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    Ogre in the Playground
    Solaris's Avatar

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    Jan 2007
    Neither here nor there

    Default Vitality-Based Spellcasting (PEACH, for Oriental Adventures-type campaign)

    So I'm working on a vaguely Asian setting (feudal Japan and Confucian China by way of shonen anime, some bits of India thrown in for funsies through the orochi snake-people) and wanted to try out a new casting mechanism.

    Some notes -
    The lowest HD anyone has is a d6.
    With the martial characters, Tome of Battle is essentially the default. Samurai (paladin/CA samurai mixes with the Rokugani samurai's daisho), ninjas (rogues with full BAB, monk AC bonus, and sudden strike instead of sneak attack), and budokai (martial artist monks) are all martial adepts. Not all of the base classes are even present, and most of those that are have been changed (largely by way of reducing their number of known spells).
    I'm using the vitality point and wound point system with a variant of the armor-as-DR that results in armor applying half of its armor bonus plus its full enhancement bonus (if any) as DR that protects the wound points. This DR can only be bypassed by a weapon of greater enhancement.
    I'm also using a variant of the action point system, although I'm renaming them to ki points (the CA ninja has been replaced, so there's no worries there). Characters begin with 3, not 5, and they gain them at a rate of 1 per level (with the option of handing out more for particularly auspicious deeds). Characters recover spent ki points when they rest for at least 8 hours, and I'm considering a mechanism to let them burn ki points (permanently lose them) to do something particularly dramatic like turn a roll into a natural 20 or avoid death.

    As for the casting mechanic itself, the idea is that spellcasters will have a limited number of spells known (40 or so for the 20th-level spellcasters, with primary casters having some more and bard-like casters having less) and will be able to ready a handful of spells in much the same way as a martial adept knows and readies maneuvers. However, the spellcaster does not expend a spell when he casts it, but instead expends vitality points. The amount of vitality expended depends on the spell's level - 0 VP for a 0-level spell, 1 VP for a 1st-level spell, 3 VP for a 2nd-level spell, 5 VP for a 3rd-level spell, 7 VP for a 4th-level spell, 9 VP for a 5th-level spell, 11 VP for a 6th-level spell, 13 VP for a 7th-level spell, 15 VP for a 8th-level spell, and 17 VP for a 9th-level spell. Metamagic feats and the like increase the VP cost of the spell by the same number they would have increased the spell's level normally. The caster cannot spend more VP than his caster level on a single spell. The spellcaster rests for an hour to change his list of readied spells (which also recovers vitality points), but doesn't need to rest for 8 hours to recover spells.

    There are reductions to this vitality cost; for every 5 Ki Points a character has, the vitality costs of his spells are reduced by 1 (to a minimum cost of 0). This concept is cribbed shamelessly from a Jedi Counseling article, just as the idea of casting from vitality points is cribbed shamelessly from d20 Star Wars.

    With this set-up, all spellcasters have attributes of both prepared and spontaneous casters. I know this causes a problem with various dragon-themed abilities and classes that key off of spontaneous arcane casting, but I don't yet know if there's any difficulties with just saying everyone counts as a spontaneous caster.

    I have also yet to decide how the various items and abilities based around spell slots and their recovery will function with this.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last edited by Solaris; 2015-09-30 at 07:04 PM.
    Clockwork Avalon - Updated 1/13/2015, home to my Dragon Realms campaign setting (and someday my Clockwork Avalon setting)

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