View Full Version : Doomsday clock casting mechanics

2013-10-22, 11:26 PM
So, this is just a random idea I had when reading the thread about shorter combat rounds and having casters take multiple rounds to pull off spells. The problem of course is that as a player its boring to sit there and do nothing for 3 rounds waiting for your spell to go off while other people can take actions, even if your spell ends up dominating the encounter.

So my idea was, what if you basically make a separation between 'big magic' and 'minor effects'. The minor effects would be something like reserve feat abilities, and the 'big magic' would be something that happens over the course of several rounds unless it was interrupted. Having a 'building' big magic effect might even enhance the minor effects you can summon.

You can start a 'big magic' with a swift action, and would have to spend a swift action every round to keep it building. Minor effects generally require a standard action to create. Taking damage while producing a 'big magic' would not necessarily interrupt it; however being rendered unable to take your swift action would. You could also have specific things interrupt specific spells (if the caster gets wet while performing a fire spell, etc) - there's a lot one could do here, its just a question of how complex of a system you want.

Here is an example of what I'm thinking of:

The Coiling Flame (Big Magic) [Fire, Unstable] Ritualist 4

Build time: 3 rounds
Range: 100ft
Area: 100ft radius emanation around caster
Components: V,S
SR: Yes
Save: None (Reflex halves*)
Duration: 3 rounds

Effects: After the first round, the temperature rises in the area with no direct mechanical effects other than melting ice and snow on the ground. After the second round, pools of orange-red light begin to form on the ground within the area of effect. At the end of the third round, these pools explode into tentacles of writhing flame which attempt to grapple all enemies in the area of effect, using the caster's Int bonus plus caster level as a grapple modifier. Enemies that are grappled by the spell take 1 point of fire damage per caster level each round.

* Unstable: If the spell is interrupted (e.g. the caster fails to spend a swift action towards it every round) then the fire energies explode outwards, dealing 1 point of fire damage per caster-level per round it has been building to all creatures within the radius, reflex save for half.

Energy Bolt (Minor Effect) Ritualist 1

Range: Close
Casting time: 1 standard action
Save: None
SR: Yes

When a big magic is building, its energies can be tapped by the caster to create a bolt of elemental energy that can be used to make a ranged touch attack against an enemy. This effect requires that there be a big magic in the works with an elemental tag ([Fire], [Cold], etc). The bolt has the same energy as the big magic.

An energy bolt deals damage equal to 4d6+CL of the caster.

Big Magics would be limited by slots, whereas Minor Effects could be used as long as a big magic was in the working (or at any time).

This system can't really play nice with the existing casters of D&D I think, it would basically have to replace them completely.