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Stycotl
2008-06-02, 01:02 AM
inspired by the tremere rituals in the widow's might, by eric griffin. prc in the works...

Sigil Circle (Alternate Class Feature)
Sigil circles are an obscure, though potent form of runic magic. This ancient art was rooted in the theories of abjuration magic, though it has been shaped and developed to the point where it exists as its own discipline. This class feature allows the arcanist to draw carefully prescribed circles into which he can invest potent magical energy, much like a circle of protection, or glyph of warding. The largest difference is that these circles are meant to augment the arcanistís other spells.

Developed by dueling wizards and cunning sorcerers, the sigil circle sees its greatest tactical advantage in the arcanist that can plan his battleground, and knows exactly which strategy to employ. Alternatively, a few enterprising bards have found great use of the circle in their performances, delighting crowds with multitudinous, dazzlingly potent effects.

Any arcane caster can replace its find familiar class ability with this one in order to learn the art of sigil circle creation and use.

Level: 1st
Replaces: If you select this class feature, you do not gain a familiar.
Benefit: You can draw circles of arcane magic that act as defensive and offensive barriers. Drawing a sigil circle takes ten minutes and requires material components, such as fine powders, incense, oil, and inks, costing 5 gp per caster level. Once inscribed, a sigil circle is good until activated, or destroyed. If a circle is activated, it loses magical effect, and must be created anew; if it is destoyed (scattered, erased, or disturbed in any other major fashion), it must be redrawn as if it had been activated. An arcanist can have as many sigil circles drawn at a time as he can afford time and money, but he can only activate a few of those circles within a given periodóone circle/point of key ability modifier per day at first level. At 4th level, and every four levels after that, he can activate one more sigil circle per day, up to a maximum of key ability modifier plus six times per day at 20th level.

Upon creation of the circle, the arcanist can inscribe the runes of one spell to which he has access (even through scrolls), at first level. At 5th level, and every five levels after that, he can inscribe one more spell of which he has access into the sigil circle, up to a maximum of five spells at one time in one circle. The level of the spell does not matter so long as the arcanist can actually cast it; attempting to inscribe a spell beyond the arcanistís ability, and without the aid of a scroll or similar aid would end up having no effect (or at the Dmís whim, disastrous effect).

Activation of a circle requires a move action, during which the arcanist stands within the circle. The activation is accompanied by a great theatrical effect which depends on the personality of the arcanist and the spells within, including aural, olefactoral, and visual representations (thunder and lightning, smoke, incense, otherworldly voices or music, etc). The drawn circle then disappears, replaced by luminous faerie fire of varying colors dependant on the spells used within. Once activated, a circle remains good for one minute per caster level. The arcanist may come and go as he pleases, though he only gains the effects of the circle when within its warded confines.

The arcanist also has the ability to draw on a Sigil Circle even if he is far away from it, so long as he is on the same plane. In order to do so, he must create a sigil circle as normal, and pocket some of the ash and incense used in its final preparations. Later, in order to activate that circle from anywhere outside of the circle itself, he must spend one standard action in casting, and two of his daily sigil circle activations. This casting utilizes verbal and somatic components, with the pocketed ash as a material component. After that round of casting, the sigil circle activates where he is, as if he had drawn it there earlier; the real created circle is expended normally. It is from then on the same as any other sigil circle, and the arcanist must be within the circle in order to benefit from its magic.

While within a sigil circle that he created, an arcanist gains certain benefits. First of all, he can convert any spell slot of equal or greater level to one of the spells that has been inscribed, much as a cleric can spontaneously convert spells to heal. Any time one of the inscribed spells is cast by the arcanist within the sigil circle, he gains a +1 bonus to his caster level for all caster-dependent effects and a +1 bonus to the DC of the spells.

For example, Sorin, a 12th-level wizard, can activate four sigil circles every day. He can also inscribe three spells into any circle he creates. If he inscribes eyebite, baleful polymorph, and power word kill (which he has access to thanks to a pair of scrolls he acquired), he could spontaneously convert any of his 6th-level spell slots into an eyebite spell, and any of his 5th, or 6th-level spell slots into a baleful polymorph spell. He could not convert any of his spell slots into spontaneous power word kill spells, because he does not have a high enough caster level. But whenever he casts any of these three spells within the activated sigil circle, including the spells granted him by scrolls, he gains a +1 bonus to his caster level for caster level checks and dependent effects and a +1 bonus to the DC of any of those spells.

Feats

Circle Mage
You gain the effects of the Sigil Circle alternative class feature.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, arcane caster level 3rd.
Benefit: You can utilize sigil circles in the same manner as an arcane caster with the sigil circle alternative class feature. The normal rules for creating and utilizing sigil circles apply.

Capacitious Circle Mage
You have a greater understanding of the magic of a sigil circle, and have learned how to more fully and more often harness its strength.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (arcane) 9 ranks, Sigil circle class feature, arcane caster level 6th.
Benefit: You can inscribe one extra spell into your sigil circle, and you can activate one extra sigil circle per day.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times. Its effects stack.

Stycotl
2008-06-03, 10:43 AM
bump.

i need to know if this is playable, or too weak. the old version i created a couple of years ago was cool, but when i dug it out i realized that it had enough options to make a 3-level prestige class out of, not a single class feature. so i nerfed it down to what it is, and decided to actually make a prc later (in the works, though it might be a few weeks). but, does this seem too weak now to replace a familiar, animal companion, or anything else that an arcane caster could get as a familiar-alternate feature?

Lorien077
2008-06-04, 01:20 PM
Its a very interesting alternate class feature, but the issue is most PCs won't really be able to use it. It has a long prep time, and when the PCs find your BBEG or even just an ordinary fight its unlikely that they had ten minutes wind up time, or that the enemies will come to their stronghold.
Maybe a full round action to set up, GP cost, and limited times per day would do the trick? I may not be the best judge of this one.

Stycotl
2008-06-04, 04:40 PM
hmm. i want to keep it at 10 minutes, on par with binding a vestige. but maybe i will find a way to make that circle portable, so you can activate it when and where you need it. scrolls or something.

the original sigil circle (which i mentioned above as being too powerful) had a number of abilities that i am going to put into the prc. for instance, at higher levels, the wiz/sorcerer would gain the effects of mage armor when within the circle. at another level, he would be able to create a circle that travelled with him (more like an aura), etc.

thanks for the suggestion. i will work on this.

Stycotl
2008-06-06, 03:40 PM
old mechanics:


Level: 1st
Replaces: If you select this class feature, you do not gain a familiar.
Benefit: You can draw circles of arcane magic that act as defensive and offensive barriers. Drawing a sigil circle takes ten minutes and requires material components (See Below #3) costing 5 gp per caster level. Once inscribed, a sigil circle is good until activated, or destroyed. (See Below #4) An arcanist can have as many sigil circles drawn at a time as he can afford time and money, but he can only activate a few of those circles within a given periodó(See Below #1) one circle per day at first level. At 4th level, and every four levels after that, he can activate one more sigil circle per day, up to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level.

Upon creation of the circle, the arcanist can inscribe the runes of one spell to which he has access (even through scrolls), at first level. At 5th level, and every five levels after that, he can inscribe one more spell of which he has access into the sigil circle, up to a maximum of five spells at one time in one circle. The level of the spell does not matter so long as the arcanist can actually cast it; attempting to inscribe a spell beyond the arcanistís ability, and without the aid of a scroll or similar aid would end up having no effect (or at the Dmís whim, disastrous effect).

Activation of a circle requires a standard action, during which the arcanist stands within the circle. The activation is accompanied by a great theatrical effect which depends on the personality of the arcanist and the spells within, including aural, olefactoral, and visual representations (thunder and lightning, smoke, incense, otherworldly voices or music, etc). The drawn circle then disappears, replaced by luminous faerie fire of varying colors dependant on the spells used within. Once activated, a circle remains good for one minute per caster level. The arcanist may come and go as he pleases, though he only gains the effects of the circle when within its warded confines.

New Activation Ability (see below #2)

While within a sigil circle that he created, an arcanist gains certain benefits. First of all, he can convert any spell slot of equal or greater level to one of the spells that has been inscribed, much as a cleric can spontaneously convert spells to heal. Any time one of the inscribed spells is cast by the arcanist within the sigil circle, he gains a +1 bonus to his caster level for all caster-dependent effects.

For example, Sorin, a 12th-level wizard, can activate four sigil circles every day. He can also inscribe three spells into any circle he creates. If he inscribes eyebite, baleful polymorph, and power word kill (which he has access to thanks to a pair of scrolls he acquired), he could spontaneously convert any of his 6th-level spell slots into an eyebite spell, and any of his 5th, or 6th-level spell slots into a baleful polymorph spell. He could not convert any of his spell slots into spontaneous power word kill spells, because he does not have a high enough caster level. But whenever he casts any of these three spells within the activated sigil circle, including the spells granted him by scrolls, he gains a +1 bonus to his caster level for caster level checks and dependent effects.



New Mechanical Changes

#1...one circle/point of key ability modifier per day at first level. At 4th level, and every four levels after that, he can activate one more sigil circle per day, up to a maximum of key ability modifier plus six times per day at 20th level.

#2...The arcanist also has the ability to draw on a Sigil Circle even if he is far away from it, so long as he is on the same plane. In order to do so, he must create a sigil circle as normal, and pocket some of the ash and incense used in its final preparations. Later, in order to activate that circle from anywhere outside of the circle itself, he must spend one full-round action in casting, and two of his daily sigil circle activations. This casting utilizes verbal and somatic components, with the pocketed ash as a material component. After that round of casting, the sigil circle activates where he is, as if he had drawn it there earlier; the real created circle is expended normally. It is from then on the same as any other sigil circle, and the arcanist must be within the circle in order to benefit from its magic.

how's that? gives more activations, but allows use anywhere, even from a distance with the expenditure of two activations.

i also added some fluff material about the 5gp/caster level requirement to create a circle in the first place. this will later be important when i give info about creating permanent sigil circles that can be activated over and over.

#3...such as fine powders, incense, oil, and inks...

and i made it clearer that once a circle is activated, or has been destroyed, it has to be recreated before it can be used again.

#4...If a circle is activated, it loses magical effect, and must be created anew; if it is destoyed (scattered, erased, or disturbed in any other major fashion), it must be redrawn as if it had been activated...

aaron out.

Lorien077
2008-06-06, 04:29 PM
Well that gets the big thumbs up from me. Makes it useful but not too easy to abuse. I look forward to trying this one out someday. ^_^

Stycotl
2008-06-06, 05:30 PM
cool. watch for the prc when i get around to making it.

also realize that remote activationof sigil circles is risky. if you draw up a bunch of circles in the morning with the intent of activating them from far away later, and someone finds them in the meanwhile, and scatters them all, they become useless.

next i am going to figure out how to make permanent circles that can be activated over and over.

Stycotl
2009-02-24, 01:24 PM
after playtesting a little, i decided that a standard act/full round act for activation was a little too much, and that it deserved a +1 bonus to spell DC as well.

the initiation time was changed because the caster is hardly ever going to be in the actual circle, and will almost always be activating it long distanceĖwhich used to be a full-round act in an encounter that is going to last around 3-5 rounds. a standard act seems more reasonable, and now, when the caster is at home, using the actual circle, then he is rewarded by casting it only as a move equivalent act.

the +1 DC was just because it seemed reasonable; so far, this alternative class feature hasn't shown itself to be too nifty as far as game stats go. as far as flavor, i like it a lot, but i'm thinking i might need to give it some oomph somehow.

let me know if you think that these changes were unwarranted.

and let me know if you have better ideas about increasing its power than a simple +1 spell DC.

thanks. aaron out.

ErrantX
2009-02-24, 05:48 PM
Very interesting, I like it. I may find use for this relatively soon in my own campaign actually.

One thing I'd suggest, is that if a mage is interested in casting circle magic faster, perhaps a 0th-1st level spell that allows them to create a circle as a full round action? They have to have the components to make the circle in the first place, but they toss the components and cast the spell and the components form the circle for the caster themselves. That way if circles with the quickness are in order, they can spend a little extra power to make it happen.

-X

Stycotl
2009-02-24, 07:07 PM
Very interesting, I like it. I may find use for this relatively soon in my own campaign actually.

One thing I'd suggest, is that if a mage is interested in casting circle magic faster, perhaps a 0th-1st level spell that allows them to create a circle as a full round action? They have to have the components to make the circle in the first place, but they toss the components and cast the spell and the components form the circle for the caster themselves. That way if circles with the quickness are in order, they can spend a little extra power to make it happen.

-X

i'm not entirely sure what you are suggesting here. i understand that you're suggesting a low level spell with a full round casting time that creates the sigil circle?

if that is the case, then i think i can address it.

a spell that creates a sigil circle is a very interesting idea. i might have to look into something similar; i don't know that i will make a spell that creates a circle, but i might create a few spells that augment an existing circle; maybe saving throw or armor bonuses or something. the eventual prc tied to this ability was going to do some of that (augmenting the circle), and these spells would be a clever way to tie it in.

as for the duration of the spell to create the circle, it used to be a full-round act to activate a circle from afar, but i was finding that this wasted too much game time, especially in an encounter that was only going to last a handful of seconds.

sigurd
2009-04-28, 10:41 PM
I like this a lot. I'm going to find a way to use it. Thanks.


My only suggestion is that there be conditions that require a spellcraft check to create a functioning circle. Also some sort of mechanism to represent conditions that break the circle.


Sigurd

Stycotl
2009-05-04, 12:15 AM
I like this a lot. I'm going to find a way to use it. Thanks.


My only suggestion is that there be conditions that require a spellcraft check to create a functioning circle. Also some sort of mechanism to represent conditions that break the circle.


Sigurd

what kind of conditions are you talking about? gimme a few examples and that might get my gears moving.

as far as destroying the circle, i could look into that. normally it is just a yes or no deal. they either do or don't. if they take an action to scatter the sand, they get to do it. the circles are normally pretty temporary (drawn, painted, made with powders and incenses). for carved circles, sculpted circles, etc, there would be some more work involved, but it is still a black or white deal. they take the time to chop through the wood where the circle is carved, breaking its form by dealing enough damage, it is broken.

Godskook
2009-05-04, 01:12 PM
Questions:

1.Does casting through a sigil consume a spell slot?

2.Does casting through a sigil avoid the original spell's material components?

3.Does this speed up summoning spell's casting time?

4.Is there a point to using the sigils on spells you already have prepared, other than the +1 DC? Or is it just the spont-casting ability that is really useful?

Stycotl
2009-05-04, 04:32 PM
Questions:

1.Does casting through a sigil consume a spell slot?

yep. like normal.


2.Does casting through a sigil avoid the original spell's material components?

nope. like normal.


3.Does this speed up summoning spell's casting time?

nope. like normal.

[/quote]4.Is there a point to using the sigils on spells you already have prepared, other than the +1 DC? Or is it just the spont-casting ability that is really useful?[/QUOTE]

both. bonuses to DC is always handy, and the spontaneous casting can really save a wizard's ass in particular (say he doesn't want to prepare all combat spells, because of a need for utility, but still wants to be combat viable: combat spells go in the circle, and he can now sacrifice utility spells for combat purposes).

doesn't help a sorcerer as much, admittedly, since they are already spontaneous casters. but i have been thinking of ways to beef this up to help them, or to come up with a variant ability specifically for spontaneous casters.

further, i was just thinking earlier today, a +1 DC, as i mentioned earlier, is nice, but isn't really worth a whole lot.

what do you guys think if i add a little bit in:

1st level: +1 DC
6th level: +1 caster level checks
11th level: +1 caster level (affecting level-dependent effects, etc)
16th level: still pondering. maybe an extra +1 to DC and caster level checks; or 3/day cast a standard act spell as a swift; or something else?

that feel unbalanced to anyone? any thoughts?