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    Default Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Casters)

    I see people complain about metamagic feats all the time. From the classic "Metamagic reducers are too broken" to the "Metamagic is too high without reducers to be worth it." But there is one problem with metamagic feats I have found people to, oddly enough, never question: Metamagic level adjustments are static, even though they are intended to apply to all spells from all spell lists.

    In other words, a paladin who wants to use the Maximize Spell feat has to pay the same level adjustment as a sorcerer. Why is this a problem, you might ask? Well, the answer is obvious. Half-casters like paladins and rangers get continuously screwed over by all the rules at the same time. Let me break this down:

    1) Half-casters must wait longer before getting access to new spell levels.

    2) Half-casters have reduced saving throw DCs because even their highest level spells are still treated as 4th/5th/6th level for the purposes of saving throw DCs.

    3) Half-casters (specifically hexblade, paladin and ranger in this case) have a ridiculously low caster level.

    4) Half-casters must pay the same cost as a sorcerer or wizard for the purposes of metamagic feats. This is huge. Not only do you not have access to higher level spell slots, you also have access to fewer spell slots because you don't have access to higher level spell slots. A 20th level bard with 4 spell slots of each level from 0-6 has 12 fewer spell slots than a wizard of the same level, and that's if the wizard isn't a specialist.


    So, now you guys are probably saying "Yeah, but the 9th level casters are supposed to have more spells, Seraphi." To which I agree with you. But since these half-casters have such gimped spellcasting, why should we effectively remove the ability to augment that casting if they want to spend their resources to do it? With that in mind, I present the official Seraphi HomebrewTM Alternate Metamagic Rules:

    Alternate Metamagic Rules


    Metamagic feats retain their current level adjustments for all spellcasters who have spellcasting progression that ends with 9th level spells (including bards who have taken the Sublime Chord prestige class and etc). For other spellcasters, such as bards or hexblades, every spell that has at least one metamagic feat has the following adjustments to the final spell level:

    {table="header"]Highest Level Spell | Metamagic Feat Adjustment (Minimum +1)
    4 | -3
    5 | -2
    6 | -1
    [/table]

    For example, a duskblade who casts empowered maximized shocking grasp would cast it as a 4th level spell (rather than simply not being able to cast it at all).

    A spellcaster who has multiple spellcasting classes, such as a wizard/hexblade, applies metamagic level adjustments based on the origin of the spell he is casting and the source of its spell slot. In this example, if the caster was going to cast fireball, preparing the spell from his wizard spellbook and using his wizard caster level and Intelligence modifier to set the DC, all metamagic feats applied to the spell would function as written by WotC. However, if the same spellcaster later wanted to cast his hexblade spell ray of enfeeblement and use the Maximize Spell feat on it, he could cast the spell from one of his hexblade class's 2nd level spell slots instead of using a 4th level spell slot.
    Last edited by NeoSeraphi; 2012-06-13 at 02:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    This is definitely promising. However, I would apply the metamagic reduction as a total possible reduction to the metamagicked spell level, rather than for each feat. I also think you should compile and review a list of metamagic feats and see if there are any outlying results that should be tweaked or exempted from these rules.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarian View Post
    This is definitely promising. However, I would apply the metamagic reduction as a total possible reduction to the metamagicked spell level, rather than for each feat. I also think you should compile and review a list of metamagic feats and see if there are any outlying results that should be tweaked or exempted from these rules.
    I agree. I'll update to explain that it only applies to the final outcome to prevent ridiculous stacking.

    If I have time, I'll look at the list of every metamagic feat, but just glancing at the ones from Core, I see no issues with how I have calculated it. (Paladins can use Maximize Spell/Empower Spell/Quicken Spell at +1 LA, which is a serious investment of their resources since they only get a few scarce high-level spell slots, combined with the fact that the paladin class sucks to begin with).

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    For a simple fix, it looks good to me. If anything, I think you could make it even more powerful, given how infrequently half-casters have the feats to spare or good spells to alter with them.

    If I where going to improve complicate things, as I inevitably do, I would expand the chart so that different levels of metamagic got different adjustments, depending on your max spell level is.

    Metamagic Increase Adjustment
    {table]Highest Level Spells|1|2|3|4|5

    4|-1|-1|-2|-2|-3

    5|--|-1|-2|-2|-3

    6|--|-1|-1|-2|-2[/table]

    Please excuse my attrocious table-making skills; I tried and failedto work it out better than this. The top row of numbers is a feat's normal metamagic spell-slot increase.

    To explain, a caster with a max of 6th level spell slots would get no adjustment for metamagic that increased the spell level by one, a -1 adjustment for any metamagic for that increased the spell slot by two or three, and a -2 adjustment for any metamagic that increased the spell slot by four or five.

    On the other end of the spectrum, a caster with only 4th level spell slots gets essentially free metamagic for anything that normally cost one spell slot, anything that previously bumped the spell up two or three slots is now just 1, and anything that bumped it up four or five is now 2.


    Also, I don't think any core metamagic feats actually go up to +5, but I left that in place to cover any splat books I haven't read; I think twinned spells are pretty high but I don't remember exactly what.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2012-08-03 at 07:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Also, I don't think any core metamagic feats actually go up to +5, but I left that in place to cover any splat books I haven't read; I think twinned spells are pretty high but I don't exactly.
    The epic metamagic Intensify Spell is +7; Persist Spell from ... Complete Divine? ... is +6, for what that's worth.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    For a simple fix, it looks good to me. If anything, I think you could make it even more powerful, given how infrequently half-casters have the feats to spare or good spells to alter with them.

    If I where going to improve complicate things, as I inevitably do, I would expand the chart so that different levels of metamagic got different adjustments, depending on your max spell level is.

    Metamagic Increase Adjustment
    {table]Highest Level Spells|1|2|3|4|5

    4|-1|-1|-2|-2|-3

    5|--|-1|-2|-2|-3

    6|--|-1|-1|-2|-2[/table]

    Please excuse my attrocious table-making skills; Itried and failedto work it out better than this. The top row of numbers is a feats normal metamagic spell-slot increase.

    To explain, a caster with a max of 6th level spell slots would get no adjustment for metamagic that increased the spell level by one, a -1 adjustment for any metamagic for that increased the spell slot by two or three, and a -2 adjustment for any metamagic that increased the spell slot by four or five.

    On the other end of the spectrum, a caster with only 4th level spell slots gets essentially free metamagic for anything that normally cost one spell slot, anything that previously bumped the spell up two or three slots is now just 1, and anything that bumped it up four or five is now 2.


    Also, I don't think any core metamagic feats actually go up to +5, but I left that in place to cover any splat books I haven't read; I think twinned spells are pretty high but I don't remember exactly what.
    This looks pretty good. I think we need to get some outside opinions on which is more balanced, but your method would obviously provide more relief to half-casters attempting to use metamagic.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    This looks pretty good. I think we need to get some outside opinions on which is more balanced, but your method would obviously provide more relief to half-casters attempting to use metamagic.
    Free metamagic never ends well. Never. Whichever method you go with, it needs to have a "minimum of +1" clause in there somewhere.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarian View Post
    Free metamagic never ends well. Never. Whichever method you go with, it needs to have a "minimum of +1" clause in there somewhere.
    That's true. I attempted to avoid that from the beginning with my clause in the table.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarian View Post
    Free metamagic never ends well. Never. Whichever method you go with, it needs to have a "minimum of +1" clause in there somewhere.
    Normally I would agree with you; the only reason I put it in place was that these classes (as Seraphi pointed out) have an exceedingly limited spell selection to begin with, and they only gain access to them several levels after full casters anyway. I think that allowing one free metamagic feat from the lower end of plus-spell-slot adjustments isn't game breaking by itself, but I understand how allowing multiple free metamagics for any spell list can get tricky to keep in check.

    I definitely like Seraphi's version for ease of use; anything like my version would probably need some additional caveats to keep martial classes actually martially focused, particularly if you have increased spell lists from splatbooks available.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Why not just make different feats altogether for the half casters, similar to what Battle Blessing does to automatically quicken all paladin spells?

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Andion Isurand View Post
    Why not just make different feats altogether for the half casters, similar to what Battle Blessing does to automatically quicken all paladin spells?
    Because that takes more work and I'm lazy.

    But seriously, your idea is a good one, but something simple that says "apply this to all existing metamagic feats" lets you use material from any source or splatbook with relative ease. Plus, once you start redesigning individual feats you get into a lot of personal decisions about what's worth what kind of an increase and what feats would be worth taking for the kind of spells you can apply them to, and how do you keep full casters from making use of them too.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    and how do you keep full casters from making use of them too.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Ok, couple of things. Firstly, interesting idea Seraphi. The enhanced table from DeepBlue is a fair increase on the effect, don't see it breaking much on the power axis.

    2 issues... Issue 1 is with the idea of making seperate half-caster meta feats. This is baaad. Multiclassing could introduce unpleasant flaws in feat wording, and more importantly, if I were playing a ranger/cleric, why shouldn't I be able to buy a single meta feat for use with both of my spell lists?

    Issue 2 is with the free metas clause for +1 at max 4th halfcaster. Wouldn't heighten become odd and/or awkward?
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Issue 2 is with the free metas clause for +1 at max 4th halfcaster. Wouldn't heighten become odd and/or awkward?

    Name three spells on the ranger or paladin spell list that allow a saving throw off the top of your head. I can't do it, not even if I include all the sourcebooks. I remember something called holy shackles or somesuch from the SC for paladins that was basically a size-restricted hold person, but that's the only spell I can think of on either list that actually has a saving throw to resist.

    Heighten Spell is a terrible feat for 4th level casters, because they only have up to 4th level spells to use anyway. Using Heighten like this and getting a free +3 shortened to +1 would essentially be the same as Greater Spell Focus (+2 DC to the paladin's spells), except it would be almost incurably useless based on the aforementioned lack of saving throw related spells on their lists.

    The exception here is the hexblade. However, the hexblade is supposed to be a debuffing class, so anything to help him fix his terrible DCs is a good fix in my opinion.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Name three spells on the ranger or paladin spell list that allow a saving throw off the top of your head. I can't do it, not even if I include all the sourcebooks. I remember something called holy shackles or somesuch from the SC for paladins that was basically a size-restricted hold person, but that's the only spell I can think of on either list that actually has a saving throw to resist.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Andion Isurand View Post
    Why not just make different feats altogether for the half casters, similar to what Battle Blessing does to automatically quicken all paladin spells?
    This is a good point. Battle Blessing is considered balanced, and automatically applies one of the strongest metamagic feats to all spells a Paladin can cast for no cost increase at all. I really can't imagine a free maximize spell or twin spell or repeat spell or whatever else being any more overpowered in the hands of a half caster.


    Maybe simple solution is best: Take the number of spell levels your casting progression gets and subtract it from 9. You get that much free metamagic on any spell you cast. So a Paladin/Ranger gets 5 levels of metamagic on all spells free. A Duskblade gets 4. A Bard gets 3. A Wizard gets 0.

    Simple and easy to work with. No special tables or other such things.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
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    Cure Critical Wounds is not a paladin or ranger spell, but I suppose those do allow saving throws, though they are only capable of dealing damage to one type of creature, which has a Good Will save, high Hit Dice:CR ratio, and the paladin's ability to deal damage with it is still gimped by his half-caster level.

    So, though you answered the question it does not make much of an argument for why allowing Heighten Spell to work better for half-casters is unbalanced.

    This is a good point. Battle Blessing is considered balanced, and automatically applies one of the strongest metamagic feats to all spells a Paladin can cast for no cost increase at all. I really can't imagine a free maximize spell or twin spell or repeat spell or whatever else being any more overpowered in the hands of a half caster.


    Maybe simple solution is best: Take the number of spell levels your casting progression gets and subtract it from 9. You get that much free metamagic on any spell you cast. So a Paladin/Ranger gets 5 levels of metamagic on all spells free. A Duskblade gets 4. A Bard gets 3. A Wizard gets 0.

    Simple and easy to work with. No special tables or other such things.
    You have a point here. Alright, what does everyone think of this solution? Does anyone see any potential problems?

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    So, though you answered the question it does not make much of an argument for why allowing Heighten Spell to work better for half-casters is unbalanced.

    You have a point here. Alright, what does everyone think of this solution? Does anyone see any potential problems?
    1: I always think its Light>Moderate>Critical>Serious, but it definitely isnt an argument against highten, I simply know that paladins and rangers both get at least 3 spells with DCs.

    2: It is overall fine, although DMM:Persist becomes kinda nutz powered for the paladin
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    1: I always think its Light>Moderate>Critical>Serious, but it definitely isnt an argument against highten, I simply know that paladins and rangers both get at least 3 spells with DCs.

    2: It is overall fine, although DMM:Persist becomes kinda nutz powered for the paladin
    I would rule that Divine Metamagic does not apply, as the ability simply allows you to prepare spells as if your spell slots were each 5 levels higher, it doesn't reduce the cost of metamagic by 5 (since that would apply to all metamagic feats rather than the final result).

    Then again, if the paladin wants to waste three perfectly good feat slots to have an actual use for his Turn attempts, more power to him. The paladin is still limited by his pitiful number of spells per day (no matter how many turn attempts he gets, they won't give him any extra spell slots) and unlike the cleric, paladins can't get Extra Turning or Extend Spell as bonus feats.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    I would rule that Divine Metamagic does not apply, as the ability simply allows you to prepare spells as if your spell slots were each 5 levels higher, it doesn't reduce the cost of metamagic by 5 (since that would apply to all metamagic feats rather than the final result).

    Then again, if the paladin wants to waste three perfectly good feat slots to have an actual use for his Turn attempts, more power to him. The paladin is still limited by his pitiful number of spells per day (no matter how many turn attempts he gets, they won't give him any extra spell slots) and unlike the cleric, paladins can't get Extra Turning or Extend Spell as bonus feats.
    One potential problem I just thought of: This would allow heightening a spell pretty high pretty easily. I'm pretty sure there's some cheese that goes alongside that, but anyone interested in that kind of cheese could pull it off anyway. The more mundane use would be that a level 1 Paladin/Ranger would have spell save DCs 5 higher than normal. But they don't have a lot of save DC spells so it probably isnt that big a deal.

    On the other hand, a Bard could use it with his level 1 SoL spells and have a DC 3 higher than normal. Eventually full casting overtakes this advantage, but at level 1 a DC18-20 saving throw on charm person or hideous laughter is pretty nasty when normal save DCs are closer to 15-17.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    [Nitpick]
    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    level 4 Paladin/Ranger would have spell save DCs 5 higher than normal.
    [/nitpick]

    this isnt really a problem, and anything that makes a bard feel more welcome in a party for combat purposes is a good thing
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post

    this isnt really a problem, and anything that makes a bard feel more welcome in a party for combat purposes is a good thing
    You're right, it is level 4 for the Ranger/Paladin. Which means they're only ahead by 4 instead of 5. Either way, given their spell repertoire it's not a big deal. The Bard is potentially a bigger deal, but apparently they don't even get 1st level spells until level 2.

    That said, it may not be a huge problem but it feels kind of weird. Sort of like giving a Wizard +5 to hit at level 1 because he has half BAB. Sure in the long run it balanced out, but having the wizard with the best to-hit bonus at level 1 feels weird, just like having bards or rangers with the best save DCs at low levels feels weird.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    You're right, it is level 4 for the Ranger/Paladin. Which means they're only ahead by 4 instead of 5. Either way, given their spell repertoire it's not a big deal. The Bard is potentially a bigger deal, but apparently they don't even get 1st level spells until level 2.

    That said, it may not be a huge problem but it feels kind of weird. Sort of like giving a Wizard +5 to hit at level 1 because he has half BAB. Sure in the long run it balanced out, but having the wizard with the best to-hit bonus at level 1 feels weird, just like having bards or rangers with the best save DCs at low levels feels weird.
    It's not like giving a wizard +5 to hit at level 1. It's like allowing the wizard to spend a feat slot (except bards and paladins don't get bonus feats, so more like allowing a sorcerer to spend a feat slot) that lets him sacrifice a move action to get +5 to hit.

    Bards would have to spend a feat on Heighten Spell. Then, bards would have to spend a full-round action to cast that spell, and in exchange, they would get +3 to the DC of that spell. The bard has d6 HD and light armor. Having 14+Cha as the DC for your charm person is nice, but the bard's other low-level combat spells, such as hideous laughter and lesser confusion, have terrible durations so sacrificing a feat slot and a move action in order to boost the DCs is actually pretty balanced.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Beyond 1st level spells, Bards begin to get several potent* combat spells, and I personally would not use this fix if it applied to Heighten Spell. Granting the bard a permanent +3 to the save DCs of his spells is taking most of the point out of their abbreviated spellcasting, imho.

    *Bards are obviously not Wizards, and comparing their spellcasting to Wizard spellcasting is an exercise in futility. They can, however, end encounters with their spells just as Wizards can in places, and throwing +3 save DC candy at them with all the other stuff Bards get doesn't sit well with me at all.
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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Fair enough. If I decide to use Seerow's suggestion, I will specify it does not work for the Heighten Spell feat.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    Fair enough. If I decide to use Seerow's suggestion, I will specify it does not work for the Heighten Spell feat.
    or make it scale.

    Ok, that wouldnt work
    Last edited by toapat; 2012-06-15 at 06:42 PM.
    My Homebrew: found here.
    When you Absolutely, Positively, Gotta Drop some Huge rocks, Accept NO Substitutes

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    I approve of the scaling 'free' metamagic. That sits a lot better with me than non-scaling 'free' metamagic. It wouldn't be nearly as problematic. If I wasn't so brain-dead tired I'd probably have some kind of nitpick with it, but at the moment I like Toapat's version.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Quote Originally Posted by Techwarrior View Post
    I approve of the scaling 'free' metamagic. That sits a lot better with me than non-scaling 'free' metamagic. It wouldn't be nearly as problematic. If I wasn't so brain-dead tired I'd probably have some kind of nitpick with it, but at the moment I like Toapat's version.
    I had a Nitpick with it WHILE I WAS MAKING IT. how the hell dont you have the same one?

    The Spell level adjustments fluctuate up and down constantly with that, sure with paladins and rangers, you only have one level where you step back, but with bard you have 4.
    My Homebrew: found here.
    When you Absolutely, Positively, Gotta Drop some Huge rocks, Accept NO Substitutes

    PM Me if you would like a table from my homebrew reconstructed.

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    Default Re: Alternate Metamagic Rules - (AKA Come on People, Let's be Nicer to the Half-Caste

    Ok, you're right, that is odd and definitely something I would have nitpicked had I been completely sensible last night. In my defense I specifically said I was drop-dead tired and approval should be taken with that grain of salt in mind. I see no problem with just smoothing out the table. So that instead of your table it looks like this.

    {table=head]Level|Full|2/3|FMM|1/2|FMM
    1|1|0|-|-|-
    2|1|1|-|-|-
    3|2|1|-|-|-
    4|2|2|-|1|1
    5|3|2|1|1|2
    6|3|2|1|1|2
    7|4|3|1|1|2
    8|4|3|1|2|2
    9|5|3|1|2|2
    10|5|4|1|2|3
    11|6|4|2|3|3
    12|6|4|2|3|3
    13|7|5|2|3|3
    14|7|5|2|4|4
    15|8|5|2|4|4
    16|8|6|2|4|4
    17|9|6|3|4|5
    18|9|6|3|4|5
    19|9|6|3|4|5
    20|9|6|3|4|5
    [/table]

    FMM=Free Metamagic Levels.
    2 levels on your table actually had 1/2 casters getting spells 1 level sooner than they should have. Actually both half-casters and 2/3 casters get the same amount of table adjustments after factoring that in. I'd still be willing to use it like this, as the caster would still have to spend feats on it.
    Last edited by Techwarrior; 2012-06-17 at 11:58 AM.

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