PDA

View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Elemental Gems [Magic Item] (WIP) (PEACH)



Abzalon
2014-05-06, 05:04 PM
Hi playground I come to you in a time of need :p

So I was doing some homebrew lately for a world I'm working on loosely based on the Aarklash world from the wargame Confrontation or Rag'narok and in this world wizards and the likes use elemental gems to power their spells. As I'm not going to rewrite the magic system completely, I was thinking of having these magic items that let you power up your spells the more charge you burn.

Where I need you is about the effect and the price. In this setting these Gems can't be created only mined on the elemental planes (which are kinda hard to get to).

So here's the first draft :


Elemental Gem :

Price: Base Price 6000 gp (small), 22000 (Medium), 54000 (Large)

Description: The Elemental Gems are critstallysation of the very fabric of the elemental plane. Each can be found in it's natural state in the right element. Air one are often found carried by the endless winds of the elemental plane of Air, or inside an Arrowhawk's gullet, the Earth are found in geods or inside some elder earth elementals. Fire ones are often found resting at the top of a lava pool or inside the nest of elder salamanders, Water gems can be found in some chunks of Ice floating around the plane, or on the shell of an adult tojanida or older. Finally the light gems can be found at the frontier between the positive energy plane and the fire plane (or in the Radiance Plane if you use the extended planscape setting) or embeded in the skull of a Couatl. And the Darkness ones are often found near the elemental plane of Negative Energy, or fueling the powers of a powerfull nightshades.
They appear as a polished rock, always leaking some of its element, and being of a color adapted to the element as well. The water gem could be a round saphire, always wet to the touch, the small fire gem would look like a small ruby, that, if left unatended could ignite a small fire on parchment and always hot when touched, the earth is a plain stone, twice as heavy as the over stones of this size, the air one a translucid stone, fresh to the touch and cloacked with a reaaaalllly small breeze. The light gem is a quartz wich radiate an inner light. And the darkness one could be onyx, without any reflect on it.

Activation : Free Action, As part of the casting of a spell, you can tap on the power of an Elemental Gem to empower your spell. The spell must have a descriptor in common with the gem used during it's casting for the gem to be useful (see the list below). For exempe a Scorching Ray powered by an Earth Gem would have no further effect.

Special: You need to hold the Gem in your hand while you cast the spell to draw power from it. Only one gem can be used to fuel a particuliar spell. Trying to use more than one gem on a spell result generaly by the spell exploding to the caster's face, overcharged with elemental energies. In this situation the spell is expended and the caster suffer 2 point of damage per spell level, of an energy adapted to the gem used (even positive or negative energy for light and dark gems, harm the caster, even if he should be healed by one of these energies).

Effect : Each Elemental Gem has 3 charges, and can be used on spells of a specific level, Small gems can be used to empower spells up to the 3rd level, Medium up to 6th and finally Large, Up to 9th. When a spellcaster cast a spell with a level compatible with the gem used, he can choose to use one or more of the charges to empower his spell. When he uses a charge, the spellcaster can choose between 2 effects, first he can raise the caster level of the spell by one for all the numerical variables, and the spell can go over the natural cap it could have (for example, a fireball cast by a 10th level sorcerer using 3 charges of a Small Gem would inflict 13d6 fire damages). Or he could raise the DC by one to resist the spell casted. Finally whatever choice he makes, for each charge used, the caster gain a bonus on the check to bypass the Magic Resistance equal to the number of Charges he used for this spell.
Special: The effects of a Gem are applied to a spell after the effects of the Empower Spell feat, if it's used during the casting of the spell.

Recharge Mechanic: When a Charge is used, it can be regained by letting the Gem in contact with its element for 24 hour. If multiple charges are used, the duration is cumulative (so 48 hours for 2 charges and 72 hours for 3 charges). You can for exemple put your Water gem in your water pouch during 24 hours to regain 1 charge, you let your Air gem in the open so it's in contact with ... the air. The most complicated ones are the fire and the light gems, basically the first one you can put it in contact with an ember or a small fire, but you'll need to keep it hot for 24 hours. And the light one.... I'm still wondering if I should tie it with the sunlight or if any kind of light suffice. After the use of 300 Charges or one year of being separated from it's elemental plane, the gem loses it's power.

Now the spells affected by each gem are :

Earth = [Earth] and [Acid]
Fire = [Fire] (who would have guessed?:p)
Water = [Water] and [Cold]
Air = [Air] and [Electricity]
Light = [Good], [Healing] and [Light]
Darkness = [Darknesse], [Evil], [Death]

The gems are permanent objects not consumable ones, and it cannot be created, only purchased from natives of the elemental planes. They mine it on their planes and then sell it to some material mages specialised in comercing with them.

There is Medium and Large Gems as well, for the 4-6th and 7-9th range as well, i'm just wondering what the could be doing for the lower levels ?

I had an idea about the medium one giving 2 caster level per charge for the spells of 0-3rd level, and Large could give 3 caster level for the spells 0-3rd and 2 caster level for the spells 4-6.

Now, What are your thought about it ? Is it to much ?

Thanks in advance for your replies, sorry if I did some wrong to the english language as it's not my native one :)

And read you soon:)

Debihuman
2014-05-07, 06:08 AM
If you already have the empower spell feat, this is almost redundant.



When he uses a charge, the spellcaster can choose between 2 effects, first he can raise the caster level of the spell by one for all the numerical variables, and the spell can go over the natural cap it could have (for example, a fireball cast by a 10th level sorcerer using 3 charges of a Small Gem would inflict 13d6 fire damages). Or he could raise the DC by one to resist the spell casted. Finally when he uses a charge from an Elemental Gem, the caster gain a bonus on the check to bypass the Magic Resistance equal to the number of Charges he used for this spell.

Actually the spellcaster has more than 2 choices: the spellcaster can 1. increase the natural capacity of a spell by one for each each charge for a maximum of 3 charges, 2. raise the DC by one to resist the spell cast for each charge for a maximum of 3 charges, 3. gain a bonus on the check to bypass the magic resistance equal to the number of charges used for a maximum of 3 charges.

Since these items are rechargeable at no cost to the caster, they should be very expensive. These can be game breaking very easily. Why wouldn't ALL spellcasters have these at all times? In fact, why wouldn't spellcasters have spares to back up lots of spells? 15,000 gp is probably a good starting point for cost since these are reusable.

Since it is a free action to use a gem on a spell, there is really nothing from stopping a spellcaster from using more than one gem at a time. I'd nix that immediately. It should a swift action to avoid that kind of abuse.

I like that the gems can be recharged and that it takes 24 hours per charge to recharge a gem. However, adding that much punch to a spell makes me leery. Even if the initial gem cost is high, it's a renewable resource so it has a lot of value over time in comparison to the initial cost. A caster who makes good use of a gem gets a benefit that far outweighs the initial cost. For this reason, I think these gems should have a finite time limit or be able to be used a maximum number of times before burning out. [See my example below for a better description of these].

Since these gems can only be mined on elemental planes, their availability is an issue. How scarce are these? Who is mining these and who is selling these can also be an issue.

Where are the light and darkness gems being mined? In standard D&D cosmology, the Negative Energy Plane and Positive Energy Plane are mostly devoid of life so those don't make for good sources.

Note too that clerical spellcasters can have domains that correspond to the elements, making these spellcasters even more powerful as they already cast spells with the appropriate descriptors.

It's not clear exactly what level of spells the gems can hold and why size of the gem is an issue. What constitutes a large gem? Are you going by carat size like a diamond? What do elemental gems look like? Are they cut stones or polished ones?

Here is a general description (feel free to change it any way you like): Elemental gems are exquisite crystalline stones from the various elemental planes that have the magical ability to affect spells that are cast through them. A typical gem is the size of a standard coin. The least expensive gems can affect spells up to 3rd level, with more expensive gems able to affect spells up to 6th level, and the most expensive stones able to affect up to 9th level spells. Each gem can hold a maximum of 3 charges at at time regardless of the level of spells it can affect. All elemental gems have a magic aura that can easily be detected with a [I]detect magic spell. Each gem lasts for one year or 300 charges, whichever comes first before the gem loses its magical properties. The least expensive gem costs 15,000 gp, the lesser gems cost 30,000 gp and the most expensive gems cost 60,000 gp if purchased on the corresponding elemental plane. Costs can double or even triple on other planes due to the gem's scarcity (DM's discretion).

Debby

Abzalon
2014-05-07, 08:20 AM
Hi thanks for the complete reply.

In what way is having the empower spell redundant with these? they don't have the same effect and stack, I just used the word empower by lack of vocabulary :p

So, First thing, the bonus to the check to bypass the RM was whatever choice you made.

Now I thought I made a restiction on the number of Gems you could use for one spell (namely one). i'll correct it right away.

I was trying to avoir the swift action activation. but i see your point, I could even put it on a move action like the Snowcasting feat (When you add a handfull of snow or quartz to the components of your spell with a move action).

For the thing about the planes, this setting uses it's own cosmology with 6 distinct energy planes with the 4 basic ones and light and darkness leading basically to the differents planes homes of Angels/ Guardinal and Eladrin and to the ones of Demons, Yuggoloth and Devils.

They appear pretty much as an alternative material plane where everything is made of a particular element (so the plane of water is effectively made of water with chunks of ice/coral or even earth flotting around) and the gems are mined by the locals and purchased by certains wizards who knows their ways to it. Planar travel is kinda hard to come by until high level, so I guess the gems should be pretty rare.


I understand the Use limitation, but in this case I find the price way to high for an item you can burn, plus 300 charges... it's kind of a downer to keep track of it :p. And the recharge mechanic seems less usefull. That's pretty much why I wanted it to be a long recharge mechanic, having a spell really powerfull once evry 3 days seemed alright to me. The real power behind these Gems to me is the Dc boost, as it's quite hard to boost it without going the optimized route.
I could either kep it at 2000 gp, put a lot of these on the market and putting a 1 month limit, or going the 10000-15000 gp for the first but let it as a "permanent" item that would need to be recharged. That could even do 2 different magic items.

For the actual look of the object, I was thinking of a polished rock, always leaking some of its element, and being of a color adapted to the element as well. The water gem could be a round saphire, always wet to the touch, the small fire gem would look like a small ruby, that, if left unatended could ignite a small fire on parchment and always hot when touched, the earth is a plain stone, twice as heavy as the over stones of this size, the air one a translucid stone, fresh to the touch and cloacked with a reaaaalllly small breeze. The light gem is a quartz wich radiate an inner light. And the darkness one could be onyx, without any reflect on it.

The small gems the size of a coin, the medium one could be the size of the palm of the hand, and the Large one size of the hand.
I should as well precise that you need to hold it to activate it. (meaning casting a spell with a gem uses both of your hands). so no metamagic rods with a gem.

Debihuman
2014-05-07, 04:48 PM
Hi thanks for the complete reply.
You're welcome


In what way is having the empower spell redundant with these? they don't have the same effect and stack, I just used the word empower by lack of vocabulary.

Here is the empower spell feat:

Empower Spell [Metamagic]
Benefit: All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by one-half.

Saving throws and opposed rolls are not affected, nor are spells without random variables. An empowered spell uses up a spell slot two levels higher than the spellís actual level.

If you have the feat, your numeric effects are increased by one-half. If you use an elemental gem, you can increase this from 1 to 3 more. This makes it much better than the feat and that's why it should be so expensive and why it needs to have a limiting factor.


Now I thought I made a restriction on the number of Gems you could use for one spell (namely one). i'll correct it right away.

It was hidden in activation. That needs to have its own section.


I was trying to avoid the swift action activation. but i see your point, I could even put it on a move action like the Snowcasting feat (When you add a handful of snow or quartz to the components of your spell with a move action).

Why were you trying to avoid a swift action? Move action is okay but has its downside as you can't then take a 5-foot step.


For the thing about the planes, this setting uses it's own cosmology with 6 distinct energy planes with the 4 basic ones and light and darkness leading basically to the differents planes homes of Angels/ Guardinal and Eladrin and to the ones of Demons, Yuggoloth and Devils. The setting is rather immaterial unless you are saying that you can't use these gems in a standard setting.


They appear pretty much as an alternative material plane where everything is made of a particular element (so the plane of water is effectively made of water with chunks of ice/coral or even earth floating around) and the gems are mined by the locals and purchased by certains wizards who knows their ways to it. Planar travel is kinda hard to come by until high level, so I guess the gems should be pretty rare.

How it looks should be a few lines; generally keep it simple and concise. I don't think you need to tie this to the people who mine it and should be useable by any spellcasting class unless you want to add specific exceptions.

Rarity is hard to adjudicate. Making them very expensive is the easiest way to do that.


I understand the Use limitation, but in this case I find the price way too high for an item you can burn, plus 300 charges... it's kind of a downer to keep track of it :p. Welcome to game balance. :-)

Actually plenty of items you can burn can be quite pricey. It's not much harder than keeping track of a wand with 50 charges. Price is negotiable but you have to put it in line with other magic items. This allows you to exceed the maximum damage limit or exceed the variable numerical numbers (all them) or to increase the DC of a spell by a factor of 1 to 3 depending on how many charges you use. In the end, this is about choices. You can use it at lower power and extend the life of the item or burn through it quicker but with more power.

[And the recharge mechanic seems less useful.[/quote] It's not supposed to be useful per se, it's there to keep people from playing overpowered munchkins. Don't forget this allows you to break all kinds of rules (such a maximum damage of low level spells and such). There's no way that should come cheaply.


That's pretty much why I wanted it to be a long recharge mechanic, having a spell really powerful once every 3 days seemed alright to me. The real power behind these Gems to me is the DC boost, as it's quite hard to boost it without going the optimized route. I agree.


I could either keep it at 2,000 gp, put a lot of these on the market and putting a 1 month limit, or going the 10,000-15,000 gp for the first but let it as a "permanent" item that would need to be recharged. That could even do 2 different magic items. That's pretty much breaking the economy scale. There aren't a lot of items that do what these do. The gems can mimic the ability of some metamagic feats while still stacking with them which is a HUGE benefit. BTW, compare this to the various rods in the DMG that maximize or heighten spells for a comparable cost. I think that cost for lesser gems should be a tad lower -- closer to 6,000 gp, 18,000 gp and 54,000 gp since this puts them slightly cheaper than a metamagic empowered rod. Using such a rod is a full-round action too so the gems are better in that regard as well. Limiting it to 300 charges then makes more sense. To be fair, the PCs generally have enough gold (unless you are a stingy DM) at higher levels and this gives them a reason to spend it. L


For the actual look of the object, I was thinking of a polished rock, always leaking some of its element, and being of a color adapted to the element as well. The water gem could be a round sapphire, always wet to the touch. The small fire gem would look like a small ruby, that, if left unattended could ignite a small fire on parchment and is always hot when touched. The earth gem is a plain stone, twice as heavy as the over stones of this size. The air gem is a translucent stone, cool to the touch and cloaked with a really small breeze. The light gem is a quartz which radiates an inner light. Finally, the darkness one could be onyx, without any reflection to it. Those are great descriptions.


The small gems could the size of a coin, the medium one could be the size of the palm of the hand, and the large one size of the hand. There isn't a good reason to have the gems be bigger just because they are more powerful. Bigger gems generally increase the price.


I should as well precise that you need to hold it to activate it. (meaning casting a spell with a gem uses both of your hands). so no metamagic rods with a gem. That's probably a good idea too.

I look forward to seeing the updated version now.

Debby

Abzalon
2014-05-07, 06:27 PM
Hi again, so the first post has been modified, taking into account your replies.

Now, I was trying to avoid the swift action activation so you could use it on swift action spells, as some of these have the right descriptor. I could make it a Move action, but then the 1 full round incantation spells would be screwed as well... so now that I think about it, that's why I made the Free Action activation.

So The reason why they should be bigger except for the name, is that they contain more elemental power and thus can be used to fuel more powerfull spells. And that leads me to my 2nd Concern, What should I do when a bigger gem is used for a lower spell, I see 2 or 3 solutions, First one, the spell explode as if more than one gem had been used to fuel it, 2nd it works like a small gem but I find this one easy and unsatisfying, and the last one The lower spell can draw more power from it, and is more powerfull than with the use of a smaller gem. I prefer the 3rd one, but balance wise, it's hard to get the right numbers. But I can see the first one just as ok.

Thanks for all the advices, I hope i'll be reading from you soon.