?

Log in

No account? Create an account
D&D 3E
alternate rules and dangerous magic 
3rd-Jul-2007 12:09 pm
I'm working on alternate rules for magic in a new game. I want to treat the use of magic more as more of a natural and uncontrolled force than the original rules let you and wanted to see what every one's thoughts on it were
spells known and spells per day are what can be used safely but not the only limitation
spontaneous casters can use higher level spells or extra spells per day by making a fortitude save of 10 plus the spell level or be exhausted and take 1d4 per spell level non lethal damage. the idea is that since they pull magic freely from things around them that they can push themselves a little further but at serious personal risk
memorised casters since know spells by memory can store there spells per day safely but the spells themselves want to get out they are forcing the magic they learned under control and therefore can memorize higher level or more spells by making a concentration check once an hour of 10 plus the spell level every hour of game play the check dc raises by 1 much like saves for drowning. if they fail their concentration check the spell immediately goes off and its effect is up to the dm's discretion (I'm thinking maybe doing a percentage scale on whether the spell helps ,harms or simply dissipates with no effect.
the idea is to make magic more of a dangerous force make the game a bit more cinematic and allow the pc's to gamble a little more with higher power and still keep it balanced.
I would like to try to come up with something similar for the other classes too so the characters can push themselves a little further ,give it there all to the very limit without using action points. which by the way I'm a fan of . I just want to do something a little grittier
Comments 
3rd-Jul-2007 07:35 pm (UTC)
"spontaneous casters can use higher level spells or extra spells per day by making a fortitude save of 10 plus the spell level"

I'd recommend a cumulative +1 to the DC per spell cast this way each day. Otherwise you will see a nearly infinite number of Invisibility spells, for example.

"memorize higher level or more spells by making a concentration check once an hour of 10 plus the spell level every hour of game play the check dc raises by 1 much like saves for drowning. if they fail their concentration check the spell immediately goes off and its effect is up to the dm's discretion"

This would be very unappealing, from a players' perspective. It's been my experience that one of the main attractions to most players of the d20 system is that you can accurately predict how something will work within the context of the game system; entering a modified campaign knowing that how your magic works from one game session to the next is up to the GM's whim is something that would make me want to play a rogue... or in another campaign. It's also been my experience from a GM's perspective that off-the-cuff adjudication of random or unpredictable results is difficult to keep consistent and balanced.
3rd-Jul-2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
spontaneous casters can use higher level spells or extra spells per day by making a fortitude save of 10 plus the spell level or be exhausted and take 1d4 per spell level non lethal damage. the idea is that since they pull magic freely from things around them that they can push themselves a little further but at serious personal risk

At higher levels, Fort DCs that low are trivial. A 15th level weak-fort caster is going to have a saving throw of at least +4 (Resistance bonus) + 5 (base) + 3 (Con. Lets face it, who has lower than a 14 con, and a +2 item is CHEAP at 15th level) = +12. it doesn't take much more to get up to a +15 or so, which means only 5% failure on level 7 or less.

And d4 non-leathal? Who cares? That's pretty limitless for non-combat spells. It is only a limiting factor for combat spells, and even then it isn't that threatening.

And there are plenty of good ways to become immune to non-lethal. it means your Lich/Mummy/Vampire/Deathless Sorceror/Favored Soul/Shugenja/whatever has truly unlimited casting (immune to non-lethal). If you don't use the Polymorph sub-school nerf, your arcane casters are also going to be fine.

It also means unlimited healing (but honestly I don't care about that).


I'm confused by your Concentration check mechanic for memorized casters.

Is that a check per-extra-spell or what? if its per-spell, it is a stupid amount of rolling. A DC of +Spell level per spell means the DC gets unreachable very quickly (especially considering the power boost given to spontaneous casters). +of highest spell level +1 per additional spell (of whatever level) might work, but, getting stupid-high concentration checks aren't that hard.

At 15th level, +15 skill item (21,500gp) + 18 (ranks) + 3 (con bonus) + 3 (skill focus) = +39. Which means they could take '1' (i.e. not roll at all and assume the worst) for a 40. By my system, that's an additional 23 additional spells. cast 1 per hour, and the increased DC doesn't even matter.




Either way, this is HUGE boost to spell casters. Who really DON'T NEED IT. Clerics are, by far, the most powerful base class in Core. Wizards and Sorcerors dominate the battlefield at higher levels. bards could possibly use mechanical help, but this isn't a good way to do it. The classes that need the boosts are the Rogue (which needs the ability to actually be effective at higher levels, once most things get immunity to sneak attack) and the melee types, who, while they can school single-targets, can't do much against large groups or creatures with high immunity to physical attacks.


This is trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. or, at least, doesn't exist after level 5.
3rd-Jul-2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
We were theorising about something similar to this in my group. Or well me and another one of the guys who usually DM had a long involved to and fro about it.

I say similar because it was only about being able to cast higher level spells than they normally could - not more per day. But it could be adapted.

What we settled on, after a lot of discussions about checks here and there, similar to your concentration check each hour - eventually discarded because it'd just be too much faffing about. Too much book keeping.
Was CON damage as the result / penalty / dissuading element.

Simply put. You can cast or prepare a higher level spell than the spell slot allows. A 5th level spell in a 3rd level slot, for example. But for each level higher spell than slot, you take when you cast it 1 CON damage. - Recoverable as per usual of 1 ability score damage per nice peaceful night of sleep.
So for our example a 5th level spell in a 3rd level slot cost 2 CON (with the apropriate HP loss etc.) While a 9th level spell in a 0 level slot could well kill you by taking a -9 CON hit.

Overchanneling magic is dangerous and can if you overdo it kill you or leave you weak as a kitten and need a long time to recover from.
3rd-Jul-2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
For extra spells per day, I'd suggest the 'cost' being CON damage equal to spell level - minimum 1.

So if you've got a CON of 13 (any odd-numbered really.) You can effectivly cast one extra 1st level spell per day. Takes your CON down to 12, but don't make any difference on your CON mod. So have very little real ingame effect.

While on the other hand. Casting a single extra 5th level spell... That hurts. Rather badly, it's not something you do lightly. But perhaps worth the risk for that one boss-fight where you're willing to risk it all. - Sort of thing.
3rd-Jul-2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
I would like to try to come up with something similar for the other classes too so the characters can push themselves a little further ,give it there all to the very limit without using action points. which by the way I'm a fan of . I just want to do something a little grittier

I haven't looked at it seriously, but right now it strikes me that perhaps this is something that could work for that one too.

Your fighter can push himself to the limit to give himself a X to attack and damage for Y number of rounds (say 5 rounds.) But once those 5 rounds are up he takes X CON damage.
3rd-Jul-2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
For melee people, you could give them an extra attack after a certain level. take it as a feat or something. say....level 8 or higher or something (randomly picked level). they can add an extra attack but be fatigued for the next 1d4 rounds. that way they can try to get in the extra hit, but they also lose some ac and also stats and no charge.
5th-Jul-2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
Right, you could have a feat that, say, allowed a two-weapon fighter to make another attack per round at a penalty. You could call it "Improved Two-Weapon Fighting."
3rd-Jul-2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Warhammer FRP has an interesting casting mechanic. Each spell has a required number of points to cast. You roll one or more dice depending on level. The more interesting part is that if you roll certain combinations of numbers, bad or unpredictable things happen. Sort of a magic backlash. All 1's is automatic failure and you gain an Insanity Point. Any set of doubles (or triples) causes a roll on a table that describes a secondary, wild effect. I think Soverign Stone had some similar mechanics, but a little less harsh. I could be remembering it wrong.

Now I'm not saying you want this exact mechanic, but it makes things interesting. Maybe instead of the Insanity Point you take 1d4 or 1d2 points of temporary Int/Wis/Cha damage (whatever is your main casting attribute) that can't be healed for 24 hours. Maybe you have to roll over the spell level on a 2d6 with doubles or failure leading to some wild result. (That's probably not a good mechanic, but I'm throwing out ideas.)
4th-Jul-2007 12:29 am (UTC)
I think other people have covered other points (especially about non-scaling DCs), but let me just add that a once-per-hour check could make book-keeping a little wonky. It means that the spellcasters are making a lot of down-time saves. What happens if the PCs are on an over-land journey, and one wants to have an extra spell memorized? Suddenly you can't just say "You journey for 3 days," but "You journey for 3 days. Roll 72 Concentration checks." Unless you allow them to take 10 on the check, but that only reinforced the issue of scaling DCs. If the check is easy enough that they can make it by taking 10, then why have them make the check at all? If not, then it slows down game-play. Taking 10 means that the rule would only come into play on the few hours in which they are fighting or in a dungeon or something. And personally, as a DM I tend to forget about those rules in favor of keeping the action going.

And if you do require something like 72 checks for a 3-day journey (or have any other kind of down-time), and there is any chance of failure, then that means the player is almost guaranteed to fail more often than they get to use the extra spell. So I think you'll find that players rarely, if ever, take advantage of this rule, since they will so rarely benefit from it. But then, I'm not sure what your group is like. You might check with them about what they feel would be an acceptable risk to being able to use more powerful spells, and then we can help you hammer out the numbers so that it doesn't unbalance your game.
This page was loaded Dec 11th 2017, 8:54 pm GMT.