View Full Version : [4e] Joseph Silver's Circle Magic Fix

Aron Times
2009-12-02, 12:29 AM
It is a little known fact that 4e has circle magic. No, I'm not talking about ritual assistants who use the Aid Another action to improve tje ritual caster's skill check, even though that is thematically a type of circle magic. I'm talking about the rules for circle magic in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.

I'm AFB right now, but I can honestly say that circle magic sucks. The circle members are much better off casting their spells individually.

Anyway, this idea came to me in the Wheel of Time thread, which has been pushed past the first page. I proposed a homebrew mechanic for linking (basically circle magic in WoT) which captured the merits and flaws of linking in WoT. I figured that this can easily be ported into other settings since it is a very simple system.

1. Spellcasters, defined as any member of a nonmartial class, can link to form circles to improve the potency of the leader's magic at the expense of sacrificing the other members' actions.

2. Linking is a free action that can be done by two or more spellcasters adjacent to each other. The entire circle acts at the lowest initiative count among members. Only the leader can use any powers, and the other circle members cannot take standard actions. The leader can transfer control as a standard action.

*Haven't decided whether a circle would break if the members are no longer adjacent to each other.

3. When a circle is formed, the strongest spellcaster often becomes the leader. Each circle member beyond the leader grants a +1 attack bonus and a +2 damage bonus per tier to the leader's powers. Thus, a paragon circle member would grant the leader a +2 attack bonus and a +4 damage bonus.

4. Each member of the circle uses the leader's defenses against attacks.

This is all I've figured out so far. What do you think?

2009-12-02, 01:05 AM
Certainly doesn't look too abusable, though I'm not sure of any situations where a PC would actually employ it. (DMs are another matter entirely, especially if minions are eligible for it, but presumably we don't have to worry about a DM breaking his or her own game.)

Thematically, I'd propose limiting spellcasters to linking with their own kind (arcane with arcane, divine with divine and so forth), but this might be too restrictive to be useful.

Kurald Galain
2009-12-02, 03:51 AM
For player characters, it still holds that the circle members are much better off casting their spells individually. This only becomes worthwhile if you have one high-level caster and a large group of low-level casters, e.g. minions.

2009-12-02, 10:14 AM
To hit bonus shouldn't scale per tier.

In fact, I'd make the to hit bonus exponential.
A 2 competent member circle: +2 to hit
A 4 competent member circle: +3 to hit
A 8 competent member circle: +4 to hit
A 16 competent member circle: +5 to hit

etc. Damage is increased by +2 per competent member of the circle (+1 for minions, +2 for normals, +4 for elites, +8 for solos), per tier of the member of the circle.

You are considered competent, relative to the leader of the circle, if your level is within 10 of the leader's effective level. Effective level is boosted +6 for solos, +3 for elites, and -3 for minions. More complex systems (allowing circles of lower-level characters to form a single competent member, based on the above to-hit bonus) can be extrapolated.

Each member of the circle should use their own defenses.

Of course, this is far too simulationy -- instead, I'd build it ad-hoc to reflect a given encounter. A circle of low level spellcasters would form a swarm unit, much like a troop of low level soldiers forms a swarm unit. If the encounter was about breaking a circle to prevent a ritual, I'd have ad-hoc mechanics for that encounter.