View Full Version : Rune Magic Variant

2008-03-29, 05:25 PM
I'm working on a new magic system for a campaign world I'm working on. There won't be any of the normal caster classes, or any other magic at all for that matter. I'm also using the sanity in dnd variant (sanity=5xwisdom score, sanity checks are d% trying to roll under your sanity score, loosing an amount of sanity if you succeed and a larger amount if you fail ex 1/1d6) So here's how it works.

You can make a combination of runes of a number between 2 and 4-5ish. These spells are made from a combination of Subject runes and Effect runes. Casting a spell forces a sanity check and makes you take an amount of damage. The amount of damage you take will vary according to the level you are when you try to cast the spell. So you could cast the fireball equivalent at first level, but you would probably kill yourself. I want help figuring out how the damage to yourself will work, creating new spells, and balancing these spells. Here are some examples of runes and spells.

Subject Runes
Fire Earth Air Water Self Other
Creature Object Symbol Area

Effect Runes
Summon Damage Control Destroy Empower Stop
Open Repair Purify

Level 1 (out of 10)
Name: Flame burst
Runes: Summon+Fire
Caster Level: 1
Physical Drain: 1d4
Mental Drain: 0/1
Effect: Shoots a gout of flame (10ft per caster level) at a target, counts as a touch attack. Deals 1d4 damage, +1 dmg per caster level.

Name: Mend
Runes: Repair+Object
Caster Level: 1
Physical Drain: 1
Mental Drain: 0/1
Effect: Repairs a broken nonmagical item that weighs less (in lbs) then your caster level.

Spell level should be equal to the level you ideally cast it at.

2008-03-30, 09:27 PM
It would be quite a hefty system to make, you might be doubting whether or not it is worth it at the end of the day (or worse, half way through). My suggestion would be rather than attempt to incorporate this unique make system into D&D, which already has a magic system, make this whole complex a sort of game of it's own. Maybe it's like another version of D&D, where you collect components to cast spells, but this is the whole premise. Maybe it's a strategic card/board game, where you try to outwit your opponent by collecting important runes and stopping them from obtaining theres. Maybe you can computerize it. I don't mean to discourage you though, if you manage to do it, more power to you. In fact, I'd love to incorporate it.

If you are going ahead with it, I think it will be the better for more variety in runes. Maybe their is lesser and greater versions of elements, maybe there are runes named after legendary runemasters (Who invented them) or creatures (With a wide rray of extraordinary abilities). Maybe there is different ratios that they can be combined at for different effects.

2008-03-31, 04:30 AM
One thing I was considering doing was just making a set of runes for each spell that already exists. This would take awhile as well, but at least I don't have to make/balance/playtest each spell.

2008-03-31, 11:33 AM
Your rune idea sounds really cool and looks good. I'd recommend you can make a general "Magic Types" or schools and have runes for them and then rune combinations for specific spells.

My only issue is the sanity thing. Instead of manna you just have wizards go insane when they use too much magic? That's very odd and I'm wondering how you're going to work that out.

2008-03-31, 01:39 PM
Instead of an amount of spells per day that you can cast (which has always seemed a little silly to me in some ways), casting spells is physically draining for casters. You take some physical damage casting them, and you also take some mental "damage" casting them. This would allow casters to use spells higher than normally allowed, but they would have a significant risk of dying from the physical drain. Because spells bend reality, it is only logical that the process of bending reality would make everything seem a little less real.

What I'm considering now is just taking normal arcane magic and applying physical and mental drain to them. I would probably use the wizard class as a starting point, making it so that instead of having a tome of spells you had runes, and your wizard would combine these runes to make the spells normally available. What I'm trying to figure out now is a standard system for applying drain to the normal wizard spells without having to go through each one individually. I also want to make it so that casting spells below the maximum level you can cast will not deal as much damage to you. Any ideas?

2008-03-31, 01:58 PM
Well there's always the traditional method of increasing cost and increasing amounts of points to spend on spells.

You could use spell points or deal damage to the user depending on how high of a level they use.

2008-03-31, 04:28 PM
What I'm trying to do now is figure out how to balance the amount of damage and sanity drain with the spell level. I'm probably going to have to give the caster class higher HD so they don't die with every other spell they cast, and the damage will probably be nonlethal (unless you're casting above your level).

2008-03-31, 04:45 PM
This reminds me a little of the Gate system, which you might want to check out if only for inspiration.

You combine "seeds", kind of like your runes, to make spells and the more spells you use and the stronger the spells are, the higher your "sealbreaker" level becomes, which is kind of like sanity. Except, when your sealbreaking overflows, instead of going insane, you transform into an insane outsider who tries to do you harm in some way until you can fight back for control.

Link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55950)

2008-03-31, 05:26 PM
I like this variant, i just might steal it for my campaign :smalltongue:, although i might make a new class that casts this way instead of replacing all spellcasters.

2008-03-31, 06:02 PM
Hmm, the gate system seems interesting. I might use it in my campaign world as well as this class I'm working on.
So what do you think would be an ideal amount of damage for casting a spell equal to your level? What I'm thinking is 1d4+spell level nonlethal damage, with casting below your level draining 1d3 for one level lower, 1d2 for two levels lower, and 1 for any level lower than that. The damage would increase to 1d6 for 1 level higher, 2d6 for another level higher, 4d6 for a level above that, and so on. I would also make the damage for casting above your level lethal damage.

2008-03-31, 06:05 PM
RUnescape goes D20!!!!

2008-03-31, 06:10 PM
I've never played runescape, so I'm not ripping this off of that. I did however just finish playing Eternal Darkness, Sanity's Requiem, which uses a rune system sorta like what I'm using. Only it has a mana bar. I just use health and brains. To fuel my spells.