View Full Version : Making spell lists/caster classes more flavorful

2007-07-27, 10:11 PM
Especially with the spell compendium the spell lists for most classes (and most of the eight schools) are now becoming more random grab bags of spells without any well-organized unifying theme.

Was thinking of homebrewing some casting classes and thinking about how to choose spell lists to make playing them FEEL different in a way that fits their flavor. I'm posting this here instead of the homebrew forum since I want more general ideas and nothing is very concrete yet.

If you were to chop of the spell lists into thematic groups how would you do it?

Some ideas that are bouncing around my head:

-A class based around drawing power from a single source like the Imperial Orb in the Vlad Taltos series. Basically the caster would serve as the conduit between the source of power and the real world, so when he's not there anymore the magic doesn't work anymore. I would probably limit the spell list to almost only spells with duration: instantaneous or concentration. That would mean mostly healing and damage spells, which would make for a class that's useful in most situations, the appearance of a lot of raw power (look at all the dice!) but has all the subtlety of a hammer. That sort of thing would fit well with a class based on Imperial power...

-A reworked sorcerer where the magic is definately linked to draconic blood. Since the source of power is internal maybe limit the mojo to spells with range: self and maybe some touch spells. Would work well as a Gish, just like the first one would work well as a blaster/healbot.

-A reworked spirit shaman. Basically the caster has a set of guardian spirits (spirits of specific ancestors etc.) but to make it more flavorful the character has a definite list of guardian spirits, each of which grant the character one domain. The character would be able to spontaneously class domain spells, but ONLY those spells. The guardian spirits would each have specific personalities that fit with their domain and the caster could swap them and gain new ones through roleplaying (for example when a wise mentor dies he would become one of your guardian spirits and you'd get another domain and if you're evil you could kill people with the appropriate power/personality and bind their soul to serve you after death etc.). Would make the whole domain mechanic more fun/flavorful.

-In a lot of fiction casters don't win by blasting things with fire balls and raw power but instead are subtle and clever with their magic and avoid things that are flashy. This doesn't translate very well into D&D mechanics. Maybe a class that gains spell levels slowly but has access to a VERY large number of spells known. Would probably work well as a utility wizard/batman.

Hmmmmm, what else?