View Full Version : [3.5] Wanted: Co-Creator for New Magic System Project

2011-07-17, 12:45 AM
Hello, Playground. I'm working on a complete overhaul of the magic system (and the entire class system) for 3.5e. I am looking for a co-creator to help me out have things mostly ironed out before posting it here for actual critique.

I am looking for two distinct types of cooperation.

Mechanical Cooperation

I need someone who is experienced with mechanics and can help me create new mechanics, adapt/change preexistent rules and judge balance.

Fluff Cooperation

I need someone who is able to create the right amount of fluff to make a class/spell/mechanic lively and appealing while still leaving enough room to customise and allow for variety.


To make our work easier, I believe that it's important that we are on the same page when it comes to goals and design methods. This is a trimmed down list of the highlights of the design goals/method. There's more if you want to see it, but this is the important stuff.

Design Goals

The new magic system should coincide with my personal views on magic below.
All effects should allow a chance to escape/avoid them.
Permanent magical effects should be exceedingly rare or altogether non-existent. Spells that create permanent effects should instead have a duration, turned into an Incantation or be altogether obliterated.
No-save-just-die spells should not exist. Save-or-die spells should be depowered, rarer or come at an excruciatingly high cost.
The environment should interact with magic.
Alignment should be as divorced from mechanics as possible, though a variant rule to do the opposite should exist as well.
Fluff should not be iron-clad. Everything should be customizable.

Personal Views on Magic

Magic should come at a price. This price may vary, but a spellcaster should never be able to mitigate the price he pays for casting a spell.
Magic should not be certain. A spellcaster should never be 100% sure of what a spell will do.
Magic should not be all or nothing. There should be degrees of effect, depending on the spellcaster's skill or the victim's fortitude.
Magic should be able to be shrugged or fought off. Nobody should be helpless in the face of magic. A spellcaster should not be omnipotent or unstoppable.
Magic should not be better than mundane work. A spellcaster should be on the same playing field as a warrior, archer, face-type or sneak-type.
Magic should not be able to emulate everything. There should be many things that magic cannot do. Just like magic can do things not achievable by mundane means, so too magic must have limits, things it cannot replicate (which is why, perhaps, it is not better on the whole than mundane work).

Design Method

All classes should be reasonably balanced, by themselves, with each other.
All classes should be roughly equally appealing to players, in terms of mechanics.
All classes should have something new and appealing at every single level.
All classes should be fundamentally different, even those grouped in the same category.
All classes should have a multitude of choices to pick from. The shape of these choices is irrelevant (spells, strikes, abilities, etc). What matters is that a player of any class has available a gamut of choices to pick from at all times.
All classes should be customizable, in terms of fluff and mechanics.

Some pre-existent rules in the system will have to be modified, as well.

Why Would You Want To Help Me?

Firstly, because you will get full credit. You will be as important to the system as me and anyone else who works with us.
Secondly, because I am pretty open to other people's input, and this is your chance to create a new system that solves some gripe you have with D&D. Do you hate that flight is so easily available? Teleportation? Long-distance communication? Summoning? Shapeshifting? Want a different take on magic? This is your chance to make that happen. Talk to me, and I will listen to you. If we disagree, I'll strive to compromise, so long as you're willing to do the same.
Thirdly, because I genuinely believe that this new system is worth it. I believe, without a doubt, that people could benefit from it. However, I can't do it alone. Or, well, I could, but it would take me several years.
And finally, because, if you've always wanted to do something like this, now's your chance.

General Concepts

About the new magic system. There are seven "areas" of expertise. Arcane Magic, Divine Magic, Nature Magic, Pact Magic, Abjuration, Prowess and Ritual Magic.

Arcane Magic

Mechanics: Vancian casting.

Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard.

Divine Magic

Mechanics: Faith Points that are spent to gain bonuses, rerolls, specific effects and extra actions. [Needs more specifications]

Classes: Cleric, Favoured Soul, Healer.

Nature Magic

Mechanics: Daily bonding with specific kinds of Gifts/Spirits that change effect depending on how they are bonded, then distributing a pool of Attunement Points to each bond to grant them strength. Once bonded, they cannot be changed until the following day. The bonds provide passive effects and at-will (Sp) abilities, strength depends on AP invested on them.

Classes: Druid, Shaman.

Pact Magic

Mechanics: Highly specific abilities gained in exchange for performing highly specific actions and sacrifices. Permanent transformations. [Needs more specifications]

Classes: Binder, Dragon Adept, Shadowcaster/Lightbringer, Warlock.


Mechanics: Unlimited or passive abilities based on skills, movement, brawn and weaponry. Stances are individual passive benefits that are always active (but you can only have once stance at a time), auras are passive benefits that are always active and affect either allies or enemies but never the character (and you can only have once aura at a time), counters (cannot be used actively, they only "trigger" when the character suffers a certain effect), strikes are usable at-will and tactics are passive effects that become active when some things happen and inactive when they stop happening. Finally, skill tricks, like those found in Complete Scoundrel. All these elements have built-in synergies between themselves, to reward players who set up situations where a series of triggers culminate in an enhanced effect.

Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Marshal, Monk, Rogue.


Mechanics: X/day abilities based on checks and focused on warding, protecting, turning and dispelling. Also, spontaneous Wards that are weaved on the spot from individual components, such as Target, Effect, Descriptor, Shape, etc. Example: Abjurer faces demon, weaves a Ward on the spot to keep the demon at bay, chooses the area and additional effects, such as damage if the demon succeeds on the save to stay away. Abjuration is not magic, but anti-magic, negation, dissolution.

Classes: Abjurer, Guardian.

Ritual Magic

Mechanics: Incantations from Unearthed Arcana. Available to all with enough Knowledge ranks and gold.

Classes: None.

Hybrid Classes


Bard: Arcane + Prowess.
Beguiler: Arcane + Pact.
High Scholar: Arcane + Divine.
Spellthief: Arcane + Abjuration.
Warmage: Arcane + Nature.


Inquisitor: Divine + Abjuration.
Mystic: Divine + Nature.
Paladin/Templar/Blackguard: Divine + Prowess.
Theurgist: Divine + Pact.


Ranger: Nature + Prowess.
Warden: Nature + Abjuration.
Witch: Nature + Pact.


Dragon Warrior: Pact + Prowess.
Keeper: Pact + Abjuration.


Knight: Prowess + Abjuration.

There is more work done, but that's as much as I want to display publicly for now. I prefer to keep things under wraps until I'm ready to post it here.

If you have questions, please post them here. If you wish to actually give me a hand with this project, please send me a PM with a brief explanation of what you wish to do and why. I am looking between 1 and 3 or (at most) 4 people for this project, if only to keep matters organised and ease communication.

I am really only looking for proactive, creative people who are really into this sort of thing. If you prefer to merely critique and provide suggestions, I'll be more than glad to welcome it all when I post the alpha version here.

Thank you in advance.


1) Can you give me an example of how the Prowess mechanics would work?

Certainly. Let's say that you have Arkham, the Fighter. He has 1 Tactic, 2 Counters and 1 Strike. They are as they follow:

Tactic: If you would be Dazed, you are Staggered instead.
Counter 1: If you would be Staggered, you can deal 1d12 sonic damage to the source of the condition.
Counter 2: If you would take sonic damage, you can make a melee attack against an opponent you can reach. This does not count against your actions of the round.
Strike: Make a melee attack against an opponent you can reach. You deal extra 4d6 damage and you are Dazed.

So Arkham uses his Strike on an enemy, deals extra damage and becomes Dazed. Then his Tactic triggers and downgrades the condition to Staggered. Then his first Counter triggers and he deals 1d12 sonic damage to the source of the staggering, which is himself. This triggers his second Counter that allows him to make another attack at his enemy (or another).

This gives Arkham's player a bonus for setting up the conditions to gain an advantage, but he still pays for what he achieved (since Arkham is Staggered and took sonic damage from pulling this off).

2) Can you give me an example of how Nature Magic would work?

But of course. Let's say we have Ginger, the Druid. She has 3 Gifts/Spirits available to bond every day. She can also bond them in 5 ways each, and invest up to 6 Attunement Points in all her bonds.

She chooses to bond her Spirit of Fire to her Discernment and spend 5 AP on it, giving her the equivalent of Detect Fire and Detect Heat for AP*10 feet. She then bonds her Spirit of Water to her Speed, and spending her last AP on it. This gives her a Swim speed of AP*10 feet. She cannot bond her remaining Gift of Nature's Wrath because she has no more AP left. Once she has made her bonds, she must wait until the next day to undo them and reforge them in another configuration.

2011-07-24, 02:15 AM
Alright, I had a thought when thinking about the nature magic. Not sure if you have a system set up for it yet or not, but have you heard of the Secrets of Pact Magic book? It is a third party book expanding on Pact Magic, introduced in the Tome of Magic, and one of its ideas is that of Anima Spirits, which are kind of like not-complete Vestiges. I think it could totally work for the idea of nature spirits, in that they would provide a simple ability, and multiple of them could be bound.