View Full Version : Magical world...without casters? (PEACH?)

2011-07-20, 12:40 PM
I have been wracking my brain several times trying to come up with a good campaign idea. Sadly, even with the numerous threads I have made before (see my profile for links) I have had little luck getting anything coherent together. Ideas have gone from Victorian era concepts, to planar space travel, to a magic tech setting, and still no success. That was, at least, until I found this little gem: link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=168874&highlight=Dragonmark)
This gave me an idea. Working with the concept of "magical feats", one could essentially eliminate spell casters completely. This may sound a little extreme (and admittedly it is not completely coherent at this point), but it can be done quite easily.

The first change is how magic is accessed:

Let's assume that magic is a free-flowing force that exists in everything and everyone. Going with that, glyphs and spell ingredients are needed to draw out this power and focus it into the semblance of a spell. As such, while some humanoids are able to draw on such power to a limited degree, none are able to do it the way a dragon can.
Humans and their ilk have, however, discovered methods of bypassing these boundaries: by engraving objects with runes inlayed with special materials, they have created 'conduits' that shape this power into the semblance of spells. Thus, the creation of these items has become the magical 'technology' of this world.

Similarly, this also changes how classes work:

There are basically two classes: the warrior and expert (almost exactly like the ones in Unearthed Arcana). In addition to skills and feats, each class also has a pool of 'mana points'. These points represent their internal mana storage, which refills when they get a full rest (see the 'spell points' entry in UA with warrior=bard and expert=wizard and a new adept class=sorcerer). While every character has these points, not every one can use them. Feats and items change and shape the way these points are spent. Like conventional spells, the save DC is determined by the character's Intelligence or charisma (for arcane spells) or wisdom (for divine spells) and their character level. This score also determines bonus points and effective spell lists (wisdom gives access to cleric, Druid, ranger and paladin spells while int or cha is sorcerer/wizard and bard spells). Items with spells not on the effective list cannot be used by the character.

What this essentially translates into is that 'magic' is now heavily reliant on magic items. To 'channel' a spell, one must first have a proper conduit. These conduits are basically objects (mostly pieces of jewelry) that are engraved with symbols and runes to change magical force (mana) into actual spells.
To cast a spell, the user must be in contact with the circuit and force mana though it. Alternatively, instead of using one's reserve of mana, an item could be powered by a 'battery' to allow a given item to run continuously. Also, certain items, such as weapons and armor, allow a character to 'invest' mana into them and thus function for a continuous amount of time. Thus, a character could 'invest' point into his sword to make it a +1 weapon till the next time he regains his points.

Similarly, certain feats allow characters to 'manifest' birthmarks that act as spell circuits in their own right. These are quite similar to Eberron Dragonmarks, but are reliant on the mana points of the character nonetheless. Metamagic feats are also nonexistent. Instead, spells can be engraved as metamagic versions of themselves with appropriate casting costs.

Edit 1, feats.
Here are some new feats that would pop up in this system
[Granted Domain]
You are able to tap into the power granted by the aspects of divinity.
Requirement: Knowledge Religion 4 or Knowledge Nature 4, divine mana
Choose either two domains or one planar domain. You can spend mama points to cast a spell on either of the lists. You have access to the granted power of each domain. You must still have an appropriate alignment to take alignment domains.

[Extra Mana]
Your reservoir of magic is larger than those of your kind.
Requirement: Intelligence, charisma, or wisdom 13+
The score that determines your bonus mana points is treated as 2 higher for determining bonus mana points.

[Craft Circuit]
You are able to create spell circuit items.
Requirement: able to cast spells, character level 3rd.
You are able to to craft spell circuit items of spells you know. Crafting a circuit item takes one day for every 1000 in it's base price. The base price of a circuit item is spell level x caster level x 12.5gp. To create a circuit item, you must spend 1/25 the cost in xp and use up raw materials costing one-half the base price.

[Arcane Gift]
You have an inane connection to magic of a particular type.
Requirement: Knowledge Arcana 4, arcane mana,*
Choose an arcane path. You can spend mana points to cast spells from that path.
Special: You can select this feat up to three times.

[Primal Gift]
You are gifted with the most ancient form of magic
Requirement: Knowledge Arcana 12, arcane magic, two Arcane Paths
Choose an Ur-path. You can spend mana points to cast spells from that list. You also gain the associated power of that path.

[Mana Theft]
You can steal the very magic from your foes.
Requirements: Sneak Attack, Spellcraft 4
Whenever you make a successful sneak attack, intend of dealing damage, you can steal a number of mana points equal to half the damage that would be dealt by the attack. You cannot steal more points than double your level, excess points are lost.
Special: only sneak attack damage is counted for this purpose, not damage from the weapon.

[Smite Evil]
Your holy might smites your vile foes
Requirement: Good Alignment, Base Attack Bonus +1
You can smite an evil creature with a normal melee attack. Add your charisma bonus (if any) to your attack roll, and deal an extra 1 point of damage per character level. You must declare your smite before making your attack roll. If your attack misses, or the creature is not evil, the smite attempt is waisted. You can use his ability once per day, plus one extra time per day door every five character levels you poses.

[Spell Smite]
You smite foes with your spells
Prerequisite: Smite Evil, Base Attack Bonus +5
You can apply your smite to singe-target attack spells. If a spell would have multiple targets (such as magic missile), the smite is applied only to the first attack. Applying this feat to a spell increases the mana point cost by 1.

You can focus your rage into pure power
Prerequisite: Chaotic Alignment, Base Attack Bonus +1
You can fly into a raging frenzy that increases your physical powers. Once per encounter, on your turn, you can activate this ability to gain a +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, a +2 moral bonus on Will Saves, and a -2 penalty to Armor Class. The increase in Constitution gives you 2 extra hit points per character level. Unlike bonus hit points, these are not used up first, and disappear when your rage ends.
Your rage lasts a number of rounds equal to 3+ your (new and improved) Constitution modifier. At the end of your rage, you are exhausted
While in a rage, you cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Charisma-based skills (except Balance, Escape Artist, Intimidate, and Ride), the Concentration skill, or any skill that requires patience and concentration. You cannot cast spells (form circuits or feats), use spell trigger items (such as a wand), spell completion items (such as a scroll), or items that require a command word to function. You can use any feats except Combat Expertise or item creation feats.
You can fly into a rage once per day, plus an additional time per day for every five character levels you poses.

[Mana Fury]
Despite your rage, you can still channel spells.
Prerequisite: Rage, Base Attack Bonus +5
While raging, you retain the ability to cast a limited number of spells (from circuits or feats). These must be damage-dealing spells, and must be either single target or area affect. These spells cannot require concentration, and must be of instantaneous duration (such as fireball, ray of frost, etc).
The use of this feat still does not allow you to use spell trigger or spell completion items.

[Rage Overchannel]
Your fury opens up potential for more damage, at a cost.
Prerequisite: Rage, Mana Fury, Base Attack Bonus +7
While raging, your limit of mana points you can spend is increased by 2. This increase only applies for the purposes of increasing damage. For example, a fireball spell cast by a 7th level character can deal up to 9d6 point of damage (as though the character was 9th level). This increase has the same restrictions on spells as the Mana Fury feat. Each time this feat is used, you take nonlethal damage equal to the number of mana points you spent.

Edit 2, Classes:
Here are three classes intended in this system. Like the original generic classes, skills and saves are chosen at creation and cannot be changed later:


Hit Die: 1d10

{table=head]Level|BAB|Good Save|Poor Saves|Special|Mana Points

1st|+1|+2|+0|Bonus Feat|0

2nd|+2|+3|+0|Bonus Feat|1


4th|+4|+4|+1|Bonus Feat|5


6th|+6/+1|+5|+2|Bonus Feat|11


8th|+8/+3|+6|+2|Bonus Feat|19


10th|+10/+5|+7|+3|Bonus Feat|27


12th|+12/+7/+2|+8|+4|Bonus Feat|43


14th|+14/+9/+4|+9|+4|Bonus Feat|59


16th|+16/+11/+6/+1|+10|+5|Bonus Feat|79


18th|+18/+13/+8/+3|+11|+6|Bonus Feat|103


20th|+20/+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|Bonus Feat|127

Class Skills (2+Int per level, x4 at first level): Any six skills plus craft


Hit Die: 1d6

{table=head]Level|BAB|Good Saves|Poor Save|Special|Mana Points

1st|+0|+2|+0|Bonus Feat|2

2nd|+1|+3|+0|Bonus Feat|4



5th|+3|+4|+1|Bonus Feat|16



8th|+6/+1|+6|+2|Bonus Feat|44



11th|+8/+3|+3|+7|Bonus Feat|88



14th|+10/+5|+9|+4|Bonus Feat|136



17th|+12/+7/+2|+10|+5|Bonus Feat|184



20th|+15/+10/+5|+12|+6|Bonus Feat|232

Class Skills (6+Int per level, x4 at first level): Any twelve skills plus craft and profession


Hit Die: 1d4

{table=head]Level|BAB|Good Save|Poor Saves|Special|Mana Points

1st|+0|+2|+0|Bonus Feat|4

2nd|+1|+3|+0|Bonus Feat|6




6th|+3|+5|+2|Bonus Feat|28




10th|+5|+7|+3|Bonus Feat|106




14th|+7/+2|+9|+4|Bonus Feat|198




18th|+9/+4|+11|+6|Bonus Feat|308



Class Skills (4+Int per level, x4 at first level): Any nine skills plus craft and profession

Edit 3: Channel and Ancestry feats
This introduces two new types of feats. [Channel] feats are easily noticed due to the need to spend mana points in order to activate them, and that they become more powerful the more points used in activation. They are still subject to the regular restrictions on how many points one can sound in one turn. Multiple [Channel] feats can be activated the same turn, as long as the total mana spent does not exceed the level limit.
[Ancestry] feats demonstrate the power of a character's bloodline to one if the Eight original sources if magic: Devils, Demons, Dragons, Elementals, Fey, Beasts, Celestials, or Abberations. These are mutually exclusive, and any character cannot have more than one. These require the character to have either arcane mana (Dragons, Elementals, Fey, or Abberations) or divine mana (Devils, Demons, Beasts, or Celestials) in addition to any other requirements

[Fell Stream][Channel][Ancestry]
Your heritage allows you to shoot deadly blasts of fell energy
Prerequisite: Any Non-good, divine magic
You can shoot blasts of fell energy at your foes. By expending 1 mana point, you can hurl a blast of dark power that deals 1d6 points of damage at your enemy.*
This attack is a Ray with a range of 60feet, and requires a successful touch attack to hit. The damage can be increased by spending extra mana points. For every 2 extra mana points, the Ray deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. The Ray deals half damage to objects.
This attack is subject to spell resistance and spell failure form armor.

[Sickening Stream][Channel]
Your Demonic heritage can cause your fell power to sicken those it damages
Prerequisite: Fell Stream, any non-lawful
When you use your Fell Stream, you can cause those affected to make a fortitude save (DC 11+wis modifier) or become nauseated. If you spend extra mana points to increase the damage of the Stream, the DC is increased by 1 for every 2 points you spend.

[Insidious Stream][Channel]
Your Infernal ancestry break down the target's will instead of harming them.
Prerequisite: Fell Stream, any non-chaotic
When you use your Fell Stream ability, you may choose to impose a -1 penalty to will saves and sense motive checks for 1 minute instead of dealing damage. You can increase this penalty by 1 for every 2 additional points you spend to activate this power. You can use this in conjunction with regular damage if you desire. Thus, if you spend 7 points, you can impose a -4 penalty, a -2 penalty with 2d6 points of damage, or any other combination you wish.
The penalties imposed can be negated with a will save (DC 11+wis modifier). The DC is increased by 1 per 2 mana points spent when this ability is activated (thus would be 14+wis mod in the previous example, no matter the combination).
These penalties are not culminate, a more potent use overrides a weaker one.

[Dragon Breath][Channel][Ancestry]
Dragon blood runs in your veins a d gives you the breath of your ancestors.
Prerequisite: Arcane magic
Choose a type of dragon. You can spend 1 mana point to use the same breath weapon. Depending on the type of energy, your breath weapon is either a 60ft line (acid or electricity) or a 30ft cone (fire or cold) that deals 1d6 points if damage. This damage is increased by 1d6 for each additional mana point you spend when you activate this ability. Any creature in the area can make a Reflex save (DC 11+int or cha modifier) for half damage. The save is increased by 1 for every 2 mana points you spend to increase the damage of this ability.

[Dragon Scales][Channel]
Your magic allows you to toughen your skin like the scales of your elders
Prerequisite: Dragon Breath
You can spend a mana point gain a +1 enchantment bonus to your natural armor and resistance 5 to the energy of your breath weapon. The resistance increases by 1 for each additional point you spend and the enchantment bonus gained increases by 1 for every 2 additional points of mana you spend when you activate this ability. Thus, if you spend 7 points, you gain a enchantment bonus of +3 and resistance 12 to your chosen energy type.
The resistance gained does not stack with resistances gained from other sources. The**enchantment bonus stacks with existing natural armor, but not with that of other sources (such as the Barkskin Spell)

[Elemental Gauntlet][Channel][Ancestry]
Your ancestry allows you to tap into the power of elemental forces
Prerequisite: Arcane magic
Choose an element when you take this feat: fire, water, earth, or air. As a move action, you can spend 1 mana point to cause elemental emerges of the chosen type to surround your fists. This layer of elemental matter adds 1d6 bludgeoning damage to your unarmed strikes. This damage can be increased by 1d6 for every 2 additional mana points you spend when you activate this ability.
In addition, each element has a secondary effect:
Fire: opponents you strike must make a reflex save or catch fire
Water: opponents you strike must make a fortitude save or be fatigued*
Earth: opponents you strike must make a fortitude save or be dazed
Air: opponents you strike must make a reflex save or be knocked prone
This effect lasts until the end of their next turn. The DC for the saves is 11+int or cha modifier. The save increases by 1 for every 2 points spent to increase damage.
The extra damage granted by this ability lasts 1 minute.

[Elemental Volley][Channel]
You can hurl elemental matter at the opponent.
Prerequisite: Elemental Gauntlet
You can condense matter of your chosen element and hurl it at your foes. By spending 1 mana point, you can form a glob of matter the size of a large rock (in the case of earth it is a large rock) that can be used as a projectile weapon. This glob has a range increment of 40ft and deals 1d6 of damage appropriate for its Type (Fire for Fire, Cold for Water, Bludgeoning for Air or Earth). The attack requires a successful ranged attack roll to hit. For every additional 2 points you spend when you use thus ability, the damage (and the size of the glob) increases by 1d6.

[Beast Fury][Channel][Ancestry]
The instincts of your ancestors are alive in you.
Prerequisite: divine magic
You can heighten your physical might by using mana. By spending 1 point, you gain a +2 enchantment bonus on strength checks (but not strength based skills) for 1 round. This also grants a +1 bonus to damage on attacks made that round. This bonus can be increased by +2/+1 respectively for every 2 additional points spent on this ability.

[Beast Claws][Channel]
You can tap into your primal senses and gain vicious claws
Prerequisite: Beast Fury
By spending 1 mana point, you can grow claws on your fingers. These claws deal damage appropriate for your size category (1d6 for medium creatures), and last 1 minute. For every additional 2 points you spend when you use this ability, your claws gain a cumulative +1 bonus to attack and damage (max +5).

[Fairy Lullaby][Channel][Ancestry]
Your fey ancestors gifted your with the power of sleep.
Prerequisite: Arcane Magic, charisma as designated score
By spending 1 mana point, you can infuse your voice with the power of sleep. Creatures within 10 feet that can hear you must make a will save (DC 11+cha mod) or fall into a magical sleep that lasts for 1 minute. You need not speak the same language as the target. For every 2 points you spend on this ability, increase the range by 5 feet and the DC by 1. You can never affect more creatures with one use than double your Character level. Creatures whose HD exceed yours are immune to this power. This ability does not function in areas of magical science.

[Fairy Dream][Channel]
You can slip into the dreams of sleeping people and leave a little surprise.
Prerequisite: Fairy Lullaby
You can spend 5 points to implant a suggestion (as the spell) into the mind of a sleeping target. The target is allowed a will save (DC 13+cha mod) to resist the effect. You can increase the DC by 1 for every 2 additional points you spend to activate this power. This is a mind-affecting ability.

[Sacred Nurture][Channel][Ancestry]
The celestial blood in your veins helps mend broken wounds
Prerequisite: divine magic, any non-evil
You can spend 1 mana point to heal 1d6 points of damage with a touch. Equally, this ability can be used to deal the same amount of damage to undead. Using this ability to deal damage requires a successful touch attack and allows a reflex save (11+wis mod) for alf damage. The damage healed *(or dealt to undead) is increased by 1d6 for every 2 additional points spend when the ability is activated and the DC is equally increased by 1 point.

[Sacred Shield][Channel]
Your celestial blood allows you to protect yourself, or those close to you
Prerequisite: Sacred Nurture
You can spend 1 point of mana to cause a shield of force to appear in front of you and protect you from attacks. This shield grants a +2 shield bonus to AC and can protect agains Magic Missile. For every 2 additional mana points spent to use this ability, the bonus provided by the shield increases by +1 (maximum +10). As a standard action, you can move the shield to another creature within 10feet. Your shield lasts 1 minute and you can only have one shield at any given time.

[Warped Sting][Channel][Ancestry]
Your aberrant ancestry allows you to alter part of yourself into a deadly stinger
Prerequisite: Arcane magic, any Chaotic
By spending 1 mana point, you can cause a stinger to protrude from your flesh (typically at the wrist or forearm) as a free action. Treat this as a rapier of the same size (1d6 for medium characters), has a critical range of 19-20x2 and deals piercing damage. It can be used in conjunction with feats such as weapon fineness. For every 3 additional points spent when this ability is used, your stinger gains a cumulative +1 enchantment bonus to attack and damage rolls (maximum +5). You can fire this stinger at an opponent as a standard action (range increment 30ft, max 5 increments).
You can have only one active (but not fired) stinger per arm at any given time. Unfired stingers remain for 1 minute before crumbling to dust.

[Warped Venom][Channel]
Your stingers are infused with paralytic poison
Prerequisite: Warped Sting
Any stinger you create carries a dose of poison within it. Any foe damaged by one of your stingers is affected by the poison (injury 1d6 dex/1d6 dex, fort negates). The DC for this poison is 10+1/2 your character level (or HD)+ your con modifier. A creature whose dexterity is reduced to 0 by this poison cannot move. You are immune to your own poison, but not that of another with this feat. Also, you gain a +2 bonus in saves against poison.

[Mana Leap][Channel]
You can use mana to fuel mighty leaps
Prerequisite: Jump 6 ranks
By spending 3 points if mana, you gain a +4 enchantment bonus on your next jump check. This bonus increases by +2 for every 2 additional points you spend on this ability. The distance you can jump is not limited by your height when you use this ability.

[Mana Stride][Channel]
You can boost your swiftness with mana
You can spend 1 mana point to gain a 5 foot enchantment bonus to your speed for one round. For every additional 2 points you spend you gain an additional 5 foot enchantment bonus. This ability does not stack with similar abilities such as Expeditious Retreat, but does stack with the Dash Feat.

[Mana Aim][Channel]
Mana suffuses your attack and helps your accuracy
Prerequisite: Base Attack Bonus +1 Weapon Focus
By spending 1 mana point you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls. This bonus increases by +1 for every additional 2 points spent to activate the ability.

While some would say that this gives too much power to the players, there are a few restriction that keep this system in balance:
-the most obvious is the amount of mana a character has available each day
-if a character does not have the requires circuit, s/he cannot cast the spell
-a character cannot spend more points in a round than their character level
-expensive material components still need to be provided
-anti-magic areas still affect characters as normal

As I said, this is not fully fleshed out, and needs a little work, but I think it has a pretty good basis. Granted, ones still needs to work on prestige classed and such, but that can come later. I will update as things develop.
Anyone have thoughts or suggestions that could help improve or refine this concept?

2011-07-20, 01:01 PM
I never read the book, but I think this sounds a lot like what Magic of Incarnum does. It's not really item based, but still used item slots on the body, so maybe adding focus items to Incarnum might provide you with a good starting point for what you want to do.

2011-07-21, 03:50 PM
Well, yes and no.
Yes, it is like Magic of Incarnum in that you can invest points into armor and such things.
No, in that it is kinda like the concept of Runestaffs. You have an item (like a ring for example) that is incribed with a spell circuit. A character has a given amount of mana. You force the mana though the circuit (expending mana in the process) and manifest the desired effect.

Each given spell has a specified point cost:
1-1 point
2-3 points
3-5 points
4-7 points
5-9 points
6-11 points
7-13 points
8-15 points
9-17 points

0 level spells can be cast a number of times per day equal to 3+the modifier of your chosen score (Int or cha for arcane casters and wis for divine casters).

At character creation, you choose if your character is arcane or divine oriented, and this choice cannot be changed later. This choice determines which score your character uses for determining bonus mana points, the save DC of spells (chosen score mod+spell level+10), and what effective spell list the character has access to for determining what circuit items he can use (sorcerer/wizard and bard for arcane casters; Druid, cleric, ranger, and paladin for divine casters).

For purposes of resolving spells (which are cast by channeling mana points though a circuit item), the caster level is equal to the character level of the caster. This is for effects that are dependent on caster level (such as range, duration, and area) with the exception of damage.

Damage is always determined at minimum caster level. This can be augmented by spending extra points to increase the effective caster level.
For example:
A character channels mana though a fireball circuit (minimum caster level 5, thus 5 points for a 3rd level spell). Since he is at level 8, he can spend up to 8 mana points per turn. He decides to spend 2 extra points on the spell (5+2=7) to increase the damage dealt from 5d6 to 7d6, making his effective caster level 7 for purposes of determining damage (effectively making this a 4th level spell). The save is still his int or cha+3+10, since it is still a 3rd level spell, but the range and area are that of an 8th level caster.

Hope this explains things a bit.

Edit: yes, I know this is very similar to psionics. The big difference is that here you need to spend feats to actually gain spells. Otherwise, you are stuck using Spell Circuits, items very similar to Rune Staffs.

2011-07-25, 03:53 AM
(Please excuse my double-posting but since no one has added anything...)

I have been thinking about the spell circuits.
Originally, I had though that they could be anything portable, but that would make it very difficult to actually limit how they were used in combat.
I have several suggerstions as to how they would look, and would like you to add your opinions about them (or propose new ideas, I always like new imput):

Rings-this was one of the original ideas, but it has been incredibly overused. Spell circuit rings would limit the number of 'spells' available to a character at any given time to five on one hand (possibly less if he has regular magic rings). It would take a full-round action to switch out a worn ring with one in a pouch (move action to take off the ring and another to don the other one).

Armbands-similar to rings, one could only wear up to five per arm, but could not wear bracers. It would also take a full-round action to switch out the bands.

Orbs-the circuit looks like a meditation ball. These would have to be held in the hand to activate, requiring a 'caster' to draw them from a pouch. Drawing an orb is like drawing a weapon and requires a move action.

Charm-the circuit looks like a charm worn either around the neck or an armband. Multiple charms can be hung from the same chain, up to seven. Switching a charm on a chain takes two full-round actions while swapping worn chains requires one.

Cards-the circuits are engraved on specially crafted cards. These can be drawn from a deck pouch as a move action. Up to four cards can be held in a hand simultaneously. Cards are drawn in a particular order, determined by the character when he 'stacks' his deck (a process that can take up to an hour). Reinserting cards is a move action.

I would like to add that cards and orbs benefit from the Quick Draw feat.

I look forward to any replied and suggestions.

2011-07-25, 11:43 AM
Cards would be interesting. Maybe if you combined that with counting the rings as magic rings (limiting them to one per hand, and less if they want an actual ring).

2011-07-26, 04:25 AM
Thank you eldest. But could you tell me why limiting rings would be a good idea? And how could I make cards interesting (aside from making limited versions of certain spells of course)?

2011-07-26, 09:27 PM
Two ideas for card magic
1: Every card has three aspects/effects. The first effect is the primary effect, which is available to everyone, but is fairly weak. The second effect is the reversed card; this spell somehow cancels out or is the opposite of the primary spell. Figuring what the reversal effect is and how to use is requires a medium difficulty skill check. The third spell is called "the soul of the card" determining and using this spell requires a difficult skill check, but it is a highly powerful version of the first or second effect.

2: My second suggestion is the ability to play spell cards face down. Playing a card face down requires the same amount of mana, skill, and time as playing it face up. The difference is that a card played face down does not take effect at the time it is played, instead the caster can activate it any time during the encounter as a free action.

2011-07-27, 04:36 AM
So, with your first idea, the card has (as an example) orb of fire, orb of cold, amd fireball on it?
And your second idea is that (as another example) the card has on the front side a lightningbold whle the reverse side has a delayed lightnin bolt or a lighting bolt with a contingent trigger?

Actually,these are great ideas I haddn´t though of. Keep em comming (though I might have to up the price for cards with multiple spells on them).

Edit: Also, I added some new feats to the list.

2011-07-29, 07:46 AM
do you have prices for your conduits?

2011-07-29, 02:33 PM
The card idea sounds fun, especially for summon monster spells. say, if you want to summon a monster, you have to buy the card with the proper monster "sealed" inside. Then the ability to "seal" monsters would become it's own crafting skill, although you have to go and find the monster first, maybe get it into negative hit-points with ought killing it, lots of adventuring opportunities.

2011-07-29, 02:41 PM
The card idea honestly sounds a lot like Yu-Gi-Oh, especially with playing them facedown, Summon Monster cards, and the whole "soul of the card" thing.

2011-07-29, 02:54 PM
@Obvious: with conduits, I priced it so that the cost of a conduit is about half the cost of a scroll of the appropriate level. Therefore a level 0 spell circuit will cost 6.25gp while a level one spell circuit is 12.5, etc...
I figured as this is about 80% the cost of a wand with a single charge left in it at the given level (used rune staffs as a guideline here).

If we are going with the idea that each side can contain a spell, then each side has to be bought separately (or it comes as a package deal, more to that later).

@madock: That is actually close to what I had in mind. Stop me if this sounds stupid, but each summon card is blank at creation. Before someone can use it, he has to "imbue" the card with the truename of a specific creature. After that, the card is tied to that creature, and he will always summon the same one each time he uses the card (using the variant summoning rules in the DMG). Only one card can be tied to a given creature, and if the creature is killed ( the real body, not the summoned one) the card returns to being blank. Of course, this involves making deals with said creature first, and quests can be mounted for retrieving cards if particularly powerful beings.

On the topic of cards, I have had two ideas, but can't decide which is better:
One is that there are different "editions" of cards. On one side is a regular spell, the other contains a metamagic version of a particular type (such as all 'Quick Edition' cards having quickened versions on the flip side). There is also a 'basic' set which only has one side and no metamagic spells.
On the other hand, I could create special 'metamagic cards' that could be used to modify cards held in the hand at the same time.

What do you all think?

2011-07-29, 06:01 PM
With the various types of conduits listed, they might only be able to have a certain spell level. Cards, rings, and armbands which are easier to get out, and you can hold many of, probably wouldn't hold as much powerful magic (at least not in their first stage, if you use the tri-staged cards) but they might not hold as much as an orb (or staff, which would also make a good, traditional conduit), which you have to sacrifice a hand for. (you can hold a sword and shield while wearing a bunch of rings and armbands, but not while holding a large orb, and cards let you have 4 or so spell options at once)

2011-07-29, 10:48 PM
So how does investment work?

2011-07-30, 05:20 AM
On the shape of circuits:
After reviewing all the concepts here, I would like to say that it appears that Spell Circuits shall be made as cards. This way, we now have a coherent form to work with. Thank you all who helped me come to this conclusion. Do note that it tends to be very hard to find cards that are 7th level and higher on the open market, and legal codes may even forbid the carrying of specific types (such as necromancy cards).

I would, at this time like to make one thing clear: this is not going to be a ridiculous attempt at making D&D Yu-gi-oh. There are NO trap cards, there are NO duel discs, card Users will NOT be referred to as duelists, and weaker monster will NOT be sacrificed to summon stronger ones, is that clear? 'Decks' are not shuffled, they are stacked in a particular order at the beginning of the day by the character in the process described in my earlier post. Also, only one card can be drawn each round.

One change to spells is that spells that allow a caster to 'regain' or 'recast' previously used spells (such as Moderkainien's Lucubation) instead allow you to cast spells in your deck of the appropriate level (so a savvy caster will put that card towards the front). This works only with non-metamagic versions.

On the topic of 'Investment' items (Circuit Weapons and Armor):
Circuit weapons and Armor look like normal weapons and armor of the same type, but feature two key differences: first, each one has one or more lines (referred to as circuits) running though its construction. Second, the design incorporates one or more small crystals (called storage crystals) that are connected to the circuits. These crystals act as "batteries" that power the enchantments found in the weapons and require 3x the enchantment bonus (or equivalent) worth of mana points to function for 24 hours. A given weapon or suit of armor can only hold a maximum of 10 storage crystals. Each circuit requires a number of crystals to function equal to its enchantment bonus (so a +2 ability like 'holy' requires 2 *crystals). Partially charged crystals do not function. Uncharged Circuit weapons and armor function as their nonmagical equivalent (although they are still masterwork quality by default).
Since Circuit weapons and armor rely on the investment of mana points to function , they cost 80% as much as items relying purely on magic (thus the enchantment cost for a +1 circuit weapon is 1600 gp instead of 2000 gp). Circuit items need not be magical before special abilities are added, but synergy abilities do not function if their base power is uncharged (so a flaming burst ability will not function if the flaming property is uncharged).
Abilities with gold point costs (such as Agility) are treated as enchantments equal to the next highest equivalent (so Agility, which costs 500 gp is treated as a +1 enchantment) for purposes of how many crystals are needed to power the ability.*

Circuit Weapons and Armor can be created with the Craft Arms and Armor feat.
For those of you wondering how it is possible to create magic items without access to spells: When crafting a magic item, the maker has to succeed on a Use Magic Device check to successfully emulate each spell required in the process (DC 20+spell level). This check can be repeated each day while the item is being made. Should a crafter fail every check, he may make one final check on the last day of construction, representing a last-ditch effort to succeed. Should the crafter fail even this check, the entire process fails and all materials and XP are waisted.

I am debating whether or not other magic items (such as gloves and cloaks) should be made as Circuit Equipment.

2011-07-30, 08:32 AM
I'm thinking metamagic are card's. Like you play a quicken card with the spell you want to use.
scratch that metamagic are feat's. You play a card and you have a choice of applying MM or not. And there are special MM'ed cards.

2011-07-30, 09:09 AM
Ok, I was suggesting to limit the number of rings that somebody could wear because at most they could have 10 15(hand of glory) spells ready to fire at any time. Instead, if you made it so they counted as rings, you could only wear one on each hand, and it would block them from wearing a ring of regeneration or such. But it seems like you might just be ditching the rings and going just for cards.

2011-07-30, 03:15 PM
@Eldest: although you have a valid point in one aspect, consider how many spells a higher level caster has access to. Besides, it doesn't matter how many rings you have, you are still limited by how many mana points are available to spend. You have to make a call as to what you want to use and when you should use it. Also, I may have phrased it poorly, but I was actually looking for a singe shape for the circuit and cards (thanks to everyone's contribution) has won out (it also gives a type of spell book feel), but thank you.

@Obvious: In my first post, I specifically said that metamagic feats were nonexistent (see second paragraph under second spoiler on first post). This was because it didn't seem practical to let someone take a feat that was pretty much useless without a specific item and it did not fit the flavor (spells are changed though the way a circuit is scribed, not the mana of the user).

As mentioned earlier, we have two options to progress from here:

-A) we have 'Metamagic cards' that can be used in conjunction with other cards held in the same hand. These take up space in the deck and have to be drawn separately (possibly before cards containing other spells) .

-B) we have various 'series' of cards. Cards containing only the regular spell are called the "Base Set" while cards with a metamagic version of the inscribed spell are named after the metamagic part ("Quick Set", "Max Set", "High Set", "Silent Set", or "Still Set" for example). Spells can be cast either as their regular cards, or the metamagic version on the flip side at the preference of the caster holding the card (though extra points need to be paid for the metamagic component).

So, which version is preferable here?

2011-07-31, 12:27 AM
Oh oops. So A is prefferable
edit: Howabout A with a mix of B. people normally use option B but option A is a new thing and catching on fast

2011-08-01, 09:27 AM
True. And the cards will restrict the spells he can cast, if I'm understanding this correctly. That would work, and it would be interesting. You'd probably want a RL deck of your spells to keep it organized easier if you played a caster like this. And you got rid of spontaneous casting, correct?

2011-08-02, 04:38 PM
Yes and no on the spontaneous caster bit. While technically we are "all" spontaneous casters, the preparation component still comes into play. Imagine it this way:
You are prepping your deck (let's call it a Grimore for now) and you have 10 cards: Magic Missile, Shield, Mage Armor, Mount, Unseen Servern, Comprehend Languages, Summon Monster I, Tensir's Floating Disc, Color Spray, and Shocking Grasp. You decide to leave them in that order, but put Shocking Grasp in fourth place and Color Spray in fifth place.
When you enter combat, on your turn, you draw a card: Magic Missile. As long as you hold that card, you can cast Magic Missile as long as you have enough mana points (in this case 1). On your next turn, you can draw another card, and you draw Mage Armor. Two turns later you are holding four cards, and can cast any of the spells on them. On the other hand, on your fifth turn (assuming you kept drawing cards and nothing else) you can drop one of the held cards to draw your fifth one, Color Spray.
In effect, you are both a caster who prepares spells, and a spontaneous caster at the same time.

On a note, the concept with the "metamagic series cards" works then same way, but you can cast either the regular spell or the metamagic version at your discretion. With the regular "metamagic" cards, they would have to be drawn separately.

Edit: could someone give me some feedback on the [Channel] and [Ancestry] feats please?

2011-08-09, 03:56 AM
Please excuse my adding a double-post, but feel this needs mention:

I have mentioned the idea of Spellguns in another thread, but the concept with the cards seems to add to my idea-making muse. In short, picture this:
Since spells can come in card form, imagine a gun that has a slot for said card right beneath the barrel. When a card is inserted and locked in place (a standard action), the spell it contains can be fired from the gun.
The spell functions as normal, with a few alterations:
-Shape changes to Ray
-Range changes to that of gun (has 5 range increments)
-Spell requires a ranged attack roll
-Spell only affects one target
-If it is a summoning spell, creature appears in an open space next to target

Only spells that target others or summon creatures can be used in this way.
Guns use a special type of ammunition: Mana Bullets.
Mana bullets act as receptacles for Mana energy, and need to be 'charged' before they can be fired (a move action). Bullets stay charged until their energy is used. Swapping a charged bullet with an empty one requires two move actions (one to remove the empty bullet, another to load the charged one). Bullets have a limit as to how many mana points they can hold (up to a maximum of 9).
Guns require the Exotic Weapon Proficientcy (Firearms) feat to use properly. The feat grants proficientcy with all types of firearms (but not with cannons).

Do you think this would work?