View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next The Magic of Dusk - (Magic: the Gathering inspired setting)

2014-10-06, 10:27 AM
Removed - lack of replies or interest.

2014-10-06, 01:00 PM
Removed - lack of replies or interest

2014-10-06, 04:23 PM

2014-10-10, 09:58 AM
I've finished balancing out the lists. There are 390 spells in all, including cantrips. 78 per color. Access is further divided between major and minor access.

In 3rd edition the colors of spells didn't matter unless you picked a prestige class called the magi. One of my goals with the next revision of the setting is that color needs to matter to every class beyond simply being their alignment. The reason to meticulously balance the number of spells between the colors is I've decided to assign spells to classes based on color, ignoring the class spell lists in the PHB entirely, at least for the major casters. I haven't decided on what to do with the ranger and paladin.

I'm still fine tuning the lists, so rather than look at the whole thing lets look at how the 1st level spells divvy out.

Abora (Green): Minor - Charm Person, Detect Poison and Disease, Expeditious Retreat, Fog Cloud, Hail of Thorns, Longstrider. Major - Animal Friendship, Ensnaring Strike, Entangle, Goodberry, Hunter's Mark, Speak with Animals.

Valra (Yellow): Minor - Alarm, Command, Heroism, Mage Armor, Purify Food and Drink, Shield. Major - Bless, Cure Wounds, Divine Favor, Healing Word, Sanctuary, Shield of Faith

Balcra (Blue): Minor - Comprehend Languages, Create or Destroy Water, Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Jump, Silent Image. Major - Color Spray, Feather Fall, Indentify, Illusory Script, Knock, Sleep.

Sodra (Purple): Minor - False Life, Grease, Inflict Wounds, Ray of Sickness, Unseen Servant, Wrathful Smite. Major - Bane, Armor of Agathys, Arms of Hadar, Duress*, Dissonant Whispers, Hex

Shunra (Red): Minor - Compelled Duel, Faerie Fire, Quick*, Reaching Weapon*, Searing Smite, Thunderous Smite. Major - Burning Hands, Guiding Bolt, Hellish Rebuke, Magic Missile, Thunderwave, Witch Bolt

* New spell

Bards have major access to Abora (Green) and Balcra (Blue). Their secret lore ability is still able to pluck spells from anywhere. A bard who picks the college of valor picks up minor access to Valra. A bard who picks the college of lore picks up minor access to Sodra. A new bard college will be made themed on Shunra and picking up minor access to her spells. Name suggestions for the college are welcome.

Clerics have major access to Valra (Yellow, formerly white) and Sodra (Purple, formerly black). They may pick up minor access to a color as determined by their path or god, or they will pick up some minor power to compensate for a reduced range of spell selection. Clerics who's ethos blocks them from actually using one more more spells from their home colors may be allowed to pick up a major. Overall this class may prove to be the trickiest to re-balance.

Druids have major access to Abora (Green) and Valra (Yellow). Druids of the moon pick up minor access to balcra, and druids of the land pick up minor access to shunra. "Golgari" druids, with minor access to Sodra, are coming.

Sorcerers have major access to their own alignment and further must have half their known spells match their alignment, whatever that is. The other half of their spell complement is comprised of the minor access spells of any color they choose.

Warlocks have major access to Shunra (Red) and Sodra (Purple). Warlocks of the "old one" pick up minor access to balcra, warlocks of the fey pick up minor access to abora. Fiend warlocks need a small new power to compensate for a loss of access to spells. A new pact must be made for Valra

Wizards have major access to Balrca (Blue) and Shunra (Red). They have access to all the spells of their school that are minor access. At the same levels that bards learn secrets the school wizards may learn one spell of their school regardless of color access restrictions.

Or... A wizard can forgo school specialization to pick up major access to a third color and minor access to the remaining two. Spells of the minor colors are considered one level higher than they actually are for these wizards.

As a draft, does this sound balanced?

2014-10-11, 02:12 PM
That seems like an interesting idea and while I think I lack the necessary expertise to consider balance I would recommend thinking about a similar list of abilities and devisions for non-magical classes. In mtg the color of mana affects more than the spellcasters. What's the difference between a red fighter and a white one? Just something to consider.

2014-10-11, 02:59 PM
I plan on doing that, but it will be tricky.

2014-10-12, 12:13 AM
In my home setting i always used something like your system. Of course, since I didn't want to become crazy including each pathfinder spell in one list or the other, I did something different.

First of all, in 3.5/PF I consolidated the spell lists into one single big list, no spells in different levels (exactly like 5e did), and created subschools for spells that didnt have them, like abjuration.

Second, similar to what you did here I decided what each color was about, and decided what each color had access to. For example Red was composed of Abjuration (Freedom subclass), Enchantment (Charm subclass, Morale and Fear descriptor), Evocation (except Force, Light and Darkness descriptors), Illusion (Glammer subschool) and Transmutation (Enhancement).

Third every spellcaster had acess to two colors, one Major and one Minor, and the spells from both colors would be his Class List that he could learn / prepare spells from (minor access only meant that you couldn't prepare / cast spells from that color on your highest level slot). Clerics had acess to the colors of their gods' aligment, druids from Green / another from their aligment, and arcanes from their own aligment. So we had white/blue wizards with healing spells and illusions and red/black clerics of the goddess of vengeance, using fireballs, fear spells and enchantments.

Now with 5e I did something similar, but much easier. Since we don't have subschools anymore I just designated some schools to each color. Also since we have the unspoken rule about 6th+ level spells, Major access means that you can cast spells from that color with your 6th+ spell slots.

My opinion: Of course now we don't have that many spells, but if like me you intend to use this system for some years and wants to keep it updated without the need to place each newly published spell in one of the five lists, I recommend you designated Schools to the colors, instead of individual spells.

I decided to designate schools based on a pentagram so each color would share a school with its allies and one of its enemies. In the end I came up with this:

Black: Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy.
Blue: Conjuration, Enchantment, Illusion.
Green: Abjuration, Conjuration, Transmutation.
Red: Enchantment, Evocation, Transmutation.
White: Abjuration, Enchantment, Necromancy (necromancy has the healing spells in my game).

Colorless: Divination and Metamagic (a school with all the spells in the game that solely exist to affect other spells, like counterspell, dispel magic, antimagic barrier, etc). Every spellcaster has access to these spells.

Every spellcaster has major access to a color, and minor acess to another. You can prepare/learn spells from your Major access normally. Spells from your Minor access can't be from your highest spell level, or from levels 6th+.

Example 1: A 5th level cleric of the Red/Green goddess of love. She can prepare spells from the Red list (Enchantment, Evocation, Transmutation) from any level she can cast, but can only prepare spells from the Green list (Abjuration, Conjuration) up to one level lower than her maximum (in this case 2nd level spells). If she desires she can also prepare spells from the Colorless list (Divination and Metamagic) from any level.

Example 2: A 20th level White/Blue archmage. He can prepare spells written in his spellbook from the White list (Abjuration, Enchantment, Necromancy) from any level, but can only prepare spells from the Blue list (Conjuration, Illusion) that are 5th level or lesser, and can't even cast them as a higher level than that. He can prepare spells from the Colorless list (Divination and Metamagic) from any level if he so desires.

The spell access

Divine casters: Major access to the god's primary color, colorless spells, and spells marked with the [Divine] descriptor. Minor access to the god's secondary color.
Nature caster: Major access to Green and colorless spells. Minor access to the caster's other aligment color (nature casters must be partially Green in my setting). Can't access spells marked with the [Divine] descriptor.
Arcane caster: Major access to Primary aligment color. Minor access to secondary aligment color. Can't access spells marked with the [Divine] descriptor.
Pact caster: Major access according to Patron. Minor access to an aligment color. (warlocks gain the eldritch blast cantrip as a class feature in this case).

Well, that's what I did. I really recommend you designate schools instead of spells, at least for me it removed a LOT of work. But in any case your system seems solid as it is.

2014-10-12, 08:08 AM
My opinion: Of course now we don't have that many spells, but if like me you intend to use this system for some years and wants to keep it updated without the need to place each newly published spell in one of the five lists, I recommend you designated Schools to the colors, instead of individual spells.

And yet...

Colorless: Divination and Metamagic (a school with all the spells in the game that solely exist to affect other spells, like counterspell, dispel magic, antimagic barrier, etc). Every spellcaster has access to these spells.

So you're already needing to take steps in the direction I've went. Still, I understand wanting to avoid the headache of custom assignment. After the migranes Pathfinder caused me I'm sticking to core only spell wise. Hell, some spells in core aren't on the final lists I'm making. Players can get those spells still, but only through researching them. The same will apply to future supplements.

One thing I've done that makes this somewhat easier - though I can understand not wanting to do this because some people don't like writing in their books - I have designed custom glyphs for each color that can be reliably handwritten, unlike WotC's symbols. I go through the book and label each spell with a glyph just to the right of the block on casting time, components, etc.

2014-10-16, 08:59 AM
First two posts edited to present the spell lists and the new spell descriptions.

2014-10-18, 12:58 PM
Spoilers added to make the first two posts more navigable.

I'm currently fleshing out the class options. The bard was easy enough - it only needed one new College. Clerics are turning out to be a pain in the neck. Seven domains won't go evenly into 5 alignments, and that's even if the domains lined up with the alignments - they don't. Some line up with the conflicts or shared traits of alignments

So I got out a notepad and wrote down the 5 alignments and their 10 pairings and picked out where the 7 existing domains go. This is what I came up with:

G - Nature
Y - Light
B - Knowledge

GY - Life
RG - Trickery

Antipathies or Conflicts
BR - Tempest
RY - War

Tempest is a clash of elements, War a clash of law and chaos. Each sympathy is opposite to its shared opposition color, so Trickery opposes Knowledge. That's still 8 new gaps to fill in, but this structure clues in on what they must be..

G - Nature
Y - Light
B - Knowledge
P - Death
R - Chaos

GY - Life
YB - Law
BP - Artifice
PR - Freedom
RG - Trickery

Antipathies or Conflicts
GB - Change
BR - Tempest
RY - War
YP - Spirit
PG - Decay

The gaps are the two I'm still thinking on.
EDIT: Freedom and Change.

2014-10-20, 07:11 AM
Alacrity updated. The former wording, affecting spells 3rd level or lower, was broken since as soon as you got 4th level spells you could start casting 3rd & under as bonus actions and 4th & up as regular actions, creating a 2 spell / turn casting situation that could rapidly get way out of hand. It now affects all spells, but since it forces them all to be bonus actions the caster remains limited to 1 spell / turn, at least until he starts burning charges off wands and casting from scrolls. If that is out of hand the effect may be extended to magic item use, though personally I don't give out enough magic items to cause it to go too bonkers.

EDIT: Potentially dangerous combo spotted - Surge + Time Warp. Two 11th level casters could cause 5 characters to take extra turns. Scarier still at the top end, two 17th level casters could cause 11 characters to take extra turns. Surge at 9th level can bump Time Warp, or any other 9th level spell. to 16th level. This does give a reason for me to write a 9th level spell that scales though.

Question - RAW can a reaction be taken in a response to a reaction? I've ruled no in the past - things get way too silly. Surge targeting surge is potentially stupid broken.

Ursus the Grim
2014-10-20, 02:59 PM
Hey Alias.

Just dropping in to ask you a question. . . . Have you seen Lord Gareth's Color Wheel? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?174163-Alignment-Replacement-The-Color-Wheel-Now-With-More-Green!).

I know, strictly speaking, that you're doing something different, but I really like both concepts and would like to weave them both into one of my settings. Does it seem compatible or do you disagree with some of his design choices?

2014-10-20, 06:52 PM
Hey Alias.

Just dropping in to ask you a question. . . . Have you seen Lord Gareth's Color Wheel?.

Link doesn't work.

Ursus the Grim
2014-10-20, 08:24 PM
Whoops. Fixed it.

2014-10-21, 06:38 AM
I've seen it before. Our systems are similar since we are coming from the same origin material. I've diverged harder from Mark Rosewater's original writings for a couple of reasons.

First, I want it to be my own. I still (very foolishly) cling to the idea of publishing this stuff someday, and to do that I have to change things enough that lawsuits won't occur. Since I'm changing it anyway, I figure I should change it for the better.

Hence the swap of white and black for yellow and purple respectively. I want there to be no trace of 'good' vs. 'evil' in my system. Morality vs. Amorality is a bad conflict coupling because it follows the concept of good v. evil way too closely. Black ends up usually being a villain, white is usually a hero. Also, the very colors themselves call out to these roles, and I'm not willing to fight a couple of millennia of ingrained prejudice against the color black and in favor of the color white in order to make the system work.

This moves then to the color change. The heart of the conflict also changes to Self v. Community. Here in America we have a wonderful example of how viscous this struggle is because that is the main through line of conflict for our two major political parties. Democrats trend towards proposing laws with the good of the community in mind, Republicans trend towards proposing laws with the good of the individual in mind. There are exceptions of course, but let us stop here before treading into forbidden waters for the board.

The Morality v. Amorality conflict is still present, but in a different way. Each color has values. It considers it's values to be moral, it considers the values of its opposites to be immoral, and it is amoral with regards to the values of its allies.

Hence Yellow's attitude can be summed up in Spock's line from Star Trek II - "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." Purple holds that individuals have "inalienable rights" that no group or government has the right to remove. The goal in this adjustment is to make it easier for Black, now Purple, to be a hero; and for Yellow to be a villain. In Magic: The Gathering it occurs, but its a stretch. Here the assumption isn't as strained.

As for why those colors -- Mix Green and Blue in light and you get - Yellow. Mix Blue and Red in pigment and you get Purple. This distinction holds in the natures of the two as well, Purple is more grounded then Yellow. These are also the colors that spells and creatures glow under detect magic, but to even further drive home the significance of the alignments they are referred to in setting documents by proper names. Those names are based on real words but twisted just enough to have an otherworldly feel:

Abora comes out of the word "Arbor" which is an old word for tree (think "Arbor Day"). Given the concerns of the alignment naming it for it's symbol shouldn't be surprising.
Valra comes out of "Valor" which is how Yellow sees itself more than others see it. Terms like 'honor' and 'valor' are thrown about by this alignment far, far more often than the other alignments, who rarely care about such things.
Balcra from "Balk" since the alignment fakes people out and loves illusion. Also, 'balk' can also mean hesitation - with Blue is well known for doing.
Shunra comes out of the word "Shun", for it is Red's nature to, at best, shun and at worst lash out at the outside world and the small handful of people in it that it values.
Sodra from "Sod" meaning "Earth" literally, but the term sod today usually refers to enriched fertilized soil. Death magic lies here because death is an experience only individuals comprehend. Sodra's link to mortality gives it a certain humility I want to underscore - that even while the magic of the alignment is viscous the alignment itself is not.

In the mythology of the setting these are the names of the Exarchs - the most powerful of the gods but, interestingly, the rarest to be directly worshiped. The outer planes hold the same names as well. In character references to alignment or magic type go by proper nouns by the educated which usually includes the player characters. Common folk actually do call different magics by their color names.

As far as game play, I've always used a more organic system for determining alignment. Most characters end up with two, people as a rule are more complicated than any single color embraces. That said, one alignment isn't that uncommon, and neither is three. Four is unusual and usually indicates a character that is remarkable for the one set of things he never does - in the last game I ran Mikas was such a character. He had all alignments but blue because of all the ideas he embraced and tried to find compromise in, he never stopped to think things through as blue would do.

My Pathfinder setting book contains my essays at length on the colors. If you have Facebook the file is here: Pathfinder Dusk (https://www.facebook.com/download/496816097032138/Pathfinder%20Dusk.pdf)