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Thread: MAD casters

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default MAD casters

    I liked the thread/ discussion about the use of lower point buy in an effort to mitigate the power increase of casters (wizard, cleric, druid) over melee'rs. Not for its reasoning, but the follow-on posts of why this does not work.

    A caster (wiz) effectively needs but one stat (Int) to be effective at what they do, where as a melee (fighter) generally relies on more than one stat (Str, con, dex).

    How about rearranging stat effects for casters...
    Regardless of class:
    - Int provides bonus spells
    - Wis allows cap increases: an additional die type per ability mod; +1d6/ Wis bonus to fireball or +1 creature above caster level for haste
    - Chr defines DC of resistance to saving throws of spells

    I know, its the near god like effects of spells at higher levels that create the greatest disparity in power of the classes. But I'm just wondering if this might help mitigate it somewhat...
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    In trying to bring the powerlevel down on those three main classes, you have really hurt the spontaneous casting ones. Bonus spells is a big deal at first level. If anything I'd say you created a wider margin since an increase in DC is basically worthless and there are plenty of spells that don't provide a DC at all that can be abused instead.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    I've been working on a similar idea. Loosly inspired by my perception of how magic works in the universe of the Harry Potter novels. Stick with me please this is serious.

    1. There is no Sorcerer class in my world but, you need magic within you (basically someone who would be a sorceror in most worlds) in order to be able to cast arcane spells.

    2. The training is identical to what is already described for wizards in any number of WotC fluff sources.

    This results in MAD

    INT- Determines maximum spell levels you can learn (spells are complicated) and spells per day (rote memorization)

    CHA-Save DC's (raw magical power)

    I'm considering a Wis mechanic but it's not as well formulated. Perhaps some kind of backlash effect countered by Will saves or possibly concentration checks with the stat shifted to wisdom. I was thinking about also throwing in a power boost by allowing mages to risk losing a spell and taking damage by pumping extra juice into their spells (a less broken system based on Incantrix's free metamagic with spellcraft checks) and having their WIS mechanic allow them to avoid the negatives.

    Oh Clerics don't have an equivilent limitation but I'm very strict with rping of Clerics and my homebrew world is only used for 0-level games so you have to rp becoming a cleric while I'll let anyone with appropriate stats be the right kind of person to cast arcane magic.
    Last edited by Hand_of_Vecna; 2010-02-24 at 01:36 AM.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    The real issue are the spells. With these rules, you're only going to encourage those who play casters to pull out all the stops and really abuse the silly spells. It will seriously hurt gishes.

    At low levels, casters will even be more of a chore to play, and at higher levels, you'll see far more use of stuff like Maw of Chaos, Shapechange, Gate, Planar Binding, Astral Projection, and polymorph type stuff. Get ready for lots of no-save effects and super-familiars. It won't prevent any of the really nasty TO stuff, but I think you'll see it have a serious effect on casters in games under level 10. Real games, that is. I've found in real games, for whatever reason, casters don't actually get to do whatever they want. Either they get shut down with a flat DM "No, you can't bind that nightmare and duplicate your gear with astral projection," or their plans just aren't practical.

    Of course, if you fix the really nasty spell abuse, you won't need to make casters so MAD. Make them reliant on two stats, like a favored soul or archivist, and get rid of crap like enervation, solid fog, web, celerity, polymorph, [calling] effects, etc.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by DementedFellow View Post
    you have really hurt the spontaneous casting ones.
    I disagree - the spontaneous casters are already (relatively) screwed by WotC, this hurts the prepared casters more, since they lose more.

    I'd make it two stats, one for bonus spells and one for DC's... but honestly, I don't think a 'quick fix' will work properly, in the long run. You'd need to change some fundamental aspects of the game, primarily the way stats work with regard to spell levels and better define the 'norm'.

    IE, (and in my opinion) part of the problem with 3.5 in general is that classes all work at wildly different power levels because the designers all had different ideas of how the game was supposed to work. Hell, just look at the Rules Compendium.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by Sophismata View Post
    I disagree - the spontaneous casters are already (relatively) screwed by WotC, this hurts the prepared casters more, since they lose more.

    I'd make it two stats, one for bonus spells and one for DC's... but honestly, I don't think a 'quick fix' will work properly, in the long run. You'd need to change some fundamental aspects of the game, primarily the way stats work with regard to spell levels and better define the 'norm'.

    IE, (and in my opinion) part of the problem with 3.5 in general is that classes all work at wildly different power levels because the designers all had different ideas of how the game was supposed to work. Hell, just look at the Rules Compendium.
    So, since the OP didn't discuss how you get to learn spells of a new level for example 14 in CHA learns 4th level spells, then we are forced to assume that INT just functions for bonus spells, instead of the stat that governs what level spells you are capable of casting.

    So now a sorcerer needs to pay attention to all three mental stats (CHA for spells and DC, WIS for cap/damage increases, INT for skills and bonus spells) instead of the regular two (CHA for spells and INT for skills). Typically when you play a sorcerer you can get by with a negative or even a 0 mod in WIS, but you have to level out these numbers so the sorcerer (the class most apt to go "pew pew pew") can "pew pew pew" effectively.

    Meanwhile the Wizard, who already has high INT, and is pretty SAD, can still continue to be SAD through smart spell selection. Especially since wizards get more spells than the Sorcerer, this isn't a big a hindrance as one would think.

    This fix fixes nothing, IMO.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    In my personal experience, your results may vary, casters bork the game even at low and mid levels and it doesn't even take TO shenanigans. At level one standard stat ordering as suggested in the phb leaves an arcane caster with a higher dex than anyone but a rouge or ranger and has probably swapped scribe scroll for improved initiative. So the odds are initiative go's in his favor and he has spells that can wipe out groups of non-mindaffecting immune critters and the cleric is turning most of those. 2nd-4th through fourth level battle field control kills BBEG's until your npc's can afford freedom of movement and even when they can unless the DM handwaves it, that will represent a significant oppurtunity cost for several more levels.

    The purposes of my work in progress house rules is twofold the first is to limit the power of wizards at the low levels where many feel they are already overpowered without taking out the banhammer and swinging wildly.

    http://brilliantgameologists.com/boa...p?topic=7196.0
    ^ ^ ^
    Interesting related thread on that topic. Treatmonk20's conjuration and transmutation editions of god's tools also illustrate this well.

    The second is to give the base class more flavor and options.

    Now you have Int based scholars who know every spell under the sun. Cha based prodigies who cast simple spells of incredible power and Wis centered mages who call on an inner reserve of strengh. The Wis mechanic needs the most work of course but I intend for it to allow for more powerful spells to be cast with it than without it.

    And if you really think DC's aren't importent enough despite the power of save or suck it could be made to effect caster level in some way as well.
    Something like Wizard lvl -5 +(CHA mod) = caster level minimum 1 maximum wizard level +3. It would penalize low Cha builds at low and mid levels without crippling them though it would be pretty well mitigated at higher levels with magic.
    Last edited by Hand_of_Vecna; 2010-02-24 at 05:51 AM.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by DementedFellow View Post
    So, since the OP didn't discuss how you get to learn spells of a new level for example 14 in CHA learns 4th level spells, then we are forced to assume that INT just functions for bonus spells, instead of the stat that governs what level spells you are capable of casting.
    Point conceded.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    I'm not saying this solves all the problems. I already conceded that the high level spells (>4, 5?) where the really disparity of power come into play between finger wigglers and pokers.

    Potentially all casters would rely on Int to determine the level of spell learning; which makes sense IMO. Wisdom kind of makes sense in that thier piety determines their ability. But, why would someone have higher understanding or knowledge based on their charm and persuasiveness (i.e. Cha)?

    Maybe arcanes use Int, and divine use Wis to determine max spell learn-able (Generic Caster UA 77). The caster still has a primary desired stat, but now has to actually consider where to put those next highest. Similar to the melee'rs wanting high Str or Dex then having to choose between them and Con.
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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Well, Wisdom doesn't seem to have much practical use. I suppose a maximum of 12d6 for Fireball on someone with 14 WIS is nice, but by 12th level, I'll have a spells with much higher level caps anyways. It makes it especially ironic that Clerics/Druids would now have virtually no use for Wisdom; their cap increases are generally quite meager, and most spells with multiple targets will either affect the whole group or are area effects.

    Charisma can be bypassed my using no-save spells, if desired. I find it ironic that Summoners (who regularly interact with summoned creatures) will be the ones most likely to dump Charisma. Clerics/Druids once again won't care when simply buffing - take a look at the Archivist for a current example. Also, the idea of "unwise but highly sociable wizards" feels completely off to me.

    Intelligence is now something everybody wants, meaning that most spellcasters become INT/WIS or INT/CHA. Druids are now simply INT-SAD rather than WIS-SAD, changing little. Wizards and Sorcerers (and Bards) are very sameish, having the same stats and spellcasting capabilities.

    While I don't think it's a bad idea, I do think that this is not the method you want to persue. It would make more sense to tie the spellcasting method to another relevant stat (DEX for arcane casters for finger manipulation, CON for divine for channeling energies?) that attempting to split all spellcasting between the three types of mental stats. Also, as someone said earlier, the "Wizards rule Fighters drool" is primarily under optimal conditions - mid level, 4 encounters a day, full knowledge of upcoming events. The more you deviate from that, the more important the non-SAD stats become.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by DementedFellow View Post
    In trying to bring the powerlevel down on those three main classes, you have really hurt the spontaneous casting ones. Bonus spells is a big deal at first level. If anything I'd say you created a wider margin since an increase in DC is basically worthless and there are plenty of spells that don't provide a DC at all that can be abused instead.
    How about changing spells that are no-save, no-SR so they have both?
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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by Kesnit View Post
    How about changing spells that are no-save, no-SR so they have both?
    Can you give an example? I am reading this two ways. And I want clarification so I can give you a good response.

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    What do MAD and SAD stand for any way?
    "No extra charge!"

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    MAD = Multiple Attribute Dependent
    Sad = Single Attribute Dependent

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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Multiple Ability Dependant and Single Ability Dependant.

    Something along those lines. MAD rely on more then one ability to be functional/effective. SAD rely on a single stat.

    EDIT: Knew that was gonna happen.
    Last edited by Koury; 2010-02-24 at 05:08 PM.
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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Ah I see, for your scheme to work, you will need to reduce the number of attribute enhancers in the world, or reduce their effect. Charisma can easily be dealt with by simply casting eagle's splendor or getting a cloak of charisma, the same goes for wisdom (of course switching things out with a periapt of wisdom and/or owl's wisdom, the downside to this magic item is that this takes up a slot that could be used for the con score enhancer.) Intelligence will be focused on as normal. Also, wisdom has by far the least important effect by the time casters really come to their own. Why? Because Evokers are utterly useless without metamagic cheese.
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    Default Re: MAD casters

    Quote Originally Posted by Volkov View Post
    Charisma can easily be dealt with by simply casting eagle's splendor or getting a cloak of charisma, the same goes for wisdom...
    I see this as a non-starter. All of these 'enhancers' currently exist, but casters generally rely on a single source/ stat. With this system they have more than one desired stat boost.
    Spells that enhance attributes (Eagle's splendor) do not provide additional spells. And WBL/ DM-Player cooperation serve to limit the chance of multiple items granting stat boosts. Casters are no longer great at everything; bonus spells and high save DC's are a single stat in the current system. The player can potentially still be great at one of these by concentrating on a single stat, or evenly distribute the numbers and be ok at all.
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    Default Re: MAD casters

    That's a problem, though - casters just need to pick up a Hat of INT for their bonus spells. They can still toss out Eagle's Splendor for the CHA boost, because that won't matter until they actually use the spell. (Similarly, Owl's Wisdom doesn't matter before spellcasting because the caster level cap isn't checked before casting the spell.)

    The real problem are the spells themselves. Even if Fighters used one stat and Wizards used five, Wizard would still win because they have better attacks. Nobody cares what stats you need when a single Grease or Solid Fog will shut down an opponent.

    My recommendation was something like this. Wizards use INT for spellcasting and spells known, but require a similar minimum DEX to cast a spell. It represents the Wizard needing to finesse enough to weave their spells correctly. Thus, you would need 19 DEX and 19 INT to cast 9th level Wizard spells.

    Sorcerers would need CHA + DEX. Clerics and Druids would need WIS + CON, to represent them channeling divine power through their bodies. Archivists would need INT + DEX, similar to Wizards. Warlocks would be CHA + CON, because they channel energies through their bodies also.

    Bards would be fine with just CHA, both because it is thematic (Perform) and because they are "lesser" casters compared to the others.

    Is this perfect? No, it really isn't. You'll need to drastically revise the system to bring full casters in line with Barbarians and Rogues at high levels. But it does introduce some MAD to spellcasting classes without overcomplicating things.

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