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View Full Version : Making other casters more Warlock-ish



Deepbluediver
2013-02-25, 02:03 PM
Intro
There's been a bunch of Warlock stuff floating around lately, and why not? The class was a pretty good mix of power and versatility, and fits in with the preferred playstyle of a large segment of the population.

IMO if I had to redesign 3.5 all over again, I'd replace the Sorcerer with the Warlock to help differentiate the differene between low use/high-versatility (embodied in the wizard) and it's polar opposite.

But in the meantime, it's got me thinking about how we can impart a little bit of warlock-flavor (and fun) to other classes, without going overboard.

Wizards and Sorcerers (and Wu-jen, and Archivists, and etc etc etc) are powerful, but that's because SPELLS are (too) powerful. Unless you are playing some of the game-breaking variants, you do need to somewhat ration your spell use. If a full-casting class runs out of spells (or high level spells) they can quickly become a liability.
And there are plenty of spells that fit into the "useful but boring" category.


So what I'm thinking about is some sort of Eldritch Blast or Invocation-like casting that allows other casters to have unlimited spell-like ability useage. Rather than just having damage, I kind of like the idea that the caster can pick whatever spell they want, within limits. I'm still working on the names, but for now I'll refer these abilities as "Incantations" for arcane casters, and "Graces" for divine magic users.


Rules
An Incantation or Grace can be any spell with a casting time of 1 standard action; it also cannot consume XP or components that cost more than 1 gp.
It has no limit on how often it can be cast, and does not require a focus or material components. Incantations and Graces are otherwise subject to normal spell limitations. They cannot be modified by metamagic.

As a player levels up, the maximum level of the unlimited-use abilities fall behind somewhat, but by that point they will have more uses of their limited-spells to compensate. I think it balances out.

Prepared Casters

Including: Wizards, Wu-Jen, Archivists, Clerics, Shadowcasters
{table=head]Level|Max Level Use|Incantations or Graces Known

1st|0th|1

2nd|0th|1

3rd|0th|1

4th|1st|1*

5th|1st|1

6th|1st|1

7th|1st|2

8th|2nd|2*

9th|2nd|2

10th|2nd|2

11th|2nd|2

12th|3rd|2

13th|3rd|3*

14th|3rd|3

15th|3rd|3

16th|4th|3*

17th|4th|3

18th|4th|3

19th|4th|3

20th|5th|3*[/table]
*Each time the maximum level of Incantation or Grace you can use increases, you can replace one existing Incantation or Grace known with another.
**If the Wizard is a specialist, at least one Incantation known must be from his chosen school.
***Graces must be chosen from the Clerics domains.

Spontaneous Casters

Including: Sorcerers, Shugenja, Favored Souls, Dread Necromancers, Warmages, Healers, & Spirit Shamans
{table=head]Level|Max Level Use|Incantations or Graces Known

1st|0th|1

2nd|0th|1

3rd|1st|1*

4th|1st|1

5th|1st|1

6th|2nd|1*

7th|2nd|1

8th|2nd|1

9th|3rd|1*

10th|3rd|1

11th|3rd|2

12th|4th|2*

13th|4th|2

14th|4th|2

15th|5th|2*

16th|5th|2

17th|5th|2

18th|5th|2

19th|6th|2*

20th|6th|2[/table]
*[SIZE="1"]Each time the maximum level of Incantation or Grace you can use increases, you can replace one existing Incantation or Grace known with another.

Partial Casters

Including: Bards, Duskblades
{table=head]Level|Max Level Use|Incantations Known

1st|0th|1

2nd|0th|1

3rd|0th|1

4th|0th|1

5th|1st|2*

6th|1st|2

7th|1st|2

8th|1st|2

9th|1st|3

10th|2nd|3*

11th|2nd|3

12th|2nd|3

13th|2nd|4

14th|2nd|4

15th|3rd|4*

16th|3rd|4

17th|3rd|5

18th|3rd|5

19th|3rd|5

20th|4th|5*[/table]
*[SIZE="1"]Each time the maximum level of Incantation of Grace you can use increases, you can replace one existing Incantation or Grace known with another.


Melee-Heavy Casters

Including: Rangers, Paladins, Hexblades
{table=head]Level|Max Level Use|Incantations Known

1st||

2nd||

3rd||

4th||

5th||

6th|1st|1

7th|1st|1

8th|1st|1

9th|1st|1

10th|1st|2

11th|2nd|2*

12th|2nd|2

13th|2nd|2

14th|2nd|3

15th|2nd|3

16th|3rd|3*

17th|3rd|3

18th|3rd|4

19th|3rd|4

20th|3rd|4[/table]
*[SIZE="1"]Each time the maximum level of Incantation of Grace you can use increases, you can replace one existing Incantation or Grace known with another.


I think that's most of the casting classes in books that I've got access too; let me know if there is anything I missed, or if you have other suggestions.

Deepbluediver
2013-02-26, 09:46 AM
Added in a few more classes, including a table for Paladins, Rangers, and the like, because hey, why not? Some or all of it is optional for any game.

Zman
2013-02-26, 02:31 PM
Won't this system make Casters even more powerful and worsen game balance further?

Zale
2013-02-26, 03:12 PM
At will Polymorph for the win!

Deepbluediver
2013-02-26, 03:47 PM
Won't this system make Casters even more powerful and worsen game balance further?


At will Polymorph for the win!

Anything that improves primary casters in any way will further upset game-balance, I admit that, but in this case inter-tier balance wasn't really my goal.

I'm certain this would need some adjusting before actually implementing it for the game; think of it as a rough draft. I could just give all casters Eldritch Blast (damage), but I was trying to come up with a way that would make it more interesting. And handing out free untyped damage to everyone would put the final nail in Evocation's coffin.

Part of what makes Warlocks so popular (I think) is that you don't need to sit there with a pen and paper keeping track of what you have an haven't cast, and how many spells you are allowed to "spend" on a fight while keeping enough in reserve for the next one.

As I said, it was an idea I had; I figured I'd post it and see what people had in the way of feedback. Maybe it would be more balanced if I limited it to certain spells or types of spells.

Theoboldi
2013-02-26, 04:25 PM
Anything that improves primary casters in any way will further upset game-balance, I admit that, but in this case inter-tier balance wasn't really my goal.

I'm certain this would need some adjusting before actually implementing it for the game; think of it as a rough draft. I could just give all casters Eldritch Blast (damage), but I was trying to come up with a way that would make it more interesting. And handing out free untyped damage to everyone would put the final nail in Evocation's coffin.


Meh, not really. Eldritch blast scales really badly, with only 9d6 at level 20 if you haven't taken levels in hellfire warlock. An evocation spell will give you up to 20d6 , most likely against several targets at once and perhaps even dishing out a condition on a failed save. I don't think any of them are untyped, but they still beat eldritch blast by miles. Especially given that non-warlocks wouldn't be able to enhance their blasts with essences and blast shapes.

Grod_The_Giant
2013-02-26, 04:58 PM
Interesting idea, but are your numbers of invocations known off? The warlock already doesn't have quite enough, and these guys have even fewer... and it's weird that partial casters get more known than anyone else.

Deepbluediver
2013-02-27, 09:43 AM
Meh, not really. Eldritch blast scales really badly, with only 9d6 at level 20 if you haven't taken levels in hellfire warlock. An evocation spell will give you up to 20d6 , most likely against several targets at once and perhaps even dishing out a condition on a failed save. I don't think any of them are untyped, but they still beat eldritch blast by miles. Especially given that non-warlocks wouldn't be able to enhance their blasts with essences and blast shapes.

Ok, I'll concede that point and keep it in mind going forward.

I was trying to make this slightly more interesting and varied, but what do think, then, about just giving most casters an ability similar to Eldritch-blast (by any name)? That way, even if they run out of all other spells, they can still stand in the back and snipe.


Interesting idea, but are your numbers of invocations known off? The warlock already doesn't have quite enough, and these guys have even fewer... and it's weird that partial casters get more known than anyone else.

No, that was intentional. The idea is wizards, clerics, and all the rest still have all their normal spells known and spells per day, and the Incatations where not supposed to be new additional spells, but just something that they can use more often. The idea wasn't to make other casters exactly like warlocks, but to give them SOME effectively unlimited resource, even if it wasn't a full-on 9th level spell.
All the numbers are adjustable.

And giving partial casters more known incantations or graces was really just a bit of balancing, since they tend to get fewer and less powerful spells anyway.



I may be misunderstanding what you are asking, though. If I wanted to make all casters (or at least primary casters) exactly like a warlock in that they can use any of their spells an unlimited number of times (with some other sort of cap on when and what they can cast) then yes, the numbers known or useable per day would have to change.

Grod_The_Giant
2013-02-27, 10:05 AM
No, that was intentional. The idea is wizards, clerics, and all the rest still have all their normal spells known and spells per day, and the Incatations where not supposed to be new additional spells, but just something that they can use more often. The idea wasn't to make other casters exactly like warlocks, but to give them SOME effectively unlimited resource, even if it wasn't a full-on 9th level spell.
All the numbers are adjustable.

Ah, ok, that makes more sense. The numbers are still a little low, but it makes more sense.

Theoboldi
2013-02-27, 10:17 AM
Ok, I'll concede that point and keep it in mind going forward.

I was trying to make this slightly more interesting and varied, but what do think, then, about just giving most casters an ability similar too Eldritch-blast (by any name)? That way, even if they run out of all other spells, they can still stand in the back and snipe.


That already exists. It's called a crossbow. :smalltongue:
Honestly, I don't think it's going to make much of a difference. However, if you want to diversify individual casters a bit more, you could make them choose an energy type as soon as they get this blast, with which they'll have to stick. Perhaps you could even give various bonuses to these blasts based on the energy-type choosen, like psionics does it. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/energyRay.htm)