View Full Version : Experimental magic system.

2012-09-26, 08:10 PM
hey, I'm new to this forum (but I'm a long-time fan of Order of the Stick).

So, I had come up with an idea for a magic system, and was discussing it a bit on another forum, I figured I'd post it here, since there weren't really any homebrew experts there.

here's what I had posted (warning: wall of text) :

I was trying to think of a completely customizable and limitless way of using magic. The current spells system doesn't allow for much variation (sides for metamagic feats and such). Arcana Evolved has a decently customizable magic system, what with spell slot swapping, empowering, diminishing, and templates and such. But I was trying to think of a completely 'make-your-own spell' kind of system. Since magic is essentially malleable to be created into anything.

So I thought I'd post my ravings:

First, you have what I'll call mana for simplicities sake. ( I hate calling it mana, though, sounds to much like a video game)
let's say, 10 x Int mod at first level, plus 5 x int mod at every next level.

Then, there's the element options; fire, wind, and positive energy were the basics I could think of. Fire burns 1d6 per lb (more on weight later) and burns the same amount the subsequent round, it also counts as a touch attack, positive energy heals living and damages undead 1d6 per lb (touch), wind pushes creatures back 1d4 squares per lb.

So, you can create a certain amount of a given element, I classified the amount by pounds. You can create up to 1 x int mod lbs at first level, with the same amount added on every other level, and you can maintain double that amount. (maintaining or creating more than you can handle requires a will save to avoid the spell blowing up in your face). Maintain means you keep whatever you created until next round, where it dissipates unless you pay the mana cost to maintain again.

Creating each lb of fire requires 5 mana, maintaining each requires 2 mana.
wind is 3 mana, maintain 1
positive energy 5, maintain 2

now that you've created your element, you can move it somewhere: throwing it requires 1 mana per lb per range increment (15 feet). The spell also accelerates over distance, so add +1 damage to the spell per range increment. Instead of simply throwing the spell, you can control it, making it arc upwards, or curve to the side, to add acceleration range. Controlling cost double mana.

For a basic fire bolt, creating, then throwing 20 feet, would cost 7 mana (5 for creation, 2 for range), and would be 1d20 to hit, and 1d6+2 for damage, plus another 1d6 the next turn for fire's burning effect.

Just a thought, probably too OP though: You can maintain energy after it hits someone, their is a 50% for each lb of magic that it will dissipate on strike, you can spend the maintain cost of the element to keep it from dissipating and move it to another target, this is only possible if you are manually controlling where it goes, however , It also loses all acceleration bonuses.

you can apply multiple templates to the amount to increase it's effect.
Speed: The faster the spell, the more damage and better chance you have to hit.
Speed 0: basic speed
Speed 1: faster, add +1 to attack and damage rolls, and +1 for range increment damage.
Speed 2: same as speed one, but +2 instead of +1.
Speed 3: same, except +3

Speed 4: a ray, hits instantly, add +5 to attack roll, but nothing to damage roll. 50% change to pierce through targets. add 2 mana to make it ricochet if it goes through.

first speed cost 2 mana extra, plus 2 extra per range increment. add this number to itself per each increment in speed.

Another thing to add would be a 'seeking-missile', or tracking, template. Your magic will unerringly follow the enemy, meaning they don't get a dex bonus for their AC. Combine this with fire, which counts as a touch attack = BOOM. Costs 8 mana + 2 per range increment.

Burn hotter: make your flames burn hotter, each 5 mana adds 1d6 to 1 lb of fire, max of 3 additions.
Also, when maxxed out heat, the flames turn blue.

Another template is the explosive template, you can spend 5 mana to make a spell detonate, with every 3 mana adding +1 to the radius. Detonation requires no attack roll, and the enemy must make a reflex save to halve the damage (DC is 10 + range increment bonus + speed bonus) , you can expend 4 mana (3 times max) to increase the detonation speed, adding +1 to the DC. the damage is the amount the element deals, no bonus for speed.

You can also turn the element into a 'haze', each lb of magic can cover one square, dealing it's standard effect to anyone occupying it; fire will burn, wind will blow others away, if in motion. You can create a mobile haze that will circle around you, it must be 8 lbs to cover all squares around you if you want to have a shield. Wind will blow arrows away and keep enemies away, fire will burn people who get near. You must pay the maintain cost to keep it their.
You could use this to create walls , though they will be expensive in mana maintenance. Or also to make a blast effect, (is speed is added, max level 1, though), with an effect area based on lbs.

Another thing you can do is cast twice, once from each hand, however, you can't apply seeking missile template to these spells if they are aimed at different targets.

suggested idea: You can also shoot at multiple targets from one hand, E.g. create 5 lbs of fire to shoot at five different targets, tracking cannot be applied unless they are all being shot at one person, and they all must exactly identical, these targets must be in all the same direction.

Creation: you can create items out of an element, they must be maintained using mana or they will dissipate. They cost the same as creating an identical amount of fire.
example: creating a whip of fire costs two lbs of fire, since a normal whip is two lbs. It acts the same, except it deals fire damage and has a burn effect.
You can also coat an existing weapon in an element for half the amount (coating a whip would be one lb) to give it the same effect (except half damage is physical).

something-I-randomly-thought-of ability: Surprise. Surprise basically means catching the opponent off guard, giving the same advantage as flanking. Firing a bolt of air (which is invisible), then turning it into fire at the last second would be a surprise attack. Casting a bolt at someone and deliberately missing, then making it turn around and hit them in the back.

New Item, Mana Stones: Mana Stones are basically gems that can hold your mana, they have a limit depending on the size and quality, e.g. a high-quality ruby weighing two lbs would have a limit of, say 100 mana, (50 if it only weighed one lb). to fill a gem, you expend an equal amount of mana to the amount you fill, you can draw upon this reserve any time you want, but you cannot draw from another's reserve.
Various gems are also beneficial to various elements. If using mana contained in a ruby, you get a 10% increase to all fire effects. Emerald for positive energy. Opal (or maybe quartz) for wind.
Mana stones can be used to power a spell without you being around. If you create a wall of fire, you can leave behind a charged mana stone to pay the maintain costs. The wall will stay then until the stone is exhausted.

spell sources: All magic must originate from you, or from a mana stone containing your mana.
A good way to skimp on mana costs would be to throw a ruby down and wait for enemies to get near it before detonating a fire bomb there.

Illusions: fire creates light, lights can make holograms, holograms are illusory. Therefore, illusions can be made with fire. anything that can be done with normal fire can be made into an illusion. Illusions are harmless and cost 1/10th the normal cost of fire.
Can make you invisible, perhaps.

Cold effects: cold is the absence of heat. Send a ball of fire somewhere and use it to draw the heat away from something to freeze it. 7 mana. (fortitude save DC 15)

Nether fire: just another element. By allying yourself, or, in other words, selling your soul to some Abbysal demon, you get access to the Nether fire element. Nether fire costs twice as much as normal fire but has twice the effect.

fast movement using wind?: cast high-powered wind on your self to quickly move yourself somewhere.

Some basic classes I came up with, based on mana amounts:

Total Mana Guy: can wear light armor, proficient with no weapons. Max amount of mana. Can use mana with both hands.

Middle-ground guy: Can wear light and med armor, can use shields. proficient with simple and martial weps. decent amount of mana. Good for quick damage; coat weapons with fire, or use weapons of your own creation.

Big Heavy Guy: can wear all armor types, can use martial and simple weps. Small amount of mana. Basic tank, for improved tanking, use wind to keep arrows off, or sustain a ball of positive energy for healing.

Anyways, looking for advice. Definitely balance issues, but if all classes were like the above, it wouldn't be as much of a problem. Some things would have to be added, like armor immune to spell effects (meaning fire isn't a touch attack), and some creatures that devour mana to make mages less of a threat.
I thought everything out, now I just need all the numbers to be adjusted to be balanced, and frankly, I'm not good at that.
It might seem crazy overpowered, but remember, these mages won't be getting things like ressurect or time stop or whatnot.

I'm thinking maybe I should make the elements weaker, and less damage increasing things, so mages have to rely more on acceleration and using the environment. (hmm, maybe I should make a gasseous element that combusts when combined with fire, for some interesting trap scenarios)

so, please critique.