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View Full Version : [D&D 3.5] Spellcasting with Mana - First Post Updated, still WIP though.



CinuzIta
2013-08-31, 05:24 AM
Hello!

I'd like to have your opinions on a spellcasting system based upon replenishing magic (or mana) points I've created.


Mana Pool

Every spellcasting class has a certain number of Magic Points (mp) that fill their Mana Pool (MaP). This number is equal to:

(Spellcaster level x Spellcasting Ability Modifier) + Spellcasting Ability Modifier

Along with this, a spellcaster also gains bonus mp for an high ability modifier, following the same progression of psionic bonus power points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/classes/#tableAbilityModifiersandBonusPowerPoints).

Example: Vishkan, a 20th level wizard with 22 in Int, has 186mp [120 (from his spellcaster's level) +6 (from his Int modifier) + 60 (from bonus mp due to his high Int modifier)].

The Spellcasting Abilities are Intelligence for Arcane spellcasters, Wisdom for Divine spellcasters and Charisma for Natural spellcasters.

Focus

The Focus represent the ability of a caster to maintain certain spells while performing other actions. Every spellcaster gains a certain amount of Focus Points during his career equal to his Base Focus Progression (listed on the Class Progression) + 1/2 his spellcaster level + Spellcasting Ability Modifier.

A spellcaster can use the Focus Points from his Focus Pool to maintain active more than one spell at a time, but the costs of the active spells can never exceed the total points of the Focus Pool (See below).


Casting Spells

To cast a spell, a spellcaster must pay a certain amount of Magic Points from his Mana Pool. The spells' costs by level are:

{table=head] Spell's Level | Spell's Cost
1st | 1 |
2nd | 4 |
3rd | 9 |
4th | 16 |
5th | 25 |
6th | 36 |
7th | 49 |
8th | 64 |
9th | 81 |[/table]

The magic points continually recover with a fixed ratio of 1mp/round.
A spellcaster can also use a standard action in order to recover an amount of mp equal to his Spellcasting Ability Modifier.

All the spells follow the same rules as per the normal spellcasting system, with this exception:

Maintaining Spells: some spells require the caster to continually focus his mind on them, in order to keep their effects active over time. In order to maintain spells that has a duration longer than "Instantaneous", a spellcaster must invest a certain amount points from his Focus Pool equal to:

Spell Level +1 for each person after the first one that are affected by the spell.

These points are invested for all of the Spell's duration and are regained one turn after the spell has expired. Once the spellcaster recover his Focus Points, he can invest them again.

The sum of the spells' levels cannot exceed the total of Focus Points; if a caster cast a spell without enough Focus Points to maintain it, the spell simply fails but the Magic Points are considered to be spent.

The caster can dismiss an active spell with a swift action.

Rituals: there are some spells that require much more effort from the spellcaster in order to be casted. All of those spells that require a casting time longer than a full-round action must be casted using a ritual. A ritual takes 10 minutes/Spell Level to be completed and requires the complete attention of the Spellcaster in order to be casted. A spellcaster attempting to perform a ritual cannot do anything else during the time the ritual takes to be completed and he also need to have his Focus Pool free (meaning he cannot maintain any spell while performing a ritual, as he needs to concentrate only on the current spell). A spellcaster also need to make a successfull Spellcraft check at the end of the required time in order to successfully cast the spell [Dc 20 + (2xSpell Level)].

Metamagic

Metamagic feats can be applied: the caster have to pay an extra amount of mp equal to:

[(Spell's level to be added to the spell on wich the metamagic feat is being applied) +1] Squared.

More than one metamagic feat can be applied to a single spell.

So, for example, a maximized 3rd level spell would raise its cost by other 16 points (in the normal system maximizing a spell occupies the slot of spell three levels higher), to a total of 25. If we also wanted to apply Empower Spell (9 more mp), Silent Spell (4 more mp) and Still Spell (4 more mp) along with Maximize Spell, we would have payed 42 mp.


Spellcasting classes on the way...

Classes

All the pure spellcasters classes share the progression table below as a basic line. Every spellcasting class has different Skills, Focus Pool, Special Abilities and Spell Known based on their magic type (arcane, divine or natural).

HD: d4
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Maximum Spell Level Known

1st|
+0|
+0|
+0|
+2|
1st|

2nd|
+1|
+0|
+0|
+3|
1st|

3rd|
+1|
+1|
+1|
+3|
2nd|

4th|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+4|
2nd|

5th|
+2|
+2|
+2|
+4|
3rd|

6th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5|
3rd|

7th|
+3|
+2|
+2|
+5|
4th|

8th|
+4|
+3|
+3|
+6|
4th|

9th|
+4|
+3|
+3|
+6|
5th|

10th|
+5|
+3|
+3|
+7|
5th|

11th|
+5|
+4|
+4|
+7|
6th|

12th|
+6/+1|
+4|
+4|
+8|
6th|

13th|
+6/+1|
+4|
+4|
+8|
7th|

14th|
+7/+2|
+5|
+5|
+9|
7th|

15th|
+7/+2|
+5|
+5|
+9|
8th|

16th|
+8/+3|
+5|
+5|
+10|
8th|

17th|
+8/+3|
+6|
+6|
+10|
9th|

18th|
+9/+4|
+6|
+6|
+11|
9th|

19th|
+9/+4|
+6|
+6|
+11|
9th|

20th|
+10/+5|
+7|
+7|
+12|
9th|[/table]
Skill Points: 4+Int (x4 at first level). Skills: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).


Arcane Caster

{table=head]Level|Base Focus Progression|Special|Spells Known

1st|
+2|
Bonus Feat, Familiar|
2|

2nd|
+3|
Still Mind|
3|

3rd|
+3|Arcane Resistance|
5|

4th|
+4||
6|

5th|
+4|
Bonus Feat|
8|

6th|
+5|
Will Mettle|
9|

7th|
+5||
11|

8th|
+6||
12|

9th|
+6||
14|

10th|
+7|
Bonus Feat|
15|

11th|
+7||
17|

12th|
+8||
18|

13th|
+8||
20|

14th|
+9||
21|

15th|
+9|
Bonus Feat|
23|

16th|
+10||
24|

17th|
+10||
26|

18th|
+11||
27|

19th|
+11||
28|

20th|
+12|
Bonus Feat|
29|[/table]
Additional Skills: Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int).

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Arcane Spellcasters are proficient with all simple weapons but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with an arcane spellcasterís movements, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.

Bonus Feat: At 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, an arcane caster gains a bonus feat. At each such opportunity, she can choose a metamagic feat, an item creation feat, or Spell Mastery. The arcane caster must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums.

These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. The arcane caster is not limited to the categories of item creation feats, metamagic feats, or Spell Mastery when choosing these feats.

Familiar: An arcane caster can obtain a familiar (see below). Doing so takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp. A familiar is a magical beast that resembles a small animal and is unusually tough and intelligent. The creature serves as a companion and servant.

The arcane caster chooses the kind of familiar he gets. As the arcane caster advances in level, his familiar also increases in power.

If the familiar dies or is dismissed by the arcane caster, the arcane caster must attempt a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw. Failure means he loses 200 experience points per arcane caster level; success reduces the loss to one-half that amount. However, an arcane casterís experience point total can never go below 0 as the result of a familiarís demise or dismissal. A slain or dismissed familiar cannot be replaced for a year and day. A slain familiar can be raised from the dead just as a character can be, and it does not lose a level or a Consitution point when this happy event occurs.

A character with more than one class that grants a familiar may have only one familiar at a time.

Still Mind (Ex): An arcane caster of 2nd level or higher gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and effects from the school of enchantment.

Arcane Resistance (Su): At 3rd level, an arcane caster gains a bonus equal to his Intelligence bonus (minimum +1) on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects.

Will Mettle (Ex): At 6th level and higher, an arcane caster can resist magical and unusual attacks with great willpower. If he makes a successful Will save against an attack that normally would have a lesser effect on a successful save (such as any spell with a saving throw entry of Will half), he instead completely negates the effect. An unconscious or sleeping arcane caster does not gain the benefit of will mettle.



Divine Caster
coming soon

Natural Caster
coming soon

I'd like to hear your thoughts about this idea, so what do you think about it?:)

Fako
2013-08-31, 05:47 AM
Sadly, your "fix" actually accomplishes the opposite of what you are hoping to achieve: it boosts the caster's power dramatically. You've set this up with two incorrect assumptions made: Spell power progresses in a linear manner (ex: A level 9 spell is as powerful as three level 3 spells) Combat is the only place where counting spell slots matters.

For the first, one very simple example: Dispel Magic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/dispelMagic.htm) is level 3, Mage's Disjunction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/magesDisjunction.htm) is level 9.

As spells increase in level, their power increases dramatically. I personally haven't ever crunched the numbers, but it's leaps and bounds faster than what non-casters get.

And for the second point, giving even one mana per round comes out to enough power to cast a Wish (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/wish.htm) spell once every minute. While you may think it's not a big deal, as this is out of combat, consider also that they have access to spells like Dominate Monster (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/dominateMonster.htm), Gate (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/gate.htm) and Time Stop (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/timeStop.htm). Quite often, a wizard only needs one spell to turn combat from a hazard into a joke, which this fix does nothing to change. However, they will no longer have to worry about running out, because their power will simply regenerate over a few rounds. And if they get overzealous and get in over their heads, spells like Contingency (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/contingency.htm) allow for an easy escape.

CinuzIta
2013-08-31, 09:39 AM
1. If you're referring to the fact that level 3 spells cost 3mp while level 9 spells cost 9mp is not dued to the fact that I consider 9th level spells to be 3 times more powerful than 3rd level spells, but is dued to the fact that, having a spellcaster a somewhat limited magic pool (like 31, as the example above) giving 9th level spells a cost of 17mp (like 9th level psionic powers) would have emptied their pool too fastly, allowing a 20th level spellcaster to only cast one 9th level spell before having to rest by the end of his career..so I opted for level=cost.

But, lets assume I'd adopt the psionic power's cost, would it be better by any chance? Following the above example, a spellcaster with 31mp who casts a 9th level spell (17mp) would remain with 14mp, having to wait 3 more turns without casting any kind of spell in order to cast another 9th level spell (after wich he'd have his pool completely empty)..I can see something like that, but the point is: would it be balanced/fair? Psionic costs would render casting a lot harder for a spellcaster using this method.

This anyway would only matter in combat.

2. Casting a Wish per minute would be a problem of course, but you're forgetting one thing: while wish/minute is a problem of this system, spells like dominate monsters or time stop are, as far as I've seen, mainly used in combat, so their use would be limited by their cost, but I see your point as this were just some example.

As you said, a wizard can turn a combat in a joke but this has more to do with d&d spells' power rather than with the system, since a wizard can cast any spell he wants even with the normal casting system. And while a spellcaster, as you said, can just runaway and wait for his mp to regenerate this also means that he has to get to a safe place without magical means for a number of rounds that goes from 3 (to just cast another fireball) to 9..and he'd have his spell pool empty again after that, meaning he'll has to start running again. And don't forget that a lot of monsters move faster then 30 feet, so they can catch him pretty easily if they want to.

All in all anyway I agree with you on some points, so I thought about these:

- Officially introduce bonus mp.
- Change spell costs to match, more or less, those of psionic powers.
- Every spell affecting the character will cease if Spell Pool hit 0 (something like "I have no more power to fuel fly/bull's strenght/whatever"). So a character must pay more attention on how he uses spells and on his remaining mp.

The only thing remaining is the regeneration system: 1mp/round seems to be over powered as you pointed out, so what about 5mp/1 hour meditation? That'll mean that a spellcaster has to wait a lot of time in order to recover his lost power, wich is not always possible.

But if this is to be adopted I'd change the pool to 10+Spellcaster level+Ability modifier, in order to have less need of resting during the day..also, this way paying for spells in combat would be easier, since he'd have more mp. On the other hand, this would practically eliminate mp regeneration in combat.

What if mp regen is related to a skill like, don't know, concentration or auto-hypnosis? Something like a standard/full-round action during wich you roll a skill check to quicken the recovery of mp. If you succeed, you recover an estabilished amount of mp.

Would these changes make it better?

Edit: to be clearer, with concentration check I mean something like this: the character roll for a concentration check with a standard/full-round action; he recovers mp as follows:

1-10 -> 1mp
11-20 -> 2mp
21 - 30 -> 3mp
And so on..

On a natural 20, the character can roll again and sum the results, even more than once if more than a natural 20 occurs.

This could also replace the normal mp's regeneration and become the only way to recover mp (apart from resting for the night).

Eldan
2013-08-31, 02:14 PM
Well, you asked, so I'll try to help. I dont' like point or fatigue systems much, but I can at least look at it.

First of all: certain spells become incredibly problematic when cast out of combat on a recharge system. The best solution I come up with would be at least listing them. Any spell that creates anything permanently, many divinations, some transmutations. Perhaps you could limit them in some other way (rituals, hint, hint!).

Second, I would heavily suggest at increasing costs for high-level powers. If you are worried about not having enough points available, also increase points at the upper levels. As a guide to that, I recommend the psion, which is seen by many as more balanced than the wizard. Though not quite that many points, since you also have recharge.

Laughingmanlol
2013-09-01, 04:55 AM
I agree with Eldan's points about noncombat spells being odd under this. In a RPG, the spellcasters usually don't have noncombat ablilites, and so when they are required either they know the spell or they require a ritual or special component to perform it.
To deal with the spell points cost and reserves issue, I suggest each spell has a cost of (level +1) squared - cantrips cost 1, 1st levels cost 4, up to 9th levels costing 100. Casters have a maximum mana equal to their level * 10, plus their relevant ability score modifier, and recover it at a rate of 1 point a turn, or they can take a standard action to recover extra points equal to their relevant ability modifier.
With this, at level 1, a wizard will have a mana pool of about 12-14, and would be able to cast a level 1 spell every other turn if they recover in between castings.
At level 20, the same wizard would have a mana pool of about 210 or so, meaning they could cast level 9 spells two turns in a row, at the cost of almost fully depleting their mana. It would take about 9-10 turns of rest to be capable of casting another level 9 spell after such a display.
How does this seem?

Eldan
2013-09-01, 06:34 AM
Pretty solid, actually. There's few problems thta can't be solved with two level 9 spells, though. Perhaps a bit lower, so that after a level 9, you either have to rest or cast level 8s or lower?

CinuzIta
2013-09-01, 08:15 AM
I agree with Eldan's points about noncombat spells being odd under this. In a RPG, the spellcasters usually don't have noncombat ablilites, and so when they are required either they know the spell or they require a ritual or special component to perform it.
To deal with the spell points cost and reserves issue, I suggest each spell has a cost of (level +1) squared - cantrips cost 1, 1st levels cost 4, up to 9th levels costing 100. Casters have a maximum mana equal to their level * 10, plus their relevant ability score modifier, and recover it at a rate of 1 point a turn, or they can take a standard action to recover extra points equal to their relevant ability modifier.
With this, at level 1, a wizard will have a mana pool of about 12-14, and would be able to cast a level 1 spell every other turn if they recover in between castings.
At level 20, the same wizard would have a mana pool of about 210 or so, meaning they could cast level 9 spells two turns in a row, at the cost of almost fully depleting their mana. It would take about 9-10 turns of rest to be capable of casting another level 9 spell after such a display.
How does this seem?

I like your idea, let me play around a little bit with it: what about this for the mana pool?

(Spellcaster level x Ability Modifier) + Spellcasting Ability Modifier

Along with this, a spellcaster could also have bonus mp for an high ability modifier like that of the psionic bonus power points. So a 20th level wizard with 22 in Int would have 186mp.

And Spells costing Spell's Level squared (with cantrips costing 0, thus being castable whenever a caster wants to, like in PF)?

{table=head] Spell's Level | Spell's Cost
1st | 1 |
2nd | 4 |
3rd | 9 |
4th | 16 |
5th | 25 |
6th | 36 |
7th | 49 |
8th | 64 |
9th | 81 |[/table]


With recharging time equal to 1mp/round plus the ability to recover mp with a standard action the same wizard I've taken as an example could cast two 9th level spells in two turns, remaining with 24 mp and thus being able to cast just low level spells or having to wait 6 turns (using standard actions to recover mp) in order to being able to cast another 9th level spell.

Or maybe my Mana pool and your spells cost could also work good! 186mp -100 for a 9th level spell would leave a character with 86 points, that are not sufficient to cast a 9th level spell but are enough to cast an 8th level or lower...before having to rest


Well, you asked, so I'll try to help. I dont' like point or fatigue systems much, but I can at least look at it.

(1.) First of all: certain spells become incredibly problematic when cast out of combat on a recharge system. The best solution I come up with would be at least listing them. Any spell that creates anything permanently, many divinations, some transmutations. Perhaps you could limit them in some other way (rituals, hint, hint!).

(2.) Second, I would heavily suggest at increasing costs for high-level powers. If you are worried about not having enough points available, also increase points at the upper levels. As a guide to that, I recommend the psion, which is seen by many as more balanced than the wizard. Though not quite that many points, since you also have recharge.

Many thanks for posting so quickly :)

(1.) I'm not familiar with rituals, how does they work? Basically having spellcasting time be so long that it would be impracticable to spam them during the day and utterly impossible to cast in combat? I like the idea!

(2.) Look up :)

Eldan
2013-09-01, 08:23 AM
Rituals are my own mechanic, based remotely on the incantations in the SRD. The basic idea is that, yes, utility magic of some kinds takes a lot of time and different kinds of resources from battle magic.

Kamai
2013-09-01, 10:37 AM
Even with just combat spells, this could get really ugly. What I would do is throw every 10min/level + duration buff on myself that I know, and maybe my pet fighter too. I'd have all of the mana back by the time I did something meaningful,

CinuzIta
2013-09-01, 11:01 AM
@Eldan: Okay then, I'll give a more in depth look at your work! I thougt you were speaking of binding magic and those kind of things! If I do remember correctly, even those consist in some kind of rituals:)

@Kamai: aye, of course you would, this is the reason I'm trying to get to a better working of this system:p

Eldan
2013-09-01, 12:03 PM
If you want to sum up Rituals in one sentence it's really just "It takes 10 minutes per spell level and you have to pass a skill check of fail hilariously (to the DM)."

CinuzIta
2013-09-01, 12:15 PM
thank you eldan, very simple and effective! What do you think of the new numbers for mana pool and spell costs?

CinuzIta
2013-09-02, 12:36 PM
First post updated with new rules!