though Jakob's reversal also cannot affect an action that has already been re-rolled via the Luck domain ability.

Material Component: A small piece of reflective glass, costing at least 1gp.

Decision Point
Transmutation [Time]
Level: Sor/Wiz 9
Components: V,S,M, XP
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Target: Personal and touch
Duration: 10 minutes/level
Saving Throw: No
Spell Resistance: No

This spell takes advantage of one Jakob's most important discoveries, the decision point. When cast, it creates a magical connection between the caster and a number of touched creatures up to your caster level/2 to a particular point in time; specifically, the point in time just after the caster completes this spell.

When the spell is later expended, it brings those creatures back to that point, reverting them to their previous condition and eliminating the results of any actions they took in between time. The only thing that remains is the memories of the creatures affected by this spell. Note that the XP and material are consumed prior to the time the decision point is set, and thus are not recovered when this spell is expended. Expending this spell is a standard action, that may be taken by any of the creatures under the spell's effect.

Material Component: A jeweled mirror, costing no less than 10,000gp.

XP Cost: 5,000 XP.

[Have to add two more spells. Also, I'm not sure about the power level of either of these spells - I think they're a little too powerful. For decision point, I'm considering making it personal; techinically, it does bring the whole party back to the decision point either way, but anyone not under the spell's effects forgets what happened (this would require some good role-playing on the PCs part, but it strikes me as amusing - the mage finishes off this huge spell, then blinks, and says "Well, I guess we shouldn't have done it that way," while to the rest of the party it seems as if nothing has happened). Basically, the spell is designed to function like a "save point" in a video game.]

[Edit: Completely rewrote Jakob's reversal.]

Fenris
2004-08-14, 05:34 AM
I really like the Decision Point (Save Game), that is a great mechanic very fun and you get to play the adventure over and over again until you get it right or run out of xp and gp which will probably happen first. Can the player use the info that they gained in the first experience?

Jakob's Reversal is good also I am a little worried about power level but I think that it should be an immediate action so that you don't have to rebuild everything up to the action that you are rerolling.

For instantance:
The fighter swings at the goblin and misses, the golbin stabs and kills the thief, the mage forces the fighter to reroll his miss. The fighter hits and kills the goblin and then what happends to the thief? This could get quite a bit more complicated and I am not so much worried about the result of the thief coming back just the discussion and real time that this could take. What if the fighter hit but did not kill the goblin would it have fled or maybe attack the fighter instead.

Lastly if I have the fighter reroll and he kills the goblin and the thief is fine I would not have casted my spell so don't I still have it?

The Giant
2004-08-14, 12:55 PM
The first one is a little iffy insofar as you are rerolling someone else's die. If a PC casts this, chances are he can't see the other die or know what it rolled, all he knows is the monster hit (or whatever). That means if the monster can hit on a 2 or better, the PC will waste the spell forcing an unlikely reroll. You can't even use it when the monster gets a critical, because the spell must be cast at the moment of success or failure—and a natural 20 would be simply a success until the subsequent confirmation roll.

On the flip side, the DM always knows what the PC rolled, so an NPC can wait until the PC rolls a lucky shot before nixing it.

At any rate, even if that doesn't bother anyone, the casting time NEEDS to be "1 free action", with wording like feather fall added in, and even then the wording on the timing needs to be rewritten somehow. As written, this spell is actually completely useless—because the last roll the target creature made is ALWAYS going to be the Will saving throw forced by this very spell!

Grey Watcher
2004-08-14, 01:37 PM
Temporal stuff is always fun. If you force a reroll or go back in time, you may PREVENT the very conditions that forced you to cast the spell in the first place. In which case, what happens? I mean, let's say I have an important job interview, and I want it to go right, so I prepare for it, among other ways with this spell. I mess up thoroughly, and I don't get the job. So I go back, I do things differently and I get the job. Now, I have no reason whatsoever to cast the spell, so why should I go back? And I if I don't go back, then I never change history, so I still screwed up the interview, so I go back, and then, because I don't have to, I don't go back, which means I have to go back, and so on and so forth in an infinite paradoxical loop.

Two things I don't like to let characters (game, literary, or otherwise) mess about with casually are time and death. Good luck getting these spells to work right.

DarkLight140
2004-08-14, 03:43 PM
Now, the second spell looks fun. The cost might be a a bit low- if everyone but the mage is killed, and he barely manages to cast it, then 5k XP might be easily worth the foreknowledge he gained (which will probably be significant, regarding the capabilities and possibly preparati0ons of his foes) and the lives of the entire party. On the other hand, that's really up to the DM. I know as DM I'd get really frustrated after the chracters all die in my brilliantly evil trap, and then go right back again and this time own eveyone there. But maybe not everyone is like me. :P

As for the first, I'd just say you cast it as a free action at any time, so that you're just dodging the whole temporal alteration deal.First level is really too low to "rewind" the flow of time even six seconds, but, well, a tenth of a second could be possible.

Looking forward to your other spells!

Starbuck_II
2004-08-14, 06:26 PM
Decision Point
If he is prepared enough to have the spell then he deserves to live another day lol

If his allies are alreadty dead then only he gets the memories, man that would be hard to forget I just died lol.

I agree free action or not very useful for Jakob's Reversal



Temporal stuff is always fun. If you force a reroll or go back in time, you may PREVENT the very conditions that forced you to cast the spell in the first place. In which case, what happens? I mean, let's say I have an important job interview, and I want it to go right, so I prepare for it, among other ways with this spell. I mess up thoroughly, and I don't get the job. So I go back, I do things differently and I get the job. Now, I have no reason whatsoever to cast the spell, so why should I go back? And I if I don't go back, then I never change history, so I still screwed up the interview, so I go back, and then, because I don't have to, I don't go back, which means I have to go back, and so on and so forth in an infinite paradoxical loop.

Two things I don't like to let characters (game, literary, or otherwise) mess about with casually are time and death. Good luck getting these spells to work right.
Wow, no raise dead? No Resurrection? Man, you have a tough campaign.
Look at your example:. "So I go back, I do things differently and I get the job"
Now a alternate dimension you is either stuck in your time or he kills himself balancing time.
After all you would still be there...

And you don't have to go back, your other already did.
That is the tricky thing you don't change history changes around you.

Its hard to understand but that is how it works I think.

ByronHulcher
2004-08-14, 09:33 PM
A few more of these and you could be running Crono Trigger.

I like the second spell. I just simply like the idea of a save point feature. I want to suggest some kind of failsafe against the lone spellcaster being alone and getting to go back. I would suggest some kind of divine contact for this. You are resetting the sands of time here. Ive always had little fun house rules where if you keep calling upon the gods and planes eventually, they just say "Figure it out for yourself".

If anything maybe have a small blip that this spell can only be cast once per day. That way someone can't just keep trying the same thing over and over.

xthemage
2004-08-15, 12:36 AM
the 5000 xp cost is enough. Even at L20, that's pretty painful. You can't cast this spell more than 4 times in a row, because you're then back to the minimum XP for L20. Expending more XP on an encounter than you gain from it is rarely useful, especially when a plethora of lower level divinations (that don't cost XP) will provide nearly the same result.

Now... an item that casts this several times per day would be overpowered.

Ikkitosen
2004-08-15, 10:19 PM
Mechanics aside, I think Jakob's Reversal is similar to an old Tome of Magic spell that was 3rd level. *If I remember correctly, this one let you force/get a re-roll of any roll from the last round, and so was more flexible with the target and less flexible with the casting moment. *Of course this spell allowed no save, and that's definitely a factor. *Your spell would be good to help prevent the PCs messing up, since they'd forego the save.

Decision point rocks :) *There was a magical hourglass in one campaign I played that looped time when the sand ran out. *So, get to BBEG's lair, turn timer and leave outside. *You've then got 10 minutes to beat BBEG and go stop the timer. *If you all die, the timer runs out and you reappear outside. *It was like Challenge Anneka (for those of you that remember it), with us running outside with yells of "Stop the clock" after a major fight *;D. *Can't remember whether the characters remembered what had happened or not though......Still, the DM had great fun butchering us all with his super-bad-guy, knowing that he wasn't ending the campaign when he wiped us all out. *

Ikki.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-08-16, 04:09 AM
Thanks for the pointers and suggestions, guys. Yeah, the first spell definitely needs work... before I make any finalized changes, let me run few things by you guys.

First, I'm moving it up to level 2. Then, I'm changing the casting time as per the Giant's suggestion, and clearing up the wording.

Alternatively, what if I made it a willing target only? Would that make it more in line with 1st level, or would it just fit well with the changes listed above?

Still working on the other two spells...

Ikkitosen
2004-08-16, 04:58 AM
If it's a free action to cast and can only be used on friendlies then I'd say it's 3rd level (just a feeling). I think it's a powerful ability (ala the 2nd ed. spell I mentioned), especially if quickened.

If it were a swift action (which, as I understand means you can interrupt the initiative flow to do it, but it's still your action for a round) then 1st sounds good if friendly only.

Just my (completely non-professional) tuppence worth :).

Ikki.

The Giant
2004-08-17, 10:48 AM
If it were a swift action (which, as I understand means you can interrupt the initiative flow to do it, but it's still your action for a round) then 1st sounds good if friendly only.

Your understanding of swift action is incorrect. A swift action is a free action, and you must take it on your turn (unless specifically noted). The difference is that you can only take 1 swift action per turn, while you can take many free actions. Making this spell a swift action is exactly the same as making it a free action that doesn't allow another spell to be cast.

You might be thinking of an immediate action, introduced in the Expanded Psionics Handbook. I know that interrupts someone else's turn.

Ikkitosen
2004-08-17, 09:57 PM
Aha, thanks for the correction. I'd read the term in a post somewhere, obviously got the wrong idea.

If this immediate action does what I thought a swift action did, then maybe that's the way to go. Darn it, I don't know!

Ikki (he who needs more rulebooks).

The Giant
2004-09-01, 09:06 AM
Sorry, GK; you never got those other two spells up, so you don't qualify for the contest. Better luck next time.

Gorbash Kazdar
2004-09-01, 08:06 PM
Sorry, GK; you never got those other two spells up, so you don't qualify for the contest. Better luck next time.
As a Red Sox fan, I'm quite used to saying "Wait till next year!" (or month, in this case) ;)

Just got incredibly busy at the end, and couldn't think of a 4th spell (the third would have allowed you to re-do previous levels - reroll all HD, rechoose feats and skills, rechoose any ability score increases, maybe even redo class selection per levels). I do intend to finish these spells at some point, though.

Gdrad
2004-09-01, 10:22 PM
"Never Existed"
In Red Alert 2 there is a unit called a Crono Legionnaire. They crono shift from place to place (port straight to spot, but have to phase in, further they port longer they phase), and hit things with a crono beam. The crono beam ERASES THINGS FROM TIME!!!!!
Thus I suggest you look at this example for inspiration. Remeber you don't just need to redo things with Time-Altering spells.

Adghar
2004-09-01, 10:37 PM
Yeah, and if the Crono Legionaire was 3rd level, it could zap tanks and troops away almost instantly. When it erases things from time, it takes time to do that. In the meantime, target and shooter alike are frozen in place. The best strategy is to train, like, a heckuva lot of Crono Legionaires and try to get them all up to 3rd stars by zapping away buildings. I'm pretty sure the entire idea of the good guy side in RA, RA2, and C&Q Generals is Time. I mean, in the C&Q Series, there are so many Chronospheres, or Chronodomes, or whatever they're called. Yeah, in RA, or was it one of the later C&Qs, the Chronosphere or whatev teleported you to any place on the map.

If you think these things are overpowered and therefore the C&Q series sucks (I know no one will think this, but I'll protect C&Q anyways.), oho, you have got some playing to do. All these time powers have costs, like, 2500 or so ore for the Legionaire, and for the warping, you had to wait a heckuva long time.
Yeah, I played RA2. So what?

Gdrad
2004-09-01, 11:13 PM
Oh in the last allied mission of the Red Alert 2 campaign. You can pretty much A. Beat it with just two crono legioneers, or B. CRIPPLE the enemy with 2.

You tp them to the right side and take the two power plants there. *crono them* You then tp to the BOTTOM tp out the power plants there, then take out all the units guarding the superweapons, then take them.

Best part about cronos are that they PUNISH your enemy for not having interior defense.
5 cronos go into a battlebunker, I forget the rest as I dont recall seeing an enemy...maybe they were ERASED FROM TIME!!! *oogie boogie*

Oh a REAL evil trick I tossed toegther. Okay the dynamite that crazy ivan plants, put that on a unit fuse burns down when it burns all the way down the dynamite explodes taking the unit with it right?? Well now toss the unit in a transport, the fuse WILL burn down, BUT the TnT will NOT expllode until the unit EXITS the transport. Put Tnt on Libian Demo trucks, put THEM inside a Hovercraft, put the hovercraft into enemy base, deploy. It costs a bit, but its a tactical 4 Demo truck strike, usuable from an ocean front. It scary (for enemy) to have someone do the destruction of a superweapon when superweapons are off.