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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Someone's Thought of this Before... [Magic System Change]

    Optional Spell Point System to Fix Casters

    Generally speaking, I think most people on these boards would agree that a single casting of “Summon Elemental Monolith” or “Timestop,” etc. are worth significantly more than two castings of “Summon Monster V” or “Symbol of Pain.” Typically, once a Wizard is Level 20, they have at the very least the ability to cast each level of spells 4 times a day. Since this is limiting in some ways, WotC introduced an alternate system based on Power Points, namely the Spell Point system in Unearthed Arcana. The broken-ness of Wizards expands exponentially in this system, with the ability to drastically increase their # of high-spell-level castings.

    I think though it can be used to reduce the power-level of primary spell casters by using an alternate version of this. By increasing the Spell Point cost of spells, it would reduce their # of castings per day, and hence force an increased reliance on lower-level spells, instead of throwing out 4 9th-Level, 4 8th level, then 4 7th level, etc.

    First a note on Spell Points. Sorcerers & Wizards don’t get as many as they should. Compare the list given in Unearthed Arcana to Psions. They have a distinct disadvantage in the Spell Point category, which is especially damaging to Sorcerers, as this is their primary benefit. I suggest using a direct Spell/Day to Spell Point Conversion, using the OLD Spell Points/Level system. The following table outlines this, labeled “Total”. In fact, that’s how the attribute conversion table works that’s listed in Unearthed Arcana. They just didn’t do that for class-spells. As you’ll note, there’s a decent increase between the U.A. Spell Points and the new Total.

    Sorcerer Spell Point Table
    {table]
    Class Level
    |
    SOR – Total
    |
    SOR – UA
    |
    SOR Total vs UA
    |
    Psion
    | SOR Total vs Psion
    1|
    3
    |
    3
    |
    0
    |
    2
    |
    1
    2
    |
    4
    |
    5
    |
    -1
    |
    6
    |
    -2
    3
    |
    5
    |
    8
    |
    -3
    |
    11
    |
    -6
    4
    |
    15
    |
    14
    |
    1
    |
    17
    |
    -2
    5
    |
    18
    |
    19
    |
    -1
    |
    25
    |
    -7
    6
    |
    36
    |
    29
    |
    7
    |
    35
    |
    1
    7
    |
    44
    |
    37
    |
    7
    |
    46
    |
    -2
    8
    |
    70
    |
    51
    |
    19
    |
    58
    |
    12
    9
    |
    82
    |
    63
    |
    19
    |
    72
    |
    10
    10
    |
    116
    |
    81
    |
    35
    |
    88
    |
    28
    11
    |
    132
    |
    97
    |
    35
    |
    106
    |
    26
    12
    |
    174
    |
    115
    |
    59
    |
    126
    |
    48
    13
    |
    194
    |
    131
    |
    63
    |
    147
    |
    47
    14
    |
    244
    |
    149
    |
    95
    |
    170
    |
    74
    15
    |
    268
    |
    165
    |
    103
    |
    195
    |
    73
    16
    |
    326
    |
    183
    |
    143
    |
    221
    |
    105
    17
    |
    354
    |
    199
    |
    155
    |
    250
    |
    104
    18
    |
    420
    |
    217
    |
    203
    |
    280
    |
    140
    19
    |
    452
    |
    233
    |
    219
    |
    311
    |
    141
    20
    |
    486
    |
    249
    |
    237
    |
    343
    |
    143
    [/table]


    Wizard Spell Point Table
    {table]
    Class Level
    |
    WIZ – Total
    |
    WIZ – UA
    |
    WIZ Total vs UA
    |
    Psion
    |
    WIZ Total vs Psion
    1
    |
    1
    |
    2
    |
    -1
    |
    2
    |
    -1
    2
    |
    2
    |
    4
    |
    -2
    |
    6
    |
    -4
    3
    |
    5
    |
    7
    |
    -2
    |
    11
    |
    -6
    4
    |
    9
    |
    11
    |
    -2
    |
    17
    |
    -8
    5
    |
    14
    |
    16
    |
    -2
    |
    25
    |
    -11
    6
    |
    22
    |
    24
    |
    -2
    |
    35
    |
    -13
    7
    |
    30
    |
    33
    |
    -3
    |
    46
    |
    -16
    8
    |
    42
    |
    44
    |
    -2
    |
    58
    |
    -16
    9
    |
    54
    |
    56
    |
    -2
    |
    72
    |
    -18
    10
    |
    70
    |
    72
    |
    -2
    |
    88
    |
    -18
    11
    |
    86
    |
    88
    |
    -2
    |
    106
    |
    -20
    12
    |
    106
    |
    104
    |
    2
    |
    126
    |
    -20
    13
    |
    126
    |
    120
    |
    6
    |
    147
    |
    -21
    14
    |
    150
    |
    136
    |
    14
    |
    170
    |
    -20
    15
    |
    174
    |
    152
    |
    22
    |
    195
    |
    -21
    16
    |
    202
    |
    168
    |
    34
    |
    221
    |
    -19
    17
    |
    230
    |
    184
    |
    46
    |
    250
    |
    -20
    18
    |
    262
    |
    200
    |
    62
    |
    280
    |
    -18
    19
    |
    292
    |
    216
    |
    76
    |
    311
    |
    -19
    20
    |
    324
    |
    232
    |
    92
    |
    343
    |
    -19
    [/table]

    Now here’s where we get to the actual limiting factors. Change the Spell Point Cost of different spell levels. The specific conversion I’m suggesting is just squaring the spell level, and making that the cost in spell points.

    Spell Point Cost Table
    {table]
    Spell Level
    |
    OLD System
    |
    NEW System
    1
    |
    1
    |
    1
    2
    |
    3
    |
    4
    3
    |
    5
    |
    9
    4
    |
    7
    |
    16
    5
    |
    9
    |
    25
    6
    |
    11
    |
    36
    7
    |
    13
    |
    49
    8
    |
    15
    |
    64
    9
    |
    17
    |
    81
    [/table]

    Generally, this means a caster would be able to cast multiple high-level spells, but that’s all they’d be able to do all day. By contrast, if they’re just casting lower level spells, they’ll be able to do so for an extended period of time before they’re out of spell points.

    What is the actual effect of this in terms of casting their highest level spells? Below is table comparing the maximum # of castings of their highest level spell, for each spell point sum (new Total suggested in this article, U.A.’s table, and Psion), for the OLD Spell Points/Level Cost, and the NEW Spell Points Squared Cost.

    Sorcerer – Total Castings of Highest Spell / Day By Class Level
    {table]
    Level - Spell LvL
    |
    OLD - Total
    |
    OLD - U.A.
    |
    OLD - Psion
    |
    NEW - Total
    |
    NEW - U.A.
    |
    NEW – Psion
    1 - 1
    |
    3.0
    |
    3.0
    |
    2.0
    |
    3.0
    |
    3.0
    |
    2.0
    2 - 1
    |
    4.0
    |
    5.0
    |
    6.0
    |
    4.0
    |
    5.0
    |
    6.0
    3 - 1
    |
    5.0
    |
    8.0
    |
    11.0
    |
    5.0
    |
    8.0
    |
    11.0
    4 - 2
    |
    5.0
    |
    4.7
    |
    5.7
    |
    3.8
    |
    3.5
    |
    4.3
    5 - 2
    |
    6.0
    |
    6.3
    |
    8.3
    |
    4.5
    |
    4.8
    |
    6.3
    6 - 3
    |
    7.2
    |
    5.8
    |
    7.0
    |
    4.0
    |
    3.2
    |
    3.9
    7 - 3
    |
    8.8
    |
    7.4
    |
    9.2
    |
    4.9
    |
    4.1
    |
    5.1
    8 - 4
    |
    10.0
    |
    7.3
    |
    8.3
    |
    4.4
    |
    3.2
    |
    3.6
    9 - 4
    |
    11.7
    |
    9.0
    |
    10.3
    |
    5.1
    |
    3.9
    |
    4.5
    10 - 5
    |
    12.9
    |
    9.0
    |
    9.8
    |
    4.6
    |
    3.2
    |
    3.5
    11 - 5
    |
    14.7
    |
    10.8
    |
    11.8
    |
    5.3
    |
    3.9
    |
    4.2
    12 - 6
    |
    15.8
    |
    10.5
    |
    11.5
    |
    4.8
    |
    3.2
    |
    3.5
    13 - 6
    |
    17.6
    |
    11.9
    |
    13.4
    |
    5.4
    |
    3.6
    |
    4.1
    14 - 7
    |
    18.8
    |
    11.5
    |
    13.1
    |
    5.0
    |
    3.0
    |
    3.5
    15 - 7
    |
    20.6
    |
    12.7
    |
    15.0
    |
    5.5
    |
    3.4
    |
    4.0
    16 - 8
    |
    21.7
    |
    12.2
    |
    14.7
    |
    5.1
    |
    2.9
    |
    3.5
    17 - 8
    |
    23.6
    |
    13.3
    |
    16.7
    |
    5.5
    |
    3.1
    |
    3.9
    18 - 9
    |
    24.7
    |
    12.8
    |
    16.5
    |
    5.2
    |
    2.7
    |
    3.5
    19 - 9
    |
    26.6
    |
    13.7
    |
    18.3
    |
    5.6
    |
    2.9
    |
    3.8
    20 - 9
    |
    28.6
    |
    14.6
    |
    20.2
    |
    6.0
    |
    3.1
    |
    4.2
    [/table]

    Wizard – Total Castings of Highest Spell / Day By Class Level
    {table]
    Level - Spell LvL
    |
    OLD - Total
    |
    OLD - U.A.
    |
    OLD - Psion
    |
    NEW - Total
    |
    NEW - U.A.
    |
    NEW - Psion
    1 - 1
    |
    1.0
    |
    2.0
    |
    2.0
    |
    1.0
    |
    2.0
    |
    2.0
    2 - 1
    |
    2.0
    |
    4.0
    |
    6.0
    |
    2.0
    |
    4.0
    |
    6.0
    3 - 2
    |
    1.7
    |
    2.3
    |
    3.7
    |
    1.3
    |
    1.8
    |
    2.8
    4 - 2
    |
    3.0
    |
    3.7
    |
    5.7
    |
    2.3
    |
    2.8
    |
    4.3
    5 - 3
    |
    2.8
    |
    3.2
    |
    5.0
    |
    1.6
    |
    1.8
    |
    2.8
    6 - 3
    |
    4.4
    |
    4.8
    |
    7.0
    |
    2.4
    |
    2.7
    |
    3.9
    7 - 4
    |
    4.3
    |
    4.7
    |
    6.6
    |
    1.9
    |
    2.1
    |
    2.9
    8 - 4
    |
    6.0
    |
    6.3
    |
    8.3
    |
    2.6
    |
    2.8
    |
    3.6
    9 - 5
    |
    6.0
    |
    6.2
    |
    8.0
    |
    2.2
    |
    2.2
    |
    2.9
    10 - 5
    |
    7.8
    |
    8.0
    |
    9.8
    |
    2.8
    |
    2.9
    |
    3.5
    11 - 6
    |
    7.8
    |
    8.0
    |
    9.6
    |
    2.4
    |
    2.4
    |
    2.9
    12 - 6
    |
    9.6
    |
    9.5
    |
    11.5
    |
    2.9
    |
    2.9
    |
    3.5
    13 - 7
    |
    9.7
    |
    9.2
    |
    11.3
    |
    2.6
    |
    2.4
    |
    3.0
    14 - 7
    |
    11.5
    |
    10.5
    |
    13.1
    |
    3.1
    |
    2.8
    |
    3.5
    15 - 8
    |
    11.6
    |
    10.1
    |
    13.0
    |
    2.7
    |
    2.4
    |
    3.0
    16 - 8
    |
    13.5
    |
    11.2
    |
    14.7
    |
    3.2
    |
    2.6
    |
    3.5
    17 - 9
    |
    13.5
    |
    10.8
    |
    14.7
    |
    2.8
    |
    2.3
    |
    3.1
    18 - 9
    |
    15.4
    |
    11.8
    |
    16.5
    |
    3.2
    |
    2.5
    |
    3.5
    19 - 9
    |
    17.2
    |
    12.7
    |
    18.3
    |
    3.6
    |
    2.7
    |
    3.8
    20 - 9
    |
    19.1
    |
    13.6
    |
    20.2
    |
    4.0
    |
    2.9
    |
    4.2
    [/table]

    Under the old system, Sorcerers got 1 extra casting of their highest level spell than a Wizard. In this system, it returns to the 3/2 or better Ratio present in the normal spells/day casting, ignoring bonus spells.


    Metamagic would work as normal under this system, increasing the spell’s level, and hence, power points required. An advantage of this system is that higher than 9th level spell metamagic could be possible (with DM’s Approval), simply continuing the formula. For example, an Extended Summon Monster IX would cost 100 Spell Points, while a Silent Stilled Maximized Time Stop would be 144 Spell Points. While this is asking for abuse, an optional Metamagic rule is possible – To meta-magic enhance a spell, it additional Spell Points equal to the original cost times the level multiplier. So, Extended Summon Monster IX would cost 162, and a Maximized time Stop would be 324.

    Below is table comparing the two options. Option A = Traditional metamagic, increasing the spell cost by level. Option B = Spending an additional spell slot of the same level

    Metamagic Spell Point Cost
    {table]
    Spell Level
    |
    A) +1
    |
    A) +2
    |
    A) +3
    |
    B) +1
    |
    B) +2
    |
    B) +3
    1
    |
    4
    |
    9
    |
    16
    |
    2
    |
    3
    |
    4
    2
    |
    9
    |
    16
    |
    25
    |
    8
    |
    12
    |
    16
    3
    |
    16
    |
    25
    |
    36
    |
    18
    |
    27
    |
    36
    4
    |
    25
    |
    36
    |
    49
    |
    32
    |
    48
    |
    64
    5
    |
    36
    |
    49
    |
    64
    |
    50
    |
    75
    |
    100
    6
    |
    49
    |
    64
    |
    81
    |
    72
    |
    108
    |
    144
    7
    |
    64
    |
    81
    |
    100
    |
    98
    |
    147
    |
    196
    8
    |
    81
    |
    100
    |
    121
    |
    128
    |
    192
    |
    256
    9
    |
    100
    |
    121
    |
    144
    |
    162
    |
    243
    |
    324
    [/table]

    Optional Rule: Spell Point Regeneration

    Instead of Casters spontaneously having full spell points after having 8 hours of rest and an hour to study/meditate, I would think that they should be able to regain spell points at a semi-hourly rate. Spell Points would regenerate a total of points equal to their Caster (or Character?) Level every 4 hours if engaged in activity, or 2 hours if sleeping/meditating. This means that

    ISSUES WITH THIS CONCEPT
    1. Balancing Spell Points / Caster Level
    It eliminates the points/level balance concept that was allowed for under the old system. Given the example in Unearthed Arcana, a 3rd level Fireball will cost 9 Spell Points, while a 5th Level Cone of Cold will cost 25 Spell Points (nearly triple). The advantage at a higher level is that Cone of Cold does more damage overall (after 10th level, it becomes superior), and its damage shape is different than Fireball’s. I’m sure a mechanic could be invented to fulfill this role however.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Someone's Thought of this Before... [Magic System Change]

    Hmmm, very nice. I think it needs a little bit of tweaking but not as much as I thought when I saw the title.

    Balancing damage spells is going to be an issue; this is not a flaw of the system (this one or UA's) but a flaw of the way the spells were designed. It could be done by just shunting damage spells around and altering their damages slightly so that spells of similar damage occupy the same level. Alternately (for the purposes of sorceror spells known limits) you could keep them at the same level of knowledge but add a footnote, eg. "Cone of Cold costs as much mana to cast as a 4th level spell" or "Fireball costs 4 points more mana than most spells of its level". Trouble is, this requires a case-by-case judgement.

    All in all the system is good. Let's brainstorm how to fix those damage spells :)

    Could the UA system of pumping mana in to get more dice of damage be used, at the return of (level of spell) points of mana per die, perhaps? eg. a level 3 fireball would cost 3 points of mana per die of damage to bring its damage dice up to your character's castable level
    "River" cancels eat: Food is problematic.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Griffon

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Someone's Thought of this Before... [Magic System Change]

    I think part of the question is whether or not they actually need to have the adjustment based upon level. Most spells have a "drop-off" point, with a maximum damage level, after which level increases only effect the maximum range of the effect.

    2 Example Spells - Fireball, Magic Missile.

    Consider this - A 20 Wizard wants to have a nice fireball party, so he prepares his spells for the day as all those at or above 3rd being "Fireball." This is without metamagic enhancement whatsoever, so they're all 3rd level spells. That's 4 spells per level, levels 3 - 9. This is excluding Bonus Spells (which would be mandatory if he was capable of casting 9th lvl spells). That's a total of 28 Fireballs, which would be 252 Spell Points (SP) New System or 280 SP Old System (for 10d6 damage).

    So, I think it's safe to say Fireball isn't exactly a breaker on this system, so let's look at another potential abuse spell.

    Magic Missile. For every additional 2 caster levels, it's 1 extra 1d4+1 unavoidable missile, up to 5 @ lvl 9, total distance 190'.
    Old System Spell Points would require that it cost 9 SP for each casting at 9th level power. If a wizard decided to, all spells could be prepared as a 1st lvl Magic Missile, which is 9 lvls of spells, 4 slots each (more than that with bonus spells), for a total of 36 Magic Missile spells, or 324 Spell Points required. HOWEVER, under the New System it only has a cost of 1 SP, it could be cast a total of 324 TIMES, with each attack doing 5d4+5 (17.5 average damage, once/round) without the ability to dodge (and only a few forms of magical/item protection). This is without Metamagic Adjustments, which could improve the damage greatly with a spellcaster storing them in higher slots (empower, maximize).

    Now, here's the important thing - Is it abuse for a wizard to use a low level spell repeatedly? This is effectively the same as having a set of Caster Level 9 Wands of Magic Missile. (CL 9 x L1 x 750 = 6750 gp, or about 135 gp/casting) There's also more powerful spells that could be considered in terms of Damage/Round against a single target, such as the infamous "Save or Die/Suck/Lose" series. While it is slightly broken, I'm not sure if it needs a mechanic for fixing.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Someone's Thought of this Before... [Magic System Change]

    Good points, Rat, but remember that not all wizards are level 20. If this system allows a 10th level wizard to completely overshadow his 5th level blaster spells with 3rd level, then it is broken. Or at least flawed

    If the original balance from UA on pumping was kept - 1 spellpoint per effective level of increase - in the current system, it might work too. Because Rat is right... it doesn't need to cost so much to bring your spells up to snuff
    "River" cancels eat: Food is problematic.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: Someone's Thought of this Before... [Magic System Change]

    I find it kind of alarming that a Wizard can cast eighty one Level One Spells for the cost of one Level Nine under this system, or am I reading it wrong?
    It is a joyful thing indeed to hold intimate converse with a man after one’s own heart, chatting without reserve about things of interest or the fleeting topics of the world; but such, alas, are few and far between.

    – Yoshida Kenko (1283-1350), Tsurezure-Gusa (1340)

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