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Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-05, 08:31 PM
http://puu.sh/6thvY.jpg
”Oh, come on! I can deal with the nickname,
but screaming and diving for cover? That's just mean!”
-“Oopsie” Daisy Lockwood, to her companions,
moments after announcing her intent to cast a spell.

(IC)Wild mages are daring mystic gamblers and risk-
takers who tap directly into the magic of The Weave in order
to freely utilize whatever spells they desire. However, this
unfiltered approach to obtaining magical potency is highly
unstable and periodically causes intended spells to warp,
resulting in uncontrolled magic outbursts called Wild Surges.

(OoC)Wild mages are to casters what frenzied berserkers are
to physical combatants. While a potentially powerful addition to any
party, a wild mage can (just as easily) end up the primary determining
factor between either a memorable victory or a groan-worthy defeat.

The Wild Mage

Alignment:
Any non-lawful.

Hit Die:
d4.

Class Skills:
Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con),
Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha),
Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha),
Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Int), Perform (Cha),
Sleight Of Hand (Dex), Speak Language, Spellcraft (Int),
Tumble (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha)

Skill Points at Each Level:
6 + Int modifier (x4 if the first hit die)

Starting Wealth:
3d4 x 10 gp

The Wild Mage


LevelBABFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialWild Cast DCs



0th
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
9<


1st

+0

+0

+2

+2

Special Ability
2
4











2nd

+1

+0

+3

+3


2
3
6










3rd

+1

+1

+3

+3

Special Ability
2
3
6










4th

+2

+1

+4

+4


2
3
4
8









5th

+2

+1

+4

+4

Special Ability
2
3
4
8









6th

+3

+2

+5

+5


2
3
4
5
10








7th

+3

+2

+5

+5

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
10








8th

+4

+2

+6

+6


2
3
4
5
6
12







9th

+4

+3

+6

+6

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
12







10th

+5

+3

+7

+7


2
3
4
5
6
7
14






11th

+5

+3

+7

+7

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
7
14






12th

+6/+1

+4

+8

+8


2
3
4
5
6
7
8
16





13th

+6/+1

+4

+8

+8

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
16





14th

+7/+2

+4

+9

+9


2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
18




15th

+7/+2

+5

+9

+9

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
18




16th

+8/+3

+5

+10

+10


2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
20



17th

+8/+3

+5

+10

+10

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
20



18th

+9/+4

+6

+11

+11


2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
20


19th

+9/+4

+6

+11

+11

Special Ability
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
20


20th

+10/+5

+6

+12

+12


2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12+



Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
A wild mage is proficient with all simple weapons. She is not proficient with any type of armor or shield.

Wild Casting:
A Wild Mage may attempt to cast any spell she desires, as often as she wishes, from any spell level she has available. However, the Wild Mage does take a penalty to her Wild Cast check when she attempts to cast the same spell more than once a day. This penalty is equal to the number of times she previously cast that particular that day.

To make a Wild Cast check, roll 1d20 and add an amount of your Charisma bonus equal to (up to 1/2 the spell level). If the result equals, or exceeds, the spell's casting DC, the check succeeds.

The base Wild Cast DC is equal to the spell's level + 2 but the DC for the highest level spell you can Wild Cast (until level 20) is equal to 2 x the spell's level + 2. A natural roll of 20 on a Wild Cast check is an automatic success. On a successful Wild Cast check, the Wild Mage casts her chosen spell normally. However, a failure on the check results in a Wild Surge. In addition, the Wild Mage loses her ability to cast spells of that level until she has a chance to rest for 8 hours.

At level 18, the Wild Mage gains the ability to apply metamagic feats to spells in order to cast from a virtual level range higher than 9.

At level 20, the Wild Mage may now cast spells from her virtual level range against the base Wild Cast DC.

Spells of a higher effective level than 9 are all cast from the same effective 'level' regardless of what the spell's modified level would be. Thus a Wild Surge while attempting to cast a '10th level' spell will cause the Wild Mage to lose the ability to cast any spell of that level, or higher, until they rest and recover their casting ability.

Given that a Wild Mage is really little more than a funnel that redirects the flow of mystic power around her, the magic that passes through her will naturally do so at its own rate. Though free to spontaneously cast from every spell list, spells on multiple lists must be cast from their highest known base slot. (For example, Obscure Object is a first level bard spell, a second level sorcerer/wizard spell, and a third level cleric spell. So, rather than being able to cast it as a first or second level arcane spell, the Wild Mage must cast it as a third level divine spell.)

Among those who have studied this curious quirk are radical individuals who feel that the act of attempting to harness specific spells is not unlike the misbehavior of a supplicant who makes rude demands of an exceedingly generous host. These extremists choose to cast exclusively through deliberately triggered Wild Surges as they feel that they are but instruments of the will of The Weave. This radical stance may actually carry some weight, as those who deliberately trigger surges (OoC: declaring their Wild Cast roll results to be a 1) when casting an undeclared spell, of any given level, find that the non-specific invocation of spells causes no loss of potential for casting specific spells. (OoC: Intentional Wild Surges do not cause the loss of casting ability that failed Wild Cast checks do.)

The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Wild Mage’s spell, or a Wild Surge, is 10 + spell level + the caster’s primary casting attribute (in the case of the Wild Mage, Charisma) modifier.

Given her unique approach to magic, spell failure from equipment disrupts her casting (even divine) differently than other casters. For every 5% chance of spell failure the Wild Mage would otherwise incur, she instead subtracts 1 from her Wild Cast rolls.


Special Abilities:
Bonus Feat:
The Wild Mage may choose to take an [Item Creation], a [Metamagic], or a [Wild Mage] feat instead of acquiring a special ability.

Improved Counterspell:
When counterspelling, the Wild Mage may wild cast a spell of the same school that is one or more spell levels higher than the target spell.

More to come.


Wild Mage Feats:Child of Chaos [Wild Mage]:
You gain a +1 bonus to Wild Cast checks and to your armor class/saves against the effects of Wild Surges.

Wild Reversal [Wild Mage]
Whenever the Wild Mage successfully counterspells a spell with a Wild Cast spell, the original caster triggers a Wild Surge so long as the intended spell can't be turned as though affected by Spell Turning. If it can, the Wild Mage may choose to turn the spell normally instead.

More to come.



Wild Surge Effects:The DM determines the Wild Surge effect by rolling a d4 twice. The number of the first roll determines the Surge effect and whether the second is even, or odd, determines if the Wild Mage is damaged by the surge itself.

1/Odd: The spell is cast as intended, despite the Surge, though the caster still loses the ability to cast related spells normally.

1/Even: The spell is cast as intended, despite the Surge, though the caster still loses the ability to cast related spells normally. In addition, the caster takes damage (equal to the modified level of the spell) that cannot be healed until the caster recovers full access to their spells.

2/Odd: The spell is cast at a target of the DM's choosing and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally.

2/Even: The spell is cast at a target of the DM's choosing and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally. In addition, the caster takes damage (equal to the modified level of the spell) that cannot be healed until the caster recovers full access to their spells.

3/Odd: The spell fails and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally.

3/Even: The spell fails and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally. In addition, the caster takes damage (equal to the modified level of the spell) that cannot be healed until the caster recovers full access to their spells.

4/Odd: A spell (or effect) of the DM's choosing, at the same (or a lower) spell level, is cast at a target of the DM's choosing and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally.

4/Even:A spell (or effect) of the DM's choosing, at the same (or a lower) spell level, is cast at a target of the DM's choosing and the caster loses the ability to cast related spells normally. In addition, the caster takes damage (equal to the modified level of the spell) that cannot be healed until the caster recovers full access to their spells.



Special Thanks:
ocel: While I did not use your absolutely EPIC list in refining the first draft of this class, your concepts gave me a much-needed alternate angle to look from.

Starbuck II: Your spell level cap suggestion may not have been used to the letter, but it did help provide the foundation for the progression that was used.

Dante & Vergil: Your 'z' and 'x' request saved all of us from painfully hard-to-read charts. Ha.

Samm: Your mantra of 'turn down the power level' finally sunk in. Thanks for chanting it, even when it seemed I wasn't listening.

DMBlackhart: Your invaluable play testing was the catalyst for a meaty chunk of the changes that have been made since the first draft. That's not even addressing how very needed your enthusiasm was in order to keep me motivated on this project.

DonEstebon: Your chart, modified, was the perfect addition for understanding this alternate style of casting.

ForValor: Your no-bs approach to the PEACH process saved me from myself on multiple fronts. Working under the hailstorm of your frank comments even ended up hammering out this project's answer to the taint that is per-day casting.

Nam Animus: Your feat suggestion was awesome. My ego wishes I had thought of it first.

Morph Bark: For catching a core math error.

Garry: For streamlining the Wild Cast equation.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-05, 08:32 PM
(I might need this space)

GideonRiddle
2011-09-05, 10:00 PM
First of all I have no sense of balance etc...

Second, this looks really interesting.

The only question I have is could you put in an example of a casting in there because I have read it several times, and it's probably me, but I don't understand what you are rolling and what it is against.

Other than that this looks and sounds like alot of fun.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-05, 11:25 PM
Example of the class in action:
Daisy (lvl 20 Wild Mage):
*attempts to cast an Intensified Disintegrate at a young Force Dragon*

A 6th level arcane spell, +7 metamagic, and cast from an 'x' slot.

(This math gets pretty easy, once you get used to it, I swear.)

So, one would add 6+7+1 to get 14, which is subtracted from 0 to get -14.

Now, with all Wild Cast checks being DC1, Daisy would need to roll a 15+.

With the '[Wild Mage] Contained Chaos' feat, she would need to roll 14+.

This potential 1-hit KO on a CR21 critter has roughly a 1-in-3-ish chance.

However, that means that Daisy is looking at a 2-in-3-ish Surge chance.

If she tried this at lvl 19, she'd have a 5% shot at not getting a Surge.

TravelLog
2011-09-05, 11:35 PM
This looks fascinating, but how does level 19 have only a 5% non-surge chance, while a level 20 has a 33% success chance?

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-06, 12:09 AM
Wild Cast checks for “x” spell slots are (0-[1+x])+d20.

Wild Cast checks for “y” spell slots are (0-[1+y*2])+d20.

Intensified Disintegrate occupies a '13th' level spell slot.

At 19th level, that is a y slot. (0-[1+y*2])+d20 a -27 on the check.

At 20th level, that is an x slot. (0-[1+x])+d20 a -14 on the check.

Ergo, only a nat 20 will work at 19, even with the feat.

Whereas, at 20, a 15+ is needed without the feat or a 14+ with it.

Edit: Fixed the math. I can only blame distraction for the flub.

Morph Bark
2011-09-06, 06:18 AM
Wild Cast checks for “x” spell slots are (0-[1+x]+d20)

Wild Cast checks for “y” spell slots are (0-[1+y*2]+d20).

Wouldn't it be easier to make the DC 21 and grant a penalty to the check equal to x or y*2? If I'm reading it right, it'd give the same result in the end. :smallconfused:


EDIT: Was gonna post this in the Homebrew Playtest Services thread, but then figured it's place was much better here.


First off, he can cast any spell ever of levels he has access to spontaneously, which while possibly fine for an NPC, is definitely not so for a PC, and it would up his CR quite some. Also, I already have the fimalaire (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11547042) who could potentially do that.

This is also why he is not specifically good at buffing or debuffing, he simply is good at everything as long as it involves magic. Heck, he gets to cast spells a level earlier than prepared casters and two levels earlier than other spontaneous casters. Samm's mantra of 'turn down the power level' apparently needs to sink in a little deeper if you want this class to be balanced, I'm afraid.

Second, Wild Casting is a little confusing to me and could probably be made easier to do with even less mathematic hassle.

Third, for Class Abilities you listed an ability at level 6, while your class gets no class ability then, but it does gain one at levels 5 and 7, where you don't have one in this statblock. Nvm, that was for the other thread alone, and you've fixed it now.

Personally, I think you should simplify Wild Casting just a tidbit more and probably give him a spell progression slightly better than a Bard's, disallowing him from casting spells of levels 7, 8 and 9 entirely. (You could still allow 7 if you use only arcane or only divine spells, perhaps allowing them to choose at level 1 which of the two to take.)

TravelLog
2011-09-06, 01:14 PM
Wouldn't it be easier to make the DC 21 and grant a penalty to the check equal to x or y*2? If I'm reading it right, it'd give the same result in the end. :smallconfused:


This is also why he is not specifically good at buffing or debuffing, he simply is good at everything as long as it involves magic. Heck, he gets to cast spells a level earlier than prepared casters and two levels earlier than other spontaneous casters. Samm's mantra of 'turn down the power level' apparently needs to sink in a little deeper if you want this class to be balanced, I'm afraid.

Second, Wild Casting is a little confusing to me and could probably be made easier to do with even less mathematic hassle.


Personally, I think you should simplify Wild Casting just a tidbit more and probably give him a spell progression slightly better than a Bard's, disallowing him from casting spells of levels 7, 8 and 9 entirely. (You could still allow 7 if you use only arcane or only divine spells, perhaps allowing them to choose at level 1 which of the two to take.)

I agree with all of this, especially the chosen course suggestion for access to 7th level spells.

On another note, I do feel that at some point they should master casting the lowest level of spells, say 0-th level mastery at 7th level, 1st level mastery at 14th and 2nd level mastery at 20th (or alternately 0th at 5th level, 1st at 10th level, 2nd at 15th and 3rd at 20th.) the main reasoning is that I don't think there should be a risk at trying to use utility spells and cantrips in particular of really low levels (identify, prestidigitation, light, etc.).

YouLostMe
2011-09-06, 03:18 PM
OH GOD IT'S THAC0 FOR THIRD EDITION!!!!!

I agree with Morph here. That equation needs some simplification. Also, I notice you have a table there for Wild Cast DCs (makes sense), but under Wild Casting (the class feature) you write:

All wild cast rolls have a DC of 1, but the checks themselves vary.
So they have DCs of 1 but also don't. Which is brainexplosion.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-06, 03:44 PM
I'm pretty sure one of the primary issues we're having is that I fail to see the harm in having the potential to spontaneously cast every spell ever. The way I see it (and the way DMBlackhart experienced it during beta testing), so long as the Surges are appropriate for the scene, the progression becomes far less of a problem. This is not just a class that can spam every spell they have access to, all the time. Surges typically remove significant chunks of spells from the magi's pool of options, in addition to whatever rider effect(s) the DM decides to tack on.

I agree that, initially, the math is a little odd. However, after just a couple of test runs against various monsters, it has become second nature to me. 2nd level WM attempts to cast Alter Self: a 2nd lvl spell, from a y slot, is 2 times 2 plus 1 for a total of 5. I'd need a 6+ to do it (5+ with the feat). If the same spell is drawn from an x slot, the math would just be 2 plus 1 for a roll of 4+ without, and 3+ with, the feat.

The whole point is that the class gambles for the potential potency while praying that they don't bust and lose everything. Is there a lot of possible power in this class? Yes, yes there is. I'm not blind to that fact at all. However, said power always comes at a risk of biting yourself, or your party, in the butt with a poorly timed surge.

Also, why would I remove spell levels from a primary caster? A wizard 3/archivist 3/mystic theurge 10/ <insert dual casting PrC here> 4 gets 9th level spells from both arcane and divine by twenty AND without the hassle of spells periodically imploding on them. That's not even taking into account the superior casting stat if Int to Cha. No, the biggest issue I can see comes from needing to forbid this class from being paired with another base casting class. -but even that is easy to fix by putting a multi-classing limitation on them.

Oh, and in regards to the 'mastery' concept. I had already given that some serious thought, but had to shoot it down because the Surge mechanic serves as a stand-in for spells per day (which I hate so much that it makes my eyes cross). With the Contained Chaos feat, cantrips/orisons will no longer surge but every other spell level is still fated to eventually seal up due to statistical entropy.

Thanks for the feedback Morph Bark and TravelLog, but it looks like we're just not seeing the same thing.

Edit:

YouLostMe: XD Yeah, it's a 3.5 THDC1 rather than THAC0, for sure. As for the 'brainexplosion' (:smallbiggrin:) I call it 'Schrödinger's DC' because it is, and isn't, 1 at the same time. :smalltongue:

YouLostMe
2011-09-06, 04:43 PM
Well, could you explain Schrodinger's DC a little bit more, again? I'm still not getting how it can be 2 DC's and how that complicated subtraction works?

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-06, 05:26 PM
Alright.
1a. x slots subtract (spell slot plus 1) from your roll.
1b. y slots subtract ([spell slot*2] plus 1) from your roll.
2. roll a d20 and pray that you get 1, or higher, after the penalty

In practice, we take a 1st level character casting a 1st level spell from a y slot:
1. 1 x 2 + 1 = 3
2. 0 - 3 = -3
3. A result of 4, or higher, on the roll is needed to get a total of 1+.
4. Thus, a 1st level WM has an 80% chance of casting from 1st level slots.

Now, the same character, tries the same spell again at 2nd level, from an x slot:
1. 1 + 1 = 2
2. 0 - 2 = -2
3. A result of 3, or higher, on the roll is needed to get a total of 1+.
4. Thus, a 2nd level WM has an 85% chance of casting from 1st level slots.

If this same WM were to take the Contained Chaos feat, their odds of casting (without complication) would go up by 5% across the board, effectively removing the base chance that a cantrip/orison will Surge the first time around.

-and that's the basic mechanic in a nutshell. In essence, the odds of getting off spells (without complications) shrinks as you advance AND if you keep casting the same spell over and over in a day. However, as was shown by DMBlackhart's play test, the Surge mechanic can serve as both a counter-balance to the inherent potency of the class AND serve as a tool through which the DM can make things happen for either hilarity or to move things along.

Though y slots grant access to spells at a nifty rate, they are a pretty significant gamble. The idea was to give characters options when they were in tight spots, or if they just really enjoy gambling, but to leave the semi-solid advancement along the same lines as other spontaneous casters. Sure, that Wild Mage will get access to the 2nd level spell slot a level faster than the prep casters in his group, but the prep casters won't have a 30% chance to grant the DM a legit excuse to bone them every time they try to cast from it either.

Shadow Lord
2011-09-06, 05:40 PM
Can you take Contained Chaos multiple times?

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-06, 06:00 PM
So far, no. As it stands, the potency of the class is already an issue on the table. However, I am still open to revising that stance so long as empirical data suggests that it would not be a balance issue.

YouLostMe
2011-09-06, 08:21 PM
All right, I see it now. So there are two ways to do it: subtract from your d20 roll (THAC0--kill me now) or roll d20 and compare on the chart, as both yield the same result.

So I'm going to be very open here and say--your math is baaaad.

At levels like 2-6, you're way to strong for the rest of the party. You can cast a 2nd-level spell at levels 2-3 pretty regularly (75%). That makes you super strong except when you're taking a burst (which is totally at the DM's whim--I can tell that's a play choice on your part, so I won't rage about it, but it bothers me). In the middle levels, you have an OK chance for appropriate spells, but then at high levels you get screwed over. At level 18, you're messing up 55% of the time, and hoping that your DM will give you a spell that you want. That's pretty hurtful to class balance. Tier 2 at level 1 scales down to Tier 3/4 by level 20.

Another thing that bothers me is that the DCs don't scale well--at level 20, you're no better at casting 1st level spells than you were at level 1. I would really like, as compensation for not always casting level-appropriate spells, to at least be able to spam the weak spells and utility spells when I want to be on the safe side.

This thing wants another spell DC progression... I don't know what it is, but there should be a different algorithm here.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-07, 05:27 AM
Forgive me for my jovial response, but it amuses me that you feel as though the class is a T2-T3/4 while Morph talks about it like it is a solid T1+. :smallbiggrin:

In any case, given that the Surge mechanic IS the WM's version of spells per day, I'm not really sure what other ratio to shoot for. If a typical Wizard gets 7 9th level slots with his 36 Int, and a WM has a 50% chance (with the feat) of casting from 9th level slots from 8 schools of magic (plus the universal ones) for a total of 6.5-ish. Doesn't that roughly even out the playing field? Correct me if I'm wrong, but given the varying levels of harmlessness/brutality of Surges, I'd think that the Tier for the class could easily occupy the entire range of 0 through 4 simply due to luck and the whims of the DM on any given day and that roulette of potency certainly screams 'Wild Mage' to me more than the current PrC does. :smallsmile:

Morph Bark
2011-09-07, 10:05 AM
Forgive me for my jovial response, but it amuses me that you feel as though the class is a T2-T3/4 while Morph talks about it like it is a solid T1+. :smallbiggrin:

Tier 2 at level 1 scales down to Tier 3/4 by level 20.

I'm wondering if we've been talking about the same Tier system here. :smallconfused: I'm talking about this one (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) here, in case either of you was unaware.

The Tiers are about potential and versatility, meaning that even if all your Wild Cast checks required a natural 20 you'd still be the same Tier as when they wouldn't require checks for spells of levels below half your maximum spell level and rolls of between 10 and 19 for the higher level spells.

This class is not below Tier 1 until it has failed a lot of Wild Cast checks, simply because of the spell lists it has access to. It has access to every summoning and calling spell ever, all the Polymorph spells, Shadow Conjuration, Shadow Evocation, both Wish and Miracle, Divine Power and Righteous Might, etcetera. If the casters who got those things on their lists are Tier 1 and can know all spells on their list, this class is a Tier 1 as well.

As I understand the way Wild Casting works now, I can see why someone might think it to be Tier 2, but it definitely never can be Tier 3 the way it is now. Sure, at level 18 I have a 55% maximum chance of failure with casting a spell, but on the other hand I have a 45% chance of success. If I wanted to I could start the day with casting buffs from various spell lists that last for 1 hour/level per level or longer, then just before entering a dangerous place I could put up my 1 minute/level or 10 minutes/level buffs, free of charge.

And if I need a level 8 spell really badly and fail to cast it? I'll just try again with Miracle. If that fails? Wish. If that fails? Maybe Shades will do the trick, either if the desired spell is Conjuration or can be achieved by summoning or calling a creature capable of what you want done (and if you could do it that way, there is also always Gate or Summon Monster IX). To make that fail you'd need four (or five) fails in a row, which is a 9.150625% chance (or 5.03284375%). And you can do this one level earlier than the wizard, druid or cleric.

Also, if you fail? Either the DM is forgiving and has you cast a similar spell so you still get a desired effect, he is mean and causes you to cast a spell that hastens the PCs towards TPK (or causes it) or he simply has a useless effect come up. The second is bad in general, the first will simply cause less satisfaction ("I failed but I still succeeded"), the third can mean a variety of things like meaning you failed your spell at a critical time and therefore indirectly still cause a TPK or your DM doesn't know a lot of spells and neither wants to help you nor screw you over or your DM is simply bored and decided to stick to a shortlist of go-to spells in case you screw up. Fact of the matter is, you don't want to screw up a lot, nor does your party who can suffer a variety of nasty effects from it, nor does your DM who may have to end up choosing which spells you cast for you. (One could even say this means the DM "plays" your character more often than you do yourself and sort-of-but-not-quite turns you into a DMPC. As an NPC it makes it worse though, as he'll be around for much shorter and thus a combat encounter with an NPC Wild Mage can either mean true hell due to a barrage of spells one level above yours, or a cakewalk if all his spells fail, making it boring.)

The point I'm trying to make with the last paragraph is this: you have no control over your success or failure. None whatsoever. You don't even get your Charisma bonus to your check so that you at least have a way of boosting your check results and fail less often. Others have done a percentage-based failure/success mechanic before, but it did nothing to balance things more, just less. This means that Wild Casting is effectively a worse casting mechanic than that of the Truenamer.

If that was your intention though, I bid you congratulations for succeeding.


So, yes, the concept is very interesting indeed and I find the official Wild Mage hilarious, but in execution this could do a lot better. As such, my earlier suggestions of spell level limitation and applying Charisma as a bonus still stand.

YouLostMe
2011-09-07, 01:09 PM
I apologize Morph, but my eyes blur when I read large blocks of text. I skimmed, so if I say "Morph said this!" and you totally didn't, know that it's only because I'm dumb, and will totally understand if you call me out.

So a wizard/sorcerer or whatnot at level 1 usually takes out an opponent quickly with color spray and glitterdust and such. However, fighters do that too with their swords, so the playing field is pretty even. The only commonality that these level 1 character have is that they always succeed. The Wild Mage does not always succeed--there's a 20% chance that they'll waste their action and lose all spells of the same level and school for the day. That seems bad to me, which is why I think that low levels place the wild mage only around T2-3.

At mid levels, I can see the Wild Mage giving the middle finger to the Big 5, but his fail chance (that whole "wasting your action" thing is a big deal in a game where combats are 3-5 turns. You're losing 33-20% of what you can do during the turn.) seems to even the playing field.

At high levels, he's trying to cast level appropriate spells, but does worse than the Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, Warmage, etc. because he fails about half the time. At those levels, most casters have enough spells to get them through the day, so the advantage that the Wild Mage had is hurt.

Even that "cast wish to get my spell back!" thing isn't great--there's still a 55% chance you'll fail, you can't get a truly appropriate spell back regardless, and while you're attempting to be successful, your party members are successfully casting for the second time. You may get through a battle without ever successfully even casting a spell--and that's terrible.


This means that Wild Casting is effectively a worse casting mechanic than that of the Truenamer.
The way the system is... this is pretty close to true.

TL;DR: I believe we differ in that I think that the failure chance is enough to make you a sitting duck, especially since you're not guarded against failure multiple times. The number of times you can cast a spell doesn't matter if you can't cast that spell when you want it.

EDIT: Oh lord, now I wrote a big block of text. Added a tl;dr section.

Morph Bark
2011-09-07, 02:12 PM
Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's just that that does not prevent this class from being Tier 1/1.5.

YouLostMe
2011-09-07, 04:06 PM
Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's just that that does not prevent this class from being Tier 1/1.5.

Well, since I just love to compromise. Let's say its balance point (http://dnd-wiki.org/wiki/Dungeons_and_Dragons_Wiki:Balance_Points) goes from rogue to fighter, and its tier is high. We can both be happy.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-07, 10:03 PM
Alright, NOW I've got some productive perspective to work with. Hrm...

Target numbers by level:
(current/+half slot level of Cha bonus/+half slot level of Cha bonus and feat)

x 0=02/02/01

y 1=04/04/03
x 1=03/03/02

y 2=06/05/04
x 2=04/03/02

y 3=08/07/06
x 3=05/04/03

y 4=10/08/07
x 4=06/04/03

y 5=12/10/09
x 5=07/05/04

y 6=14/11/10
x 6=08/05/04

y 7=16/13/12
x 7=09/06/05

y 8=18/14/13
x 8=10/06/05

y 9=20/16/15
x 9=11/07/06

Alright, if the ability to add an amount of Cha bonus (up to 1/2 a slot's level) to your roll is put into the thing, how would the pair of you feel about having surges lock down the whole slot level rather than just that spell and spells that share a school with it? Given the greatly increased success rate, I'd feel that a harsher possible lock down effect would be needed for the sake of balancing out spells per day.

Edit: Got rid of the pointless math since just the target numbers matter.

Garryl
2011-09-07, 11:00 PM
You could simplify that entire table into a single pair of simple formulas. The effective Wild Cast DC (what you actually have to roll after the convoluted DC 1 and static penalties and whatnot) for spells other than your highest level is equal to 2 + the spell slot's level, and the DC for your highest level is 2 + 2x the spell slot's level. Then you just need to tweak the wording a bit to account for the slots above 9th that you get starting at level 18. (Eg: "Starting at 18th level, a Wild Mage can cast spells as though from spell slots above 9th level, with no maximum effective spell slot level. All of these slots are considered to be her highest spell level available for the purpose of Wild Cast DCs. At 20th level, she always treats Wild Cast checks as though the spell slot was not her highest level when determining the Wild Cast DC.")

Heighten Spell is a strong feat for Wild Mages. It gives them extra chances to cast their important spells successfully, if I'm understanding the school/slot lockout correctly. If you have Heighten Spell and fail a Wild Cast roll, you'll lock out that school and level, but Heighten changes the level so you should be able to try again at a higher effective spell level.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-07, 11:52 PM
Garryl: *the faceplam heard 'round the world* :smallannoyed: Yeah, that WOULD be a much less retarded way of going about it. Your (now painfully obvious) observation makes me question the actual value of my cognitive ability. :smallsigh:

-I'll start editing the wording of things now. :smallredface:

As for the Heighten issue: If the whole bloody slot level is locked down (as opposed to just a school of a certain level), I see no problem in giving WMs other chances at spells through higher slots. It'd just mean that those higher level slots would become increasingly more valuable as lower ones ceased to be viable options.

Tyndmyr
2011-09-08, 11:59 AM
So, you basically cast whatever you want spont forever, so long as you don't cast the same spells over and over again.

As if that wasn't enough, you get a huge pile of free feats and things.

Also, free DMM.

If it works, it's broken, and if it doesn't, it's...wildly random DM fiat reliant. Er...why would this ever be desirable? Cha is pumpable, so it'll always be at the max. Luck rerolls, etc make this more reliable...but failure chance does not make it balanced. Not even a little.

I declare this class wildly broken. It's solidly a tier 1, if not higher.

Edit: After reading the rest of the comments, Morph is correct. Listen to his advice.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-08, 02:42 PM
Tyndmyr:
So, you basically cast whatever you want spont forever, so long as you don't cast the same spells over and over again.

I can't help but feel that that's something of an unfair oversimplification. Even with peak stats, and the odds-tilting feat, every spell from level 1 up has a chance of failure. -and all it takes is one bad roll to take an entire spell level away. Combined with the 'repeat performance' penalty, optimal use of the class would involve rotating one's spell selections from any given slot in order to minimize the odds of losing the whole bundle. That's the intent anyway. Perhaps the 'repeat performance' penalty could stand a boost in potency in order to properly insure as much.

As if that wasn't enough, you get a huge pile of free feats and things.

Also, free DMM.

Well, I suppose I cannot argue that (in its current form) the class DOES have about double the shinies that a Wizard gets. However, I do call into question your wording of 'free DMM'. It does still take up a special feature and the effect itself must still be applied by using up higher level slots like arcane spells. Heck, given that arcane 'spell failure' works identically to divine 'spell failure' (in regards to how this class functions) it's essentially a class feature that just allows 'DMM' to function at all since muticlassing as another caster is all but out of the question until epic levels.

If it works, it's broken, and if it doesn't, it's...wildly random DM fiat reliant. Er...why would this ever be desirable? Cha is pumpable, so it'll always be at the max. Luck rerolls, etc make this more reliable...but failure chance does not make it balanced. Not even a little.

I declare this class wildly broken. It's solidly a tier 1, if not higher.

tl;dr version: "It's broken. I don't like it. Fix it." -sans any suggestions or alternatives that would improve your stance on the whole. Productive. How does failure not balance things out? It eats an action in an encounter AND locks down a slot for the day. The whole point of the class is to be an expression of that chaotic, gambler's spirit while also providing opportunities for all manner of memorable complications.

Edit: After reading the rest of the comments, Morph is correct. Listen to his advice.

Added Cha to the roll, though I have yet to drop the cap spell level to 7. A Wiz3/Arc3/Theurge10/<twin progression prc>4 (with, at least, a fairly easy to hit 36 Int) caps out with 5 9th level spells (two arc, three div). Sure, his caster level takes a -3 hit on both sides, but his spells don't have a permanent (and sometimes growing) chance to fail. Given that the new format gives the class a base failure chance of about 25% with 9th level spells, my assumption is that the playing field is rather leveled out on that front. I mean, the multiclass mess would (at the very least) get to use their spells before they lost them. The WM has a (slightly better than) 1/4 chance of never getting to use any (and possibly even getting punished for the attempt).

I don't know what sort of malicious DMs some of you play with, but I'm starting to feel as though I have been spoiled by not having to treat my own like they were enemies I needed to protect myself from. :smallconfused:

In any case, since DM involvement in the Surge process seems to be another aspect of the class that makes the majority cringe, does anyone have any ideas on how to cut their involvement out without violating the spirit of the mechanic? I've been loathe to use a rigid chart simply because I feel that such a thing wouldn't properly instill that moment of tense anticipation that should come from every attempt a WM makes to cast.

:smallsigh:

I don't know. Maybe this class will just end up another one of those things that is appropriate for some groups, but not others. Lord knows my old Badass (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6527724&postcount=1) project had the same problem.

Tyndmyr
2011-09-08, 03:48 PM
Tyndmyr:
So, you basically cast whatever you want spont forever, so long as you don't cast the same spells over and over again.

I can't help but feel that that's something of an unfair oversimplification. Even with peak stats, and the odds-tilting feat, every spell from level 1 up has a chance of failure. -and all it takes is one bad roll to take an entire spell level away.

Slot. Not level, slot. I don't see it actually specified anywhere how many slots you have per level.

Random chance of a fairly undefined failure event does not make it balanced. I mean, an "I win the game" spell wouldn't be better if it allowed the DM a save, would it?


Combined with the 'repeat performance' penalty, optimal use of the class would involve rotating one's spell selections from any given slot in order to minimize the odds of losing the whole bundle. That's the intent anyway. Perhaps the 'repeat performance' penalty could stand a boost in potency in order to properly insure as much.

There is essentially enough spells in the game that this is not a problem. There's even a nice variety of ways to replicate spells with other spells.


As if that wasn't enough, you get a huge pile of free feats and things.

Also, free DMM.

Well, I suppose I cannot argue that (in its current form) the class DOES have about double the shinies that a Wizard gets. However, I do call into question your wording of 'free DMM'. It does still take up a special feature and the effect itself must still be applied by using up higher level slots like arcane spells. Heck, given that arcane 'spell failure' works identically to divine 'spell failure' (in regards to how this class functions) it's essentially a class feature that just allows 'DMM' to function at all since muticlassing as another caster is all but out of the question until epic levels.

Not having DMM is not a crushing weakness that needs to be fixed. Also, I feel like you might be misunderstanding what Divine Metamagic is.

For starters, you don't need any special feat to use metamagics with divine spells. That just works normally. DMM is a metamagic reducer. It doesn't really make sense in the context with what you're talking about.


If it works, it's broken, and if it doesn't, it's...wildly random DM fiat reliant. Er...why would this ever be desirable? Cha is pumpable, so it'll always be at the max. Luck rerolls, etc make this more reliable...but failure chance does not make it balanced. Not even a little.

I declare this class wildly broken. It's solidly a tier 1, if not higher.

tl;dr version: "It's broken. I don't like it. Fix it." -sans any suggestions or alternatives that would improve your stance on the whole. Productive. How does failure not balance things out? It eats an action in an encounter AND locks down a slot for the day. The whole point of the class is to be an expression of that chaotic, gambler's spirit while also providing opportunities for all manner of memorable complications.

I pointed out the flaws. How exactly they're fixed is up to you, but surely knowing the nature of the flaws is a guide toward removing them.

Here's a start, though. You don't balance ludicrous power with ludicrous downsides. That just makes a class that is always either too good or not good enough.


I don't know what sort of malicious DMs some of you play with, but I'm starting to feel as though I have been spoiled by not having to treat my own like they were enemies I needed to protect myself from. :smallconfused:

A good class should not be particularly vulnerable to DM whims. Nor should it cause an exceptional amount of headache for the DM to incorporate into his game. Basically, every time you use "DM decides result" instead of defining the result, you've skipped designing that part of the class, and passed off the workload to the DM. This is generally undesirable, as DMs already have plenty.


Additionally, you should probably define exactly what spells are cast as. The ASF and mention of the Weave indicates you're assuming arcane spells in Faerun, but this is never explicitly spelled out.

Also, 6 skills/lvl is pretty strong for a not particularly skill themed caster class.

Also, it really doesn't live up to the advertising of being a caster version of frenzied berserker.

Morph Bark
2011-09-08, 04:37 PM
I don't know what sort of malicious DMs some of you play with, but I'm starting to feel as though I have been spoiled by not having to treat my own like they were enemies I needed to protect myself from. :smallconfused:

Ah, but see, I am the DM. :smallwink: While some others in my group have DMed sometimes, they much prefer me as the DM and themselves as a player. To be honest, my biggest gripe with it wasn't that it would allow my DM to screw me over as a player, but that as a DM I'd have a sudden lot of extra work to deal with. Which brings me to your following point:


In any case, since DM involvement in the Surge process seems to be another aspect of the class that makes the majority cringe, does anyone have any ideas on how to cut their involvement out without violating the spirit of the mechanic? I've been loathe to use a rigid chart simply because I feel that such a thing wouldn't properly instill that moment of tense anticipation that should come from every attempt a WM makes to cast.

It could actually be made pretty simple. If the player keeps DnD books at hand (either hard copy or PDF), have them instead cast the spell that comes next alphabetically - and if that spell is of a higher level, go to the next, etc. This makes it so that every time you cast fireball and fail you'd cast flame arrow though... so perhaps have them roll a d6 and move that many spells down the alphabetic list, if that's not a level-appropriate spell, roll another d6, etc.

Alternatively, open up a book with spells in it at a random page, and if there are spells on that page, blindly prick your finger on a page, that's the spell you cast instead. If it's not level-appropriate, retry.

You could just make a list of options for what could happen if you want a different spell be cast (along with rolling a die to see who gets affected if it is a targeted spell), one of which could still be DM Fiat, others the options I presented above, yet others could be a table to roll a die on to have one of multiple effects. For example:

1: you cast the spell, but it affects a different target; 2: you fail to cast the spell; 3: you cast the spell on yourself and take maximum damage/instantly fail the Fort or Will save; 4: you become frightened for 1 round and shaken the next; 5: you attack the nearest creature with a melee or ranged attack, unable to control your actions; 6: you gain a +2 bonus to Charisma for 1 round (which increaseses your chances of succeeding on your next spell and increases the DC as well).


The whole point of the class is to be an expression of that chaotic, gambler's spirit while also providing opportunities for all manner of memorable complications.

Have you perchance seen Final Fantasy d6? It has the Gambler class who can majorly screw over his own party if he has bad rolls, but he can select some class features that decreases his chances of doing so and instead benefit his party greatly. It's worth Googling at least.


I don't know. Maybe this class will just end up another one of those things that is appropriate for some groups, but not others. Lord knows my old Badass (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6527724&postcount=1) project had the same problem.

Maybe, but allow me to tell you one thing: I frigging love your Badass substitution level. No joke! In fact if one of my player's old characters ever gets rezzed, he'll instantly gain a level in Badass due to getting the most epic kill post-mortem.

Don't feel discouraged by our critique! I know it's not really ever what you expect or desire when you ask for a PEACH, but it can be helpful, and that is my aim here too.

Hope I hit the bullseye. :smallsmile:

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-09, 01:33 AM
Slot. Not level, slot. I don't see it actually specified anywhere how many slots you have per level.

Random chance of a fairly undefined failure event does not make it balanced. I mean, an "I win the game" spell wouldn't be better if it allowed the DM a save, would it?

There is no set number of slots. As the beast is currently written, you can keep casting until you Surge, then nothing can be cast from that slot until you take a power nap.

As for a blackout trait not balancing great potential, that really does sadden me. The 'per day' format of casting infuriates me, and I was hoping that inevitable failure chipping away at options would serve as a suitable stand-in.

There is essentially enough spells in the game that this is not a problem. There's even a nice variety of ways to replicate spells with other spells.

The primary purpose of the limitation was not to serve as another balancing point so much as encourage a style of play that pulled new tricks out of the hat rather than the most mechanically sound ones.

Not having DMM is not a crushing weakness that needs to be fixed. Also, I feel like you might be misunderstanding what Divine Metamagic is.

For starters, you don't need any special feat to use metamagics with divine spells. That just works normally. DMM is a metamagic reducer. It doesn't really make sense in the context with what you're talking about.

I really must be misunderstanding. For some odd reason, I was under the impression that DMM was the only way to use metamagic feats with divine spells. Huh... If that is really not the case, I see no reason to keep the ability. Although now I am concerned about how I got that idea in my head in the first place.

I pointed out the flaws. How exactly they're fixed is up to you, but surely knowing the nature of the flaws is a guide toward removing them.

Here's a start, though. You don't balance ludicrous power with ludicrous downsides. That just makes a class that is always either too good or not good enough.

The very nature of even the canon PrC was the gamble for power. How the heck else could one even consider making the base concept work? Nobody goes to Vegas to break even. They go for the chance to make it big, even when failure is the more likely result.

A good class should not be particularly vulnerable to DM whims. Nor should it cause an exceptional amount of headache for the DM to incorporate into his game. Basically, every time you use "DM decides result" instead of defining the result, you've skipped designing that part of the class, and passed off the workload to the DM. This is generally undesirable, as DMs already have plenty.

This is the one recurring theme of critique that continues to confuse me. I thought the examples laid out a general guideline through which a DM can be lenient, lay down the wrath of god, or otherwise legitimately use mechanics to facilitate the flow of things. Surge: Does a spell cast, or not? Is it the one that the player wanted? Who is it cast on? Hell, is it even a spell? Why does this particular Wild Mage keep having Surges that 1) leave the taste of sulfur in his mouth or 2) cast Grease on his right hand?

Additionally, you should probably define exactly what spells are cast as. The ASF and mention of the Weave indicates you're assuming arcane spells in Faerun, but this is never explicitly spelled out.

This could possibly be due to another misunderstanding. Given that is has been some time since I've had the ability to play an actual DnD game, I was operating under the assumption that all magic, from the Forgotten Realms setting, was tied to The Weave. I have a bias towards running variants from that general outline as my very first 3.5 game was run in that world. As such, I think I may assume that certain traits from Faerun are universal rather than world specific.

Also, 6 skills/lvl is pretty strong for a not particularly skill themed caster class.

Eh. I really have no excuse for this other than a dislike for how limiting I find so few skill points are for fleshing out characters. I go so far as abolishing class skills in games that I run. Such a ruling has lead to all manner of interesting quirks with PrCs/feats but those issues were never insurmountable.

Also, it really doesn't live up to the advertising of being a caster version of frenzied berserker.

Thematically? Not at all. Mechanically though, a 9th level surge nuking a teammate is little different from a flicked FB power attacking his face in.

-----------------------

Ah, but see, I am the DM. :smallwink: While some others in my group have DMed sometimes, they much prefer me as the DM and themselves as a player. To be honest, my biggest gripe with it wasn't that it would allow my DM to screw me over as a player, but that as a DM I'd have a sudden lot of extra work to deal with. Which brings me to your following point:

I think we are just not looking at the Surge rules the same way, and that worries me. As a former dedicated DM myself, I look at the rules as chances to take a character's personal disaster and make it memorable. I'd really like to be able to see what you guys are looking at though, because I just don't seem to be getting it. :smallconfused:

It could actually be made pretty simple. If the player keeps DnD books at hand (either hard copy or PDF), have them instead cast the spell that comes next alphabetically - and if that spell is of a higher level, go to the next, etc. This makes it so that every time you cast fireball and fail you'd cast flame arrow though... so perhaps have them roll a d6 and move that many spells down the alphabetic list, if that's not a level-appropriate spell, roll another d6, etc.

Alternatively, open up a book with spells in it at a random page, and if there are spells on that page, blindly prick your finger on a page, that's the spell you cast instead. If it's not level-appropriate, retry.

You could just make a list of options for what could happen if you want a different spell be cast (along with rolling a die to see who gets affected if it is a targeted spell), one of which could still be DM Fiat, others the options I presented above, yet others could be a table to roll a die on to have one of multiple effects. For example:

1: you cast the spell, but it affects a different target; 2: you fail to cast the spell; 3: you cast the spell on yourself and take maximum damage/instantly fail the Fort or Will save; 4: you become frightened for 1 round and shaken the next; 5: you attack the nearest creature with a melee or ranged attack, unable to control your actions; 6: you gain a +2 bonus to Charisma for 1 round (which increaseses your chances of succeeding on your next spell and increases the DC as well).

*sigh* The dreaded 'fixed table'. I know it should be on the top of my list of things to tweak, given the sheer number of folks pushing for it, but it feels so much like slipping back into a 'rod of wonder' type gimmick. The first time the same result pops up twice, all sense of immersion in the fear of the unknown would go out the window. The endless possibilities of magic boiled down to a chart of prefabricated options.

Have you perchance seen Final Fantasy d6? It has the Gambler class who can majorly screw over his own party if he has bad rolls, but he can select some class features that decreases his chances of doing so and instead benefit his party greatly. It's worth Googling at least.

I will do so.

Maybe, but allow me to tell you one thing: I frigging love your Badass substitution level. No joke! In fact if one of my player's old characters ever gets rezzed, he'll instantly gain a level in Badass due to getting the most epic kill post-mortem.

Ha! There are those who HATED the whole thing. Largely citing imbalance and potential inter-party strife as absolute reasons for the whole thing to not exist at all. I am glad you like it though. It's seen action in at least three games, that I know of, with naught but success. Apparently, being rewarded with mechanical 'cool points' for taking bold chances makes players actually start acting like heroes rather than armchair tacticians. Who'd have guessed?

Don't feel discouraged by our critique! I know it's not really ever what you expect or desire when you ask for a PEACH, but it can be helpful, and that is my aim here too.

Hope I hit the bullseye. :smallsmile:


Oh, despite my apparent frustration with some of the angles you guys are coming from, I do understand that. For Valor tore the first draft the hell apart with his EACH-ing, and I'm glad for it. Honestly, this version is a stark improvement from even that larval stage. With luck, I hope that the end product will end up generally acceptable rather than a scrapped pile of thematic potential.

Edit: Reworded a bunch of things, removed a few others, and still trying to figure out a way to get a table for Surges that won't make me gag.

Tyndmyr
2011-09-09, 08:53 AM
Slot. Not level, slot. I don't see it actually specified anywhere how many slots you have per level.

Random chance of a fairly undefined failure event does not make it balanced. I mean, an "I win the game" spell wouldn't be better if it allowed the DM a save, would it?

There is no set number of slots. As the beast is currently written, you can keep casting until you Surge, then nothing can be cast from that slot until you take a power nap.

You appear to be assuming that slot == spell level. This is not a general assumption in D&D, and casters almost invariably have multiple slots per level. Given that you only stop using the slot, and there is no set number of slots...by RAW, that's a fairly confusing restriction.


As for a blackout trait not balancing great potential, that really does sadden me. The 'per day' format of casting infuriates me, and I was hoping that inevitable failure chipping away at options would serve as a suitable stand-in.

You can certainly have alternate limitations on casting, yes. The higher and higher failure model WILL eventually limit spells per day(though it's not very effective at limiting out of combat spells), but it does not serve as a balancing factor. After all, vancian already has limits. Replacing one set of limits with another does not inherently counterbalance knowing all of the spells ever and being able to cast the all spontaneously.


There is essentially enough spells in the game that this is not a problem. There's even a nice variety of ways to replicate spells with other spells.

The primary purpose of the limitation was not to serve as another balancing point so much as encourage a style of play that pulled new tricks out of the hat rather than the most mechanically sound ones.

There are a *lot* of mechanically sound tricks. A well designed wizard uses lots of tricks anyhow, so as to avoid being too situational. You're merely rewarding what is already optimal play, and penalizing what is already suboptimal. From a balance perspective, that's generally not good.


The very nature of even the canon PrC was the gamble for power. How the heck else could one even consider making the base concept work? Nobody goes to Vegas to break even. They go for the chance to make it big, even when failure is the more likely result.

Gambles need not be all or nothing. Consider the example of the fatespinner, a luck based Prc, or the existing Wild Mage Prc. Neither are considered bad classes(well, the last level of fatespinner kind of sucks, but otherwise, decent). Grab from them or luck feats for inspiration.


A good class should not be particularly vulnerable to DM whims. Nor should it cause an exceptional amount of headache for the DM to incorporate into his game. Basically, every time you use "DM decides result" instead of defining the result, you've skipped designing that part of the class, and passed off the workload to the DM. This is generally undesirable, as DMs already have plenty.

This is the one recurring theme of critique that continues to confuse me. I thought the examples laid out a general guideline through which a DM can be lenient, lay down the wrath of god, or otherwise legitimately use mechanics to facilitate the flow of things. Surge: Does a spell cast, or not? Is it the one that the player wanted? Who is it cast on? Hell, is it even a spell? Why does this particular Wild Mage keep having Surges that 1) leave the taste of sulfur in his mouth or 2) cast Grease on his right hand?

Guidelines and suggestions are not rules. DMs can already ignore or choose not to use rules. They cannot reasonably choose to use rules which are not written(at least, not without doing the work of writing them themselves). In essence, you're leaving the class unfinished, and passing off the work of finishing it to the DM.

As a side note, you should probably try to make your system play nice with other systems. For instance, entirely banning going into other classes(and the wording would appear to also ban PrCs that would possibly progress it's casting) is....generally undesirable. Not specifying arcane or divine is again awkward. It causes lots of questions to arise in actual play that depend on either a DM call or a lot of pedantic reading.


Thematically? Not at all. Mechanically though, a 9th level surge nuking a teammate is little different from a flicked FB power attacking his face in.

Nah. The frenzied berserker goes off the rails in a very predictable fashion, and continues doing so until stopped. And, typically, has a very obvious way to stop him(will saves, yay!). This is different from "perhaps the DM'll decide I nuke an ally this time". The only real similarity between them is that both somehow possess the ability to hurt allies in some way. This isn't particularly similar.


I think we are just not looking at the Surge rules the same way, and that worries me. As a former dedicated DM myself, I look at the rules as chances to take a character's personal disaster and make it memorable. I'd really like to be able to see what you guys are looking at though, because I just don't seem to be getting it. :smallconfused:

When designing rules, do not assume those reading them will think as you do, or use them as you would. Do not assume they'll use them "correctly". Read it from a worst possible scenario viewpoint. If the rules SAY "you can select one magic item for free", assume that somewhere, some player will see that, and try to get the most munchkinly of items. Well written rules play similarly for everyone.

I would suggest limiting the spell list, personally. To what? I don't know. But the theme of gambling does not specifically require access to every spell ever. Alternatively, if you're going Archivist-like...have them have all spells on the spell list, but have to write them into a spellbook. That said, the archivist is still tier 1.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-09, 03:52 PM
You appear to be assuming that slot == spell level. This is not a general assumption in D&D, and casters almost invariably have multiple slots per level. Given that you only stop using the slot, and there is no set number of slots...by RAW, that's a fairly confusing restriction.

To clarify intent: Spells of a certain level are cast (outside of the influence of metamagic feats) from a slot of the same level. So, the notion was to effectively burn out the slot so that characters would have to resort to using higher level slots if they feel that they absolutely must get that one lower level spell off.

You can certainly have alternate limitations on casting, yes. The higher and higher failure model WILL eventually limit spells per day(though it's not very effective at limiting out of combat spells), but it does not serve as a balancing factor. After all, vancian already has limits. Replacing one set of limits with another does not inherently counterbalance knowing all of the spells ever and being able to cast the all spontaneously.

I can see your point, and I have been giving an alternative some thought. Upon considering the ToB on my desk, I got to wondering if a roulette wheel pattern of spell access might be just the thing to help offset the broad range of available spells.

There are a *lot* of mechanically sound tricks. A well designed wizard uses lots of tricks anyhow, so as to avoid being too situational. You're merely rewarding what is already optimal play, and penalizing what is already suboptimal. From a balance perspective, that's generally not good.

I'm certain that I have no idea what you are referring to here.

Gambles need not be all or nothing. Consider the example of the fatespinner, a luck based Prc, or the existing Wild Mage Prc. Neither are considered bad classes(well, the last level of fatespinner kind of sucks, but otherwise, decent). Grab from them or luck feats for inspiration.

Keeping in mind the concerns brought up as of late, the Wild Casting and Reckless Dweomer abilities almost scream to be worked into the reconsidered casting format.

Guidelines and suggestions are not rules. DMs can already ignore or choose not to use rules. They cannot reasonably choose to use rules which are not written (at least, not without doing the work of writing them themselves). In essence, you're leaving the class unfinished, and passing off the work of finishing it to the DM.

That's the confusing thing about it though, I felt the examples given illustrate fairly clearly the intent of what Surges should feel like without placing limitations on their possibilities. I never would have guessed that a rod of wonders layout of rigid outcomes would be such a deal-breaker.

As a side note, you should probably try to make your system play nice with other systems. For instance, entirely banning going into other classes (and the wording would appear to also ban PrCs that would possibly progress it's casting) is....generally undesirable. Not specifying arcane or divine is again awkward. It causes lots of questions to arise in actual play that depend on either a DM call or a lot of pedantic reading.

With a rebuilt casting model in the works, that limitation may end up going the way of the dodo. Given that PrCs like assassin grant spells per day, and typical caster PrCs simply advance the casting ability of another class, I'm not seeing the problem. As for the Arcane/Divine issue, I'm not sure I follow ther either. Sometimes the spells are one, sometimes they spells are the other. Therefore, the class counts as both an arcane and divine caster. Once again, now that stuff is starting to sink in, I see a significant revision of casting coming up.

Nah. The frenzied berserker goes off the rails in a very predictable fashion, and continues doing so until stopped. And, typically, has a very obvious way to stop him(will saves, yay!). This is different from "perhaps the DM'll decide I nuke an ally this time". The only real similarity between them is that both somehow possess the ability to hurt allies in some way. This isn't particularly similar.

The similarity I saw ties to my experience with FBs. In all three games they were played, they were a really strong aid to the party until something went wrong. The same idea went into the original idea for this class. They'd have options galore, but when things turned bad, they could get really bad. Just as having a FB in the party is a gamble, the same sense of risk was supposed to apply to members of this class.

When designing rules, do not assume those reading them will think as you do, or use them as you would. Do not assume they'll use them "correctly". Read it from a worst possible scenario viewpoint. If the rules SAY "you can select one magic item for free", assume that somewhere, some player will see that, and try to get the most munchkinly of items. Well written rules play similarly for everyone.

That is an awfully ugly truth to have to look at. Back to the Badass example, the biggest 'unforgivable' flaw folks saw in that project was that munchkins would abuse the mechanics. Now, in my head, I'm thinking that there's no way a munch would ever get access to those features because the requirements revolve around playing out scenes in a certain thematic manner that tends to go against the most mechanically sound course of action. I guess there really is no way to work around it though, more concise wording will have to be put into the thing.

I would suggest limiting the spell list, personally. To what? I don't know. But the theme of gambling does not specifically require access to every spell ever. Alternatively, if you're going Archivist-like...have them have all spells on the spell list, but have to write them into a spellbook. That said, the archivist is still tier 1.


I was thinking more along the lines of a roulette wheel of casting options. Be it by rolling up spell level, school, or both upon declaring the intent to cast. I'll just have to bust out a rough write-up so that the idea's merits can be weighed more accurately.

YouLostMe
2011-09-09, 05:21 PM
Upon thinking about this further, I would recommend a system like Winds of Fate, reflected in The Chaos Mage (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=51581). Maybe pick a spell list that's meant for party buffs, or dealing damage, or crowd control or something, and set it up with a d6 to determine what spell you cast instead of whether that spell is successful. That way the wild mage doesn't feel bad about potentially not contributing at all-they just need to get creative with the casting that they're given.

Vauron
2011-09-09, 06:32 PM
To clarify intent: Spells of a certain level are cast (outside of the influence of metamagic feats) from a slot of the same level. So, the notion was to effectively burn out the slot so that characters would have to resort to using higher level slots if they feel that they absolutely must get that one lower level spell off.

I think the confusion is from how the word 'slots' seems to imply that you have multiple slots per level, as that is the case with 100% of 3.5 spellcastors. I suggest you word it differently, perhaps something like:

Wild Casting: "A Wild Mage can cast spells of any level she has access to. When the Wild Mage casts a spell, she must make a Wild Check. When the Wild Mage fails a Wild Check, a Surge occurs and the Wild Mage loses the ability to cast spells of the level that the Wild Mage was casting until she rests for 8 hours."

SamBurke
2011-09-18, 10:25 PM
I like this... A different, non stupid way of casting (vancian stiiiiiiinks hard)? I'll take it. That said, many sm's will jump at the chance to mess with their players this way. Maybe use the chaos surge tables of the webs? My dm had one slapped on my pally(don't ask) that had 10,000 possible results... Never see the same thing twice!

tpanther
2011-09-19, 04:57 AM
I was thinking more along the lines of a roulette wheel of casting options. Be it by rolling up spell level, school, or both upon declaring the intent to cast. I'll just have to bust out a rough write-up so that the idea's merits can be weighed more accurately.

I like the idea of not being able to predict what spell school you're going to be able to cast too far ahead of time, but I wouldn't decide that at the moment of casting. If I were a caster and didn't even know what school my spell will come from before it's currently my turn and I say "I am going to cast a spell," my turns would take -so long- and everything would grind to a halt. That may or may not be a deal breaker, but it's something to keep in mind.

Hadrian_Emrys
2011-09-20, 01:17 AM
That makes a lot of sense, actually. If this tweak were to make it beyond the conceptual stage, perhaps the roll to determine what school you were going to cast from next could be rolled at any time. That way, the game wouldn't need to come to a halt since the wild mage player could just look up spells from the determined school out of turn. Then again, the problem of not being able to find a suitable spell in time could still be an issue.