PDA

View Full Version : G&G: Magic



Eldan
2012-09-26, 06:26 AM
Previously, on Gaol's and Giants!

Magic. Oh, don't we all love it. Don't we all know it's broken. There's a reason almost all Tier 1 classes and most Tier 2 classes have it.

So. This is for a basic duscussion on magic. What do we want magic to be in G&G, and how do we want to achieve that?

The general points made so far in the thread were:
-More difficult
-Less versatile
-More specialized

The point of more mystery was suggested, but that one is, well, a bit difficult to get across with rules, I think.

Now, a few suggestions were made:
-Points instead of spell slots. I don't like it much, but many seem to do so.
-Longer casting times. Not longer than one round, so wizards still have something to do, but long enough that magic can still be interrupted in combat.
-Forced specialization for wizards. Choose one: power or versatility, you don't get both.
-Moving certain spells out of combat and making them rituals. In my opinion this should include: future-predicting and long-range divination; status-effect removal, including resurrection; long-range and planar travel; extremely large scale destructive magic such as weather control;
-Fixing the worst spells (that comes later).


Please note: this is a discussion for the basic magic system. Not for the classes using it, yet.

WaylanderX
2012-09-26, 06:53 AM
Yo guys, I've talked with Eldan for a while and decided to port a large part of his Arcane magic system to this one, abeit with a few changes and generalising the fluff. This is what I've come up with for the Focus part.

Focus

Focus is the most important resource for an spellcaster. It represents their mental fortitude and or devotion, and determines how many spells they can have active at the same time, either as mantras or sustained spells, or, in the case of prepared casters, memorized spells.
Upon first becoming a spellcaster (usually by taking their first level in an casting class), a spellcaster gains an amount of focus depending on how they became a spellcaster. More focus can be gained by taking levels in spellcasting classes. More powerfull spell also cost more time to cast depending on the spell's level, as seen below.

Casting time Spells:

Your Highest level Spell: 1 round (Activated on next round)
Your Second Highest level Spell: 1 Full round action
All others level Spells: Standard action

Focus can exist in three states:
Free Focus is focus that has not been currently used for anything. It represents a mental reserve pool of unused resources. Free Focus can be invested or expended to power spells and class abilities.
Invested Focus is focus that is currently used to power abilities of some kind. Focus can be invested into certain feats or class features. Sustaining mantras or invocations, as well as preparing them, for wizards, requires an investment of focus. Invested focus can still be expended, but only in relation to the effect or feature it was invested in, and doing so ends that effect or feature.
Expended Focus is focus that has been used up and made unavailable until it is regained. An example of Expended Focus is a casted spell, whose focus is unavaible to the caster.

Being affected by certain conditions (see table below) or effects can reduce a spellcaster's maximum focus, as can being the target of certain spells and abilities. Focus thus lost becomes expended focus.
If this happens, free focus is used up first. After all free focus is used up, a spellcaster starts losing invested focus. First, the spellcaster loses focus invested in sustained invocations, starting with those of the highest level (ending them), then focus invested in feats and class features, then focus invested in sustaining mantras, then focus invested in prepared spells (for prepared casters), which leads to the loss of these prepared spells from memory. The spellcaster chooses which invested focus he loses first, if there are several in one such category. Expended Focus is unaffected.

Focus is regained by taking at least an hour of rest and half an hour of preperation time. A prepared caster can changed any remaining spells he has prepaired any point in the day by focusing and meditating for half an hour.

{table=head]Effect|Focus reduction
Dazzled| -1
Fatigued| -1
Shaken| -1
Sickened| -1
Has not eaten for 24 hours or more 1| -1
Has suffered unrestored ability damage from any poison that lowers physical attributes2| -1
Dazed| -2
Exhausted| -2
Frightened| -2
Nauseated| -2
Has not had restful sleep for 24 hours or more 3| -2
Has suffered unrestored ability damage from any poison that lowers mental attributes2| -2
Confused|-3
Cowering|-3
Disabled|-3
Panicked|-3
Staggered|-3
Stunned|-3
[/table]
1 This does not apply to creature which need not eat to survive.
2 Being under the effect of more than one poison does not produce additional focus loss. An arcanist under the effect of both mental and physical poisons only suffers the loss from the mental poison. Poisons which produce any effect other than ability damage either produce the normal focus loss for that condition, if it is on the list (such as a sickening poison producing a focus loss of -1) or have no effect on focus (if their effect is not on this list).
3This does not apply to creatures which need not sleep (or trance, in the case of elves). This does not stack with the reduction from Fatigued or Exhausted.


Motivation for the Changes

So yeah, I made focus slightly harder to regain, forcing more strategic thinking as a caster should do in my opinion. Also, higher level spell have a casting time tradeoff to promote strategic thinking.

Eldan
2012-09-26, 07:13 AM
Note that the above is in no way the final word on anything. It's a suggestion by me and Waylander, and open for discussion. Feel free to suggest your own stuff.

WaylanderX
2012-09-26, 07:16 AM
This is also a proposal, and in no way final:

Ougi's
Each class has secrets hidden within it's teachings. Learning more spells of one's path unlocks these secrets, empowering the caster in some way. When you learn a number of spells you learn a Ougi. An Ougi is an ability the caster learns upon knowing a certain number of spells of the same school or lore.
Ougi's are divided into five levels as explained on the table below:

{table=head]Ougi Level|Required Number of spells
Apprentice|3
Initiate|7
Journeyman|10
Adept|13
Magister|17
[/table]

Motivation for changes: No changes here, although the individual arcana's might need some change. Also, to generalize, changed arcana to Ougi's.

Prestidigitations:

Prestidigitations are minor magical effects every spellcaster can call forth and achieve at will, largely independently of outside circumstances. Casting a prestidigitation requires a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity and requires no concentration, though having no free or invested focus left prevents the spellcaster from casting them. Casting the cantrip does not take any expenditure or investment of focus.
Taking damage during the casting of an a prestidigitation does not interrupt it. Prestidigitation are cast with either vocal or somatic components or both, at the caster's choice and they are not subject to arcane spell failure chances for wearing armour.
The effects of prestidigitation are always fairly minor and include effects such as lifiting 1 pound of material; coloring, cleaning, or soiling items in a 1-foot cube each round; or chilling, warming, or flavoring 1 pound of nonliving material. Other effects can be allowed at the DM's discretion. (The Designer recommends allowing minor effects connected to a School or Lore the spellcaster specializes in, such as producing a tiny flame for a Wizard specialising in the Lore of the Phoenix).
Prestidigitations cannot deal damage or affect the concentration of spellcasters. Prestidigitations can create small objects, but they look crude and artificial and vanish ten minutes after their creation. The materials created by a prestidigitation are extremely fragile, and they cannot be used as tools, weapons, or spell components. Finally, a prestidigitation lacks the power to duplicate any other spell effects. Any actual change to an object (beyond just moving, cleaning, or soiling it) persists only 1 hour.

Cantrips

Cantrips are the most basic applications of magical energies learned by magic practitioners, either arcane or divine. Every lore or school of magic has one cantrip, that is learned automatically along with the first spell from a given lore/school. A cantrip does not take up a spell known slot.
Cantrips require one standard action to cast and provoke attacks of opportunity, unless otherwise specified.
They always have both vocal and somatic components, require concentration to cast and are only subject to arcane spell failure chance, so other kinds of casters can use them without trouble. Casting a cantrip takes no expenditure or investment of focus.
Cantrips can be interrupted by attacks: if the caster takes any damage during the casting, he can make a concentration check DC 10+ points of damage taken to successfully cast the spell, if the check fails, the cantrip fizzles and has no effect. Cantrips can not be cast defensively.
The power of cantrips increases depending on the caster's focus on the the cantrip's lore/school, based either on the level of the highest spell of that lore/school the caster has prepared (in the case of a prepared caster) or the highest level spell of that lore the caster knows (in case of a spontaneous caster).

Spells

Spells are the core element of every spellcaster, their ability to conjure powerfull magical effect to hinder foes or help allies. Every spellcaster uses focus to power his spells. All of them have effect that scales with casterlevel. They are subject to arcane spell failure chance and always have material, somatic and verbal components. They can not be cast defensively. While casting a spell of the highest level or second highest level you can cast, taking any damage during the casting, that is until the point the effect takes place (Next turn for highest level spells, during your full round action for second highest level) immediately disrupts the spell, with no concentration check allowed. With spells two spell levels or lower, concentration checks are allowed to successfully cast the spell. Casting a spell always costs one focus out of your focus pool, which can be free focus (For a spontaneous caster) or invested focus (for a prepared caster). Spell that have a duration longer then spontaneous have focus invested in them till the duration, specified in the spell itself, runs out. After that, the focus point is considered expended. A spell with a duration longer then spontaneous can be dismissed as a free action.

Learning Spells

In order to learn spells from a specific school/lore, the class must have access to that school/lore. Any lists outside of the ones specified in the class can not be picked. Second, a character can only learn a number of spells as dictated in his class, there are no bonus spells. To learn a spell from a certain school/lore, a spellcaster must know at least one spell of one spell level lower then the spell he is trying to learn. Also, their maximum level spell they can learn depends on casterlevel, as seen below:

{table=head]Caster level|Max. spell level
1 | 1
3 | 2
5 | 3
7 | 4
9 | 5
11| 6
13| 7
15| 8
17| 9
[/table]

Spell Resistance

Spell resistance is a special defensive ability some creatures have. If your spell is being resisted by a creature with spell resistance, the creature gains a bonus on the save or touch AC, as appropriate, equal to his spellresistance. If a creature has Spellresistance 3, it gains a +3 bonus on relevant checks to resist or otherwise hinder a harmfull spell. Spellresistance does not affect harmless spells if the creature doesn't want it to.


Counterspelling

The act of Counterspelling is that you are using your mental prowess and magical energy to disrupt the casting of a spell by another character. Counterspelling works even if both casters use a different source of magic (Arcane versus Divine for example).

To counterspell, you must select an opponent as the target of your counterspell. You do this by readying an action. In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. (You may still move your speed, since readying an counterspell is considered a standard action.)

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + enemy casterlevel). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponentís magical energies and can attempt to counter them. If the check fails, you canít do either of these things.

Assuming that you succeed on the Spellcraft check, you can then expend 2 focus in the counterspell. Doing so fizzles the enemies spell and the focus that he used for the spell is now considered expended.

Eldan
2012-09-26, 07:21 AM
Let me explain my reasoning here.

First of all, 22 spells is too much for one reason: For many lores, icouldn't even really find 17 spells that were thematically relevant. 22 is probably too much entirely.

Second: the way it is set up in my fix, the wizard can get two magister arcana. However, to do that, he needs to get almost every spell these lores have to offer, and can not take any spells from elsewhere for versatility. He is quite limited, making up for that in power.

Third: the wizard can get two magister arcana, the sorcerer 1. The sorcerer has more other features.

WaylanderX
2012-09-26, 07:34 AM
Changed it back to normal values, you got a point there.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-09-26, 10:44 AM
Let me explain my reasoning here.

First of all, 22 spells is too much for one reason: For many lores, icouldn't even really find 17 spells that were thematically relevant. 22 is probably too much entirely.

Second: the way it is set up in my fix, the wizard can get two magister arcana. However, to do that, he needs to get almost every spell these lores have to offer, and can not take any spells from elsewhere for versatility. He is quite limited, making up for that in power.

Third: the wizard can get two magister arcana, the sorcerer 1. The sorcerer has more other features.

Unless we're drastically changing the spell write-ups to make individual spells better-scaling and more flexible-- not necessarily a bad idea, but a pretty labor-intensive and fundamental change-- this is a bad idea. The Wilder gets only 21 powers known, and is considered a pretty crappy class for it. I think we can nerf casters without bringing them down so much.

(I know it's not supported in most fantasy lore, but D&D has its own feel and lore to it by this point, and I thought that's what we were trying to maintain?)

Also, I haven't had time yet to read your class, Eldan, but I do like what WaylanderX posted about focus. If I'm understanding corrently

Casting a spell spontaneously costs focus
Preparing a spell means "committing" (basically spending) the focus in advance.
Sustaining a spell with a non-instantaneous duration costs focus.
Focus can be restored by resting.


I kind of like that, though I don't know about Arcana (should be a class feature, anyway, not part of the fundamentals of how magic works). I would propose that casters can get some focus back whenever engaged in "non-strenuous activity," such as walking and talking or exploring ruins. Otherwise, you'll have parties sitting and waiting for an hour and a half after every combat. Maybe nothing for the first 15 minutes after casting, then Constitution modifier points every 15 minutes.

Eldan
2012-09-26, 10:52 AM
I'm not talking about 22 powers known. The wizard, as I wrote it up, got 34 over 20 levels, and I did consider giving them more. Sorcerers got slightly less.

The focus part is directly copy-pasted from my fix, with some changes.

Also, what you have is basically correct. I divided spells into Mantras (buffs) and Invocations (mostly instantaneous or sustained spells). Mantras are kept up by investing them with focus (more focus to affect more targets, etc.), while invocations are prepared by wizards by investing them with focus, then cast by releasing that focus.

As I wrote it up, I thought up Arcana to promote specialization. You need only one spell of every lower level to learn a spell (so, a 2nd and 1st level spell to learn a third level one), so you'd only need 9 spells in one lore to get the ninth level spell out of it. However, taking more than is strictly necessary from the same group is beneficial because it awards you small bonus class features. You study one kind of magic extensively, and it gives you insight into how that kind of magic works and affects the universe.

Seerow
2012-09-26, 10:53 AM
Unless we're drastically changing the spell write-ups to make individual spells better-scaling and more flexible-- not necessarily a bad idea, but a pretty labor-intensive and fundamental change-- this is a bad idea. The Wilder gets only 21 powers known, and is considered a pretty crappy class for it. I think we can nerf casters without bringing them down so much.

Correction, the Wilder gets 11 spells known. And I'm pretty sure it still considered tier 3. The Psion gets 36 known and is tier 2. Psiwar gets 20, and is restricted to 6th level powers, and is tier 3 as well. Similarly, the Crusader has 14 abilities, and the Warblade gets 13, both are considered tier3.

I'm not really seeing where > 20 abilities is needed to be good. It's needed to get higher tier status, but it all goes back to your intended balance point.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2012-09-26, 11:01 AM
{table=head]Effect|Focus reduction
Dazzled| -1
Fatigued| -1
Shaken| -1
Sickened| -1
Has not eaten for 24 hours or more 1| -1
Has suffered unrestored ability damage from any poison that lowers physical attributes2| -1
Dazed| -2
Exhausted| -2
Frightened| -2
Nauseated| -2
Has not had restful sleep for 24 hours or more 3| -2
Has suffered unrestored ability damage from any poison that lowers mental attributes2| -2
Confused|-3
Cowering|-3
Disabled|-3
Panicked|-3
Staggered|-3
Stunned|-3
[/table]
1 This does not apply to creature which need not eat to survive.
2 Being under the effect of more than one poison does not produce additional focus loss. An arcanist under the effect of both mental and physical poisons only suffers the loss from the mental poison. Poisons which produce any effect other than ability damage either produce the normal focus loss for that condition, if it is on the list (such as a sickening poison producing a focus loss of -1) or have no effect on focus (if their effect is not on this list).
3This does not apply to creatures which need not sleep (or trance, in the case of elves). This does not stack with the reduction from Fatigued or Exhausted.

The rest I'd need to see a bit more in-depth, but this part worries me: tables usually aren't good. Especially tables that you use only in edge cases like this one. Having to look up specific information for what happens to a caster after a specific status condition (stuff that, quite likely, people won't memorize, since it's a seldom-referred to table) isn't conducive to the flow of gameplay.

Eldan
2012-09-26, 11:14 AM
I added that for a simple reason: many conditions are much worse for fighters than casters. A -2 to hit? Makes a fighter less effective at his primary job, barely ever concerns a caster. The goal, here, is to make casters suffer too from being under certain conditions.
Ideally, if we rewrite that system, it would be either listed under that condition, or, if we go with just four or so condition tracks, would be included in the track system (i.e. go to step 3 on any condition track, lose 2 focus).

Seerow
2012-09-26, 11:16 AM
I added that for a simple reason: many conditions are much worse for fighters than casters. A -2 to hit? Makes a fighter less effective at his primary job, barely ever concerns a caster. The goal, here, is to make casters suffer too from being under certain conditions.
Ideally, if we rewrite that system, it would be either listed under that condition, or, if we go with just four or so condition tracks, would be included in the track system (i.e. go to step 3 on any condition track, lose 2 focus).

Easier solution is to either have spells use to-hit rolls (so it penalizes both), or make to-hit penalties also apply to saving throw DCs. Makes it easier than making a table just for how these things affect casters.

Eldan
2012-09-26, 11:21 AM
I don't think that works for all spells. For some, to hit just doesn't make much sense.

And, well. It wouldn't be a table. It would be one sentence. I can never remember all the effects of every status effect anyway.

Also, compare this:

A fatigued character can neither run nor charge and takes a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the fatigued character to become exhausted. After 8 hours of complete rest, fatigued characters are no longer fatigued.

to this:



A fatigued character can neither run nor charge and takes a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. If they are a spellcaster, they lose 2 points of focus as well. Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the fatigued character to become exhausted. After 8 hours of complete rest, fatigued characters are no longer fatigued.

Welknair
2012-09-26, 02:29 PM
Man, I'm gone for a day and I'm already so behind! It looks like I have some major catching up to do.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-09-26, 02:39 PM
Man, I'm gone for a day and I'm already so behind! It looks like I have some major catching up to do.

Always move fast, you never know who's--

Ohgodtheyfoundme.

Eldan
2012-09-29, 07:45 AM
So, still any comments on this?

I'll go over it myself again, see if anything stands out.

Losing Focus: in my thread, it was discussed that remembering which focus was lost first was difficult, perhaps unreasonably so. I propose a simplification: First, free focus, then sustained spells, then invested focus, in whatever way the caster chooses.

Regaining focus: the half hour of preparation time should be for prepared casters only.

Ouji: where does that word come from? Wiktionary only has a Mandarin word, meaning "thoroughfare", which I don't think is what you meant. Google throws up the Japanese word "Oji/ouji" for "prince", which doesn't make much sense either.
What's so bad about Arcanum? It simply means "Secret", and ties in nicely with this being Arcane classes. (That could be of making them different from divine classes. The divine classes don't learn Arcana, since they don't really study their magic).

IN general: a lot of what you have written seems to still include tons of 3.5 terminology, from when it was a fix to 3.5 magic to be put on top of it. Example: it refers to spells not being castable defensively when, so far, this system does not have a way of casting defensively at all.

Midwoka
2012-09-29, 08:14 AM
Ouji: where does that word come from? Wiktionary only has a Mandarin word, meaning "thoroughfare", which I don't think is what you meant. Google throws up the Japanese word "Oji/ouji" for "prince", which doesn't make much sense either.

I think Waylander was going for "Ouija", which people often mispronounce as "wee-jee", leading to the "Ouji" spelling (it's actually pronounced "wee-yah", as it comes from the French and German words for "yes").

Eldan
2012-09-29, 08:16 AM
Huh. I could maybe see that for divination only, in a weird way, but not for a general term. Sorry, don't like it.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-09-29, 10:02 AM
IN general: a lot of what you have written seems to still include tons of 3.5 terminology, from when it was a fix to 3.5 magic to be put on top of it. Example: it refers to spells not being castable defensively when, so far, this system does not have a way of casting defensively at all.

That's what this thread is about determining, isn't it?

I vote against arcana, because it has to apply to divine classes, and the arcane-divine divide is pretty well entrenched. Maybe Mysteries? Also, if those are something that any class can get, I'd like to see them defined here.

I should probably go read your arcane system, if we're accepting it as the new standard...

Morph Bark
2012-09-29, 10:05 AM
Ouji: where does that word come from? Wiktionary only has a Mandarin word, meaning "thoroughfare", which I don't think is what you meant. Google throws up the Japanese word "Oji/ouji" for "prince", which doesn't make much sense either.

He meant "ougi", as he asked me about the spelling prior to it, but the g and j have somewhat similar sounds in English, so I think he must've misheard me.

WaylanderX
2012-09-29, 11:46 AM
I was going for Ougi, which is Mystery/Secret in japanese.

Will fix it Asap. Also, about Spell Resistance? Any good idea's on that? As for now, I just leave it at the basic SR rules.
Also, Arcana would give off a vibe that is waaaaay wrong what we are trying to do here, as this is supposed to be a general magic system, not an Arcane only one.
Edit: Added new counterspelling rules adapted to the focus system.

Eldan
2012-09-29, 01:18 PM
If we are going for a check to determine if a spell succeeds, I'd recommend spell resistance making that check harder.

WaylanderX
2012-10-01, 02:34 PM
I put up a new spellres thingy based on Eldan's proposal.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-01, 04:20 PM
OK. My own counter-proposal/thoughts/thingy. 'sall pretty nebulous at the moment, but...

Start with basic 3.5 casting, with the following quick changes:

All spells that affect creatures (as opposed to conjuring objects or affecting the environment) have SR: Yes.
Casters roll attacks verses passive Fortitude/Reflex/Will defenses (10+Save modifier; 'normal' saves may be required in certain circumstances, such as rock traps where there's no directing intelligence.)?
The fatigued condition imposes a -2 penalty to caster level and a -1 penalty to spell save DCs. The exhausted condition imposes a -6 penalty to caster level, and a -3 penalty to spell save DCs. The caster level penalties cannot reduce a character's caster level below one-half its normal state.
One metamagic feat/spell, barring class features.
SR turns into a save DC boost somehow. Or possibly a CL hit.


Fatigue
Casting a spell is physically and mentally draining. The mechanism used to track this is known as Fatigue. Whenever you attempt to cast a spell, you must roll a Fortitude or Will save with a DC equal to the number of accumulated Fatigue points. Success means that you cast the spell normally, and gain a number of Fatigue points equal to the level of the spell that you just cast. On a failure, you still gain 1 Fatigue point, although the spell is not expended.

When maintaining spells with durations, such as bull's strength, you take on one Fatigue point per time increment to keep the spell active. (Once per round for a spell with a duration of 1 round/caster level, once per minute for a spell with a duration of 1 minute/caster level, and so on).

Fatigue points regenerate over time. When not engaged in strenuous activity such as combat, you eliminate Constitution plus Wisdom points per hour. When sleeping or meditating, you eliminate points per five times (Constitution plus Wisdom) points per hour.

If you accumulate more than (Level + Constitution + Wisdom) Fatigue points, you become Fatigued. If you accumulate more than (two times Level + Constitution + Wisdom) Fatigue points, you become Exhausted. If you accumulate more than (five times Level + Constitution + Wisdom) Fatigue points, you fall unconscious. All conditions persist until your accumulated Fatigue points dip below the threshold once again.

Implication
Magic remains powerful, but it becomes more of a limited resource, and it gets really hard to go nova.

We'd still need to fix certain broken spells. Save-or-sucks could be improved with the condition tracks we were talking about in the general thread. Save or dies too, if we make death the final step on its own track. Polymorph... I like the idea of adding a "start losing your mind when in a strange body" mechanic, but that may be too complicated. Alternately, we could have the spells provide an appearance change, certain static stat changes, and pick off a limited list of functional special abilities. Planar All/Binding/Gate should probably do away with the static rules for negotiation and let it come down to roleplaying.

Other Possibilities

Prepared casters lose the prepared spell completely on a failed Fatigue check, as a counterbalance to the power of preparation.
Casters may regenerate spell slots by taking on Fatigue points. (Equal to the spell level?)
Start with full-round casting times as default, and take extra Fatigue to speed up?
Metamagic grants extra Fatigue?

Eldan
2012-10-01, 06:05 PM
Just a note:

All spells that affect creatures (as opposed to conjuring objects or affecting the environment) have SR: Yes.

That is pretty much already the case. Those that don't are the spells that first creative something nonmagical then shoot it at/drop it on/etc. a creature.

I think those should still have no SR, but they should be rare.

Polymorph: I'm advocating that they give a stat bonus, and special abilities from a list, instead of everything the target creature has.

My basic change to planar ally et all was to make them take about an hour to cast and require a trade-off. Basically, you undergo a contract with the creature. Such a contract is powerful, magically, and it has to demand something of equal value (usually a favour) from you, or it can not enter the material plane physically.

"Power of Preparation"... what is the power here? All else equal, I'd say spontaneous casting is a good bit better.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-01, 06:23 PM
"Power of Preparation"... what is the power here? All else equal, I'd say spontaneous casting is a good bit better.

Sorry, bad phrase. I was referring to the way that prepared casters can access and cast virtually any spell on their spell lists. You know, the part that makes them tier 1.

Eldan
2012-10-01, 06:26 PM
If we let them write whatever they want into their spellbooks. I'd say they should have a limited amount of spells known, just a larger one than the sponties. They can only research so much.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-01, 07:42 PM
If we let them write whatever they want into their spellbooks. I'd say they should have a limited amount of spells known, just a larger one than the sponties. They can only research so much.

Eh... clerics and druids? I mean, I turned both of 'em into spontaneous casters, but you're a big prepared casting man...

Eldan
2012-10-02, 09:31 AM
I'd be fine with clerics and druids as spontaneous casters. They never made much sense as prepared anyway.

Plus, it makes the wizard more unique if he's the only preppy.

Then we have one prepared caster, one arcane caster, one divine caster and one nature caster.

How Metamagic feats work in your system? You say only one, but if you limit them by maximum spell level as they are in 3.5 core, I really don't think they are a problem. Most of them are rather weak, without mitigation.

How does preparing spells work with a fatigue system? Do you take fatigue when preparing? As long as you have spells prepared? When finishing your casting? How long can you keep a prepared spells? How many can you prepare?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-02, 10:05 AM
I'd be fine with clerics and druids as spontaneous casters. They never made much sense as prepared anyway.

Plus, it makes the wizard more unique if he's the only preppy.

Then we have one prepared caster, one arcane caster, one divine caster and one nature caster.
Fair. I like the druid as a sorcerer-style caster, and cleric as "spontaneous from all their domains."


How Metamagic feats work in your system? You say only one, but if you limit them by maximum spell level as they are in 3.5 core, I really don't think they are a problem. Most of them are rather weak, without mitigation.
I know they only really get bad when you stack 'em and use reducers. But with a fatigue system, I'd kind of like to replace the spell level adjustment with extra fatigue, which does sort of make them better. In that cast, a limit of 1/spell is probably necessary.


How does preparing spells work with a fatigue system? Do you take fatigue when preparing? As long as you have spells prepared? When finishing your casting? How long can you keep a prepared spells? How many can you prepare?
Mmm... maybe half-fatigue on preparing, half on casting? One on preparing, then full on casting? One/hour until you cast the spell? Possibly in conjunction with half-on-preparing?

Actually... hmm... I was thinking about otherwise keeping standard 3.5 casting rules, but the fatigue save may be a sufficient limit on spells/duration all by itself.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-06, 12:44 PM
Ok, I went back in and added some pulled-from-thin-air numbers to my Fatigue system. Math needs some work that I'm not good at.

It occurs to me that with a system like this one, we might not actually need spells/day. Instead, casters get tired enough that they can't make the check to cast. Kind of like how Truenamers were supposed to work.

Eldan
2012-10-06, 01:06 PM
I didn't have slots per day in my system... just saying. It was basically a fatigue-based resource too. I just used points instead of rolls, since it's a bit more controllable.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-06, 01:13 PM
I didn't have slots per day in my system... just saying. It was basically a fatigue-based resource too. I just used points instead of rolls, since it's a bit more controllable.

Yeah, but I can't seem to find a full version of your system. And from what I've seen, it makes a bunch more changes to the basic magic system.

Seerow
2012-10-06, 01:43 PM
A Fort/Will save for every spell cast seems like it' a bit tough. Assuming I'm reading Grod's system right, it seems like:

-Each spell cast you roll a saving throw DC equals your total fatigue
-If you succeed on the spell, fatigue increases by spell level, else fatigue+1.

I'm not sure the extra randomized point of failure is really needed here, or that it works well as a constraining resource. I mean, you're talking about just using fatigue and getting rid of spell slots, if you do that a first level Wizard might get anywhere between 2 and 22 first level spells per day, Depending on how lucky he is. I mean if you really want a fatigue system, why not just make it an actual point based system rather than having the randomized saving throw mechanic to cast?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-07, 10:06 AM
Hmm. Yeah, good point...

How does it work if we stick with spell slots? Acting as a sort of brake on magic spamming?

Eldan
2012-10-07, 10:26 AM
How would that work? You'd just have two resources that can run out , stopping you from casting. Seems redundant to me.

Plus, why do we need a limit on spamming? Wizards should have something to do every turn. And especially at high levels, that something should be casting spells.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-07, 10:50 AM
Checks or Rolls to cast spells

I've got my own huge magic fix that this comes from, but the most basic problem I have with magic is that is is automatically succesful. Barring spell-resistance, any character can simply declare "I cast Fireball" and the game makes it so.
Some creatures have or can gain Spell resistance, and some spells require attack rolls, but many of the most game-breaking spells don't interact with either of those mechanics.

Keeping things really simple, you could say every spell, every time it needs to be cast, requires a check equal to 10+twice the spell's level. It can either be a Spellcraft skill check, or a casting-stat ability check (or a non-casting stat ability if you want to make casters more MAD), or just about anything else, so long as there is some possibility for failure.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-07, 10:53 AM
Checks or Rolls to cast spells

I've got my own huge magic fix that this comes from, but the most basic problem I have with magic is that is is automatically succesful. Barring spell-resistance, any character can simply declare "I cast Fireball" and the game makes it so.
Some creatures have or can gain Spell resistance, and some spells require attack rolls, but many of the most game-breaking spells don't interact with either of those mechanics.

Keeping things really simple, you could say every spell, every time it needs to be cast, requires a check equal to 10+twice the spell's level. It can either be a Spellcraft skill check, or a casting-stat ability check (or a non-casting stat ability if you want to make casters more MAD), or just about anything else, so long as there is some possibility for failure.

This was sort of the original Fatigue idea. There is a roll to cast, and the more you cast, the harder it is to make the roll. I agree that we need something like this, though, even if fatigue is not the way to go on it.

Eldan
2012-10-07, 10:54 AM
I have one problem with that. The wizard is using a limited resource, (prepared) spells. Everyone else has unlimited resources. The fighter can attack as often as he wants. The rogue can pick as many locks as he wants. The wizard runs out of magic.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-07, 11:09 AM
This was sort of the original Fatigue idea. There is a roll to cast, and the more you cast, the harder it is to make the roll. I agree that we need something like this, though, even if fatigue is not the way to go on it.

Yeah, I'm not sure D&D is really set up to handle fatigue-mechanics very well. The only similar thing I've considered was a mechanic called spell-burnout, where you just couldn't cast the same spell repeatedly. Or rather, trying to spam one spell over and over again made it harder each time, but I scrapped it in favor of other limits.


I have one problem with that. The wizard is using a limited resource, (prepared) spells. Everyone else has unlimited resources. The fighter can attack as often as he wants. The rogue can pick as many locks as he wants. The wizard runs out of magic.

True, but magic is already more powerful and more versatile than skill checks and attack rolls, which I consider to be a balancing factor. Also, failing to cast a spell does not mean you lose the spell, it simply doesn't activate. So for example, if a wizard prepared the Knock spell, which automatically opens locks, then he can try again and again on his Spellcraft roll until his suceeds in casting the spell.

Also, while you can say that theoretically your Fighter can make infinite attack rolls, the amount of combat he can be involved in is limited by his HP. Also, most skill checks either have limited opportunities for use (how many locks does your Rogue pick in a given game?) or they are in fact limited to how many attempts you can make (like Diplomacy).

So take a look at how many attack rolls and skill checks the other characters are ACTUALLY making, and if in a game-day the wizard or sorcerer is casting about the same number of spells, then I don't think you have a problem.

If you are really worried about the Fighter eclipsing the wizard, then try to fix Grod's fatigue-style system, so that melee combat get's harder and harder the more you do it.

Eldan
2012-10-07, 11:31 AM
True, but magic is already more powerful and more versatile than skill checks and attack rolls, which I consider to be a balancing factor. Also, failing to cast a spell does not mean you lose the spell, it simply doesn't activate. So for example, if a wizard prepared the Knock spell, which automatically opens locks, then he can try again and again on his Spellcraft roll until his suceeds in casting the spell..

It doesn't have to be. Magic is more versatile in 3.5. One of the aimes we have here is making it less so. Especially with things like Knock, which just need to go.

tarkisflux
2012-10-07, 11:51 AM
I have one problem with that. The wizard is using a limited resource, (prepared) spells. Everyone else has unlimited resources. The fighter can attack as often as he wants. The rogue can pick as many locks as he wants. The wizard runs out of magic.

Running out of magic is a standard thing in every edition up through 3rd. Spontaneous, prepared, it didn't matter - magic was a limited daily resource on most characters that had it. And those few who weren't limited, like the warlock, were very sharply limited in selections or had powers not on the scale of spells to compensate. And they often had a much more narrow set of utility options.

Running out of spells is also the (admittedly weak) justification for spell power being stronger than the power of other actions. If you get fewer of them in a day, you need them to be stronger to contribute the same to overcoming challenges as the rest of the party with their unlimited actions. Ideally that sort of thing leads to a system with two different resource management schemes, where some people use their best option as often as possible and others have to be more judicious with how they spend their resources (possibly not even using a good one over the course of an entire encounter).

Now, that requires some particular adventure design ideas so that the limited guy can't afford to nova all the time and rest afterwards (to limit workday concerns). If you can't just nova once or twice a day to end the adventure and have to actually be judicious with your slots (timed adventure, long adventure, etc.), then there's more opportunity for the less strong but unlimited actions of everyone else to equal your more limited contributions. It also has spell DC stacking and scaling working against it, since you don't want the limited character to be able to fall back on spells from a much lower level and get similar effects as their highest level stuff, because that increases the amount of useful combat options they have and decreases their need to reserve spells for later encounters.

If you're going to be redoing an edition anyway, you can tweak a lot of that stuff to better support the resource differences. Then lower level slots get used for utility stuff because it's not worth putting combat effects in there, and you get limited but strong combat and utility guy up against not as strong but unlimited combat and utility guy, and they share the spotlight more effectively.

Or you can go with the unlimited effect plan, and just take the warlock approach or rewrite spells down in power so that they're not much better than the non-magical equivalent. Faster maybe, more reliable, whatever you want to differentiate them, just not much stronger. A fireball spell that was close range, 5' radius burst, 6d6 or 8d6 save for half, scaling DC, useable at-will isn't that much better than a full attack greatsword fighter or a TWF sneak attacking rogue (assuming that the classes look roughly the same anyway). This approach means you rewrite a lot of the spells on top of the magic system, but you're already rewriting a bunch of stuff anyway.

Eldan
2012-10-07, 11:56 AM
I think you misunderstood me. My problem is not magic running out. I'm okay with that. I don't like unlimited magic systems much, they often end up pale and flavourless, and limited in tactical and strategic choices.

My problem is this: the wizard has limited resources much more directly than other classes. Giving him the same failure chance means that he is directly wasting resources in addition to time, while the unlimited action people only waste time.
Furthermore, if the wizard has a fatigue roll, his chance to fail can be even larger than that of the fighter at missing his attack roll. Finally, the other characters can usually use several attacks or actions per turn, while wizards are mostly limited to one. If the wizard screws up his spell, he did nothing all turn. The fighter still gets his other three attacks.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-07, 11:58 AM
It doesn't have to be. Magic is more versatile in 3.5. One of the aimes we have here is making it less so. Especially with things like Knock, which just need to go.

I actually don't mind magic being very versatile, so long as no one class has access to all of magic's tricks, and more classes get some magic (or something LIKE magic). In my fantasy games, I don't have any problem with thinking "it's not magic vs mundane, it's magic A vs magic B"
In some respects, power and versatility are one and the same, and you won't get very far trying to limit yourself to just one or the other. I fully acknowledge that there is no single, simple fix that you could make, I am suggesting one thing that you could use in combination with your other updates.

My philosophy behind the spell-check roll was that virtually everything in the game requires or could require a dice-roll, and has the possibility of failure (the conequences can range from non-existent to dire)...except for magic. If I where DMing a game and wanted to be painfully tedious I could ask my players to make a Balance check to walk down the street without tripping (DC 1), and it would be harder for the wizard to suceed at this than to alter the very fabric of reality. I tried to change that.

Edit:

My problem is this: the wizard has limited resources much more directly than other classes. Giving him the same failure chance means that he is directly wasting resources in addition to time, while the unlimited action people only waste time.
Furthermore, if the wizard has a fatigue roll, his chance to fail can be even larger than that of the fighter at missing his attack roll. Finally, the other characters can usually use several attacks or actions per turn, while wizards are mostly limited to one. If the wizard screws up his spell, he did nothing all turn. The fighter still gets his other three attacks.

And my point was that the wizard's resources are not the same as those of the fighter, and so shouldn't be subject to the same standards when measuring their cost or benefit. I'ts like trying to compare 4 handguns to a nuke, and claiming the fighter has "more" resources.
A fighter might get 4 attacks per turn if he uses a Full-round action (which prohibits him from doing a lot of other things), but he might miss with all of them. This doesn't mean the fighter "did nothing" that round, it means he tried but failed to accomplish what he set out to do.

A fighter can move his speed and make a single attack. A wizard can move his speed and cast a single standard action spell. And frequently, a wizard doesn't have to move to get in range. If a fighter forgoes movement, he can make multiple attacks. If you want, add a mechanic that lets a wizard (or other magic user) take a full round action to cast a standard action spell and increase the chance of it functioning succesfully.
In my mind, the game is all about trade-offs (or if your into economics, opportunity costs). Everything you choose to do means you can't do something else.


Edit-edit: another problem I have with magic is that many high level spells still stick to the standard-action cast time, despite the fact that magic users can subvert the normal action economy much more easily (Celerity, Time Stop, etc) and high level spells are on a completely different scale from the kind of actions non-magic users can accomplish.

tarkisflux
2012-10-07, 12:34 PM
I think you misunderstood me. My problem is not magic running out. I'm okay with that. I don't like unlimited magic systems much, they often end up pale and flavourless, and limited in tactical and strategic choices.

My problem is this: the wizard has limited resources much more directly than other classes. Giving him the same failure chance means that he is directly wasting resources in addition to time, while the unlimited action people only waste time.
Furthermore, if the wizard has a fatigue roll, his chance to fail can be even larger than that of the fighter at missing his attack roll. Finally, the other characters can usually use several attacks or actions per turn, while wizards are mostly limited to one. If the wizard screws up his spell, he did nothing all turn. The fighter still gets his other three attacks.

Sorry, I may have read more into your previous comment that "Wizards should have something to do every turn. And especially at high levels, that something should be casting spells." than you intended. Taken to it's conclusion, that statement is incompatible with your position that it's okay for magic to run out. A bit more nuance on your position or goals might be needed.

But before that, I would suggest that comparing the multiple attacks of a fighter to the single spell of a wizard is exactly the sort of thing you would want to do in an unlimited magic system, and not in a limited one. In a sharply limited system with adventures designed to limit novas, you might only cast 1 or 2 serious spells per combat. The other actions that you take while you conserve resources would probably be things that came from class features or like reserve feats, and would me on the order of (if not slightly less than) other people's combat turns.

While I would agree that losing the resources without effect is probably unworkable, setting it up so that a caster fails to get a spell off and wastes time just means that sometimes they don't get to use a spell as effectively as they might have wanted. If you're worried about them wasting actual rounds of combat time, then it might work to allow them to fall back on a class feature backup feature instead of their spell (targeting the same place) and try the spell again in a future round instead. It's an somewhat effective caster nerf by making them less reliable.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-07, 12:34 PM
On the subject of limited spell slots and going nova:

My personal experience from running games (level 6-14 or so) is that it's not easy to make the caster run out of spells. Or, rather, it is easy, but requires a lot of filler encounters. Which may be OK for some groups, but when even an easy encounter takes an hour or so of game time, I kind of want fights to be meaningful, and not just "random dungeon crawl battle #146." In a year and a half of playing, I could count the number of 3-encounter days on the fingers of one hand. I mean, it worked out well, but... I don't want a system that forces you to have a specific number of encounters per day to be balanced. That just smacks of poor game design to me.

Personally, I prefer recharge times (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256658). It feels more natural than flat per-encounter or per-day abilities, but it's not unlimited either.

Yitzi
2012-10-07, 12:44 PM
It seems to me that the high versatility of magic is one of its draws, and that is a good thing. The problem is that it doesn't pay for that versatility with power. So perhaps the best approach is to simply leave it as versatile as 3.5 or even more so, but severely cut its power (or improve defenses against it, which comes out to roughly the same thing.)

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-07, 01:22 PM
It seems to me that the high versatility of magic is one of its draws, and that is a good thing. The problem is that it doesn't pay for that versatility with power. So perhaps the best approach is to simply leave it as versatile as 3.5 or even more so, but severely cut its power (or improve defenses against it, which comes out to roughly the same thing.)

The Condition Tracks (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257689) (quite similar to your own fix, if I remember correctly) I proposed should help cut down offensive power a decent amount.

Yitzi
2012-10-07, 02:35 PM
The Condition Tracks (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=15) (quite similar to your own fix, if I remember correctly) I proposed should help cut down offensive power a decent amount.

Link just goes back to the forum itself, but that would work.

Another good idea might be as simple as improving save progressions, plus giving fighters good Will saves. (My own system remake does both of those, although it moves certain noncombat spell types, such as illusions and charms, to "insight" saves, which fighters don't have good ones of.)

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-07, 06:21 PM
Link just goes back to the forum itself, but that would work.

Another good idea might be as simple as improving save progressions, plus giving fighters good Will saves. (My own system remake does both of those, although it moves certain noncombat spell types, such as illusions and charms, to "insight" saves, which fighters don't have good ones of.)

Whoops. Fixed that.

Saves... mmm. There should probably be a medium save that scales at the same rate as the DCs, a good save that scales faster, and a poor save that scales lower? Or should we keep the good saves and DCs scaling at about the same rate?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 12:18 PM
You know what? Let's back this all up. Do we need a new casting system at all? All things considered, I'm going to say no.

After all, what are the three biggest power advantages magic has over mundane? Options, targeting binary defenses, and certain flat-out overpowered spells (polymorph, planar binding, etc).

No look at what we're doing.

Options: Most well-regarded homebrew gives base classes options. Things like maneuvers are one way of doing this, but... Look at, say, Jiriku's big Fighter/Barbarian/Marshal fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194834). Heck, look at my Savage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240943)-- the class only has 4 abilities over 20 levels that aren't picked off a list. We'll be redoing all the base classes nearer the end of the project; both in- and out-of-combat options will be priorities.
Binary Defenses: See the earlier discussion of condition tracks, and specific thread. (Link should work now). You have to hit someone repeated, or they have to have a really bad save, to instantly cripple a foe with a single spell. Base classes will also be getting some snazzy save-resisted abilities of their own.
Overpowered Spells: We'll be going over the spell list. Thankfully, most of the worst offenders are either in the PHB, or are based on conditions, reducing the magnitude of the task.

The only remaining issue is magic-working-every-time. I think adding a check of some sort-- with no consequence on a failure except a wasted action-- is a good decision. Heck, most new players take a while to get over the "what do I roll to cast this spell?" phase, so it shouldn't be a difficult transition.

A DC 10 + twice spell level caster level check should be OK-- with the scaling, a wizard-style full caster starts at a DC 11 to cast his highest spell, and a sorcerer-style 1-level-delay starts at a DC 10, with it getting easier to cast lower-level spells. I suppose we could kick it up to 15 + lv times 2, but that starts to hurt low-level casters, who already feel enough pain. If we make it a skill, it gets too hard to take optimized checks and scaling modifiers into account.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 12:22 PM
I think the point I was trying to address was that a lot of people simply dislike the current Vancian system and would prefer a different one.

That said, I think with a few minor fixes, the slot system would be totally workable. I still think increasing most casting times and make a few spells only useful out of combat is a good idea. Apart from that, fixing binary defences and targeting single spells is a good way.

Now, instead of a check, my approach was mostly to make defensive casting difficult to impossible. Magic already provokes attacks of opportunity and can be disrupted. Does it also need checks? I like the idea of "We need to get to the mage, and quick, or he'll ruin our day!" where you try and get past the meat shield before hte wizard is done chanting.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-08, 01:03 PM
The only remaining issue is magic-working-every-time. I think adding a check of some sort-- with no consequence on a failure except a wasted action-- is a good decision. Heck, most new players take a while to get over the "what do I roll to cast this spell?" phase, so it shouldn't be a difficult transition.

A DC 10 + twice spell level caster level check should be OK-- with the scaling, a wizard-style full caster starts at a DC 11 to cast his highest spell, and a sorcerer-style 1-level-delay starts at a DC 10, with it getting easier to cast lower-level spells. I suppose we could kick it up to 15 + lv times 2, but that starts to hurt low-level casters, who already feel enough pain. If we make it a skill, it gets too hard to take optimized checks and scaling modifiers into account.

Thanks for the vote of confidence! If you feel that the 10+ twice spell level is to low, I would rather do 10+ three times spell level instead of 15+ twice SL, because it's less punishing for lower level players. Magic already scales more quickly at the top end, so asking for a tough-to make check for 9th level spells doesn't seem to much of a stretch for me. Also, I think it would encourage players away from trying to blow all their top level spells in one combat (going nova) just because they are less likely to actually succeed at using them all up in rapid fashion.

That is entirely speculative on my part though, and it also dependent on the availability of magic items that boost the check. I've done some minimal play-testing with the 10+2xSL and I think it works pretty well, but the 3xSL version is completely theoretical.


Now, instead of a check, my approach was mostly to make defensive casting difficult to impossible. Magic already provokes attacks of opportunity and can be disrupted. Does it also need checks? I like the idea of "We need to get to the mage, and quick, or he'll ruin our day!" where you try and get past the meat shield before hte wizard is done chanting.

The problem I have with this style of set-up is that it forces people into very specific roles. The wizard is your "big-gun" killer, and everyone else is a meat-shield in one way or another. Its tougher (not impossible, I admit) to play an offensively-themed melee character when I need to stay behind and guard my squishy little buddy.
I don't have a problem with providing options to set up the party taht way if your group agrees, but I don't like to pigeonhole classes into specific roles. I think there should be enough options so that the wizard can fulfill one of several options, so long as you need to sacrifice the ability to fulfill other options all the time.


Assuming this thread is still in the brain-storming mode, it might be worthwhile to consider regrouping spells (at least the ones on the Sorc/Wiz spell list) for specialized wizards by function instead of by school. Shooting from the hip here (metaphorically), you can have other-player buff spells, self-buff or defensive spells, quick but lightweight spells, big spells that take a long time to cast, summoning spells, transformative spells, etc. And every wizard (or other similar class) picks one or maybe two groups.

tarkisflux
2012-10-08, 01:33 PM
If you feel that the 10+ twice spell level is to low, I would rather do 10+ three times spell level instead of 15+ twice SL, because it's less punishing for lower level players. Magic already scales more quickly at the top end, so asking for a tough-to make check for 9th level spells doesn't seem to much of a stretch for me. Also, I think it would encourage players away from trying to blow all their top level spells in one combat (going nova) just because they are less likely to actually succeed at using them all up in rapid fashion.

That is entirely speculative on my part though, and it also dependent on the availability of magic items that boost the check. I've done some minimal play-testing with the 10+2xSL and I think it works pretty well, but the 3xSL version is completely theoretical.

Let's go with 15 as the base instead of 10, to deal with the initial +3 bonus that fully trained skills get and the likely high relevant attribute modifier (which I will assume is +3 here, because it's convenient) and to make comparisons more clear. I'll make a note about the 10 base afterwards. It's not actually very punishing for players, unless you want them to succeed more often than 55%-65% of the time out the gate, in which case you can just drop the 15 by a point or three.

15 + 2 x SL grows at exactly the same rate as the sill check you're using to cast it for a full caster (partial progression casters grow slower for obvious reasons). If you start out having a 55% chance of getting your top spell off (+3 key attribute modifier), you will continue to have approximately that for your highest level spells without feat or gear investment and no attribute increases (at least until level 19, when you don't get a new top level spell). 10 + 3 x SL grows faster than your skill check. If you start out having a 55% chance of getting your top spell off, that slowly drops until you only have a 10% chance of getting your top spells off at level 17 without feat or gear investment and no attribute increases. You can get all the way up to 25% by level 20.

Going with 10 as a base instead of 15 just boosts these odds by 25% at every level. In the "+ 2 x SL" setup, it means you don't fail your spells very often at all, maybe 1 in 5 when you first get a new spell level. In the "+ 3 x SL" setup, that means that you start being very unlikely to fail your casting checks and wind up passing higher level ones a third of the time when you get them and more often as you level a bit more.

But those completely ignored numeric boosters, and there are likely to be some floating around. All of those will make the odds of success better. So which one of these you go with should depend on how common attribute boosts are (both inherent and gear based) and whether gear boosters for the skill can boost a casting check or not (since +10 items are relatively cheap and you can get up to +30 pre-epic). And on whether you want characters without that gear to feel "gimped" in some way, so that the gear is seen as a requirement or tax to continue to perform at the expected level. And whether you want to make higher level spells less reliable than lower level options. Lots of decisions and design calls basically.

Edit - put another way, the x3 progression needs the casters to try to find an extra +1 to the skill every 2 levels. They can do this with attribute boosts (gear and otherwise) and feats to some extent. So if those are in the game, and you want people to invest those things in their casting, then it might be a good fit. If you don't want them doing that, but broadening their abilities instead of specializing to remain relevant, do something else and don't allow specialization that would exceed your maximum success thresholds. Neither is right except in so far as it promotes the sort of behaviors you want at the table, which should probably be sorted.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 01:54 PM
I think a lot of the problems I wanted to address in my fix were more in-game logical than purely for the balanced rules. There are questions that come up when you explain the rules to someone:
If the wizard is pre-casting his spells and only completing them later, how come he can prepare exactly seven first level spells, three second level spells and one third level spell, instead of using that memory space (or whatever) for more third level spells, which are more powerful?
How come he can only prepare them once a day?

And so on. We should at least address those points in some way, if we want it to make sense.

And that's without going into Sorcerers, who would make more sense with power points anyway, I think.

Seerow
2012-10-08, 02:00 PM
I think a lot of the problems I wanted to address in my fix were more in-game logical than purely for the balanced rules. There are questions that come up when you explain the rules to someone:
If the wizard is pre-casting his spells and only completing them later, how come he can prepare exactly seven first level spells, three second level spells and one third level spell, instead of using that memory space (or whatever) for more third level spells, which are more powerful?
How come he can only prepare them once a day?

And so on. We should at least address those points in some way, if we want it to make sense.

And that's without going into Sorcerers, who would make more sense with power points anyway, I think.

If that's what you want to address, simpler is better. You're already resigning yourself to rewriting a large number of spells to reduce their effectiveness, as far as I can tell, so why not go the whole nine yards and use a standard point system as the casting baseline. Have Wizards prepare their spells in advance, but still using points to do so. Other casters have a more limited spell list, but can spend their points as needed, rather than prepackaging them.

As far as only being able to prepare once per day. I personally prefer encounter based resources. If you need daily resources, I prefer daily resources with an encounter based usage. For example, healing surges worked to allow encounter based hit points, while still leaving HP as a daily resource. You could do something like that, limiting base spell points to what you think is a reasonable per encounter limit, but give them a set of spell surges that can be used to refresh their spellpoints. You tailor the amount of surges to how long you want a standard adventuring day to be (and can even make notes for quick and easy adaptation for DMs who want to run heavier/lighter combat games).

Just a thought.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 02:13 PM
That's actually pretty much what I did. They have a number of points they can use to prepare spells, and a short rest gives them their points back.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-08, 02:21 PM
@tarkisflux
You can use whatever formula you want to make it work best for your games; a skill check, an ability check, or even something else entirely if you want to change things much more. I found that for my purposes the first version I outlined was a good combination of simple and effective.

Overall I just wanted there to be some sort of action that you needed to take along the same lines as an attack roll or skill check. Not only does this introduce a chance for failure, it also adds in the potential for other conditions or modifiers that can make casting more or less difficult, again, similarly to other in-game functions.


If that's what you want to address, simpler is better. You're already resigning yourself to rewriting a large number of spells to reduce their effectiveness, as far as I can tell, so why not go the whole nine yards and use a standard point system as the casting baseline. Have Wizards prepare their spells in advance, but still using points to do so. Other casters have a more limited spell list, but can spend their points as needed, rather than prepackaging them.

That seems like a viable option; I only have one concern: it seems like it would make it possible for players to go nova and cut the day short even more easily (because you can legitimately claim you are entirely out of spells, instead of just good ones), which assuming you DM doesn't let you get away with that, puts even more emphasis on the player for figuring out what to use ahead of time. It's pushing the class towards being very accounting- heavy, which isn't necessarily all bad, just something to be wary of, I think.


That's actually pretty much what I did. They have a number of points they can use to prepare spells, and a short rest gives them their points back.

Why do they get their points back after a short rest? If that's the model you are using, why should the wizard ever prepare anything but his highest level spells? It seems like it'd doing away with the entire concept of limited resources.
I would rather limit the setup to a certain number of points per day that are regained entirely after 8 hours of rest, or have points regenerate slowly but continuously all day long.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 02:47 PM
Well, you don't often have the time to just get half an hour or an hour of rest and quiet meditation during an adventure, do you. And when you have that time, well, then you could get all manner of resources anyway, usually.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 03:24 PM
Not complaining, Eldan, but weren't you earlier arguing against a spell-point system?

Personally, I dislike prepared casting in general. Not only is it far harder to balance, it's been my experience that players avoid prepared classes like the plague, disliking both the bookkeeping and the hassle of preparing spells every day. When one guy did play a druid, he used more-or-less the same set of spells every day.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my wizard fix (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=230721)before, but it's how I'd like to see the class: a small set of spontaneous spells for use in battle, a potentially-unlimited spellbook for out-of-battle spells (8-10 minutes/spell level casting time), and a lot of bonus feats and unique "spell tricks" (changing the area, element type, and so on) to add variety to their combat abilities. For divine classes, a "pray for a miracle" ability could be added, taking time and possibly resources to temporarily add a spell to your list.

Spontaneous casters can be spell points or spell slots, it matters not. For my sorcerer fix (same thread), I took my own shot at spell points, without the "spend-more-points-to-boost-effect" of psionics. He regained spell points over time. He also got playtested, at least a bit, and got a fairly positive review from the entire group, apparently.



On the subject of a casting roll, I'd kind of like to stick to a simple caster level check to avoid the mess

Eldan
2012-10-08, 03:27 PM
What I find boring is something like the Psion. You have that many points, that's how much you can cast, cast whatever you like out of that. It's such an incredibly dull mechanic. Having points to determine what you can prepare is quite a bit less bad.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 03:42 PM
I see where you're coming from. Preparing is cool if you take the Diskworld-type fluff of cramming discrete, semi-sentient spells into your own heat. It's just a pain in the butt when your spell list is enormous, and it can slow down gameplay when you either have to know all 200 spells on your list, and/or look them up every time you prepare.

How 'bout we take a spell point mechanic for spontaneous casters (ie, most of them), and make you fatigued when you've used half your points, and exhausted when you've used three fourths? That gives them back a bit of flavor. Add in some self-inflicted damage to recharge points, and let points recharge over time.

Also, our basic casters:

Wizard: prepared arcane

Archivist: prepared casting of divine spells, wizard mechanics.
Sorcerer: spontaneous arcane

Favored Soul: spontaneous casting of divine spells, sorcerer mechanics.
Cleric: spontaneous casting of all domain spells, plus armor
Druid: spontaneous druid, plus PHB2 shapeshifting.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 03:46 PM
I'd rather not use the archivist here. It's a very specialized class and the flavour is far from common. I propose just calling that class "Cleric".

Suggestion:

Wizard: prepared arcane caster, intelligence based, has to learn spells (probably to a maximum amount, to limit versatility).
Sorcerer: spontaneous arcane caster, charisma based.

Cleric: prepared divine caster, wisdom based. Potentially semi-spontaneous with domain spells. Not a holy warrior, but a holy caster and scholar. Frail, no armour, low BAB, but good skills.
Favoured Soul: spontaneous divine caster. A bit more holy-warrior ish, perhaps, but I'd rather like to give him a list of divine blessings, as well, instead of just pure melee ask-kickery.
Paladin: full divine warrior. Little magic, more blessing and smiting.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 04:18 PM
I'd rather not use the archivist here. It's a very specialized class and the flavour is far from common. I propose just calling that class "Cleric".
In my wizard fix, I made the archivist as a combination of two ACFs- one for divine spells, and one for the dark knowledge feature. So, totally had the same flavor and specialty. I think we'd have more problems with changing the flavor of the cleric name, especially as it's one of the most iconic classes.

On the other stuff, if anyone gets only semi-magic, it's the paladin. But these are pretty minor questions at this point.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 04:22 PM
See, there's two problems I see wit hthat. First of all, the cleric is kind of a super-class already (so's the druid, but that's a whole other case). It casts spells and can fight. And with some spells, it fights better than a fighter. Meanwhile, the poor paladin, who is intended to be a divinely blessed knight and kick ass in melee is totally left behind by the cleric. So, I think the cleric should go back to being mainly a caster, while the Paladin should be the divine fighter.

So, shall we go for a points system, then, with wizards preparing their spells ahead, and maybe some kind of limited surge or rest system for regaining some HP and PP*?

*PP is a boring name, but if anyone even suggests Mana, I'm leaving.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 05:50 PM
See, there's two problems I see wit hthat. First of all, the cleric is kind of a super-class already (so's the druid, but that's a whole other case). It casts spells and can fight. And with some spells, it fights better than a fighter. Meanwhile, the poor paladin, who is intended to be a divinely blessed knight and kick ass in melee is totally left behind by the cleric. So, I think the cleric should go back to being mainly a caster, while the Paladin should be the divine fighter.
Ehh... I see your point, but it's a debate to have later. Hopefully not that much later, but later.


So, shall we go for a points system, then, with wizards preparing their spells ahead, and maybe some kind of limited surge or rest system for regaining some HP and PP*?

*PP is a boring name, but if anyone even suggests Mana, I'm leaving.
Spell points or Magic Points are probably fine. Certainly no worse than Hit Points. I'd prefer a more gradual recharge than surges, though-- say, Constitution (physical toughness) plus Wisdom (mental toughness) points per hour.

Also, a caster level check to cast a spell, with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 spell level.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 06:02 PM
That sounds like too many. With that, your average, totally average guy, regenerates 20 per hour on level 1. More if he puts any points at all in wisdom and constitution.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-08, 06:05 PM
That sounds like too many. With that, your average, totally average guy, regenerates 20 per hour on level 1. More if he puts any points at all in wisdom and constitution.

Weren't we agreed on merging ability scores and modifiers? You'd have a hard time pushing it above 10/hour, especially if your primary casting stat isn't wisdom.

Midwoka
2012-10-08, 07:52 PM
*PP is a boring name, but if anyone even suggests Mana, I'm leaving.

Well, I'd go with 'mana' =P
It's widely-recognized, and not only starts with the same letters as 'magic', but is also made up of simple, strong, and primal syllables. "Mah-nah"

If you want to shun accessibility and use a very different word instead, I'll toss out 'galia' (Lithuanian for 'power') and 'buyu' (Turkish for 'magic', though it normally has umlauts over both U's and I'm too lazy to figure out the commands for that) for your consideration. =)

Eldan
2012-10-08, 08:06 PM
Mana isn't magical energy. It's a very interesting mystical concept, and using it for magical energy just ruins it for me.

Eldan
2012-10-08, 08:16 PM
Would everyone be fine with it if I took all the suggestions and tried to make a synthesis of it in a new thread?

Eldan
2012-10-09, 06:12 PM
You know, I've been thinking about magic checks to cast spells, and I think I'm getting a bit more on board with it now that I've been thinking about fluff and interactions. There's a few interesting things you can do with this.


Resistance. There is a way the world wants to be. "Reality", some call it. Like energy levels in physics, "Reality" is a particularly favourable energy level. Magic is expending energy by the caster to temporarily raise the energy level to go to another state. Over time, reality will re-assert itself, in most cases. Spells end, after a while.

Where can we go with this? Some things are more or less difficult to change. Some creatures may already be on a higher energy level, they are unreal. Outsiders and Aberrations come from different worlds. They are already unreal, and so magic has to put more energy into making them even more unreal than normal. They have spell resistance, affecting them is more difficult. On the other hand, some creatures might have a stronger innate reality, so to speak. They are immune to some kinds of magic, or simply resist all ways to change them.

Then? There are also places and objects that are difficult to change. Dead magic zones. Planes with impeded magic. All these would simply make the magic check incredibly hard to do for some or all magic. Perhaps some materials are more difficult to affect with magic. I'm seeing, say, Cold Iron being naturally spell resistant, which is why some magical creatures hate it.

tarkisflux
2012-10-09, 08:03 PM
If you were going that way, I would suggest giving everything a SR value (even objects and locations) rather than build an extra check on top of it. Since that's what you're basically doing anyway, throwing yet another activation check on top while also toning down spells and changing mechanics seems a bit overboard.

Actually, here's a full proposal for it that goes for mechanical parity with Grod's combat stuff (assuming he's using armor bonus OR base attack bonus for AC, as opposed to AND). It's not an activation check though, since the spell couldn't really fail just fail to impact anything that you care about (which is fluff distinct, if not particularly mechanically distinct):

All classes would have a "base spell bonus" progression, just like all classes have a base attack bonus progression. Generally, if an attack progression is good the spell progression should be bad, and vice versa. (This might mean dropping the BAB of the cleric and druid).

Just like with an attack roll to hit something, you must make a spell roll to see if you have enough magical power to overcome the inherent resistance of an object. If your roll plus your BSB plus modifiers exceeds their SR value, your spell affects them as indicated. If your roll is insufficient, your spell does not affect them, though it may affect secondary targets or the environment if it would be high enough for them.

A target's SR is equal to 10 + their BSB + some attribute + some (small) misc modifiers. Some objects, like cold iron trinkets, have an inherent resistance bonus that replaces a character's BSB in the above equation if it would be greater. There may or may not be objects that offer a shield style bonus, if those haven't been replaced by action options based on shields instead.

What does this do? Well it makes the answer to "spellcaster" into "guy with a sword" because their AC is going to be much worse than their SR. It means that non-casters carry around protective gear that is better than their poor defensive BSB, so fighters and rogues carry protective cold iron trinkets while wizards cast magic force shields to make up for their poor defensive BAB. It also has interesting implications for multiclassing and spell design, since multiple activation checks like this roll and saves on the same effect is a fairly strong nerf.

And if you want to change the AC terminology slightly, you can turn armor class into attack resistance. Then you have BAB vs AR and BSB vs SR, and pretty mechanical / terminology parity for activation rolls.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-10, 01:43 PM
things

Oooh... I really like the idea of a base magic progression. Much nicer than using caster level checks. Not quite sure about giving everyone SR, though... it would seem to replace a lot of saves...

Actually, I think I saw an idea on the boards awhile ago to turn SR into a save bonus, and I kind of like that. Possibly also free Evasion/Mettle.

Yitzi
2012-10-10, 03:20 PM
Base classes will also be getting some snazzy save-resisted abilities of their own.

Idea: Rework criticals for this purpose.


What I find boring is something like the Psion. You have that many points, that's how much you can cast, cast whatever you like out of that. It's such an incredibly dull mechanic. Having points to determine what you can prepare is quite a bit less bad.

The mechanic for the psion may be a bit dull, but it allows for large versatility, which (if combined with low power) can make for very interesting gameplay.

Eldan
2012-10-10, 03:48 PM
Combine the two?

The wizard can spend spell points to prepare spells, then more spell points once he casts them to change them?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-10, 03:59 PM
Combine the two?

The wizard can spend spell points to prepare spells, then more spell points once he casts them to change them?

Eesh, no. Prepared casting has too many problems as-is; let's not make it even more powerful.

Eldan
2012-10-10, 04:01 PM
I still just don't understand why you think prepared casting is weaker than spontaneous casting.

Everything else being equal, shouldn't spontaneous be much better?

The wizard isn't better than the sorcerer because he prepares. He's better because he knows potentially all spells.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-10, 04:06 PM
I still just don't understand why you think prepared casting is weaker than spontaneous casting.

Everything else being equal, shouldn't spontaneous be much better?

The wizard isn't better than the sorcerer because he prepares. He's better because he knows potentially all spells.

I'm sorry? I know that prepared casters are significantly more powerful than spontaneous-- that's what I meant by "has too many problems as-is." Letting them change their prepared spells can only make things worse.

Eldan
2012-10-10, 04:08 PM
Ah, not change as in "prepare a different one".
The psionic mechanic where you can change parameters of the power, or scale them up. I forgot the name.

And I think prepared casters aren't necessarily more powerful.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-10, 04:16 PM
I believe the term you're looking for is "augment," in which case yeah, sounds about right.

Also, prepared casters are necessarily more powerful, because power and flexibility are tied so closely.

Eldan
2012-10-10, 04:19 PM
True, but prepared casters don't have to be more flexible. Simple example.

The wizard can know a maximum of three spells, and prepare four per day.
The sorcerer also knows a maximum of three spells and casts four per day spontaneously.
Which one is more powerful?

Again, the wizard is not more powerful because he prepares. He is because he knows so many more spells.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-10, 04:56 PM
True, but prepared casters don't have to be more flexible. Simple example.

The wizard can know a maximum of three spells, and prepare four per day.
The sorcerer also knows a maximum of three spells and casts four per day spontaneously.
Which one is more powerful?

Again, the wizard is not more powerful because he prepares. He is because he knows so many more spells.

Ok, preparing is a weaker mechanic, yes. But it's typically associated with a ridiculously expanded spell list, which is when it starts to fail. I'm not sure how many spells you need to have access to before you outstrip spontaneous. Maybe twice as many known?

Seerow
2012-10-10, 07:41 PM
Ok, preparing is a weaker mechanic, yes. But it's typically associated with a ridiculously expanded spell list, which is when it starts to fail. I'm not sure how many spells you need to have access to before you outstrip spontaneous. Maybe twice as many known?

I'd say even a 50% increase would be sufficient to get the extra versatility across.

Deepbluediver
2012-10-10, 08:37 PM
Since we seem to be discussing the serious possibility of using checks, let me explain a little more of the detail for what I did in my magic system, which actually incorporated a lot of the ideas being tossed about.

(you're free to use all or none of this, or just take inspiration from it)
and I don't really know where to start, logically, so I'm just gonna brain-dump
(1)Spellcraft is not a skill anymore, but a seperate calculated stat, like your attack bonus.

(2)Every time you want to cast a spell, you need to pass a Spellcraft check; there are actually 2 seperate formulas for determining the DC: for a spell that does not target a creature, the Spellcraft DC is 10+twice the spell's level.
For spells that target creatures directly, the Spellcraft DC is the target's Spell Resistance + the spell's level.

Players can voluntarily decrease their Spell Resistance for friendly spells.


(3)Every class has a Base Spellcraft Progression (BSB) that is the inverse of their BAB; this means wizard and sorcerers have a BSB equal to their level, warriors and paladins have a BSB equal to 1/2 their level, and clerics have a BSB equal to their BAB.
So far, I've been rewriting the core classes, and I've worked out reasonable alterations for rangers and paladins (IMO, anyway) but I'm considering changing this to be less set-in-stone. It will still mostly be the same, with a few exceptions (like for the ranger).

(4)Every caster gets bonus spells from Intellect, and all players apply their Wisdom modifier to their BSB (like the addition of Strength to BAB).

There is a feat that lets you add your Charisma to the check as well.

Some classes have a class feature that instead replaces the Wisdom modifier with Charisma


(5)All creatures get a base level of Spell Resistance that increases with their ECL/CR. You add your save bonus to your base SR to calculate your total spell resistance; each save corresponds to different schools of spells.

Mostly, this replaces the normal Saves, though some spells do have additional Save-rules for lessened effects.
In all honesty, this is more complicated than I would like, since you essentially have 3 seperate Spell Resistances, but I haven't come up with anything I like better, yet.



Anywho, those are the biggest points, I think; if I remember something else crucial that I've left out I'll post it. There are few more little rules for dealing with things critical spell failure and SLA's, but those can wait for now.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 05:58 AM
Well, discussion in the main thread seems to be almost back to square one. Questions we need answered:

Unlimited spells per day, slots or points?
Casting checks, yes or no?

And on what Deepbluediver wrote : please no extra feat tax on sorcerers. Let every class use their own abilities. For inherent magic, intelligence makes little sense.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 09:17 AM
Unlimited spells per day, slots or points?
Casting checks, yes or no?

Limited spells per day, but with some sort of (slow) recharge mechanism. I don't mind keeping slots, as it's pretty classic D&D.

Yes to casting checks.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 09:57 AM
So, recharge and slots? How does that work? :smallconfused:

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 10:09 AM
Well, that's the real question, isn't it (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256658)...

Maybe you regain one 1st level slot every hour, one 2nd level slot every two hours, and so on until one 9th level slot every nine hours? With the regeneration time accelerating while asleep?

Or you could regain X slots/hour, to be re-prepared/distributed among spell levels however you see fit.

Of course, I also like spell points for spontaneous casters, and making all casters spontaneous to a greater or lesser degree. If we do keep slots, though, I support making Versatile Spellcaster (the feat that lets you use 2 lower-level slots to cast one higher-level spell) part of the base rules.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 10:16 AM
I think that spell points might acutally work, if we have a preparation mechanic along with it for wizards. Because there's realy no good way to restore slots.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 10:26 AM
Okay, slightly longer suggestion.

There are spell points, power points, whatever we call them.

Wizards have few power points, more powers, but they have to prepare their spells. Their spells are prepared, which takes, say, a few minutes per spell, then they are triggered as a full-round action for their highest-level spells, then progressively faster for lower-level spells.

Sorcerers have more power points, fewer powers and cast spontaneously without preparing. Their spells are cast with a full round casting time (that's longer than a full-round action), then going slower.

Clerics, I'm not sure about. I could see both prepared or spontaneous.

Paladins, I think, should be divine half-casters with spontaneous spells. Same for rangers.

Bards.. I'm not sure. I'm actually tempted to make them prepared casters. It seems to fit with their loremaster status.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 10:29 AM
I suggest that, in the interests of comparability and not rewriting every spell in the game, we use the spell point mechanic from my sorcerer fix.


Arcana- A sorcerer doesnít use spell slots, as most spellcasters do. Instead, he has a certain number of arcana points per day, as indicated on the table above. Each time he casts a spell, he must pay a certain number of arcana points, based on the level of the spell he is casting, as indicated on the table below. If he does not have sufficient points, he cannot cast the spell. While waking and active, a sorcerer regains a number of arcana points per hour equal to his Constitution modifier. Eight hours of sleep (or trancing, or meditating, if the sorcerer is of a race that doesn't normally sleep) is sufficient to regain all expended arcana points. If awakened prematurely, a sleeping sorcerer can be judged to have regained Contitution modifier points per hour, as normal, plus an additional 10 points per hour spent sleeping.

A sorcerer may apply metamagic feats to his spells. If he does, he must pay the arcana cost for a spell of the modified level (although he does not increase the casting time). For example, an empowered magic missile would normally use up a 3rd level slot, so a sorcerer must pay 5 arcana points to cast the spell.

0-level spells (cantrips) do not cost any arcana to cast, and a sorcerer can cast all 0-level sorcerer spells he knows at will. However, if he casts more than (Constitution Modifier) cantrips in a single minute, he must spend one arcana point.

{table]Spell Level|0 lv|1st|2nd|3rd|4th|5th|6th|7th|8th|9th
Arcana Cost|0|1|3|5|7|9|11|13|15|17[/table]

Arcana points may only be used to cast sorcerer spells. Any prestige class that advances spellcasting also advances arcana. Items or abilities that grant bonus spell slots grant an equivalent amount of bonus arcane, as shown on the table above.

Basically, the spells auto-scale.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 10:33 AM
Okay, slightly longer suggestion.

There are spell points, power points, whatever we call them.

Wizards have few power points, more powers, but they have to prepare their spells. Their spells are prepared, which takes, say, a few minutes per spell, then they are triggered as a full-round action for their highest-level spells, then progressively faster for lower-level spells.

Sorcerers have more power points, fewer powers and cast spontaneously without preparing. Their spells are cast with a full round casting time (that's longer than a full-round action), then going slower.

Clerics, I'm not sure about. I could see both prepared or spontaneous.

Paladins, I think, should be divine half-casters with spontaneous spells. Same for rangers.

Bards.. I'm not sure. I'm actually tempted to make them prepared casters. It seems to fit with their loremaster status.

I veto extending casting times on the basis of fun. A few spells can be longer-- summons and the like-- but for common spells? No. We're nerfing magic in and boosting non-mages in enough ways that we don't need to do that.

Sorcerer/Wizard split, yes. Clerics, let's see a similar split-- a spontaneous (from domains only?) and a prepared caster. Paladins and rangers as spontaneous, yes. Bards... I don't see prepared. They're not loremasters, they just know things because they're been everywhere and talked to everyone.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 12:49 PM
I think longer casting times only become problematic once it takes more than a round. What's the problem with a spell taking all round?

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 01:01 PM
Well, you were talking about all sorcerer spells taking one round or longer to cast. Full-round actions are... OK, at least for the top level or two of spells, but it strikes me as being too similar to the full-attack problem.

I dunno, maybe I'm having a knee-jerk reaction because of my experience as a caster in Exalted, but... I think that the nerfs we're putting in-- casting checks, condition tracks, 5-foot step nerf and spell rewrites-- will be enough to balance things with the non-crappy mundane classes we'll be making. And the more we gimp casters in things like action economy, the more pressing the urge to optimize to subvert it will be.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 01:10 PM
Well, I'm still against casting checks, really. And so far, the casters are still far more versatile than anyone else.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 01:25 PM
Here's the thing about casting checks: for literally every other action in the game, you need to roll a die. Attacking a dude with a sword? Roll for it. Climbing a wall? Roll for it. Want to know what that thing with all the teeth and tentacles and tooth-tentacles is? Roll for it. Why should magic be the exception? And how many new players have you seen say "I cast this spell" and start rolling a die?

I'm not talking about anything really complicated. Just a simple d20+CL verses 10+ spell level *2. On a fail, you waste the action but not the spell. Just like a mundane can fail to connect with a sword strike, you can fail to bend reality to your will.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 01:42 PM
Ah, well. Fair enough then.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 02:07 PM
Okay, then. To sum up: Spell points, spell checks, minimal casting times, different recharge times based on activity.

Questions: do we want to base it on constitution? I think we already said that we want to take wisdom or charisma into it, that would make the total three attributes. Plus, what about negative constitution modifiers?

As for metamagic: I think we might go with the psionic approach of adding a fixed higher PP cost. That would make metamagic a bit more playable.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 02:17 PM
I was thinking it could be a function of wisdom and constitution, representing mental and physical endurance, but it can vary by class, if we want.

Also, I do like Deepbluediver's "Base Magic Bonus" as a substitute for Caster Level.

Eldan
2012-10-14, 02:26 PM
And why can't we just call that "Caster level"? It's almost the same, after all.

As for stats: I'd say two per class.

Wizard: Intelligence/Wisdom or Intelligence/Charisma?

Sorcerer: Charisma/constitution.

Cleric: Wisdom/Charisma.

Paladin: charisma/constitution.

Ranger: wisdom/constitution.

Bard: Charisma/intelligence.

Things that depend on attribute:
Number of points. Point regeneration. Highest level spell. DCs. Four things, two stats. Which two do we group? Number of Points and Regeneration need to be separated. So, regeneration/DC and number of points/spell level?

Deepbluediver
2012-10-14, 05:07 PM
Well, discussion in the main thread seems to be almost back to square one. Questions we need answered:

Unlimited spells per day, slots or points?
Casting checks, yes or no?

I see that the discussion has gone on a little bit from this point, but I want to jump in with a few comments anway, before I get to the more recent stuff.

I don't know if you are going to include psionics in your new version of 3.5, but I would say that if some one really wants to use a point system then I would encourage them to just use a psionic character. I don't mind scrapping something traditional if it mechanically doesn't work, but I'm reluctant to let go of the established system just because you don't like the fluff (or can't think of any good fluff, because admitedly there is a a lot of "it just is" in core).
Overall though I wouldn't consider this a deal breaker.

What I really would object to is unlimited spells per day. To me, one of the biggest checks on a caster's power, and part of the reason I condede the versatility battle to them is that they can't do everything all the time. Yes, some things in the game have (theoretically) no limits, most of them are balanced in other ways. For example, it's rare in my experience that you can break a campaign with unlimted skill checks (ignoring Diplomacy as so obviously broken I wonder how it ever got past QC). Most skill checks are used once, or used until you suceed, and then the quest moves on. Also, short of epic uses (and again, not counting Diplomacy) most skills are weaker than spells available at the same level.
Skills let you jump over a pit trap, spells let you fly.
Skills keep you from drowning, spells let you breathe underwater.
Skills can stop some one from bleeding to death, spells fix their crushed ribs and get them back in the fight.
When it's really necessary for some reason, spells even let you boost skills. The inverse is rarely true.

The other often-quoted "unlimited" action is attack rolls. While there is no published limit on how long you can smack things with a sword, assuming your party is involved in appropriate encounters, eventually the melee-players start to run low on HP. If your "unlimited spells" version includes divine casters, you can heal up and keep going just about forever, which I think tends to break things in the other direction. Do you really want to turn every adventuring party into a 24/7 murder-machine that never needs to stop or rest? That's practically begging for a Tippyverse style scenario.
Mental fatigue is a very real thing, and I have no problem limiting just how long a player can manipulate magical energy.

If you don't like the "limited spell slots" or "per hour/day regeneration" style of casting, then at least make it a soft cap. Essentially, you can cast easily up to a certain level, and everything beyond that starts pushing up the check you need to pass and/or increases a chance for magical-backlash (ability damage or something).


And on what Deepbluediver wrote : please no extra feat tax on sorcerers. Let every class use their own abilities. For inherent magic, intelligence makes little sense.
There's no feat-tax on my sorcerer. Any caster is required to spend a feat if they want to use Charisma instead of Wisdom for casting checks, and no caster is penalized if they don't.

I don't have a problem with you disagreeing with me, but why do you consider Charisma a much better attribute to determine inherent casting than Intellect? On the SRD, Charisma is described as "a characterís force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness". None of that, to me, says "magical apptitude". In addition, Wizard's and Sorcerers are both arcane casters with similar abilities and limitations, so why would they function so differently?

For determining most things, each number corresponds to a different but specific attribute. Attack and Damage rolls are Strength, AC and some attack rolls are Dex, HP is Constitution, each Skill has a specific ability it's linked to, etc. Why does spellcasting rely on 3 different stats, each of which does effectively the same thing? It's like having a basket full of golden delicious, macintosh, and granny smith; at the end of the say they are all still just apples.
The approach I took was that all magic is significantly mental in nature, and so I picked the 2 most mental-related stats (Int & Wis) and made all casting reliant upon them to some degree. (exceptions are made on a class-by-class basis, but the core rules stay the same)


And why can't we just call that "Caster level"? It's almost the same, after all.
Semantics, mostly. I called it something different so that players will more easily realize it's a specific number in it's function like BAB, or a skill bonus, or a save bonus, or anything else that can be modified from a variety or sources and isn't (inherently) shackled to just your level. Also, it helps break the connection of the previous rules associated with Caster Level.
If you don't like it don't use it.


As for stats: I'd say two per class.
This seems like it's getting a little complicated, but if you feel it will work, here's my opinion:
Some of the stat-combinations you picked wouldn't have been my first choice, but I'd rather make progress than argue in circles so I stuck with them. If no one else disagrees with your selections, I'll consider myself outvoted.

Class|Number of Points|Regeneration|Highest Level Spell|DC

Wizard|Intellect|Wisdom|Intellect|Wisdom

Sorcerer|Charisma|Constitution|Constitution|Charis ma

Cleric|Charisma|Wisdom|Charisma|Wisdom

Paladin|Charisma|Constitution|Constitution|Charism a

Ranger|Constitution|Wisdom|Constitution|Wisdom


Bard: Charisma/intelligence
I left Bard off the table intentionally, because I'm not sure he should be a caster at all. I admit to not having a lot of experience with Bards, but their magic seems to be very much just Wizard-lite. I would rather scrap the Bard's spells per day, and re-engineer more bardic-music to have magical effects. Sort of like a Warlock's invocations.
Maybe that's more than you wanted for your fix, but if you're going to go all-out, that's what I would do.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-14, 05:49 PM
I don't know if you are going to include psionics in your new version of 3.5, but I would say that if some one really wants to use a point system then I would encourage them to just use a psionic character. I don't mind scrapping something traditional if it mechanically doesn't work, but I'm reluctant to let go of the established system just because you don't like the fluff (or can't think of any good fluff, because admitedly there is a a lot of "it just is" in core).
Overall though I wouldn't consider this a deal breaker.
Yeah, fair point. I really have no preference either way.


unlimited spells
I don't think anyone really wants those?


I left Bard off the table intentionally, because I'm not sure he should be a caster at all. I admit to not having a lot of experience with Bards, but their magic seems to be very much just Wizard-lite. I would rather scrap the Bard's spells per day, and re-engineer more bardic-music to have magical effects. Sort of like a Warlock's invocations.
Maybe that's more than you wanted for your fix, but if you're going to go all-out, that's what I would do.
Ooh, I like that. None of this silly spells and songs/day, just invocations.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-17, 07:10 PM
Right. So.


I think we're agreed that all classes will use spell points in some manner-- prepared casters will pre-spend the points to prepare their spells, and spontaneous casters will spend them on the fly.
Spell points will regenerate over time-- slow while awake, and faster while sleeping.
To cast a spell, you'll need to make a caster level check, with a DC of 10 + twice the spell level. There are no consequences to the failure except for the wasted action.
Spell save DCs may need to be edited slightly, to unify progressions (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=14028011&postcount=221). The simplest way is to have them be 10 + twice spell level, probably.
Casters should be dual-stat dependent. I'm thinking one stat for spell save DCs/highest level spell (skill) and one stat for total points/regeneration (power) might be the easiest to remember. The exact breakdown can be determined in the class write-ups.
Casting times... well, I vote for standard actions for everything, but no more than one spell per turn. Maybe two, if we allow swift/immediate action spells and quicken metamagic (which should reduce to a swift action, not a free).


Savvy?

Eldan
2012-10-17, 07:57 PM
Swift action spells should be rare, and quicken spell pricey. Then it can work.

Dsurion
2012-10-18, 05:47 AM
I left Bard off the table intentionally, because I'm not sure he should be a caster at all. I admit to not having a lot of experience with Bards, but their magic seems to be very much just Wizard-lite. I would rather scrap the Bard's spells per day, and re-engineer more bardic-music to have magical effects. Sort of like a Warlock's invocations.That's what I did in my personal Bard revision. Basically, I cherry picked a bunch of abilities from Prestige Classes that I thought would be cool for a Bard to be able to produce with music, made them all (Ex), added on a few token class features (Ex. Vivace: As long as you are performing, you and allies who can hear you gain +X ft. to all movement speeds they possess) and called it a day.

Eldan
2012-10-18, 05:58 AM
Should work. The people who eventually do the bard should also look into the various mythological sources for magical song. THere's tons.

Yitzi
2012-10-18, 08:49 AM
Swift action spells should be rare, and quicken spell pricey. Then it can work.

Better idea for quicken spell: Make it somewhat cheap (+1 or maybe +2), make it turn the spell into an immediate action, and the caster loses his standard action on the following round.

Now instead of a way to break action economy, it's a valuable (but difficult to use) tactical tool.

Eldan
2012-10-18, 08:51 AM
That sounds like a different feat, really.

Question: metamagic isn'tall that good in core, is it? I mean, how often are the high costs worth it without reducers?

Yitzi
2012-10-18, 10:07 AM
That sounds like a different feat, really.

Question: metamagic isn'tall that good in core, is it? I mean, how often are the high costs worth it without reducers?

Yeah, eliminating reducers makes it pretty balanced or even somewhat weak. (Well, except for maybe for some damage spells, since they go by caster level rather than spell level.) And yes, what I described would be a very different feat...it's a good approach if you want to make the action economy more difficult to break but still want some idea of a quickened spell, though.

Grod_The_Giant
2012-10-18, 04:06 PM
Might we copy the metapsionic mechanism, with focus and the like?