View Full Version : Manacatcher (skill)

2007-01-15, 01:53 PM
As I continue to develop a curious identity as a homebrewer whose creations seem to revolve around crafting and professions rather than fighting (power to the En-Pee-Cees!) I seem to have developed this one. Could use your opinions on the balance issues, especially regarding the use of mana as an xp substitute. Should it be allowed? Should I increase the mana:xp ratio?

Profession (manacatcher): In worlds where insitutionalised magic has established a definite hold in society, economy and world affairs, all sorts of subsidiary industries develop to support it. These are generally performed by people who, whilst not wizards in themselves, are quite willing and able to provide lesser arcane services to the magical segment of the population (still usually a very small percentage, but sufficient to create demand). The manacatcher is one such profession.

Mana, a substance named after the divine provision of sustenance, is effectively a very mutable source of magical power. Arcane effects can be imprinted into it in ways that would normally require esoteric material components to manifest. Mana can replace the normal materials for magic items (aside from the physical components of the item itself) on a gp for gp basis. A magic sword costing 8320gp in total materials (8000 for the magical enhancement, 320 for the masterwork sword) would thus take up 8000gp's worth of mana plus a 320gp masterwork sword. The true power is in that certain casters can use it in place of their own essence when producing magic items or casting spells (see feat: Mana Use).

The exact sources of mana vary but can generally be extracted using advanced magical equipment (such equipment requires the Craft Wonderous Item feat to produce and follows normal magic item creation rules) costing 200gp or 2000gp for a masterwork version (providing a +4 circumstance bonus). Manacatching cannot be done without such equipment. It is generally safer and less costly to catch mana on the material plane, but there is less return than attempting it on other planes (where magical effects are more prominent). A catcher may try and maintain his rig for as long as he wishes, making checks each week (as per Craft checks) and supplying 1/3rd his result in gems, arcane vessels and other media for the mana to be stored in (receiving the check result multiplied by the DC in sp of mana). A failure by 5 or more damages his equipment from magical surges, curtailing his expedition unless it can be repaired (normal magical item repair rules). Other planes may have their own dangers where harvesting is concerned.

In enhanced-magic areas, take a +6 circumstance bonus (does not stack with the bonus from masterwork equipment). In impeded-magic areas, take a -6 circumstance penalty (masterwork equipment can reduce this to -2). In limited-magic areas, take no penalties or bonuses (unless the limitations prevent mana-harvesting). In dead magic areas, harvesting is impossible.

Base DCs: Material Plane or Demiplane (DC 15)
Transitive Planes (Ethereal, Astral, Shadow) (DC 21)
Inner Planes (Positive, Negative, Elemental) (DC 28)
Outer Planes (Divine planes, Hell, the Abyss) (DC 34)
Far Planes (Utterly insane place) (DC 40).

Special: Manacatching cannot exist in a world where there is not an institutionalised way of reaching 8th level spells (the ability can be taught and does not rely upon innate ability) and has knowledge of (and possibly the power to travel to) other planes.

Mana Use: Prerequisites: Caster level 5th, Spellcraft 8 ranks. Benefit: As well as using mana for the material component of spells and magic items, the caster can subsitute mana for XP components, provided the mana supplied is worth 10 times the amount of xp used in gp. For example, a spell costing the caster 200xp could use up 2000gp of mana instead. A potion costing 8xp would instead require 80gp in materials. Normal: Casters use up their own XP when producing magic items or casting spells with XP components.

2007-01-15, 03:22 PM
Wow, and you just got rid of the whole "generic magical materials" thing that fast. I like it. Might I suggest some sort of in game measurement system for how much mana? (So the characters can ask for say, 10 thingies of mana instead of X gp worth).

2007-01-15, 05:00 PM
Mm. Was thinking about that. I'd suggest possibly a measurement in 'ounces', even though it's an ethereal substance and usually contained in gems, crystals, arcane vessels and other such esoteric items. One ounce of mana doesn't actually -weigh- an ounce, but it's equivalent to 1gp. If you have an inexpensive material component required for a spell, you can cut an ounce of mana instead. The vessels used can only hold so many ounces, after which they break, shatter or burn out permanently.

Generally, mana should not weigh anything in and of itself, but the vessels that carry it probably should. (So you can have a 1lb clay phylactery containing 50oz of mana or a 1lb emerald containing 5000oz of mana.) As a guide, an object should be able to contain twice as much mana as its gp value (so that it counts as the 'one third raw materials' used up in the gathering check).

2007-01-16, 12:31 PM
I think you'd need a visualized vessel for the mana.

Maybe it is collected and stored in gems?
Maybe the gems grow in the mana fields.
Maybe the Manacatcher is required to create the first iota of mana himself and then gather other mana to it? Like an pearl.
Maybe it is almost like blight magic where collecting the power from a region leaves it weakened until the mana can naturally re-acumulate.