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View Full Version : [3.5] Base Magical Ability (BAB for spellcasting)



AgentPaper
2010-08-28, 12:51 AM
The basic idea of this system is that all characters, no matter their class, gets spellcasting. Some classes get more, some get less, but everyone can cast at least some spells.

How it works, is that at the start of the game, when you're creating your character, you must choose one "path" to follow: Divine, Natural, or Arcane. If you choose Divine, you gain access to cleric spells. If you choose Natural, you gain access to druid spells. If you choose Arcane, you gain access to Sorcerer/Wizard spells.

To determine what spells you can cast, you have to find out what your "Base Caster Level" or BCL is. BCL is very similar to Base Attack Bonus (BAB) for physical attacks, in that each class has a specific progression of it, and BCL from one class stacks fully with BCL from another if you multiclass. Wizards, Sorcerers, and other pure or "full" spell casting classes gain 1 BCL per level.

Classes that aren't pure spell casters instead gain 1/2 of 3/4 BCL per level. In general, if a class has full BAB it would probably have 1/2 BCL, if it has 3/4 BAB then it would probably have 3/4 BCL, and if it has 1/2 BAB then it would probably have full BCL. This isn't always the case, however, especially with classes that get a large amount of skill points such as the rogue, or ones that have other powers.

As your BCL rises, you gain more and more ability to cast spells. Every time it increases you can choose another spell. (refer to the chart below to see what spell levels you can choose at each BCL) When you choose a spell, you then gain the ability to cast that spell at-will. You can change a single spell out for another of equal or lower level each time you level up, but other than that you cannot change the spell after you've chosen it.

When you first learn a spell, it takes a full-round action to cast (unless noted otherwise) When you gain the ability to cast a spell 2 levels higher than that spell, you are then able to cast that spells as a standard action. When you are able to cast a spell 4 levels higher, you can cast that spell as a swift action. So for example, if you learn Grease at level 2, it takes a full-round action to cast. At level 5, when you get your first level 3 spell, you are then able to cast Grease as a standard action instead. At level 9, when you get your first level 5 spell, you can then cast Grease as a swift action.

Spells Known:

{table=head]BCL| -1- | -2- | -3- | -4- | -5- | -6- | -7- | -8- | -9-
1| 1| -| -| -| -| -| -| -| -
2| 2| -| -| -| -| -| -| -| -
3| 2| 1| -| -| -| -| -| -| -
4| 2| 2| -| -| -| -| -| -| -
5| 3| 2| 1| -| -| -| -| -| -
6| 3| 3| 2| -| -| -| -| -| -
7| 3| 3| 2| 1| -| -| -| -| -
8| 4| 3| 3| 2| -| -| -| -| -
9| 4| 3| 3| 2| 1| -| -| -| -
10| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| -| -| -| -
11| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| 1| -| -| -
12| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| -| -| -
13| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| 1| -| -
14| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| -| -
15| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| 1| -
16| 6| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| -
17| 6| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2| 1
18| 6| 6| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2
19| 6| 6| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3| 2
20| 6| 6| 6| 5| 5| 4| 4| 3| 3[/table]

You also can learn a number of Orisons/Cantrips equal to your wisdom/intelligence bonus, respectively. (Not including wisdon/intelligence bonuses from effects which last less than one week) Orisons require a swift action to cast at all levels.


Metamagic

Instead of increasing the level of the spell, metamagic instead increases the cast time of the spell by one or more steps. If the spell would normally be a swift action, it is instead a standard action. If it was a standard action, it is instead a full-round action. If the spell was a full-round action it instead takes two full-round actions, and so on.

The quicken meta-magic feat is removed.

Metamagic rods work as normally, having a set amount of uses but not increasing the cast time of the spell. The quicken meta-magic rod instead reduces the cast time of the spell by one step. You can only use a single meta-magic rod with each spell.


Revised Classes

You must have chosen Divine as your path to become a Cleric.

Cleric

{table]Level|BAB|BCL|Special
1st|+0|0|Cure Minor Wounds
2nd|+1|1|Turn/Rebuke Undead
3rd|+2|2|Cure Light Wounds
4th|+3|3|Domain 1
5th|+3|3|Cure Moderate Wounds
6th|+4|4|Domain 2
7th|+5|5|Cure Minor Wounds, Mass
8th|+6|6|Domain 3
9th|+6|6|Cure Serious Wounds
10th|+7|7|Domain 4
11th|+8|8|Cure Light Wounds, Mass
12th|+9|9|Domain 5
13th|+9|9|Cure Critical Wounds
14th|+10|10|Domain 6
15th|+11|11|Cure Moderate Wounds, Mass
16th|+12|12|Domain 7
17th|+12|12|Cure Serious Wounds, Mass
18th|+13|13|Domain 8
19th|+14|14|Cure Critical Wounds, Mass
20th|+15|15|Domain 9
[/table]

Cure X Wounds: At each odd level, the cleric automatically gains the ability to cast a new Cure spell. These spells do not count against those gained each level from BCL. All of these spells take a full-round action to cast when first learned, and then 3 levels later require a standard action, and 3 levels after that only a swift action.

Domain: At 4th level, the cleric must choose a Domain based on his deity. The cleric gains the special abilities of that domain and learns it's 1st level spell. Every other level after that, he learns the next level spell from that domain.

Evil Clerics: If a cleric is of the Evil alignment, his Cure spells instead become Inflict spells, and he casts Rebuke Undead instead of Turn Undead. If the cleric is of Neutral alignment, he must choose when entering the class whether he wants to count as good or evil for this purpose, and he cannot change this choice unless he changes alignment away from the choice he made.



Paladin

The Paladin gains 3/4 BCL instead of his normal spell casting, and all other abilities that were limited in some way are instead cast at-will. You must have chosen Divine as your path to become a Paladin.

Code of Conduct: The paladin class is not restricted by any alignment, but to become a paladin one must join a paladin Order, each of which has it's own specific Code of Conduct which must be followed. If the Code is broken, the paladin falls and loses his powers until he returns to his Order to atone and again swears to follow it's tenets.



Wizard

The Wizard gains full BCL each level instead of his normal spell casting. You must have chosen Arcane as your path to become a Wizard. The wizard does not get a familiar.

{table=head]Level|BAB|BCL|Special
1|0|1|Scribe Scroll
2|1|2|
3|1|3|School Specialization 1
4|2|4|Spellbook 1
5|2|5|Ritual
6|3|6|Spellbook 2
7|3|7|School Specialization 2
8|4|8|Spellbook 3
9|4|9|
10|5|10|Spellbook 4
11|5|11|School Specialization 3
12|6|12|Spellbook 5
13|6|13|
14|7|14|Spellbook 6
15|7|15|School Specialization 4
16|8|16|Spellbook 7
17|8|17|
18|9|18|Spellbook 8
19|9|19|School Specialization 5
20|10|20|Spellbook 9
[/table]

Scribe Scroll: At level 1, the Wizard gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

School Specialization: At level 3, the Wizard can choose to specialize in a school of magic. If he does, then his caster level when casting spells of that school counts as 1 higher than normal.

At levels 7, 11, 15, and 19, the Wizard can choose another school to specialize in. If he chooses to specialize in the same school multiple times, the bonus stacks.

If the Wizard chooses not to specialize, he instead gains another spell of the highest level that he can normally cast when he gains that level.

Spellbook: Starting at level 4, the Wizard gains the ability to temporarily learn an additional spell each day. To do so, he must spend 1 minute studying a scroll of that spell. (often stored in a special book) Once he has memorized the spell, he can cast that spell throughout the day as if he had learned it. The spell lasts until he sleeps for at least an hour, after which he must spend 1 minute studying it again. The spell chosen can be changed at any time by spending 1 minute studying it.

At level 4, the Wizard can memorize one level 1 spell in this manner. Every 2 levels after that, he gains the ability to memorize an additional spell of up to one level higher.

Ritual: At level 5, the Wizard gains the ability to cast spells of higher level than he could normally cast. To do so, he must spend 30 minutes studying a scroll of that spell. Only one spell can be memorized in this manner at any point in time. Once the spell is memorized, the wizard can cast the spell once later in that day. Once the spell is cast, or if he sleeps for 1 hour or longer, he forgets the spell and must re-memorize it. The casting time of the spell is increased by 10 times for each level higher the spell is than the highest level spell the Wizard could normally cast.


Sorcerer

The Sorcerer gains full BCL each level instead of her normal spell casting. You must have chosen Arcane as your path to become a Sorcerer.

Natural Spellcaster: The Sorcerer learns an additional spell at each level of up to the highest level spell that she can cast when she gains that level.

Power Unchecked: When a Sorcerer uses metamagic, it does not increase the casting time of his spells. Instead, it causes the Sorcerer to be unable to cast any spells for a number of rounds equal to the steps by which the cast time would have been increased.



Druid

The Druid gains full BCL each level instead of her normal spell casting. The druid does not gain an animal companion. You must have chosen Nature as your path to become a Druid.

Wildshape: Wildshape can be used at-will, but only into a single form chosen by the druid when she gains Wildshape. If that animal is larger than Medium, she can only Wildshape into a Medium or Small version of it. The normal restrictions on HD still apply.

At levels 6, 7, 10, and 14, the druid can choose an additional animal to wildshape into. At levels 8 and 11, she can choose one form she already has, and becomes able to Wildshape into a large-sized version of that animal. At level 15, she can choose one form she already has, and becomes able to Wildshape into a huge-sized version of that animal. If the animal chosen was one of those chosen at level 8 or 11, she can choose another form to become a large-sized version.

At level 9, the druid can choose a single element. From then on, she can Wildshape into a medium-sized elemental of that element. At level 13, she can Wildshape into a large elemental of her chosen element. At level 17, she can Wildshape into a Huge elemental of her chosen element. at level 20, she can Wildshape into a Colossal elemental of her chosen element.



Ranger

The Ranger gains 3/4 BCL each level instead of his normal spell casting. He gains an animal companion from level 1, and it scales directly with his ranger levels. Non-ranger levels also contribute to the animal companion's growth, but at half the rate. You must have chosen Nature as your path to become a Ranger.



Duskblade

The Duskblade gains 3/4 BCL each level instead of her normal spell casting. You must have chosen Arcane as your path to become a Duskblade.

Combat Caster: The Duskblade has the ability to infuse spells into her attacks. To do so, she must cast the spell normally, with the target being a weapon that she is wielding. After that, she can choose to release the spell on any of her attacks, at which point the spell will finish casting with the struck creature as it's target. If the spell would normally require an attack roll or allow a reflex save, treat it as if the attack succeeded and/or the save was failed, as appropriate. Other types of saves and spell resistance, or attack rolls and reflex saves for secondary targets, must be rolled for normally.

The Duskblade can only have a single spell infused into a weapon at any time. If she attempts to infuse a spell while she already has a spell infused into a weapon, even if it is not the same weapon, the previous spell fades away harmlessly.

Arcane Edge: At level 4, the Duskblade gains the ability to bring more out of her attacks when she has a spell infused into her weapon. Whenever she hits with a weapon infused with a spell, that attack deals an additional 1d6 damage per level of the spell infused into the attack. If the spell has an element keyword, then the additional damage is of that element.

Hastened Infusion: At level 7, the Duskblade gains the ability to infuse spells faster than it would normally take to cast the spell. Reduce the time to cast by 1 step: Swift to free, standard to swift, full-round to standard, 2 rounds to full-round, and so on.



Monk

The monk gains 1/2 BCL and full BAB.

Flurry of Blows: The monk can make an attack as a swift action even if his BAB is lower than 8. At level 8, he instead gains an additional swift action each round. At level 13, he gains a third swift action. At level 18, he gains an additional standard action each round.



Other Classes

The Fighter, Barbarian, Rogue, Swordsage, Warblade, and Crusader gains 1/2 BCL. The bard gains full BCL instead of it's normal casting. There are no path restrictions on these classes. You must have chosen the Divine path to become a Crusader.



Spell Changes

Summoning: Any spell which can summon a creature from a list, instead summons a specific creature which can be called and dismissed at will by casting the summon spell. The creature must be chosen when you learn the spell, and cannot be changed unless you re-learn the spell. If the creature is killed, it takes 24 hours to recover. Any creature you summon has it's HD set to be equal with your BCL. If the spell summons more than one creature, the total of their HD cannot equal your BCL * 1.5.

Gate: To use the Gate spell, you must spend 10 minutes making a contract with the specific creature you wish to summon with it. The contract must specify the duration, terms of the summoning and the task to be carried out, but if the creature is willing (or you are especially forceful) it may also perform tasks outside the contract as well, or even be willing to sign an open contract.

Once the contract is made, you may summon that creature at any time for the duration of the contract by casting the Gate spell. You must remain at the gate and spend a standard action each turn to keep it open. If the gate closes, the creature summoned through it is forced back through it.

Miracle: Removed.

Limited Wish: Removed.

Shapechange: You must choose a form to change into when you learn this spell. You cannot change into any other form unless you re-learn the spell. You cannot cast any spell that requires more than a standard action while in this form. If you are killed while in the form, you are forced back into your normal form with 0 HP and cannot transform back into it for 24 hours.

Teleport: Teleport has 10 times the normal cast time. This means, if you need a full-round action to cast the spell, you must spend 10 full-round actions over the course of a minute before the spell is cast. As well, you must spend 10 minutes studying the location you wish to teleport to, either in person or through some form of scrying. Once you have studied a location in this way once, you can teleport to this location at any time. If you don't spend that long, Bad Things will probably happen. (DM's choice; dice rolling should be involved)

Timestop: Grants 1d4 rounds instead of 1d4+1. You can cast any spell but Timestop during these rounds, and you can deal damage as normal. (unlike standard timestop)

Latronis
2010-08-28, 01:00 AM
NVM found it

Uh is that infinite at will spellcasting for everyone?

AgentPaper
2010-08-28, 01:02 AM
the most important thing is missing.

How does it differ from raw spellcasting (as in spell slots or what not) and the spellcasting progressions

That's the first table. There's not actually any spell slots, at each level you learn one or two spells which you can then use at-will for the rest of your career.

I'm also thinking of having a system where you get more spells with a higher intelligence, but I'm not sure how that would work quite yet. Possibly it could just be the same as the current system, only you get that many more additional at-will spells instead of that many more additional spell slots. I might scale it up a bit to make it harder to get more spells, though.

Latronis
2010-08-28, 01:05 AM
screw it i'm not editing it again!

Do you plan on adjusting spell lists at all?

Higher level spell casting at will is a bit over the top even if they do kinda lack versatility.

AgentPaper
2010-08-28, 01:08 AM
screw it i'm not editing it again!

Do you plan on adjusting spell lists at all?

Higher level spell casting at will is a bit over the top even if they do kinda lack versatility.

Some specific spells will undoubtedly see some restrictions. Summons especially; I'll edit in my changes to those spells in a bit. I might remove some spells that just can't be fixed, but other than that I don't plan to change the spell lists any.

I don't think being able to cast more often is too big of a deal. The thing that gets called out on being OP more often is being able to change your entire spell list (and thus you're entire set of class features) at very short notice. With that gone, as well as spreading spellcasting out so that even the dumb fighter can do it (as long as he has enough intelligence to cast the spell, of course!) should help with those parts of balance pretty well.

You can probably afford to throw tougher monsters at your party though, since they can recover more easily.

Latronis
2010-08-28, 01:20 AM
While i think the idea has merit, spellcasters are potentially, if not always in practice, limited by spell slots. While it does severely hamper one's versatility if anything i think it'd promote abuse. Finding a gimmick or power to plow through encounters rather than promote strategic thinking through of encounters

AgentPaper
2010-08-28, 01:21 AM
While i think the idea has merit, spellcasters are potentially, if not always in practice, limited by spell slots. While it does severely hamper one's versatility if anything i think it'd promote abuse. Finding a gimmick or power to plow through encounters rather than promote strategic thinking through of encounters

If there's any specific spells that are too powerful or can be abused, then note them and I'll add them to the list of revised spells.

For example, the gate spell would be absurd if you could just run along gating in huge monsters every 6 seconds, so I've made a revised version that puts more of a limitation on it.

Milskidasith
2010-08-28, 01:23 AM
If there's any specific spells that are too powerful or can be abused, then note them and I'll add them to the list of revised spells.

For example, the gate spell would be absurd if you could just run along gating in huge monsters every 6 seconds, so I've made a revised version that puts more of a limitation on it.

Wish
Miracle
Limited Wish
Shapechange
Time Stop
Teleport
etc.

There's a reason that the suggestion is to fix the spells, not the classes; the spells are broken, not the chassis they come on.

Latronis
2010-08-28, 01:31 AM
I kinda like the idea of classes having an inherent magical aptitude though.

What if the BMA was used to cast spells instead similiar to an attack roll and you limited power via a more psionics (points and augmenting) system?

AgentPaper
2010-08-28, 01:41 AM
Wish
Miracle
Limited Wish
Shapechange
Time Stop
Teleport
etc.

There's a reason that the suggestion is to fix the spells, not the classes; the spells are broken, not the chassis they come on.

Right, Miracle and Limited Wish I think are probably the only two spells I'm going to remove outright. They never should have been spells in the first place, anyways.

Shapechange is easy enough, you have to pick one form similar to Wildshape, and you can't cast full-action spells while in that form.

Teleport is also pretty easy, just give it a 5-minute cast time, and you have to have spent 10 minutes viewing that location either in person or with some type of scrying. If you don't spend that long, Bad Things will probably happen. (DM's choice; dice rolling should be involved)

I think there's also a spell that lets you teleport multiple people? Is it just Teleport, Mass? Same restrictions on that, or possibly double length.

For Timestop, I'd say it gives you 1d3 extra rounds to work with, and causes you to be stunned (ignores ALL immunities) the next round.

Edit: Actually, let's make that 1d3-1 and no stun. So you might lose your action, or you might get 2 extra. I think I might also remove the restrictions on what you can cast (allowing you to cast damage spells)

AgentPaper
2010-08-29, 12:03 AM
Added the sorcerer and rules for metamagic.

If anyone has requests for classes they'd like to see changed to fit this variant, feel free to ask.

I'm also going to be running a test game over IRC if anyone is interested. If anyone wants to DM it that would be ideal, otherwise I will.

Edit: Also changed the progression and formatting of the spells known table.