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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Hey everyone. A player of mine recently asked if we could use the Spell Point system (found here) in a campaign I'm starting up. I've looked at it and I can't see it being an overwhelming balance issue (they're starting at 5th, playing through 10th or 11th), but I'm a bit leery of how weird it makes damage spells, how much bookkeeping it seems to be, and how much more versatile and powerful it makes casters (Wizards and Clerics especially). I was wondering if you guys had any experience with it, good or bad, for me to draw on before I decide on a yay or nay.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    I haven't used the variant, but I've always thought it was interesting. It makes blasting spells more costly than they were before, and encourages the spellcaster to become as versatile as possible.

    If you allow it, I'd be interesting to hear how it works out.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk7915 View Post
    Hey everyone. A player of mine recently asked if we could use the Spell Point system (found here) in a campaign I'm starting up. I've looked at it and I can't see it being an overwhelming balance issue (they're starting at 5th, playing through 10th or 11th), but I'm a bit leery of how weird it makes damage spells, how much bookkeeping it seems to be, and how much more versatile and powerful it makes casters (Wizards and Clerics especially). I was wondering if you guys had any experience with it, good or bad, for me to draw on before I decide on a yay or nay.
    It's actually very similar to the psionics power point system, but the numbers are different, so I can't really say if in practice they're similar. Spending additional points to boost damage works like augmentation in psionics, which makes low-level spells more versatile and still usable at later levels without making them far too strong at the level they're available. (However, with the Spell Point system, augmentation only works for damage-dealing spells; in psionics, all of the powers that can be augmented have a special augmentation clause that can increase buff bonuses, duration, or allow for immediate manifestation)

    Metamagic is a bit different. In Psionics, metapsionic feats require the character to be in a state of Psionic focus (getting to that state is usually a Full round action, DC 20 Concentration check), spend extra power points, AND expend the psionic focus state. The Metapsionic feats are pretty balanced and actually work fine in that the player often has a hard time deciding if they're worth it. Spell point metamagic seems to be a middle ground between the default option, where metamagic is crazy good, and metapsionics, which are not really so easy to use.
    Last edited by AslanCross; 2010-11-14 at 08:03 PM.


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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Having used it with similar numbers, casters felt weaker because they had to pay per CL. (That's how we understood the system.) If we did things properly, casters would have been significantly stronger.

    Having played in another game with a similar system, it lets casters use their highest level spells more often. Also, metamagic becomes practical if you can spend more spell points than your caster level.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Having used it with similar numbers, casters felt weaker because they had to pay per CL. (That's how we understood the system.) If we did things properly, casters would have been significantly stronger.
    Actually, RAW you only have to pay for CL on damage spells. Other CL-dependent spells (like summons with durations) scale normally.

    It makes casters (particularly prepared casters) a deal more powerful. The Vitalizing option is a great way to balance that - making casters more tired as they burn through their mana.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    So it sounds like a pretty positive reaction overall. Reading up on it it seems fine to me too. The casters still prepare spells, this just gives them a bit more versatility. And it even helps in my own encounter design, as I don't have to predict what spells bosses will need.

    Thanks for the advice everyone

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    As DM, I give all NPCs spontaneous casting, if only from a small list. The creatures are meant to be high in mental stats and they'd know what to prep.
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    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    I like it, but one thing to consider, it makes sorcerers obsolete. If you compare wizards and sorcerers respective spell points you'll notice the difference is very small, and with spell points the wizard is capable of casting any combination of his prepared spells, something the sorcerer stood out for previously.
    So you might either double the sorc's spell point reserve, or ban him.
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    It's worth noting that the spellpoint system is generally more powerful than normal vancian casting. If your group isn't terribly high-op, you may not notice the difference, particularly if they like to use blasting type spells, but if your group tends towards battlefield control and things that they can just opt into the minimum amount of sp per spell, then you may notice a difference as they can now drop their highest spells more often per day if needed.
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    As DM, I give all NPCs spontaneous casting, if only from a small list. The creatures are meant to be high in mental stats and they'd know what to prep.
    My wizard has high mental states, so they should know what to prepare as well. Can he cast spontenously?
    Last edited by Boci; 2010-11-15 at 03:10 AM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Boci: With the right abilities, he can.

    DM-wise, spontaneous casting on all NPCs makes things a bit easier for me after about level 5.
    Quote Originally Posted by GPuzzle View Post
    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Not a fan at all.

    Basically anything that scales with CL becomes sub optimal, but other spells are completely untouched. For instance direct damage dealing spells with are normally xHD in damage become pointless, yet the already powerful SOD spells are largely untouched. It makes no sense.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    Our group uses it, though we discarded the need to scale damage dealing spell up - you just pay the points for them based on the level of the spell they are, and they act "normally".

    We were a tad worried that would mess with balance, but when all the SoDs are untouched, quite frankly nerfing the damage dealing spells wasn't something that really needed to be taken care of.

    It does somewhat make the Sorcerer class a waste of time, as now everyone has that versatility to cast whatever they have memorized / known as many times as they like (and have the points for) while still rewarding wizards' ability to change up their spell list daily. That is something to keep in mind.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Thoughts on the Spell Point system?

    A good way to balance it is the Vitalizing Variant mentioned on the same page. If the Wizard goes through too many points, apply negative conditions to them as they go down in percentages. That will rein in their spellcasting by increasing the danger of going nova, and it's easier to calculate than it would be with slots.

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