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- Join Date
- Aug 2010
[3.5]A magic system fix, that allows multiclassing. [wip; peach; cake]
I've been toying with the idea of importing syntactic (noun-verb) magic into 3.5 for a while, but a few days ago I suggested, in another homebrew thread, using the various G.U.R.P.S. systems to create a t3 overhaul (before then I was considering it more for a standalone class). After thinking about it I realized that, if done properly, not only could it create a more dynamic magic system and re-balance the tiers, but that it could also open casters to the kind of multi-classing enjoyed by mundane classes and create a more interesting break than the current Arcane/Divine/Natural split, opening up a wealth of new character concepts while preserving the difference between those sources.
Before I dive into the actual outline for what I'm planning I want to quickly go over my goals for this project, to make sure everyone's on the same page and make sure I'm actually doing something useful; so in order of descending importance:
- Re-balance casters to mid T3-low T2.
I like magic to have a bit of a bite and making casting more multi-class friendly should help even the field between different archetypes.
- Allow compatibility with existing material and provide guidelines for converting spells.
There's allot of really cool material both in the various splats and homebrew and a "fix" that locks players out of most of it seems more than a little wasteful.
- Encourage mult-classing both between caster classes and caster/mundane hybrids.
I think one of the major problems with magic in 3.5 is that the current caster rules heavily discourage multi-classing since different magic classes don't really stack well and non-caster classes operate under almost entirely different mechanics and advancement schemes.
- Create a more dynamic and involved magic system.
I intend to create four classes based on four different variants (or two variants with two sub-variants each) of gurps magic. They are the Intuitive mages based the standard system presented in the basic set, Learned mages who make use of the standard system but add defaults, Word mages who use the syntactic system from magic and Rune mages who use the symbolic system. However before attempting to actually create the classes I would like to have the basic rules under which they'll all be running, a definition for each type of magic and for ease of speaking a glossary.
Spell- These are used by both intuitive and Learned mages and are largely the same as srd spells or a cast-able noun-verb combination.
Words- Words are used by Word and Rune mages. Each is classified as either a noun or a verb and at-least one of each category is required to cast a spell, though more may be used to achieve more complex results or beneficial casting parameters.
Schools- As in 3.5, but with the addition that by learning a school a mage can cast any spell of that type at a penalty.
Esoterica- A generic term for spells, words or schools.
Learning Esoterica: Esoterica count as sudo-skills that can have no more than a characters level points invested in them (i.e. they do not receive the normal +3).
As they are sudo skills they can not be added to a class list via feats or similar effects that add skills and the factotum and similar classes do not treat them as class skill.
A character may learn an esoterica by adding points to it while taking a level in a class that has access two it (for this purpose words granted by word and rune mages count as different esoterica since they use different mechanics). After an esoterica has been learned it is treated as a class skill for all of a character's classes, with the exception of schools which are cross-class for non-casting classes.
Caster level: Mages no-longer have a unified caster level, instead a mage's cl is determined by the number of points (and just the number of points) in an esoterica.
Language: When first taking a level in a casting class a mage chooses a language to work in, this choice applies to all casting classes. This both determines the source of a mages magic and provides a bonus as listed in the following table (per DM discretion other languages can be used, either as substitutes or to add new possible bonuses).
Note 1: Bonuses advance by hd** and a mage automatically knows how to speak and read/write their chosen language.
Language BonusNature futhark Wild shape (or something similar) Aquan ??? Auran ??? Ignan ??? Terran ???Divine Enochian Turning Celestial Spontaneous Healing* Abysal Spontaneous Damage* Infernal RebukingArcane R'lyehian ??? High Draconic Reserve spells(?) True Speak ??? Mathematics Meta-magic advantages(?)
Note 2: Using a wand or scroll of a different language but same source requires a dc 15 or 15+caster level umd check while using one from a different source requires a dc 20 or 20+caster level check.
SpoilerThe idea to add bonuses came from the fact that the more generic base classes wouldn't have access to things like turning and wild shape and my desire to have the differences between the sources actually matter. Unfortunately 3.5 has little to suggest for bonuses beyond wild shape and the divine options, however, I've decided that each source should have a focus: nature focuses on the self, divine focuses on others and Arcane focuses on information and/or magic itself.
I'm toying with the idea of splitting wild shape among all five Nature laguages, having it cause only partial transformations (possibly based off of psionic metamorphosis) with futhark supplying transformations from the natural world and the elemental languages from the appropriate elemental plane. I am less sure what to do for the Arcane languages and am slightly worried that any implementation of the two proposed bonuses will be unbalanced.
* Since conversion to spontaneous heals makes less sense in this system I was thinking of having casters gain a pool of d6's that can be used for healing similarly to how a paladin's lay-on-hands works and having the pool increase by d6 d6s each level.
** I want the bonuses to advance by HD so the choice of language doesn't become trivial for melee classes.
Key stat: Upon first taking a casting class a character chooses one mental stat as a key stat; again this choice affects all other casting classes. Each stat has an inherit advantage as listed in the table bellow.
Stat Advantage Intelligence Domain (ability only) Wisdom SR penetration Charisma Bonus to DCsSpoilerThis is a result of me wanting there to be a greater difference between a wis based caster and an int based caster than the stat they're pumping.
I chose for intelligence to receive domains because I wanted to include them somewhere and I felt that int should get the bonus that scales the least since it's already giving extra skill points that can be used to learn more spells. That said I have yet to decide if mages should receive bonus domains for high int.
Mana: Use this mana system, but change all instances of CL (except for spell cost) to levels in casting classes + half levels in non-casting classes.
SpoilerI chose to use this system mainly because it's my favorite system in general, but also because it's easily applied to non-casting classes.
That said I did have one other idea that might be worth mentioning:
Instead of using an expendable resource like mana or spell slots the mage must roll against a spell failure chance that increases every time a spell is cast. The only problem with this system is that I'm not entirely sure how to make it progress with out getting to G.U.R.P.S. like.
Magic points: In addition to skill points a character receives a fixed number of magic points when leveling in a casting class. Magic points are used to level words and spell (schools use normal skill points). Skill points can be used to level spells and words, but they only count as half a magic point each.
Magic classes will probably receive skill and magic points according to the following table:
Class Skill points Magic points* Intuitive Mage 4 4 Learned Mage 2 2 Word Mage 8 3 Rune Mage 6 3SpoilerThe nominal purpose of magic points is to allow non-casting classes to competently advance spells without them being as good or better at it than casters. Schools are left on normal skill points to encourage learned mages to also specialize in some actual spells and they're treated as cross-class for non-casters to prevent a learned mage from grabbing every school and then maxing them as a factotum or rogue, that said, I'll still probably add some in-class restrictions on learning schools (and maybe remove the cross-class thing).
* I'm considering redoing magic points as a multiplier on key stat or int. I say multiplier because I don't want characters to have the number of points available that good mod, on it's own, would provide.
Spells: The spells for this system can be converted from 3.5 by combining series or a group of similar spells into one spell. All Cl dependent effects are determined by ranks and higher versions of the spell can be accessed by higher skill ranks (a mage must pay the appropriate cost for the level of the spell used).
Wands, scrolls and potions must specify the level of the spell used upon creation.
SpoilerI'm toying with the idea of stretching spells out to 10 levels or having the key stat count towards ranks and restoring the +3 that other skills use (though that requires the weird *4 at first level thing and I rather dislike it) to make the math easier.
Concentration: When attacking a mage in the process of casting a spell the attacker rolls a second attack versus a mage's skill in the spell (including there key stat mod) - the level of the spell being cast. On a success the spell is interrupted, but no resources are used. On a critical success the spell is interrupted and the resources are still used up.
Directly opposed spells: Directly opposed spells (like see invisibility and invisibility or mindblank and X mental power) result in opposed skill checks.
The intuitive mage is meant as a sort of parallel to the sorcerer. That is, rather than having a formal education in magic they obtain their power through personal experimentation, non-human ancestry or some combination there of. In terms of spell selection and play style, intuitive mages are meant to focus on a relatively small number of spells and get them to a higher level (the spontaneous vs prepared distinction no longer applies, since everyone casts relatively spontaneously).
Learned mages are meant to replace the wizard. Rather than have a bunch of spells they practice individually they use their general training in the arcane arts to duplicate the effects of a large number of spells but can only get one or two top level spells.
Word mages are meant to be more skill based practitioners of the arts. Their spells are more versatile but less powerful than the spells of the learned and intuitive mages and less enduring and regular than the spells of a rune mage. The fact that their spells only requirement is that they speak the proper words means that they make excellent courtiers (since they have no odd gestures or unpleasant components to hide) and thieves since their spells can be made to fit most situations and they are very hard to render incapable of casting (no components to confiscate and only gags matter in the realm of physical restraints).
Rune mages are meant to fill the role of enchanter, mad tinkerer, rune knight or anything else that's more based on physical objects. Their spells are harder to cast spontaneously but tend to either last longer in a semi-enchantment form or become easily repeated once they're setup. They're meant to be a more naturally gishy class.
Right, that's my basic premise and the ground work I want to use to build the classes, but I thought it would be a good idea to post this on it's own and get it critique so I don't try to build something off of a flawed premise. Any help or criticism would be appreciated as would suggestions for already functional subsystems, especially for wild shape variants and arcane bonuses.
It's also worth mentioning that the first class I'll be making is the Word mage since it seems to involve the least number of moving parts and is likely to result in a playable class for testing in the least amount of time.
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
Right, I Figured I'd list the more normal feats before all the weird classes and schools.
Really I'm just stalling for time in the hopes someone will say something before I begin building stuff... Not that the feats aren't necessary and intended...
Rather than restrict you're occult studies to one language you have studied another related language in-order to gain a better understanding of your art.
Prerequisites: Caster level 3rd, must be fluent in the chosen language.
Benefits: You must choose one language from the same source of magic that you are studying. You may now cast spell written in this language, which among other things means you no-longer require a umd check to use wands and scroll created in the chosen language. You also gain the bonus associated with the chosen language.
Normal: You only gain the bonus from the language chosen when you first take a casting class and you are required to use umd on all wands and scrolls not written in your chosen language, regardless of source.
Special: this feat may be taken multiple times. Each time a new language must be chosen.
You recognize the fact that all magics are inherently similar and have studied other forms in-order to gain insights into your chosen craft.
Prerequisites: Int:10, multi-lingual, caster level 10th, must be fluent in chosen language.
Benefits: As multi-lingual, but you may choose a language from another source.
Normal: You may not cast from more than one source.
note:This does not allow you to treat spell writen in the new source as being from your source for th purpose of umd.
Special: This feat may be taken 1/2 int mod times. Each time a new language must be chosen; it need not be from the same source.
SpoilerThe purpose of these feats is mainly to obviate the need to reall boost umd and to allow casters access to other bonuses (a cleric who can both turn and heal, a wizard who can do X and wild shape). I felt this was somewhat necessary since multi-classing is no longer an option (since they'd use the same language) and I wouldn't be surprised if there were some PrCs that require more than one of the bonuses to qualify. That said I was thinking of requiring a second feat to actually get the bonus (rather than just a break on umd) but I felt that was unnecessary feat tax. I was also considering charging a skillpoint per spell per additional language they want to cast in (one time cost) but I'm not sure there are enough effects that care about what type of magic cast a spell after it's been cast for it to be worth it.