View Full Version : Brainstorming for a magic-system/setting redux

2012-10-15, 02:04 PM
Hello there, Playground!

Now, I know this has been done before - it seems new magic systems are a dime a dozen around here, and several of them are very good (I've yoinked several of them, myself). However, as happens occasionally, I've gotten an idea stuck in my brain, and I need to dislodge it if I'm ever to sleep soundly again.

So! I've decided to come here to see what we can accomplish when we work together.

Now, we're all aware of the basic problems with the 3.5/PF magic system as-written: magic is the end-all-be-all, and anyone who doesn't get it through their class needs to find a different way to get it, quickly, or else they're going to get left behind. Mix in some general dislike of the Vancian system (not mine, but some people's) and we're left with an overwhelming desire for change.

So, what are my ideas, you ask? What can I contribute to the never-ending quest for balance? Probably not much. The idea I have for this system isn't even meant to address all the main problems with magic (although it might, and I'd have no problem with that).

The main idea is simple: create a low(er)-magic D&D setting. Now, the methods used to do that need to make sense. You can't keep the same full casting classes, all the same spells, and simply say that wizards and magic items are rare, and expect that to be helpful. What does that mean? When will I get past all this pointless build-up?

I want to blend a couple of different magic systems together. Some are officially published, and others are homebrewed, either by myself, or other people that have posted here. Additionally, I want to rework all the base classes in a minor way, to allow magic to be more accessible, yet not as good of an option. You'll see what I mean.

The magic systems I want to harvest various organs from, and the juicy bits I'm interested in, are:

1. D20 Modern - The idea of making prestige classes the only magic-focused classes seems like a great idea. It limits the early access, delays when magic overtakes mundane, and puts a lower cap on how powerful spells can go.

2. Star Wars Saga Edition - I'm in love with the Force System from Saga! For those that don't know, anyone, no matter what class or race, can be Force sensitive, and have access to force powers, in exchange for some of your character-building options (feats, mostly). However, to be really good at it, you need to focus your build into it, putting feats, talents, and class levels into advancing your Force abilities.

3. Mage: the Awakening - I like the different Arcana, as well as the spontaneous/ritual divide. Technically that exists in 4e too, but I'm not a big fan of 4e, so I'm going to say I'm using Mage as my base :smalltongue: .

4. This magic system from the Playground (link to come...). The idea of Invested, Open, and Burn costs is a great idea, and helps with the common trope of the powerful wizard asking the adventurers to fetch some artifact for him. Why can't he do it himself? He's got all his SP invested in maintaining some really powerful effects, so his personal power is somewhat limited. Why won't the PCs keep it for themselves? It has a high cost, so none of their casters can use it!

5. A d6 dice-pool based casting system that I found on the Playground, but for which I can't find the link anymore. The general idea is that you have a pool of dice you cand raw on for the day, and you determine how many you think you need to expend to meet the spell's DC.

The additional factors I want to include are:

A. A reasonable spell-failure system. Casting a spell should fail about as often as a swing of a sword. It's only fair! But failing to cast a low-level spell shouldn't have many major consequences, while a high-level spell should be disastrous.

B. Redoing all non-full casting classes so that they have no magic. Full casting classes would go away. Some new base classes might be needed, to be good jumping-off points for would-be spellcasters, but would need to be able to stand on their own merits, assuming that not everyone who takes them would want to go that route. Otherwise, they essentially become new spellcasting classes, without the spellcasting.

So, I already have some ideas as to how this could work, but I'm looking to see what you guys think of my ideas first, before I get them down on pixels. If your interested in helping me pursue this system, let me know!

2012-10-15, 02:05 PM
I'm going to reserve this post for any actual mechanics that get hammered out. Whatever our current "final version" is will be posted here, along with any rejected or old versions of mechanics.