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Thread: Spell Circles

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Falrin's Avatar

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    Default Spell Circles

    Because, as any (un)healthy DM, I like to homebrew a few (read: many) things.
    This time my eye has fbeen stuck on an idea for some times: Spell Circles.

    So what do I mean by this. I'd like to give (starting with divine) spells a certain circle. Each circle represents a certain 'Ideal' and has it's own specific set of spells (Core only).

    I'd like to try this sytem on Clerics first as they seem fit this idea more. But berfore I start rushin in, I'd like to have the circles set in stone. Here are the guidlines.

    Only a few circles, I'm aiming for 3-5 circles.
    I need them to be broad concepts. Ex. War&Str=what I's like, Honour=To narrow, Good=To broad.
    This means they should fit both an evil wargod and a good one.

    What I have:

    Universal (Things like basic healing, I don't want clerics to lose their primary purpose)

    War & Str (The more (self) buffing spells)

    Protection (The buffs, heals, ...) I'd like to broaden this.

    Control? Magic? Trickery? Utility?

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    What is the purpose of this exercise? Also, have you seen the 2e cleric spheres? Sounds a little like what you're talking about.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    I'd like (especially clerics) to have a bigger flavour in there spellist. The god they chose should have a bigger effect then 'no good or evil spell'
    And the nerfing that comes with it is always handy.

    Where can I find these 2e version?

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Quote Originally Posted by Falrin View Post
    I'd like (especially clerics) to have a bigger flavour in there spellist. The god they chose should have a bigger effect then 'no good or evil spell'
    And the nerfing that comes with it is always handy.

    Where can I find these 2e version?
    Unfortunately, I don't know where online the 2e information is posted, but it's right in the AD&D 2nd Edition Player's Hand Book. You can acquire one through a number of legal venues or download it illegally via filesharing programs, not that I would condone such an act.

    The spheres seem to be exactly what you're looking for. They are a little like domains but grant no extra powers. Each god grand specific spheres which are listed under their descriptions, as well as granted powers (like turning undead). You can have major access to a sphere, which gives you powers up to level 7 (the highest devine spell level at the time 2e was current), or minor access to a sphere which only gives you up to level 3.

    For example, a God of Lightning might grant full access to the Weather, War, Combat, and Justice spheres with minor access to Water, Air, and Healing spheres.

    Other spheres, I believe, included Animal, Plant, Fire, Earth, Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, Protection, Necromancy and All (which includes generic effects like Bless).
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    <cracks open dusty old tome>

    Ah, here we go. Page 240. The domains are:
    All
    Animal
    Astral
    Charm
    Combat
    Creation
    Divination
    Elemental
    Guardian
    Healing
    Necromantic
    Plant
    Protection
    Summoning
    Sun
    Weather

    In the basic core rules, a cleric has major access to all spheres except plant, animal, weather, and elemental, and has minor access to the elemental sphere. A druid has major access to the spheres all, animal, elemental, healing, plant, and weather, and minor access to divination. Not all of the spheres are the same size; the astral sphere contains only two spells, but the elemental sphere contains 31.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    I really like this system. What are the reasons they got rid of it?

    With decent, unique domain powers Clercics will be truly speciliazed. I might even drop the druid class.

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Another thing to note with the 2e sphere system is that some DMs limited what spheres a Cleric had major access to depending on its deity. My last time playing as a 2e Cleric my deity was one of strength and valor so I was given major access to spheres like combat as normal but only limited access to completely unrelated spheres like charm and sun.
    In the 2e faerun setting some clerics were given domain powers as well as different sphere accesses. Clerics of Bane for example were given some draining powers and at later levels the ability to summon a kind of mini-grim reaper. Maybe the deity was not Bane, but one of those fallen evil deities anyway.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    C-i-r-c-l-e-s

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    There is a website somewhere which has free downloads of the 2nd edition rules. Sadly, I'm not on my normal computer where the link is Favourited, and I can't find the website, but I think Circles may be mentioned in Skills and Powers (this will take an age, but another way of seeing the circles is to look at the "Skills and Powers" character generator near the bottom of http://www.pathguy.com/beastlan.htm ).
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    Ah, here we go. Page 240. The domains are:
    Yep. Furthermore, the Tome of Magic offers a dozen or so other domains, including Time. The 2E TOM is closer to the 3E Complete Arcane in nature, in that it does not offer three wholly different and new magic systems.

    "Major access" meant all spells (given sufficient wisdom); "Minor access" meant spell levels 1-3 only. That is, for a low-level cleric it was irrelevant. But druids got all the best spheres back then (animal, plant, weather, elemental are all very good).

    It was a good idea with a somewhat sloppy execution, as evidenced by the fact that some of these spheres were ill-defined or simply not worth it. But the DM was encouraged to make his own pantheon, and have each deity grant certain spheres in particular.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Wouldn't it be more logical if they got later acces to the 'lesser circles'.

    Picture this (if I work with few circles)
    1 Main circle, full acces.
    2-3 Lesser circles running 2 Spell-LvLs (When you can cast 3th LvL spells, you can also cast the 1st LvLs from a lesser circle)

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Wouldn't it be more logical if they got later acces to the 'lesser circles'.

    Picture this (if I work with few circles)
    1 Main circle, full acces.
    2-3 Lesser circles running 2 Spell-LvLs (When you can cast 3th LvL spells, you can also cast the 1st LvLs from a lesser circle)

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    It was a good idea with a somewhat sloppy execution, as evidenced by the fact that some of these spheres were ill-defined or simply not worth it.
    Also evidenced by the fact that, for instance, druids couldn't cast Commune with Nature, since it was a divination spell above third level. Never mind that the spell was specifically created for druids.

    With decent, unique domain powers Clercics will be truly speciliazed. I might even drop the druid class.
    In fact, in 2nd edition, that's precisely what the druid was: A specialized cleric variant.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post

    In fact, in 2nd edition, that's precisely what the druid was: A specialized cleric variant.
    Close, but not quite. Wild Shape and Trackless Step as class features made them a distinct class IMO, not merely a variant.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Well, the books claimed they were just a variant, but you're right - they were pretty darn different. Back then, Priest variants were supposed to have "Granted Powers," how many or what kind being quite ill-defined; the Druid had Wild Shape, the Cleric had Turn Undead. So the Druid was indeed a "variant cleric" because he gave up his Turn Undead for his other non-spell powers.

    Anyway ...

    It's worth mentioning that the Ardent is a modern, 3e-formatted, well-balanced class that does exactly what you are looking for, although you may have to change its flavor quite a bit depending on the role of psionics in your campaign setting.

    The Ardent is from Complete Psionic. Like the Cleric, it's got heavy armor/shield proficiency, simple weapons, medium BAB, 2+Int skill points, a good will save, and full Wisdom-based casting (er, manifesting). To keep it from being a "Zilla," it has d6 Hit Dice and a poor Fortitude save and (of course) no powers that are as abusive as Divine Power and its ilk.

    But it also selects its Known Powers from a limited set of themed Spheres. Only it calls the spheres "Mantles." It starts with two mantles, then gains three more (more if it spends a lot of feats) as it goes up to Level 15 and beyond.

    The mantles might need some minor tweaking. But the Ardent class, really, is pretty close to "What the Cleric should have been all along."
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    One idea a friend and I tossed around in 2nd edition was a cleric of Janus. They could cast spells from any sphere, but only if the spell was reversible; they were restricted to using weapons with two symmetric striking surfaces (so European longswords would be OK, but not scimitars or katanas), and they had a Knock/Wizard Lock granted power.
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Here's the page I mentioned yesterday: http://www.rpgrealm.com/features/download/home.html (Spheres should be detailed in the Cleric section).
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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    Wow Thx. That's a good startingguide.

    I think I'll combine most circles in these five major ones, trying to find some balance.

    Nature : Animals, plants, enviroment, ...
    Planes : Summoning, Elements, Weather, ...
    Combat : (self) Buffs, (touch) attacks spells, ...
    Protection : Buffs, Healing, ...
    Utility: Misc.
    Universal: The basic spells

    Some spells will have more then one circle, but in general I try to limit this.

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    Default Re: Spell Circles

    I'm pleased that information's useful. I hope your project goes well.
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