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DM7581
2011-09-20, 02:00 PM
Hello everyone! This is my first post here, but I have been an avid reader for quite a while. I am DMing a 3.5/homebrew campaign. I have recently implemented some changes involving casters (in order to pull in the reigns, so to speak). This is a little something I have been working on for the last few days. Comments and suggestions are welcome:

New Spells/Magic (modified Psionic) System:
MP/PP system:

Sorc: 1d12 + key ability modifier/caster level
Wiz/Psion/Wilder: 1d10 + key ability modifier/caster level
Cl/Dr: 1d8 + key ability modifier/caster level
Bard/PsW: 1d6 + key ability modifier/caster level
Pal/Rgr: 1d4 + key ability modifier/caster level (2d4 starting at level 4)

Spell cost follows PP cost, as determined by spell level (0-level spells cost a minimum of 1 MP to cast):

0th: 1
1st: 1
2nd: 3
3rd: 5
etc...

Utilize Psionic Feats with Magic (Arcane/Divine) Flavor:
-Arcane/Divine Toughness: +3 MP
-Improved Arcane/Divine Toughness: +1 MP/Caster Level (req. +2 will base save); useful for any class that wants more MP
-Epic Arcane/Divine Toughness: +30 MP
-Expanded Knowledge (add 1 spell known up to one level lower than highest level spell known); useful for bards and sorcerers
-Metamagic Feats to follow psionic guidelines (including expending arcane/divine focus; described below)
-Narrow Mind
-Opportunity Spell (+6 MP)
-Overchannel
-Body Fuel
-Mediation

No more bonus slots for high ability scores (hurts those who have to prepare); increased MP instead
-specialist wizards gain additional slot to prepare from specialized school as normal
-clerics/druids may spontaneously cast cure/summon natures ally spells (respectively) as normal, but require arcane focus expenditure
-clerics continue to recieve 1 domain slot as normal per spell level
-0 spells per day are treated as 1 spell to prepare in the case of pal/rgr/bard

MP recover as HP (1/CL/day); may be recovered with Mana Potion (similiar to potions of cure)
Spells cast at caster lvl at discretion of caster (need to observe caster level limits on durations, distance, damage, etc.)
Ex: Magic Missile @ 1 MP 1d4+1
@ 9 MP 5d4+5
@ 19 MP 10d4+10
Caster level limits on spells lifted (I am still debating this one)

Arcane/Divine Focus required to use spontaneous metamagic, which is now available to all casters (may still prepare metamagic spells and cast them as normal); casters need to be careful here as focus can be attained but once/round
Spells may need to be tweaked on case-by-case basis
At 0 MP, a caster is considered to be fatigued. Any effect that reduces this number below 0 (special cases), renders the caster exhausted

I have also implemented some PF-like additions, including:

a BAB-derived dodge bonus for all creatures (1/4 bab)

expanded fighter-only feats (including a feat swap/upgrade feature every 2 levels above 4th)

some more skill points available for the sorcerer (4 instead of 2)

more class skills for the fighter (spot, listen, knowledge [dungeoneering, local, history])

there are a few others, but the MP system is the biggest change. Any suggestions or comments? Thanks!

Yitzi
2011-09-20, 05:04 PM
This will (except for the linear rather than quadratic MP) make all the casting classes play a lot more like psionics. Whether that's a plus or a minus is up to you, but be aware that that's the closest model to what this will do.

Ilorin Lorati
2011-09-20, 06:20 PM
Adding a measure of long term RNG that governs someone's ability to do their jobs is bad as you run the risk of someone not being able to do their job at all. Imagine an unlucky Wizard who rolls a 1 or a 2 every level on their MP roll; they mas as well roll up a new character and not even bother with that one as eventually they'll just not have enough power to be able to do anything at all save one or two spells -total- at max level.

Contrast this with the HP roll, where a person that rolls badly on HP can adjust their planned role accordingly.

You may want to look at the spell point system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/spellPoints.htm) designed by WotC for inspiration.

Yitzi
2011-09-20, 07:03 PM
Rolling low on that many dice is extremely unlikely.

Dryad
2011-09-20, 08:04 PM
Rolling low on that many dice is extremely unlikely.
That doesn't quite justify the RNG, though.

In a game of Arkham Horror, I managed to make a SINGLE attack, buffed to full with spells and clue tokens, with Blessing et al, of 18d6. I did not score a single success (with Blessing, a success requires 4+).

I once rolled a smashing twenty d6, nearly all of them landing on a 1.

It happens, and when it does, it's really nasty. When it's there to stay (like hit points, or, in this case, mana points) it's especially nasty. It's simply something that's essential to your character, and yet, you have no control over it. It's not a simple matter of success or failure of an action; it's a matter of success or failure of being.

One other thing I have to remark on the MP system: Paladins and rangers get substantially more MP than Bards, and are close to equal to Clerics. I don't think this is a good idea.

Let's see.. For the further changes, there's your BaB-derived Dodge Bonus. I've seen something similar to it work in Wheel of Time: The Roleplaying game, but in that game, this bonus did not stack with armour, unless you were of the Fighter class.
I'm just not getting the reasoning behind the standard addition of 1/4 BaB. An Undead would gain +2 (regardless of its type, though class levels would increase the AC), and a basic Fighter would get +5. At 20 HD, I mean. What problems would this solve? Full casters would still get higher ACs than martial characters thanks to protective spells, and all in all, I just don't really see the point.

On the whole: MP are a preference, and I personally prefer it greatly over the prepared spells/day system, which, in my opinion, is a complete failure. Psionics tried to solve that without completely replacing the Vancian system, but I'll agree that it isn't perfect either. I just don't think that this one is much better, really. Not much worse either (save the die-roll for MP).

Eldest
2011-09-20, 08:16 PM
I would recommend changing it to a flat number each level, for MP, and make sure you give Bards (who rely on spellcasting a fair bit) more MPs than Paladins and Rangers (who have full BaB and are built more for melee).

Hanuman
2011-09-20, 09:36 PM
I'd ask a few questions first-- whats the difference between spells and powers, and if you were going to make PP able to cast arcane/divine spells how would you? After those questions are clearly expressed it'll be easy to get people on the MP train.

DM7581
2011-09-20, 10:08 PM
Thanks for all of the replies! I am not good that the quoting thing, so I will address the suggestions individually.

The dodge bonus is something to aid the non-casters without alienating the casters. Its a universal rule that favors fighters, barbarians, paladins, and rangers and hopefully makes them less dependent on magical gear.

the 2d4 gained at 4th level for a paladin and ranger is just at 4th level (since they gain spells at 4th level and their caster level is equal to half their class level). the definitely will not gain more MP than a bard. at 20th level, a paladin or ranger would have 10d4 MP (plus modifiers), while a bard will have 20d6 (plus modifiers). also if that wizard that was mentioned has a +10 int modifier (from stats, bonuses, etc.), he would gain those many MP PER level. think of it as a HP equivalent. this is intentional. the base psion has 343 pp (if i remember correctly) plus modifiers. running the numbers, it will be a bit more than a wizard of equal level under this system, but at that level, pulling in the reigns for a unified system is something I am willing to do.

lets take a level 20 wizard with 19/34 intelligence (modest/very high)
rolling all 1s: 109/269 MP (able to cast 5/15 spells at 20 caster level)
rolling average: 194.5/354 (able to cast 9/17 spells at 20 caster level)
rolling/receiving max: 280/440 (able to cast 14/22 spells at 20 caster level)

only the max scenario would put them up to what the psion currently receives, but, you must observe the low-level benefits before judging the high-level power reduction. at 1st level with 10+ MP, a wizard can cast 10 0th or 1st level spells a day (but would need plenty of rest to recover). this makes them not so feeble as they may have been (especially considering days with multiple encounters). plus, has anyone even played a 20th level wizard and actually burnt through ALL of their spells in a session? i think this method makes casters cast spells at lower caster level in order to preserve MP (not all fireballs will be 10d6 anymore, and some spells won't last so long anymore).

I think that spells and powers should be different... but maybe multi-classing effects would stack so long as its divine/divine, arcane/arcane, and psionic/psionic. that is, a wizard taking sorcerer levels would pool the MP, but if that wizard takes psion or cleric levels, they would need a separate pp and mp stat to keep track of.

also, I have seen the UA of spell points, but I am not crazy about it. all it does is mimic the psionic system, which I am modifying. this system brings me back to final fantasy and shining force days. i think rolling for mp every level might be as exciting for a caster as rolling new HP is for a fighter.

any comments on the recovery mechanic? my brother plays a 21st level sorcerer and he is kind of hating the suggestion for our game. the strange thing is that he loves psions, but does not want to take on any of their quirks, such as requiring an arcane focus to cast a metamagic spell (limiting him to one such casting per round). my take is that casters of all type should be more wary of unloading their magazine at every enemy they encounter.

any comments on the cleric/druid "reduction?" i reduced their MP in relation to the wizard. it seems like a balancing factor considering their fighting ability/turning/wild shape/brokeness. again, thanks for the input thus far.

Yitzi
2011-09-20, 10:42 PM
That doesn't quite justify the RNG, though.

If you don't like having an RNG have permanent effects on your character, you shouldn't be playing D&D without an "average HP per level" variant (and, of course, point buy.) And once you're doing that for HP, presumably you'll do it for MP as well.

And I see no reason that a build couldn't adjust for different levels of MP just as it would for HP.


It happens, and when it does, it's really nasty. When it's there to stay (like hit points, or, in this case, mana points) it's especially nasty.

Well, until you get enough levels that those first few low rolls become relatively unimportant.

That said, if you wanted, I see no reason you couldn't have a rerolling rule for low HP/MP rolls like you do for low ability score rolls.


Full casters would still get higher ACs than martial characters thanks to protective spells

Which protective spells boost AC by that much? The only thing I can think of is Shapechange, and that's really more a utility spell being exploited than a true protective spell.

NeoSeraphi
2011-09-20, 10:51 PM
Which protective spells boost AC by that much? The only thing I can think of is Shapechange, and that's really more a utility spell being exploited than a true protective spell.

Greater Luminous Armor (Book of Exalted Deeds) grants a +8 bonus to your AC while giving enemies a -4 penalty on their attack rolls against you. 5 levels of Abjurant Champion (if you're a gish, the only caster who actually worries about AC instead of just flying, turning invisible or blinking) increases that armor bonus to +13.

So +13 AC from GLA, +9 from shield, and a -4 penalty on all attack rolls made against you nets you a total of +26 AC, meanwhile the gish has close to full BAB as well (+16 to +18 for most builds) so he doesn't lose more than 1 point of BAB acquired AC bonus from the system.

Ilorin Lorati
2011-09-21, 01:34 AM
If you don't like having an RNG have permanent effects on your character, you shouldn't be playing D&D without an "average HP per level" variant (and, of course, point buy.) And once you're doing that for HP, presumably you'll do it for MP as well.

And I see no reason that a build couldn't adjust for different levels of MP just as it would for HP.

A deliberately expended resource doesn't work the same way as a preferably maintained resource. There is no "other build" for a wizard without adequate MP in this case, as everything a wizard does, from attack spells to utilities to buffs, will expend it. This is completely unlike a fighter, who can change roles from a tank to a skirmisher if they realize their HP isn't up to snuff.

A wizard will either have to level out of caster entirely, reroll, or grin and bear it, the last of which will cause one of three very serious issues: 15 minute workday as a wizard runs out of spell points after one encounter and can't/won't replace them, boredom as all they can do is wait for a good time to strike, or gold drain as they quaff potion after potion to keep up.

Before you say that using potions is a way to balance the class, gold is a terrible, terrible way to balance a class mechanic because you'll either simply not end up being able to use the mechanic at all as you run out of gold, or you'll end up taking gold from other players in the game and end up far more powerful than planned.




Well, until you get enough levels that those first few low rolls become relatively unimportant.

That said, if you wanted, I see no reason you couldn't have a rerolling rule for low HP/MP rolls like you do for low ability score rolls.

Justifying bad design by saying that you could further houserule a houserule is a logical fallacy.



Anyways, onto the actual creator, DM7581:

You're basically doing the same thing as making fighters roll for BAB, directly correlating their combat prowess for the remainder of their careers to a single die roll each level. I know it's unlikely, but when you're designing a system based around RNG, the first thing you need to ask is this: Is it still fun when the **** hits the fan? Is being able to cast 5 spells a day or being forced to quaff thousands of gold pieces at max level fun? That's what you need to ask yourself.

DMs ask the same question with HP all the time. Is a barbarian with 20 HP + Con-mod/level fun at level 20? I'll go ahead and answer this as I know from experience: No, not really.

Moving on, reducing the power of casters by reducing the number of spells they can cast is not going to work, as all you're going to do is force your players to figure out clever ways to completely tip the scales of the game, defeating the purpose of the rebalance. The problem isn't in the number of spells, but the contents and wording of spells. I'd even say it's not even the save or die spells, but the batman utility spells that cause the problem mostly.

The recovery mechanic needs a lot of work; as I've said before and cannot reiterate enough: balancing a class around money is a terrible idea as it's too easy to end up weak and even easier to cheese when you're in a party. Restoring a certain amount of MP per day is fine, but mana potions cannot be a purchasable resource if you want any semblance of balance.
Maybe they're crafted by the player only, or they're drops. Perhaps you can make them not items at all, and allow the player to expend focus to regain mana, at the cost of not being able to achieve focus for the rest of the encounter.

NeoSeraphi
2011-09-21, 02:00 AM
I hate this whole idea that wizards need spells to be effective in combat. Don't you guys remember that WotC panders to casters all the time, and took the one thing that kept them in check at low levels (limited spells per day) and erased it?

I point you all to Complete Mage, where Reserve feats grant casters the ability to deliver save-or-sucks, damage and other small utilities at will! So no, MP would not screw a wizard, it would simply require the wizard to, if he rolled poorly on his MP, spend a feat on a Reserve Feat (And before anyone says "A class shouldn't need a feat to work", rogues need TWF, Rangers need TWF or archery, and druids need Natural Spell. Having a caster spend one feat on the ability to blast or debuff at will is not going to "tax" them in this system)

So with the ability to deal small damage at will actually makes both Reserve Feats effective and also requires casters to conserve their most powerful abilities more challengingly, which I have no problems with.

Yitzi
2011-09-21, 06:32 AM
Greater Luminous Armor (Book of Exalted Deeds) grants a +8 bonus to your AC while giving enemies a -4 penalty on their attack rolls against you. 5 levels of Abjurant Champion (if you're a gish, the only caster who actually worries about AC instead of just flying, turning invisible or blinking) increases that armor bonus to +13.

So +13 AC from GLA, +9 from shield, and a -4 penalty on all attack rolls made against you nets you a total of +26 AC, meanwhile the gish has close to full BAB as well (+16 to +18 for most builds) so he doesn't lose more than 1 point of BAB acquired AC bonus from the system.

Ok, conceded that Greater Luminous Armor and Abjurant Champion are totally broken.

Of course, that just means that anyone who cares about game balance should just ban them; BoED has all sorts of flaws anyways both in terms of balance and fluff, and Complete Mage isn't all that much better when it comes to balance (it's like they thought that wizards need to be even more powerful.)


A deliberately expended resource doesn't work the same way as a preferably maintained resource. There is no "other build" for a wizard without adequate MP in this case, as everything a wizard does, from attack spells to utilities to buffs, will expend it. This is completely unlike a fighter, who can change roles from a tank to a skirmisher if they realize their HP isn't up to snuff.

And a wizard can switch from an approach that requires high-powered spells (such as blasting or debuffing), to a more tactical approach based on proper application of low-level spells, which of course requires far fewer MP.


Justifying bad design by saying that you could further houserule a houserule is a logical fallacy.

Not when the second houserule would be almost as needed anyway.


I'd even say it's not even the save or die spells, but the batman utility spells that cause the problem mostly.

If it were just for them (barring a few broken ones), it'd be ok; there's nothing wrong with wizards being a powerful support and combat-control class, so long as they aren't everything else as well.


I hate this whole idea that wizards need spells to be effective in combat. Don't you guys remember that WotC panders to casters all the time, and took the one thing that kept them in check at low levels (limited spells per day) and erased it?

I point you all to Complete Mage

Yet another reason to ban Complete Mage if balance is an issue.

DM7581
2011-09-21, 07:35 AM
The whole purpose of these changes is to create class balance. Is there much of a difference between a caster relying for the first time on an external source of power? A 20th level fighter is so dependan on magical gear that it is almost sickening. I will post my expanded feat list when I get to my laptop.

I guess I am a fan of a lower magic campaign setting where all classes should have similar power levels throughout the game.

The dodge bonus is a bit 4eish in that it helps scale a, which is probably the only stat that does not increase inherently with level. Tying to bab reflects defensive ability directly tied tocombat ability.

This stems from my group just recently having a fight for their lives against a cr 20 black dragon. Magic was able to take him near half hp in the first round (after which it put up an antimagic field. Now that all magic was negated, everyone was debuffed and the fight dragged a few more rounds. The point is that the fighter felt pretty weak in comparison. I know that class balance does not exist but is it so bad to take a few steps back with some instead of trying to catch everyone else up with the full casters?

edit:

here is a list of all the house rules that I have implemented (or considered). Nothing is concrete and I know it lacks the organization and presentation of some of you out there that are more table savvy, but it works in my head and on paper. some of it has already been stated and lots of it is pf and even 4e derived, but thats okay. i am open to comments, questions, and suggestions here. thanks.

AC Bonus equal Dodge bonus equal to 1/4 BAB (max +5 ac)

Armor Proficiencies for Mithral Armors require the original proficiency
(Mithral Full Plate requires Heavy Armor Proficiency, but counts as medium armor for all other purposes)

Max 3 classes when multiclassing (including 1 prestige class max)

Death occurs at -Con score amount, minimum -10 (a 20 Con creature would die at -20 HP); considered disabled at 0 to 1/2 this amount (minimum -5)

Add Con modifier to damage with any 2-handed weapon (instead of str +1/2)
Add Dex modifier to damage with any missile weapon damage (including thrown)
Add Dex modifier to damage with any weapon used with the weapon finesse feat
Add or Sub Appr. bonus for casters with spells that deal damage or heal (to hit and dam)

saves:
-use str or con modifier for fortitude
-use int or dex modifier for reflex
-use wis or cha modifier for will

Spells/Magic (modified Psionic):

MP/PP system:
Sorc: 1d12 + key ability modifier/caster level
Wiz/Psion/Wilder: 1d10 + key ability modifier/caster level
Cl/Dr: 1d8 + key ability modifier/caster level
Bard/PsW: 1d6 + key ability modifier/caster level
Pal/Rgr: 1d4 + key ability modifier/caster level (2d4 starting at level 4)

Utilize Psionic Feats with Magic (Arcane/Divine) Flavor:
-Arcane/Divine Toughness: +3 MP
-Improved Arcane/Divine Toughness: +1 MP/Caster Level (req. +2 will base save)
-Epic Arcane/Divine Toughness: +30 MP
-Expanded Knowledge (add 1 spell known up to one level lower than highest level spell known)
-Metamagic Feats to follow psionic quidelines (including expending arcane/divine focus)
-Narrow Mind
-Opportunity Spell (+6 MP)
-Overchannel
-Body Fuel
-Mediation

No more bonus slots for high ability scores (hurts those who have to prepare); increased MP instead
-specialist wizards gain additional slot to prepare from specialized school
-clerics/druids may spontaneously cast cure/summon natures ally spells (respectively) as normal, but require arcane focus expenditure
-clerics continue to recieve 1 domain slot as normal
-0 spells per day are treated as 1 spell to prepare in the case of pal/rgr
MP recover as HP (1/CL/day); may be recovered with Mana Potion (similiar to potions of cure)
Spells cast at caster lvl at discretion of caster (need to observe caster level limits on durations, distance, damage, etc.)
Ex: Magic Missile @ 1 MP 1d4+1
@ 9 MP 5d4+5
@ 19 MP 10d4+10
Caster level limits on spells lifted
Arcane/Divine Focus required to use spontaneous metamagic (may still prepare metamagic spells and cast them as normal)
Spells may need to be tweaked on case-by-case basis
At 0 MP, a caster is considered to be fatigued. Any effect that reduces this number below 0 (special cases), renders the caster exhausted

Bard
Sub: bonus weapon proficiencies based on culture (DM-Player collaboration)
Sub: Inspire Courage +1/4 levels (+6 at 20)
Gain: Bardic Music
-Move Action (level 6)
-Swift Action (level 12)
-Immediate Action (level 18)
Gain: Inspire Competence +1/5 levels after 3 (8, 13, 18)
Gain: Inspire Greatness (additional +1/3 levels)
Sub: can choose any 2 saves as high saves
Gain: Dual Inspiration (2 "inspire" effects simultaneously; level 20)

Cleric
Lose: Armor Proficiency (heavy)

Fighter
Gain: Feat swap/substiution every 2 levels after 4 (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20) for bonus fighter feats only
-may swap for a more superior feat (weapon focus for improved weapon focus)
-may substitute old feat for a new, unrelated one
Gain: May ignore ability score pre-reqs for bonus fighter feats
Gain: Full initiator level (ToB)?
Gain: Class Skills: Knowledge (dungeoneering, history, nobility), spot, listen
Expanded Feats (fighter only):

-Blindsense (pre. Blind-Fight; 5' per 2 levels; level 10)
-Blindsight (5' per 2 levels; level 14)

-Greater Initiative (+2 initiative modifier, can act as hasted as immediate action dex mod rounds/day; level 12)

-Improved Combat Reflexes (unlimited # of AoO; level 12)
-Greater Combat Reflexes (+2 for all AoO; 5' shift provokes; level 16)

-Improved Dodge (+2 AC to all threatened; level 8)
-Greater Dodge (+3 AC to all; can activate cat's grace as immediate action dex mod rounds/day; level 12)

-Greater Critical (+1 multiplier; level 14)

-Greater Combat Expertise (attack penalties are halved, max +20 AC; level 12

-Improved Power Attack (+3/-2 trade, level 10)
-Greater Power Attack (+2/-1 trade; swift action activate bull's strength during attack when using power attack only; usable str mod rounds/day; level 12)

-Improved Cleave (as Great Cleave)
-Greater Cleave (may make a 5' shift between cleaves; level 8)

-Improved Charge (+3 attack, -1 AC, +4 to bull rush, level 6)
-Greater Charge (+4 attack, no ac penalty, can charge through rough terrain, double damage, level 14)

-Greater Disarm (additional +4 bonus; level 10)
-Greater Bull Rush (initiate bull rush as part of an attack or charge with damage; +2 additional bonus, if you fail, your remain and do not fall prone; level 10)
-Greater Sunder (+2 bonus, attacks damage defender in addition to objects; level 10)
-Greater Overrun (+2 bonus, no size limit; level 10)
-Greater Feint (+2 bonus, feint as a swift action; level 10)
-Greater Trip (+2 bonus, no size limit; level 10)
-Greater Shield Bash (shield is treated as 1 size category smaller; level 10)

-Improved Whirlwind Attack (imp. spring attack; standard action, level 12)
-Greater Whirlwind Attack (greater spring attack; full attack to each opponent threatened, level 18)

-Improved Mobility (imp. dodge; additional +2 dodge bonus vs. AoO, level 8)
-Greater Mobility (greater dodge; no AoO for moving through threatened area of a single opponent, level 14)

-Improved Spring Attack (make a full attack throughout move [no creature can be attacked more than once], level 12)
-Greater Spring Attack (attack each creature once through move at highest attack bonus, level 16)

-Improved Weapon Focus (+2; level 4)
-Greater Weapon Focus (+3; level 8)
-Improved Weapon Specialization (+4; level 8)
-Greater Weapon Specialization (+6; level 12)

-Greater Toughness (pre. toughness, improved toughness; gain an additional hp/hit die; activate bear's endurance as an immediate action; usable con mod rounds/day; level 12)

Druid:
Sub: Wildshape 1/day per 4 levels after 5th (4/day at level 17)
Sub: Elemental Wildshape:
-1/day at level 16
-2/day at level 19 (max)

Monk:
Gain: Wis bonus to Unarmed Strike damage
Sub: Wholeness of Body (Wis bonus/level healing)

Paladin:
Sub: Smite Evil 1/day, +1/3 levels (4, 7, 10, 13, 16 19)

Ranger
Gain: Combat Style Perfection (Perfect Two-Weapon Fighting Feat or Uncanny Accuracy; level 19)

Sorcerer
Gain: Class Skills: Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive, Use Magic Device
Skill Points: 4 + Int modifier
Gain:
-Level 1: Improved Eschew Materials (as feat, but may subsitute experience points for costly
components at the rate of 1/25 [in addition to any XP costs if applicable])
-Level 5: Bonus Metamagic feat or Spell Penetration/Greater Spell Penetration feat
-Level 10: Bonus Metamagic feat or Spell Penetration/Greater Spell Penetration
-Level 15: Ignore Material Components (as epic feat) feat
-Level 20: Bonus Metamagic feat or Spell Penetration/Greater Spell Penetration feat

NeoSeraphi
2011-09-21, 11:13 AM
Ok, conceded that Greater Luminous Armor and Abjurant Champion are totally broken.

Of course, that just means that anyone who cares about game balance should just ban them; BoED has all sorts of flaws anyways both in terms of balance and fluff, and Complete Mage isn't all that much better when it comes to balance (it's like they thought that wizards need to be even more powerful.)


...Why? You basically can't be a gish without Abjurant Champion (Unless you use homebrew) and greater luminous armor is the AC spell. (Makes up for you not being able to wear full plate)

A gish is a wizard who willingly lets the enemy hit him instead of running away. And with at least 3d4 HD tacked in there somewhere they're definitely more fragile than a figher or a barbarian, so they need that juicy AC.



Yet another reason to ban Complete Mage if balance is an issue.

That's debatable, but you're missing the point. The point is that in this MP system, if people were worried about not being able to cast spells all day, they could take a Reserve Feat and perform a minor amount of magic without expending any MP

(I'm partial to Storm Bolt, granting a 1d6/ highest electric spell level you have readied as an at will 20 ft lightning bolt with no save and no SR. Keep a lightning bolt handy and you can blow holes in people just like a 5th level rogue)

Steward
2011-09-21, 11:36 AM
I always thought Rangers got their combat tracks for free. And do Druids really need Natural Spell? They always take it because it makes them even more powerful, but it's not like the class falls apart if they are not permitted to take it.

I really like this idea but what I've just read makes me nervous because now there's a chance that rolling poorly can ruin your class features unless your DM happens to allow one specific non-Core source.

Yitzi
2011-09-21, 12:24 PM
...Why? You basically can't be a gish without Abjurant Champion (Unless you use homebrew) and greater luminous armor is the AC spell. (Makes up for you not being able to wear full plate)

And if the wizard can get strong defenses on top of his powerful offense, then he's simply too powerful, and why would anyone play a non-wizard?


A gish is a wizard who willingly lets the enemy hit him instead of running away. And with at least 3d4 HD tacked in there somewhere they're definitely more fragile than a figher or a barbarian, so they need that juicy AC.

There are other ways to get that juicy AC. Wizard/monk/duelist is my favorite (at least for high point-buys), but of course the CL is too low to use spellcasting for offense as well. Which is just as well, as spellcasting offense with powerful defense on top of it is just too much.

NeoSeraphi
2011-09-21, 12:32 PM
And if the wizard can get strong defenses on top of his powerful offense, then he's simply too powerful, and why would anyone play a non-wizard?


The same reason that people don't play a wizard in every game that BoED is allowed in? A lot of people aren't power-gamers, you know. And besides, it's a good-only spell, so it doesn't work in about 25% of campaigns, and it deals Strength damage to the caster at the end of the duration. (That's a heavy hitter for gish casters, especially arcane ones with no access to restoration)

Most games aren't Core-only. Most games allow as many options as the DM can, because the DM likes granting his players those options. And no one wants to die. If the wizard is going to go into melee, he shouldn't die because of it.

Edit:


My favorite way is with wizard/monk

Wizard/monk limits your options severely for a gish. It cuts your BAB down and doesn't grant you martial weapon proficiency or the ability to cast while wearing armor. All for an AC bonus? The wizard is supposed to provide the defense, and the martial class is supposed to provide the offense. That's the blend

And to provide that defense, WotC gave wizards Abjurant Champion and greater luminous armor.

Ilorin Lorati
2011-09-21, 02:03 PM
The whole purpose of these changes is to create class balance. Is there much of a difference between a caster relying for the first time on an external source of power? A 20th level fighter is so dependan on magical gear that it is almost sickening. I will post my expanded feat list when I get to my laptop.

I guess I am a fan of a lower magic campaign setting where all classes should have similar power levels throughout the game.

The dodge bonus is a bit 4eish in that it helps scale a, which is probably the only stat that does not increase inherently with level. Tying to bab reflects defensive ability directly tied tocombat ability.

This stems from my group just recently having a fight for their lives against a cr 20 black dragon. Magic was able to take him near half hp in the first round (after which it put up an antimagic field. Now that all magic was negated, everyone was debuffed and the fight dragged a few more rounds. The point is that the fighter felt pretty weak in comparison. I know that class balance does not exist but is it so bad to take a few steps back with some instead of trying to catch everyone else up with the full casters?


Item drops for martial classes are permanent increases in power, not momentary increases like mana potions are in this system. Martial classes also have the advantage in that their increase in power also come from item drops, and relatively frequently at higher levels; sounds kinda like what I was saying with mana potions, wasn't it? Having them only available as item drops allows you to directly control the power of the caster, and having mana regen as an option with focus is a way to add tactics to a caster's reasoning.


Point being that I will always claim that gold is the worst way to balance a class, because it's way too easy to cheese. Eventually, when you use this system and if mana potions are purchasable, a caster will get money from the rest of the party, completely undoing these balancing attempts and leaving the wizard well above what you attempted to do.


On another note, doing this isn't going to prevent that wizard from taking the dragon apart in 2 turns; blasting power isn't the same thing as lasting power. Hell, with this system a Locate city bomb (an example, you may or may not allow this, but again it's two separate issues) becomes more effective as they can easily reduce the spell's area, making it cheaper for them in the process.


And a wizard can switch from an approach that requires high-powered spells (such as blasting or debuffing), to a more tactical approach based on proper application of low-level spells, which of course requires far fewer MP.


"Proper application of low level spells" reads remarkably like "stand around waiting for a good time to attack," which is a risk that one of my biggest complaints stems from. Standing around waiting isn't fun; just ask anyone in the DMV.



As an aside, it's frustrating that the brewer here has dismissed each any every comment and suggestion by everyone by basically saying "that's not how I want to do it." While that's all well and good, he also specifically asked for suggestions and most of the people that have posted here (one example; there are several other examples including BAB to dodge) agreeing, with reasoning, that yet another level of RNG is a terrible, terrible idea. If that's not how you want to do it, then give us a good reason, not an "it could possibly maybe be interesting" or "I don't want to." Realize that I'm not saying this to rip you apart, but it just seems like you haven't actually put thought into balance. Throw out the two reasons I said above, and see what good reasons are there; your players will most assuredly thank you for it as knowing the reasons will allow you to make refinements to your system.

(Edit: for example, if you're absolutely dead set on having RNG in the lasting power of the class, think on why you have it. Your primary reasoning seems to be because it's fun to roll, but the fact is that it's hell to balance. Try switching the two in your notes: a large portion based on class, then a small portion of RNG. Ex. 12 per level for a sorcerer, plus say... half their CHA mod, rounded down, plus a small roll like 1d4.)

On one final note going back to the BAB bonus to dodge: at level 3 a wizard can increase their AC by 14: 4 armor (Mage Armor), 4 shield (Shield) , 2 dodge from enhancement bonus to Dex (Cat's Grace), 1 size bonus, 1 from size bonus to Dex (Reduce Person), 2 deflection based on enemy alignment (Protection from *). Sure, a gish won't be using reduce person on themselves, but that's still just 2 AC leaving +12 AC. Add the wizard's unbuffed Dex bonus as well. All of this AC even applies to touch attacks, as deflection does so natively and Mage Armor and Shield are force effects.

Dryad
2011-09-21, 02:29 PM
If you want to balance out magic in this game, then a new system of spell points or spell regeneration or anything the like is brilliant, indeed.
But the first step is not to balance out the availability of spells, but their individual respective power.

For all the rest: Everything Osagasu said.

Yitzi
2011-09-21, 03:53 PM
The same reason that people don't play a wizard in every game that BoED is allowed in? A lot of people aren't power-gamers, you know.

True, but I'd think they'd find it un-fun to play alongside powergamers when the power difference is that large.


and it deals Strength damage to the caster at the end of the duration. (That's a heavy hitter for gish casters, especially arcane ones with no access to restoration)

Ah, I didn't know that.


Most games aren't Core-only. Most games allow as many options as the DM can, because the DM likes granting his players those options.

And as long as more options doesn't translate into a lot more power, that's ok. But when it does, it makes the game less fun for those who don't have all the books.


Wizard/monk limits your options severely for a gish. It cuts your BAB down and doesn't grant you martial weapon proficiency or the ability to cast while wearing armor. All for an AC bonus?

A pretty substantial one once everything is factored in. (It also gives the ability to grapple and use a wand of MM and scrolls, which is useful on the versatility side of things.)


Point being that I will always claim that gold is the worst way to balance a class, because it's way too easy to cheese.

I'd say it's the second-worst; the worst way to balance a class is splatbooks, because they are not equally available to everyone.


"Proper application of low level spells" reads remarkably like "stand around waiting for a good time to attack,"

Or it could mean playing a Batman wizard (they can work pretty well with mid-to-low-level spells), or simply using things like polymorph or Transformation that give you options which do not themselves cost MP.

DM7581
2011-09-25, 10:16 PM
I apologize if I have not formally thanked anyone for their comments, but I ahve appreciated most of what has been posted. There are some side-tracks going on here (as far as what is and what isn't gish), but it has all been a good read.

I understand that the system that I came up with, albeit oversimplified, would have vastly limited and possibly helped balance the 9th spell level casters out there with the non-casters, but I understand that players would hate such a power reduction, as would anyone who is used to being able to cast x amount of spells each spell level.

Given the amount of negative feedback recieved here, I have decided to drop the MP system. It is a catastrophic loss to casters, however leveling I think it would be.

For those who think it is not a balancing factor, consider a scenario (right out of my campaign) where a level 20 fighter was left for dead, stripped of all of his gear, and washed up on a beach in a strange and foreign continent... versus his 20 level sorcerer companion who would never (individually) suffer the same fate because he can always greater teleport himself back home, rest a wee 8 hours and be fully charged to take down cr 20 beasties in the morning.

Drops should never be considered permanent power increases, as they can be stolen, used up, or lost (or even not be available, say in the case of a +5 full plate during a mid-night ambush). A bonus feat at 18th level can't stand to the addition of 9th level spells as far as balance is concerned.

Aside from a revamp of the entire spell list (or a conversion to 4e), there truly is no solution to the predicament that lead to this thread. I suppose that I am left with random anti-magic fields, 18+ level casters, high SR vilains, etc. to challenge the group. It doesn't fix the fact that my groups' sorcerer completely owns the fighter and hybrid in the group as far as absolute power and versatility.

Now I understand that at this level, most casters had to have "worked" to attain this power (persevering through tougher lower as opposed to the non-casters), but such an increase is well above what they worked for, in my opinion.

As far as my other house rules, the only other one that seemed worth discussing was the BAB dodge bonus. I am having a hard time figuring out if this is being well recieved or not, but it has not affected the game in a negative way thus far in my campaign. A wizard can not really take full advantage of it (+2 AC at level 20), but I do not want to exclude any classes from a universal rule. I actually started with it being 1/2 BAB, but that seemed excessive, especially when stacked with magical gear.

Maybe I am just a bit fed up with the D&D system in general. I am not crazy about the level and class based system (I actually favor the White Wolf system), but it is a game I grew up on and know very well. My attempts to modify it have turned into making it into something it never was meant to be. In any event, I appreciate everyone's responses and input. I will just stick with the traditional caster system for now, and possible just move onto PF as far as my other rules are concerned and quit the whole homebrew thing.

Dryad
2011-09-26, 06:25 AM
I think you're taking the critique the wrong way. There's nothing wrong with mana point systems per sť, other than allowing casters even greater flexibility. The problem was in your RNG factor in attaining these mana points, in a similar fashion to hit points.

In your balancing scenario of the fighter or sorcerer stranded, left for dead and naked, the mana point system would not mitigate the difference at all. With or without bad RNG rolls while levelling, the sorcerer could still wave the island goodbye, give the fighter a kiss on the forehead and vamoosh.
That's the way of DnD, and a resource system honestly would never fix it. Could never fix it. Potential burst would remain the same, with your resource system, with a normal spell point system, or with a Vancian preparation system. It wouldn't matter in the slightest which of these resource systems you use.

However, with your resource system, or better: The one clause that would force a die-roll to gain resource, you'd influence the caster's longevity not in a single fight, but over a full day. And the influence is random; some would come out as truly happy, while others would come out as completely borked. Saying it would even out over the levels is not entirely true, because each roll you make, you can get three results: High, low and medium. They're individual rolls, and don't influence one another. Such is the way of RNG, and that is also the reason why WoD treats each die individually for purposes of success or failure.

So no; your system, and your house-rules, would not fix the power potential for casters. Rather, it would INCREASE their power potential, since mana points can be allotted as one chooses (rather than generally being prepared in slots each morning).
It would, however, negatively influence a character's sense of achievement in creating and maintaining their character throughout the game because of the heavy RNG element.