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D&D 3E
Improvised/Freeform Magic 
20th-Dec-2005 10:58 am
pfloyd portrait
Okay, here's what I'm looking for...

Does anyone have any decent rules for improvised or freeform spellcasting in D&D 3e/3.5e and/or D20?
I kind of want to break away from the set spells for a while, let the players create their own.

I'm trying to come up with a system of my own, using some ideas from other systems (GURPS has rules for this concept, and I found some online for HERO as well), but in trying to get it into D20/D&D may be tough without hampering the character too much.

Any ideas are welcome.

(x-posted to dnd_games, dnd_creations, dnd3e, d20modern, d20games, roleplayers and my LJ)
20th-Dec-2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
Another system to look at for a base idea would be Ars Magica. It does free form spell casting, with mages building spells across a number of nouns and verbs. There should be a pdf of the 4th edition floating about on Atlas Games web site, and 5th edition is the current edition.
20th-Dec-2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
The DMG has rules for spell creation
21st-Dec-2005 02:05 am (UTC)
1: D&D really is a templated game, and spells are no exception. Do you really want your players to stop in the middle of a battle and spend fifteen minutes creating a new spell? Or worse, come up with an idea and force YOU to spend fifteen minutes figuring out the proper DC?

2: There are ample systems out there that allow for a different way of casting spells or creating spells. The most famous one for d20 is Elements of Magic from ENworld press, but there are others here and there. I've even got one bouncing around my project list that's in need of playtesting.

3: If you really mean a free-form magic system, akin to that in Mage or Ars Magica, I'd suggest the following:

* Track the skill in each school of magic seperately. Give a spellcaster eight "caster points", and let them spend no more than their class level + 1 on any given school. Let characters spend the same points to gain either a minor persistent effect, or a +1 bonus when attemping a particular effect.

* Each caster-point gives a +1 bonus to cast a particular school, with a base bonus of the character's spellcasting attribute bonus.

* Allow any magic-user to work magic all day long, but they have to roll each time. The typical DC is a saving throw + the level of the spell effect, but uncontested effects have a DC of 15 + the level the spell would be if it was a standalone D&D spell. Damaging spells do either a flat 1d6 force damage opposed by a saving throw, or 1d8 elemental damage with a ray attack.

* Healing one day's worth of HP, Fumbling a magical spell, or attemping to maintain one effect without concentration for one hour all impose one point of ability score damage, chosen by the caster. (Remember, damage returns at the rate of 1/day. Drain is what doesn't return.)

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