View Full Version : [Variation] Spell Skills

2006-08-09, 10:32 PM
I've recently been working on something to spice up my campaign, however, I'm a new DM and I've little experience creating varients. So here's my story.

I've only run published campaigns in the past, and have had a blast with my normal play group. We tragically split up shortly after graduation, however. I was getting bored over the summer and began to write a campaign for myself. It's actually spiraled so far out of control that I find myself thinking of alternate turns to the story every now and again. To make things interesting, so as to attract a group of players, I set the campaign out of the ordinary. The players are part of a traveling carnival. This is where my problem comes in.

In a standard D&D campaign world, there are roaming adventuring groups and rivals, generally compossing of a warrior, a mage, a healer, and a sneaky lil guy who enjoys looting. All three of these guys could easily fit into a carnival, but why work for a carnival when monster hunting and tomb exploration is not only exciting, but more profitable. It's just not realistic to have Core Class Characters working for a two-bit carnival. Unless I drop the commonality of adventurers. I was more than fine with this idea, less things for me to worry about, 'cept I began to think about who in their right mind trains the group's mage, and healer to perform their magical feats?

Recently I've toyed with the idea of magic as a skill. If the strongest fighter in the world can botch up an attack on a roll of 1... then why does every wizard still lay waste to a 20 foot diameter circle without having to really worry about it? I also like the ability for a mage to pull odds and ends of spell components together to develop exactly what he wants (why cast a 20 foot spread of fire on only one strong foe? why not summon forth a ray of fire, or better yet, a ray of cold, that can freeze my oponent?) . Every mage in standard D&D has a variety of spells, and knows these spells by being able to convince the universe using hand motions, magical words, and little figments of the universe itself (material components for those who don't get it). If a mage knows the hand motion to summon forth fire, and the magical words to cast a ray spell, then why can't he ever combine them.

Needless to say, though, I'm WAY over my head in constructing this varient. I want to make it balanced, but I'm also reworking the entirety of D&D's most used feature. Do ya'll think I might get some help with this?

2006-08-09, 10:37 PM
I forgot to mention that I HAVE done some work on this.

What I've done so far is worked out a general list of what spells do, in current D&D.

Summon something
Control something's mind
Create something
Provide Stat bonuses/penalties
Random ultilities

2006-08-09, 11:44 PM
Spells also:
Give information
Manipulate souls
Animate dead bodies/inanimate objects
Release energy as light/darkness/damaging bursts
Outright kill

And more. The divisions of magic into schools are very helpful and fairly scientific. They did a thorough job fitting the spells to these categories, and you're probably well off using them as a baseline.

I don't think your ideas about requiring skill rolls for spells or letting wizards adapt their magic are crazy, but you do have your work cut out for you.

2006-08-10, 12:19 AM
So, let's see what we can do with this.

First, I'll list all our compiled categories:

Control Mind
Increase/Decrease Stats
Manipulate Souls
Animate Dead
Release Damaging Energy

Well, we can obviously combine "release damaging energy" and "kill" with the "harm" category, right? We can also fuse "animate dead" and "manipulate souls" somehow, I'm sure. Maybe something like "Deal with dead/afterlife?" Or perhaps some form of "necromancy"? Control Mind could easily be changed to a more simple "control". "Mend" and "heal" seem similar enough, so combine those into one, maybe like "healing and mending", or perhaps "fixing".

That's all I've got for now, but I think you need to limit your categories first, before thinking of applications.

2006-08-10, 12:42 AM
Indeed I do, the divisions of Spells being what they are is still far too wide... but perhaps that's just what I need for a jumping off point. For organization sake (oh god, what have I done! I'm organizing things!) I'll just list the 8 basic schools of D&D and the 10 Different Arcanum from White Wolf's recent version of Mage (I slipped into White Wolf's games as they were introducing v. 2 so that's all I know), along with what they do.


Divination: Using magic to discover what one does not presently know. Largely my favorite, and largely misunderstood.
Evocation: The manipulation and conjuring of energies. Aparently the most popular, since every pc mage I've ever known has had an unending majority of these spells.
Abjuration: The defensive school of creating sheilds. Perhaps it'd be neat to see some mages fully clad in armor casting these spells unhindered.
Conjuration: To summon forth something. Also healing spells are listed under here. I do not understand why, perhaps I'll change that in the final product.
Necromancy: The manipulation of the forces of life and death, usually death. It seems to me that healing spells should actually be within this category.
Echantment: Spells that generally deal with the mind and emotions of other people. Also has a low ammount of manipulation of fate (bestow curse).
Transmuatation: Transformation from one thing to another, whether temporarily, or permananently. This school feels like it'd be full of blacksmiths, to me. Contains alot of Buffs and Debuffs.
Illusion: The creation of false sensory perceptions. I really like Illusion spells, too. It seems to me that if somebody were to get the most out of this new system, Illusionists would be those somebody. That's perfect for a carnival setting!
Universal: So that makes nine... oh well... Universal seems to deal with spells that either incorperate none of the above schools, or all of them (i.e. the ever popular wish).

The Ten Arcanum

This is another set of divisions that White Wolf came up with for their spells. Mage has plenty of different combinations to create any spell imaginable, it's just right for what I'm going for, 'cept it's not a D20 system....

Death: This deals with sapping the life energy from living beings. It also deals with strengthening, summoning, and controling undead. Finnally, it can be used to decay things at extreme rates.
Fate: This is by far my favorite arcanum. It plays with shifting the odds, for the most part, but also has neat affects of causing random things to help you, like making it fated that you just happen to carry a hip flask in your breast pocket, right where you would have been shot. Okay, that was probably the worst way for me to explain it. ><
Forces: Oh looks... it's Evocation.... The manipulation of energies. It's downplayed alot more in Mage: The Awakening, because of how vulgar it is.
Life: Deals with the improvement of living beings, the creation of living beings, and control over the instinct of living beings. Also has healing spells.
Matter: More blacksmiths.... Change the qualities of nonliving matter, also detect different versions of matter....these are becoming too easy to explain.
Mind: If anything were enchantment, this is... also has some neat buff spells for your own mind, including granting the ability to multitask.
Prime: I never understood this one.... It's generally universal magics. Manipulation of prime magical forces such as ley lines (magical power lines) and tass (crystalized magic). It seems to just have dispell spells pulling for it, in my mind.
Space: Teleportation, opening portals, and gaining extreme sensory abilities about places around you. Not to mention some nice scrying abilities. Allows you to cast spells when you can't normally see the target of the spell.
Spirit: Animism is prominent in most of White Wolf's games.... Spirits are cool and all, but they're very generalized.... and I really don't see the point of it in Mage... but in a world where demons and angels run rampant like D&D...Okay, it'd be cool to have a guy who works with outsiders. Everything that can be done in any of the other arcanum have to include Spirit in order to work on spirits (no brainer, eh?)
Time: Manipulation of time, in all it's glory... from sensing the past and future, to acting within seconds, to hopping backward in time to correct a mistake, to everything in between. I also really like this one, it looks like it'd be a bunch of fun.

Okay, so that's the lists..... Now if we could figure out a way to cut them up even more....

The Demented One
2006-08-10, 01:29 AM
I'd reccomend looking at the mechanics of Truenaming from Tome of Magic, which is skill based. Probably couldn't just take the mechanics from it wholesale, as it may have some balance issues (under, not overpowered) and it uses one skill, rather than the many skills it seems you're looking for. I'd go with one skill for each school of magic myself at most--Abjure, Conjure, Divination, Enchant, Evoke, Illusion, Necromancy, Transmute--and I'd rather just use one or two skills (Spellcraft, various Knowledges) instead.

2006-08-10, 01:36 PM
I have looked at the Truename magic style. It was pretty cool, but I'd still have to overhaul the class to get it to encompass the entiriety of magic. I'd just as well try to work out the mix-'n-match type magic that I've begun working with.

Perhaps we could just use Spellcraft as the skill. We could also adapt perhaps a kind of Spell Kernal system. It would require a whole new base class, probably, but that wouldn't be hard to do, as it would be incredibly close to the standard mage classes. As far as I can tell, we'd have to subclass the different things that each of the schools of magic do. Then, when a class level of (for lack of a better name) Spellweaver is taken, you'd select additional spell kernals to add to your list. The only problem with this spell kernal system that I can think of is in my favorite school, divination. All divinations spells can be brought down into the simple verb, "discover." Of course, I could just as easily broaden the types of discovery that could be made. So, for a model of spell kernals (I'm beginning to like that term) in Divination could be the following.

Past: discover the history of a person, place, or object. General Postcognition.
Future: discover the future of a person, place, or object. Perhaps gain involuntary flashes of precognitions at DM's discretion.
Spirit: Question the spirits of the dead. Spells that allow you to speak with dead, and maybe even summon forth the dead in a kind of seance type thing.
Living: This is going to be popular, I'm sure... Gain general present information about particular living beings. Higher levels of this would include spells that allow you to read thoughts.
Object: What would Divination be without the ever popular spell Identify? This Kernal would give you the ability to learn the properties of an object, along with generally recent past. The Past kernal would be required for more detailed descriptions of the Object's past.
Commune: Another seance thing, only this one deals with contacting deities and outsiders.

I think we've got a pretty good start here, now...

2006-08-10, 02:40 PM
I started on something similar (on the make up own spells bit)a couple of weeks ago, but I never got far.

What I did come up with was that it would be spell-point based adn that each "thing" you could do with magic was represented by "tecniquea".
The base class I had in mind started with 1 + int mod tecniques, and then got another tecnique every level.
The max amount of spell points expendable at the same time was equal to your caster level.

I had a couple of different tecniques, for example, Fire

The basic fire tecnique allowd you to deal 1d6 fire damage per spell point expended on a touch attack.

Then you could take the "ball" or the "burst" tecnique, where ball added +2 to the spell pint cost, but allowed you to deal 1d6 fire damage per spell pint expended, minus the 2 ball points, as a ranged touch attack.
The Burst tecnique allowed you to cast a fireball, where each spell point bought you either a +1 d6 damage, +5 (or ten) feet radius, or +1 save dc.

I don't know if this helps you any, but it is was I thought about when I read this.

The system I started doing wasn't skill based, and it wasn't designed to be on par with the standard magic system (power wise), so my old ideas may be a bit off.

Edit: It is rather similar to the kernal idea (I should start to read all of the posts in a thread before I post).
Fire kernels could be basic, ball, burst, wall, line (these are the ones that I started doing)
I had some Protection tecniques too: Basic (added defelction bonus equal to 1 point per 1 + 3(x-1) where x was the ac added (if I remember correctly, it may have been squared or times 2 or something completely else). For protection, I also had element, which gave elemental resistance (to one element) 2 per point spent, to a maximum of 5 per point spent, for 1 minute per point spent (each part bought seperatley). Then I had Physical, which was a weaker for of element against normal damage, and Spell, which gave spell resistance.

I had plenty more, but I no longer have my notes left.

I hope that I have at least given you some ideas.

2006-08-10, 02:54 PM
You might want to look at how the SWRPG handles the Force.

2006-08-10, 02:59 PM
You might also want to look at the Black Company Campaign Setting book. Magic Use as a skill, some of the really minor stuff (prestidigitation, ghost sound, detect magic) as skills.

Essentially you learn the "base" version of a spell as a feat, and then modify things like range, area of effect, targets, duration, unique special effects and so forth (which can raise or lower the Magic Use DC depending on the sorts of modifications).

Sounds like BCCS has all the stuff you're looking for.

2006-08-10, 05:21 PM
I already do something very similar to this in my own house ruled games; one of the main difficulties is how to scale things. There's a four point difference between Maxing out Skill Ranks and Maxing out BAB at First Level and the gap only grows, unless you're a Warrior where it's three and remains three forever. By which I mean, you have to be careful how you cap it, which goes hand in hand with how many Skill Points you hand out and how you set the Difficulty Class. You can really have a lot of fun with this and I have found that it has good consequences for Specialist Wizards[i.e. Necromancers, Illusionists and such].

2006-08-10, 08:59 PM
I'll see what I can look into as far as what you've all suggested.

Mathew, I want to hear more about what you do.

I'm also having problems figuring out Kernals for other Schools. I'm trying to get them down to about 6 or 7 categories per school. So here's what I'd like to do.

First, I'm adding one more kernal to Divination.

Divination (Location) allows characters to use spells such as clairaudience, and scrying, along with the various detect spells that run on range of sight (Detect Magic and the like).

Second, I've worked out three more sets of spell kernals today, but two of them didn't catch my fancy. Evocation worked out alright, because the 6 general energy types (fire, cold, lighting, sonic, acid, and force) are all generally balanced already. It's not that hard to think of an acid ball, or a cold bolt. The two that I really had problems with were Conjuration and Abjuration. I've already considered using the subschools in Conjuration as the seperate kernals, but they just don't feel even, and then there's one missing. Also, I"d like to shy away from using healing in conjuration, because only by extreme stretch of mind does healing strike me as conjuring anything. It should go in Necromancy, since Necromancy deals with the life force anyway. As far as Abjuration goes, I just can't think of enough balanced concepts to divide the school into kernals. Some ideas from you guys?

2006-08-10, 11:14 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to thank the Spoon of Flaming Doom. Your idea does help me, but giving the character power points or something to limit him from casting unending doom spells every round should come later. I'm more concerned with creating this kernal system. I've grown fond of it.

I'm thinking that a Spellweaver (this terminology will need to fit kernal eventually, or perhaps kernal can change to... "thread"... what do you all think?) will gain a few kernals to begin with... and maybe an extra kernal every other level... maybe every third level. They shouldn't come up very very often, because soon the Spellweaver will have collected them all... too powerful. But we can discuss what level to do anything later. The kernal idea lets a character perform a variety of spells within a small group. And if a character combines different kernals, then they could easily achieve a multitude of effects. One of the founding ideas of this system is the idea of mixing and matching effects to create neat spells that you wouldn't think of before. I actually thought of two spells right after coming up with the Divination set. I'll show the idea off right now.

By using Divination (future) with Divination (living) you could target a specific living being with the possibilities of damage in his future. I'm not quite sure how much damage I'd attribute to it, but it'd definately harm his as wounds pop open on his body through contact with future conflicts he may have.

Using Divination (past) and Divination (living) you could cause monsters to loose their Damage Reduction for a round. The spell simply reopens the wounds that just healed up and holds them open for the round. It'd be a higher skill roll for a longer duration.

As you can see, the idea behind the spell is still generalized, but it allows the creation of whatever you can think of within a set limit of rules. (that is, you character you come up with the idea for a spell, but unless he knows the general hand gestures and the magic words (spell kernals) he's not going to be able to cast it)

2006-08-11, 06:02 AM
I see you've got your sights set on a big complex reworking of the spell system, so I'll keep my idea brief. It's a simpler way of freeing up wizards, applying skill to magic and not breaking the game (I hope).

Wizards can cast spells from the Wizard list by making a Spellcraft check, DC 15+spell level. Arcane spells from other lists have a DC of 15+(2 x spell level). Specialist Wizards gain a +4 bonus to cast spells from their chosen school. If the Spellcraft check is not successful, the spell is not cast. Any check failure stuns the wizard for 1 round per spell level. A critical failure (natural 1) deals 1 hp of damage per spell level.
Wizards can take 10 on Spellcraft checks to cast spells, but not take 20.
Wizards gain 1 magic point, plus INT modifier, per level. These are permanent points, which don't replenish (kind of like action points). Magic points can be spent to ignore the penalties of failing a Spellcraft check to cast a spell.

Just a thought.

2006-08-11, 03:28 PM
I like that system. Except for the stunning thing. It's got a good base to it's DC and the consequences for critical failure are pretty good. I don't like the stunning thing. Especially because if every wizard in my world is going to be using this spell kernal system, they'll need to not be afraid of failure every now and again.

2006-08-13, 02:43 AM
okay, I'm not letting my thread die like this, just when I was getting somewhere.... so every day for the next few weeks, whether anybody is going to read it or not. I'm going to post an update of some sort. It could be a list for new spell kernals, it could be a full new baseclass that incorperates this new system. The only thing I want is people to critisize, point out flaws in the system, and try to submit some of their own ideas. If you think you could do a spell kernal list better than me, go for it. I'll just have to try not to be so jaded :p.

2006-08-13, 12:34 PM
Mathew, I want to hear more about what you do.

Right, let me see. We use a fairly heavily modified game so things wonít directly translate. Bear with me; fortunately, the process of change was gradual, so I can make some effort to help.

First of all you are going to have to decide whether you want to integrate Spell Casting Proficiency into the existing 3.x Skill System or keep it separate. The latter is the easiest to do, but the former is probably the more rewarding.

A few ideas:

Separate (Simple)

Using the simple system you assign Spell Casters a separate progression table, called something like the Base Spell Casting Bonus. Itís probably best to have it progress as the Clericís (Three Quarter) Base Attack Bonus, though obviously ignoring the additional attacks. The Base Difficulty Class of any Spell will be simply 2 x Spell Level, meaning that as the Spell Caster advances in Levels he is going to put more and more reliance on his Primary Spell Casting Attribute, which he adds to his Base Spell Casting Bonus to get his total Spell Casting Bonus. You are obviously free to increase the Difficulty Class of any Spell Casting Attempt as you see fit. Under this system you might allow a Feat to be expended to Focus (+1) on one particular School or Domain of Magic; you might want them to Focus on a particular Spell, but that will likely not be attractive to them.

Alternatively, you could use the Fighterís (Full) or Wizardís (Half) Base Attack Bonus progression and modify the Difficulty Class accordingly.

Separate (Complex)

Using the complex system you assign Base Spell Casting Bonuses to a Wizard for each School of Magic or Cleric Domain. Each initially uses the Three Quarter Base Spell Casting Bonus progression; however, one School or Domain may at the outset be assigned Full progression for every other that is assigned Half progression. In the case of Specialist Wizards, their chosen Specialist Schools advance at Full progression and they receive free the relevant Focus (+1) Feat. Rather a lot to keep track of, but fun.

Separate (Freeform)

Using the Freeform system you start by assuming the Difficulty Class of each Spell is equal to 10 + (2 x Spell Level), meaning that a minimum Spell Casting Bonus of +10 (if 1 always fails) is desirable at Level 1.* To achieve that kind of proficiency in all Schools of Magic, including Universal, a total of 90 Points is necessary for the Base Wizard Class. A Wizard with a high Intelligence will need considerably less points, whilst a Wizard with low Intelligence will need considerably more. Given the current incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons, it is reasonable to assume that the average PC Wizard will have an Intelligence Bonus of at least +2, but many will have considerably higher bonuses and as they climb in levels will probably gain more. I recommend the following system under these circumstances:

Starting Values * * * * * * * * *Attribute Bonus

Abjuration * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Conjuration * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Divination * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Enchantment * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Evocation * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Illusion * * * * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Necromancy * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Transmutation * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X
Universal * * * * * *+6 * * * * * * * * *+X

A Spell Caster with a very high Intelligence (18) will be able to access all Schools at Level 1 pretty much perfectly before even spending any points. However, that should be expected of such gifted individuals, the more average PC Spell Caster, as discussed above, still requires 18 Advancement points to reach the minimum desirable level. The trick is to not provide 18 Points and instead provide only 16, meaning that Level 1 Spells from two Schools of Magic are going *to fail on a 1 or 2 or one School is going to fail on a 1,2 or 3.
At every Class Level after first, the Spell Caster receives additional Spell Casting Advancement Points. If you provide a uniform 9 points, they will advance uniformly in each category, rendering this exercise next to pointless, so a number less than 9 is advisable. It may be tempting to use the Formula [X + (Intelligence Bonus)], but doing so will probably overemphasise the importance of the Intelligence Bonus and severely cripple Spell Casters with lower Intelligence Bonuses. I recommend allowing 6-8 Advancement Points per level, depending on how you want the Difficulty Class to Skill Level ratio to work.
Spell Casting Focus Feats should probably grant +1 to an individual School of Magic under this system.
Specialist Wizards hugely benefit from this system, as they only have to advance seven Schools of Magic, meaning that they usually end up being much more proficient than their fellows; this is to be expected, it is the advantage of dropping all interest in two Spell Casting Schools.

*Obviously you can assume any Difficulty Class you deem appropriate, but to me this one seems most in line with 3.x Dungeons & Dragons. You might consider assigning each individual Spell a Difficulty Class and raising the Difficulty Class as the Spell becomes more powerful. [i.e. a 5D6 Fireball might have a Difficulty Class of 15, but a 10D6 Fireball would have a Difficulty Class of 20.

Integrated (Simple)

Under this system Spell Craft is used to determine whether a Spell is successfully cast. The Difficulty Class is equal to 5 + [2 x Spell Level]. This works pretty much perfectly, but forces Spell Casters to max out their Spell Craft in order to routinely successfully cast spells. For Characters who use Charisma or Wisdom as their Primary Spell Casting Attribute, you might consider allowing them to use such Attributes to modify their check in place of Intelligence.

Integrated (Complex)

This system has the potential to significantly alter the game and should be used with care, as you are going to significantly increase the number of Skill Points available to Arcane Spell Casters. Essentially, Spell casting becomes similar to Profession, Craft and Knowledge Skills, resulting in:

Starting Values

Spell Craft: Abjuration * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Conjuration * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Divination * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Enchantment * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Evocation * * * * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Illusion * * * * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Necromancy * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Transmutation * * * * * *+0
Spell Craft: Universal * * * * * * * * *+0

To advance as Spell Craft, Wizards would have to enjoy [11 + Intelligence] Skill Points, which means they could potentially start with 60 Skill Points [4 x (11 + 4)] and they could choose to dump these into Skills with possibly upsetting results, but this would be fairly pointless to do anyway, as uniform advancement is not desirable. I recommend granting Wizards or Sorcerer [8 + Intelligence] Skill Points, which would mean that they would have to expend probably all their Skill Points to advance in this way. A Skill Focus Feat would provide +3 as usual, but obviously only apply to a specific School of Magic. Specialist Wizards would be again at an advantage, but not a very significant one; again this is to be expected and probably a fair trade off, considering their neglecting of two Schools. It might be advisable to allow them access to Specialist Skill Focus Feat [i.e. A Necromancer would have the Feat: Skill Focus: Spell Craft: Necromancy]. A Sorcerer might be considered to be at a disadvantage, but their limited Spell Knowledge will likely balance out any deficiencies in Intelligence. Iím not sure how many additional Skill Points I would grant a Bard, I canít find a listing of their Spell List by School, but I would imagine [8-10 + Intelligence] would be reasonable.
The Difficulty Class for Spell Casting would be 5 + (2 x Spell Level), but you might consider assigning each Spell its own Difficulty Class adjusted by power level, as suggested above.

This system would not work at all for Divine Spell Casters. Paladins and Rangers would have a particularly bad time of it and using Domains would be very difficult (Thereís more than twenty of them!), unless you really restricted Domain Access for these Spell Casters. I would suggest using the Simple Integrated System with Spell Craft: Divine Magic.

2006-08-13, 06:29 PM
The Integrated (simple) looks like it would work well. After I get this spell kernal system all roughed out, I can test the general effects on the simple scale. The problem is that since I'm using this kernal system to determine what spells a Wizard can cast, it's VERY freeform. The idea being that if somebody could conceive it using the spell kernals he knows, he could attempt to cast it. Such a system would be extremely complex, but very fulfilling to players and DMs alike. I mean for it to inspire my players to look at all their equipment the way that I want them to look at spells. I'd like to hear things like "well, perhaps if I used Divination (Spirit) with Evocation (force) and maybe Conjuration (Summon) I'd be able to bring forth that incorpereal demon and make him solid, so we can attack him," instead of things like "okay, our DM is putting us up against an incorpereal demon.... so we're going to need to save up for ghost touch weapons."

2006-08-13, 06:37 PM
That's the one I have used the most. The only problem that has arisen with it is that it doesn't do too good a job of representing the interests of Specialist Wizards. We tried expanding the Knowledge Skills to include things like Necromancy and Illusion and granted Synergy Bonuses to Spell Craft, but it didn't work too well, which is why we've moved into the latter system for Arcane Casters.

We also divided Spell Craft into Wizard Craft (Intelligence) and Priest Craft (Wisdom), but Charisma was left out in the cold...

2006-08-14, 12:04 AM
My problem involves the spell kernal lists themselves. Divination was fairly balanced. So was Evocation (just split it up between the 6 different energy types). But I'm having major problems with Abjuration. I don't have any fresh ideas on how to split it up in to 6 categories. (it's important that I keep the number of categories relatively the same, because if I have like... say less than 5 or more than 7, that provokes the idea of which ones you'd take (you'd want to take kernals in a school that has few kernals, because once you have them all, you could conceivably come up with anything involving that school). Six seems perfect, because then the school is very evenly divided, and (as long as I limit the first level to only be able to take, 'bout three or four kernals) there's no way to get all of them at first level. A Speciallist gets an extra Kernal of his choice from his selected school, and a +2 to his spellcraft check to cast (or weave) any spell that is from that school (so spells that incorperate multiple schools are exempt from this bonus, because of the extensively complicated weaving he'd have to do). The DC is increased for certain situations, for instance if he wished to cast it as a still spell. I still need some guidelines on how to make the DC, since it's going to involve almost completely hand crafted spells.

2006-08-15, 11:40 AM
Okay, so I didn't get a new spell kernal up... I've been busy... but I think I have enough to go on to at least finish out the spell kernal list and get back to everybody when it comes time to perform the next couple steps to the process (say, DC assignment.... base class creation... and impact on a Campaign World). Go ahead and post what you think about the next steps in the process, and if I need help with the Spell Kernal part, I'll ask.

2006-08-21, 12:57 PM
Okay, Spell Kernals aside, I'm thinking that perhaps some of the schools of magic need to be altered to make this work. For instance, Abjuration. Many spells provide defensive bonuses, and with a little thinking, one could use ANY school to provide themselves with defense. Divination can give you precognisance, like Spiderman. Transmuation... well that's a bit obvious, turn your skin into stone or something. Evocation, you could manipulate the energy of Force (much in the way you cast magic missile) and create a shield (yes I realize that in standard D&D that's an Abjuration spell, but if Evocation is the manipulation of Energies and Force is considered an energy type in D&D then it only makes sense). I'm having problems with Conjuration as well, but that's just because I can't think of even 5 kernals (because I refuse to believe that Healing is Conjuration... I'd think it'd be Necromancy). Gah, this is getting stressful.

2006-08-23, 02:01 AM
Okay, BIG breakthrough... I've decided that my problem with Abjuration is completely justified. Therefore, I'm doing away with it all together. Anything you can do in Abjuration can be done with other schools. Here are but a few of examples.

Force fields, the chief use of Abjuration, is simply manipulating the energy of Force. Duh... Evocation is defined as the summoning and manipulation of the different Energy types, including Force (Magic Missle!). Why is every Evocation a damage spell, I would think you could summon and Manipulate the energy of Force to make force fields. Evocation....

Another common use of Abjuration is the ever popular Alarm spell. If you can't see the Divination in this, wow.... a whole new expression of having an INT score of 1 has been reached.

Banishing is another common use of Abjuration. If you can SUMMON a creature, then banishing it should be pretty simple. Maybe more difficult on unwilling targets, but still within the same concept. So you could conceive this as Conjuration.

With that, I've finally fixed my Conjuration model, and I've revised the Divination Model yet again. Since it's been awhile, I'll just repost it all.


Past You can explore your past, the past of the area you are currently in, or the past of an object or person you are near. The farther in the past you explore the more difficult it is to get specific details.

Future You may push beyond the veil of time and discover events that have not happened yet. This effects future events of your person, the area you are currently in, or the future of an object or person you are near. The farther in the future you explore, the less distinct details you discover. This kernal usually reveals the MOST PROBABLE future, but in some cases, it's not uncommon to receive events based on the future that seem very highly unlikely.

Location You may scry an area that you have a sympathetic connection to. The less familiar you are with the area, the harder it is to scry. Proximity also is a factor. It's harder to scry an area that's far away. This can also be used to gain information about your local area, such as to detect traps or secret doors.

Object You may discern the properties of an object. You may also discern recent past or future of the object in very general strokes. You could ask "who owned you last?" but you'd get very simple answers, like "a man in a coat" or "somebody with tan skin." This is also used to question items. "Will you curse me?" says the wizard. "I already have," chuckles the item, darkly.

Living You may gain information on any living target in your local vicinity or that you have a sympathetic connection to. This includes, but is not limited to (as limits are what I'm trying to do away with) reading thoughts, learning of a condition (disease, how much hitpoint damage, poisen, etc.), and very recent past or future (again, in very broad strokes).

Communion You may contact and gain information on an extraplanar being. This includes dead souls, infernals, celestial, and even deities. As with all the Divination spectrums you may learn the recent past or future in broad strokes about the extra planar subject. But unless you plan on somebody haunting you, it's really not all that useful for that.


Fire You may summon forth flames to scortch your foes. The ammount of fire and range at which you create it increases the difficulty of summoning it. You can also manipulate pre-existing fire.

Cold You have much more than just an icy glare. You and summon ice and freezing blasts and may even manipulate snow, ices, and liquids (if you're freezing them).

Sonic Although you lack the definition of an Illusionist, you make up for it with the brute force of your control over sounds. You can summon up shreiking howls, or even just uncomfortable vibrations. You may also manipulate preexisting sounds, however in very broad strokes (the silence spell).

Lighting Shocking, isn't it? You can manipulate and summon forth streaks of electricity. At lower levels, you can create static fields.

Acid Burn through the flesh of your foes, while being able to stick your finger into the most foul liquid known to man without even so much as a scratch. This noxious power can cause devistating effects.

Force And he was forever feared by ghosts... Summon forth the mysterious energy of Force and cause effects that even the incorpereal cannot avoid. Not to mention that you can summon forth force fields and even manipulate existing ones.


Teleportation ZAP! i'm not here. I was here, but now I'm elsewhere. The more skill you have, the farther you can go. Distance and sympathy are both factors, here.

Inner Planar Travel There are gates all over the world, portals that lead to even other dimentions. This allows you to access the local ones, as well as open up non-established portals, and even, eventually, create your own to the ethereal, shadow, and prime elemental planes.

Outer Planar Travel Your repitoir with the planes is of a more exotic variety. You've learned the many names and symbols of the outer planes and astral plane. Otherwise, this is exactly like Inner Planar Travel.

Summon Living Got a friend of yours? Is he on the same plane as you? How about you bring him over? Distance is a factor. You may even banish unwanteds away, on the same plane anyway. Unwilling creatures are harder to banish than willing creatures. Any creature summoned has the one time ability to return to his previous location at any time.

Summon Object Never lose your glasses again. All you need to summon anything is a sympathetic connection and some casting time. Distance is still a factor. You may not banish objects, however you CAN send them to a creature if you have Divination (living) or to a location if you have Divination (location).

Summon Planar You can summon and banish beings from other planes. You don't have to personally know the being, but it helps to have a bit of a repitoire. All options open to a subject of the Summon Living kernal are open to those summoned by this power. You may only banish creatures back to thier HOME plane, unless you also possess the Planar Travel kernal.

As you can see. I've already started to put some limitations on what the kernals can do, based on other kernals you'd need to have in order to do it. The idea is that with the proper kernals, there's absolutely NOTHING you can't do, as long as you succeed on the skill check.

I'm having a MAJOR problem with Transmutation, though. Although I HAVE added a new idea to it that seems to help it out. Steal features... more info for that with my next update along with my improved Necromancy and Enchantment kernal models.

After that, I'll intro the Illusion model, and finally the Conjuration model. Once I'm done with that, I'll start a new thread and I'll need your help with it all! What I need is various ideas for spells that can be completed with either a combination of kernals or a single kernal. There are plenty of examples in the player's handbook, but I need some that you can combine kernals for. I don't care about how hard you'd guage them to cast, we can work on DC once we have the class system worked out. But I need some extra, neat ideas to put in as examples of combining spell kernals to achieve cool effects. Effects that in original D&D would be VERY difficult to create.

2006-08-23, 07:12 PM
Okay, I told you all that I've have Necromancy and Enchantment done today, and I'm keeping my word. Here's what I got.


The way of white and black. Necromancy allows your character to manipulate the life force of others. While thematically, Nacromancers are dark-minded beings with hatred purpetually on their mind, many people who have proficency in this art are actually healers who wish to prevent death of any kind.

Healing Channel positive energy in order to heal your friends, or even your foes. This kernal does not have the proficency to raise the dead, as reconnecting the pathway between a body and soul requires different touches.

Inflict Channel negative energies in order to inflict disrupting damage among your foes. If you have both Inflict and Healing, you learn how to transfrom negative energy into positive energy and can drain the life from a subject. Instant death spells are not powered by negative energies and therefore are not covered by this kernal.

Undeath You know how to summon forth contructed matricies of negative energy in order to animate a corpse for a limited ammount of time. It's very difficult to keep a corpse running purpetually, however it can be done. This kernal also contains information on how to control precreated undead, and even ward against attacks from the undead.

Contagion Thematically, poisen and disease has always been associated with Necromancy. This gives you the ability to create poisens and diseases magically, nuetralize existing poisens and diseases, and manipulate existing poisens and diseases. Diseases created through this kernal do not last forever.

Soul Works Perhaps the darkest of arts, and the most dificult one to master. By taking this kernal, you learn how to manipulate the energy released by departing souls. You can trap souls that have not yet moved on. You can even steal the energy released by departing souls and convert it into power for other spells and temporary hit points.

Ressurection Another very difficult spell to master. You can pry open the pathways between the body and soul and create a conduit that allows a soul to return and reinhabit its living vessel. Earlier levels of this can only raise those who've been dead for a few minutes. As you progress along these lines, you are able to ressurect with more and more proficiency.


Perhaps the most recognized set of spells in the fantasy genre. Enchanters have the ability to lay horrible curses and grant wonderful blessings. Many of these spells manipulate luck or the minds of others.

Charm You can convince beings to believe that you are indeed their friend. Eventually you can make even unreasonable demands on these temporarily dominated creatures.

Curse Lay unlucky waste to your opponents by bestowing curses upon your foes. It's pretty self explanitory.

Bless Bless your pals with the benefits of luck and glory. Also self explanitory. This also includes mental benifit spels like Fox's Cunning and Owl's Wisdom.

Oath Probably the most overlooked aspect of the fantasy genre in the entire game of Dungeons and Dragons. In every ancient legend and even current fantasy book, oaths are prominent. At early levels you may swear and oath to another. It would allow bonuses to avoid unwillingly breaking your oath and penalties that happen if you willingly break the oath. Since this is an almost completly new aspect to D&D more will be said about it later. Later levels of Oath include the ability to swear other people to oaths, along with even more disastrious consequences and stronger bonuses.

Emote You have control over other people's emotions. Extremely low levels of this include the abilities to transfer the emotion that you're feeling to other people. Low levels of this include fear spells. Higher levels include spells that could drastically change one's emotions so naturally that they'd never notice the change.

Mesmerize Get other's attention. You can hypnotize a group of foes. You can cause them to fall asleep. You can even summon forth an aura of attraction, thus creating the effect of Eagle's splendor and fascinate.

Now all I have to do is finish off the Kernals for Transmuation and Illusion.