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Thread: Balance This!

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    Default Balance This!

    I've come up with this idea, but I have no idea how balanced or broken it is. Please, give me some advice on how to balance this, or bow down in worship of the perfectly balanced concept that is:

    SPELLCIRCLES!!!


    Spellcircle basics:
    Spellcircles enhance spells cast in them. Crafting a spellcircle requires the appropriate feat for the kind of aspect you wish to include. A spellcircle can be imbued with, at most, 3 Minor Aspects, 2 Lesser Aspects, and one Greater Aspect, or one Eldritch aspect.

    A spellcircle takes up 10 square feet. Crafting a spellcircle takes 10 minutes, plus 5 minutes for every minor, lesser, or greater aspect incorporated and 50 minutes if an Eldritch aspect is incorporated. A spellcircle lasts for 3d6 hours +1/5 caster levels, to a maximum of +5. Crafting a spellcircle requires a DC 10 spellcraft check, a DC 15 spellcraft check for every Minor aspect used, a DC 20 Spellcraft check for every Lesser aspect used, a DC 25 Spellcraft check if a Greater aspect is incorporated, and a DC 25 Spellcraft check if an Eldritch aspect is incorporated. These checks are made after you have spent the time to make the circle. If the first check is failed, the entire spellcircle fails. If other checks are failed, the aspect that requires that check. is not incorporated into the circle.
    You may use material components to give a bonus on this check. For every 100 gp of powdered diamond you use, you get a +1 bonus to one check to craft a spellcircle.

    For every Aspect you wish to incorporate into your circle, you must have the appropriate feat. All Spellcircle feats, except for Craft Minor Spellcircle, have Craft Minor Spellcircle as a prerequisite. Spellcircle feats can be taken as wizard bonus feats. A single aspect can be incorporated into a spellcircle only once.

    A spellcaster within 25 feet of a spellcircle can automatically sense its presence. A caster within the spellcircle can determine its purpose.

    Craft Minor Spellcircle [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast 3rd level spells
    You can craft spellcircles that incorporate up to 3 Minor aspects.

    Craft Lesser Spellcircle [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast 5th level spells, Craft Minor Spellcircle
    You can craft spellcircles that incorporate up to 2 Lesser and 3 Minor Aspects.

    Craft Greater Spellcircle [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast 7th level spells, Craft Lesser Spellcircle
    You can craft spellcircles that incorporate up to 1 Greater, 2 Lesser, and 3 Minor Aspects.

    Craft Eldritch Spellcircle [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast 9th level spells, Craft Greater Spellcircle
    You can craft spellcircles that incorporate an Eldritch Aspect.

    Minor Aspect: Heat [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Fireball
    Damage dealing spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect deal fire damage. If that spell already dealt fire damage, it instead deals 1d6 additional points of fire damage.

    Lesser Aspect: Fire [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Wall of Fire, Minor Aspect: Heat
    Damage dealing spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect deal an additional 2d6 points of fire damage. If the circle incorporates the Heat Aspect, they deal an additonal 1d6 points of fire damage.

    Greater Aspect: Inferno [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Delayed Blast Fireball, Lesser Aspect: Fire
    Damage dealing spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect deal an additional 2d6 points of fire damage and are empowered. If the circle incorporates the Heat and Fire Aspects, they deal an additonal 1d6 points of fire damage and are maximized.

    Eldritch Aspect: Conflagration [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast Meteor Swarm, Greater Aspect: Inferno
    Damage dealing spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect have a 25% chance to remain prepared. In addition, there is a 10% chance that a fire elemental will be summoned. If it is summoned, the is a 50% chance it is Medium, 25% chance it is Large, 15% chance it is Huge, and a 10% chance it is an Elder. The elemental serves the mage who’s spell summoned it, and stays for 3d4 turns.

    Minor Aspect: Shift [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Alter Self
    Transmutation spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are extended.

    Lesser Aspect: Change [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Baleful Polymorph, Minor Aspect: Shift
    Transmutation spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are stilled and silenced. If the circle incorporates the Shift Aspect, their duration is extended for 1 minute.

    Greater Aspect: Transform [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Transformation, Lesser Aspect: Change
    Transmutation spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are quickened. If the circle incorporates the Shift and Change Aspects and polymorph a creature into another kind of creature, the polymorphed creature gains all special qualities of the creature it is polymorphed into.

    Eldritch Aspect: Metamorph [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast Shapechange, Greater Aspect: Transform
    Transmutation spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect a have a 25% chance to remain prepared. In addition, there is a 10% chance that a shapechanger will be summoned. If it is summoned, the is a 50% chance it is a Greater Barghest, 25% chance it is a Greater Phasm, 15% chance it is a Giant Constrictor Weresnake, and a 10% chance it is an Hill Giant Dire Wereboar. The shapechanger serves the mage who’s spell summoned it, and stays for 3d4 turns.


    Minor Aspect: Call [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Summon Monster III
    Conjuration spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are extended.

    Lesser Aspect: Conjure [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Lesser Planar Binding, Minor Aspect: Call
    Conuration spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are stilled and silenced. If the circle incorporates the Call Aspect, their duration is extended for 1 minute.

    Greater Aspect: Summon [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Summon Monster VII, Lesser Aspect:Conjure
    Conjuration spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are quickened. If the circle incorporates the Call and Conure Aspects and summons one or more creatures, there is a 25% chance twice as many creatures are summoned than would normally be.

    Eldritch Aspect: Gateway [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast Gate, Greater Aspect: Summon
    Conuration spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect a have a 25% chance to remain prepared. In addition, there is a 10% chance that the caster can also cast a Summon Spell as a free action without it counting against his spell for day. If a spell is cast, their is a 50% chance it is Summon Monster III, 25% chance it is Summon Monster V, 15% chance it is a Summon Monster VII, and a 10% chance it is Summon Monster IX.

    Minor Aspect: See [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Arcane Sight
    Divination spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect have their DC’s increased by 2.

    Lesser Aspect: Scry [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Prying Eyes, Minor Aspect: See
    Divination spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect ignore spell resistance. If the circle incorporates the See Aspect, no focus or material components are required.

    Greater Aspect: Lore [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Legend Lore, Lesser Aspect: Scry
    Divination spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect ignore any effects that would cause them to fail, such as the Nondetection spell. If the circle incorporates the See and Scry Aspects, their casting time is halved.

    Eldritch Aspect: Know [Spellcircle]
    Prereqs: Ability to cast Foresight, Greater Aspect: Lore
    Divination spells cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect a have a 25% chance to remain prepared. In addition, there is a 10% chance the target of the scrying spell can be teleported to where you are.

    Minor Aspect: Cure [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Cure Serious Wounds
    Spells that cure damage that are cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect cure an additonal 1d6 points of damage.

    Lesser Aspect: Heal [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Mass Cure Light Wounds, Minor Aspect: Cure
    Spells that cure damage that are cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect are empowered. If the circle incorporates the Cure Aspect, they are also maximized.

    Greater Aspect: Resurrection [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast Resurrection, Lesser Aspect: Heal
    Spells that cure damage or resurrect the dead that are cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect require no components or foucs. If the circle incorporates the Cure and Heal Aspects, they are also quickened.

    Eldritch Aspect: Rebirth [Spellcircle]
    Prereq’s: Ability to cast True Resurrection, Greater Aspect: Resurrection
    Spells that cure damage or resurrect the dead cast inside a spellcircle that incorporates this aspect a have a 25% chance to remain prepared. In addition, healing spells have a 10% chance to heal all damage the target has, and spell that revive the dead have a 10% chance to bring them back with full health, all the spells they had when they died, and no level loss.

    Selective Spellcircle (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Ability to cast Antimagic Zone
    Only yourself and beings you name when you craft a spellcircle gain the benefits of that circle. You may choose to leave the spellcircle open for everyone to use.

    Size Spellcircle (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Ability to cast Shrink Object
    You may alter the size of your spellcircles down to as little as 5 square feet or up to as much as 15 square feet.

    Mobile Spellcircle (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Teleport Object
    When you create a spellcircle, you may choose to have it move with you. The spellcircle remains centered on you. A spellcircle that incorporates a Greater or Eldritch aspect can't be made mobile. A mobile spellcircle's duration is a quarter of that of a non-mobile spellcircle.

    Mask Spellcircle (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Nondetection
    Only you can sense and determine the purpose of your spellcircles. Anyone trying to magically sense the presence of a masked spellcircle must make an opposed caster level check. The purpose of a mask spellcircle can't be magically determined. You may choose not to mask a spellcircle you craft.

    Minor Aspect: Weaken (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Dispel Magic
    The DC's of spells cast in a spellcircle incorporating this aspect are decreased by 2.

    Lesser Aspect: Hinder
    Prereq's: Greater Dispel Magic, Minor Aspect: Weaken
    The casting time of spells cast in a spellcircle incorporating this aspect are doubled.

    Greater Aspect: Failure (Spellcircle)
    Prereq's: Antimagic Zone, Lesser Aspect: Hinder
    Spells cast in a spellcircle incorporating this aspect have a 20% failure chance.

    Eldritch Aspect Aspect: Antimagic
    Prereq's: Mage's Dishunction, Greater Aspect: Failure
    Spells can't be cast in a spellcircle incorporating this aspect.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    I like it, but it doesn't really work for characters. They have to stay in one place to benefit. Now, if it came with them, but only lasted a certain amount of time, that would be good.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    I'm thinking of this as usable in a battlefield-type situation. The caster craft a circle in a strategic point of ground before the battle, and just stey there and summon troops, blast enemies, cure, or whatnot. I could see a hospital with a spellcirle with healing aspects crafted in each room every night.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Or craft a series of them, using them as strategic retreats. I really like the idea, and think it would be too overpowered if you could carry it with you.

    Material components should be required.

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    I've added a feat that lets you make some mobile. I'm also thinking that wizards could use their bonus feats to get spellcircle feats. I also want a PrC that lets you take bonus Spellcircle feats. I'll get to work.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    They seem focused enough to remain fairly balanced as feats, concept-wise. They could use some balancing work in the specifics, though.

    You might want to design a prestige class that gains spellcircle bonus feats; as things are, there are plenty of metamagic-focused ones and this could be a nice twist.

    Also, all aspects stack with one another, but not with multiple versions of themselves, correct? This would mean that with only Craft Minor Spellcircle [Spellcircle] and Minor Aspect: Heat [Spellcircle], you could only use one of the allowed 3 minor aspects in the circle, but otherwise it seems a bit overpowered. In fact, even as written it's a bit iffy.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, then: A spellcircle with Heat, Fire, and Inferno aspects would deal +7d6 damage and be maximized and empowered. It would take 6 feats to get this, but...

    Edit: Argh! Missed that last post...
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Would you mind just putting some paragraphs into that huge chunk?
    Thats really nasty on the eyes :o
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Very nice, I really like it. Makes me think of an old wizard college, put a couple of these babies down in a room and have your casters dash between them to figure out which one is the best. Throw a couple of Failure circles and pit traps in there and a casters job is changed from "sit back and throw spells."

    I like them, and I think they are balanced.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    They look pretty nice, but, as a caster, I would never invest in them. They could be nice for defensive NPCs, though.

    Having a PrC focused for them would add a lot.

    Now, since they are fixed, are they fixed to the floor or to the world. I mean, if I create one on a cart, does it move with the cart? (I assume so, but just checking.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacrath
    Makes me think of an old wizard college, put a couple of these babies down in a room and have your casters dash between them to figure out which one is the best. Throw a couple of Failure circles and pit traps in there and a casters job is changed from "sit back and throw spells."
    I have no idea what you are talking about.
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    Never thought of the cart. I guess it would move.
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    I have no idea what you are talking about.
    It might be my personal experiance, my casters seem to be centered on staying out of trouble and casting Phantasmal Killer.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    I hate to be a bother, but could you answer my question? I'm a bit unclear on how exactly the whole multiple-similar-aspects deal was envisioned.
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    My first instinct looking at these is that it requires waay too many feats to be viable for a PC. In order to get any of the interesting effects, you would have to spend every feat you have (as a wizard) to get to the worthwhile effect. A Spellcircle PrC which gets a new Spellcircle feat or two every level would ease the hurt of the plethora of feats needed.

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Actually, several PrC's, each geared towards a different spellcircle tree, would work well. For example, you could have a Flamecircle Mage who gains the Heat, Fire, Inferno, and Conflagration feats, but also gains Energy Substitution [fire], Spell Focus [Evocation], possibly fire resistance, and then more generic things like reduced spellcircle scribing time (possibly becoming able to viably make at least a Minor Aspect circle while in combat) and cost.
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Yes, you may only include one (1) of each aspect in your circle. So, if you have craft minor spellcircle and one minor aspect, you can only icorporate that one, and only once.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Okay, then. So I can have my first-level sorcerer followers cast magic missile out of a spellcircle with Heat, Fire, and Inferno aspects that I crafted, and they'll deal 60 (or is the +1/2 still variable? I can never remember) damage? You've said nothing that I can see to contradict that.
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Yes, you can. But you'll still need a 13th level caster to make the circle.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Demented_One
    Yes, you can. But you'll still need a 13th level caster to make the circle.
    Leadership suddenly looks like a good feat for spell casters.

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    How do you get 60 damage? I only come up with 41...

    1d4+1 (spell)
    Fire damage
    +2d6(Fire) +1d6(from having Heat)
    +2d6(Inferno) +1d6(from having Fire and Heat) Maximized

    5+12+6+12+6=41

    Did I miss something?

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Inferno also empowers it.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    This has Bad-guy NPC feat written all over it... just imagine coming into a room with a devil or two standing between you and the evil Wizard, who's standing in a spell circle. Icky! ;D

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    Exactly.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    Huh. Leadership does look to be a rather awesome combo with this.

    Also, if you use a spell trigger or spell completion item (read: wand, staff, or scroll), is the spell from that made more powerful?
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    Yes.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    I'm loving this. Would you mind if I change it a bit for my campaign so it wasn't so feat heavy?
    And a prestige class for this would be good,
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    I like this idea a lot. I think it's extremely useful for NPC spellcasters.

    I'm thinking that normally with the D&D rules, traditional fortified defenses are fairly useless during a war. Castles become the focus for all sorts of destructive spells... despite costing huge amounts of money to construct. Troops holed up in a keep are just nicely compacted targets for area-effect spells... and with all kinds of flying attackers (including monsters), the whole idea of walls with defenders standing at the top starts making a lot less sense.

    With spell circles though, the relatively immobile nature of them gives a magical advantage to the defender. Which is good in my opinion. I'm thinking of a castle under siege, with wizards crafting spell circles along the battlments or inside towers, using these positions to bolster defense, project their empowered offensive spells in all three dimensions, etc. You might even wind up with keeps and fortresses specifically designed to maximise the use of spell circles. Of course, this makes for new tactics for attackers, too, attempting to take out strategic points where the spellcasters have their best circles.

    Another aspect is that of the mage minion. A high-level mage might have several low-level minions whose job is to create the circles for him to use in defense. They might even team up. You'd have regular 'shifts' of mages, who come on duty and make their rounds refreshing the static spellcircles. The master mage (and perhaps a few select elite minions) would then rush to the circles at the first sign of a serious intrusion, creating a serious problem for anyone attempting to raid.

    Other ideas:

    A spell circle at top of the aftcastle on a sailing ship, with specific circle-magic oriented towards maritime duties

    Encorporate the concept of the spell circle with the concept of plane-travelling... doors to other dimensions or planes might be manifested as special spell circles, requiring circle-crafting feats and knowledge to create (and use/activate?)

    -Lep

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    Default Re: Balance This!

    You're welcome to use, change, and adapt anything you like.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    You would envision a high-level mage using the circles, and the low-level ones crafting them? Why? The low-level mages can only craft rather poor circles. It would have to be the other way around.

    Refer to my 60-damage magic missile argument for why that's better. The high-level mage can take care of the defense for a while each day, sure, but the real power of these things is in their ability to make those otherwise weaklings have awesome spellcasting abilities.
    "...it's the principle, dammit...these guys should be living, breathing cannon fodder, not just collections of numbers!"

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    What if two circles overlap? Say I make a circle mobile and cast weaken and hinder, maybe even size on a few fighters, then send them in after enemy spellcasters. They could wind up in multpiple effects.
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    Default Re: Balance This!

    This is an awesome idea!
    I just spent an hour digging through threads to find this, but now I'm definitely gonna use it.

    Goblinoids suck as casters. Sometimes they have a few good druids/shamans, or a non-goblin caster. So for my campaign, to make the goblins tougher, there will be spell circles that some evil wizard crafted for them.

    I can't wait to see the look on my players' faces when they get hit with this!

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