View Full Version : Encounter-based Vancian casting

2012-06-01, 03:07 PM
Hello all.

I had an idea about how to adjust the Wizard's casting mechanic to change it to more of a per-encounter basis instead of a per-day basis. This is intended to be similar to how the martial adepts from Tome of Battle work, but maintaining enough differences to be interesting.

One reason I wanted to try to make a change like this is because under the standard system, if the Wizard knows or can arrange that he will only be in one fight today, he can use all of his daily resources on the one fight, instead of spreading them out over multiple fights as the system originally intended.

This is similar to the Recharge Magic system found in Unearthed Arcana and the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/rechargeMagic.htm) in that the Wizard has an unlimited number of potential spells per day but only limited access at any one time. I call the new system the Repertoire system.

How the Repertoire system works: At the beginning of the day, the Wizard chooses a number of spells of each spell level (depending on his Wizard level) that will form his Repertoire for the day. He prepares these by spending an hour in meditation and study. At any point during the day, he can take five minutes to memorize a number of spells of each spell level depending on his Wizard level, but the spells he chooses must be spells from his Repertoire. He can prepare the same spell more than once. Once a spell is cast, the Wizard no longer has it memorized.

My current idea is to have day-long buffs and similar spells reduce the number of spell slots available for memorization as well as taking up a Repertoire slot. So for example, if a level 10 Wizard can have 3 level 5 spells in his Repertoire and can memorize 2 level 5 spells at a time, then if he casts Overland flight at the beginning of the day, he can memorize 1 fewer 5th level spells (so, 1 5th level spell) at a time.

As for the number of spells in the Repertoire and number of spells he can memorize at a time, I am still working this around in my mind. Currently, I have the Repertoire able to hold the same number of spells of each spell level that the Wizard would normally have available to cast per day, including bonus spells from high Intelligence. So for example, a level 5 Wizard with a 20 Intelligence could have 4 0th-level spells, 5 1st-level spells, 3 2nd-level spells, and 2 3rd-level spells in his Repertoire. His number of spells memorized (or spells per encounter if you prefer) is equal to one-third the number of spells in his repertoire, round down, minimum 1. So our level 5 Wizard could memorize 1 0th-level spell, 1 1st-level spell, 1 2nd-level spell, and 1 3rd-level spell at a time.

I am considering other options for spells per encounter, including

Half the spells in his Repertoire, round down (minimum 1)
One third the spells in his repertoire, round up
One third the normal spells per day (round down, minimum 1), plus the full bonus from high Intelligence (so our sample Wizard above would have 1 0th-level spell, 3 1st-level spells, 2 2nd-level spells, and 2 3rd-level spells)

Opinions? Would this ruin the Wizard? What considerations would have to be made when certain spells can potentially be cast an unlimited number of times a day? How should we limit abuses? Would this make the Wizard more fun to play (or DM for) in your opinion?

Once some of the details are hashed out I will reformat this OP into a more polished new rule presentation.

Thanks in advance.

2012-06-01, 03:20 PM
I posted something almost identical to this over in the General RPG forum a few days ago. The only difference was that the Repertoire was basically the Wizard's current spells per day, and were used up when you cast them.

So a high level Wizard will have his 50 different spells per day, but will only have say 8 spells available for an encounter. So the Wizard doesn't become unlimited use, just gets a cap put on what he can do at once, limiting his nova potential.

2012-06-01, 03:41 PM
This works fairly well for the in-combat spells. Blasts, debuffs, battlefield control, short duration (as in, rounds) buffs, and so on. Where you'll run into potential problems is with the out of combat utility spells. Minute/level and ten minutes/level buffs also see a substantial gain, as they become effectively all-day buffs.

Actually, on that point, you'll probably want to expand the all day buff rule. I'd probably go with, "A spell's duration immediately expires if it is removed from your memorized list." Exceptions might be made for spells with durations lasting longer than a day, and it would probably need better wording so it doesn't suggest that it immediately expires when you cast it. But otherwise, a decent-level mage with Extend Spell could easily cast minutes/level buffs, take five minutes to swap to active spells, and swap back to recast them when they expire.

The out of combat spells are a bit harder to work with. Maybe define certain types of spells as being "ritual style" where you can't memorize them, but you can cast them once per day as long as they are in your Repertoire?