View Full Version : Counter-Spelling House Rules

2009-02-05, 09:33 PM
I find it kind of annoying that you can only counter spell if you have the same spell (or dispel magic)... so I propose this

The readied action and spell-craft check still stand, but any spell can be used to counter.
the difference is that instead of it automatically canceling it out, the dispelling caster expends any spell (of any level), and then the two casters make opposed rolls. The roll is equal to (d20+relevant caster ability score+ level of spell expended/being cast).

If the counter-speller wins, the spell is countered, otherwise, the spell goes off as normal

let me know what you think/ideas for making it better

2009-02-06, 07:46 AM
I think that's a good idea, the only issue I have is that it seems that it's not unrealistic for a (particularly lucky) low level caster to be able to counter a "Wish" spell or something. I'd say that the spell has to be at least of the same level as the spell being countered.

2009-02-06, 01:59 PM
Try this then: For every level lower of the spell that is being cast, the counter-speller takes a -1 penalty (therefore, a caster trying to dispel a 9th level spell with a 1st level spell would take a -8 penalty) So that'd make it incredibly unlikely for it to work (Nat 20 in this case isn't an automatic success, nor is a Nat 1 an auto fail).

So it'd stack up like this (assuming the characters both start with 18 int, and the lvl 17 has put all 4 points into intelligence), then the counter-speller would take an overall penalty of -4 to the roll, while the other caster would have a +15. Soooo.... basically, the level 1 caster couldn't succeed on the check unless he got 20 AND the other caster got a 1

I dunno, I just kinda like the image of an incredibly lucky young sorcerer or wizard blocking a supreme archmage once... besides... next round, Archmage would simply cast again, and bye bye little wizard...

2009-02-06, 03:28 PM
It is an interesting concept; in Unearthed Arcana, they present an alternative to AC (attacker rolls, defender rolls (using AC modifiers)), so it's along the same lines. It makes sense to impose a penalty for using spells of lower level. One thing that I'm curious about is that, by your homebrew method, would using a spell of higher level grant a bonus? For example, Attacking Caster uses Fireball (3rd level), and I use... Well, something that's, say, 5th level? (Sorry, I don't play spellcasters, so I don't know a lot of spells off the top of my head.) Or, at that point, is it just overkill?

Now, onto something related: your system completely kills the Improved Counterspell feat. In your eyes, it could be a positive thing or negative thing. Personally, I don't have an opinion. However, the feat itself brings up another factor in counterspelling: spell school.

Improved Counterspell (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#improvedCounterspell) allowed you to use a spell of the same school (though one one spell level higher) for counterspelling. To that effect, it made spells more versitile for the purposes of counterspelling.

Which brings me to my other question: would the use of the same spell, or even same school, provide a bonus? Personally, it makes sense. You could even keep Improved Counterspell, and have its effect be "Using a spell of the same spell school grant you +X to your counterspell roll," as opposed to using the same spell.

Just a couple of things for you to consider. At any rate, good luck on the alternate system (I'll be keeping an eye on it).

2009-02-06, 03:52 PM
How about

caster level check...

-2 penalty for each school, subschool, or descriptor the first spell has that the spell you are using to counterspell lacks. (eg. burning a memorised fly spell to counter fireball would be at -2 because it lacks the fire descriptor).

-2 penalty for each spell level lower your counterspelling spell is.

2009-02-06, 04:07 PM
I like this, I've been thinking about using something like this in my next game. I don't think I've ever seen a spell actually get counterspelled in play, except by Dispel Magic a couple of times. My idea was to allow counterspelling by any spell of the same level (incidentally, isn't that what the Improved Counterspell feat does?), but penalties to the CL-check for lower level spells could work, too.

2009-02-06, 04:29 PM
I'm not so much a fan of the opposed caster level checks, because again I want to keep the possibility of a low level caster slipping a high level caster fast one with a lucky counterspelling attempt.

so try this: +1 bonus on check if using spell from same school (makes them more likely to cancel each other out) +4 bonus on check if using same spell (very likely to cancel each other out)

Change in Dispel Magic: If Dispel Magic is used as a counter spell, it adds a +5 bonus to counterspell check however, difference between spell levels still apply (so using dispel magic to counter a Chain Lighting would get only a +2 bonus)

Rewrite to Improved Counterspell:
Improved Counterspell:Taking this feat increases the bonus of using a spell from the same school to +2, and increases the bonus of using the same spell to +8. This feat also increases the bonus on using dispel magic to +10

Also, I think that there should be a bonus for using a higher level spell to counter a lower level one (because it reflects a greater expending of magical energy than a lower level spell would), so a +1 bonus for every spell level higher you use.

basically, the reason I'm doing this is because i want some epic wizard duels in my adventures... otherwise, it's just casters blasting the **** out of each other (and they'd usually end quickly, cause whoever gets disintegrate off first would probably win...)

I'll play test this with some of my players, and feel free to do it yourselves if you've got time/interest... let me know how it works out

2009-02-06, 09:52 PM
This was one of my complaints: How limited your selection of counterspell options are in the game. However, that was one of the problems I had with it.

The biggest, for me, was 1). range, a counterspell has unlimited range with simply line of sight, 2). readying. Readying a counterspell is listed as a standard action (though you can ready a move action or a free action--but few spells are made as free actions). You pretty much give up your action for the round just to take down a spellcaster.

Number 2 is the biggest complaint, to be honest. It's enough of a reason, in my own experience playing spellcasters and seeing spellcasters played, that players simply don't. It's more of an NPC tactic than it is a spellcaster.

Not that I'm saying what you're suggesting is good. It's good, if not too mathematically heavy. If any of my ideas (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102257) can help you, then feel free to take them, but let us know how this fix works for your players.

2009-02-06, 09:54 PM
I like this, I've been thinking about using something like this in my next game. I don't think I've ever seen a spell actually get counterspelled in play, except by Dispel Magic a couple of times. My idea was to allow counterspelling by any spell of the same level (incidentally, isn't that what the Improved Counterspell feat does?), but penalties to the CL-check for lower level spells could work, too.

Improved Counterspell, IIRC, allows you to use any spell from the same school of the same level or higher to counterspell.

2009-02-10, 11:23 AM
To address the problem of counterspelling using your whole round, how about this

If you win the opposed roll by 10 or more, you turn the opponents spell back on them, or your spell overwhelms theirs and goes off as normal (your choice). you don't get any extra actions or anything like that, but you're actually fighting a duel with pure magic...

also: 10 or more ranks in spellcraft gives +2 synergy bonus to counterspell checks?

would this be too powerful? I don't see it being unbalanced

Darth Stabber
2009-02-10, 11:37 AM
It may seem like a trip down memory lane, But instead of benefits from the same school as the one bing countered, Get benefits from the old School of Opposition.