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Zalakoth
2017-07-26, 10:00 PM
Hello there, new here, but I had an idea that needed judging/collaboration for D&D, so, here's the premise:

In my D&D World, there are two types of Arcane Foci, Wands and Staves. Ultra-Powerful Wizards can use magic with only their hands, but that is besides the point. I would like to make the players' choice of Arcane Foci important and different, for example how a Fighter might wield a stronger great-sword, and a Rogue may wield faster shortswords; A wizard may wield a stronger Staff, or a faster Wand.

Wands would be easier to conceal, but I'm thinking for a potential mechanic to make them cast spells faster, i.e. Cantrip as a bonus-action (except that's ultra-busted, and therefore just an example.) and likewise, a staff could make their spells more powerful, such as increase the level of a spell once a day or something of like (also, obviously a bit busted.)

Any ideas on how to make wand-users be your faster spell casters, and stave-users be your stronger spell casters in a mechanical sense?

All help and ideas is appreciated!

Deleted
2017-07-26, 10:26 PM
Hello there, new here, but I had an idea that needed judging/collaboration for D&D, so, here's the premise:

In my D&D World, there are two types of Arcane Foci, Wands and Staves. Ultra-Powerful Wizards can use magic with only their hands, but that is besides the point. I would like to make the players' choice of Arcane Foci important and different, for example how a Fighter might wield a stronger great-sword, and a Rogue may wield faster shortswords; A wizard may wield a stronger Staff, or a faster Wand.

Wands would be easier to conceal, but I'm thinking for a potential mechanic to make them cast spells faster, i.e. Cantrip as a bonus-action (except that's ultra-busted, and therefore just an example.) and likewise, a staff could make their spells more powerful, such as increase the level of a spell once a day or something of like (also, obviously a bit busted.)

Any ideas on how to make wand-users be your faster spell casters, and stave-users be your stronger spell casters in a mechanical sense?

All help and ideas is appreciated!

The core 5e system was made so that fiddly bonuses don't really belong, you can do it, but it will be a painful process. So having staves give power bonuses seem like it won't end well.

You're comparing arcane foci to weapons, but those weapons don't strike faster than the other even if the weapon is lighter or whatever.

What you could do is make two branches of spells instead . Ones that come in wand form and one that comes in stave form. In order to cast spells from one of the two list a wizard must be attuned to one or the other (and can't be attuned to both at the same time). Then focus the spell list as you see fit.

Wands: Bonus Action Spells, Reaction Spells, Spells without material components (but they can have the others), no spells over 1 action, and very few direct damage spells (maybe only the less damaging types).

Staves: No Bonus Action Spells, No Reaction Spells, Spells with material and other components, Spells that are 1 or more action casting time, many direct damage spells.

Soo... Something like this.

Wands


Dancing Lights
Light
Mage Hand
Shocking Grasp
Alarm
Charm Person
Feather Fall
Shield


Staves


Acid Splash
Light
Mending
Ray of Frost
Burning Hands
Detect Magic
Mage Armor
Thunderwave


This way you can give the "faster" spells to the wands and the "powerful" spells to the staves, or however you wish to do it.

You could just split the list up by school though, which may be easier... Wands would have half of the schools and staves would have the other half...

Wands: Abjuration, Divination, Enchantment, and Illusions
Staves: Conjuration, Evocation, Necromancy, and Transmutation

Zalakoth
2017-07-26, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the input! :smile:

I was trying to avoid altering it that much, I managed to do very balanced fiddly bonuses for different weapon and armor materials (Much like the Elder Scrolls series' Daedric or Orcish) resulting in not one material being favored over the other. It took a lot of time and worked great and I was hoping to do something similar to that. The school restriction isn't that bad, but most Wizards dabble in multiple schools requiring them to carry both at that point. Maybe I just do something aesthetic. I did a little bit of brainstorming tonight and thought up this:



Staves: Add your spell casting modifier to a spell's damage. (This is the equivalent of an in-game feat)
Wands: Ability to cast a Bonus Action spell, and an Action Spell in the same turn without the Cantrip ruling. (Haven't looked into the fundamentals of this yet.)

Worst-case scenario is I make it aesthetic. Wands being for sneaky Wizards, and Staves being for Fighter-styled Wizards, and it could definitely still work.

Thoughts on this?

Deleted
2017-07-27, 12:13 AM
Thanks for the input! :smile:

I was trying to avoid altering it that much, I managed to do very balanced fiddly bonuses for different weapon and armor materials (Much like the Elder Scrolls series' Daedric or Orcish) resulting in not one material being favored over the other. It took a lot of time and worked great and I was hoping to do something similar to that. The school restriction isn't that bad, but most Wizards dabble in multiple schools requiring them to carry both at that point. Maybe I just do something aesthetic. I did a little bit of brainstorming tonight and thought up this:



Staves: Add your spell casting modifier to a spell's damage. (This is the equivalent of an in-game feat)
Wands: Ability to cast a Bonus Action spell, and an Action Spell in the same turn without the Cantrip ruling. (Haven't looked into the fundamentals of this yet.)

Worst-case scenario is I make it aesthetic. Wands being for sneaky Wizards, and Staves being for Fighter-styled Wizards, and it could definitely still work.

Thoughts on this?

If you don't want to alter things, you are just going to break the game.

For example, the wand rules would absolutely break the game even more so than the game already is. Action economy is what killed 3e and helped make tier 1 casters. You would be putting in rules that would make other classes obsolete.

Cantrip @ level 10 (mid levels) for a basic evoker would be...

4d10 + Int (twice, so 10) per turn (at-will) is 32 damage.

A Barbarian at that level would be doing 2d12 + 10 damage (melee) (not adding rage damage as the wizard isn't using daily features or feats... This is just at-will base ability). This is 23 damage. The barbarian would have to rely on crits to keep up with the average damage of the wizard... Plus the barbarian's damage is mundane and at melee while the wizard can switch theirs up and be anywhere from melee to 100' away... PLUS do so much more.

Lalliman
2017-07-27, 05:29 AM
The unfortunate thing is that you're adding benefits onto the existing casters, thus making them more powerful compared to martials. Of course, I don't know what kind of changes you've made to martials.

Casting modifier to damage with staves seems good, though it raises the question of what happens when you get a feat or class feature that does that.

For wands, you may have to attach a downside of some sort. Maybe you can cast two cantrips per round, but each deals one fewer damage die. It would give a significant damage boost at level 17, but it seems fair before that. Who gets to 17 anyways? I guess you wouldn't be able to use this feature before level 5 though.

Both of these ideas conflict with features that add your casting modifier to damage (wands would give double the bonus damage), so it seems wise to replace such features if you're implementing this.

Of course, this suggestion for the wand has no effect on non-cantrips. But maybe that's fine, I dunno.

There's my rambly thoughts on the matter.

Torrin
2017-07-27, 12:42 PM
I managed to do very balanced fiddly bonuses for different weapon and armor materials (Much like the Elder Scrolls series' Daedric or Orcish) resulting in not one material being favored over the other.

Would love to have a view of this.

demonslayerelf
2017-07-27, 03:08 PM
Also a pretty big point of this would be to ask what kind of game you intend to run.
Is it dungeon-crawly with combat being the central focus?
Is it an Evil Chronicle with mafia-esque behavior?
Is it almost 100% RP and Story-based with combat reserved for the sidelines?(See Critical Role)
High power? Low power?

You know, in some cases, the just amazing 9 extra damage might be a bad thing. Probably not, but you know, could happen.


Honestly, I look at it, and I think it's fine, more or less. Maybe say you can't use a Wand for anything that takes more than 1 Action to cast, and you HAVE to use a Staff, or something.

Zalakoth
2017-07-27, 10:30 PM
First of all, I want to thank everyone for their input, I do appreciate all of it.



For wands, you may have to attach a downside of some sort. Maybe you can cast two cantrips per round, but each deals one fewer damage die. It would give a significant damage boost at level 17, but it seems fair before that. Who gets to 17 anyways? I guess you wouldn't be able to use this feature before level 5 though.


This is a Fair Point, I like the Idea, perhaps reduce the damage of ONE of the cantrips rather than both, and have it use the minimum damage (level 1) template. Maybe I could just get rid of the one spell a turn restriction, but still follow casting time rules. (i.e. Casting Hunter's Mark, and then Fireball, however neither can be upcast.) I would personally like the wands being fast to affect the cantrips in some sort of way. Often times I see cantrips rarely used.


Also a pretty big point of this would be to ask what kind of game you intend to run.
Is it dungeon-crawly with combat being the central focus?
Is it an Evil Chronicle with mafia-esque behavior?
Is it almost 100% RP and Story-based with combat reserved for the sidelines?(See Critical Role)
High power? Low power?

You know, in some cases, the just amazing 9 extra damage might be a bad thing. Probably not, but you know, could happen.


Honestly, I look at it, and I think it's fine, more or less. Maybe say you can't use a Wand for anything that takes more than 1 Action to cast, and you HAVE to use a Staff, or something.

To answer this question, It's just an adventurous RPG world I hand-crafted. Lots of story and lore thrown into it, allowing for players to dungeon-crawl, role-play, kill-stuff or whatever they please. I am a huge advocate of "make sure the game is fun for everyone," and as long as that happens, I'm okay with that. Personally, I prefer a balance between Combat, Roleplaying, and Intrigue. I also like keeping players on their toes.

That's why I'm not super fond of the staff restriction for spells, it's mostly aesthetic, but I want it to feel like it is more than a ribbon effect, much like the armor materials I utilize.

About those: I would post that on here, however I am away from home and cannot, but if you would like to see it, PM me and I will send it as soon as I return home!

Zalakoth
2017-07-27, 10:55 PM
Would love to have a view of this.

Sure, I don't have the files, but I think I managed to remember most of it. Like I said, I prefer for the group to be fun, so even if this seems busted, it may be. It wouldn't be the best concept for every group, but it works in a balanced way for my group, so here you go!:

Example:


Armors (Most of these use the Heavy Templates/Really any armor that uses metal):

Iron Armor: No effects
Steel: Soak 3 damage each attack
Elven : May use 13+Dex modifier for AC instead of AC value, Resist Piercing
Demonic: Resist Fire Damage
Astral/Spirit: May summon and dismiss as a free-action; meaning you can always wear it
Orcish : Resist Slashing
Dwarvish: Resist Bludgeoning, May use 13+Con mod for AC

The above are more common forms of armor, below is more rare:

Draconic: Resist Fire, Resist Frost, Advantage to Dragon Breath saves
"Z": (similar to minecraft Diamonds, looks similar to glass weapons in The Elder Scrolls): Indestructible, Soak 5 damage from each attack, Resist non-magical weapon attacks



Weapons:

Barbaric: Bleed 2, Fragile 5
Iron: Plain old and boring, No effects
Steel: +1 Atk/Dmg
Elven: All Blades have finesse, Bows increase their damage die size by 1
Demonic(Very pointy weapons): When you take the attack action, you may make a free additional melee attack using the serrations on the weapon, rolling a standard weapon attack roll and dealing 2d4 piercing damage.
Astral/Spirit: You may have the weapon willingly pass through objects and creatures. When it does so it deals no damage to the things it passes through. At the end of your turn it returns to your hand if not already there. (This allows to throw it through an ally to hit an enemy)
Orcish: Blades have the Cleave quality. (You may have damage leftover from a slain enemy overflow to another adjacent target, you must succeed another attack roll for the damage to overflow to the next enemy.)
Dwarvish: Weapon parts are retractable, allowing it to fold up into very confined spaces.

Again, the rarer items:

Draconic: Advantage on attack rolls against dragons. Indestructible.
"Z": Indestructible, Cleave, Attacks with this weapon are considered magical for the purpose of overcoming resistances.


Bleed: Targets take 1d4 bleeding damage for each level of the bleed quality on each attack. This may stack up to two times. At the end of each of the affected target's turns, he or she may make a DC 13 Con save to attempt to resist the bleeding.
Fragile: On an attack roll equal to or less than the Fragile quality, under the DM's discretion, the weapon breaks. Weapons in general have a Fragile quality of 1.

Lalliman
2017-07-28, 05:01 PM
Those weapon and armour materials are all straight upgrades over normal equipment, which gives me an idea. What if we do the same thing with wands and staves? Suppose that only a masterwork wand or staff can benefit from the item's advantages. Then we can equate normal arcane foci to iron equipment, and the masterwork foci to the various advanced equipment. That would theoretically put martials and casters back on the same level.

Suppose, something like this.

Normal wand or staff: Works as any arcane focus. No additional effect.

Masterwork staff: All spells you cast are upgraded as if they were cast from a slot one level higher. You must be holding the staff with both hands to get this benefit.

Masterwork wand: When you use your action to cast a spell, you can cast another spell as a bonus action. This bonus spell must be either a cantrip, or of a spell level no higher than one third your highest spell slot, rounded down. For example, an 11th level wizard can cast 1st and 2nd level spells this way. It must also normally have a casting time of 1 action.

This is powerful, but it doesnít seem immediately game-breaking to me. The staff is a straight boost, but not that big of one, since upcasting generally isnít as effective as casting a spell thatís actually a higher level. The wand might open up some shenanigans, but the bonus action spells only go up to 3rd level at the most, so itís not world-shattering.

Then again, it's late and I'm tired, so maybe this is a dumpster fire. Just throwing it out there.

Zalakoth
2017-07-28, 05:17 PM
Those weapon and armour materials are all straight upgrades over normal equipment, which gives me an idea. What if we do the same thing with wands and staves? Suppose that only a masterwork wand or staff can benefit from the item's advantages. Then we can equate normal arcane foci to iron equipment, and the masterwork foci to the various advanced equipment. That would theoretically put martials and casters back on the same level.

Suppose, something like this.

Normal wand or staff: Works as any arcane focus. No additional effect.

Masterwork staff: All spells you cast are upgraded as if they were cast from a slot one level higher. You must be holding the staff with both hands to get this benefit.

Masterwork wand: When you use your action to cast a spell, you can cast another spell as a bonus action. This bonus spell must be either a cantrip, or of a spell level no higher than one third your highest spell slot, rounded down. For example, an 11th level wizard can cast 1st and 2nd level spells this way. It must also normally have a casting time of 1 action.

This is powerful, but it doesnít seem immediately game-breaking to me. The staff is a straight boost, but not that big of one, since upcasting generally isnít as effective as casting a spell thatís actually a higher level. The wand might open up some shenanigans, but the bonus action spells only go up to 3rd level at the most, so itís not world-shattering.

Then again, it's late and I'm tired, so maybe this is a dumpster fire. Just throwing it out there.

Not at all! I appreciate the input!

The materials seem like masterworks, however they're very common, it's more for customization and character uniqueness which gives martial characters a bit of advantage over spell casters here and there. I would like for Staves/Wands to have immediate effects, without having to be masterwork. Masterwork foci in my game would be like the staves or wands in the DM's guide (such as the Staff of Power, or Wand of Fear.) They would have the effect of the type of foci as well as the "masterwork" That way you don't have to seek out a wand or staff for such abilities.

Likewise the weapons benefits just come from materials - They can still have enchantments on top of those.



So it seems like Staves adding the spell casting bonus to damage seems fair. We just need something just as powerful for wands, that reflects the finesse quality of blades... Will brainstorm, and update if I come up with something.

Zalakoth
2017-07-28, 05:44 PM
Will brainstorm, and update if I come up with something.

Just a little bit of an Idea I came up with:


Staves:
Add Spellcasting modifier to the damage of each damaging spell you cast.**
Increase your spell save DC by 1
Doubles as a melee weapon

Wands:
May cast a spell in place of an opportunity attack
All Cantrips that have a casting time of 1 action, have a new casting time of 1 bonus action.
Cantrips may be cast in succession with any other spell. when being used in this way with another damaging spell, the user does not add their proficiency bonus to the Cantrip's attack roll.*
Very small and Concealable



*For Example:*

Casting Misty Step, and then Firebolt = Proficiency bonus for Firebolt
Casting Fireball (at 3rd level) and then Chill Touch = No Proficiency bonus for Chill Touch

Casting multiple spells in combat takes a lot of concentration and I believe that this is a way to mirror that.

**This effect does stack with the bonus granted by School of Evocation Wizard Class**




The removal of the Proficiency for fast casting Wands, and the Large, Obviousness of staves I think are a good way to balance the bonuses out. Thoughts?




Like I said, I am very confident that this will work for my group; Every group, however, is different.



On top of that, I am a Huge fan of Narrative gameplay, so for my group - Verbal components are also negated by the use of a Focus.

Lalliman
2017-07-29, 06:17 AM
Staves:
Add Spellcasting modifier to the damage of each damaging spell you cast.**
Increase your spell save DC by 1
Doubles as a melee weapon
This seems clunky because not all spells benefit. Only spells that deal damage benefit from the first part, and only ones with a save benefit from the second. This means that spells like fireball or sacred flame get double benefit, while ones like cure wounds get nothing. That doesn't seem right for an item that's supposed to be usable by all caster classes.

That's why I proposed raising the spell level. Most spells benefit from that equally, with the exception of the few that can't be upcast. It should also be mentioned that a free upcast is in most cases weaker than adding your ability modifier to the damage roll, especially if you allow it on every damage roll for multi-target spells. Ergo, that seems like overall a better option.


Wands:
May cast a spell in place of an opportunity attack
All Cantrips that have a casting time of 1 action, have a new casting time of 1 bonus action.
Cantrips may be cast in succession with any other spell. when being used in this way with another damaging spell, the user does not add their proficiency bonus to the Cantrip's attack roll.*
Very small and Concealable

*For Example:*
Casting Misty Step, and then Firebolt = Proficiency bonus for Firebolt
Casting Fireball (at 3rd level) and then Chill Touch = No Proficiency bonus for Chill Touch
This seems alright, though you should rephrase it in a more mechanically-sound way. Also, it doesn't really make sense that the bonus cantrip is only weakened when your other spell is a damaging one. There are plenty of powerful non-damaging spells, so it's not really a nerf at all.

(As an aside, misty step is a bonus action spell, so that example doesn't work as you intended it.)

How about this:

Wands
- When someone provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell on that creature. The spell must normally have a casting time of 1 action, and must only target that creature.
- You can cast cantrips as a bonus action. When you cast a cantrip in this way, you don't add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll or saving throw DC, if it has one.

Zalakoth
2017-07-29, 03:08 PM
This seems clunky because not all spells benefit. Only spells that deal damage benefit from the first part, and only ones with a save benefit from the second. This means that spells like fireball or sacred flame get double benefit, while ones like cure wounds get nothing. That doesn't seem right for an item that's supposed to be usable by all caster classes.

That's why I proposed raising the spell level. Most spells benefit from that equally, with the exception of the few that can't be upcast. It should also be mentioned that a free upcast is in most cases weaker than adding your ability modifier to the damage roll, especially if you allow it on every damage roll for multi-target spells. Ergo, that seems like overall a better option.


This seems alright, though you should rephrase it in a more mechanically-sound way. Also, it doesn't really make sense that the bonus cantrip is only weakened when your other spell is a damaging one. There are plenty of powerful non-damaging spells, so it's not really a nerf at all.

(As an aside, misty step is a bonus action spell, so that example doesn't work as you intended it.)

How about this:

Wands
- When someone provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell on that creature. The spell must normally have a casting time of 1 action, and must only target that creature.
- You can cast cantrips as a bonus action. When you cast a cantrip in this way, you don't add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll or saving throw DC, if it has one.



Yeah, I agree about the mechanically sounding thing for wands. I wasn't sure if upcasting was as busted as spell casting modifier added to damage, but thinking about it now makes sense to me. Thanks for all the help! Will post the updated version below...

Zalakoth
2017-07-29, 03:11 PM
Yeah, I agree about the mechanically sounding thing for wands. I wasn't sure if upcasting was as busted as spell casting modifier added to damage, but thinking about it now makes sense to me. Thanks for all the help! Will post the updated version below...

Wands:
- When someone provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell on that creature. The spell must normally have a casting time of 1 action, or 1 Bonus Action, and must only target that creature.
- You can cast cantrips as a bonus action. When you cast a cantrip in this way, you don't add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll or saving throw DC, if it has one.


Staves:
- You may increase a spell's spell slot level by one for free when casting it. You may use this feature a number of times equal to half your spell casting modifier each day (Rounded up), and regain all expended uses of this feature on a rest. You must wield the staff with two hands to gain this benefit, and you must have spell slots of the desired level unlocked to be able to use this feature. (i.e. You MUST have access to 2nd level spell slots to upcast Magic Missile.)





This will certainly work for my group and setting, so thank you all for the help you gave me for this. If any of you feel the need to modify it further for use in your games, be my guest!

Lalliman
2017-07-30, 04:37 AM
Staves:
- You may increase a spell's spell slot level by one for free when casting it. You may use this feature a number of times equal to half your spell casting modifier each day (Rounded up), and regain all expended uses of this feature on a rest. You must wield the staff with two hands to gain this benefit, and you must have spell slots of the desired level unlocked to be able to use this feature. (i.e. You MUST have access to 2nd level spell slots to upcast Magic Missile.)

EDIT: I just notice you said "rest" not "long rest". If you meant short rest, it might be fine all along.

I think youíre still overvaluing upcasting. With such few charges, the staff is way worse than the wand. Just look at the numbers.

Staff
A 5th level wizard casts a fireball on three enemies. He uses his staff to upcast the fireball into a 4th level slot. Each target takes 9d6 damage on a failed save, for a total average of 94.5 damage.

In the rare chance that someone provokes an OA from him, he can hit them with his staff, which assumably acts like a quarterstaff. Quarterstaves are not finesse weapons, so he probably only has a +3 attack bonus and d8 damage. Total average damage in this case: 99, not counting his decreased hit chance.

Wand
A 5th level wizard casts a fireball on three enemies. Each target takes 8d6 damage on a failed save, for a total average of 84 damage. He then casts fire bolt as a bonus action for another 8.5 average damage*. Total average damage: 92.5.

His attack roll with fire bolt is at a -3 penalty. If his normal attack bonus is +7 and the NPCs have 15 AC, that penalty brings his hit chance down from 65% to 50%, which is a relative decrease of 23%. To represent that, weíll lower the average damage of the fire bolt by 23%. So the average damage of the fire bolt is 11 * 0.77 = 8.5

In the rare chance that someone provokes an OA from him, he can cast another fire bolt for an average of 11 damage. Total average damage in this case: 103.5.


So in this scenario, the staff deals marginally more damage, but only if the wizard doesnít get an OA, and only the 2-3 times per day that he can actually use the upcasting function. Ergo, the wand is better 95% of the time.

This is only tested with one spell, but it stands to reason that other spells would give similar results. I guess upcasting all the time might be a bit much, but you could at least increase the number of charges to be equal to the spellcasting modifier, and remove the ďmust have the desired spell slotĒ restriction. Being able to cast dimension door or polymorph before 7th level is potentially game-altering, but casting a slightly stronger fireball isnít.

Iím making a point out of this specifically because you say that your games are narrative and not power-gamy. If the system is imbalanced, people are encouraged to power-game. If there are no lesser options, then people have no reason to worry about the mechanics and can make their choices freely.