Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 57
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    I tried countless variations of spell-points systems, but they always failed.
    Also, every spell-points system I’ve ever encountered also failed.
    The reason is that spellcasters either:
    - gain too much to put on the high level spell.
    - don’t get enough to put on all spell levels.
    Both may coexist, but it’s impossible to resolve both with spell points.

    The solution I’ve found to be effective was to make spell levels cost less with level progression while increasing the cost of newly acquired higher spell levels.
    As much as I do my best to avoid the use of tables, this time it was the only practical solution.


    The Motivation behind Strain & Tolerance
    Spoiler
    Show

    The idea is to have more flexibility to play around with the spell levels, but not as much as with having spell points, where you can stack all your points to gain a lot of higher-level spells.
    Upon gaining a certain spell-level, one gains automatic access to a bit more than 1 or 2 spells of the given level, but at an evident expense in availability of lower level spells.
    The recovery from spellcasting would be gradual rather than "all or nothing" upon full night's rest (yes/no).
    Also, a high-level caster would not be able to pile up tons of spell-buffs ahead of combat and still have 80% of his fire power available for blasting & debuffing (....... and then go to sleep).

    The objectives (all of equal priority) are as follows:
    1. No more "Fire & Forget".
    2. More versatility at the expense of raw spellpower capacity.
    3. Preserving the classic literature theme, where spellcasters are taxed by spellcasting and can overcast.
    4. The ability to regain some spell power in between sleep-time periods.
    5. Getting rid of all Spells-Per-Day tables.



    Strain & Tolerance:
    Spoiler
    Show

    When a Spellcaster casts a spell, he has to channel a portion of the magical forces he's using through his own body. This is taxing both physically and mentally, and is the basic limiting factor that determines how many spells a Spellcaster can cast without resting.
    Every Spellcaster has a Strain-Tolerance score that's equal to his [main spellcasting ability score] + [caster-level] + [Con-mod] (with this approach, btw, all casters are full spellcasters).
    As the Spellcaster casts more spells, the Strain accumulates. When he spends enough time resting, the strain decreases. As long as the total Strain a Spellcaster has accumulated is lower than his Strain Tolerance, the Spellcaster suffers no ill effect. Continuing to cast spells once his Strain is over his Tolerance, however, is extremely taxing on a Spellcaster's body and mind. As soon as a Spellcaster's total Strain exceeds his Tolerance, he becomes fatigued. If a fatigued Spellcaster wishes to cast another spell, he must first make a Fort save with a DC equal to (20 + the spell's level + the amount of Strain he has over his Tolerance prior to casting the spell). If the save is successful, the Spellcaster casts the spell as normal. If the save is failed, the spell fizzles with no effect and the Spellcaster takes damage equal to the spell's strain-toll.
    A Spellcaster loses one point of Strain per hour if he does not cast spells, fight, run, or otherwise exerts himself. A Spellcaster who is fatigued due to excess Strain ceases to be fatigued as soon as his total Strain is no longer over his Tolerance. However, a Spellcaster does not recover strain while exhausted. During sleep, a Spellcaster loses 3 Strain points per hour. If he completes his night's rest, he loses additional points equal to his main casting ability modifier + CON-mod.

    Here's the Strain-Costs table for the Druid, Mage, Priest and Witch.
    (Note: At high class levels, some spells have no Strain Cost, and this is fine - a powerful spellcaster should be able to cast basic spells all day long)




    Strain-Costs table: Primary Spellcasters
    Spoiler
    Show

    Code:
    Caster <--- --- Strain Cost by SL --- --->
    Level 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9
    ===========================================
    1     4   7   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
    2     4   6   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
    3     3   6   7   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
    4     3   5   6   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
    5     2   5   6   7   -   -   -   -   -   -
    6     2   4   5   6   -   -   -   -   -   -
    7     1   4   5   6   8   -   -   -   -   -
    8     1   3   4   5   7   -   -   -   -   -
    9     0   3   4   5   7   8   -   -   -   -
    10    0   2   3   4   6   7   -   -   -   -
    11    0   2   3   4   6   7   8   -   -   -
    12    0   1   2   3   5   6   7   -   -   -
    13    0   1   2   3   5   6   7   9   -   -
    14    0   0   1   2   4   5   6   8   -   -
    15    0   0   1   2   4   5   6   8   9   -
    16    0   0   0   1   3   4   5   7   8   -
    17    0   0   0   1   3   4   5   7   8   9
    18    0   0   0   0   2   3   4   6   7   8
    19    0   0   0   0   2   3   4   6   7   8
    20    0   0   0   0   1   2   3   5   6   7


    Strain-Costs table: Bard
    Spoiler
    Show

    Code:
    Caster <-- -- Strain Cost -- -->
    Level 0   1   2   3   4   5   6
    ===============================
    1     5   -   -   -   -   -   -
    2     5   7   -   -   -   -   -
    3     4   7   -   -   -   -   -
    4     4   7   -   -   -   -   -
    5     4   6   7   -   -   -   -
    6     3   6   7   -   -   -   -
    7     3   6   7   -   -   -   -
    8     3   5   6   7   -   -   -
    9     2   5   6   7   -   -   -
    10    2   5   6   7   -   -   -
    11    2   4   5   6   8   -   -
    12    1   4   5   6   8   -   -
    13    1   4   5   6   8   -   -
    14    1   3   4   5   7   8   -
    15    0   3   4   5   7   8   -
    16    0   3   4   5   7   8   -
    17    0   2   3   4   6   7   8
    18    0   2   3   4   6   7   8
    19    0   2   3   4   6   7   8
    20    0   1   2   3   5   6   7


    Warrior Spellcasters
    Spoiler
    Show

    Code:
    Caster <-- Strain Cost --->
    Level 0   1   2   3   4   5
    ===========================
    1     5   -   -   -   -   -
    2     5   -   -   -   -   -
    3     5   -   -   -   -   -
    4     5   7   -   -   -   -
    5     4   7   -   -   -   -
    6     4   7   -   -   -   -
    7     4   7   -   -   -   -
    8     3   6   7   -   -   -
    9     3   6   7   -   -   -
    10    3   6   7   -   -   -
    11    3   5   7   -   -   -
    12    2   5   6   9   -   -
    13    2   5   6   9   -   -
    14    2   5   6   9   -   -
    15    1   4   5   9   -   -
    16    1   4   5   8   9   -
    17    1   4   5   8   9   -
    18    1   3   5   8   9   -
    19    0   3   4   7   9   -
    20    0   3   4   7   8  11




    Writer's insights:
    Although I quite resent the need to "go to the tables to figure the numbers", I find several significant advantages to this spellcasting mechanism.
    - Going NOVA (relying almost exclusively on the highest SLs) would result in rapid resources exhaustion, quickly leaving you next to powerless. OTOH, relying on lower level spells when possible would significantly lengthen a spellcaster's "work day" and allow him to remain relevant for much longer periods of time before he needs to rest to renew his spell access (thus keeping low level spells relevant). This result could not be achieved with a spell-points system where there's a linear increase in cost according to SL.
    - The numbers also add up for a faster strain recovery.
    - The Bard does not really become a utilitarian, but that's quite ok - that's not the Bard's role.
    Last edited by nonsi; 2011-07-18 at 03:58 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    The midwest.

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    This looks like a really good fix for the spell point casting variant... I'd adopt it if not for the fact that casters don't need any more help.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Is this based on Surgo and Lord Blackfang's mana-based system?
    They're fairly similar, though you're recovery mechanic is a bit slower and you actually have tables for the half casters.
    All in all it's probably a wash between the two but I'd probably use their strain mechanics with your half caster tables.
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    Is this based on Surgo and Lord Blackfang's mana-based system?
    Actually it is.
    I've encountered Lord Blackfang's rules way back on Gleemax, but since they upgraded (downgraded actually) their website it was gone and I haven't seen it since.
    I "polished" his progression table a bit to make the strain reduction more uniform and doubled the level-based tolerance to give just a bit more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    They're fairly similar, though you're recovery mechanic is a bit slower and you actually have tables for the half casters.
    Do you happen to remember what's their recovery mechanic ?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    First I am assuming this strain mechanic intended to be the only restrictive mechanic, rather than meant to be used in conjunction with a standard spellpoint system, with this as the limitation on high level spells. If this assumption is incorrect, please correct me.


    It seems like it works out okay, though the costs are -really- harsh on the warrior casters, who typically have more MAD, thus less con and casting modifier, half caster level, AND pay more for their crappy 4th level spells than a primary caster pays for a 9th level spell. Recovery feels a little slow at high level, where you have 40 or so points of strain, and regain 1 point per hour or 3 points per hour while sleeping... so you're looking at a solid 16 hours of sleep necessary to fully recharge. I'd make it a full night's sleep is a full refresh, and if you're going to have strain recover that slowly during the day, just don't have it recover at all, it won't make a difference, and the caster has a low enough strain on his lower level slots (free casting anything up to 3rd level, **** yeah!) that he can get by, even if he's hating life.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    First I am assuming this strain mechanic intended to be the only restrictive mechanic, rather than meant to be used in conjunction with a standard spellpoint system, with this as the limitation on high level spells. If this assumption is incorrect, please correct me.
    This assumption is correct.


    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    It seems like it works out okay, though the costs are -really- harsh on the warrior casters, who typically have more MAD, thus less con and casting modifier, half caster level, AND pay more for their crappy 4th level spells than a primary caster pays for a 9th level spell.
    1. Quote: "(with this approach, btw, all casters are full spellcasters)".
    2. Very few would argue with the statement that Paladins & Rangers need more. Furthermore, I see their spellcasting as an auxiliary tool for times of need, not their main shtick.
    3. I see no problem in making full melees' spellcasting Con-based (especially for a Duskblade remake).


    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Recovery feels a little slow at high level, where you have 40 or so points of strain, and regain 1 point per hour or 3 points per hour while sleeping...
    I know. I'm counting on a reply from Epsilon Rose for some more details on faster recovery before I make up one of my own.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Shpadoinkle View Post
    This looks like a really good fix for the spell point casting variant... I'd adopt it if not for the fact that casters don't need any more help.
    I find that they do.
    Too much immediately available raw power, too little on-the-fly versatility.
    Going to sleep if you didn't happen to be lucky enough to select an appropriate spell is dumb. And spont. casters just don't have enough spell repertoire for me to be comfortable with.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    1. Quote: "(with this approach, btw, all casters are full spellcasters)".
    I saw that but thought it was pretty unclear. It should say something like "All casters have caster level equal to their class level".


    3. I see no problem in making full melees' spellcasting Con-based (especially for a Duskblade remake).
    So making it add double con mod, rather than relying on their int/wis? I guess I could see that working.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    There's a copy on d&d wiki. I've actually been linking it allot lately... I should probably just add it to my sig.

    The main differences are you have strain = your casting stat (not the mod) + half your caster level and you recover strain at character level (up to casting mod) per hour plus a full recovery for 8hrs sleep.
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    There's a copy on d&d wiki. I've actually been linking it allot lately... I should probably just add it to my sig.

    The main differences are you have strain = your casting stat (not the mod) + half your caster level and you recover strain at character level (up to casting mod) per hour plus a full recovery for 8hrs sleep.
    Thanks. It helped.
    I find their recovery mechanic quite appropriate, but I still find it appropriate to use CL for the strain tolerance score, otherwise a spellcaster would "burn out" a bit too soon for my personal taste.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    I find that they do.
    Too much immediately available raw power, too little on-the-fly versatility.
    Going to sleep if you didn't happen to be lucky enough to select an appropriate spell is dumb. And spont. casters just don't have enough spell repertoire for me to be comfortable with.
    Spontaneous casters and most divine casters are SOL, but archivists and wizards can leave "iffy" slots open for a quick 15 minute re-prep. Also, nothing in the spell points rules really stop the nova aspect of higher level spells.

    If you want to keep players on their toes but don't want a new system, just vary the number of encounters in a day. Either ask them not to use rope trick or do a way that counters it. If 6 schmucks are invading a castle and they all go missing after ~20 minutes, then you'd better believe they have a warlock scanning the area with detect magic in case of rope trick. It's a little heavy handed, but, eh, it works.


    More seriously, if you love spell points, just use the psionic rules instead. They can still nova things to death, but they are much, much more limited in their applications of power.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Wings of Peace View Post
    "See these cookies? Note how while good they taste sort of bland. Now try these, they're the same cookies but with chocolate chips added. Notice how with the second batch we expended slightly more ingredients but dramatically enhanced the flavor? That's metamagic."
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Seriously, can we kill this misconception now? A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He shops for precisely what he means to.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Thanks. It helped.
    I find their recovery mechanic quite appropriate, but I still find it appropriate to use CL for the strain tolerance score, otherwise a spellcaster would "burn out" a bit too soon for my personal taste.
    I think that's actually the point. They burn out quickly so nova-ings a bit harder and you have to be a bit more conservative on the encounter level, but at the same time they regain their strain allot quicker so you can recover from being "burned out" without having to stop adventuring.
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    I think that's actually the point. They burn out quickly so nova-ings a bit harder and you have to be a bit more conservative on the encounter level, but at the same time they regain their strain allot quicker so you can recover from being "burned out" without having to stop adventuring.
    Indeed, when I first read concept of the system before thinking too hard about the details presented, I was thinking it would work great as an ammendum to the generic spell points system. ie a player could cast a set number of spell points per day (or even with the regular spell slots system), but strain limits how much they could cast in a short period of time, but then strain recovers very quickly, like recovers fully in 5 minutes of rest. In that sort of system, you could make the strain much more restrictive, and have lower level spells generate less strain. This way strain is there -just- to prevent a wizard from going nova and blowing all his points on high level spells in one encounter, rather than being the sole resource system.

    This is obviously pretty different from what was actually given in the crunch of the OP, but I'm thinking it may be a solid way to take this for my own projects. It would at the very least work wonders at reducing the 5 minute workday effect, while still leaving a daily resource that needs to be managed, which makes it easier to balance with encounter based effects.
    Last edited by Seerow; 2011-06-06 at 02:32 PM.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    This is obviously pretty different from what was actually given in the crunch of the OP, but I'm thinking it may be a solid way to take this for my own projects. It would at the very least work wonders at reducing the 5 minute workday effect, while still leaving a daily resource that needs to be managed, which makes it easier to balance with encounter based effects.
    So what would you use, full CL for strain tolerance or 1/2 CL ?

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    So what would you use, full CL for strain tolerance or 1/2 CL ?
    With your current mechanic? It depends what you're aiming for. I'd personally go with full CL. Right now you have CL+Stat+Con Mod, so an average wizard is looking at ~60ish strain before penalties. Assuming your primary recovery is only once per day, rather than encounter based as I was thinking, that allows a wizard to cast 8-9 9th level spells per day, or many more lower level spells.

    Restricting it to half CL, your limit isn't actually reduced a lot. Your primary driving force is your primary casting stat. So with the half CL you lose basically 1-2 9th level spells per day. So if you wanted to make it more restricted, it's a knob that you can turn without worrying about scaling too much.


    As an aside: If you want to make the fatigue/exhaustion penalty more felt by the casters who are going to be using the mechanic, consider making those penalties to str/dex apply to all stats instead. A mage might not care about -6 str, but -6 int is going to hurt him a lot.
    Last edited by Seerow; 2011-06-06 at 03:59 PM.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    With your current mechanic? It depends what you're aiming for. I'd personally go with full CL. Right now you have CL+Stat+Con Mod, so an average wizard is looking at ~60ish strain before penalties. Assuming your primary recovery is only once per day, rather than encounter based as I was thinking, that allows a wizard to cast 8-9 9th level spells per day, or many more lower level spells.

    Restricting it to half CL, your limit isn't actually reduced a lot. Your primary driving force is your primary casting stat. So with the half CL you lose basically 1-2 9th level spells per day. So if you wanted to make it more restricted, it's a knob that you can turn without worrying about scaling too much.


    As an aside: If you want to make the fatigue/exhaustion penalty more felt by the casters who are going to be using the mechanic, consider making those penalties to str/dex apply to all stats instead. A mage might not care about -6 str, but -6 int is going to hurt him a lot.
    Ok, one thing I didn't want to mention so far, so it won't get in the way, is that in my house rules mental stats cannot be raised by mortal means of any sort, only direct devine intervention.
    Also I tend to prefer the faster recovery.
    Anyway, given the above, even the most ambitious build would probably not exceed tolerance 48 (level 20 + stat 23 + con-mod 5). This would allow 6 9th level spells within a short period of time, but that would leave you quite out of the picture for several hours (and it's not all that different than 4 9th level spells).
    I'm still considering using 1/2 CL, limiting to just 5 9th level spells in a given time, but the road to level 20 should also be taken into account and it seems like spellcasters would be left with too little tolerance for a decent daily get-by.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    Ok, one thing I didn't want to mention so far, so it won't get in the way, is that in my house rules mental stats cannot be raised by mortal means of any sort, only direct devine intervention.
    I'm fairly certain that's not a common rule, and you can't balance a system against it. That said, saying temporary or item based enchantments don't effect strain (or at least tolerances, it might be reasonable to let them affect regen) might be interesting.

    I'm still considering using 1/2 CL, limiting to just 5 9th level spells in a given time, but the road to level 20 should also be taken into account and it seems like spellcasters would be left with too little tolerance for a decent daily get-by.
    That brings up an interesting point about this system. Spell casters don't actually need to fully recharge all the time and balancing how long you're taking to recharge/set an ambush vs how much energy you spend per fight vs any time constraints could lead to some interesting play (and actually make the time between fights relevant).
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    The midwest.

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    too little on-the-fly versatility.
    Three counter-arguments:
    -1 Scrolls
    -2 Wands
    -3 Staffs

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Shpadoinkle View Post
    Three counter-arguments:
    -1 Scrolls
    -2 Wands
    -3 Staffs
    I don't think I've ever happily used any of those. I absolutely hate spending on throwaway expendables.
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Epsilon Rose View Post
    I don't think I've ever happily used any of those. I absolutely hate spending on throwaway expendables.
    Really? I have yet to see a primary caster played who didn't make heavy use of all 3. Scrolls in particular are dirt cheap even at low levels, and 50 charges goes a long way for the spells you use more frequently.
    Last edited by Seerow; 2011-06-06 at 09:20 PM.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


  21. - Top - End - #21
    Banned
     
    SiuiS's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Somewhere south of Hell
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    I have tried using scrolls, wands and staves because the Internet suggests it, but I too have never done so satisfactorily. While assuming their use makes perfect sense when fine-tooling, I have NEVER seen this work in game play. It's always been either;

    Wealth by Level is barely acknowledged as a guideline, let alone a rule. There just isn't enough for this, and what money there is is better spent on equipment or fluffing the wizard's spell book

    Mony is accumulated, pooled, and a single potent magic item bought that will guarantee party success; magic armor for the guy who keeps getting dropped. Weapon improvements for the weakest attacker. Something to keep the animal companion alive. Etc.

    I think I will adapt this mechanic for a game. Currently, vancian is the rule of the day due to the movement of the stars and planets, but I can probably segue it in somehow.

    A question: how does the system handle specialization? If I am a focused specialist, I get 3 extra spells per day, specifically of my focused school. How would this possibly work? Less strain, greater pool of tolerance for that school only?

    EDIT: a thought. If specialization was returned to being a caster level increase, it would solve things. Specialists gain +1 CL in their chosen school, -1 else where. Focused specialists gain +3 CL instead. Schools that are banned are still banned. Would this pan out?
    Last edited by SiuiS; 2011-06-07 at 04:10 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Mony is accumulated, pooled, and a single potent magic item bought that will guarantee party success; magic armor for the guy who keeps getting dropped. Weapon improvements for the weakest attacker. Something to keep the animal companion alive. Etc.
    Yeah, that's what I've seen happen.

    EDIT: a thought. If specialization was returned to being a caster level increase, it would solve things. Specialists gain +1 CL in their chosen school, -1 else where. Focused specialists gain +3 CL instead. Schools that are banned are still banned. Would this pan out?
    Are you saying that the normal specialists couldn't ban schools? I sorta like that dichotomy.
    The Focus Sniper: Boom. Head-shot.
    Spoiler: Older, and somewhat abandoned, classes
    Show
    The Chaote: a free form mage.
    My [wip] Magic fix: everyone has one, but how many encourage multi-classing?

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Banned
     
    SiuiS's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Somewhere south of Hell
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    My initial reaction was to give a sizable penalty to 'banned' schools, or at double the strain, or some such. I changed my mind halfway through, though, and I guess I didn't rewrite that part correctly.

    Actually, I think I was looking at the formula wrong. A specialist should use the strain-costs table as if they were a level higher (for specialty) or 5 lower (for barred schools). A focused specialist would use +3 and -9 instead.

    These were my original thoughts, but I'm still mulling it over. I want to apply this in an upcoming game, but our main caster is a focused necromancer. So I can't just use it as is, I need to figure out the ramifications first.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    This seems like an interesting alternative and while I understand the reasoning behind "high level mages shouldn't have to strain over casting their lowest level spells" that just further widens the gap between caster and non-casting classes.

    Also, a high-level caster would not be able to pile up tons of spell-buffs ahead of combat and still have 80% of his fire power available for blasting & debuffing (....... and then go to sleep).
    This isn't true. Here's a list of 1st through 3rd level Sor/Wiz spells that would be good spells from that level to have cast on you. Obviously not every Wizard will know all these spells, but it's entirely conceivable for a 20th level Wizard to have the majority of them in his or her spellsbooks from WBL alone.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Endure Elements
    Protection from X
    Shield
    Mage Armor
    Comprehend Languages
    Floating Disk
    Disguise Self
    Enlarge Person
    Jump

    ---

    Portection from Arrows
    Resist Energy
    See Invisibility
    Blur
    Invisibility
    Mirror Image
    False Life
    Alter Self
    Bear's Endurance
    Cat's Grace
    Darkvision
    Eagle's Splendor
    Fox's Cunning
    Owl's Wisdom
    Spider Climb

    ---

    Magic Circle vs X
    Nondetection
    Protection from X
    Arcane Sight
    Tongues
    Heroism
    Displacement
    Invisibility Sphere
    Blink
    Fly
    Gaseous Form
    haste
    Greater Magic Weapon


    If the Wizard has these spells in his spellbook there's no mechanical reason for him not to have them constantly active. There are role-playing reasons, sure, but not mechanically. They don't cost him anything (aside from any material component costs, which would likewise be trivial for a 20th level Wizard).

    So while I think spell points are a cool idea and I wish Arcane casting worked more like Psionics, giving Casters their spells for free doesn't make the game more balanced.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    This isn't true. Here's a list of 1st through 3rd level Sor/Wiz spells that would be good spells from that level to have cast on you. Obviously not every Wizard will know all these spells, but it's entirely conceivable for a 20th level Wizard to have the majority of them in his or her spellsbooks from WBL alone.
    And an infinite supply of the spells you mentioned is a balance shifting factor when facing a Balor / Solar / Pit Fiend / Demilich / huge red dragon... because.............. ?

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Retired Mod in the Playground Retired Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    And an infinite supply of the spells you mentioned is a balance shifting factor when facing a Balor / Solar / Pit Fiend / Demilich / huge red dragon... because.............. ?
    It's the balance between party members, not vs enemies that I'm talking about. The difference between casting classes and non-casting classes.

    My point is that the game is not balanced already with respect to the classes, and giving the most powerful classes in the game extra spells for free makes them more powerful.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    While I really like the idea, I have to say a few things on it:
    First off: This is just an inverted way of using spell points, really, even though it has the added benefit of the 'spell point cost' of spells being lowered as the character progresses. Of that I greatly approve!
    It also grants the ability to over-channel, even though I personally think the DC of overchannelling is too harsh, and the cost is not grave enough. ;)
    I would suggest lowering the significantly, so that the spell has a very good chance of succeeding, but making the price constant, no matter whether or not you succeed in casting the spell. This makes it less RNG, and more reliant on personal choice and sacrifice. By making it more likely to succeed, but more punishing either way, I think the choice itself becomes more interesting, and casting spells becomes less static.
    So... That's all I would suggest. :)

    For all the rest: I think this idea is wonderful; the reduction in 'spell-point-cost' during character progression makes it more lively, and even it is only a small difference on paper, I think it makes all the difference in the world in terms of game-play. I'd say: If overstraining would be more of a choice and less of a fluke, I'd implement this as a house-rule system for all my d20 stories. ^_^

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryad View Post
    For all the rest: I think this idea is wonderful; the reduction in 'spell-point-cost' during character progression makes it more lively, and even it is only a small difference on paper, I think it makes all the difference in the world in terms of game-play. I'd say: If overstraining would be more of a choice and less of a fluke, I'd implement this as a house-rule system for all my d20 stories. ^_^
    You're not dependant upon my "good will" and can modify these mechanics as you see fit.
    Go ahead and abuse it to your hear's content.

    Personally, I'm not comfortable with spellcasters overcharging on a regular basis.
    Going back to the Dragonlance stories, it was quite obvious that the very thought of overcharging made Raistlin cringe and I wish to preserve this theme.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Oh, I absolutely agree with that. I just think it shouldn't amount to an near auto-failure, and only the failure being punished. Instead, I would like to see a good chance of succeeding, but a hefty price. In order to make people not wαnt to overchannel, but still allow them a good chance if they absolutely need to.

    I wouldn't see that as abusing. I mean; as it stands now, in the system above, I wouldn't overchannel simply because I'd be convinced it wouldn't work anyway, and failure is pain. Lots of pain, no gain. If I really, really, really needed the spell, I would not use it simply because trying to use it would hurt me more than not even trying at all.

    The Wheel of Time system has a madness thing included for (male) channelers. When they overchannel, this not only takes a physical toll, but a mental one, as well, slowly driving the channeler insane if they become greedy.
    The thought over overstraining should make people cringe, yes. But that doesn't mean it should be made nearly impossible by pure chance.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    nonsi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Spell Points – why they never really work + a viable alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Dryad View Post
    I wouldn't see that as abusing. I mean; as it stands now, in the system above, I wouldn't overchannel simply because I'd be convinced it wouldn't work anyway, and failure is pain. Lots of pain, no gain. If I really, really, really needed the spell, I would not use it simply because trying to use it would hurt me more than not even trying at all.
    Ok, how does Will save vs. DC 15 + SL + strain overtax sound ?
    Or should it be 10 + double strain overtax, to make you prioritize lower level spells, with the higher level spells getting even harder to execute during overtax ?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •