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Xandros
05-20-2009, 02:56 AM
I haven't played in a while since my old group split up since we moved our seperate ways. I have gotten together a few people who have shown interest in getting a group together and hopefully bring some others in too. I have started building a campaign plan. It will be very house rule abundant. In fact it is rewriting a lot of things from scratch.

Anyway I am going for a spell point system. Storywise it always makes more sense to me. Spellcasters in movies and books never seem to be casting so many spells per level. I don't have any notes from our old group of how we used spell points (hence my long ramble in the beginning). So, I started with the Unearthed Arcana rules. Rather than having a number of 0 level spells for free (because that takes us right back to the vancian rules) I figured it with 0 level spells costing 1 spell point, 1st level spells 2 points, etc.

Figuring how many spell points a Sorcerer would need to get at each level to cast each of the level of spells listed, it was blatantly obvious how unsteady the spell gains are. The points for each level are:
1st = 11
2nd = 14 (+3)
3rd = 16 (+2)
4th = 30 (+14)
5th = 34 (+4)
6th = 56 (+22)
7th = 66 (+10)
8th = 96 (+30)
9th = 110 (+14)
10th = 148 (+38)
To gain 14 spell points at 4th level and then when going up to 5th level only getting 4 feels like you are being ripped off. Even without converting to spell points it is very inconsistant gains. Going up to 4th level you gain the ability to cast 1 more 1st level spell a day and 3 more 2nd level spells a day. Going up to 5th level you only gain the ability to cast 1 more 2nd level spell a day. Attacks and saves all advance at a steady rate. Of course they advance by a simple one point, so it has to be consistant.

Surely I am not the first to notice this. What has anyone else who uses a spell point system done without unbalancing the game?

tesral
05-22-2009, 12:51 AM
Casting classes get the shaft frankly. The magic system doesn't allow many spells or a consistent advancement.

I've messed with the idea of spell points, but find that removing the fire and forget works for me.

I see two directions with spell points. They either make the Wizard a low level spell factory, or short them enough points to function. Part of the problem lies in the nature of the spell level system.

Take the classic fireball. 3rd level, 5d6 damage. Now as the caster goes up in level that becomes 10d6. However, it is still a third level spell. So points wise at higher level the caster is getting a free 5d6 in damage.

My suggestion would be to look at extra mana points for extra dice, area of effect etc. Give the magician plenty of points to play with, but charge for everything. You want a 5d6 fireball, it is base cost. You want a 10d6 fireball, it is base + X per hit die.

Be consisted with the cost of increases. I would even allow them at the lower levels. Pour as much magic into that spell as you think you can afford. But a 10d6 fireball now could put you short a knock spell later.

Xandros
05-22-2009, 01:12 AM
That's the way spell points are handled in any section I have ever seen suggesting the idea of spell points. If you cast the Fireball spell with all the 5th level power, it is a 5th level spell.

In fact the Unearthed Arcana section that I referred to uses the Fireball and Lightning spells as examples. There is a rather long section in UA so I won't bother quoting it here. Leveling spells are not the problem (and why I did not ask about that).

While I appreciate the response it didn't answer my question, which was about making spell point gains more consistant (ie. steady and not +50 on one level and then +4 on the very next), but did answer a question I didn't ask, about how to handle leveled spells.

tesral
05-22-2009, 09:56 AM
The solution is to make it consistent. Toss the advancement and do your own.

Take the advancement as a whole, say from 1st to what ever lever they screw magicians over and stop giving them more spells per day. Assign a weight to each level as per the spell points you want them to have, and calculate the total spell points at the highest level. Divide by the number of levels for even distribution. Use more funky math for ratios, geometric progressions or how ever you want it to smoothly advance. Stick new spell levels in as appropriate.

Celebrimbdal
05-22-2009, 04:10 PM
Just a suggestion...
Look at the Expanded Psionics Handbook. The psionic classes there use a point system and, with a little tweaking, it could be used to replace the level/slot system. You'd need to figure augment costs for level-scaling spells such as fireball, but it may be worth looking at. For that matter, you could use the psioinc powers and just call them spells.

tesral
05-22-2009, 04:32 PM
They are, but they called them psionic powers.

Xandros
05-22-2009, 07:54 PM
The solution is to make it consistent. Toss the advancement and do your own.
So the question is, 'how do you make spell point advancement more consistant?' and the solution is 'make it consistent'. Cool, now I know where to turn if I need to build a space shuttle. 'How do you build a space shuttle?' 'You do it by building a space shuttle.'
More specifically, I was asking other people who use spell points, if they have any systems with consistant spell point gains compared to the way UA listed it, that doesn't unbalance the game? Or even people who use the spells per level method, but with a more consistant, balanced gain.

I have found another source that I am working on now. I may have to tweak it and of course play test it to see if it is balanced. I am still open to systems that others use, so feel free to post them, but no need to go out of your way to find them for me now.

I don't have the psionics handbook (never liked psionics in the game myself). I may have to look up the SRD if they have the information.

The other solution of dividing the points they should have at the highest level among all the other levels doesn't really work either. By saying it should be more consistant doesn't mean that EVERY level should get say 5 spell points. Something like 4 spell points at 2nd level, 5 at 3rd, 6 at 4th, 8 at 5th, and 50 at 20th could make sense. The thing I pointed out was gaining 50 points at *level and then 4 at the next= inconsistant. A steadily accellerating gain is still consistant, and more balanced as other classes also get larger gains at higher levels.

tesral
05-22-2009, 09:01 PM
So the question is, 'how do you make spell point advancement more consistant?' and the solution is 'make it consistent'. Cool, now I know where to turn if I need to build a space shuttle. 'How do you build a space shuttle?'

First, kick out NASA, but that is a different rant.

OK, I'm not my most lucid with a body full of painkillers late at night.

Decide how much a "spell level" is worth.

Calculate how many spell levels you wish a 20th level Wizard to have. Call it X

Decide how many a 1st level Wizard has. Call it A

Create a progression that suits you between A and X.

Without actual numbers I can't be more specific. But step one is to toss the legacy system. It is not consistent, and you cannot make it consistent and keep it. So don't keep it.

Actually there is a consistence to the spell progression, but not across levels 1 to 9. Rather the progression is within each spell level. If you watch the progression of level 1 spells for example they do have a pattern. Likewise the second level 2 spells have the same pattern but shifted down. And so forth across the spell levels.

Dytrrnikl
05-23-2009, 08:38 AM
I haven't played in a while since my old group split up since we moved our seperate ways. I have gotten together a few people who have shown interest in getting a group together and hopefully bring some others in too. I have started building a campaign plan. It will be very house rule abundant. In fact it is rewriting a lot of things from scratch.

Anyway I am going for a spell point system. Storywise it always makes more sense to me. Spellcasters in movies and books never seem to be casting so many spells per level. I don't have any notes from our old group of how we used spell points (hence my long ramble in the beginning). So, I started with the Unearthed Arcana rules. Rather than having a number of 0 level spells for free (because that takes us right back to the vancian rules) I figured it with 0 level spells costing 1 spell point, 1st level spells 2 points, etc.

Figuring how many spell points a Sorcerer would need to get at each level to cast each of the level of spells listed, it was blatantly obvious how unsteady the spell gains are. The points for each level are:
1st = 11
2nd = 14 (+3)
3rd = 16 (+2)
4th = 30 (+14)
5th = 34 (+4)
6th = 56 (+22)
7th = 66 (+10)
8th = 96 (+30)
9th = 110 (+14)
10th = 148 (+38)
To gain 14 spell points at 4th level and then when going up to 5th level only getting 4 feels like you are being ripped off. Even without converting to spell points it is very inconsistant gains. Going up to 4th level you gain the ability to cast 1 more 1st level spell a day and 3 more 2nd level spells a day. Going up to 5th level you only gain the ability to cast 1 more 2nd level spell a day. Attacks and saves all advance at a steady rate. Of course they advance by a simple one point, so it has to be consistant.

Surely I am not the first to notice this. What has anyone else who uses a spell point system done without unbalancing the game?


You're obviously part of the current paradigm that want there Spell Casters to have the same capacity to sling spells as the non-caster classes have to whip swords about or launch arrows. Personally, due to the ability of spells like Fireball to harm multiple opponents with a single spell compared to say a Fighter that scores a crit with a Great Sword against a single opponent, I whole heartedly disagree with what I call the current paradigm for casting. But that's me and not the answer to your question.

Rather than working with spell points or spells per day, each level Spellcaster classes gain the ability cast more spells, obviously some levels the gain is more than others. Go with something like available number of spell slots each day that the caster may use in any way they wish. Allow them to cast their Intelligence modifier plus their caster level in 0th level spells or whatever the appropriate modifier is for their class, and work on a progression that takes them from (using Sorceror Spells per day progression from 3e PHB) 3 spell slots at 1st level to 54 spells slots at 9th level and figure out when you want them to gain the next higher level spell. Also, you could add something a signature spell for each spell level, that they could a number of times each day equal to 1 plus their Intelligence modifier.

Kalanth
05-23-2009, 08:45 AM
Just a suggestion...
Look at the Expanded Psionics Handbook. The psionic classes there use a point system and, with a little tweaking, it could be used to replace the level/slot system. You'd need to figure augment costs for level-scaling spells such as fireball, but it may be worth looking at. For that matter, you could use the psioinc powers and just call them spells.

This is a good suggestion. WoTC did a great job on the Psionic Power Point system and it is relatively easy to translate into the other casters. I believe there was also something in Unearthed Arcana that discusses spell points but I don't have that book anymore so I can't really say with any semblence of accuracy.

Xandros
05-23-2009, 03:51 PM
You're obviously part of the current paradigm that want there Spell Casters to have the same capacity to sling spells as the non-caster classes have to whip swords about or launch arrows. Um. No. Not at all. In fact if you read the post I am not trying to add more spells. In fact I am pushing to try to keep the ability to cast the same amount of spells as is published. At least as close as possible, but still having a consistant gain curve.(If skill points were gained at 4+INT modifier at 2nd level, 5+ at 3rd, 10+ at 4th and 1+at 5th then 20+at 6th and 1+ again at 7th, wouldn't you say WTF?) I am simply wanting to get rid of the * number of *level spells per day and go with spell points instead. When you see mages and spellcasters in movies or in books they don't seem to be set up in the way of "okay I can cast 3 1st level spells and 2 2nd level spells today". Being able to cast from a finite power source makes more sense. Blow a couple of big spells or several small spells.


Rather than working with spell points or spells per day, each level Spellcaster classes gain the ability cast more spells, obviously some levels the gain is more than others. Go with something like available number of spell slots each day that the caster may use in any way they wish. Allow them to cast their Intelligence modifier plus their caster level in 0th level spells or whatever the appropriate modifier is for their class, and work on a progression that takes them from (using Sorceror Spells per day progression from 3e PHB) 3 spell slots at 1st level to 54 spells slots at 9th level and figure out when you want them to gain the next higher level spell. Also, you could add something a signature spell for each spell level, that they could a number of times each day equal to 1 plus their Intelligence modifier. That's not what I asked. In fact that is just going back to the vancian system (which I am getting away from), and adding the ability to cast more spells. Which is not what I am trying to do. I am specifically asking about spell points for the reasons I have listed.

Again I am not asking for ways to cast more spells. Ways to overpower the spellcasters, your opinions on why spell points are bad, suggestions for other ways to use the spells per level system etc. I am going to be using a spell point system.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

This is a good suggestion. WoTC did a great job on the Psionic Power Point system and it is relatively easy to translate into the other casters. I believe there was also something in Unearthed Arcana that discusses spell points but I don't have that book anymore so I can't really say with any semblence of accuracy. Thanks, The original information I had actually came from Unearthed Arcana. It's a pretty simple way to translate to spell points. The only problem is since it just translates the vancian style, it also gets the inconsistant curve. I found the SRD alternate rules and will work on testing and adjusting it as needed. I will look up the SRD for the Psionic Power Point system to see if that makes more sense or helps.

Malruhn
05-23-2009, 04:20 PM
Dytrrniki, that was a great job of not reading the question - and then alienating many of the readers!

Xandros, my recommendation is to echo Tesral - add up how many spell points a 20th level caster has, divide by 20, and then add that every level. Personally, I'd spread it out differently because of my old experience with 1st Edition... and give about 60% of them to levels 11 and above. To show it, my progression would go 4% of the total points per level through level 10, then 6% per level thereafter. Then the only thing you would have to calculate out are the INT bonus spell-points.

Dytrrnikl
05-24-2009, 03:08 AM
Dytrrniki, that was a great job of not reading the question - and then alienating many of the readers!


Everyone makes mistakes, as I have here. It happens. I've just never understood the growing disdain for the Vancian system of spells per day format. Again that's me, not a reflection on anyone else, unfortunately it does color how I make an attempt to answer something. Oh, and Malruhn, the OP made it perfectly clear his displeasure at my suggestion, to which I apologize. Keep comments like what I quoted above to yourself, unless you are trying to be constructive. The above I construe as an attack.

Kalanth
05-24-2009, 08:19 AM
Thanks, The original information I had actually came from Unearthed Arcana. It's a pretty simple way to translate to spell points. The only problem is since it just translates the vancian style, it also gets the inconsistant curve. I found the SRD alternate rules and will work on testing and adjusting it as needed. I will look up the SRD for the Psionic Power Point system to see if that makes more sense or helps.

It has been sometime since I read them, but it worked out rather well. If memory serves the player gets a set number, with bonus points for certain stat numbers. Each power (or in your case spell) costs X amount to cast. There is also the ability to dump more points into the power to make it more powerful, but that is something that is your option to port. At the least I would say the Psionics spell point system is your best jumping off point and work something from there.

Xandros
05-24-2009, 04:16 PM
Tesral is probably right that I am making it overly complicated for myself. The problem being that I didn't want an inconsistant spellpoint gain but then tried to stick too closely to the system with the inconsistant spell gain. That is a contradiction on my part in worrying about unbalancing the game. I should for the most part ignore it for the most part, other than the starting spells and 20th level caster spells, as he suggested and work an accelerating point gain from there, with bigger gains at higher levels.

I should also point out that I plan to also make casting spells a skill. Casting (Arcane) and Casting (Divine) added to the skill list with more skill points added to the casting classes. So spell casting will have a chance of failures and mishaps. Casters won't be limited on what level of spells they can cast. So, a 1st level Wizard can attempt to cast a 2nd level spell. They will just have to blow more of their spell points at the cost of further casting and have a greater chance at failing the spell all together. I haven't decided if a casting check failure should result in a loss of all the spell points cost or just 1/2. This will help balance out the flexibility. With the spell point system, casters can choose to cast more lower level spells at the expense of higher level spells or give up a lot of lower level spells to cast 1 high level spell, but have a bigger chance of failing.

Bonus spell points for high attributes will be easy to figure. I will just add the point equivalant of the bonus spells they will get for each level as per the PHB.

As soon as I work out the details I will post my initial plan on here for opinions on if it is balanced.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

There is also the ability to dump more points into the power to make it more powerful, but that is something that is your option to port. That sounds like a good idea. Using the casting skill check also, I will need to work out a higher DC for making the spells more powerful too, on top of the added spell point cost.

Dytrrnikl
05-24-2009, 11:04 PM
Hey everyone. You all have my sincere apology for my previous posts here in this thread. It seems I had a strong desire to see if I could not only swallow my foot, but also the rest of the leg that was attached to it...obviously I succeeded.

Dan

Xandros
05-25-2009, 12:47 AM
Hey everyone. You all have my sincere apology for my previous posts here in this thread. It seems I had a strong desire to see if I could not only swallow my foot, but also the rest of the leg that was attached to it...obviously I succeeded.

DanPersonally I say: Eh, no biggie. We all make mistakes and I think I am not always clear and understandable in the points I am trying to make. It's not like you called me or anyone names for preferring spell points, just a preferance against them. No need to dwell on it.