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    Default Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Hi GiantITP,

    In a campain i play in, i get to be a high magician for the king. As high magician, i want to try to make some new spells in-character, but nothing in the rules makes anything even alike possible. Apart from making new spells, i would like to retrain a spell. The problem is that i play a MC character, and the spell i want to change is in the part that i do not want to level further in. Also no possibility to change anything here by RAW.
    So, i went and made a Researching Spells Supplement to implement researching spells in-character. With these rules, you can learn spells in-character without having to level up in your class, learn spells from other classes without multiclassing and make new, formerly non-existing spells in-character. There are also some tips to change the availability of research material and spells to learn if you wish to limit the options, and a variant rule for different research times. The last page has a full example and my designer notes.

    I tackled every problem i could think of (and im a bit of a min-maxer), but i could more than defenitally be missing something. Please give me your thoughts, opinions, etc. I am very curious what you all think of it :) If i come over defensive or agressive in my responses, please not that i am just trying to discuss the points, and am very grateful for your response and the time you took.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Any comments? (page 4 is starting to be the forgotten part of the forum, so bump :P)
    Would you think this is balanced? Would you allow this in your campain? Would you use this as a PC if it were allowed in the campain you play in?
    Any comments are welcome. It has been quite a work, so i would like to know what you guys/gals think of it ;)
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    I'm not sure I think researching a cantrip should be cheaper or easier than researching a 1st level spell given how much flexibility the cantrips give you in 5e.

    Perhaps I missed it, but would a researched spell or cantrip count against your normal number known for a particular class, or would it be a bonus on top of that?
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashy View Post
    I'm not sure I think researching a cantrip should be cheaper or easier than researching a 1st level spell given how much flexibility the cantrips give you in 5e.
    I get what you mean, but i used some logic and research to come with the results. Ill try to explain my results:
    As noted in the designer notes, i used the power levels recommended by the DMG (p284). The power level for a cantrip is 1d10, and for a 1st level spell is 2d10. Since the cantrips power up differently for cantrips and level spells, i decided to keep it simple and stick to the recommended cantrip power. The power levels i converted into research days; 10 days per d10. This gives 10 days to cantrips and 20 days to a 1st level spell.
    The next part is based on some logic (at least i see it as logic :P). Cantrips are frequently used, and the higher level of a spell, the less it gets cast, and the less research material there can be found (longer time needed). Thus i made a starting point of 20 additional days for cantrips, and increased it by 10 when spells would be scarcerly cast: 1-5, 6-7, 8-9. This is based on the amount of uses you can get as a full caster (fewer slots at 20th level for each of those levels). So a cantrip gets 10+20=30 days, and a lvl1 spell gets 20+30=50 days.
    While this is all based on the power levels and how common spells of those levels are cast, the cantrips are a bit off, since the power level increases by character level. What i think it means, is that it is increased by your overall power as a character, and that is something i can't implement properly without making the calculations and usage increasily difficult.
    I hope this clears it a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flashy View Post
    Perhaps I missed it, but would a researched spell or cantrip count against your normal number known for a particular class, or would it be a bonus on top of that?
    This is explained under the last part of step 1: Spell Learned. You have to replace a known spell with the new spell you learned. So a lvl5 sorcerer goes to research a level 3 spell, learns it, and has to replace one of its 6 spells known with it, having only 6 spells after learning it. This is to keep the balance of known spell casters that have limited known spells, especially the sorcerer and warlock.

    Thanks for taking your time to look into it, and i hope this clears it up a bit for you. What do you think of it overall?
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Sorry to keep bumping, but it has been another week and i really need some feedback on this one...
    I want to use it in the campain i play in with friends, and my DM will only think of using this if others think it is balanced. I still have about a week of 4-6 before it would be used, so i still have time to change things if needed.
    Any comments are very welcome, even if it is to say that you like it or do not like it (which i hope the former :P) or whether you would use it in a campain where someone wants to study spells in-character.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Well, let's take a look...

    Normally I would say researching a new spell (as opposed to deciphering a scroll or spellbook you already have in hand) is going to be something to handle on a case-by-case basis; it will either be done for character development reasons (in which case I'd be inclined to make it fairly easy) or for specific problem-solving reasons (in which case it should be 'challenging' in the same way an encounter would be). But you've clearly gone to a lot of effort to make this, so I'll try and come up with some comments.

    I'll jot them down as they come into my head.

    • 5gp a day (well, 4, I suppose) is a bloody fortune! Especially when the shortest duration (cantrip on your own spell list) is 15 days. That's 75gp... more than the average commoner earns in a year!
    • Is it really wise to expand the range of spells a wizard can cast even more? They're already crazy flexible.
    • I'm not sure the scaling you used for the time table (as discussed in the designer's notes) makes a lot of sense. I'd have deferred to the Spell Point table on page 288 of the DMG. Also, the times are really long. If something can't be done in 30 days of downtime, it's probably not worth doing.
    • Oh wait, anyone can do this, not just wizards (yeah, I didn't read the fluff. So sue me )? That worries me even more.
    • On the flip side, spending all this time and effort to replace a spell with a broadly equivalent one seems harsh. Especially since you can do that for free on a level up anyway. I mean, you could take that rule out, but I don't think it would make the game any more fun.
    • A miscast chance is also harsh, but if you're going to do it, I'd say your DCs are about right. I'm just not feeling it though. It's like, why wouldn't spells you'd learned via level up be subject to the same restrictions?
    • Maybe it'd be okay if there was only a risk of miscast if you cast the spell from a higher slot. And you automatically master the spell after 10 long rests, even if you don't cast it at all.
    • I do like the Arcana/Religion distinction, though you might think about allowing Nature for druids and rangers.


    Overall, I guess my main feeling when reading this is "why would I want to implement this? It's not going to make the game any more fun, and could potentially mess with balance."
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Well, let's take a look...

    Normally I would say researching a new spell (as opposed to deciphering a scroll or spellbook you already have in hand) is going to be something to handle on a case-by-case basis; it will either be done for character development reasons (in which case I'd be inclined to make it fairly easy) or for specific problem-solving reasons (in which case it should be 'challenging' in the same way an encounter would be). But you've clearly gone to a lot of effort to make this, so I'll try and come up with some comments.

    I'll jot them down as they come into my head.
    Thanks for taking the time! This is my biggest project i have done as for now, and probably for the coming time too :P I will go by each of your points, trying to explain my thoughts and reasons behind them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    5gp a day (well, 4, I suppose) is a bloody fortune! Especially when the shortest duration (cantrip on your own spell list) is 15 days. That's 75gp... more than the average commoner earns in a year!
    The costs are the same as the crafting costs for downtime, as i pretty much copied those. It is quite costly, but not every commoner casts magic - that is pretty much reserved for adventurers, high-paid jobs and bad guys. At the beginning it is costly indeed, but at higher levels, the costs become less and less big in comparison to what a typical adventurer collects (following averages from the DMG's treasure tables with 4 party members). At 5th level, an adventurer will have earned around 560gp, at 11th around 24.100, at 17th 134.000 and at 20th around 818.000. I could change it to 1gp per day, following the training downtime rules, but i fear it will be too cheap that way. What would you suggest?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Is it really wise to expand the range of spells a wizard can cast even more? They're already crazy flexible.
    As you already saw later on, its for all spellcasters. I believe it is not that much of a problem to give a caster more possibilities if they work long for it and pay the price. Most campains do not have large amount of downtimes in my experience, so you will not add that much extra choices. I may be wrong though. They do not gain extra power, but gain the chance to build something specific for themselves, instead of one of the many sorcerers/druids/wizards they can encounter. Your character gets to be a special individual. Quite some ranting here, but i hope you get what i mean...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    I'm not sure the scaling you used for the time table (as discussed in the designer's notes) makes a lot of sense. I'd have deferred to the Spell Point table on page 288 of the DMG. Also, the times are really long. If something can't be done in 30 days of downtime, it's probably not worth doing.
    I already explained my personal logic behind it in length in my reply to Flashy two posts up. The short explanation is that it is a combination of spell power (DMG p284) and how often they would be cast in the world. The first part could be changed to the Spell Point table, but cantrips are not in there. The difference is also not that much - from 5th level it would be 10 days shorter, and 9th another 10 days. As for the length, i also followed the times in the PHB for training and crafting here. Crafting something reletively easy would require about 3-10 days (longsword - greatsword), while a plate armor would require a whopping 300 days (though you can work faster with help). And training a skill or tool proficiency takes 250 days, which cannot be sped up. I think it is not that long compared to those rules, but i guess i could include that people can help you as they can with crafting. Would that seem better? Oh, btw, you can always split it up between different downtimes. Like having 20 days, then 10, then another 20, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Oh wait, anyone can do this, not just wizards (yeah, I didn't read the fluff. So sue me )? That worries me even more.
    Tried to explain my view two points back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    On the flip side, spending all this time and effort to replace a spell with a broadly equivalent one seems harsh. Especially since you can do that for free on a level up anyway. I mean, you could take that rule out, but I don't think it would make the game any more fun.
    But you cant replace it between levelling up, and when you are at 20th level. And you cant learn from other spell lists that way, or implement a new (homebrew) spell into the campain. I made it a replacement so this supplement cant be abused with casters with only few spells they know, such as sorcerer or warlock. It could seem harsh, but if the downtime is there, this is a way to implement those things as in-character research, instead of OOC just throwing it in there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    A miscast chance is also harsh, but if you're going to do it, I'd say your DCs are about right. I'm just not feeling it though. It's like, why wouldn't spells you'd learned via level up be subject to the same restrictions?
    I see what you mean, but i wanted to make it a bit more realistic. If i read how to build something or do something, i still need to use it in practice to eventually do it without making mistakes. If i had to explain why it doesnt go this way while leveling up, i'd say it is because there is downtime activity while leveling up where it is done off the radar (which we sort-of use to explain it anyway in the campain i want to use this for)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Maybe it'd be okay if there was only a risk of miscast if you cast the spell from a higher slot. And you automatically master the spell after 10 long rests, even if you don't cast it at all.
    As said in the last point, i wanted to make it a bit more realistic. This is done by trial and error, and at some point you did it enough to master it without making mistakes anymore. (really realistic would be a mischance with every cast, as one could always make a mistake, but that would be way too much :P)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    I do like the Arcana/Religion distinction, though you might think about allowing Nature for druids and rangers.
    I see what you mean, but i think the arcane/divine is enough. Both those classes' spellcasting is already called divine, just to nature instead of a deity. The origin might be different, but the way of casting is pretty much the same. Its like the difference between wizards, that use their knowledge, and sorcerers, to which it comes naturally. I will think about it some more, but for now my opinion is that arcana/history is distinction enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Overall, I guess my main feeling when reading this is "why would I want to implement this? It's not going to make the game any more fun, and could potentially mess with balance."
    The reasons i can make right now are the following:
    • It is a way to implement new (homebrew) spells into the game
    • It is a way to make a character more distinct
    • It is a way to learn spells when you otherwise couldnt (slow leveling campains and at lvl20)
    • It is a way to make fluff for a character come to life (like with my character - a soon to be high magician for the king, that wishes to be remembered in the world and likes fire and lightning a bit too much and wants to combine those in his casting (sparkflame spells)).

    I hope this explains some of my thoughts. I will be thinking some more of what you said, and am curious what you thing of my alternatives in this post (like the costs)
    Last edited by RakiReborn; 2016-02-19 at 08:46 AM.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    A lot of it boils down to play style and how you want to run the game, so there isn't much more to say about that. If you're happy with it, it's fine.

    One thing I will push back on, though, is citing the crafting rules as written as a justification for... well anything. They're a total mess and everyone hates them, primarily because everything takes so long - by RAW, crafting is a pointless waste of time, and many of us feel it shouldn't be (that's why I wrote my advanced crafting rules). If you want people to use your supplement, I'd suggest you cut the research time, maybe by 90% (i.e., take a zero off the end of everything). Everything else is more or less ok.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    A lot of it boils down to play style and how you want to run the game, so there isn't much more to say about that. If you're happy with it, it's fine.

    One thing I will push back on, though, is citing the crafting rules as written as a justification for... well anything. They're a total mess and everyone hates them, primarily because everything takes so long - by RAW, crafting is a pointless waste of time, and many of us feel it shouldn't be (that's why I wrote my advanced crafting rules). If you want people to use your supplement, I'd suggest you cut the research time, maybe by 90% (i.e., take a zero off the end of everything). Everything else is more or less ok.
    90% seems far to low to me. I guess i could take half off of it - that would seem fine by me. That would make it 15-100 days for research. I don't want to make it too easy. That would also halve the gold cost. Would that be fine too? (I really dont want to make it too easy - my DM is frequently worried that i make things too easy or overpowered when i come up with something, and 3-20 days will defenitely not work for him).
    I do see your problem with the crafting rules tho, and must admit i think they are a little harsh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RakiReborn View Post
    90% seems far to low to me. I guess i could take half off of it - that would seem fine by me. That would make it 15-100 days for research. I don't want to make it too easy. That would also halve the gold cost. Would that be fine too? (I really dont want to make it too easy - my DM is frequently worried that i make things too easy or overpowered when i come up with something, and 3-20 days will defenitely not work for him).
    I do see your problem with the crafting rules tho, and must admit i think they are a little harsh.
    Yes, I'm saying shorten the time and reduce the cost. I reckon the vast majority of DMs would be okay with this, unless they're concerned about the flexibility you gain from being able to choose from other classes' spell lists (which, to be fair, I would be if I were the DM). But if they reject it on that ground, there's nothing you can do; it's central to your reasoning for doing this.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    Yes, I'm saying shorten the time and reduce the cost. I reckon the vast majority of DMs would be okay with this, unless they're concerned about the flexibility you gain from being able to choose from other classes' spell lists (which, to be fair, I would be if I were the DM). But if they reject it on that ground, there's nothing you can do; it's central to your reasoning for doing this.
    I'm sorry, but i really want to understand exactly what you mean, and it is not fully clear to me yet. Are you saying that reducing the time by half is enough, which also reduces the cost by half? Or are you saying that apart from reducing the time (and thus cost) that i also should reduce the cost even further (like make it 1 or 2 gp per day)? I could live with both ;P
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by RakiReborn View Post
    I'm sorry, but i really want to understand exactly what you mean, and it is not fully clear to me yet. Are you saying that reducing the time by half is enough, which also reduces the cost by half? Or are you saying that apart from reducing the time (and thus cost) that i also should reduce the cost even further (like make it 1 or 2 gp per day)? I could live with both ;P
    I meant the first option (I assumed you were going for that anyway; my post was just agreeing with you). As it happens, I actually prefer the second option, but it's not important enough to fight over.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2016-02-19 at 11:25 AM.
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    Default Re: Researching Spells Supplement [PEACH]

    Im leaning towards the first, but ill give it another thought or two this weekend. If anyone else would like to add their opinion, please do, and ill take it into consideration. After the weekend ill implement the changes, as i will have some more time then :)
    Last edited by RakiReborn; 2016-02-19 at 11:37 AM.

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