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D&D 3E
Quick question 
1st-Apr-2006 04:51 pm
I'm sure this has been asked a million times before, but I'm lost. The PH says arcane spell failure exists because armor hampers the character's ability to use somatic (gesture) components. If a character casts a spell using the Still Spell feat or the Illumian Naenaesh runic ability, does the chance of failure still apply?

I think it doesn't, but a friend of mine cites that crystal armor from the Arms and Equipment Guide which lowers spell failure but is bulky, hindering, and weighs twice as much as normal armor, but "conducts magical energy more easily than metal". This would suggest that it's something about metal reflecting/absorbing magical energy.
1st-Apr-2006 10:04 pm (UTC)
Spells with no somatic comnponents (either naturally or with Still Spell) are not affected by A.S.F chance.

Arcane Spells And Armor: PHB page 56
2nd-Apr-2006 07:22 am (UTC)
3e or 3.5? I'm just asking for clarification.
2nd-Apr-2006 07:24 am (UTC)
3.5. I'd overlooked the paragraph explicitly talking about Still Spell, and the crystal armor confused me.
2nd-Apr-2006 07:30 am (UTC)
Crystal Armor is from the Arms and Equipment Manual, which is 3e. The balancing and logic problems with 3e books are innumerable.
2nd-Apr-2006 07:32 am (UTC)
Heh, super. You know, I was all about sticking with 3e way back when, and I've been proven wrong over and over. I recently bought our group a whole set of the 3.5 Core Rulebooks just so we could stop having dumb arguments.
2nd-Apr-2006 07:34 am (UTC)
A good call on your part, I feel.

I've banned all 3e books (with the exception of the Miniatures Handbook because WotC keeps sanctioning it at official conventions) and Forgotten Realms books from my games already.
2nd-Apr-2006 08:17 am (UTC)
3.5 (I only have the leatherbound edition).
2nd-Apr-2006 08:17 am (UTC)
There's a leatherbound edition?
2nd-Apr-2006 08:30 am (UTC)

That link offers that and the leather DMG for $94.50.

I mailed Wizards about if there's a Monster Manual planned but they won't say until if/when its announced on the web site.
1st-Apr-2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
I always felt that the arcane spell failure was a horibly contrived method of keeping spell casters in cloth.

I agree that they shouldn't be all up in full armor, but I don't think the rationalle they give is sufficient justification for the game mechanic.

Sort of like "chaining" a spell caster to thier spell book so as to keep them studious. It is just so artificial.
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2nd-Apr-2006 12:34 am (UTC)
How do you set difficulties though?

And do you use spellcraft skill checks?
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2nd-Apr-2006 12:40 am (UTC)
Can you elaborate on that?
2nd-Apr-2006 12:36 am (UTC)
Do you remove saves and the possibility of spell resistance? If not, you're unfairly penalizing spellcasters in your game. They're already balanced by the inclusion of the save and SR mechanics - adding another is like making a Fighter roll a miss chance % on every hit.
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2nd-Apr-2006 12:50 am (UTC)
That still nerfs spells like Scorching Ray.
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2nd-Apr-2006 12:54 am (UTC)
Yes, it does. Under the default rules, he only has to make a ranged touch attack for the spell to work (plus SR check, if applicable). Under your rules, he also has to make the casting roll before he can make the RTA.

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2nd-Apr-2006 02:06 am (UTC)
That's a pathetic response. "Suck it up"? WTF? That's just stupid!

Your houserule destroys an entire class of spells for casters. Ray spells are not "cheesy", they're balanced by the attack roll - which is easy against some opponents, nearly impossible against others.

It's a horrible house-rule and no one should have to suffer through it. I'm very glad I don't play in your game.
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2nd-Apr-2006 12:37 am (UTC)
I have always favored a Roll-to-Cast system. I never understood why you have to roll a D20 to do EVERY OTHER GODDAMNED THING IN THE SYSTEM except spells.

This is because spells are a limited-use commodity in D&D and already balanced by at least one die roll whenever an opposing character is targeted.

Take a look at Rays -- they require attack rolls, but never a saving throw (when designed properly.) Imagine how the game would run if it wasn't so. Imagine the headache when your new player finds out how useful his disentigrate spell is, and casts it against the Dragon the party's fighting at night, on a rocky sea.. Let's see...

1: PC Rolls d20+Con to manage to cast the spell...
2: PC Rolls d20+cast to cast the spell.
3: PC Rolls d20+atk to hit dragon with ray
4: DM Rolls % Miss Chance
5: PC Rolls d20+cast to overcome Spell Resistance
6: DM Roll d20 + Fort for Saving Throw.
7: PC Rolls 1d6 for residual damage.

The game just doesn't play well when a single action can potentially cause six die rolls, only to have no effect.

Now, a nice Roll-to-Cast system that rolls up Rays and Concentration into the roll, and folds Spell Resistance into the saving throw, could be downright cool...
2nd-Apr-2006 12:55 am (UTC)
I was just looking at the Truename stuff out of the new Tome of Magic, which uses a roll-to-cast system in place of the limited-use aspect (which I think I like, as it does save you the headache of having to remember how many spells you've cast today, or within the past 8-hours when you're attacked at night). It at least moves the concentration stuff into the roll.

You could say that Spell Resistance doesn't need to be folded into the roll, because it isn't always (or even that commonly depending on your game) a factor. Like is it that bad if once a session the player has to roll an extra check to overcome spell resistance, just like if once a session the player has to roll to avoid a miss chance?

Of course, that doesn't answer the question of rays... of course depending on your system, spells could require that extra roll because they're that much more powerful (like the fighter rolls once to do 1d6 dmg, the wizard rolls twice to do 2d6 or 3d6 damage).

Do you have any suggestions for roll-to-cast systems? I kind of like the idea, if only because it makes magic seem more difficult and significant when you use it.
2nd-Apr-2006 01:42 am (UTC)
Do you have any suggestions for roll-to-cast systems?

Of COURSE I do. :) In no particular order:

Mindcraft (shameless shilling) requires a skill roll for virtually every power used.

Green Ronin has a distinct system in their Psychic's Handbook, although as I understand it Green Ronin and the various other "Psionic" skill and feat systems are akin to Star Wars, having each power be a seperate skill.

The 3rd edition Psionics Handbook from Wizards of the Coast (both versions) requires a roll to cast, but the roll isn't the limiting factor, but instead "power Points." (Both GR's book and my own impose fatigue as a means of balance.)

The Soverign Stone magic system, as I understand it, is entrely roll-balanced, with many spells requiring several rounds of rolls to work.

I haven't studied it thoroughly, but we should probably include the "magic" system (under a more generic "Abilities" chapter) from BESM d20. Aside from my own, btw, this one gets my "Please look" call -- Guardians of Order are OpenDie friendly, and opened virtually all of their rules in a Free-as-in-Beer SRD.

Soverign Stone is probably the most compatible "magic" system of the above, but unfortunately it's not really compatible with stock D&D, as the spells don't match up.

Were I to write a roll-to-cast system, I'd probably make the single check a DC of 10 + the spell's level * 3, and remove the Concentration Skill entirely for a simple "Spellcasting Bonus." Anything that would require a Concentration Roll would apply a 1-to-1 penalty to a Casting check, -10 if it's a DC (i.e., Casting Defensively is -5).

Any spell could be cast over multiple actions with a -5 penalty for holding the casting. Spells that already have a casting time of more than one action would have their DCs increased by 5 per standard action that needs to be dedicated to the spell. (i.e., a one-minute casting time would have its DC increased by +50).

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2nd-Apr-2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
I have no idea. I haven't looked terribly close at it.
2nd-Apr-2006 07:26 am (UTC)
Ugh. Completely off-topic, how did BESM end up in d20 instead of GURPS format?
2nd-Apr-2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Completely off-topic, how did BESM end up in d20 instead of GURPS format?

GURPS is a closed-copyright, incompatible, not amazingly-well-known game.

BESM is still avaliable in its own non-d20 version, and if Steve Jackson were to step up to the plate and issue a GURPS analog to the SRD (either under the OGL or under their own custom license), then we'd have a fair analog.

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