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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadratically

    1. Casting spells requires Power Points. Spell costs 2^SL power points.
    0 1, 1 2, 2 4, 3 8, 4 16, 5 32, 6 64, 7 128, 8 256, 9 512

    2. You have a base of 1 PP per caster level, plus either your CHA bonus or your caster level, whichever is lower. (In other words, you get the bonus for a super-high Charisma gradually).

    3. Whenever you cast a spell, you make a Spellcraft check. For every 10 on the check, you spend 1 fewer Power Point to cast the spell. (This means that at a certain level, 1st level spells will cost no PP at all.)

    4. Spells Known(Spell Mastery). Spellcaster can master (Caster Level)*INT bonus spell levels worth of spells. These can be cast as long as he has the Power Points to spend.

    Provided he has the Power Points, he can also cast other spells from his spell book, but this requires 20 minutes of uninterrupted preparation and study with his (not very portable) magical library. The spell must be cast then and there uunless you are using continued casting.

    5. “Protospells” It is mathematically impossible to cast higher-level spells normally. Higher-level spells are only accessible through using “protospells.” Protospells are a way of storing and/or sharing magical energy—congregation casting, continued casting, and combined casting.

    Continued casting: Make a Spellcraft check (DC 25) to store PP in a specially prepared physical object (potion, scroll, enchanted item) for a specific magical effect. You must use continued casting again each day for the same number of Power Points until the required total is reached, or the protospell dissipates and all Power Points are lost. The spell to be cast (or nature of the item enchantment) must be decided before casting begins. (You cannot use protospells to store PP for later use without dedicating them to a specific purpose.)

    Combined casting: Supporting casters can supply up to ½ the Power Point cost of a spell. Each Power Point supplied by supporting casters adds ½ to your Power Point total. (i.e. A first level apprentice spends two Power Points to support your casting, adding one Power Point to your total.)
    Congregation casting: Large numbers of non-spellcasters donate their support and energy, under the leadership and guidance of a spellcaster to create a large-scale magical effect.

    Congregation casting: Large numbers of non-spellcasters donate their support and energy, under the leadership and guidance of a spellcaster to create a large-scale magical effect. (Mechanics not yet determined.)
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 12:29 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Spell cost is such a situational thing that I'm not sure trying to 'derive' the right cost mathematically is going to do much good. Cost means a lot more in a party that has 4 encounters before it rests than in a party that fights one thing a day or deals with one situation a day, for example.

    Not saying that making higher level spells require more elaborate work to use is necessarily bad, just that I don't think a quadratic cost in its own right 'solves' anything. The question basically comes down to, what do you want playing a caster to feel like?

    - In a tight ambush/sudden combat situation, what is the caster doing and how does that change with level?
    - If there is time to plan, what is the caster doing and how does that scale?
    - In non-combat time, what is the caster doing when there are problems that need solving? (For example 'this village is starving', or 'there's a plague', or 'we need to get to Silnaria by next week', or 'we have to cross this chasm').
    - What is the caster doing in social situations?

    The answer to some of these could of course be 'nothing' but the more of these you have a reasonable answer for, the more fun it'll be to play the caster and the better rounded the system will feel. At the same time, you don't want the answer to generally be 'snap their fingers and render it unto a triviality'.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Spell cost is such a situational thing that I'm not sure trying to 'derive' the right cost mathematically is going to do much good. Cost means a lot more in a party that has 4 encounters before it rests than in a party that fights one thing a day or deals with one situation a day, for example.
    True. A spellcaster under this system compared to Vancian D&D is trading off immediate access to some high level spells to almost unrestricted access to a mid-sized menu of low-level spells.

    A 10th level caster with 18 INT and 18 CHA has 14 Power Points, and should have a Spellcraft of 22. (13 ranks, +4 Int, +3 Skill Focus, +2 Knowledge-ARcana synergy). So with a Spellcraft roll of 23-42, 1st level spells are free, 2nd level spells cost 0 (40-42) or 1 (30-39) or 2 points (23-29), third level spells cost 4 or 5 or 6 points. Fourth level spells cost 12-14, so after a fourth-level spell, he's down to first-level spells.

    Not saying that making higher level spells require more elaborate work to use is necessarily bad, just that I don't think a quadratic cost in its own right 'solves' anything. The question basically comes down to, what do you want playing a caster to feel like?
    I guess I want higher-level spells to be technically available, but to be a major investment in time and energy. Either a lot of time for a lone caster, or less time for a group of casters. Not something you just have access to every day.

    - In a tight ambush/sudden combat situation, what is the caster doing and how does that change with level?
    He's casting one of a handful of "go-to spells." IF he has the juice, and it's a major threat, he's probably using one of his better spells.

    As he levels up, he gets easy access to more low-level spells, and easier access to his better spells. I vaguely feel that a first-level caster should be able to cantrip with as much or as little risk of uselessness as the fighter using his sword. (Ideally, the 1st level wizard and the 1st level fighter should look at each other at the same point in the adventure and say "We're done for today.") I'd rather see a mid-level caster with free access to a handful of first level spells than easy access to mid-level spells.

    - If there is time to plan, what is the caster doing and how does that scale?
    Depends how much time to plan.

    - In non-combat time, what is the caster doing when there are problems that need solving? (For example 'this village is starving', or 'there's a plague', or 'we need to get to Silnaria by next week', or 'we have to cross this chasm').
    Well, adventuring casters and homebody casters are going to have different answers. Homebody casters can solve a lot of village/town/city/nation-scale problems by pooling their efforts, with or without going full Tippyverse. (How Tippyverse you get depends how difficult you make "congregational magic" effects--is it easier magically to make Create Food And Water traps, or get the entire population together to sing the Circle of Life on the Spring Equinox and the Harvest Hymn on the Autumn Equinox to boost ordinary crop yields by 25%?)

    Getting to Silnaria by next week, the adventuring caster would either need some "home time" and get support from secondary casters to cast Teleport. If Teleport isn't available in the setting, then you're preparing a LOT of scrolls of Longstrider and casting them on your horses. If your setting is a little bit Tippyverse, you can stack that with the royal roads which add a longstrider effect.


    - What is the caster doing in social situations?
    Short answer: Depends on the caster, just like anybody else.

    Longer answer: The caster is expected to be doing stuff to help his society. He can make a buck off of it, but it should be assumed that a town with a couple of wizards is better off than one without it, in the form of healing potions available for town emergencies(either wizards alone, or wizard-priest collaboration) (the cart-horse broke it's leg) or very socially useful products--the smith's Gloves of Endure Heat, the hunters' Boots of Endure Cold. He's not just sitting in his house thinking up new and better ways of using magic to kill things, unless monsters are a town problem and he's showing some results, in which case magic DARPA is appreciated.

    The answer to some of these could of course be 'nothing' but the more of these you have a reasonable answer for, the more fun it'll be to play the caster and the better rounded the system will feel. At the same time, you don't want the answer to generally be 'snap their fingers and render it unto a triviality'.
    I think the wizard with an unlimited library and unlimited resources can "do anything." The trick is requiring the resources--in this system, either time or supporting casters. If the Chief Warmage of the Kingdom is building wall of iron city walls, he'll have those resources--either time to build the walls gradually, or supporting casters drafted into the war effort to get the job done quickly. But if Mad Mage Mackalister decides that a wall of iron across the main town gate would be funny, he can do that on his own given time (6th level spell, 64 PP, say he's 13th level, about 4-5 days without help.) He just can't do it on a whim, and when the authorities show up he's not resisting them with anything more than a fireball or two. More likely, with a Spellcraft bonus of +20 to +25, he's using his pretty easy access to scorching ray, which costs him 0-2 points each and he has 13-18, then maybe falling back on burning hands.

    Or if he wants to be clever about it, he casts alter self before he shows up, then invisibility and fly instead of having a pitched battle with the authorities.

    Which sound bad, except compared to the official D&D wizard, who is following up the Wall of IRon with 6th, 5th and 4th level spells. And he just basically had to wake up that morning in a sociopathic mood.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 09:52 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Well, what I was suggesting is that you should answer those questions independent of your system, then build your system up around it to make your answers true :)

    Basically, just imagine it as 'a character in play' independent of the preconceptions of the D&D magic system. That way you don't overshoot or create weird balance solutions that fix one problem but make another worse or things like that.

    For instance, if you want the wizard to have smaller go-to powers, maybe instead of making low level spells easy, you want to make Reserve Feat powers the core part of the class (cantrips don't keep up with a sword at any level).

    It (roughly) sounds to me as though you want casters to be similar to other combatants when it comes down to fighting 'output', but perhaps trading a bit of squishiness and problems in a few cases for the ability to do bigger things in slow-time. Basically, the wizard is a warlock during fast-time and during slow-time when they have other resources they can do big rituals and pull off miracles up to the normal limits of the system.

    One idea would be to, as I said, do the reserve feat thing. But on top of that make all the standard D&D spells into ritual-scale endeavors with a cost in gold or excessive time associated. However, make buffs and the like have much longer duration (basically Persist everything) and shift a few spell levels around. Make it possible to make potion-like one-charge items as you suggested for spells that are needed 'right now', etc.

    This kind of makes the casters a sub-par combatant with potent crafting abilities, preparatory abilities, and slow-time versatility.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Well, what I was suggesting is that you should answer those questions independent of your system, then build your system up around it to make your answers true :)
    I'm doing that. I just didn't post the previous versions of "Cast spells using your Spellcraft check, with higher-level spells having ridiculously high DCs, with rules for using time or other casters to meet the DC's"

    I posted this version for comment because I think I like the way the math balances at different levels. Spellcasters have a narrow menu of use-at-will-because-your-Spellcraft-rocks spells, a narrow menu of use-at-will-if-you-have-the-Power-Points spells, and a broad range of use-at-home-if-you-have-the-need spells. Mid- to high-level caster also have a broad menu of spells-that-are-a-big-investment.

    Basically, just imagine it as 'a character in play' independent of the preconceptions of the D&D magic system. That way you don't overshoot or create weird balance solutions that fix one problem but make another worse or things like that.
    Well, I'm kind of looking for the comments that shine light in my blind spots. i.e. "Hey stupid, your 4th level wizard with 16 Int has free access to 12 different first level spells! Look what Pun-Pun can do!"

    For instance, if you want the wizard to have smaller go-to powers, maybe instead of making low level spells easy, you want to make Reserve Feat powers the core part of the class (cantrips don't keep up with a sword at any level).
    I don't need the cantrips to keep up with the sword--I just want it to beat "I throw a dart and miss" or "I poke it with my dagger and miss and now me and my d4 hit dice are in melee." "1 hp damage ranged touch attack" is plenty for a cantrip if you aren't limited to 3 or 4 a day. The fighter will appreciate the 2 damage you did to the 6 hp orc when the fighter swings and hits for d8+2=4 damage.

    It (roughly) sounds to me as though you want casters to be similar to other combatants when it comes down to fighting 'output',
    Not similar, just "not useless" when they've exhausted their "good spells." If the spellcaster is clever with their cantrips, they're useful in combat. Mage hand supporting a hooded cloak can equal "the rogue's target is flanked" if the target _thinks_ he's flanked. After a few levels, your Spellcraft is good enough that first level spells are cost-free sometimes and always cheap, and first level spells are always useful.

    during slow-time when they have other resources they can do big rituals and pull off miracles up to the normal limits of the system.
    Yes. I'm moving the miracles to slow-time.

    One idea would be to, as I said, do the reserve feat thing. But on top of that make all the standard D&D spells into ritual-scale endeavors with a cost in gold or excessive time associated. However, make buffs and the like have much longer duration (basically Persist everything) and shift a few spell levels around. Make it possible to make potion-like one-charge items as you suggested for spells that are needed 'right now', etc.
    Yes. I figure casting high-level spells into scrolls will be at least as common as casting them as spells. CAsting them into items will be reasonably common--I've made it such a beast to cast high level spells, casting them into a one-use item is just as easy as casting them directly.

    Now, costs for high-level magic and for high-level magic items will be higher, scaled with the difficulty of casting it. Wanna buy a teleport? The DMG price is for 1 5th level spell, which a 9th level Wizard can do once a day. You're buying a week's worth of time and effort from a 9th level wizard--go check the "Hire a high-level NPC rules", then double it to buy it off the shelf.

    This kind of makes the casters a sub-par combatant with potent crafting abilities, preparatory abilities, and slow-time versatility.
    Yes. The Spellcaster is ALWAYS a sub-par-but-useful combatant, instead of being (at low levels) useful once or twice a day and a total liability otherwise, or a Superhero at high levels. (OOTS 921 "Oh, right. Wizard.")

    With the right preparation, the spellcaster can do all that Tier 1 stuff. But that preparation is not "I decide to cast THIS miracle today instead of all the other miracles I can perform!"
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    This is not a quadratic increase! It's exponential because it multiplies by something every time. I suggest a quadratic curve as your base instead; the scaling there is far less extreme
    {table=head] Spell level|Quadratic cost (X^2)|Exponential cost (2^X)
    1|1|2
    2|4|4
    3|9|8
    4|16|16
    5|25|32
    6|36|64
    7|49|128
    8|64|256
    9|81|512[/table]
    Last edited by AttilaTheGeek; 2013-09-30 at 06:18 PM. Reason: table, y u no work?
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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    This is not a quadratic increase! It's exponential because it multiplies by something every time. I suggest a quadratic curve as your base instead; the scaling there is far less extreme
    {table=head] Spell level|Quadratic cost (X^2)|Exponential cost (2^X)
    0|0|1
    1|1|2
    2|4|4
    3|9|8
    4|16|16
    5|25|32
    6|36|64
    7|49|128
    8|64|256
    9|81|512[/table]
    (Don't forget the cantrips!)

    You're right about Quadratic/Exponential. The x^2 curve is less extreme at high values, but on the other hand, I _want_ it to be a huge pain in the butt to cast 8th-9th level spells. With 2^x, it would take a 20th level wizard about 10 days to prepare an 8th level spell. With x^2, it would take three days.

    On the other end, if we make 1st level spells worth 1 instead of 2, then if you make a DC 10 Spellcraft check, 1st level spells are free. Or you have to junk the "make a Spellcraft check to see how many PP you save" part of the system.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 06:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    With 2^x, it would take a 20th level wizard about 10 days to prepare an 8th level spell. With x^2, it would take three days.
    If you really want it to take so astonishingly long to cast 7th, 8th, and 9th-level spells, you should rework the selection to remove all the spells of those levels that are only worth casting in combat, such as meteor swarm, delayed blast fireball, incendiary cloud, weird, holy word, destruction, and so forth. I.e., at least half of them. (And if it takes 20-some days for a caster to produce a shapechange effect, well, I pity the fool.)
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by TuggyNE View Post
    If you really want it to take so astonishingly long to cast 7th, 8th, and 9th-level spells, you should rework the selection to remove all the spells of those levels that are only worth casting in combat, such as meteor swarm, delayed blast fireball, incendiary cloud, weird, holy word, destruction, and so forth. I.e., at least half of them. (And if it takes 20-some days for a caster to produce a shapechange effect, well, I pity the fool.)
    It's not that I really want it to take 10 days vs 3 days. It just shouldn't be something they can do every day. The reason I say exponential (2^SL) and not quadratic (SL^2) is the low level effects--1st level spells especially. 1st level spells costing 1 Power Point, when you can save one PP per 10 on your Spellcraft check, makes 1st level spells effectively free at 1st level.

    Those spells may be available, although with this system, I doubt that the damage from a high-level damage spell is worth it. You could cast them from scrolls--using combine casting and/or continued casting you can produce a scroll as easily as you can cast. (A DM worried about things-making-sense--"Owlbears?" OOTS 322--could definitely rule that no one would have bothered to research such low-return-on-investment projects, though.)

    Although it's not unheard of for those spells to be used on near-epic-level traps.

    But what do people think of the mechanism overall? Does trading the wizards' high level spells for free access to low-level spells, and severely limiting their flexibility limit the wizard too much? Still not enough? What Tier does this "Spellcaster" end up at, anyway?
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 07:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Just so that I understand the situation...

    Only a high-level spellcaster (15th+) could ever hope to cast 5th level spells freely, and even then, would be limited to low level spells afterwards.

    Mid-level spellcasters (8th-13th) might finally be able to cast a 4th level spell, although that would drain them of all their magical resources to do so.

    A 5th level spellcaster with the right stats could cast Fireball, once, and that would be it for the day.

    Conversely, spellcasters are free to create potions of Wish as much as they'd like, as frequently as they'd like, assuming they can make the Spellcraft check and have enough days to do so. This seems to become reasonable around 8th level or so, although the spellcaster would likely stick with Limited Wish at that point and just produce two every three weeks.

    I am kind of wondering what you plan on having spellcasters do in combat, if they're mostly limited to using 1st/2nd level spells even at the highest levels beyond a few individual shops and limited use items they create.
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Honestly? If you are going that far, it probably would be better to strip out the concept of spell levels entirely, and assign each spell its cost on an individual basis.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Just so that I understand the situation...

    Only a high-level spellcaster (15th+) could ever hope to cast 5th level spells freely, and even then, would be limited to low level spells afterwards.
    Not quite, 15 level spellcaster has maybe 20 PP, a 5th level spell takes 32. His "big gun" is going to be a 4th level spell, base cost 16 PP, spellcraft knocks it down to 12-14 depending on your roll.

    Mid-level spellcasters (8th-13th) might finally be able to cast a 4th level spell, although that would drain them of all their magical resources to do so.
    'Sabout right.

    A 5th level spellcaster with the right stats could cast Fireball, once, and that would be it for the day.
    That sounds about right. The upside is nearly or completely unlimited access to low level spells.

    Conversely, spellcasters are free to create potions of Wish as much as they'd like, as frequently as they'd like, assuming they can make the Spellcraft check and have enough days to do so. This seems to become reasonable around 8th level or so, although the spellcaster would likely stick with Limited Wish at that point and just produce two every three weeks.
    I think you meant 18th level. 7th level spell takes 128 PP, 18th level caster has 18 PP plus CHA per day, let's say 22 PP, plus 2 because at that point your Spellcraft is over 20, 24 x 6 days = 148.

    So yeah, they can create as many scrolls of limited wish and wish as they'd like. Which sounds stupid, until you remember that they can do that anyway. XP costs, expensive material components etc still apply. My system, a scroll of Limited Wish takes 6 days for an 18th level caster to make. By the book, it takes 25 gp x SL 7 x CL 15 = 2625 gp, (plus whatever for the XP cost) and takes 1 day per 1000 gp of the base price, so 3 days.

    I am kind of wondering what you plan on having spellcasters do in combat, if they're mostly limited to using 1st/2nd level spells even at the highest levels beyond a few individual shops and limited use items they create.
    Support the fighters with those nearly-unlimited first and second level spells. I'm intentionally making the wizard be less effective in combat than the fighter most of the time.

    I think you just typed 8 before when you meant 18. But let me check if you found something in the math that I didn't intend at all.

    8th level caster has 8 PP + CHA, let's say 12 per day. He can't cast 7th level spells until 15th level, but let's set that aside and look at the math. 128 PP, so 10 days he would have racked up enough power points.

    OK, to clarify: you still have to be high enough level to cast a spell. No matter how many PP an 8th level caster stores up, he can't cast wish. You might be looking at the DC 25 to use continued casting, and I have to admit that's a placeholder. I figure it should take a Spellcraft check, it should be tough but doable, but I don't have a firm idea what the DC should be.

    (A priest or king might pull it off--casting wish-- with congregational magic, uniting the populace together in a ritual to send Tiamat back to her plane of the Abyss or whatever, but that's governed by tapping the power of the masses working in unison, so the caster level is pretty irrelevant.)
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-09-30 at 08:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by jindra34 View Post
    Honestly? If you are going that far, it probably would be better to strip out the concept of spell levels entirely, and assign each spell its cost on an individual basis.
    This, basically.

    The trouble with a neat mathematical progression is that it looks so orderly and neat, you end up getting beguiled by the sheer beautiful simplicity of it, and blinded to the practicalities - i.e. how it will actually play out in real life.

    If you want to introduce a concept of "having to take days and days to cast a spell", then - well, that's a perfectly reasonable model, but basically, your spells are no longer D&D spells, and you should probably be rewriting a lot more of the system than you're talking about here. When Gygax and Arneson were first creating the game, they considered the "ritual magic" model, and discarded it on the (very fair) grounds that it's simply not much fun to play.

    Your suggestion reminds me powerfully of... back in the heyday of FRP systems, there was a game called 'Chivalry & Sorcery', in which every spell (and every piece of enchantable material) had a "resistance" to being learned (or enchanted, as the case may be), which had to be painstakingly worn down over a period of weeks or months. It was all mathematical and precise and painstakingly detailed, but... well, let's just say the game was never much of a commercial hit.
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    I don't think spells actually do increase in power quadratically. They increase roughly linearly, although some spells are a bit better or worse than that. Also, some of the progression is only relevant in retrospect (at 1st and 2nd level, Color Spray is a multi-target SoD, something you won't see again until much later).

    What's quadratic about casters is that in addition to (linearly) better spells, they get more of those spells per day, are better at casting them (auto-cast defensively, metamagic, etc), and have more ways to negate their weaknesses.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2013-09-30 at 11:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Your suggestion reminds me powerfully of... back in the heyday of FRP systems, there was a game called 'Chivalry & Sorcery', in which every spell (and every piece of enchantable material) had a "resistance" to being learned (or enchanted, as the case may be), which had to be painstakingly worn down over a period of weeks or months. It was all mathematical and precise and painstakingly detailed, but... well, let's just say the game was never much of a commercial hit.
    Chivalry and Sorcery was the most lush, beautiful, complete, developed, accurate, and detailed unplayable mess ever written.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Summoning is an issue with this mechanic, if you're using D&D as a base. Mostly due to lots of monsters have at will spell like abilities, or the ability to cast high level spells.

    * Summon Monster 4 gets you Lantern Archons, which have Continual Light at will. So that's 16 PP to get 2 PP / round for your Caster Level in rounds - with Spellcraft, you're tossing level 2 spells at will while it lasts.

    * Summon Nature's Ally 4 gets you a Unicorn, which can cast Magic Circle Against Evil at will. That's 4 PP, so your 2nd level spells are free thanks to Spellcraft, and 3rd level are easy to cast.

    * Lesser Planar Ally is level 4, and gets you a 6HD minion. Such as a Lantern Archon, which has Greater Teleport at will. That translates to 64 PP contributed to any spell, so it halves the cost of every spell you'll ever cast for Caster Level days.

    * Lesser Planar Binding is level 5, and lets you pick what you summon. So you have your 64 PP daily contribution from Lantern Archons. Once you've summon the first one, you can use its power to help you summon the next. Again, half price magic for one or two days of summoning every Caster Level days - essentially, you're a powerful mage but take the weekend off.


    If you can get minions to cast spells for you, all you need to start tossing wishes about is to be high enough level.

    At level 17 (minimum for level 9 spells) you have 26 PP (17 from levels, 9 from Int: +4 start, +2 from levels, +3 from a +6 item). Lesser Planar Binding for a Lantern Archon costs 16 PP or less (you're getting help from the ones you already bound), so you have at least 17 of them serving you.

    Contribute 1 PP to casting Wish, and have 8 of your 17 Archons contribute the rest.

    Congratulations, you can cast Wish twice per day, and have 8 PP available for other needs (16 for Lesser Planar Binding, 2 for 2 Wishes).

    Use some Wishes to cast Simulacrum on the Archons - or just do it directly - and you have an unlimited supply of loyal support casters who can provide all the power you'd ever need.

    Conclusion: multi-day casting should not be combined with group casting, or the system breaks.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by ’jindra34’
    Honestly? If you are going that far, it probably would be better to strip out the concept of spell levels entirely, and assign each spell its cost on an individual basis.
    That’s a terrifyingly daunting task. If I were going to put that kind of effort in, and expect anyone else to wade through and use it, I’d be helping Vadskye and his Spell Reformation. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296817

    Quote Originally Posted by ’Veti’
    If you want to introduce a concept of "having to take days and days to cast a spell", then - well, that's a perfectly reasonable model, but basically, your spells are no longer D&D spells, and you should probably be rewriting a lot more of the system than you're talking about here. When Gygax and Arneson were first creating the game, they considered the "ritual magic" model, and discarded it on the (very fair) grounds that it's simply not much fun to play.
    Well, the idea is that high-level spells take days and days (or support from apprentices, or a combination of both) to cast. Many have discussed the problems of tier-balance in a traditional, OOTS-style party, where the fighter, rogue, bard, and ranger are often made irrelevant by the wizard (and the cleric/druid). So with this system, they essentially can’t be cast in combat.

    I’m not saying that the math here is perfect—I pushed the number of Power Points way down, maybe too far. 5th-level mages should be able to cast fireball, I don't feel good about taking that away from the ones who don't have +3 CHA. But the exponential progression puts disintegrate and chain lightning and finger of death off the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by ’icefractal’
    What's quadratic about casters is that in addition to (linearly) better spells, they get more of those spells per day, are better at casting them (auto-cast defensively, metamagic, etc), and have more ways to negate their weaknesses.
    I would have said they get better spells, they get more spells, and the spells they have get better with caster level. But that’s a lot to untangle. I’m trying to see if we can balance wizard against the “traditional” Tier 4 classes without rewriting *everything*.

    Quote Originally Posted by ’Mesclum’
    Summoning is an issue with this mechanic, if you're using D&D as a base. Mostly due to lots of monsters have at will spell like abilities, or the ability to cast high level spells
    This is definitely a potential problem. But I did pre-limit the damage. I wasn’t sure why exactly, but I said in the combined casting description that “Supporting casters can supply up to ½ the Power Point cost of a spell.” So even if summoning outsiders breaks the system, they can only break it halfway.

    (I could put in a patch that you can only run one continued casting at a time, but I like the flavor of six or eight different cauldrons bubbling away over here, and strange colored fluids being distilled over there.)

    But I’d also argue that “spell-like abilities” can’t be mined for Power Points. An SLA is like a prepared spell—turning it into Power Points is like trying to turn bread into eggs and flour. (I put that in because otherwise a market would immediately spring up in mana crystals.)

    That doesn’t defeat your argument, though, because we both know it just sends us back to the Monster Manual to find a summon-able outsider with caster levels.

    Conclusion: multi-day casting should not be combined with group casting, or the system breaks.
    No, summoning spellcasting creatures can break almost any system.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-10-01 at 06:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    You're ignoring the real cost of getting the spells.

    The cost to get spells used to be exponential, at least for awhile.

    To get 2nd level spells: 5,000 xps.
    To get 3rd level spells: 20,000 xps.
    To get 4th level spells: 60,000 xps.
    To get 5th level spells: 135,000 xps.
    To get 6th level spells: 750,000 xps.
    (It got linear after that. Each level of spells cost an additional 750,000 xps.)

    But in 3E, the cost has been reduced to a consistent quadratic progression.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Details and quibbles aside, I'm not hearing a lot of "this seems like a good idea."

    So maybe it's not. Maybe I should just figure out why apprentice arcane casters should get lots of cantrips in E6. :)

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Its not that its not a good idea. Its that its a good idea that is being implemented poorly. And still holds on to some of the biggest flaws of 3.x casting of what actually determines a spell's power.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by jindra34 View Post
    Its not that its not a good idea. Its that its a good idea that is being implemented poorly. And still holds on to some of the biggest flaws of 3.x casting of what actually determines a spell's power.
    Possibly it's a in good idea, but one that can't be implemented without rewriting half of the Player's Handbook. If it's a good idea but the math isn't quite right, I/we/someone can work on fixing the math. Maybe 1 Power Point per caster level is absurdly low, we can look at 2 PP per level (and then rediscover why I scrapped that in the first place--I can't find the notes and can't remember). Maybe under this system, some spells should be moved up or down in power level. (charm person available at will? Maybe Polymorph Self is replaced with a 3rd level Animal Form spell where you pick the Animal Form when you learn the spell? etc.) Maybe the Power Point cost should be x^2 instead of 2^n.

    But if you're saying that to work well, someone would have to either go through the entire spell list and determine the power cost of each spell individually, then that's an enormous task if you're going to do it well. At that level of time-investment, you might as well just start over and just write a new game.

    Or you could limit the number of spells available, to ensure that you're comfortable with the power cost of each available spell. But that changes the feel of the game almost as much. That creates even more barriers to player buy-in. "So not only do I not get to cast high level spells in combat, I also have to learn the power-cost of all the spells, and I'm restricted to a much shorter spell list?"
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-10-01 at 10:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    I think it could be straightened out if you adjusted how many SP a caster received. Instead of being a static CL + CHA Mod, make it progressive as well. INT/CL, 1dx/CL, or something of the like. Spellcasters will still blow through their SP if they spam high-level spells, but they can launch a few good ones before having to resort to low-level spells again.

    Otherwise, I think the system has promise. You could also throw something like psionicists have and up the power of a spell if you are willing to blow more SP on it, so that a low level caster can still get at least one good shot off at a higher level caster before wearing themselves out. Sort of an "all-or-nothing" attack.
    Last edited by illyahr; 2013-10-01 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    I think it could be straightened out if you adjusted how many SP a caster received. Instead of being a static CL + CHA Mod, make it progressive as well. INT/CL, 1dx/CL, or something of the like.
    I had that in earlier iterations--for a while I was working with just "CHA mod x CL". But that made a 1st level spellcaster with 18 CHA the equal of a 4th level caster with 13 CHA, and I don't like that. I tried to mold the CHA bonus to the way bonus spells for Wisdom works.

    But are you really saying I'm too stingy with the Power Points in the first place? Because I think the reason I scrapped 2 Power Points per caster level was it gave low-level casters close-to-unlimited 1st level spells a little early.

    EDIT: Another thing I haven't heard is "Yeah, make sure those low-level casters can't cast too many spells!" I think the system works okay with 2 PP/CL.

    Spellcasters will still blow through their SP if they spam high-level spells, but they can launch a few good ones before having to resort to low-level spells again.

    Otherwise, I think the system has promise. You could also throw something like psionicists have and up the power of a spell if you are willing to blow more SP on it, so that a low level caster can still get at least one good shot off at a higher level caster before wearing themselves out. Sort of an "all-or-nothing" attack.
    Something like that may come in for metamagic--if I don't change it, no one will ever use heavy metamagic. [i]MAgic missile[i] is 2 PP, spellcraft makes it free, so it's maybe worth it to spend 2 PP to cast a silent magic missile from hiding.

    But I have to figure out how to balance making [i]maximized magic missile[i] feasible without making it stupid to ever scribe a non-maximized/non-empowered/non-twinned high-level scroll.

    As for low-level vs high-level casters, I don't know having a way to "power surge" helps the low-level caster, since the high-level caster knows that trick too, and has more PP to surge with. Low-level caster might want to focus on using his spells to buff his friends, or hide, or something.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2013-10-01 at 01:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    I had that in earlier iterations--for a while I was working with just "CHA mod x CL". But that made a 1st level spellcaster with 18 CHA the equal of a 4th level caster with 13 CHA, and I don't like that. I tried to mold the CHA bonus to the way bonus spells for Wisdom works.

    But are you really saying I'm too stingy with the Power Points in the first place? Because I think the reason I scrapped 2 Power Points per caster level was it gave low-level casters close-to-unlimited 1st level spells a little early.

    EDIT: Another thing I haven't heard is "Yeah, make sure those low-level casters can't cast too many spells!" I think the system works okay with 2 PP/CL.
    Low-level casters still wouldn't be able to spam attacks. They wouldn't have the Spellcraft skill to reliably reduce the cost of their spells, and they would still only have a few SP to spend. If a level 3 Wizard gets his INT bonus in SP a level, he only has 9-12 SP to work with. That's only enough to bust out a few level 2 spells before he is exhausted (which is about the same as the book says a level 3 Wizard should cast), but he might be able to reduce the cost of some of them if he/she maxed Spellcraft.

    Also, have level 0 spells cost nothing. The most powerful level 0 spell is disrupt undead, a ranged touch for 1d6, and it affects undead only.



    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Something like that may come in for metamagic--if I don't change it, no one will ever use heavy metamagic. [i]MAgic missile[i] is 2 PP, spellcraft makes it free, so it's maybe worth it to spend 2 PP to cast a silent magic missile from hiding.

    But I have to figure out how to balance making [i]maximized magic missile[i] feasible without making it stupid to ever scribe a non-maximized/non-empowered/non-twinned high-level scroll.
    Not too big an issue there. Metamagic adjusts the level of the spell cast, it is not a separate cost. A [i]silent magic missle[i] is a level four spell so it would require 8 points, not 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    As for low-level vs high-level casters, I don't know having a way to "power surge" helps the low-level caster, since the high-level caster knows that trick too, and has more PP to surge with. Low-level caster might want to focus on using his spells to buff his friends, or hide, or something.
    A higher-level caster would know about it and be prepared for the possibility, thus balancing it out. I wouldn't say use it at the first opportunity, just as a last-ditch effort when everything else has failed, or an "oh crap, we have to end this now before something bad happens" sort of moment. Perhaps adding some sort of drawback to using it, such as non-lethal damage that occurs before the spell finishes so you risk fainting before you finish the spell?

    Also, a question: how would you differentiate between spontaneous casters and those that prepare spells ahead of time?

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Possibly it's a in good idea, but one that can't be implemented without rewriting half of the Player's Handbook.
    I think this is the case; it's a general solution to a problem defined by its details, and as such is not really going to work well.
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Not quite, 15 level spellcaster has maybe 20 PP, a 5th level spell takes 32. His "big gun" is going to be a 4th level spell, base cost 16 PP, spellcraft knocks it down to 12-14 depending on your roll.
    15th level is the earliest it would be possible to cast a 5th level spell. 15PP plus a +15 bonus (unlikley, but possible) plus 20+ Spellcraft check means that they could cast it. It's much more probably at higher levels, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    I think you meant 18th level. 7th level spell takes 128 PP, 18th level caster has 18 PP plus CHA per day, let's say 22 PP, plus 2 because at that point your Spellcraft is over 20, 24 x 6 days = 148.
    Nope, 8th level for Limited Wish.

    8th character level gives 8PP, and having an 18 CHA (+4 bonus) would be rather easy, putting them at 12PP. That means it would take 11 days to craft, or roughly two items every three weeks.

    They're also sitting at +15 Spellcraft minimun at that (11 Ranks, +4 from INT) and likely far more if they have reason to optimize - and given that Spellcraft reduces the PP cost as well, I could easily see them at over +20 Spellcraft at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Which sounds stupid, until you remember that they can do that anyway. XP costs, expensive material components etc still apply. My system, a scroll of Limited Wish takes 6 days for an 18th level caster to make. By the book, it takes 25 gp x SL 7 x CL 15 = 2625 gp, (plus whatever for the XP cost) and takes 1 day per 1000 gp of the base price, so 3 days.
    Aha, well that's another limitation. Then again, not by much: 2600gp and 300xp is not all that much to an 8th level character, and they'll be spending more time creating the item than requires by the crafting rules anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    8th level caster has 8 PP + CHA, let's say 12 per day. He can't cast 7th level spells until 15th level, but let's set that aside and look at the math. 128 PP, so 10 days he would have racked up enough power points.

    OK, to clarify: you still have to be high enough level to cast a spell. No matter how many PP an 8th level caster stores up, he can't cast wish. You might be looking at the DC 25 to use continued casting, and I have to admit that's a placeholder. I figure it should take a Spellcraft check, it should be tough but doable, but I don't have a firm idea what the DC should be.
    Yes, that would be part of my confusion. I mean, why can't a spellcaster learn Limited Wish at 8th level? They clearly have the ability to cast it (and technically, anything else). And if you're limiting characters to what spells they can cast by their PP value, then even the 18th level character can't learn Limited Wish.

    Unless spellcasters are limited to the spells they can learn by the spell slots they have - despite not having spell slots.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Support the fighters with those nearly-unlimited first and second level spells. I'm intentionally making the wizard be less effective in combat than the fighter most of the time.
    I think you mean "all of the time". Your wizard will be casting Grease and, if lucky, Scorching Ray throughout their entire careers, including still dealing that whopping 12d6 damage at 20th level. And note that Scorching Ray isn't really a reliable standby until hitting +20 Spellcraft, which already noted would be around mid-levels.

    They would need to be in epic levels (or considerable optimization) before they begin throwing around spells like Fly or Haste consistently.
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by johnbragg View Post
    Details and quibbles aside, I'm not hearing a lot of "this seems like a good idea."
    It is a good idea, it's just hard to do well.

    I've spent some time mulling over similar ideas and the best solution I've come up with so far is to delay access to the higher level spells by having a quadratic progression rather than a linear one. I haven't worked out the full spell table, but the scheme is sketched out below. 9th level spells would not be available before level 45. E6 would become E9 with this approach.

    Highest Spell Level available

    {table=head]Character Level|Linear Wizard|Quadratic Wizard

    1st|1st|1st

    2nd|1st|1st

    3rd|2nd|2nd|

    4th|2nd|2nd|

    5th|3rd|2nd|

    6th|3rd|3rd|

    7th|4th|3rd|

    8th|4th|3rd|

    9th|5th|3rd|

    10th|5th|4th|

    11th|6th|4th|

    12th|6th|4th|

    13th|7th|4th|

    14th|8th|4th|

    15th|8th|5th|

    16th|8th|5th|

    17th|9th|5th|

    18th|9th|5th|

    19th|9th|5th|

    20th|9th|5th|
    [/table]
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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    Low-level casters still wouldn't be able to spam attacks. They wouldn't have the Spellcraft skill to reliably reduce the cost of their spells,
    They have enough.
    Prentice the 1st level Wizard has 4 ranks in Spellcraft (an Knowledge Arcana), Skill Focus(Spellcraft) and a +2 Int bonus, giving him a +9 to his Spellcraft checks.
    So his cantrips (1PP) are always free, since he can't roll less than 1+9=10.
    His first level spells (2PP) cost 1PP if he rolls a 1 (1+9=10), free if he rolls above an 11. (11+9=20).

    and they would still only have a few SP to spend.
    They do only have a few SP to spend. But an average 1st level wizard (+2 Int bonus) they only have to spend them to cast 1st level spells about half the time.

    (Note: A +2 Int bonus is average for a Wizard. If you don't have an Int bonus, you can't learn spells so go buy a sword or a plow or something).

    If a level 3 Wizard gets his INT bonus in SP a level, he only has 9-12 SP to work with. That's only enough to bust out a few level 2 spells before he is exhausted (which is about the same as the book says a level 3 Wizard should cast), but he might be able to reduce the cost of some of them if he/she maxed Spellcraft.
    If this system were in effect, what wizard *wouldn't* max out Spellcraft?

    The answer is, characters who are "dipping" a level of spellcaster. But even with one rank in Spellcraft and a +1 Int bonus, cantrips are free 60% of the time (roll 9-20), first level spells cost 1 PP 60% of the time (9-20), 2 PPs 40% of the time.

    Also, have level 0 spells cost nothing. The most powerful level 0 spell is disrupt undead, a ranged touch for 1d6, and it affects undead only.
    They cost 1 Power Point before Spellcraft discount. For a first level caster with Skill Focus(Spellcraft), it's almost always free anyway.

    (One adjustment I'd make because of this system is dropping Ray of Frost and its cousins from 1-3 damage to 1 hp damage.)

    Not too big an issue there. Metamagic adjusts the level of the spell cast, it is not a separate cost.
    Yes, but under my proposed system, increasing the spell level makes the cost prohibitive.

    A [i]silent magic missle[i] is a level four spell so it would require 8 points, not 4.
    ??? Magic missile is a first level spell. Silent spell metamagic adds one spell level. By the book, silent magic missile is a 2nd level spell. Maximized magic missile is a 4th level spell.

    Under my proposed system, magic missile has a "sticker price" (before Spellcraft "discount") of 2 power points. Silent magic missile as a 2nd level spell has a "sticker price" of 4 power points. Maximized magic missile as a 4th level spell has a "sticker price" of 16 power points. That's just not worth it.

    A higher-level caster would know about it and be prepared for the possibility thus balancing it out. I wouldn't say use it at the first opportunity, just as a last-ditch effort when everything else has failed, or an "oh crap, we have to end this now before something bad happens" sort of moment. Perhaps adding some sort of drawback to using it, such as non-lethal damage that occurs before the spell finishes so you risk fainting before you finish the spell?
    I don't want to build in a mechanic like that, because it defeats the purpose of limiting wizards' access to "I win" spells.

    I do have to work out exactly what happens if you try to cast a spell and you don't have quite enough Power Points--say you could do it if you roll a 7 or better, but you don't.

    Also, a question: how would you differentiate between spontaneous casters and those that prepare spells ahead of time?
    All spellcasters are spontaneous casters most of the time, and prepared casters more rarely. You get a certain number of spell levels' worth of spells that you can cast any time (as long as you have the Power Points.) Multiply your Int bonus by your caster level, and pick spells whose levels add up to that number.

    So a 2nd level caster with a 14 Int(+2) would have 4 1st level spells at his command. When he hits 3rd level, he gets 2 more spell levels, and almost certainly picks up a 2nd level spell. At 4th level, he could pick up 1 2nd level, 2 1st level, or he might think ahead and "save" a spell level for level 5 so that he can add a 3rd level spell.

    Spellcasters also have the option of memorizing a spell from their spell book. They spend the power points to memorize it in the morning (or whenever), and they have the spell until they need it (or until they dismiss the spell to get those Power Points back the next day.)

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    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    Nope, 8th level for Limited Wish.
    Not sure where you get 8th level for Limited Wish. True, an 8th level caster could eventually bank enough Power Points to cast Limited Wish, but a 1st level or 2nd level caster could do the same thing, it just takes a lot longer. The principle is the same, so I'm not sure how you get 8th level for Limited Wish and not 6th or 10th or 3rd level.

    I mean, why can't a spellcaster learn Limited Wish at 8th level?
    The same reason an 8th level Fighter can't make a third iterative attack, the same reason a 8th level Rogue can't use Slippery Mind. In other words, Just Because. It's part of the fabric of the game. I know I'm messing with the fabric of the game by trying to work out a replacement for Vancian casting, but I'm not messing with that part.
    They clearly have the ability to cast it (and technically, anything else).
    No they don't. I didn't mention that I was carrying over the rule that to cast level N spells, you have to be caster-level (N-1)*2. I'm sorry that was unclear, but I clarified that a few posts ago.
    Unless spellcasters are limited to the spells they can learn by the spell slots they have - despite not having spell slots.
    It's not just about spell slots. Characters who get bonus spells for high ability scores don't get them until they can cast Nth level spells. That's why the Paladin spells-per-day table has zeroes on it in some places instead of blanks.

    Wizards should be less effective than fighters in combat most of the time
    I think you mean "all of the time". Your wizard will be casting Grease and, if lucky, Scorching Ray throughout their entire careers, including still dealing that whopping 12d6 damage at 20th level.
    No, 3rd level spells like Fireball are available from 8th level, at worst, with 1 Power Point per caster level. If we make it 2 PP/CL, then Fireball is available at 5th level like it should be.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Spells increase in power quadratically, should they increase in cost quadraticall

    One refinement you could consider is to let the caster control their own caster level.

    Like, you can cast a basic Fireball (1d6/level) for the base cost, but you can cast one doing less damage for a lower cost/spellcraft check. Or you can invest more points/spellcraft ranks and crank up the damage higher - potentially, limited only by how many power points you're willing to throw into it.

    (So basically, metamagic, but defined on the fly, and with more flexibility.)

    That would take some of the sting out of denying access to higher-level spells.

    Edit: I realise this undoes the careful "balancing" that's been painstakingly built into the rules at tremendous cost and incredibly extensive playtesting, blah blah. But what's homebrewing about, if not making your own mistakes?
    Last edited by veti; 2013-10-01 at 08:38 PM.
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