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View Full Version : Metamagicked spells as basic spell



Citizen Joe
2007-09-24, 08:35 AM
Recent discussion in Simple RAW thread has gotten complicated.

Hypothesis I: Wizard does independent research of somatic spell X without the somatic component thus creating spell Y that is one level higher.
Query: Is this reasonable? How much would it cost? How long would it take?

Hypothesis II: Wizard A with Still Spell prepares Stilled X and scribes it onto scroll. Wizard B takes Stilled X scroll and uses it to scribe Stilled X into his book thus granting him the Stilled X spell (as LVL+1).
Query: Is this illegal? If so, why?

Hypothesis III: Wizard A with Still Spell prepares Stilled X and then writes it directly into his spell book. Wizard B borrows book and scribes it into his book, again at LVL+1
Query: Is this illegal? If so, why?

Hypothesis IV: Apply same logic to other metamagic feats.
Query: How will this affect the balance of the game?

Duke of URL
2007-09-24, 08:57 AM
The biggest balance-affecting factor is that with enough cash, a Wizard could eventually learn every spell with every feasible metamagic combination without ever having taken a single metamagic feat. In practice, a Wizard would only need enough gold for the spells/combinations (s)he actually plans on using.

That frees up a LOT of Wizard feats.

At the very least, in this environment, Wizards should lose their every-five-levels bonus feat, and that doesn't even really begin to "un-break" this.

mostlyharmful
2007-09-24, 09:27 AM
The feat changes how the spell is performed, so the wizard in question can alter a spell in several ways but they must be known alterations. So the wizard can prepare spells altered in way X but cannot write a scroll of it because it is a chang in the specific spin that wizard puts on magic. If they resarch a spell similar to a lower level one but with an effective metamagic alteration then that requires DM approval, which cuts down on the possible abuses.

Th idea is that a wizard can learn specific tricks they can apply to how they cast, spinning the magic in just the right way, that are just too particular and skillful to be written down. Although you can read all the books in the world on how to play the guitar, it won't make you sound like jimi hendrix even if you practice, you've just got to learn how in the same way.

Dausuul
2007-09-24, 10:21 AM
Recent discussion in Simple RAW thread has gotten complicated.

Hypothesis I: Wizard does independent research of somatic spell X without the somatic component thus creating spell Y that is one level higher.
Query: Is this reasonable? How much would it cost? How long would it take?

As Duke of URL points out, this more or less negates any need for a well-funded wizard to learn Still Spell. While you might require the Still Spell feat as a prereq for research, you could presumably hire some NPC wizard to do it for you; or if there were two wizards in the party, they could effectively "share" the metamagic feat.

It's not exactly unreasonable, but you should be aware that no PC wizard is likely to learn Still Spell if you make this option available. Also, the resulting spell will be more powerful than a Stilled version of the original spell, because it will be treated in all ways as a higher-level spell. This will increase the save DC, and it can also affect things like whether the spell can be blocked by globe of invulnerability.

Adding a minor material or XP component, or increasing the casting time, might be a reasonable limiting factor here. Increasing the spell level by 2 instead of 1 is also a possibility but seems like overkill--if you're going to do that, it would probably be a good idea to make the spell a bit more powerful in other areas as well.


Hypothesis II: Wizard A with Still Spell prepares Stilled X and scribes it onto scroll. Wizard B takes Stilled X scroll and uses it to scribe Stilled X into his book thus granting him the Stilled X spell (as LVL+1).
Query: Is this illegal? If so, why?

The first part (scribing a scroll of Stilled X) is legal: "With the right item creation feat, you can store a metamagic version of a spell in a scroll, potion, or wand. Level limits for potions and wands apply to the spellís higher spell level (after the application of the metamagic feat). A character doesnít need the metamagic feat to activate an item storing a metamagic version of a spell." (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#scribeScroll)

The second part (learning the Stilled X spell) is not legal. The rules on copying a spell from a scroll into a spellbook (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/arcaneSpells.htm#addingSpellstoaWizardsSpellbook) state that you learn the spell on the scroll; and the spell itself is X, not Stilled X. Even though the scroll holds a metamagicked version, what you get in your spellbook is the regular version. You can metamagic it normally, but you don't gain the benefit of the Still Spell feat without knowing that feat.


Hypothesis III: Wizard A with Still Spell prepares Stilled X and then writes it directly into his spell book. Wizard B borrows book and scribes it into his book, again at LVL+1
Query: Is this illegal? If so, why?

This is illegal, because Wizard A cannot write a metamagicked spell into his spellbook to begin with.

The important thing to recognize here is that metamagic is something you do to a spell, either at preparation or casting time; it's not something inherent to the spell formula. A scroll is effectively a spell that's prepared and then stored for later use, so you can metamagic it just as you would when preparing the spell normally. But you cannot write the metamagic into a spellbook.

Think of it like this: The text in your spellbook is like a complex mathematical formula that tells you how to solve a particular problem. The metamagic feat is like a calculator enabling you to work the formula without scribbling a lot of numbers on paper. If you have a calculator, you can use it on any formula you know; but you can't write the calculator into the formula. (The analogy breaks down a bit when you try to apply it to scrolls.)


Hypothesis IV: Apply same logic to other metamagic feats.
Query: How will this affect the balance of the game?

Wizards gain substantially in power, since they no longer need to learn metamagic feats if they have the cash to buy pre-researched spells. "Double metamagic" will also become common (e.g., if you can learn a 6th-level spell that behaves like enervation but does 1d4 x 1.5 negative levels, you can then Empower that spell to get an 8th-level spell that does 1d4 x 2.25 negative levels). Since wizards are already at the top end of the class power spectrum, balance suffers.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-24, 10:35 AM
The only one that could work, imho, is I. Both II and III would result in the base spell; a "stilled scroll of X" is not a "scroll of stilled X".

As to I, it is not a given that the spell would be one level higher. It may well in fact be two levels higher, because it is impossible to make the spell a still one without training in certain powerful mental techniques (aka the "still spell" feat).

Also, this may be a very difficult ordeal. In general, it is very difficult to create something similar to X without getting overly influenced by X. If a wizard were to create a spell to shoot flame from his fingers, he will find that the easiest way of doing that is in fact the Burning Hands spell, and his research will yield that spell. Again. There's a reason why it's common and well-known, after all. It does not follow at all that follow the same technique only cutting out the hand movement will actually work. That's like saying you could get a car to work without the wheels. Sure, you can create some vehicle of road-based transportation without wheels, but this is horrendously more difficult than creating a car that looks slightly different.

Jasdoif
2007-09-24, 02:21 PM
Hypothesis I: Wizard does independent research of somatic spell X without the somatic component thus creating spell Y that is one level higher.
Query: Is this reasonable? How much would it cost? How long would it take?Bear in mind that doing this is equivalent to adding two metamagic feats to spell X: Still Spell, and Heighten Spell. As a spell of one level higher the X's, spell Y has the increased save DC and other spell-level-dependent effects on it; precisely what Heighten Spell does. Getting this effect metamagically with X would involve a slot two levels higher: One for Heightening it, another for Still Spell.

Citizen Joe
2007-09-24, 04:23 PM
First, could someone point out where it says you can metamagic a scroll (or any item for that matter). If it doesn't say specifically that you can, the whole argument could be avoided by simply saying you can't dump a metamagicked version into a magic item.

ArmorArmadillo
2007-09-24, 04:33 PM
Although the flat RAW of the issue has already been expounded upon, I would say it is not unreasonable as a houserule to have certain metamagic feats (Still, Silence, Expanded) made as basic spells, but they would have to be higher increases than the standard metamagic spell, as they are usable without the feat. (i.e. Stilled Fireball as a basic spell should be level 5, not 3)

Dausuul
2007-09-24, 05:07 PM
First, could someone point out where it says you can metamagic a scroll (or any item for that matter). If it doesn't say specifically that you can, the whole argument could be avoided by simply saying you can't dump a metamagicked version into a magic item.

From the SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#scribeScroll): "With the right item creation feat, you can store a metamagic version of a spell in a scroll, potion, or wand. Level limits for potions and wands apply to the spellís higher spell level (after the application of the metamagic feat). A character doesnít need the metamagic feat to activate an item storing a metamagic version of a spell."

Citizen Joe
2007-09-24, 06:43 PM
that link doesn't point to that quote.

EDIT: I found it... SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#metamagicFeats)

Citizen Joe
2007-09-24, 06:51 PM
Regarding the debate that it would be unbalancing for Wizards to research the metamagicked versions, keep in mind that metamagic rods already exist, that can be applied to ANY spell without boosting the slot.

Given the existence of Metamagic Rods, what would be the justifiable cost of researching an essentially metamagicked version of a spell? I'm assuming there are some rules out there for figuring out what level a spell should be. From that it should be relatively easy to figure out the cost.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-25, 04:52 AM
Regarding the debate that it would be unbalancing for Wizards to research the metamagicked versions, keep in mind that metamagic rods already exist, that can be applied to ANY spell without boosting the slot.
But only three times per day. And since that's drawing on the external force of a rather expensive magical item, I fail to see how it is relevant.



I'm assuming there are some rules out there for figuring out what level a spell should be.
Actually there aren't, other than "compare to existing spells and go from there". I think the reasonable approach is making all those spells one level higher than their metamagiced variant would be - because a wizard is simply not supposed to ignore those feats and reseach his own spells that just happen to include those feat effects.

The Glyphstone
2007-09-25, 05:01 AM
Isn't there a variant that allows Sorcerers to do this with a metamagic feat they already know, permanently "locking" it as one of their spells known to avoid the metamagic casting time increase?

Yuki Akuma
2007-09-25, 05:27 AM
Isn't the in-world explanation for Chained Lightning and Delayed Blast Fireball that they were originally metamagicked versions of other spells (a Chained Lightning Bolt and a Delayed Fireball) that were so popular people started to learn the metamagicked versions as their own spells, without bothering to learn the actual method, only the outcome?

This doesn't explain why sorcerers can learn them, though... Then again, sorcerers can learn other spells created by wizards, like Melf's Acid Arrow, so...

Citizen Joe
2007-09-25, 06:55 AM
But only three times per day. And since that's drawing on the external force of a rather expensive magical item, I fail to see how it is relevant.


If a new spell is researched and built as a magic item with associated experience cost, then it is directly related to a magic item that does the same thing.

I know I saw a spell design formula some place back in 2nd edition... I want to say it was a splatbook. There was a basic effect (which sometimes is so different that it is a shot in the dark for level) then it goes up for range categories, targetting/area effect, saves, SR, etc. Then you can bring the level down by adding in verbal, somatic and material components. You needed an expensive library/lab (like expected level ^2 x 1000 gp), weeks of study based on expected level, consumed resources in the 100's of gold per level. All that and you make a final check (I'm guessing spellcraft or knowledge arcana). If you scored sufficiently high, some of the level reduction techniques become unneccessary, or it might be more powerful, longer ranged etc. You can also screw it up so it becomes worse.

I think it generally made spells slightly higher level than existing spells on the assumption that the stock spells were researched over and over until they were formulated into a lower level spell.

I think that 3.X research would be much like magic item creation, involving some experience cost based on overall cost and time based on 1000's of gold cost.

Dausuul
2007-09-25, 07:20 AM
Isn't the in-world explanation for Chained Lightning and Delayed Blast Fireball that they were originally metamagicked versions of other spells (a Chained Lightning Bolt and a Delayed Fireball) that were so popular people started to learn the metamagicked versions as their own spells, without bothering to learn the actual method, only the outcome?

Never seen that explanation anywhere, but I might have missed it. That was definitely not the original design intent, though, since both of those spells were inherited from previous editions when metamagic feats did not exist.


This doesn't explain why sorcerers can learn them, though... Then again, sorcerers can learn other spells created by wizards, like Melf's Acid Arrow, so...

That's because sorcerors were tacked on at the last minute when somebody decided too much of the Player's Handbook was going to support a single class. The fluff behind sorcerors has always been rather shaky.


I know I saw a spell design formula some place back in 2nd edition... I want to say it was a splatbook. ... All that and you make a final check (I'm guessing spellcraft or knowledge arcana).

I don't remember the system you're talking about, which, again, doesn't mean it wasn't there. I suspect it allowed some very broken results, though. Most such systems do--see the class design guidelines from the 2E DMG, or the item design guidelines from 3E. The reason they're guidelines rather than actual rules is that the designers realized their potential for brokenness but couldn't figure out how to fix them, so they tacked on a sign saying "Warning: Common Sense Required" and left it at that.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-25, 08:17 AM
That's because sorcerors were tacked on at the last minute when somebody decided too much of the Player's Handbook was going to support a single class. The fluff behind sorcerors has always been rather shaky.
QFT. Being dragonblooded or something like that doesn't make a whole lot of sense in many campaign worlds.

Godna
2007-09-25, 08:20 AM
He is trying to say
So basically Wizard α makes a scroll with a stilled spell scribed on it and dies or something before its usage. Wizard Ω who doesn't know said spell on the scroll tries to learn it and because there is no mention of a Somatic component in the spell written on the scroll. He copies it as it is into the spellbook.

The way I'd rule it is that as he tries to cast it his fingers are forced into action or that the wizard specifies to compensate for the lack of one that it is imperative to do this.

Yuki Akuma
2007-09-25, 08:33 AM
...Why would trying to cast the spell force his hands to move? That's not how magic works. Components make the magic, the magic doesn't make the components.

It'd be like a picture forcing your hand to trace its outline instead of drawing the picture yourself.

D&D magic is more of a science than an art. Do this, and this happens. Do something slightly different, and that happens instead. A stilled spell is, by definition, designed to compensate for the fact that there are no mudras to force the spell into shape.

Godna
2007-09-25, 08:50 AM
Because the way i would explain is that the wizard who knew the spell was to be stilled invested the extra energy into it (so he wouldn't need to gather the energy to waste a spell slot) and because he knew it was stilled he uses the extra energy to remove the need for somatic component when casting it, but wizard Ω didn't know it was meant to be stilled thus as he casts it the extra magic in an attempt to stabalize its self manipulates the wizard into serving as a conduit for the excess.

Yuki Akuma
2007-09-25, 09:21 AM
Because the way i would explain is that the wizard who knew the spell was to be stilled invested the extra energy into it (so he wouldn't need to gather the energy to waste a spell slot) and because he knew it was stilled he uses the extra energy to remove the need for somatic component when casting it, but wizard Ω didn't know it was meant to be stilled thus as he casts it the extra magic in an attempt to stabalize its self manipulates the wizard into serving as a conduit for the excess.

...But D&D magic doesn't work like that.

What's the problem with letting a wizard learn an already Stilled version of a spell? It costs more money (as it's a higher level spell). He can't cast it in a lower spell slot unless he learns the vanilla version of the spell (which wastes more money, or one of the wizard's free spells known).

Unless you're running a Monty Haul campaign where money means nothing... In which case, all semblance of balance has gone flying out the window already.

Godna
2007-09-25, 09:41 AM
Who's to say how magic in D&D works? You asked why it would move his arms i explained how i would rule it. Mechanically its may or may not work that way, as it is up to the DM. I never claimed that it would be unbalancing. I could see some annoying uses for it but so be it.

But about it costing more money the scenario i mentioned was that the second wizard found the scroll thus no cost.


Now assume this the spell in question is ,oh say, an empowered spell, what happens if not knowing the spell is already empowered he tries to do so again?

Dausuul
2007-09-25, 09:46 AM
...But D&D magic doesn't work like that.

What's the problem with letting a wizard learn an already Stilled version of a spell? It costs more money (as it's a higher level spell). He can't cast it in a lower spell slot unless he learns the vanilla version of the spell (which wastes more money, or one of the wizard's free spells known).

Unless you're running a Monty Haul campaign where money means nothing... In which case, all semblance of balance has gone flying out the window already.

The cost to learn a new spell, by the book, is 150 gp per level of the spell (100 for the materials cost of scribing it into your spellbook, and 50 for paying another wizard to let you copy). That's a trifling expenditure at anything past level 3 or 4. Granted, the cost will add up over multiple spells, but with most metamagic feats you only use them on a few spells anyway.

As for the metamagic rod:

1) It's only usable three times a day;
2) it's an item and can thus be lost or stolen;
3) if the DM enforces this, it requires a move action to pull out the rod unless you have Quick Draw, and you'd have to drop whatever else you're holding;
4) you can only use one metamagic rod per spell;

and, most importantly,

5) it's overpowered anyway.

Fighteer
2007-09-25, 09:49 AM
What's the problem with letting a wizard learn an already Stilled version of a spell? It costs more money (as it's a higher level spell). He can't cast it in a lower spell slot unless he learns the vanilla version of the spell (which wastes more money, or one of the wizard's free spells known).
Simply put, it screws with game balance, because you not only get a Stilled version of the spell as a base spell, but you also get the benefit of a 1-level Heighten Spell for "free". Given this system, there is no reason why every wizard in the world wouldn't (or couldn't) learn every useful metamagic variant of each of his/her spells as a distinct version of that spell, thereby completely negating the purpose of metamagic feats. And this doesn't even touch the problem that results when sorcerors and bards start asking for this.


Who's to say how magic in D&D works? You asked why it would move his arms i explained how i would rule it. Mechanically its may or may not work that way, as it is up to the DM. I never claimed that it would be unbalancing. I could see some annoying uses for it but so be it.

But about it costing more money the scenario i mentioned was that the second wizard found the scroll thus no cost.

Now assume this the spell in question is ,oh say, an empowered spell, what happens if not knowing the spell is already empowered he tries to do so again?
There's still the basic cost to scribe a scroll into your spellbook, which doesn't go away just because you're researching it from a scroll. Nevertheless, regardless of whatever fluff you make up to explain the "physics" of spellcasting, the rules exist for a reason. There is no rule explaining what happens when a wizard tries to cast a metamagic spell researched from a scroll when he doesn't have the requisite metamagic feat, because it's impossible for him to have researched the spell that way in the first place.

Both by RAI and for simplicity's sake, the only logical interpretation is that a wizard researching a spell from a scroll containing a metamagic version of that spell gets only the base spell. He can then cast it however he wants using his own metamagic feats, if any.

Yuki Akuma
2007-09-25, 10:30 AM
Careful. Claiming you know what the rules were intended to be is rather tricky.

And most people ignore the original intentions, anyway. When was the last time you heard of anyone playing a healbot cleric?

I don't see how it's unbalanced, anyway. Heighten Spell... isn't really a very good feat. +1 to the save DC, and the rare Shield of Invulnerability?

Fighteer
2007-09-25, 10:40 AM
Careful. Claiming you know what the rules were intended to be is rather tricky.

And most people ignore the original intentions, anyway. When was the last time you heard of anyone playing a healbot cleric?

I don't see how it's unbalanced, anyway. Heighten Spell... isn't really a very good feat. +1 to the save DC, and the rare Shield of Invulnerability?
Here's the deal. You are giving wizards a way to, essentially for free, learn versions of spells that are superior to the basic spell when augmented with a metamagic feat. No wizard in your world would ever take a metamagic feat; they would simply copy the beefed up version of the spell they wanted into their spellbook. At this point, you might as well eliminate metamagic feats entirely and just let all your wizards have access to every metamagic variant/combo of every base spell as long as they pay the cost to scribe it.

I used "Rules As Intended" quite deliberately.

Edit: If this is your intention, then go right ahead and house rule it - just make sure you understand the consequences to your game world.