View Full Version : [D&D 3.5] Metamagic components variant

2009-08-08, 05:28 AM
Metamagic is (in all the games I've played in or DMed) an underused aspect of D&D 3.5.
Feats exist that allow spellcasters to enhance their spells in some way - however, they require the use of a higher spell slot, and for some casters, preparation beforehand, meaning that the caster must have a plan and expected use for the altered spell. While this makes sense in the in-game world, around the table players are discouraged from using metamagic. Spending a feat on a feature that requires constant forethought and planning, and uses up more resources than usual, does not appeal.

In Unearthed Arcana, WotC suggested that special material components clould be used in place of the heightened spell-slot cost of the spell, which would allow metamagic to be applied on the fly as long as one had those components available.
In principle, the special material component system is a good idea. The list of special components, however, boiled down to one thing: cash spent by the PC spellcaster. Each component, though interesting and flavourful, had a base cost listed. In the fine tradition of table top fantasy, it would be only moments of play before the components were being bought in a shop in the city and stuffed into a Handy Haversack, or the DM was being bugged by the player about magic ingredient shops every time he or she mentioned the tiniest settlement... Hardly exciting and flavourful.

I propose the following modification: for each metamagic effect, and each school of magic, there is a formulaic ingredient that is required. These ingredients are combined at the time of casting to produce the metamagic effect. The ingredients are precious or flavourful items that are likely to be gathered by adventurers, which have no intrinsic value. Players' characters are forever chopping interesting bits of beasties off after they've killed them - this gives them a reason (beyond simple morbidity) to do so.

What I'm keen to discuss is the detail of how to apply this system. There are a few key points that I think could do with peer review: Feat required? - if rare and difficult to obtain components are required, should the character using them also need to take a feat to access the power? Higher spell slot required? - same issues as "Feat required" above... Skill check required? - should there be a skill check involved in the use of metamagic components? More or less rare? - should the components listed below be altered to make them more or less difficult to obtain?
Please let me know what you think.

Metamagical Material Components

In addition to the listed normal material components, spells may be enhanced through the use of metamagic material components (MMC). These enhance the spell in the manner listed in the metamagic feat rules, but do not require higher spell slots to be used in casting.

Metamagic components
Empower Spell
MMC: an ounce of the blood of a creature with Strength 20 + spell level.

Enlarge Spell
MMC: an ounce of the heart blood of a gargantuan or larger creature with HD equal or greater than 10 + spell level.

Extend Spell
MMC: an ounce of powdered horn of a dragon of 1 age category over juvenile per spell level.

Heighten Spell
MMC: an ounce of brain matter of a spell caster capable of casting the new spell level.

MMC: an ounce of distillate of the blood of a creature with Strength 20 + spell level and HD 10 + spell level.
Making the distillate requires a successful Craft (Alchemy) DC 15 check, and takes one hour.

Quicken Spell
MMC: an ounce of mercury mixed with an ounce of the blood of a creature with a Dexterity modifier equal to the spell level.

Silent Spell
MMC: the feather of an owl and the paw of a cat both of which have HD equal to the spell level.

Still Spell
MMC: an ounce of stone from a stone creature or petrified creature with HD equal to the spell level.

Widen Spell
MMC: an ounce of blood from a giant with HD equal to 10 + spell level.

School components

Abjuration - the skin of a creature with natural armour greater than 5

Conjuration - ectoplasm (collected directly from the ether, or from an incorporeal undead)

Divination - dust from crushing a crystal worth 100gp per spell level

Enchantment - hair or scales from a creature with a supernatural or spell-like ability to use enchantment

Evocation - powdered dragon claw from a dragon, or a source magical fire

Illusion - eye of a displacer beast or similar illusion ability using creature, or of a psionic creature

Necromancy - powdered bone (or equivalent) of the caster's own species

Transmutation - dried skin of a shapeshifting creature

2009-08-09, 04:42 AM
May I bump this back up before it disappears of the front page without comments?

2009-08-09, 04:47 AM
I recall seeing an idea floating about somwhere with the wiz/sorcerer gaining a certain number of points.

They could then spend those points to apply a metamagic feat to a spell without added time or increased spell slots. Actually having the metamagic feat halved the cost.

Something like that? Though making items required to spend the points maybe? Or maybe having certain items hold the points?