View Full Version : A spin on magic, thoughts on casting...

2011-02-05, 08:34 PM
Intention: You often hear about how magic as per RAW is more or less broken and can appear hideously overpowered. This concept does not aim to nerf casters as a whole. Instead, the idea is to give any character of sufficient mental and personal prowess access to casting to a limited degree.

Preliminary assumptions:

1. There aren't any of the standard full-spellcasting classes, meaning wizard, cleric, druid, etc. If there are, they are primarily NPC classes or have been rewritten into prestige class options for the advanced everycaster.
2. You, the reader, don't mind a little math. :smallwink:

Conditions for it to work as intended:

1. The Spellcraft and Concentration skills are added to all classes' list of class skills. As normal, Experts may pick them as such, but it's everyone's own decision whether to actually invest in them or not.

Additional notes:

1. This mechanic strips your game of higher spell levels than 5th unless you go epic. Be prepared.
2. I'll be honest with you: This is essentially a limited gestalt mechanic with a number of additional checks and balances, incorporating Int, Wis and Cha in various functions. That is primarily meant to make powergaming per minmaxing more difficult. Yep, it's probably overcomplicated. No, I don't really think I could have made it any shorter. This is after the sixth attempt at making it so already.
3. This is likely to strike you as total rubbish. But it's an open beta, feel free to contribute constructive criticism. :smallsmile:


Any character may learn a number of spells according to the following statistics:

(Character level / 2) = Effective sorcerer level (ESL)

Your character may learn a maximum number of spells equal to the number of "Spells Known" of a sorcerer of your ESL (see below for further influences on a given character's spellcasting potential), but does not gain that sorcerer's spells per day. For example, a 4th-level character (ESL 2) with a Charisma score of 10 (see below) would be able to learn 5 0th-level spells and 2 1st-level spells.

As this is technically a sorcerer progression, it is tied to Charisma to a certain degree. Certain spells come with an EXP cost attached, representing "putting a bit of yourself into the spell". Therefore, I do not think it too outrageous an assumption that the potential for spellcasting is an inherent quality, its power tied to the force of one's personality and self as represented by the Charisma ability.

You add spells to your "Spells Known / Learnable Spells" statistic as follows:

(Spells Known / Learnable Spells) + (Charisma bonus - spell level)

If your character score is below ten, the resulting penalty is assumed to be halved (rounding down as normal) for the purposes of this, and you subtract accordingly:

(Spells Known / Learnable Spells) + ((Charisma penalty / 2) - spell level)

This way, a 2nd-level character (ECL 1) with a Charisma score of 14 (Modifier +2) would be able to learn (4 + (2 - 0) = 6) 0th-level spells and (2 + (2 -1) = 3) 1st-level spells.

Another 2nd-level character with a Charisma score of 8 (Modifier -1, effective modifier (-1 / 2) rounded down, equals 0), however, would only have access to (4 + (0 - 0) = 4) 0th-level spells and (2 + (0 - 1) = 1) 1st-level spell.

Should your Charisma score increase or decrease over the cause of the game, recalculate your spellcasting accordingly. This is equal to temporary hitpoints in a way.

NOTE: This way, only characters will well-defined personalities and a reasonably high measure of self-control gain access to greater numbers and higher levels of spells, which is probably for the best, non?


Your ESL is equal to your effective wizard level (EWL) and effective divine caster level (EDL). Any character has both, regardless of what kind of magic he or she actually employs. Any character may freely choose whether Intelligence or Wisdom governs his or her daily allotment of bonus spells, however this choice may not be changed or revoked once made. You gain spells per day as a wizard of your EWL, adding or subtracting a number of spells per day in relation to your Int or Wis modifier as usual.

The choice of governing ability score affects how you cast: An Int-based spellcaster is treated as casting arcane spells, a Wis-based one as casting divine spells. Any character gains wizard bonus feats according to EWL, the first of which need not be Scribe Scroll as in standard wizards, to a maximum of three EWL-based feats. At character levels six, twelve and eighteen, representing an EWL of 3, 6, and 9, respectively, you gain an additional feat for your caster progression if you are an Int-based caster and give up one of your highest-level accessible spell slots permanently. Any of these has to be a Metamagic or Item Creation feat. If your Charisma score does not allow you to cast the usual maximum level of spells for your EWL (see above), you may also not gain those extra feats

An Int-based caster may freely assemble his personal array of spells from the wizard/sorcerer and bard spell lists, a Wis-based one may equally help himself to anything on the druid and cleric list, provided you can cast spells of that level. (Expand this by any non-core class spell lists you allow in your game. When playing non-core, still treat your EWL/EDL as the guideline for your number of spells, incantations, infusions, etc, replacing allotments where appropriate or necessary and applying governing ability scores as you see fit - As Cha is rather unsuitable for this, keeping the nerfing and anti-minmaxing aspect of this concept in mind, think about whether or not a Warlock may not actually get tied to Int, or whether a Warmage would work better when based around Wis.) Any Int-based spellcaster gains the ability to keep a familiar. Any Wis-based caster gains the ability to turn or rebuke undead.

Familiars treat your governing ability score (Int or Wis) as a guideline for their own power progression, as does the ability to turn/rebuke undead. However, they may only reach their full potential once you actually have the EWL/EDL to show for it. Item Creation feats likewise treat your ability score, not your EWL, as caster levels for the purpose of determining your ability to assemble magic items. This way, construct creation, rune circles as per Races of Stone and lichdom, among other things, are still viable options. For all other purposes your EWL is the sole guideline.

Certain caster classess have special abilities, such as wild shape, by SRD. You are treated as a cleric, druid, warlock or other caster of your EDL at all times, but do not automatically gain this special abilities. As a divine caster, you do gain the cleric's access to domain spells, meaning one domain spell of each accessible spell level per day, with the number of Domains you can choose equal to your Cha modifier or 0, whichever is greater, however you may not cast domain spells of a spell level higher than the one your Charisma score allows normally (see above). You may choose whether or not to take special abilities freely, yet they come at a cost to your spellcasting ability.

When gaining a special ability, look at the standard class: If, for example, you intend to gain the Wild Shape class ability of the druid, you can see that a druid normally gets one use of it per day, starting at fifth level. You may therefore take Wild Shape at EDL 5. You must, however, give up one spell slot of your highest accessible spell level, which may never be your domain spell slot. When trying to gain a second use of Wild Shape at EDL 10, you must again give up one of your highest-level accessible slots. If your Charisma score does not allow you to cast spells of the usual maximum level for a caster of your EWL/EDL (see above), you may not gain a special ability by giving up your non-existant spell slots. For less powerful abilities, such as Resist Nature's Lure, the spellcasting cost may be dropped.

You can still get special abilities from other sources, such as gaining the wild shape ability of the wild shape ranger, which replace, rather than stack with, those granted by EDL. Keep this in mind when planning your build.

NOTE: This way, your character actually has to be extremely wise/smart/clever to get the druid (or other) awesome on, rather than automatically gaining druid abilities by level progression. The idea behind this is to have casters contemplate their respective focus, whether they want to go into deeper study of druidic rites or merely retain a wide array of spellcasting available, for example. As intended, this system provides arcanists with metamagic more readily, while giving Wis-based casters a greater versatility.


Whether the spellcasting progression per E(S/W/D)L replaces or stacks with the casting provided by partial casters, such as rangers or paladins, is at the DM's discretion. As partial casters often retain somewhat short, specifically designed spell lists and are meant to be played in a way reflecting lives of meditation far from civilised society (rangers), devotion to higher ideals and forces (paladins), or similar, this may be decided on a case-to-case basis according to roleplaying or background of the character.

2011-02-05, 11:58 PM
Interesting. I've not had a chance to fully read it, but it seems it could have potential. If you'd like, I'll try to give a real evaluation (to the best of my ability) later.

Also, should this perhaps be in Homebrew instead?

2011-02-06, 04:28 PM
I don't know where it should be. People propose system-fixes in both categories. :smallconfused: But sure, if you could provide some feedback, that would be great. :smallbiggrin: (I'm going to run a little phrasing-debug on it first, though. It has been brought to my attention that it's a little inelegantly worded in certain parts.)

2011-02-06, 04:43 PM
Why is there ESL, EWL, and EDL instead of just a generic "Caster level"? If they're all equal, there's no need to distinguish.

Druids don't gain Wild Shape until 5th level by default.
TL;DR summary of the OP:

Everybody is half-gestalt with a caster class. They use sorcerer spells known (minus spell level, but add bonus spells equal to Cha bonus), spells per day as a wizard (based off of Int or Wis by choice).

No minimum requirement to cast spells.

Int-based casters get familiars and access to the Sor/Wis and Bard lists.
Wis-based casters get turn/rebuke, domains, and access to the Cleric and Druid lists.

You can trade in spell slots for abilities if you could cast spells of that level.


2011-02-06, 04:51 PM
To more easily differentiate between them. ESL effectively governs spell gain, EWL feat gain and EDL special stuff gain. A formulation thing, mainly.

But thanks, I'll set about fixing the druid example immediately. :smallsmile:

2011-02-06, 05:31 PM
The issue with magic isn't that the classes are broken, it's that the spells are broken. This could be an interesting houserule to play with though, so don't take this as a "this is stupid don't bother." I'm just warning you that it might not be as perfect a fix as you might think. Most of the really broken spells have been removed by this though, so it will help some.

2011-02-07, 08:09 AM
Well, as per OP, it is an open beta, I put it on here fully expecting that it would still have its share of flaws. If it sees use as a viable house-ruling option, that's about as much as I hoped for it to do. So I did not take that as a "stupid". :smallsmile:

And well, yes, the problem lies with the spells, I know, but as anyone could theoretically cast the whole list by this ruling, I figured it would still serve to balance the game a little. Plus, as you correctly pointed out, much of the broken stuff gets removed (or restricted to epic levels, depending on the game), where it wouldn't matter quite as much. Thanks for reviewing. :smallsmile:

2011-02-07, 07:27 PM
The Mod They Call Me: This belongs in homebrew. Thread moved.

Also, neat idea. I like it.

2011-02-07, 11:34 PM
Thanks. :smallsmile:

And I'll keep it in mind for when I next homebrew something. So, also thanks. :smallbiggrin: