View Full Version : An awkward experiment in implementing generalized magic

2009-01-09, 01:06 PM
I'm not a huge fan of d20's many spawn, D&D in particular, but its what my group knows and likes. So, when I'm called upon to GM for it, I like to try to add new and interesting quirks to the game. I decided I wanted to play with the magic system, this time around, and the result is a bastard hybrid from parts of various systems. I don't like the way magic works in D&D, and my initial goal was to simply make something I personally find more palatable and interesting to play.

My first idea was inspired by a recent thread, on giving healing magic to wizards. I never quite cared for the mostly arbitrary distinctions between arcane and divine magic, and was quite intrigued by a 'generalist caster' class from UA that someone pointed out. Effectively a sorcerer that could draw from the wizard, cleric, and druid lists, it had some cool potential. How broken is this? I have no idea, but its something I decided to run with.

My next thought came from the fact that I dislike Vancian casting. Having seen a variety of other approaches to magic, I've found I do like the slightly different approach of psionics. While I love the system, as I discussed in a recent thread, I don't feel the flavor of psionics really fits well to a fantasy setting. However, I realized it would be quite trivial to adapt many of the mechanics of psionics to the generalist caster: They would receive spells known and "magic points" as per the psion progression. The cost for spells and metamagic feats easily translate. I haven't looked into it in detail yet, but I imagine there is probably a formulaic way to translate most spells into augmentable versions.

While not so much the case for sorcerers, it seems like wizards, clerics, and psions all have a means to specialize. In an effort to provide each caster with a preferred theme to their magic, all casters gain the benefits of a single cleric domain, including the ability to learn the associated spells. This isn't quite ideal, as it seems several domains are built around granting access to arcane spells we can already obtain. It is the closest fit I can think of, without excessive re-creation of new material.

This is where the idea stands at the moment, isolated from the fluff. I'm sure its incredibly abusable, but I don't think that really concerns me, as my players aren't incredible powergamers. None the less, I've not put too much thought into analyzing a lot of the details, and I'm wondering what any obvious problems might be from people more familiar with the system.

Familiar, Turn Undead, and probably Extra Domain would be available as feat choices, with the class having the psions bonus feat at 1st and every 5th level.

Most of all, though, I'm curious whether anyone else finds attempting such a highly general approach to magic also potentially interesting and fun. I like to experiment and want to give it a try, but if it really doesn't sound enjoyable I won't subject my players to it.

2009-01-09, 04:41 PM
you should look at the spell points variant in unearthed arcana