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Thread: Magic Balancing

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Magic Balancing

    Me and my friend are trying to balance out magic users, wizards in particular. any suggestions? We are currently thinking about some kind of "mental fatigue", as you cast spells(tearing the fabric of reality and making physics your lap dog) it drains on your mental capacities, lowering will saves, checks, forgetting spells, conc. checks to cast spells etc. clerics would get a few more spells in before becoming fatigued, as they act as a conduit for divine energy, not manipulating pure energy themselves. Any help would be great. Thanks
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    An easy solution would be to have your casters roll a save against fortitude/exhaustion whenever they cast a spell against the save DC of the spell in question.
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    You could make spells deal non-lethal damage equal to their level to the caster every time they cast (no save).
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Darwin View Post
    An easy solution would be to have your casters roll a save against fortitude/exhaustion whenever they cast a spell against the save DC of the spell in question.
    Necropolitan.


    Try trimming the spell lists of the stuff that makes magic users abusable. It's far easier to remove stuff than it is to introduce balancing factors. Go core only until you're familiar with each source book and make sure to kibosh the Poly line, the Binding line, Gate, Control Winds/weather and Fabricate and anything else that massively destabilizes your game and roll with it.
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Use the Injury system. Whenever a spellcaster casts a spell, they need to make a Will save against the spell's DC or take a nonlethal hit.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganurath View Post
    Use the Injury system. Whenever a spellcaster casts a spell, they need to make a Will save against the spell's DC or take a nonlethal hit.
    Necropolitan.

    Or else the shapechanging reserve feat that gives you temporary hit points.

    Or be a construct.

    Or have that funky collar and belt combo from BoVD

    Or just have Will as a good save and don't dump Wis

    or

    or

    or.....

    seriously, the game engine of 3.5 has so many add ons, exceptions, varients, special cases and whatever that your best bet is just nerfing what you want to keep, banning what you don't and enforcing group consideration on your players (damn hard one that sometimes.).
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    The serious problem with going down this road is that it does nothing to make them any less broken. All it does is reduces the time that they can remain effective, even assuming they don't bypass the status effects entirely.

    So you are reducing their spells per level effectively, which does nothing for balance. As it will still only be one or two spells and the encounter is pretty much over. They just can't do it as often per day.

    And designing it so that Clerics can go longer than Wizards is just begging for more abuse.

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    What levels are you trying to balance for?

    What classes are you trying to balance them against?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lex315 View Post
    Me and my friend are trying to balance out magic users, wizards in particular. any suggestions? We are currently thinking about some kind of "mental fatigue", as you cast spells(tearing the fabric of reality and making physics your lap dog) it drains on your mental capacities, lowering will saves, checks, forgetting spells, conc. checks to cast spells etc. clerics would get a few more spells in before becoming fatigued, as they act as a conduit for divine energy, not manipulating pure energy themselves. Any help would be great. Thanks
    Ban wizards. Wu Jen and Warmages cover the elemental and fighting type, there is some necromancer class for necromancers, Beguillers are illusionists, etc. All the fixes are already done for you. Then give martial characters Tome of battle.

    Actually, I would recommend going to the Fear the Boot forums and looking up someone called Villeta Vadim, a forum user. She has a better understanding of how D&D works than the entire Char Op board over at WoTC's own D&D forum.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Actually, I would recommend going to the Fear the Boot forums and looking up someone called Villeta Vadim, a forum user. She has a better understanding of how D&D works than the entire Char Op board over at WoTC's own D&D forum.
    Looking at the various Fix 3.5 threads over at FtB, I'm not seeing what makes her so spectacular; most of her points mirror those made in CharOp, and the builds and analysis are comparable. Explain?
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    I'll see if I can track down something a bit older that was more impressive. Those forums are pretty active though, so no promises.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Just to point out something radical, in the original Call of Ctulhu system, casting spells generally costs you sanity points. Hitting zero sanity means you're ready for the loony bin.

    Somewhat less harsh, I had a system once where casting a spell had a chance of giving you a point of "taint", and getting enough taint would eventually manifest as some weird trait for your character, like becoming very pale or growing a tail. In one case a PC lost his shadow. In a superstitious setting, that is Not Good.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    I strongly recommend this article: The Alexandrian: The Death of the Wandering Monster

    short version: Spellcasters are much better balanced if you send them through a lot of encounters without the option to rest freely. When a Wizard can burn through his spell slots, retire for the day, and then come back at full strength, the balance between a fighter's slow and steady damage and a wizard's peak damage pings off out the window.

    Four encounters a day is only the perceived standard number: The Alexandrian: Revisiting Encounter Design

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Just to point out something radical, in the original Call of Ctulhu system, casting spells generally costs you sanity points. Hitting zero sanity means you're ready for the loony bin.
    This.

    This or the drain system in Shadowrun, which doesn't really translate over to 3.5 at all due to the ease of obviating damage, conditions, and other issues. Namely the old Only-The-Last-Hit-Point-Matters issue that makes subdual damage basically completely meaningless as a deterrent.

    My personal recommendation as one of the now yet-again maligned COers is that you rip out magic entirely and replace it with psionics. Nerf a few powers here and there, and you should be good. The body of material you need to work around and over is much smaller, and with a careful eye can be made largely viable. More encounters isn't a real impediment. I only need three spells per encounter, frankly, maybe four if I'm feeling lucrative. Mostly lower level spells, too. The issue is that battlefield control is mindcrushingly powerful. One or two well-placed fog spells can literally end a battle. This is all well-known stuff. More encounters helps a lot, but does not fix the problem.


    Yes. Kill the Sacred Cow! The only way to fix magic in 3.5 is to change it entirely.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2009-07-06 at 09:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarZero View Post
    I strongly recommend this article: The Alexandrian: The Death of the Wandering Monster

    short version: Spellcasters are much better balanced if you send them through a lot of encounters without the option to rest freely. When a Wizard can burn through his spell slots, retire for the day, and then come back at full strength, the balance between a fighter's slow and steady damage and a wizard's peak damage pings off out the window.

    Four encounters a day is only the perceived standard number: The Alexandrian: Revisiting Encounter Design
    No. Keep in mind, casters have spell slots, melee has HP. The caster's spell slots preserve the melee's HP. Running more than 4 encounters/day, you'll start to see a drop in effectiveness for every member of the party, as the Fighter tries to avoid enemies, the Rogue suddenly refuses to stop hiding, and the Wizard stays far above the battlefield. Running out of Solid Fogs and Lesser Vigors is never a good idea.

    To balance the game, make melee use ToB, ban the Big 5, and take a serious look at any build using a tier 4 or worse class.
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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    No. Keep in mind, casters have spell slots, melee has HP. The caster's spell slots preserve the melee's HP. Running more than 4 encounters/day, you'll start to see a drop in effectiveness for every member of the party, as the Fighter tries to avoid enemies, the Rogue suddenly refuses to stop hiding, and the Wizard stays far above the battlefield. Running out of Solid Fogs and Lesser Vigors is never a good idea.

    To balance the game, make melee use ToB, ban the Big 5, and take a serious look at any build using a tier 4 or worse class.
    The second link addresses this point. It's fine to throw more encounters at the party as long as those encounters are sufficiently weak as to provide little threat. A seventh-level party is going to clean the clocks of even a pretty big band of orcs. They might just hack them down (costing a few hit points, not too many, and allowing the fighters a chance to shine) or they might burn one or two spells on them to take out scads of them in a shot (which burns some of the casters' spell slots, making them less dominant in the few equal-or-greater-CR encounters). If you have 6 pretty easy encounters, where the PCs will win but have to decide what resources they're going to spend doing it, that might well be a better method of whittling them down a bit without prompting the 'head back to town and rest' reflex. THEN they hit the one or two equal-or-greater encounters. I can see that working quite well in actual play, and I can also see how those easy combats might be resolved pretty quickly one way or another, letting the few tough battles feel more significant.

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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    In my campaign I use different "hampers" in different situations, like Taint (OAdv and HoH), Sanity (UA) , Evil Weather (BoVD), Dead Magic (DMG), Defiling (Dark Sun), Wild Magic (DMG), Dampen Magic (DMG), and so on.

    Some of them are vs divine or arcane only, some other are vs weave or shadow weave users, and so on. They are situational, and most times there are not so many problems casting a spell, but they sometimes rebuild teamwork and make both gameworld and magic more interesting.

    Anyway, consider that both my player and me limit the usage of cheesy things like nightstick or similar and I (I'm the DM) dishallow too many magic items and some use of few spells (my players are quite nice, anyway).

    I somewhat agree with Stoopidtallkid about the encounter thing, but consider that monsters delay, flee, create false alarms, and you can trick your PC in using spells and items combining this with terrain (you cannot cast effectively grease in a swamp - and the druid should go out wildshape to pass by a shrinked passage -and so on).
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    Default Re: Magic Balancing

    For anyone who didn't know where to find it, Sanity Points is indeed a decent balancing factor and something I'm planning on trying out fairly soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    For anyone who didn't know where to find it, Sanity Points is indeed a decent balancing factor and something I'm planning on trying out fairly soon.
    Consider that they are completely customizable; you can say that this class lose sanity, and that does not;

    This school/spell casues loss, and that does not.

    Now, fluff-wise, see how makes sense lose a crapload of sanity altering your shape (polymorph school) and playing with time (celerity, timestop).
    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2009-07-07 at 08:41 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The rogue isn't really using charisma in melee, the rogue is applying Ability Score #6 to his Type-One attacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by ken-do-nim View Post
    DMing is how you turn D&D from a game into a hobby.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maroon View Post
    Players can see a story where there isn't one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    For 4.0? I expect them to whine to the DM until he makes the big bad boogeyman go away.

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