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    Default [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    RogueNewb’s Skill-based Casting Fix

    First: I have to acknowledge before I discuss the idea, that there are a couple of fundamental hurdles with this system, and for some of them, I don’t have a good solution. The most notable of these problems are the “Sorcerer Problem” and the “Skimming Problem”. I’ll talk about them in depth when the time comes, but at the moment, I’ll summarize by saying this: the system hurts tier 2 non-INT casters too much, and it’s really hard to know what skills you are going to need in advance without major planning and study on the player’s part.

    Alright, on with the show. The basic problem with casters, particularly tier 1 casters, in 3.P is that they get awesome, super powerful abilities as spells. Spells have very, very low opportunity cost. The example we’re going to talk about is Polymorph, because it is royally, inarguable powerful, without seeming like stupid cheese, and it’s core. Polymorph is a 4th level spell for wizards/sorcerers. For wizards, the cost of choosing to use polymorph is very low, and the opportunity cost is almost trivial (op cost=the value of the highest value thing you can no longer obtain, because you chose what you chose). A wizard gets 4 level 4 spells known at level up. These are literally free. Polymorph, an ability that would make an amazing PrC mid or capstone ability, one that people are always building whole homebrew classes around, they get for free, while still being a total wizard! Even if they don’t add it to the spellbook, scribing it only costs 750 gold, way too cheap, about the same as a wand of cure light wounds.

    The fix: up the opportunity costs on spells. How to do that? A lot of people seem to like spellcraft as a fixing tool. Here’s the problem: yes, requiring 15+sl (spell level) or 15+2xsl or whatever helps, but it doesn’t help enough. Between INT scaling and max ranks into spellcraft, specialization bonuses, and some really cheap skill boosters, Wizards never have to worry about the system, but it makes other casters weaker. Rule 1 of homebrew balancing: If your thing makes wizards look better than other casters scrap it and try again, you failed. But I liked skills. Skills are cool, and they are wildly underused by the current system. Skill tricks are cool, but do they really matter for most classes? I dawdled for a long time. For a while I was having wizards use spellcraft to prep slots (so any given day there 5-10% short on spells) clerics using diplomacy, and druids survival. This…was bland. It was just me removing a couple of spells per day from the casters, yawn. Then I tried skill checks to beat a save of the target to get the spell to stick. Like to charm someone I had to beat 10+their will save mod with my spellcraft check, if I did, they then got a will save to resist. This was weird. Fun fact, it makes super high HD/cr monsters immune to spells! It also makes monsters who have low HD but high non-save defenses trivial, like golems and such, so this system just doesn’t work.

    Finally, inspiration struck in the form of Astral Caravan. For those of you who aren’t aware, astral caravan is a psionic power that approximates plane shift at power level 3. Now, to balance this earlier plane shift, they made it so that getting where you are going requires skill checks based on Knowledge(the planes) a skill that doesn’t normally have a lot of text to it. My first jump was to teleport. What if I did the same to teleport? Know(geo) has even less text, and it was more satisfying and interesting than that damn random mishap table. Plus, I wouldn’t have really focused, highly PrCed wizards just randomly learning teleport along the way in their careers. I tested it in a campaign I was running (I made it into a minigame, as you can see below). The player who cast it had fun pitting their INT score and handful of ranks in Know(geo) against the clock. He had 9 rounds to roll seven 30s on know(geo), and it came down to the last round to pull it off. Best part? The whole rest of the party had fun watching. And afterwards he said the thing that made it all click: “Next level I was going to put all my points into craft(weaving) so I could go into War Weaver, but I gotta hold off so I can bump this teleport check for later!” DING DING! Suddenly teleport had an opportunity cost. If I did this to a bunch of spells, then wizards couldn’t master all the great spells they wanted to master! They’d have to work it out to actually pick and choose, thus lowering overall power. The system listed here developed from that idea, with healthy suggestions and advice from friends. Note: playtesting has been fairly limited. Teleport, Polymorph, Summon Monster X and Grease are the only spells with a reasonable amount of play testing so far.

    The Big Reveal

    Races:

    Elves gain “Arcane Study: Elves gain 1 extra skill rank per level that grants spellcasting. This ranks can only be spent on skills listed as the Skill Component for spells they know.”

    Gnomes gain “Trivial Study: Gnomes may attempt the skill requirements of illusion and enchantment spells as if they had half their character level ranks in those skills. This allows them to use these skills untrained.”

    Dwarves gain “Rigorous Devotion: Dwarves gain +2 on skill checks for the skill component of spells granted by domains of the deity Moradin (or other appropriate racial diety by setting), even if those spells are being cast as normal cleric spells, or even arcane spells.”

    These kind of abilities, particularly the first one, would be given out whenever a race wanted to be demonstrated as “spellcaster-y”. Plus, boosts to some other wise weakish races.

    Classes: Tier one casters receive the least changes. Wizards are unchanged, they can make the system work with 7+ skill points a level. It reinforces their status as masters of studying magic. Druids have a strangely focused spell list, and a lot of their spells ended up on the same 3 or 4 skills, combined with their natural 4 skill points, and druids may wish to spend a point or two more on INT, but are otherwise fine. The most interesting effect is clerics. Clerics get this whole mega caster and mega warrior for free thing. After the change, many of the combat buff spells don’t get Skills, and most of the broken power spells do. This lets clerics and cloistered clerics drift apart a bit. Clerics are now almost paladins in feel and role, and cloistered clerics almost wizards. Cool effect, I’m happy with it.

    Tier two casters, sorcerer, favored soul, and (possible spirit shaman, this guy is tricky all over the place) all gain the following ability at level 2: “Skillcasting: Whenever you add a spell with a skill component to your list of spells known, its skill becomes a class skill for you at any level in which your casting for this class advances. In addition, you may add your ˝ your CHA modifier, rounded down, as a bonus to all checks with this skill if you have at least 2 skill ranks in this skill.” At levels 3, 7, 11, 15 and 19 they gain ”Bonus feat: Choose a spell you know with a skill component. You gain Skill Focus in that spell’s linked skill as a bonus feat. You may take [any of the +2/+2 skill feats] instead.”

    The three spontaneous sorcerers (warmage, dread necromancer, and beguiler) gain at level 2: “Master of Focus: Get a bonus equal to your caster level+your DC modifier stat on all skill checks you make as part of casting a spell (this doesn’t apply to concentration checks made to cast defensively or overcome distractions).” At level 4 Warmages (and any tier 5 spellcasters I may be missing) gain: “Battlecast Mastery: Whenever you are in combat, you automatically succeed at skill checks made to cast spells.” Cause the last thing this system needs to do is hurt Warmages. Poor, poor warmages.

    Feats: all the +2/+2 skill gets listed as possible bonus feats for sorcerers/favored souls.

    New feat:

    Improved Skillcasting
    Prerequisite: Ability to cast second level spells spontaneously, skillcasting.
    Benefit: You get +2 on all checks made to cast spells.
    Spell focus gains “Special: Skill checks you make while casting spells of the chosen school get +1. At character level 7, this bonus increases to +2, and at character level 14, increases to +3.”

    Magic: A new component exists for spells, Sk=skill component. Unlike normal components these aren’t just thresholds, but instead means that spells need a skill check as part of their resolution. This is a reference tag, so that effects and feats can find the descriptor and work with it, it has no rules text of its own.

    Spells: Okay, here’s the big enchilada. Spells that have been fixed, and how they’ve been fixed, starting with sorc/wiz and going from there. Note: only core spells included here. The descriptions are brief, cause this is more proof of concept. To fully flesh them out, apply common sense.

    Sorc/Wizard 1
    Grease: as you cast this spell, make Craft(alchemy check). If you get a 9 or less, the caster level for the spell gets -2. 9-12, -1/ 13-20, 0. 20-30, +1. 31+, +2. If your CL drops too low to cast the spell, you retain the spell slot, but the standard action is wasted.
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    This is one of the fundamental ways to implement the skill component. Tables of skill checks to caster level interactions. Grease is a good, but not broken spell, so even with no skill ranks, starting at level 3, it is guaranteed to still work. But level 1 wizards, who wanna trash early encounters, need to hit at least +5 modifier to get it working 50% of the time. That’s a skill rank for normal characters. If you spend all 4 ranks, with 18 INT, you’re looking at a 20% chance of failure. Grease is favored by wizards. If you have a 14 INT on your sorcerer though, with skillcasting, this can get trivial. 5 ranks+2int+2cha=+9. 85% of on level, better than 50% chance of boost to CL at level 2, I like it!


    Mage Armor: Make a craft(armor smithing check). If you get a 9 or less, you only grant a +2 armor bonus. If you get a 21 or higher, you grant a +5 armor bonus.
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    An example of the less powerful implementations of this effect. With a +4 INT, you get normal effect 75% of the time. Just like fighters at this level hit 75% of the time. Another instance where skillcasting can earn value

    Summon Monster 1: You must succeed on a knowledge(the planes) check to identify the creature before you can successfully summon it (see the knowledge skill). You receive a -5 penalty for creatures not on the list found in the PHB. If you fail, the spell slot is retained, but the round is wasted.

    Identify: when you cast this spell, make an Appraise check with a bonus equal to your caster level. If you cast this in a higher level spell slot, you get +2 on the check for each level above first. If your check is at least 10+CL of item, you identify it. Otherwise, the spell does nothing. Using a 100 gp pearl is now optional. If you use it, you receive +6 on the check.
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    Yawn. I mostly stole this from pathfinder. Now you can identify for free later in the game. The pearl and the higher slot thing is so you can brute force it for when you need to identify, but no one sank any ranks. Frankly, this exists to flesh out the Skill Component system and make it seem like less of a straight up nerf, which honestly it is.


    Charm Person: Make a bluff check with a DC of 15+HD of the target. If you succeed they are charmed. The DC gets +10 if they are threatened. This spell no longer allows a save.
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    The first example of the update really helping lower tier casters! A level two, skillcasting sorcerer has +11 on this check. That’s an 75% charm rate on level appropriate foes. A beguiler at level 2 has a +11 as well. A wizard on the other hand, is getting maybe a +5. He’ll have to invest in order to make the spell work well. And it’s a campaign ruiner, so that’s good.


    Sleep: Make a perform check. If you get less than an 11, the DC for the spell gets -2. 11-12, -1/ 13-20, 0. 20-30, +1. 31+, +2.
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    This spell is probably not worth a slot with -2 DC, and probably okay early game with -1. Taking a raw shot at the spell, will get a -2 DC 50% of the time. And only be on level or better 35% of the time. That’s a pretty strong demonstration that you need to invest somewhat in the spell. Since Sleep and color spray (coming up) key off different skills, you likely can’t make both work at level 1. Already, two great spells have opportunity cost of each other! I like it!


    Color Spray: Make a DC 15 craft (painting) check. If you fail, your standard action is wasted, but you retain the prepared spell or spell slot.
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    The second major model of implementation. Ignoring ranks while make this difficult, but not impossible. If at level 1 you really want this to work, you gain get a +12, making it work 90% of the time. But it costs 2 feats.


    Silent Image: Make a craft(painting) check. As soon as anyone first sees the spell’s effect, they are entitled to a spot check. If they’re spot check was higher than your craft check, they may make an immediate will save to disbelieve in addition to any later will save they are entitled to after interacting with the spell.

    Ray of Enfeeblement: Make a heal check with a DC equal to the traget’s Constitution score. If you fail, the duration of Ray of Enfeeblement is reduced to 1 round.
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    The third model. Instead of table look up, or binary yes/no, if you fail the check, the spell is much less awesome. As a bonus, rising CON checks as CR increases partially helps stop this spell from scaling as amazingly as it normally does.


    Enlarge Person: make a heal check with a DC of 13+the target’s HD. If you fail, your standard action is wasted, but the spell slot is retained. If you target yourself, you get a bonus on the check equal to your STR modifier.
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    Helps gishes be gishier!


    Level 1 had a lot of narration, and only a handful of different spells. It also has a lot more swinginess to whether or not the spell will work, even if you’ve invested. All three of these effects will reduce as the levels go on!

    Sorc/Wiz Level 2

    Resist Energy: Make a Survival check. If you get a 12 or less, the energy resistance is reduced by 50%. If you get a 13-16, it is reduced by 25%. 17-24, 0%. If you get a 25-35, it is boosted by 25%, and 36+, increased by 50%.

    Glitterdust: Make a disguise check. If you got a 13 or less, the DC is reduced by 12.14-17, -1. 18-29, +0. 30-40, +1. 41+, +2.
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    The first spell that really, really needs a nerf on the list. Disguise is a cross class skill for all core casters, and its keyed to a stat wizards don’t use. For Wizards, level 3, they likely have +2 ranks, +2 dex, +1 SF Conjuration. That means respectable power, 55% of the time, and full power 40% of the time. It makes blowing a SkFocus almost a good idea. Sorc’s are between 2 and 4 points higher on the check, without the SF probably. If they blow full ranks, which they can do since it’s a class skill thanks to skillcasting, they can outshine the wizard. Decietful also exists, and any system that makes wizards take deceitful is a win to me =)


    Web: Make a DC 17 Use Rope check. If you fail, no one is prevented from moving, but still entangled, as if all targets had made their save.

    Hideous Laughter: Make a DC 15 intimidate check. If you fail, the duration is reduced to 2 rounds.

    Invisibility: make a hide check. The DC is the highest spot modifier among creatures watching you. You get a -2 penalty for casting defensively. If you fail, your standard action is wasted, but your spell slot is retained.

    Alter Self: make a knowledge(local) check. If you get a 15 or less, you may only choose a form with 1 HD. 16-18, 2 HD. 19-23, 3 HD. 24-27, 4 HD. 27+, 5 HD. The HD limit imposed by your caster level still applies.
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    This spell is waaaaaaay worse now. A level 5 wizard has 8 ranks, 4 int. That’s a 25% chance of getting the full power of his spell. If he blows an SkF, then its 40%, much more respectable. SF+SkF, and he’s up to 45%. Characters looking to abuse alter self in the early levels are going to have to pick up items and other assorted bonuses to reliably power the spell. Plus, no caster is going to be able to randomly use it late game to be super powerful. Using the spell to get flight, or some fairer abilities can usually be made to happen by picking up lower level forms. But Dwarf Ancestor is very specific on what you have to roll.


    Knock: Make a DC 18 Open Lock check. If you fail, the spell is wasted.
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    Come on, let the rogue have something in life to do!


    Animal’s X: Make a DC 18 Knowledge(nature) check. If you fail, the spell only grants +2 to the stat. If you target yourself, you get +3 on the check.

    Rope Trick: Every hour, make a Craft(weaving) check, DC 18. If you fail the check, the rope trick ends, and all creatures inside it are placed on the ground at the base of the rope. This transition is totally calm, so unconscious or sleeping characters are not awakened. Making the check requires no action, so it happens even while you are sleeping. If this spell was affected by metamagic, the DC is 2 higher.
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    I am not a fan of the sleepy-hidey hole thing. It doesn’t fit the reference IPs, and it is an unbalancing meta-factor. You can make this work reliably. 6 ranks, 4 int is pretty reliable. Plus, makes you wait till level 8 to live in it. But its not free, and it’s hilarious if you fall back into the dungeon while everyone is sleeping.


    Alright, second level finished. I hope the basic goals and methods of the system are starting to become clear.

    Sorc/Wiz 3

    Dispel Magic: Make a knowledge(arcana) check. Half of your check result is the maximum caster level you can apply to the dispel check (max +10).
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    Just keeping the casters honest. Most of the other spells haven’t needed know(arcana), so this keeps them from forgetting how their own powers work.


    Protection from Energy: See resist energy, but all the check categories are 4 points higher.

    Phantom Steed: Every hour make a DC 20 handle animal check. If you fail, the effect of the spell regresses to the effect of Mount, 1 minute after the failed check.
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    Mobility is powerful, make constant huge speed boosts slightly harder to get.


    Stinking Cloud: Make a heal check. Creatures who fail the initial save against Stinking Cloud may make an additional save against the result of your heal check. If they succeed, they are staggered, instead of being nauseated.
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    The last major model of how to implement a skill component that I’ve come up with yet. I’ve tried to avoid Skill check sets save DC, because that’s actually an opportunity to pump DC. Here, staggered is a decent debuff, but nowhere near as good as Nauseated. If you keep heal checks pumped, this spell has identical text to Stinking Cloud. If you let heal languish, it becomes a far more fair spell.


    Deep Slumber: See Sleep, but all check thresholds are 6 points higher.
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    3 points per level is what I’ve been using as an estimate, this number needs playtesting, BTW.


    Suggestion: Make a DC 20 Diplomacy check. If you fail, the standard action is wasted, but the spell slot is maintained. If the suggested action is obviously harmful, the DC is, instead, 30.

    Ray of Exhaustion: Make a heal check. A creature affected by Ray of Exhaustion may take a standard action to attempt to shake off the spell. They make a new save, with a DC equal to your heal check result. If they succeed, Ray of Exhaustion ends.

    Fly: Make a survival check, DC 22. If you fail, any time you fly more than 60 feet above the ground (or whatever constituites the bottom of the column you are in), Fly is suppressed until you are back under that altitude. If you target someone else, the DC is 18.
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    So far there have been a couple of bonuses for targeting yourself, so that life doesn’t suck too much for gishes. Here, Fly is great for casters to laugh off mundanes. If they give the fly away, likely to a mundane, though theorectically could target another caster, it’s easier. So wizards are hinted at to buff others.


    Haste: Make a DC 20 Balance check. If you fail, creatures affected by haste do not receive an extra attack as part of a full attack. If you target only yourself, you get +4 on the check.
    Onward and upward, 3rd has the first DCs you can’t get by luck alone. At the same time, magical skill boosters are becoming more and more common, so you could just buy a spell’s proficieny in the form of an item, like a way more expensive focus.

    Sor/Wizard 4

    Stoneskin: Make a knowledge nature check. If you get less than a 20, the spell only grants DR 6. 20-23, 8. 24-30, 10. 31-40, 12. 40+, 14.

    Black Tentacles: Make an escape artist check. If you get less than a 24, movement of non-grappled creatures is not slowed.

    Dimension Door: Make a search check. Your result x 10 feet is the maximum distance you can move with this casting of Dimension Door.

    Solid Fog: Make a knowledge nature check. Any creature caught in the cloud can use a move action to make an escape artist check. If their check exceeds yours, they move 15 feet that move action.

    Scrying: Scrying no longer allows a save. Instead, make a DC 35 Spellcraft check. All the descriptors in the normal text of scrying instead apply to the check DC.
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    One of the rare “minigame” implementations. A DC 35 spellcraft at level 7 is hard, but not impossible. Max ranks and INT is like a 16, which can in theory succeed. With the situational modifiers, or SkF, SF and items, you can still succeed reliably, especially by higher levels, but the investment is required.


    Charm Monster: See Charm Person, except the DC is 24+HD.

    Confusion: You make a disguise check, all affected creatures oppose with a spot check. The difference between your check and the highest among affected creatures is added to the value rolled on the random table (if the difference is negative, this helps them resist).
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    Good lord do I want someone to cast this spell with a crappy disguise and watch a great spot make the spell just force them all to attack him


    Invisibility Greater: See invisibility.

    Shadow Conjuration: See Silent Image. This means a creature could have 3 saves before the spell finishes.

    Enervation: Make a knowledge(religion) check. Your result/8 is the maximum number of negative levels the spell can inflict. Metamagic versions of this spell all count off that one check. A Split Ray enervation cast with a skill check of 26, can only give 3 negative levels total, even if you roll a 2 and a 3 on the different dice.
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    Yes. Metamagic seed enervation is bad now. I’m okay with it.

    Animate Dead: make a heal check. The DC is 5xHD of the target. If you fail, the spell slot is wasted, but the black onyx is not consumed.

    Polymorph: Make a knowledge check to identify the creature you which to change the target into (see Knowledge skill in the PHB). If you fail, the standard action is wasted, but the spell is retained. Then, make a Handle Animal check. Your result divided by 4 is the maximum change to a physical stat or natural armor you receive from the spell. Twice your check is the maximum your new land speed can be. Your check result is the maximum your new fly speed can be. Half your check is the maximum your new burrow or swim speed can be. If you get less than a 28, you do not receive any extraordinary special attacks the target possessed. If your roll is not enough to get all the benefits of the new form, you get however much you can, and the rest are wasted.
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    Polymorph is one of the big things to fix with this system. Lets look at War Troll, a classic polymorph form. You need a 22 knowledge check to even get a chance. Not terribly hard, but going aberration, then giant, than dragon is gonna eat up some skill ranks. Next, to get its 31 STR onto your normal 10 STR, you need to get an 84. You probably need nothing for its DEX, but for CON you need a 52 to get its CON onto a normal 16 CON wizard. This isn’t to say the spell will fail, but the time of finding a brutally off-kilter score for HD and getting the whole thing is over.


    Sor/Wiz 5

    Cloudkill: At the beginning of each of your turns make a DC 24 Craft(poisonmaking) check. Failure indicates that the cloud fails to expand this round, but concentrates and the save DC goes up by 1.

    Planar Binding: You must first identify the creature desired by making a knowledge check, each template on the creature provides a +5 to the DC. Then, you must perform mystical calculations to bring it to you, knowledge(the planes) DC 20+HD. Then, make a diplomacy check opposed to the same DC. If you fail, the creature can only stay bound for 2 hours/caster level, instead of 1 day/cl.
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    This one got NERFED. 2 skills required, attached to two different stats. Blammo binding. Blammo you to hell.


    Teleport: When you cast teleport, you and the people you are bringing along enter flux. You may stay in flux for 1 round per caster level. Each round as a standard action, make a DC 30 Know(geo) check. Personal knowledge affects the check result
    None1 n/a
    Secondhand (you have heard of the destination) -10
    Firsthand (you have visited before) +0
    Familiar (you have visited three or more times) +5
    As does a connection to the place:
    Likeness or picture of destination +2
    Object from destination +4
    Planar Cartographer’s map of destination +10
    Each successful check moves you 100 miles closer to the target. When the spell’s duration ends, you are plopped out, back into the real world. For each necessary check you had yet to make, you are 100 miles in a random direction from the target, but neither above the surface or below the surface of the target. If you failed every check, you and your companions are never seen again, lost forever into the mists of interdimensional mishaps. Example: If Steve (CL9) wants to take himself 500 miles to a place he’s only heard of secondhand, but has a rock from there, he has 9 rounds to make 5 successful knowledge checks, with a -6 penalty on the check. Steve only successfully makes 3 checks, so he is 200 miles away from the destination. The DM rolls a D8 and gets a 1, so Steve is 200 miles due north of his target.
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    The minigame that inspired it all! I find it to be far more fun than you might expect. I haven’t playtested the “everyone disappears for every” part of the spell, but likely, even a handful of ranks, and a masterwork item on a high INT wizard or skillcasting sorcerer makes that event really unlikely. It exists to cut off the “whatever, I’ll just luck it” plan some players might otherwise use to escape from random scenarios.


    Contact other plane: Instead of an INT check, you make a diplomacy check with a DC of 3x the listed DC.

    Dominate Person: Make an intimidate check. If you get less than 17+the target’s HD, the target instead receives a single suggestion instead.

    Feeblemind: You and the target make opposed Know(arcana) checks. If you do not win, the reduced scores last 1 round/cl.

    Shadow Evocation: See shadow conjuration.

    Overland flight: see fly, but the DC is 6 points higher.

    Sor/Wiz 6

    Dispel magic, greater: see dispel magic.

    Planar Binding: See planar binding lesser.

    True Seeing: Make a DC 28 spot check. If you fail, the standard action is wasted, but the spell slot and material component are retained.

    Suggestion, mass: see suggestion.

    This level had a strangely low number of spells that won’t just inherit the skill check from the older version of the spell. Weird.

    Sor/Wiz 7

    Planeshift: See teleport. Treat the astral plane as 3 checks away, the inner planes as 6, and the outer planes as 10. Any particularly difficult to access planes have 12 checks to reach. 15 checks allows you to access the far realm, if you wanna die. The skill is know(planes) instead of geo, and the base DC is 35 instead of 30.

    Teleport, greater: as teleport, but you receive twice as many rounds in flux as caster level.

    Simulacrum: make a forgery check. The DC is twice the number of HD the copied creature has. Failure indicates the simulacrum lacks all special abilities/attacks the original had.

    Project Image: see invisibility.

    Sor/Wiz 8

    Mindblank: make a DC 34 sense motive check. If you fail, the spell grants a +8 insight bonus against divinations and mind-affecting spells instead of its normal effect.

    Maze: make a sleight of hand check. Your result-15 is the INT check DC to escape.

    Polymorph Any Object: See polymorph, but all checks get -6 per category apart they are.

    Now, finally, 9ths. These are harder. Even two of the nasty nines is enough to make a character broken. I’m just not sure how to balance them. So they are left as an exercise for discussion.


    Alright, guys, let me have it!
    Last edited by Roguenewb; 2013-08-23 at 03:35 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Thanks, I'll check it out in its entirety when I get the chance.

    My personal version of skillcasting actually includes a much less intrusive approach in that I won't be changing any spell effects, but instead I'll only be assigning specific skills to each of them. That way the rules are much simpler to remember, and no one gets mad for having their favorite spell altered. While it won't have that personal touch that can make things more fun (when done right), I do intend to subsume all (or most) of the spells in PF (of which there are about ~1600 atm, I think).

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Subscribed.

    I have never liked the idea of spells, unless disrupted by an outside source, as always succeeding. Rolemaster had a system but I cannot find my old Spell Law books, and I can't remember the details. Ars Magica, I think, did too, but it has been over a decade since I've played that and I don't have the book anymore.

    I look forward to reading through this and seeing what you and others come up with.

    Cheers

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Nice set of ideas.

    Possible Sorcerer exploit:

    Gain early entry to a PrC with a cross class skill requirement by knowing a spell with that skill.

    Basically you learn a spell to make the skill a class skill now and thus qualify for the PrC early.

    I'm not sure how much of a big deal this is, if at all.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    What is your tier goal for balancing?

    You've nerfed wizards (at least until high levels when you've given them +1 CL on all of their illusions, +1 AC on their buff spells, and no save on their enchants).

    You've nerfed beguilers, but a little less. Obviously dread necros are directly more nerfed than beguilers since their primary stat is charisma.

    You haven't touched any classes under tier 3, unless these checks apply to scrolls and wands. You've given warmages a bonus on a skill check that they can autosucceed, but I assume that was just an editing mistake. Or was it an attempt to say that they can roll for the CL bonus but don't take negatives if they roll a penalty? If so, it needs serious rewording.

    What gets me is tier 2. You've made it so that sorcs get every skill as a class skill and get an extra +3 or more at high levels with small investment.

    Even if your ideal balance point is tier 2, and to keep sorcs as powerful as they are, you decided to make them skill monkeys... it still raises some questions. Like, why did you make sorcs more useful out of combat than beguilers? Or why make tier 2s more versatile when their lack of versatility is their only balance to their world-shattering power?

    Also, unless you let all gishes and partial casters autosucceed their checks, their balance would be seriously affected.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    The problem with sorcerers was never skills. it was with overall lack of flavour and useful class abilities to make up for a more focused spell list. pathfinder had a good idea, keeping with the Bloodline fluff that most sorcerers had already.

    making them a skill monkey doesnt make much sense to me, but i dont actually agree much with the OP so there is that.

    I had this idea awhile back that the sorcerer should be better at using magical items, using a charge reserve, basically an innate pool of charges that can be expended instead of using the item's charges. on the flip side, my wizard idea would be more like a spell casting artificer. Wizards are Crafters and Sorcerers are Users, at least that was my concept. Casting also required a Spellcraft check to succeed.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    What is your tier goal for balancing?

    You've nerfed wizards (at least until high levels when you've given them +1 CL on all of their illusions, +1 AC on their buff spells, and no save on their enchants).

    You've nerfed beguilers, but a little less. Obviously dread necros are directly more nerfed than beguilers since their primary stat is charisma.

    You haven't touched any classes under tier 3, unless these checks apply to scrolls and wands. You've given warmages a bonus on a skill check that they can autosucceed, but I assume that was just an editing mistake. Or was it an attempt to say that they can roll for the CL bonus but don't take negatives if they roll a penalty? If so, it needs serious rewording.

    What gets me is tier 2. You've made it so that sorcs get every skill as a class skill and get an extra +3 or more at high levels with small investment.

    Even if your ideal balance point is tier 2, and to keep sorcs as powerful as they are, you decided to make them skill monkeys... it still raises some questions. Like, why did you make sorcs more useful out of combat than beguilers? Or why make tier 2s more versatile when their lack of versatility is their only balance to their world-shattering power?

    Also, unless you let all gishes and partial casters autosucceed their checks, their balance would be seriously affected.
    If you do the math out, pretty quickly, Beguillers and Dread Necros are auto succeeding on the checks. They are adding CL+INT/CHA to the check. Warmages have very few of these spells on their list, and once they hit level 4, they are immune to the system anyway, they get the bonus at 2 just because why not. Warmages are archers, not casters, and nothing should ever make them worse.

    Sorcerers have a problem. I agree from the beginning of the concept. The correct way to play a sorcerer now is to take the list of awesome spells, or a very tight mechanical theme, and this system makes it way harder, as they still only have 2+INT points per level. The goal is to bring tiers 1 and 2 down to 3, but it won't ever happen. The best that can be done is to bring them down to low tier 2. The other solution I've been playing with in my head lately is the roughest hack in the world: "These checks apply only to prepared casters". But that sucks hardcore in terms of elegance.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Ok it's a nice idea in theory, but all it really does is reduce a characters spells known in effect since they can cast fewer spells effectively due to the DC check's. It doesn't however do a dammed thing about the raw power certain spells can deal out if you can make their checks. And there are plenty of single spells that are game changers and plenty of achievable combos that are also bad.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Roguenewb View Post
    Warmages have very few of these spells on their list, and once they hit level 4, they are immune to the system anyway, they get the bonus at 2 just because why not. Warmages are archers, not casters, and nothing should ever make them worse.
    But could it make them better? Again, it seems that half of these skill checks have the potential of buffing the spells cast. Do they get a shot?

    Also, the list of sorcerer class skills is
    Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
    That's pitiful. that's fighter-level bad. If I played Sorc with this system in place, I would take charm person, I would take polymorph, and I'd look for a spell that gave me UMD too because it would buff my class. And I'd get CHA*1.5 on a number of key skills, too.

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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    @Carl, that's understood. This system doesn't magically make all the classes equal. It just makes it cost a little more for wizards to be absolute kings of everything. It's much harder for a wizard to do Charm Person and Glitterdust in the early campaign, Polymorph and Teleport in the mid-game, and planar binding, simulacrum, maze as their end game tactics. They'll need to spend a lot more resources to get it accomplished. Which is a fair step towards tier 1 balance.

    @bekleven: the only spells that better with the check are some very early spells, to make sure that the players don't totally waste the resources once late game rolls around and an item of auto succeed isn't expensive. Warmages get very few spells on this list, its part of why they are so weak. The Sorc list is a joke, I agree. A lot of early classes got toally screwed in skills if they weren't considered a "skill class". I have no problems helping to fix that. If Warblade can have 4 points, Sorc cans have a flexible spell list that rewards specialization, just like all the other facets of the class! You'll note that UMD is very definitely NOT a skill this uses. I am trying to avoid giving skills that are real good too much focus, so that they are not buffing characters.

    But Sorcerer is still a problem, any ideas on how to fix it?
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Roguenewb View Post
    @Carl, that's understood. This system doesn't magically make all the classes equal. It just makes it cost a little more for wizards to be absolute kings of everything. It's much harder for a wizard to do Charm Person and Glitterdust in the early campaign, Polymorph and Teleport in the mid-game, and planar binding, simulacrum, maze as their end game tactics. They'll need to spend a lot more resources to get it accomplished. Which is a fair step towards tier 1 balance.

    @bekleven: the only spells that better with the check are some very early spells, to make sure that the players don't totally waste the resources once late game rolls around and an item of auto succeed isn't expensive. Warmages get very few spells on this list, its part of why they are so weak. The Sorc list is a joke, I agree. A lot of early classes got toally screwed in skills if they weren't considered a "skill class". I have no problems helping to fix that. If Warblade can have 4 points, Sorc cans have a flexible spell list that rewards specialization, just like all the other facets of the class! You'll note that UMD is very definitely NOT a skill this uses. I am trying to avoid giving skills that are real good too much focus, so that they are not buffing characters.

    But Sorcerer is still a problem, any ideas on how to fix it?
    Frankly, I don't think the sorc skill buffs are inherently a balance issue, as long as you don't mind giving them a buff to counteract the penalty, keeping them still roughly tier 2ish. But maybe, give the tier 3- casters one or two of the buffs that sorcs get? (increased class skills, 1/2 casting stat to many skills, 5 mediocre feats)

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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by bekeleven View Post
    Frankly, I don't think the sorc skill buffs are inherently a balance issue, as long as you don't mind giving them a buff to counteract the penalty, keeping them still roughly tier 2ish. But maybe, give the tier 3- casters one or two of the buffs that sorcs get? (increased class skills, 1/2 casting stat to many skills, 5 mediocre feats)
    Well, in theory, their gameplay has basically not changed, and Sorcerer should hopefuly still be weaker than before, so if it worked perfectly, sorc and wiz would both have gotten hits. Plus, since they know all their skills, "Skillcasting" wouldn't work.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Perhaps sorcerers, rather than gaining any class skills from spells learnt, instead have a daily pool of charisma bonus + level Instinct/Ancestry/whatever points that they can use as a bonus to their skill rolls for spells, to a maximum of their charisma bonus per spell. This might better reflect their themes of having a more instinctive magic that comes naturally to them, rather than the taught variety reliant on skill training that wizards practice.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Laughingmanlol View Post
    Perhaps sorcerers, rather than gaining any class skills from spells learnt, instead have a daily pool of charisma bonus + level Instinct/Ancestry/whatever points that they can use as a bonus to their skill rolls for spells, to a maximum of their charisma bonus per spell. This might better reflect their themes of having a more instinctive magic that comes naturally to them, rather than the taught variety reliant on skill training that wizards practice.
    Subscribed, by the way
    That's a really interesting idea. It allows the idea of instinctive knowledge of how to make the spells work, without making them somehow good at other stuff. It changes the dynamic from "can only do some of the awesome spells" to "can only do a limited number of awesome spells per day". That's a very different dynamic, but it makes them different from wizards, which is always a noble goal.
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    Default Re: [3.5]Skillcasting, an attempt to weaken Spellcasting [PEACH]

    Gonna throw in again for Green Ronin's True20 system for casting. I don't think it's OGL; so I can't say too much, I think. It's rather restrictive; and quite the nerf-bat. I, however have found that it works well.
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