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D&D 3E
Counterspelling 
8th-May-2006 01:00 pm
DrG Don't know me
Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but I really dislike the core D20 rules for counterspelling. Do any of you know of any alternate counterspelling systems floating around in the D20 universe that are worth reading over?
Comments 
8th-May-2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Well, maybe we can back up a step and you can tell us what you don't like about counterspelling
8th-May-2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
While there are a couple of exceptions to the rule, the core mechanic for counterspelling requires that you know and have prepared the exact same spell that is being cast. I just don't like this, nor do my players.

Then again, maybe I'm just reading it wrong, and not seeing the system's full potential. If you can give me some ideas as to how to make full use of it's benefits, then I am definitely all ears.

The whole reason for that is that a player in my group has mentioned a desire to play a "Yeah you didn't!" kind of magician, whose main focus in encounters is negating the enemy's magical effects. I like this, and would like to work with the system to make that a more approachable concept. As I see the core mechanics, it seems like counterspelling was thrown in as something of an afterthought.
8th-May-2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
There are several major faults to the counterspelling system currently in use:

1) Counterspelling takes a readied action. Which means, if your opponent doesn't cast a spell, when you ready to counter-spell, you lose. As actions are the currency of d20 combat, it has a significant cost.

2) You can cast spells faster than your opponent can counterspell (via Quickened spells, swift-action spells, and the like). SO even if you counterspell correctly, you lose.

3) base counterspelling seems a lose for some types of spells and some situations -- giving up a equal slot for counterspelling a spell of a given level is sometimes worth it, and sometimes not. (Sometimes taking a spell and surviving, in order to fire the same spell back is worthwhile. For instance, if the fireball is only going to hit 2 of the good guys, vs. a fireball that will hit 5 or 6 of the opponents. Take the hit, cast the fireball. On the other hand, in the reverse case, counterspelling a fireball that will hit all of the good guys is worth it, if the fireball would only hit one or two opponents). Improved counterspelling bites, as you have to give up a more-powerful spell in order to counterspell. And using (Greater) Dispel Magic may be worth it, but the chance of failure sucks.


So, to address these, I'd propose:
1) A Fast Counterspelling feat to allow a caster to counterspell as a swift action, a limited number of times per day. Say, Once a day per casting attribute bonus. (so an 18 Int wizard could swift counterspell 4 times a day. A 16 Cha bard could counterspell 3 times a day, etc.) Put it on the Wizard's bonus-spell list.
2) Integrate Improved Counterspell into standard counter-spelling rules. (Anyone can counterspell a spell from a given school with another spell of a higher level, from that school).
3) Make Improved Counterspell let a spell, from a given school, counterspell any spell of the same level from that school, and a spell can be used to counterspell any spell of a lower level. Add this to the Wizard's bonus list.
4) Let Spell Penetration add to the check used by Dispel Magic when DispM is used to counterspell.
5) add a Greater Counterspelling feat that would let someone counterspell without using a slot. This cannot be used to counterspell a spell of the highest 2 levels the caster can use (so a 15th level Cleric can do this for spells of 6th level or lower, but not 7th or 8th). Using Greater Counterspell costs an use of Fast Counterspell (so, 2 uses if it is done as a swift action, or one if it is done as a Readied action). Add this to the Wizard's bonus list. This feat would have Fast Counterspell and Improved Counterspell as prerequisites as well as casting 3rd (or 4th) level spells.
6) Add an Extra Fast Counterspell feat, that increases the number of fast-counterspells the person is allowed a day by 3.
8th-May-2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
Er, when I said 'swift action' above, I meant 'immediate action'.
8th-May-2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
What if a counter spell required a spellcraft check at DC 20 + level of spell cast - level of spell slot sacrificed.

You would lose the spell slot regardless of success at counterspell.
You would'nt have to cast a spell specific to the spell being cast, it would just be a check.
9th-May-2006 12:47 am (UTC)
I like the rule as it stands...why? Because then you get counterspelled to easily. Lets face facts...the PC's might not like the fact its tough to counterspell the enemy but I know I hate it when it happens to one of my characters.

My opinion is that spells are meant to be dodged not counterspelled. but again thats my opinion. Not trying to ruin anyones day :)
9th-May-2006 01:31 am (UTC)
I tend to agree. I recently escaped a similar situation with criticals with a DM I'm playing with. He reintriduced the bladed gauntlets (Crit 17-20), keened them (now 13-20), and declared that "Any two rolls within the cirt range fall on my special crit table."

So my meatshield went toe to toe with this thing. My guy has an AC in the high 20s on a good day, and we're only third level. The DM, rolling in the open, roles a 13 and a 14 and, looking at his little table, declares that my arm has been severed. I was not happy.

So yeah. Let sleeping dogs lie. If he wants to do that, look for an Intervention Mage prestige class, or something. It definately should be pretty damned hard to counterspell. Otherwise, every enemy party will have a secondary caster whose job it is to counterspell.

"You face the band of orcs." "I cast fireball" "One of the men dressed in robes mumbles, and your spell fizzles." *player flies into a rage*
9th-May-2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Uhm...

I'm really not making the connection between Bladed Gauntlets of vicious doom, and counterspelling.
9th-May-2006 02:21 am (UTC)
I probably should have explained further.

His rationale was "You can do that, too." Ergo, if you start allowing the intervention mage for PCs, if I was DMing, there would be intervention mages galore in the enemy ranks.
9th-May-2006 02:26 am (UTC)
I see it as a sort of manifestation of the "Blue Magic" from Magic The Gathering.

You've got a point. I'd like to help him work with the concept, though. Work out some kind of concept based around prevention, cancellation, and counterspelling. Ideas?
9th-May-2006 02:57 am (UTC)
My other DM had an intervention Mage Prestige class. I'll pry for details, but I like the idea fo making it a prestige that makes it gradually easier to counterspell, until, at level 10, a dispell magic can counter anything on a ridiculously easy role. Focuses on stuff like blindness/deafness, sensory prevention, and other effects that require checks to cast a spell would be good, too.
9th-May-2006 02:22 am (UTC)
Which would piss off the players, as I was pissed, which makes for strained sessions.
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