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    Default [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Balancing Magic and the Mundane: The Philosopher’s Stone




    "It brings joy in sorrow, victory in battle, light to darkness, life to the dead...
    that is the power of the blood-red jewel which men honour with the name ‘the Philosopher's Stone.’"

    -- Fullmetal Alchemist


    We’ve all had it. The realization, somewhere along the line, that the rogue wasn’t doing anything your wizard couldn’t replicate with a wand of knock and bag of tricks. That your cleric could support the back rank better by casting summon monster to create a disposable tank than by casting cure wounds to help the fighter tank. That your druid didn’t actually need the rest of the party. Your mundane compatriots noticed that you were way more awesome than they were.

    Somewhere along the line we figured out that in D&D, spellcasters got good a lot faster than martial and skill-based characters did. And if you’re the DM, you tried to figure out what to do about it. For many of you, this led to the conclusion that magic needed to be toned down. Rebalancing a game is difficult alchemy -- some people began experimenting, and created elaborate houserules or even invested years into completely rewriting the game. Others don’t want to spend years at the DM’s workbench, they just want to get on with the game. They're more interested finding the Philosopher’s Stone, a quick fix that makes the impossible, possible. But they aren’t sure exactly what to do to “fix” spellcasting. If you’re in the crowd that’s looking for a magical band-aid (or even the start to a fairly thorough solution) that’s not going to take too much time or be too hard to remember, here it is.


    MAGIC, REMIXED

    What this is: Philosopher's Stone is an errata for the Player’s Handbook. It recognizes that the magic-mundane power gap in D&D 3.5 exists because spellcasters have better things to do with their actions than do mundanes, and it shrinks that gap by reducing the power of spells. It’s also simple, by design. It makes magic a lot less powerful without forcing anyone to learn a lot of stuff. Instead it’s short, sweet, broad in scope, and easy on the brain. There’s little to learn, less to remember, and it’s a snap to use during play. In fact, you can fit the whole thing on a single 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper, print it, and keep it at your gaming table for quick reference. Even “that guy” in your group (you know who I mean) shouldn’t have too much trouble figuring it out.

    What this is not: Philosopher's Stone is not a perfect fix. It makes 3.5’s balance better, but it doesn’t aim for perfect balance. Philosopher's Stone doesn’t address every combo or loophole, and the DM may sometimes need to adjudicate how it impacts a particular spell or effect. Philosopher's Stone is not an overhaul of the entire game, or even a rewrite of individual spells or character classes. This is simple medicine intended to help the patient quickly feel better.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-08 at 03:55 AM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    PHILOSOPHER'S STONE: A MAGIC REMIX

    Apply these adjustments to your Player's Handbook.

    CHAPTER 1: ABILITIES
    Abilities and Spellcasters (p7):
    A high ability score does not grant bonus spells.

    CHAPTER 3: CLASSES
    Spells Per Day (p23):
    Any class whose table indicates that it gains 0 spells per day at a given level gains 1 additional spell per day at every level it is able to cast.

    CHAPTER 5: FEATS
    Metamagic feats (p88):
    Effects that reduce a metamagic feat’s spell level adjustment (or replace it with a different cost) do not stack with one another, and cannot reduce the spell level adjustment below +0.

    CHAPTER 10: MAGIC
    Choosing a Spell (p170):
    A creature can only cast one spell (including spells cast from scrolls) per turn, even if it would otherwise have enough actions available to cast more. Casting a spell as an immediate action counts as a use of a spell for the creature’s next turn.
    Range (p174): Replace the following entries with the text below.
    Close: The spell reaches as far as 20 feet away from you.
    Medium: The spell reaches as far as 50 feet away from you.
    Long: The spell reaches as far as 100 feet away from you.
    Aiming a Spell (p175): Apply the following changes when figuring the area or targets affected by a spell.
    Target or Targets: All spells that affect one or more targets, no two of which can be more than a set distance from one another, have this set distance halved.
    Area: All bursts, cylinders, emanations, spheres, and spreads with a radius of 20 feet or more have their radius halved. All cones, cylinders, and lines with a length or height of 20 feet or more have their length or height halved. All shapeable spells, or spells that affect a number of squares or cubes, provide half as much shapeable area or affect half as many squares or cubes.
    Duration (p176): Apply the following changes when figuring the duration of a spell effect.
    Timed Durations: Durations of 1 minute/level now last 1 minute. Durations of 10 minutes/level now last 10 minutes. Durations of 1 hour/level now last 1 hour. Durations of 1 day/level now last 1 day.
    Spell Resistance (p177): All spells that directly target creatures or that deal energy damage allow spell resistance, regardless of the spell’s Spell Resistance entry.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-08 at 07:44 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Will Philosopher's Stone fix the problems with spell/feat/combo x?

    Nope. This fix works by globally reducing the power of all spellcasting, not by rebalancing individual options. Philosopher's Stone ensures that almost every time a spellcaster spends an action to cast a spell, the character is getting less value for that action and that spell slot than before. Creative players will still be able to create optimized characters or even create broken or abusive combos. If you think your game needs a banlist to prevent this behavior, go ahead and write one, and use Philosopher's Stone with it too. There's no reason you can't have the best of both worlds.

    2. Why doesn't Philosopher's Stone fix underpowered/overpowered class x?

    Philosopher's Stone's scope is strictly limited to spells, in order to keep it short, lightweight and easy to use. However, it's true that a great many classes in the game don't work as well as the designers had hoped. If you're interested in boosting these classes, have a look at my class remixes, which present more effective alternatives to the existing class roles, in the flavor and style of the originals. You can also use your own homebrewed classes; it won't hurt my feelings.

    3. Wouldn't Philosopher's Stone do its job better if it used [exotic system variant x] instead of the normal rules?

    No. The goal of this supplement is not to change the game in a fundamental way, but to improve game balance while leaving the game experience fundamentally the same. That being said, however, if you want to implement some game-altering experimental rules, there's no reason you can't use Philosopher's Stone at the same time. Voids the warranty, though.

    4. Hey! How can your fix work when it doesn't limit strong spell x or nerfs weak spell y?

    Spells with an instantaneous duration or a personal/touch range are less affected by Philosopher's Stone than spells that have standard ranges and affect multiple creatures for a duration. This means that sometimes a strong spell may be nerfed slightly or not at all, while a weak spell may be nerfed more substantially by comparison. This does not impact the effectiveness of Philosopher's Stone -- remember, the goal is to globally reduce in the power of spellcasters, not to nerf strong spells (although you can do that on your own if you like).

    However, you will find that the relative usefulness between spells has changed. Some spells that you liked may now seem not worth casting. Others that you had previously dismissed may seem more attractive by comparison. Under Philosopher's Stone, you might find yourself casting summon monster III where you previously preferred fireball, or preparing orb of fire instead of orb of force. Rest assured that there are still plenty of good spells to choose from.

    Under the Hood
    Generally speaking, the balance problems between spellcasting and mundane classes can be classified as too much, too many, or too often.

    Spells generally do too much when compared to the options available to non-spellcasting characters. They make success too reliable, last too long, affect too many targets and do things that are too powerful to those targets. With over a thousand spells in print for D&D 3.5, it’s not possible to adjust the effects of individual spells in a one-page fix. However, it’s easy to adjust the impact all spells have by reducing range, duration, area, and the stacking of metamagic “reducers”, and by tightening the rules on spell resistance. A caster will now more often be unable to affect a target because the target is out of range or because he can’t penetrate its spell resistance. Spells that do work will affect fewer targets or influence less of the battlefield, and spells with a duration will end much sooner, providing their benefits for fewer encounters per day. The end result is that most spells will have a smaller impact on gameplay.

    Spellcasters are theoretically limited by the need to hoard their daily supply of spells and by their inability to know or have prepared all the spells they might want. However, it’s commonly accepted that spellcasters have too many spells and too many options when selecting their available spells. Limiting the spells a spellcaster can know is beyond the scope of this remix. However, it’s simple to limit a spellcaster’s daily spells by reducing spell durations and eliminating the bonus spells for high ability scores (but refunding some spells to classes that needed bonus spells to function properly). Reducing duration tightens a spellcaster’s spell budget because key buff spells must be recast more often, expending valuable spell slots.

    Experienced players often speak about action economy in high-level play, which is the ability to take more than one action per round. Spellcasters typically cast too often at high levels, and can often start an encounter with a “nova” of high-value actions that mundanes can’t match. Restricting spellcasting to once per round and reducing daily spells and the stacking of metamagic “reducers” chisels away at this problem; novas become more difficult to pull off, smaller and less effective, and consume more of the character’s daily resources. Reduced duration offers relief as well, because a caster who can’t “buff up” extensively before entering a dangerous area may prefer to begin combat with a defensive or buffing spell rather than an offensive combo.

    Conclusion
    Philosopher’s Stone is a magic remix intended to quickly and easily improve game balance. It narrows the gap between magic and the mundane by limiting the power of spells and the characters who use them. While it won’t solve every balance problem at your table, it will make your job as DM easier. I hope you enjoy it.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-14 at 01:26 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I'd go a bit further with some things if I were you. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    CHAPTER 5: FEATS
    Metamagic feats (p88):
    Effects that reduce a metamagic feat’s spell level adjustment (or replace it with a different cost) do not stack with one another, and cannot reduce the spell level adjustment below +0.
    It would be more of a big deal if metamagic reducers couldn't reduce any given metamagic feat's spell slot adjustment below +1, meaning that a spell with two +X slot adjusting metamagic feats can never go below +2 no matter how hard a Wizard tries.

    Choosing a Spell (p170):[/b] A creature can only cast one spell per turn, even if it would otherwise have enough actions available to cast more. Casting a spell as an immediate action counts as a use of a spell for the creature’s next turn.
    This seems a little excessive. Clearly it is effective, but it sort of goes against the grain of a lot of the reason for many spells and effects to exist, not to mention common sense and fantasy staples.

    Target or Targets: All spells that affect one or more targets, no two of which can be more than a set distance from one another, have this set distance halved.
    Easier and more effective to add the blanket ruling, "no two of which can be more than 15ft apart from one another," to all spells with more than one target (but not area spells), which could then be modified by metamagic feats, etc.

    Area: All bursts, cylinders, emanations, spheres, and spreads with a radius of 20 feet or more have their radius halved. All cones, cylinders, and lines with a length or height of 20 feet or more have their length or height halved. All shapeable spells, or spells that affect a number of squares or cubes, provide half as much shapeable area or affect half as many squares or cubes.
    Best to simply halve the affected areas of all spells. As written this leaves 20ft areas alone (often much larger than a warrior could hope to affect) but reduces 30ft areas to 15ft. Makes more sense to hit all spells equally.

    Spell Resistance (p177): All spells that directly target creatures or that deal energy damage allow spell resistance, regardless of the spell’s Spell Resistance entry.
    I definitely think it's much better to rule that all spells are subject to spell resistance. In the case of spells that do not target or deal damage to creatures, a spell penetration check is required when the creature "interacts" with the spell effect (similarly to how a Will Disbelief save is entitled to a creature that interacts with an illusion), failure of which indicates that the creature with SR ignores the spell effect entirely (including total immunity to attacks by summoned creatures and freedom from other conjured substances like grease or web).

    Otherwise, your adjustments work well enough.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-08-08 at 05:02 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Huh... you do realize that when it comes down to it, this ' Nerf ' really only hurts blasting casters. So congratulations, you've done nothing to fix the problem spells, and made one archetype practically even worse. Good job.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    The only potential problems I see are the spells like the polymorphs and wish, or similar cheesey spells. They're not really effected.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    Huh... you do realize that when it comes down to it, this ' Nerf ' really only hurts blasting casters. So congratulations, you've done nothing to fix the problem spells, and made one archetype practically even worse. Good job.
    Ignoring divination for the moment (which is a bit of an issue, I admit), I'm not sure why you say this. Buff spells are dramatically affected, as are a large number of utility spells. How is this not nerfing non-blasters?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    Huh... you do realize that when it comes down to it, this ' Nerf ' really only hurts blasting casters. So congratulations, you've done nothing to fix the problem spells, and made one archetype practically even worse. Good job.
    Actually, this fix does a bit more than that (quite a bit more):
    • In order to rain arcane/divine death from above while flying about, this alternate forces casters to be within range of most ranged/thrown weapons (instead of letting loose save-or-dies from 1000+ feet in the air).
    • The spell/round restriction nerfs quicken spell and the entire series of celerity spells (and, depending on how you define rounds, timestop).
    • The series of tried-and-true buffs that currently let a wizard remain invisible, flying, stoneskinned, energy resistant, and so forth now have crippled durations (although no ban to persistant spell may make it all for naught...)


    This fix doesn't fix the innately broken things that magic can be used to accomplish (ruining economies, infinite wish loops, polymorph madness, ruining all mystery through divination) but what it does do is soften what casters are capable of actually doing on the battlefield.

    Although I appreciate the benefit of brevity, there are 2 points that I'd like to make, however:
    1. As Ziegander said, I'd reduce the minimum bonus of a metamagic feat to +1 unless already lower. Although I'm glad that metamagic reducers can't stack, people are still bound to find hideous abuses if there isn't some more solid cap on the number that can be applied.
    2. Where to spell-activation and spell-completion items fit into your one-spell-per-round model? What about contingent spells and contingency effects? From what I've heard, a rather large part of being a tippy-verse wizard involves using your 21 contingent effects (20 contingent spells + 1 contingency casting) to prepare for literally anything.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I agree with you that it does affect those, it hurts the weakest part of casting the most. That's what I see as the main problem with this. It may harm other parts of a Spell caster's arsenal, but it still hurts Blasting the most. That's the problem that I see very commonly in Magic fixes.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    It would be more of a big deal if metamagic reducers couldn't reduce any given metamagic feat's spell slot adjustment below +1, meaning that a spell with two +X slot adjusting metamagic feats can never go below +2 no matter how hard a Wizard tries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    As Ziegander said, I'd reduce the minimum bonus of a metamagic feat to +1 unless already lower. Although I'm glad that metamagic reducers can't stack, people are still bound to find hideous abuses if there isn't some more solid cap on the number that can be applied.
    I'm open too this idea, but imposing a +1 minimum would mean that any +1 metamagic could never be reduced. Since most of the +1 metamagics are quite weak (only extend and sculpt are really all that good), I'm reluctant to do that. What sort of abuses are you expecting that would justify the loss of the ability to reduce a +1 adjustment to +0?

    As an aside, bumping Extend to a +2 adjustment could even be called-for when using Philosopher's Stone, but I omitted that because the design intent was to modify the rules as a whole, rather than spot-weld individual classes, feats, or spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Best to simply halve the affected areas of all spells. As written this leaves 20ft areas alone (often much larger than a warrior could hope to affect) but reduces 30ft areas to 15ft. Makes more sense to hit all spells equally.
    This affects 20 ft areas. I set that as the lower limit because halving a 15-ft dimension on a grid of 5-ft squares produces a 5-ft dimension (15/2=7.5, rounded down to the nearest 5ft increment), which effectively reduces cone and line areas to single-target touch spells. That didn't feel right to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by byaku rai View Post
    The only potential problems I see are the spells like the polymorphs and wish, or similar cheesey spells. They're not really effected.
    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    This fix doesn't fix the innately broken things that magic can be used to accomplish (ruining economies, infinite wish loops, polymorph madness, ruining all mystery through divination) but what it does do is soften what casters are capable of actually doing on the battlefield.
    This is true to an extent. But I think it's inevitably the nature of the beast. I wanted Philosopher's Stone to be an offering that the whole community could appreciate and use, and the community doesn't agree on which spells are broken, let alone how they should all be fixed. Thus, I had to avoid the temptation to modify individual spells.

    I'll mention, however, that Philosopher's Stone does limit a number of abuse-prone spells. A wizard casting shapechange, for example, now turns into an ungodly encounter-wrecking monstrosity for 10 minutes, rather than three hours (and can no longer cast two spells per round by turning into a choker). You can still drop a dragon with a spectral hand and a shivering touch, but now you can't cast both of these spells in the same round by quickening one of them.

    Another aside: some DMs might consider Quicken Spell to be worth only a +3 metamagic adjustment when used with Philosopher's Stone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    ...although no ban to persistant spell may make it all for naught...
    Philosopher's Stone is compatible with any and all banlists that a DM might wish to employ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Where to spell-activation and spell-completion items fit into your one-spell-per-round model?
    PH142 under Activating a Magic Item, "Activating a spell completion item, such as a scroll, is the equivalent of casting a spell." Spell trigger, command word, and use-activated items are considered as separate, distinct actions. Thus, spell completion items would fit into the one-spell-per-round model, but other sorts of items would not. Good catch. I'll update the OP accordingly. This would certainly increase the relative value of potions, staves, and wands in combat. I'd tentatively say that's a good thing, as such items tend to be underused and spellcasters tend to have extra WBL lying around that needs to be drained off anyhow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    What about contingent spells and contingency effects? From what I've heard, a rather large part of being a tippy-verse wizard involves using your 21 contingent effects (20 contingent spells + 1 contingency casting) to prepare for literally anything.
    The triggering of a contingency spell or an effect created by Craft Contingent Item would not count as the casting of a spell, because the 1-per-round hurdle was already met when the contingency was first cast). A DM is of course free to nerf or ban Craft Contingent Spell as he wishes. Philosopher's Stone is generalized enough to play nice with almost any sort of banlist or feat nerf.

    I want to underline again what Philosopher's Stone does and does not do. It reduces the power gap between spellcasters and nonspellcasters by globally reducing the power of spells. It is not a series of spot fixes. Spot fixes are dependent on the tastes and needs of individual DMs and campaigns, so I leave them to the individual DM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    It still hurts Blasting the most.
    I'm unsure where you're getting this impression. Since most blasting spells have durations of instantaneous or 1 round/level, they almost completely dodge the duration nerf. The range nerf doesn't reduce damage. And while the area nerf hits AoE blasting hard, it hits battlefield control even harder, and it doesn't affect single-target blasting at all. Broader spell resistance hurts blasting, but also hurts debuffing and enchant/domination strategies. The restriction on spells per round, and metamagic cost reduction affects all casting styles equally, and RoC has already observed that spell trigger items and contingent spells can be used to mitigate the impact.

    I would agree that blasting is usually one of the weakest casting styles available to spellcasters, and Philosopher's Stone does nothing to correct this, but every casting style faces significant limitations under this adaptation.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-08 at 06:23 PM.
    3.5 Homebrew: Remixes to rebalance nearly every base class, all in the authentic flavor of the originals.
    Tier 1 casters breaking your game? Remix your magic with Philosopher's Stone, or try these flavorful mid-tier classes instead: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!


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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Ignore this post.
    You can delete posts by going into edit and selecting the delete post option above the post.

    This seems viable enough. Personally, I prefer the craziness that is spellcasting right now to what this offers, but I can see a lot of people using this for an easy fix.
    Last edited by Temotei; 2011-08-08 at 07:19 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    @Jiriku: What's your stance on my "spell resistance always applies" idea?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    To me, removing the bonus spells from high ability scores seems enough on the 'too much magic' front, to the point where you don't necessarily need the 1 spell per turn clause. If you don't have spells to burn, you're going to think more carefully about novaing then you did when you had so many.

    It kinda makes Quicken the territory of gishes, particularly Swiftblades, too, as normal full casters now have no reason to really use their swift actions unless they really need their full round action for something (running away, probably). I suppose having it so you can use expendable items may be in and it is kinda nice to give reason for casters to go back to picking up staffs and wands. Arcane Fusion is still open as well, though I'm actually fine with that, as Sorcerers having nice things over Wizards does bring a bit of a smile to my face. "Where's your Quickened spells now, Library Hauler?! "
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    @Jiriku: What's your stance on my "spell resistance always applies" idea?
    This would reduce the power of spellcasting. How would it work in practice? For example, let's say I'm a cleric with divine power and righteous might, protected by freedom of movement. If spell resistance applies to every spell, does that mean I need a spell penetration check to apply my strength enhancement to damage? Do I need to check to use my temporary hit points to absorb an attack from a spell-resistant creature? Can this creature (but no others) grapple me if its spell resistance breaks my freedom of movement? Can entangle me with a tanglefoot bag? If I'm grappling it, would I need to check spell resistance to claim my size bonus to grapple checks? Say I have 15 personal buffs on me, and am facing a group of spell-resistant creatures. Do I need to check spell resistance for every spell x every creature as each one interacts with me in turn?

    Philosopher's Stone is useful because it's highly streamlined and lightweight. I could add your suggestion in, but only if we can find a way to implement it that's easy to use and remember.

    As an additional concern, say I'm a wizard facing a magic-immune creature like a golem. How will I contribute to the combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cieyrin View Post
    To me, removing the bonus spells from high ability scores seems enough on the 'too much magic' front, to the point where you don't necessarily need the 1 spell per turn clause. If you don't have spells to burn, you're going to think more carefully about novaing then you did when you had so many.
    If you use Philosopher's Stone and you think that approach is best for your campaign, go ahead! Bear in mind though, that the one-per-round limit isn't just to limit novas. It makes all sorts of combos more challenging to build, and globally reduces the value of immediate- and swift-action spells, even for spellcasters who aren't interested in a spell nova. It also strengthens the paradigm that one spell is the equivalent of one full attack. And it makes staves, which are usually considered overpriced, much more attractive.

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    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-09 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I think this works very well and is much easier than the fix I am attempting (and need to get back to working on) in the form of my Magus class. There will always be spells such as wish that are overpowered, but once a DM pulls out a ban-list to add to this, this is probably the best way to nerf spellcasters without using homebrew classes.
    Limiting spellcasters to one spell per round is an interesting way of doing things, but also eliminates some spell combinations. May I suggest that instead of limiting spells cast to one per turn, that maybe if you cast two spells in a round you must expend an additional spell slot (or additional spell points if you use that system) as the price.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    This would reduce the power of spellcasting. How would it work in practice? For example, let's say I'm a cleric with divine power and righteous might, protected by freedom of movement. If spell resistance applies to every spell, does that mean I need a spell penetration check to apply my strength enhancement to damage? Do I need to check to use my temporary hit points to absorb an attack from a spell-resistant creature? Can this creature (but no others) grapple me if its spell resistance breaks my freedom of movement? Can entangle me with a tanglefoot bag? If I'm grappling it, would I need to check spell resistance to claim my size bonus to grapple checks? Say I have 15 personal buffs on me, and am facing a group of spell-resistant creatures. Do I need to check spell resistance for every spell x every creature as each one interacts with me in turn?
    Self buffs wouldn't ever require spell penetration checks unless you have spell resistance. The idea would be something along the lines of,

    "A creature with spell resistance is sometimes able to ignore spell effects that it interacts with. To interact with a spell the creature must either be targeted by it, be within its area of effect, or touch the spell's effect in some way. Conjured creatures and objects are considered spell effects. When a creature with SR interacts with a spell the caster must succeed on a spell penetration check against the creature's SR. If this check fails the spell effect is unable to influence the creature in any way."

    A bit wordy. Anyway, the caster only makes spell penetration checks when the creature interacts with a spell effect. Since a creature cannot interact with a buff spell (it can touch you but it can't touch the magic affecting you) self buffs would never need to penetrate a creature's SR.

    As an additional concern, say I'm a wizard facing a magic-immune creature like a golem. How will I contribute to the combat?
    Arguably, you'd contribute the same way the designers intended for you to contribute: buff your allies and pray. Yes, this makes those encounters more challenging, but it's better than the Wizard casting Grease and calling it a day.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Since a creature cannot interact with a buff spell (it can touch you but it can't touch the magic affecting you) self buffs would never need to penetrate a creature's SR.
    How would that work with buffs like fire shield that have an offensive component? And how do you classify what is and is not "interaction"? When considering illusions, making an attack against an illusion or touching it has usually been considered interaction. I am loathe to create two competing definitions of a term that the designers themselves didn't define clearly.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    How would that work with buffs like fire shield that have an offensive component? And how do you classify what is and is not "interaction"? When considering illusions, making an attack against an illusion or touching it has usually been considered interaction. I am loathe to create two competing definitions of a term that the designers themselves didn't define clearly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    To interact with a spell the creature must either be targeted by it, be within its area of effect, or touch the spell's effect in some way. Conjured creatures and objects are considered spell effects.
    1) There's how I already classified exactly what is interaction. Anything not called out there isn't interaction.

    2) Fire Shield specifically calls out that SR applies to it, so it's special. Moreover, the spell effect is a wreath of flames, which are described as either warm or cold to the touch, so even if it didn't specify that SR applied it still would apply to creatures that touch the flames (AKA creatures that strike you with non-reach melee attacks).

    EDIT: What this means is that to deal the energy damage to a creature you must overcome its SR with a spell penetration check. It also means that you do not need to overcome a creature's SR when they attempt to deal energy damage to you from which Fire Shield is protecting you unless they're dealing that energy damage to you as part of a non-reach melee attack.

    3) My definition of interaction encompasses the illusion definition of interaction, as well as including more aspects. I don't understand your confusion.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-08-10 at 12:38 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I guess the source of my uneasiness is that your suggestion exceeds the design intent of spell resistance. P299 in the DMG goes to great lengths to limit the applicability to spell resistance against spells that work on the environment or on a third party, especially those that have instantaneous effects. The Law of Unintended Consequences (A.K.A. the Law of Murphy Laughing At Me) makes it likely that changing a fundamental assumption of the game will destabilize other mechanics, like a house of cards that's had a component removed.

    For example, if spell resistance is universally applicable, then a PC wearing armor of spell resistance must check SR before he can climb atop a wall of stone, see in the light cast by a daylight spell, or pick up an item created through minor creation. It seems possible that this might raise many questions where the player will have to ask the DM "do I have to check SR when I do this?" I don't want to include anything in Philosopher's Stone that might give the DM a headache or force a flurry of ad-hoc decisions that might come back to haunt the poor DM later.

    Does that make sense?
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-10 at 05:13 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    For example, if spell resistance is universally applicable, then a PC wearing armor of spell resistance must check SR before he can climb atop a wall of stone, see in the light cast by a daylight spell, or pick up an item created through minor creation. It seems possible that this might raise many questions where the player will have to ask the DM "do I have to check SR when I do this?" I don't want to include anything in Philosopher's Stone that might give the DM a headache or force a flurry of ad-hoc decisions that might come back to haunt the poor DM later.
    All true and good points.

    Does that make sense?
    Yeah, makes sense.

    Since SR is a pretty clunky mechanic in the first place, it's actually worth (not for The Philosopher's Stone) rewriting it altogether in many ways. Simply being able to voluntarily turn SR on or off as a free action and for as long as a creature wished would solve many issues, and making sure it always applied as outlined above would solve many more. Then making SR more widespread, more easily obtainable, and more easily buffed would help tremendously.
    Last edited by Ziegander; 2011-08-10 at 05:31 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziegander View Post
    Since SR is a pretty clunky mechanic in the first place, it's actually worth (not for The Philosopher's Stone) rewriting it altogether in many ways. Simply being able to voluntarily turn SR on or off as a free action and for as long as a creature wished would solve many issues, and making sure it always applied as outlined above would solve many more. Then making SR more widespread, more easily obtainable, and more easily buffed would help tremendously.
    Absolutely. When I write SR into a homebrew class, I always add a caveat to it to eliminate all those "gotcha" issues. And the DMG's prices for adding SR to armor are... very silly.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-11 at 05:07 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I'd argue that armour bonuses and stuff probably should be cancelled or ignored by creatures with SR. It just kind of makes sense that things that are resistant to magic would be harder to low down with fields of force

    Perhaps active effects simply "Take 10" meaning that they work as long as you're not facing something that's outclassing you?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Intuitively, that makes sense. I get a nice visual in my head of the mage's face twisting in dismay when a spell-resistant demon bypasses his armor to strike him. But there are, like, four spells in the whole game that offer an armor bonus, and they're all named either "mage armor" or "luminous armor". Is it really worth creating a blanket rule for every player to remember, just to nerf four spells that really don't have much impact to begin with?

    What I was really tempted to do was to make a small banlist of all the spells that reduce spell resistance, so that when facing a spell-resistant creature, the caster is force to deal with it rather than flicking out assay spell resistance as a swift action and then going about his business. However, that led me down the rabbit hole of having to list every spell that reduced SR, including some that did other interesting things, and then having to consider magic items and feats that reduced SR... ultimately I felt that it didn't pass the litmus test of "improved gameplay" exceeding "increased rules burden". The one-spell-per-round limit also came to the rescue by forcing a caster who casts assay spell resistance to wait until the following round to cast another spell. A lot can happen in a round.
    Last edited by jiriku; 2011-08-11 at 09:09 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    perhaps just add a proviso on "Pierce Magical Protections" that allows those with SR to use it as a conventional attack rather than a Standard action would do the same job
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    That could work quite well. Attaching it to an offensive feat places the burden of understanding and remembering the rule on the player (or DM!) who's receiving the benefit of the rule -- someone who won't mind memorizing it because they're directly receiving the benefit.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    I truly feel this does more to hurt a lot of balanced options than what's actually problematic. Heck, most of the overpowered bits are still there, and without bonus spells there's even a greater incentive to use them. This also encourages parties to have shorter workdays, since spells are rarer.

    You could literally double or triple the amount of spells a caster can cast per day if you got rid of the spells that were actually problematic. Outside of that there's no quick fix.

    Another way to go about it would be to buff the Tier 4 or 5 classes -- honestly that should be part of any fix. A Fighter is still a terrible class with these changes.
    Last edited by Drachasor; 2011-08-11 at 01:38 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Although the limitation on metamagic feat reducers makes some combos less effective (such as a Maximized, Empowered, Twinned, Split Ray Enervation through Arcane Thesis and Incantatrix), it still allows those metamagic combos to exist. Psionics hit it right, to an extent, by limiting the amount of metamagic feats through the psionic focus requirement. Thus, while a power could be Maximized OR Empowered, it can't be Maximized AND Empowered unless you really go ahead on feat choices. The fact that I can still, to an extent, keep that combo but require a much higher spell slot, really doesn't do more than delay the accessibility of the improved spell.

    The problem spells are really there (Gate, Wish, Miracle, Shapechange), although a bit of progress has been dealt regarding their duration. Still, there should be some spells that last for a while and some spells with a reduced duration (Mage Armor, for example, only adds a +4 to AC, so making it last only an hour will reduce its potential at higher levels; then again, you really don't need Mage Armor that much on later levels, so having a +4 armor bonus to AC for more than an hour really doesn't do much).

    I find it hurts gishes a bit more than spellcasters (including partial spellcasters) because while the latter can get enough spell slots, the former need the bonus spells to be worthwhile. Certainly, a wizard with about 2 1st level spells at 1st level plus all 0-level spells might not seem like a challenge at first, but a 9th level one with the cascading amount of spells they have might (since they'd get about 5 extra spells total, perhaps 6 because of the second 1st level slot); however, a paladin limited to a single 1st level spell slot until 13th level really hurts a lot. Sure, you can use the remixed Knight-Paladin, but for those who don't, it'll hurt. It'll hurt more to know that you'll have very few spell slots available until you reach around 15th level, in which you'll suddenly have a bigger amount of spell slots as they gain 1 or 2 extra slots per level. That should be one thing to consider, because it also applies to those characters who get a delayed amount of spells. The Bard really gonna get hurt because of this, for example, because it's gonna make their Charisma less useful, and they are essentially 2/3rd partial spellcasters but not to the extent Tier 1 classes are, even with their bonus spell slots. Someone with Charisma 16 will get the same slots as one with Charisma 22, save for 2 less slots at 1st and 2nd level. Bonus spell slots exist for a reason, one beyond legacy; to provide more power to the specified spell slot.

    Third...I dunno, but this sounds far too much like a pitch for your remixes. One thing is true; there is no consensus over which spells have to be fixed, so a community effort to fix spellcasting is beyond the grasp of any single 'brewer. Still, you could really try to do it in a way that has a degree of compatibility that doesn't depend so much on other particular brands of homebrewing, because there will be something lost if the system is taken by bits instead of as a whole (which is why going with something like fixing magic is like making a new system; you and I should strongly consider giving a defined name to the accumulation of 'brews because that's exactly what we're going into, just in case). No fix for magic is simple, but regardless of whether it's simple or not, suggesting other parts of your homebrew should be a footnote rather than a selling point. Between the sig and the two links right at the end (which are more of a conclusion rather than a footnote), that'd be three pitches, and the tone of the discussion is like "this is good, not enough, but if you want the complete thing go get this". Perhaps it's me, but if I were someone interested in using this fix and other bits of homebrew, I'd like to have the poster know that it can exist as a stand-alone product. An addendum on how the product can co-exist with your other homebrew products would be a better way to pitch your stuff without making it seem like a crucial point of the fix, for otherwise you'd be selling an incomplete product, catch my drift?
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by Drachasor View Post
    I truly feel this does more to hurt a lot of balanced options than what's actually problematic. Heck, most of the overpowered bits are still there, and without bonus spells there's even a greater incentive to use them.
    Could you give some specific examples of this? From my perspective, it couldn't be less true, so you're obviously seeing something I'm not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drachasor View Post
    Another way to go about it would be to buff the Tier 4 or 5 classes -- honestly that should be part of any fix. A Fighter is still a terrible class with these changes.
    I probably seem like a broken record, but there's really no reason why someone couldn't use both Philosopher's Stone and a set of homebrew class fixes for martial and skill monkey classes. One does not preclude the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    stuff
    There's some good criticism here. I think part of the problem here is that I'm just not being clear enough about what this fix is and what it isn't, and I'm not directly addressing how it can be used in conjunction with other types of fixes. I've added an F.A.Q. to address some of these concerns more directly. I'm thinking about how to address the different types of homebrew. I see what you mean about how the different types aren't clear in people's minds, and we're in need of some convenient terms and labels to show people how different tools are for different purposes, and how the tools all fit together.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    however, a paladin limited to a single 1st level spell slot until 13th level really hurts a lot.
    This would be true if correct. However, a paladin receives one bonus spell at each level he can cast under this system, and is not limited as you describe. Ditto for bard, ranger, and similar casters.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Dang, that is a pretty simple fix list. I like that you basically sai, "so bards, paladins, and rangers (and similar classes) all get more spells per day because screw wizards, other people should have nice things too." Combined with the loss of bonus spells, it really narrows the gap, for Bards at least. I suddenly want to go book diving to see what other classes it would apply to.

    Shortened and static ranges will really hurt, and are basically the biggest part of this fix. It's a heck of a lot harder to control the battlefield from perfect safety when you're within charging range and you can only hit half the targets. They'll also make Enlarge and Extend spell matter a heck of a lot more, which is nice. Good stuff.

    Regarding metamagic reduction: I've always thought the problem with metamagic reduction was that it's interpreted in the most advantageous way possible. If you just change it so that all metamagic reducers are applied after the total, rather than multiplying them through every single feat (and keeping a minimum +1 adjustment), it shouldn't get that bad. Metamagic stacking is cool and I like having it around, and think this method would make it work.

    As for spells per turn: it's harsh, draconian, cuts out a ton of staple game elements, and is basically the only way to make sure something can't be abused, So it's probably a good idea. Quicken Spell is an an element that just screams "DnD" to me and I don't think it's nearly as good as some people do, but if you have those people at your table then it's got to go. Since I'm a sorcerer fan I'd leave Arcane Fusion alone though. It's technically one spell even if it's creating two effects, and no matter what general fixes are in play, the sorcerer starts out below the wizard.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Magic Remix: The Philosopher's Stone

    Quote Originally Posted by jiriku View Post
    Could you give some specific examples of this? From my perspective, it couldn't be less true, so you're obviously seeing something I'm not.
    Like the other guy said, this hurts gishes or any partial casters (bards, paladins, etc). All those classes are fine (or even weak).

    It does basically nothing for a ton of overpowered spells. Ray of Stupidity can end combat for anything that's stupid in one round, no save (like Purple Worms). That's still here. Other spells that ignore hit points and just take guys out are still here.

    Powerful divinations, and other options to decide the terms of engagement, one of the most powerful abilities of casters, are still perfectly fine.

    Further, this really hurt a TON of legitimate spells. Fireball is decidedly NOT overpowered, but it gets the nerf hammer. Mage Armor is fine, but it gets the nerf hammer. Buffing allies with Haste or the like, one of the most friendly ways for a caster to play? NERFED. Anyone wanting to use casters in the ways that were fine before, gets nerfed.

    There's a ton of friendly fire with this "fix" and not a lot of things that are problematic really get addressed.

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