View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Power Words Everywhere

2016-03-07, 08:41 PM
I never liked that d20 arcane and divine casters worked the same, so I've been differentiating them over the years using a variety of methods. Truenaming from ToM seemed like a good idea when I first read it, but that whole thing is a ... pile.

I found this thing (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?90961-The-Way-Words-Work-%28or-Truenaming-that-doesn-t-make-me-cry-myself-to-sleep-at-night%29), and it seemed solid enough, with a number of rather large caveats. I changed the skill check into a level-based check (because I haven't seen a skill-based casting system for d20 that works and isn't immediately abused), I standardized the DCs for each "spell" level, changed the "changes to your casting stat aren't retroactive to your absolute limit" rule because it was an accounting nightmare, and got rid of some of the other fiddly rules (like the increase in DC when you use a thing multiple times).

At this point, I've concluded that I still don't like it. The augmentation thing doesn't sit right with me, and I don't like that there's a check necessary. In my mind, divine magic should just work.

That leaves the absolute limit mechanic, which I like. The idea of a divine caster being able to affect you with more powerful effects the weaker you are - the closer to death you are, the more vulnerable your soul is, etc etc - fits, thematically, with what I'm gunning for.

The problem now is: how do I balance it?

The notion is that you're a cleric, your spell list is in two halves, one half that directly affects dudes that are below some HP value defined by your class and impacted by your Wisdom, and the other half that is indirect or might buff allies. You don't get to dumpster dive through books for spells, you only get domain lists and get access to more from your god or whatever as you gain levels (I'm still undecided about there being a default list of some sort that all clerics can touch).

I have gotten rid of randomized HP and have converted Hit Dice into what I feel are reasonable, static HP progressions; the same holds true for team monster, so I can make reasonable assumptions about how many HPs a given monster at a given level will have. This leaves the question of how to handle the absolute limit: do I make it low, and in turn make clerics feel almost useless? Or do I make it high, and make the mechanic essentially pointless? I feel like there's a middle ground, but it feels awfully narrow and I'm having trouble finding it.

I also still really like the whole concept of "true names," but given the ton of work that's necessary for the GM and the player to actually deal with that particular mechanic, and given that it's not baked into d20 (which seems necessary for it to be really functional), I'm not sure it's salvageable.

tl;dr - Trying to make divine casters have spells that work if target is below some HP value, and some spells that work no matter what (but are less effective, can't directly damage, are only for buffing, etc). Is this sensible in the context of a d20 game where HP (players and monsters) is static per level and predictable? Is there a better way to represent the idea of divine casters only able to hit people with their powerful stuff if their "soul" is sufficiently "vulnerable"?