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    Default Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    My complaint about the current system is that I don't like the per day spell supply of casters... games I'm in are typically fast paced, and on a schedule. it is far too easy for the casters to blow out of spells in the first hour of the day... but the world keeps moving, and it's far more fun to keep pushing than to run and hide while things blow up. Some argue this is the "charm" of a daily spell system, but I would rather have a smooth "at will" system with good boundaries, which is what I have attempted to do.
    This can stand alone, but it is very complimentary to the Alternate ToB Maneuver system: Maneuver Points located <here>

    Playtesting discussion started <here>

    So, a caster starts with a set amount of points in a spell pool at any given time. they can use those points to pay for casting spells as often as they want, until they run out of points. they then need to recharge their pool.
    A standard action will allow for a "recovery" of a fraction of the full amount based on the level of caster, or "adaptive style" can be taken as a feat to allow for a full refresh of ALL their points in the pool, at the cost of a full round action.

    This first table shows how much it costs to cast a spell at each level.
    Spells cost different amounts to cast, depending on what type of spell it is: Immediate or Sustained.

    Immediate Spells (imm): These spells have an immediate effect upon casting. SoD, blast, transportation, and most evocations will fall within this category. They are expensive, but once the spell is cast, the points are spent, and can be recoverd like normal.

    Sustained Spells (sus): These spells have an enduring effect that often benefit allies, indirectly hinder enemies, or modify the environment. Haste, solid fog, web, grease, dancing lights, see invisible, fly-- all fall within this category, as do healing/repair spells.
    When you cast a sustained spell, it costs less, but you cannot recover those points while the spell is being sustained.. you effectively "lock" those points from the pool to allow for the effect to continue from round to round.



    Below is a chart of point cost for the different type of spells per level:
    Code:
    Spell        Cost 
    Level   Immediate Sustain 
       0        0        0 -- these can be done at will at NO cost.
       1        3        1 
       2        9        3 
       3       15        5 
       4       21        7 
       5       27        9 
       6       33       11 
       7       39       13 
       8       45       15 
       9       51       17
    Hybrid Spells (hyb): THese are immediate by nature, but haved ongoing effects worth sustaining; Single target SoD's often fall readily into this category; Geas, Command, Power words, blind/deafness, sleep, slow... these are designed to directly affect targets with ongoing affects. Summon spells also fall in this category. to cast is treated as an immediate spell, but the after effects are sustained.

    It is possible for a caster to lock ALL his points, and be unable to recover his pool at all. This is a very "Gish" thing to do.. stack on a load of buffs, and focus on melee or other options.
    Aother caster could forego any buffing whatsoever so the entire pool is readily available for blasting or SoD's.
    Another can go low on buffs, and focus more on spending points on sustaining battlefield control and/or debuffing enemies.
    out of combat, yes-- spells can be "spammed" without daily limit. This allows for some amazing changes to "daily life" more in line with how Ebberon feels, and will take a cooperative agreement between players and DM's. Great power requires great responsibility.




    Below you can see how the different basic caster types progress...

    Code:
           Full Caster                  6/9 Caster  
    Class Spell         Spell   Class Spell          Spell
    Level  Pool Refresh Level   Level  Pool Refresh  Level  
       1     4        2     1       1    4        1      1     
       2     6        4             2    6        2            
       3    10        6     2       3    8        3            
       4    12        8    (2)      4   10        4      2     
       5    15       10     3       5   12        5           
       6    18       12    (3)      6   14        6           
       7    21       14     4       7   16        7      3      
       8    24       16    (4)      8   18        8            
       9    28       18     5       9   21        9            
      10    32       20    (5)     10   24       10      4    
      11    36       22     6      11   27       11          
      12    40       24    (6)     12   32       12              
      13    45       26     7      13   36       13      5    
      14    50       28    (7)     14   40       14            
      15    55       30     8      15   44       15            
      16    60       32    (8)     16   49       16      6      
      17    66       34     9      17   53       17             
      18    72       36    (9)     18   57       18           
      19    76       38            19   61       19            
      20    82       40            20   65       20
    Code:
          5/9 Caster                    4/9 Caster 
    Class Spell         Spell   Class Spell          Spell
    Level  Pool Refresh Level   Level  Pool Refresh  Level 
       1     3        1     1      1      x      x       x           
       2     4        2            2      x      x       x          
       3     5        3            3      x      x       x       
       4     7        4            4      3      1       1        
       5     9        4     2      5      5      2         
       6    10        5            6      7      2         
       7    11        6            7      9      3         
       8    13        7            8     11      3       2      
       9    15        8     3      9     13      4       
      10    17        8           10     15      4         
      11    19        9           11     17      5       3    
      12    22       10           12     19      6         
      13    25       11     4     13     21      6        
      14    28       12           14     23      7       4      
      15    31       12           15     25      7      
      16    34       13           16     27      8       
      17    38       14     5     17     29      8       
      18    42       15           18     31      9        
      19    47       16           19     34     10         
      20    51       16           20     37     10
    A caster begins an encounter with a full spell pool, minus any points currently used to sustain a spell.

    When a spell is cast, subtract the appropriate amount of points whether it is immediate, or Sustainable.

    The level of spell, type of spell, and number of spells is dictated solely by the amount of points available in the pool.

    A caster may recover lost spell points in one of two ways:

    1. Spend a standard action to recover the number of points indicated by caster level. This amount cannot exceed the maximum spell pool determined by level, and if the number of sustained spells is high enough, the caster may not be able to recover the full amount of points typically allowed*.

    2. The general feat, "Adaptive Style" may be selected to spend a full round action to recover the full spell pool, minus any points dedicated to sustaining existing spells*.

    *A caster can potentially use every point in his pool to sustain a spell. This would result in NO spell points being recovered by either standard actions or Adaptive Style.

    Any number of sustained spells may be dismissed as a free action prior to recovering spell points. The dismissed spells end their effects immediately, as though dispelled.





    Spells Known

    Each class has a set number of spells that can be prepared for use at any given time.

    This is determined by the individual classes and class levels.

    the list of spells per day determines how many spells of each spell level a caster has available to spend spell points at any given time. Normal rules for acquiring spells, stat needed to cast, etc apply.
    <revised: further elaborated 8/21>
    worth noting; while the the spontaneous and prepared casters both use the same table above to determine spell pool and recovery speed... the difference between the two is that a spontaneous caster cannot learn new spells... they have a set number of spells they KNOW. (this is now referenced by "spells per day"... so a spontaneous caster will have MORE spells to select from on any given day than a prepared caster... the prepared caster has the flexibility of changing which spells per day, at the sacrifice of having less per day to memorize/prepare.
    This is oddly balanced: prepared casters typically have MORE class abilities than the spontaneous casters. This balances rather well. :)

    High stats allow for additional spells to be available of the appropriate level.

    HIgh stats do not allow for additional spell points in the pool, or more points to be recovered.

    Spontaneous casters still function the same... but "spells known is now the number indicated by "spells per day". they pick the spell and it is a permanent addition to their set repertoire.. Once a spell is known, it can be used repeatedly as dictated by spell point usage.

    Prepared casters perform the same as Spontaneous casters, but an hour of time must be spent after full rest to study a spell book to set what the known spells for that day are.

    Divine casters must spend an hour each day praying for the spells to be known. These may be any spells as normally dictated by the divine class.

    Divine casters that have spontaneous spells available, and domain spells do not count against the total spells prayed for that day. They are essentially "free" and always "known", assuming the requisite hour of time is spent praying.

    Psions, like Spontaneous arcane casters, never need to study to use their powers. Their powers are set as the same everyday.

    <amended: clarificatuions 8/21>
    Differences in classes:

    1. as mentioned above, spontaneous and prepared casters use the same progression tables above. The difference is in the spells per day. spontaneous don't use "known" spells. they "know" the number of levels as indicated by "spells per day. Prepared casters "prepare" the number of spells per day as indicated by spells per day". Spontaneous casters have more spells per day to use than prepared.

    2. high stats increase the number of "spells per day"... a high stat makes more spells available to use daily.... the spell pool and recovery per level does not change under any circumstances.

    3. cure spells cost the same as sustained spells. logic may dictate that they be immediate spells, but for game metalogic, they are reduced in cost to allow more healing to occur in combat. This stands true for Druids, Bards, or any other caster with access to the cure wound line of spells.

    4. Psions lose their current Psp progression, and conform to this method of progression instead, depending on whether a full caster (psion), 6/9 caster (psychic warrior), 5/9 or 4/9 ( various alternate and prc)

    5. Psionic users no longer need psionic focus to use metamagic feats.. though other feats and powers may require focus as normal.

    6. many psionic powers can be augmented. The costs in various publications are accurate if the power is classified as sustaned. But if it is an immediate power, the cost to augment are tripled.
    Furthermore, if an augmentable power is a hybrid, then the cost to augment as written is the additional cost to sustain the power... to activate, triple the cost of augmentation.
    For example, a 20th level psion manifests Astral Construct, and augments it to be a 9th level construct.
    Astral Construct is a Hybrid spell, so would normally cost 3 points to manifest, and 1 point to sustain.
    with 9th level augmentation, it will now cost 27 points to manifest, and 9 points to maintain.
    Another example: a 20th level psychic warrior manifests Energy Ray, and wishes to augment it to produce 20d6 damage.
    Normally an energy ray produces 1d6 damage for 3 points (an immediate 1st level power)... the published text states each 1 point added increases damage by d6. so to increase the damage to 20d6, the psychic warrior must spend 60 points.
    *worth noting; published material limits points used at once to augment a power to the level of the manifester... this limit remains for augmenting sustained powers, but when augmenting immediate powers, the limit is 3 times the level of manifester.
    **further worth noting; some manifesters may not simply have a large enough spell pool, or points available at any given moment to augment a power to it's fullest potential. This is a fallacy in the system of converting psionics from psps to this spell pool system.

    What about Metamagic?


    1. Metamagic works as normal in that it increases the total leve of the spell cast. This has not changed.

    2. A caster must still be of sufficient level to cast the spell to take advantage of the feat.

    -- Example: A 9th level wizard can cast a quickened magic missle. This will then be treated as a 5th level Exigent Spell, and will cost 27 points to cast, instead of the normal 3 as a level 1 unmodified spell.

    -- Example: A 9th level wizard can cast a quickened mage armour. This will then be treated as a 5th level Sustain Spell, and will cost 9 points to cast, instead of the normal 1 as a level 1 unmodified spell.

    ------ in the case of a sustained spell, the metamagic only counts towards the initial casting, unless the metamagic has an ongoing effect.

    ------ Example: a 9th level wizard can cast a quickened mage armour as a 5th level spell, costing 9 points to activate, but to sustain the spell, it costs only 1.

    ------ Example: a 9th level wizard can cast a widened web spell as a 5th level sustain spell, costing 9 points to activate, and will cost the full 9 points, since the widened web is an ongoing effect... covering more area than normally allowed by a web spell.

    -- IF insufficient points are available to cast the modified spell, it is an illegal action to cast.

    -- Extend as a metamagic feat is no longer necesary... spells with a variable duration are now sustainable, and last as long as the caster is willing to invest spell points.



    SO now, any time you gain access to a new spell level, it is going to take virtually all of your pool to cast an immediate spell. This will force a recharge by standard action or full round action after casting it. 5th level wizard can pop a fireball all day, but will have to spend a standard action next round recharging. Or can pop a few lesser Imm spells before recharging, or can have a LOT of bufs active, and sacreice SoD's, and Blasting.
    THis allows for archetypes to be maintained without overpowering others... the DMM priest can still do all the DMM tricks, and pay for the sustaining costs, while still having spell power available to heal, and occasionally drop some damage out of melee.


    <revision: added 8/25>
    Concentration as a duration

    Some spells are listed as requiring concentration to sustain.. concentration to sustain is normally a standard action... like summon swarm. few spells require this... so it should be adhered to. Most will be hybrid, can only be sustained as long as the caster concentrates on it.
    It lists 2 extra rounds past ending concentration... that's a unique circumstance that would be permissible, because it's a concentration to sustain. This absolutely prevents multiple warms from existing.. or any other casting like usual.



    <revision: added 8/20>
    Note: if a caster is rendered unconscious, the spells being sustained are dispelled (and the points are free to be recovered for casting). A solution to this is Persistence metamagic. It will cost more to have the spells "locked on" even while unconscious, but in situations like, water breathing while napping at the bottom of the ocean-- the extra cost is worth it.

    If a spell is intentionally dispelled by a hostile caster; same thing. The dispelled points are freed up to be recovered.
    COUNTERSPELLING, if successful, renders the points the target would have

    There are always exceptions to prc progressions, and various spells... erratta can be addressed here as necessary, but use best judgement and be consistent.

    <revised 8/20>
    Here's some more fun to consider: recovery mechanics.
    1. the nice DM allows recovery to happen because it just does... you declare it, you get it.
    2. recovery requires a concentration check = to DC 10+ however many points you are recovering... a 20th level caster CAN recover 82 points on a full round recovery... but will need to hit a concentration check of 92.
    He can choose to recover less... if he can only expect to get a 30 on his check, then he will choose to recover only 20 points... even if his standard action recovery COULD allow up to 40... if he can't get a 50 on a check, he's out of luck.
    3. standard action recovery requires a concentration check... the amount of points you get are equal to your result - 10 (minimum 1, maximum = standard recovery limit by level). If you roll a 37, you recover 27. If you take a full round recovery, you get back double your result.. if you roll a 37, you get back 74 points (up to the maximum available for your pool... if you are buffed, and only have 61 available, the extra 13 are wasted)
    4. Recovery is automatic as per #1... but if you get damaged, you have to make a concentration check DC = 10+damage taken... failure means your attempt to recover is totally wasted. try again next round.
    5. combine #2 or #3 with #4.. you determine how many points you'll get back... but if you take damage, you have to make additional concentration checks to not waste the round.

    all but #1 makes the pool more like HP than a dependable battery... you are taking chances that you will be safe, or will roll well, or possibly both.
    I have only playtested #1... if you want to knock your casters down a few pegs, then go with #2-#5. the blaster or SoD caster becomes a REAL gutsy adventurer with those variations. You can also mix and match... If using the ToB system similar to this, you could decide they get method #1, bards and lesser casters get method #3, and full casters get the #5-- #3/#4 option.
    it would be up to you on how hellacious you want to make it.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-08-25 at 11:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    out of combat, yes-- spells can be "spammed" without daily limit. This allows for some amazing changes to "daily life" more in line with how Ebberon feels, and will take a cooperative agreement between players and DM's. Great power requires great responsibility.
    I'm guessing it would work something like "Cast, recover, recover, Cast, recover, recover" until whatever top-level power he's spamming has done its job.

    It looks like an interesting system, if a little complicated.
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I'm guessing it would work something like "Cast, recover, recover, Cast, recover, recover" until whatever top-level power he's spamming has done its job.

    It looks like an interesting system, if a little complicated.
    That would be accurate. an entire fortress could likely be built in a day with enough dig and move earth spells spammed.

    For the visual learner, and easier way to use this system is by having a bag of tokens or perhaps 6 sided dice available... I'd use small pips or pieces from Risk, but honestly little squares of paper would work.

    A 20th level wizard has 82 points.. which is 82 pips on your table.
    you can take a piece of paper and space out your daily buffs, and write how much it costs to maintain..
    mage armor 1
    invisible 3
    Fly 5
    haste 5
    arcane eyes 7
    stone skin 7
    telepathic bond 9
    Total: 37 points
    You can take 37 pips and put them in piles beside each spell. This way you can easily see you have 45 pips left to use as you wish. If you decide to drop a spell being sustained, and recover the points for use, simply move pips from the appropriate spell at the rate in which you recover spell points.

    For example: with only 45 pips left, you cannot cast a 9th level imm spell-- you need 51. at 20th level, you recover 40 points per round... so you drop arcane eyes, and recover the 7 points (put the pips from eyes back in your pool after recovering next round) you now have 52 points in your pool. You can now cast, lets say, Summon monster IX to bring an Elemental Elder: Earth
    to serve you. you take 51 of the 52 points from your pool and put them in a pile labeled "used". you now have only 1 point in your pool left, and have used 51... 30 points are still sustaining spells.
    Summon spells are Hybrids... so to keep the elder around, you must sustain it with 17 points. write "summon IX" on your paper, and take 17 of the used pips, and place them there...
    mage armor 1
    invisible 3
    Fly 5
    haste 5
    stone skin 7
    telepathic bond 9
    summon IX 17
    Total: 47 points
    34 points are still spent on just casting summon IX, and 1 point is in your pool.
    next round, you recover up to 40 points by spending a standard action, so your 34 points are now put back in your pool to use.. total of 35 are available.
    For whatever reason, you decide to pop off a disintegrate. This is an Imm spell, so costs 33 points to cast... you take the 33 of the 35 and put them back in the "spent" pile, leaving 2 points in your pool.
    next round you spend an action to recover up to 40 points, so the 33 are moved back to your pool and you have 35 again.
    you cast arcane eyes again, which is a sustainable spell; putting 7 points back on "arcane eyes"
    mage armor 1
    invisible 3
    Fly 5
    haste 5
    arcane eyes 7
    stone skin 7
    telepathic bond 9
    summon IX 17
    Total: 54 points
    you now have 28 points remaining in your pool. You and your Elder Earth friend continue on your day. Your sustained spells remain active for however long you choose to sustain them.

    <revision: added below>
    Note: if a caster is rendered unconscious, the spells being sustained are dispelled (and the points are free to be recovered for casting). A solution to this is Persistence metamagic. It will cost more to have the spells "locked on" even while unconscious, but in situations like, water breathing while napping at the bottom of the ocean-- the extra cost is worth it.

    If a spell is intentionally dispelled by a hostile caster; same thing. The dispelled points are freed up to be recovered.
    COUNTERSPELLING, if successful, renders the points the target would have used to create a spell as "spent" and must be recovered.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    In a sense, this system turns wizards almost into warlocks. Super-warlocks, no less.

    What sort of adjustments would be made to existing over-abusable spells, to ensure that it wouldn't get out of hand?

    And what might martial characters get?

    EDIT: I've checked- the revised version of martial classes is interesting (especially since some can regenerate points on their own without spending actions)

    The currect system of mana points is a little bit like the Arcane Swordsage variant in Tome of Battle- which had a reputation as horribly broken.

    Hopefully this version won't be.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-08-20 at 12:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    In a sense, this system turns wizards almost into warlocks. Super-warlocks, no less.

    What sort of adjustments would be made to existing over-abusable spells, to ensure that it wouldn't get out of hand?

    And what might martial characters get?
    Good reference to the warlock.

    there are two dynamics to keep in mind; IN and OUT of combat.
    Out of combat, the TIMING of things becomes less important, because the resources are essentially unlimited (unless you adhere firmly to material components.. *I* don't unless it's real expensive), someone with the spell, Dig and Move Earth CAN build an entire fortress. just figger out how long it takes and there ya go. (avatar: last air bender could easily be produced here)

    It's INSIDE combat that answers the question, "what do martial characters get". A caster CANNOT cast top level immediate spells every round... many cannot cast the top TWO level immediate spells every round... a 20th level wizard has 82 points if NOTHING is being sustained. To cast an imm 8th level spell, 45 points get burned... leaving only 37 points left. He could cast an imm 6th level spell next round, but then would be down to only 4 points, and at most can recover 40 points next round for a standard action... which is only 44 points--
    round 1 = 82 points... 8th imm
    round 2 = 37 points... 6th imm
    round 3 = 4 points.. standard recover
    round 4 = 44 points... 6th imm
    round 5 = 11 points... standard recover
    round 6 = 51 points... 9th imm
    round 7 = 0 ponts... Full round recovery
    round 8 = 82 points... 9th imm
    round 9 = 31 points... 5th imm
    round 10 = 4 points... standard recovery
    Over 10 rounds of combat, the all powerful mage-- with NO buffs whatsoever-- is popping off 2 9th, 1 8th, 2 6th, and a 5th level spells, and is totally vulnerable.
    How about:
    buffed with detect invisible(2), fly(5), greater invisible(7), stoneskin(7)
    sustaining 21 points of personal buffs.
    round 1 = 61 points... 9th imm
    round 2 = 10 points... full round recovery
    round 3 = 61 points... 9th imm
    round 4 = 10 points... standard recovery
    round 5 = 50 points... 8th imm
    round 6 = 5 points... full round recovery
    round 7 = 61 points... 7th imm
    round 8 = 22 points... standard recovery (39, not 40 are recoverd)
    round 9 = 61 points... 9th imm
    round 10 = 10 points... standard recovery
    round 1 - 3 showcases the "horror" of a 20th level mage in this system: spamming 9th level spells while moderately buffed. VS. 20th level adversaries, this probably isn't much protection, but it keeps the riff raff away. JUST enough buffing to allow for 9th boom spells.

    so... what do martial characters get? a chance to be awesome! The wizard lays down hell about every other round, and is a target the next. If an enemy survived the first hit... that mage is gonna get killed, unless someone stops the enemy. A FULL round to recover... that mage is planted to his square, takes whatever the enemy can dish out that same round.. and then the NEXT round as well while actually recovering.
    remember the typical escape routes...
    Dim door costs 21 to cast
    teleport costs 27 to cast
    The unbuffed caster who wants this in their pocket is now limited to 61 points to use.. the buffed caster is at a crippling 40.... this system allows for flexibility, but the old assumptions are now gone... your cleric, if buffed well, may not have the ability to heal next round if he's already helping this round and needs to recover... the cleric may have to move back and standard recover while the hurt fighter literally RUNS to get behind the cleric so next round he can move forward again, get a readied heal, and be back in front of the advancing enemy to suck up more pain.

    when you don't know if you will have spell support next round-- and your opponent knows there might not be any-- the ol' hack n slash feels very different.

    <the below has been added>
    Here's some more fun to consider: recovery mechanics.
    1. the nice DM allows recovery to happen because it just does... you declare it, you get it.
    2. recovery requires a concentration check = to DC 10+ however many points you are recovering... a 20th level caster CAN recover 82 points on a full round recovery... but will need to hit a concentration check of 92.
    He can choose to recover less... if he can only expect to get a 30 on his check, then he will choose to recover only 20 points... even if his standard action recovery COULD allow up to 40... if he can't get a 50 on a check, he's out of luck.
    3. standard action recovery requires a concentration check... the amount of points you get are equal to your result - 10 (minimum 1, maximum = standard recovery limit by level). If you roll a 37, you recover 27. If you take a full round recovery, you get back double your result.. if you roll a 37, you get back 74 points (up to the maximum available for your pool... if you are buffed, and only have 61 available, the extra 13 are wasted)
    4. Recovery is automatic as per #1... but if you get damaged, you have to make a concentration check DC = 10+damage taken... failure means your attempt to recover is totally wasted. try again next round.
    5. combine #2 or #3 with #4.. you determine how many points you'll get back... but if you take damage, you have to make additional concentration checks to not waste the round.

    all but #1 makes the pool more like HP than a dependable battery... you are taking chances that you will be safe, or will roll well, or possibly both.
    I have only playtested #1... if you want to knock your casters down a few pegs, then go with #2-#5. the blaster or SoD caster becomes a REAL gutsy adventurer with those variations. You can also mix and match... If using the ToB system similar to this, you could decide they get method #1, bards and lesser casters get method #3, and full casters get the #5-- #3/#4 option.
    it would be up to you on how hellacious you want to make it.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Seems reasonable. Keeps the wizard from being overpowered in encounters- but a wizard who has prepared a lot ahead of time might be a bit too good. Gate in particular- Gating solars in and getting Wish spent on you, over and over.

    There's probably ways of fixing that though. Gate used to summon a monster who fights for you is OK-ish since it's consuming some of your power and you can't keep very many such spells sustained at once.
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Seems reasonable. Keeps the wizard from being overpowered in encounters- but a wizard who has prepared a lot ahead of time might be a bit too good. Gate in particular- Gating solars in and getting Wish spent on you, over and over.

    There's probably ways of fixing that though. Gate used to summon a monster who fights for you is OK-ish since it's consuming some of your power and you can't keep very many such spells sustained at once.
    Wish SLA cheeze is legendary. It's the SLA / others paying the XP cost that makes it suck. The solution we have always used is; if YOU want the wish, YOU pay the xp. End of spam.

    Since we're talking spam; the other lil stickler is timestop. It's an imm spell that grants you say 4 rounds to recover? 2 choices...
    1. simply NO recovery during timestop.. they are "out of time" rounds that do not allow recovering your pool until coming out of the stop.
    2. yes you CAN recover during timestop... but while timestop is in effect, the 51 points required to activate it are NOT available without collapsing the stop to begin with (time paradox).. so at best you can recover 31 points during timestop.
    I like #2 better, myself... it's clever. :p but each group can decide.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-08-20 at 02:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    Wish SLA cheeze is legendary. It's the SLA / others paying the XP cost that makes it suck. The solution we have always used is; if YOU want the wish, YOU pay the xp. End of spam.
    There's also cheesy ways of storing up XP, like Thought Bottles from Complete Arcane- but this does seem like a reasonable way to fix wish when other creatures are using it.
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Worth noting: spell ends when you travel out of range... send dancing lights too far away and they dispel.

    The only stickler in the system is sustained vs permanent effects.
    blindness can be an imm spell that is permanent... or it could be a hyb spell that ends when you drop the sustained cost.

    Permanent illusion could be a sus spell that is permanent automatically, but could also be a sus spell that ends when the cost is dropped (it IS an improvement in quality as well as duration, IIRC)

    worth considering: both these spells could end if you get out of range... if a blind victim runs like hell, they will eventually outdistance your effect on them.
    If you wander too far from your illusion, it will also collapse.
    Telepathic bond has NO range once set... it specifically spells that out.

    I would recommend allowing anything to be permanized... this simplifies the "imm or hyb" debate... if there are lingering effects, those effects can be sustained as a hyb spell... if you want them to be permanent, cast or scroll permanize and pay the xp to do so... permanency (or metamagic persistence) can now be cast with ANY spell with a sustainable effect.
    <revised for clarification>
    The points used to sustain the spell would be released once permanized, but as previously mentioned, a persisted spell still binds the sustain cost.


    This makes for fun things like, permanently cursing a fighter with slow, or any of the power words being permanent... flesh to stone or other such spells would have to be permanized to truly be SoD.. most become "save or be screwed until the caster figgers something out or the victims' friends can get them out of it".. this takes some of the sting out of high level "one shot" spells... unless it is just massive damage.

    and of course, if there is a range on these effects, you can rule either they have to stay in range to keep sustaining, or theynmjust have to keep up the cost... so you can go knock out/slay a caster and your friend loses the blindness spell.. unless the caster has cast persistent blindness .. then you got 24 hours of blind... or he could have actually cast permanence during that 24 hours to lock it on, and now you are actually screwed, and must overcome the permanency spell.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-08-20 at 02:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    There's also cheesy ways of storing up XP, like Thought Bottles from Complete Arcane- but this does seem like a reasonable way to fix wish when other creatures are using it.
    there's always a way. :) the one nice thing about 3.5 being over is the gaps CAN be filled in now. there won't be any new official anything to change everything again... so its all houseruling from here on in... thought bottle cheeze is easily vangquished, as are most "borken" cheats and ideas... the group must ultimately reconcile what is "reasonable" for their own game, which is why I try to keep my ideas here in context of "what the group decides".

    I can very easily take these concepts for casters and build a nifty SRD game out of them. This is where my flag gets planted on copywrite blah blah blah like anyone would care.

    By all means, keep poking holes in the flimsy spots. I'm quite confident this can be a viable system taht works in a contained universe within itself.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Next dose of cheeze: tenser's transformation is a 6th level sus spell... only 11 points to cast, and is sustained ONLY as long as the caster is willing to sustain it...
    wiz 20 with 82 points becomes 71 points of buffed with 11 points on transformation.. being stuck with melee attacking only while active, it can be clicked on and off as needed... This is (best I can tell) the ultimate expression of what a gish would be.
    It would be funny for an opponent to permanize this to neutralize the ability to cast. lol

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    So, while I haven't gotten too deep in the numbers, and probably won't, I did have a thought. (I'm allowed one every now and then. ) What if we try adding a mechanic on top of this to account for environmental mana? Not just to rip off MtG, necessarily, though that is what I thought of. Perhaps ambient mana at different locations can have a tag? Like areas near planar gates might give off the appropriate mana type? That would make more sense for a necromancer type, throwing buffs on his undead that are sustained without cost to him personally(because of the ambient [Death] mana at the ruined necropolis. He'd still be formidable out of his element, but it also makes for a more realistic usage. It might also pave the way for allowing better item creation, etc. If a wizard university or personal tower has a readily available flow of generic mana, that could make for some cool happenings.

    Another couple ideas I had along these lines that might make for some game balance would be [tag] requirements for spells. If powerful almost-breaking spells were available, they could have requirements. Perhaps a cast-from-life type mechanism could go with this... Wish, for example. If you're out of mana, you can cast from your inner reserves, at a cost to ability scores, etc., until you replenish them, and in the case of some spells, the point loss might be permanent. Yet another idea would be to have certain class abilities benefit from these points. If you're in area with [Shadow] mana above a certain threshold, your Hide/Move Silently gets a bonus. Or perhaps your paladin's temple is under attack by undead, your holy sword goes from +3 to +5 while in the concentration of [good] or [light].

    Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by JessGulbranson; 2010-08-20 at 03:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by JessGulbranson View Post
    So, while I haven't gotten too deep in the numbers, and probably won't, I did have a thought. (I'm allowed one every now and then. ) What if we try adding a mechanic on top of this to account for environmental mana? Not just to rip off MtG, necessarily, though that is what I thought of. Perhaps ambient mana at different locations can have a tag? Like areas near planar gates might give off the appropriate mana type? That would make more sense for a necromancer type, throwing buffs on his undead that are sustained without cost to him personally(because of the ambient [Death] mana at the ruined necropolis. He'd still be formidable out of his element, but it also makes for a more realistic usage. It might also pave the way for allowing better item creation, etc. If a wizard university or personal tower has a readily available flow of generic mana, that could make for some cool happenings.
    absolutely! or while in the shrine of a paricular god, spells of the god's domains are sustained for free, or imm cost as sus or spell costs are reduced by 1 - 3 levels.. LOTS of very cool options there.

    Defiler vs Preserver from Dark Sun could be cool too... like, if the concentration mechanic were incorporated; defilers automatically succeed the check when killing 1 foot of plant life / point recovered, or killing plants lets the defiler have a full round recovery for a standard action.

    Another couple ideas I had along these lines that might make for some game balance would be [tag] requirements for spells. If powerful almost-breaking spells were available, they could have requirements. Perhaps a cast-from-life type mechanism could go with this... Wish, for example. If you're out of mana, you can cast from your inner reserves, at a cost to ability scores, etc., until you replenish them, and in the case of some spells, the point loss might be permanent. Yet another idea would be to have certain class abilities benefit from these points. If you're in area with [Shadow] mana above a certain threshold, your Hide/Move Silently gets a bonus. Or perhaps your paladin's temple is under attack by undead, your holy sword goes from +3 to +5 while in the concentration of [good] or [light].
    Just some thoughts.
    I think these ideas are beyond the scope of this project, though if fleshed out in their own thread, can likely be adapted to work with this point system as well..
    I do like the idea of the points powering abilities like skills and attack.. there is a 3rd party book called "battlemagic" that would adapt to this idea very well... but the swordmage ideas in there would actually fit with the ToB alternate system better... not looking at the book now, but will note for later.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Glad you like it. I'll have to look a little deeper at how to set something like that up and have it balance. I have my response up on thegamingden as well, maybe some ideas will come from that.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    I haven't really read through much of this, just a glanceover, but I want to note that level 0 spells costing nothing means that any party with someone who can cast Cure Minor Wounds will heal up really fast after an encounter from level 1 onwards, practically making higher-level Cure spells almost useless. Is this your intention?
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by M-Bark View Post
    I haven't really read through much of this, just a glanceover, but I want to note that level 0 spells costing nothing means that any party with someone who can cast Cure Minor Wounds will heal up really fast after an encounter from level 1 onwards, practically making higher-level Cure spells almost useless. Is this your intention?
    yes, but your suggestion is inefficient. you would spam the highest level heal spell you have. 0 level spells cost nothing because they are trivial compared to the utilitiarianism of other higher level spells which can also be used infinitely.

    The real issue is IN combat. heal spells could cost the same as imm spells (as would naturally be appropriate) if you want an ugier, grittier battle.. but the intention in making heal spells cost sus prices was so the cleric wasn't *JUST* a healbot... it has flexibility to do cool stuff and to cast heal cheaply.

    but even at level 11 when a cleric first gets access to heal, he only has a maximum of 36 points in his pool.. if completely unbuffed and full batteried, he'd be able to cast only 3 heals before having to recover... and then he could only recover 22 with a standard action!
    If he's a combat cleric-- forget it. 20 points will probably be in buffs to go frontlining, with a small battery left for healing to keep himself going when really needed.

    Since you glanced over, I'll reiterate; this system came about because my 20 years of gaming has ALWAYS been, "we've adventured for an hour, had 3 encounters in the dungeon, and we're done for the day"... but as our tastes evolved, overland missions, urban missions, planar missions... these all benefit from having power available immediately... plus the dungeon crawl can go from 1 hour a day to 10 or 16 hours a day for the heroes... the unlimited supply of healing and resources let you not worry how many fights you've had, but instead focus on surviving THIS fight with all your resources available, but with limited availability from round to round.

    panning out to the daily life, it IS cool for the bard to have some dozen odd different glamers active while performing without worrying about duration and "he can't have 15 dancing lights going at once!"... we can do that. plus set up some programmed illusions, spontaneous ghost shouds, and even conjure up some real critters to keep folks guessing. over and over ... now drop this concept into eberron, and a lightkeeper can realistically cast light 200 times on his trip down a road... the actual book as 1st level characters doing this... magewright characters... who have 1 spell a day. how do they light 200+ lanterns a night with magic? this system elegantly answers that question instead of some BS handwaving. YES. I can realistically take a dig spell and make a level of labyrinthine dungeons in a month... We know why we have so many dungeons now.. the can be built in a hurry when needed. :)

    The yang side of this is yes... dig can be used constantly, so your careful dungeon can be plowed through in a few hours to the dark heart of evil 4 levels down... but if adventurers could ALWAYS do this, then your dungeon could be strewn with deep shafts of previous generations boring a path straight in... and could be a cool natural trap that this stuff was hastily patched up by the new kobold inhabitants, and your full plate armour is a bit heavier than the floor intends to support.... or you are simply walking along a forest hunting and fall 50 feet into a forgotten labyrinth, passing 3 levels on your way to a 15d6 damage landing amongst the newest inhabitants, and you need to get out FAST with no clue where you are.
    It'll take some new habits to expect everyone to be able to do everything as often as your adventurers will... tactics will change, construction will change, plots and storylines will change... we'll all have to get a bit more used to sandbox play.. which I personally love.

    Furthermore; a restrictive solution can be that ALL spells have expensive material components... say, 10 gold per level to cast... spell gems of various mana type (there's yer nod, jess) for the different schools of magic... you gotta BUY this crap and watch it turn to dust each time you cast a spell... loot will have to be increased to pay for your crazy habits on top of the normal magic junk you expect.. or you could all play casters of various types and have the same maddening thirst for multicolored gems.
    or ONLY immediate spells require gems... this makes cheap mages actually gishes.... the rich boys are the SoD's and blasters... a new caste of wizardry dividing the poor "hedge mage" who is "just a trumped up fighter" vs the truly powerful summoners and instant kill WIZARDS... the clerics burn all the city's tithed money on healing gem costs. Dwarves-- don't mess with dwarves. If you find a dwarven colony, it's SITTING on a gem mine. and the resonance those mines build makes casting spells VERY easy for the defending bearded bastards (nod #2, Jess)

    man, you can change the whole flavor of the game world by tacking on a variant or two.... suddenly old ideas seem pretty cool again.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Playtesting discussion started here:
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...03#post9190003

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Interesting idea (haven't gone in depth yet coz numbers make my brain sad ), just wondering if casters get bonus points based on their spellcasting modifier?
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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by Kobold-Bard View Post
    Interesting idea (haven't gone in depth yet coz numbers make my brain sad ), just wondering if casters get bonus points based on their spellcasting modifier?
    points recovered per round-- never. that would potentially allow spamming top level spells.
    total points in pool-- maybe.it would have to scale by class/character level to prevent low end spamming without recoveering

    most likely high stats simply mean more known/prepared spells per day... more options of what spell to use. that is more easily balanced, and is right from the books.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    5/9 progression as per psychic rogue has been added (and subsequently adjusted) to the OP. Thank you 00110111 for asking.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-08-21 at 10:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Thanks to 00110111 for citing an interesting case study:
    Quote Originally Posted by 00110111 View Post
    Power Word: Pain from Races of the Dragon p116 does 1d6 damage per round with no save. Since the power is sustained, 1 point will eventually take out anything that isn't immune to mind-affecting effects. A 1 point spell is easy enough to spam or DMM (chain).
    Here's one of the beauties to this system. PWPain is a close spell... for the caster to sustain the effects at all, he will have to remain within range... yes a caster can take 5 rounds to stack on 5d6 damage / round to an opponent... but the target simply has to move out of range to end the effect.

    This is a change that should not be underestimated. to be able to own targets, you are going to have to sit on them... even at 20th level, a close range spell puts you within 75 feet of the target. stay too far away, and the target can simply take a move action to dispel the debuffs. but get too close and that is dangerous.
    It'll be fun to see how playstyles develop from this.
    Last edited by fil kearney; 2010-08-23 at 11:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Very interesting system. I love the idea of playing a caster, but my burning hatred of the Vancian system has kept me from it (no offense to the fans of that system, it just really doesn't work for me).

    It does seem as though it's significantly more complex than the current system, however. I worry about the level of recordkeeping that'd be needed. I suppose if you keep a spreadsheet up on a laptop or something it'd be better, but barring that it seems rather unwieldy.

    As for the cheese possibilities, well... If one is designing a new system it seems easy enough to nix the problems. When I dm'ed things like Wish and Timestop just didn't exist, although my PC's never got that high a level so...

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly View Post
    Very interesting system. I love the idea of playing a caster, but my burning hatred of the Vancian system has kept me from it (no offense to the fans of that system, it just really doesn't work for me).

    It does seem as though it's significantly more complex than the current system, however. I worry about the level of recordkeeping that'd be needed. I suppose if you keep a spreadsheet up on a laptop or something it'd be better, but barring that it seems rather unwieldy.

    As for the cheese possibilities, well... If one is designing a new system it seems easy enough to nix the problems. When I dm'ed things like Wish and Timestop just didn't exist, although my PC's never got that high a level so...
    I *like* the high power stuff, but once you get to higher teens, the players and DM should be holding frequent conversations about balance and capability anyway.

    As for playability.. yes, it is a bit more complex, in that it is more actively involved in tweaking and maintaining the spell pool... but it's also much simpler, in that you don't need to track spell durations-- a spell is either active or it isn't.

    additional inquiry; anti magic/ suppressing magic... how does that work?
    the same as it does currently. If you have a slew of spells active, and walk into an antimagic field.. the spells are still being sustained.. its just the effects are not active. a caster could drop the sustained spells if so chosen or can continue to sustain them.
    refreshing a spell pool is also possible in a antimagic field... but no spells can be cast in the AMF.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Sleep, Fatigue, Exhaustion, and Spell Pool / Recovery

    Sleep is needed for prepared casters to swap spells... but spontaneous casters don't need to bother with this practice... does this mean they can skip sleep, and blast as long as they can stay awake.. or sustain that spell as long as they retain consciousness?

    Maybe.

    The base set doesn't deal with this level of complexity beyond sleep to change spells.. and if you fail to stay awake your sustained spells drop.
    but you can add to it..
    If fatigued, the "ugly" system of recovering a spell pool can be implemented... if you normally don't require concentration checks to recover, being fatigued can require a check of one sort, #2-#5.
    If exhausted, these checks would be even worse.. say with a -4 penalty, or doubling the target number.. there are various options available.

    If this layer of complexity were added, not only would sleep be an enemy, so would running, as well as various spells designed to fatigue or exhaust the target... if implemented, what better way to disable a caster than to nail him with any numerous exhausting or fatiguing rays/cones/SoD?
    fear affects that cause panic, and thus running away, drops out of shape casters to their knees panting for breath in no time.

    What if the act of casting itself is tiring? perhaps an endurance check of DC = # of points used to cast? failing means fatigued, another means exhausted. a 9th level summon spell, costing 51 points to activate... that is a DC of 51!!! all but the most trained or buffed would fail that check... even a DC 33 from casting disintegrate becomes a big problem... and another control.
    A more forgiving method would be DC 20+spell level.

    These are additional layers that complicate, but further control, the casters' ability to just "own" everyone.

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    Default Re: Alternate Spell System: Mana Points

    Resolving the difference between spells and psions... convert everything to augmentation as dictated by psionics.


    As previously discussed; the psion is totally nerfed compared to the traditional caster.. psion has to pay more to increase effectiveness, while the caster doesnt. This is a system wide issue that existed previous to this proposed system... but we can actually bridge the gap here.
    -----------------------

    The easiest solution is to implement an augmentation fee of +2(sus) or +6(imm) for any instance that a spell or power increases capability by level, following normal augment rules, maximum points spent/spell = level+1(sus)-- x3 for imm spells.

    1st example, a fireball does 5d6 damage at 3rd level... a 15 point cost as an imm spell. The fireball normally gains d6 per level... but with an augmented interpretation, that extra d6 will cost 6 more points... a 4d6 is 21 points, 5d6 is 27 points, 6d6 is 33 points, etc... a full caster level 20 spending 63 points could crack off a 13d6 for 63 points. This is significantly more expensive to cast, but you could instead choose to rattle off 5d6 fireballs for 15 points.
    Compared to the energy ray of psions: d6 for 3 points; 2d6 for 9, 3d6 for 15... this ends up as a 21d6 ray for the same 63 points.
    Interesting to note: the 1st level ray spell causes more potential damage ot a single target but is easier to defeat with resistance than the higher level area effect spell that allows a saving throw but more difficult to resist

    2nd example; speak with dead.
    3rd level spell; every 2 levels you can ask another question. You would start by being able to ask 2 questions, and eventually ramp up to 10 questions at level 20.
    Translated; level 3 costs 5 points to cast (sustained.. ends once all questions are asked), and you get 2 questions.
    Augmented: for each +2 points spent, you get 1 more questions.
    result: at level 20, you spend 21 points to get a total of 10 questions.
    Again; more expensive to cast as an augmented power, but same potential strength... the higher cost is irrelevant with the endless supply of points available.

    Teleport is an immediate spell AND a power that grants more people teleported by every 3 level without requiring augmentation.... this is just sloppy inconsistency, and a real shame on wotc's design... to resolve the inconsistency, a teleport (level 5) costs 27 points and starts with you and 3 others able to teleport.. pre-epic, the teleport can move a total of you and 6 others @ level 18.
    If teleport reads that extra passengers are +6 points each (it's an imm spell); at level 20 a total of 6 people + caster could be transported for 63 points. More expensive, yes-- but still equivalent power... it just requires a good sized pool available to cast.

    Looking at cure spells; they are considered sustained spells, which is a general exception to the rule driven by the need to heal often.
    lvl 1 cure light wounds: 1 point = d8+1
    lvl 2 cure moderate: 3 points = 2d8+3
    lvl 3 cure serious: 5 points = 3d8+5
    lvl 4 cure critical: 7 points = 4d8+7
    lvl 6 heal: 11 points = 110 damage + removes effects
    -->The various cure spells remain sustained: now it is a single spell:
    Cure wounds. 1 point to cast heals d8+1 damage.
    For each additional 2 points augmented, cure wounds heals an additional d8+2 damage.... augmented to 21 points, cure wounds can restore 11d8+21 damage, averaging 65 points healed per casting... max of 109 damage
    -->Heal becomes an immediate spell; heals 110 damage and removes effects for 33 spell points. an extra 6 points spent heals an extra 10 damage.
    Level 20 @ 63 points spent will remove effects and heal 160 damage

    There may be exceptions to how well augmentation works on a particular spell; MOST augmenting appears related to immediate or hybrid spells.

    feedback?

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