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JSorenson1979
04-25-2008, 04:06 AM
Really? Why not? I've been giving the spell point system provided in the Unearthed Arcana in my game and it seems to be working fine. What would say the downfall of that system is?

Glad you asked.

Let's take a hypothetical system wherein a spell's cost in points is equal to it's level (I.E. 1st level spells=1sp; 2nd level spells=2sp; and so forth) I'm citing this example for mathematical simplicity.

Now, operating under the precept that spellcasters should have roughly the same capacity under this new system as the old vancian system, well assume a conservative estimate of a 20th level Wizard with a 19 INT score. That means that they're spell casting capacity will look like this:

Spell level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
per day 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4

under this new spell point system, in order to have the same per diem spell capacity that Wizard would need 200sp total. On the surface this may look fine...assuming that they player will most likely be casting spells in the same denominations as their vancian counterpart...but what if the don't but lets break it down farther:

200sp means:

200 Magic Missiles
100 Acid Arrows
66 Fireballs
50 Enervations
40 Cloudkills
33 Disintegrations
29 Prismatic Sprays
25 Horrid Wiltings
22 Wishes

In a day.

Sure, you could adjust spell point cost per spell level exponentially, to avoid this outcome...cost=spell level^2. That means that cost progression will look like:

spell level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
cost 1 4 9 16 25 36 49 64 81

Works out fine at higher levels, but it still means 22 fireballs in a day, and a smart player will take energy substitution: sonic which almost no monster has a resistant against.

end result= die game die!

THAT is why spell points don't work in a system that has static spell tiers.



My goal with this poll wasn't to try to determine how successful 4th edition might or might not be. The goal was to get a feel for how P&PG community members felt about the new edition.

Ahh...if you're goal was to determine how many people within the microcasm of this community would be switching, then the poll suits your purposes fine then.

gdmcbride
04-25-2008, 09:37 AM
With all due respect JSorenson1979, your arguments against spell point systems are easily resolved. Assuming a linear spell point system ...

First, if your problem with spell points is that they allow casters to cast the same spell over and over, then simply add a rule -- a wizard cannot cast a single spell more than their maximum spells per day in a single level. So your example wizard would only be able to cast a single spell five times before that spell is exhausted and they must choose another. Wizards are still limited by the spells they know in their spell book and so must seek a wide variety of spells to have a diverse range of choices.

Second, if your problem with spell points is versatility -- the wizard can cast whatever spells at whatever time, simply force wizards to allocate spell points at days start (i.e. choose their spells). This is mechanically identical to Vancian memorization. Spell points better incorporate the metamagic feats system (i.e. quickened adds four points to spell cost), by the way. Its worth noting that many who use spell points do not see versatility as a bad thing and so skip this limitation. But it is an option if you want it.

Third, wishes are limited by XP cost. 22 wishes would cost the wizard 110,000 XP. I think the proliferation of wishes is not a problem. In fact, many 'breaker' spells are limited by costly components or XP expenditures.

Fourth, casting fireball 66 times per day does not break D&D. A 20th level wizard can easily afford a wand of fireballs which means they can shoot 50 fireballs if they so choose. Your case against Sonic Energy substitution is a better critique against that ability than against spell points. In fact, by 20th level the wizard is mostly wasting their actions by casting such a sub-par spell as a 10d6 fireball or a 5d4+5 magic missile.

The real limitor against spell efficacy is actions. A fight in D&D 3.5 only lasts a certain number of rounds. And each round, the wizard must choose how to spend their resources to maximize their importance to the fight. A 20th level wizard (under a Vancian magic system) can have a 9th level spell to contribute to the fight for four rounds (perhaps fewer with quickened spells). Then his power must slowly ebb away (only 8th level contributions; four rounds later ... only 7th level ... and so forth). A spell point wizard can burn brighter (using only 9th level spells) but for a shorter amount of time in the long run (when their spell points run dry). And they are still limited by actions.

So, to summarize -- spell points definitely change the game but with a few rules to limit wizards, the system is completely playable.

For a good example of how a game can use a spell point system, might I recommend Fantasy Flight Game's 'Midnight'?

Gary

Annshadow
04-25-2008, 10:31 AM
Glad you asked.

Let's take a hypothetical system wherein a spell's cost in points is equal to it's level (I.E. 1st level spells=1sp; 2nd level spells=2sp; and so forth) I'm citing this example for mathematical simplicity.

Now, operating under the precept that spellcasters should have roughly the same capacity under this new system as the old vancian system, well assume a conservative estimate of a 20th level Wizard with a 19 INT score. That means that they're spell casting capacity will look like this:

Spell level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
per day 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4

under this new spell point system, in order to have the same per diem spell capacity that Wizard would need 200sp total. On the surface this may look fine...assuming that they player will most likely be casting spells in the same denominations as their vancian counterpart...but what if the don't but lets break it down farther:

200sp means:

200 Magic Missiles
100 Acid Arrows
66 Fireballs
50 Enervations
40 Cloudkills
33 Disintegrations
29 Prismatic Sprays
25 Horrid Wiltings
22 Wishes

In a day.

Sure, you could adjust spell point cost per spell level exponentially, to avoid this outcome...cost=spell level^2. That means that cost progression will look like:

spell level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
cost 1 4 9 16 25 36 49 64 81

Works out fine at higher levels, but it still means 22 fireballs in a day, and a smart player will take energy substitution: sonic which almost no monster has a resistant against.

end result= die game die!

THAT is why spell points don't work in a system that has static spell tiers.




Ahh...if you're goal was to determine how many people within the microcasm of this community would be switching, then the poll suits your purposes fine then.

The spell point system works really well if you use the Psionic version. I think that is what the book intends.

In that system the spell is static.

Such that a fire ball is a 5 hd fireball if cast by a level 5 wizard or a level 20 wizard.

If the wizard wishes to make it a 10 or 20 hd fireball it cost more spell points.

It works out to be pretty much equal on spells that do damage.

The problem with the system and which can be abused is spells that are static in their use.

Like ectoplasm (ranged touch attack or be slowed [level 1]) or ray of stupidity where you only need to do 2 points of damage to take out any animal or hydra

JSorenson1979
04-25-2008, 03:50 PM
With all due respect JSorenson1979, your arguments against spell point systems are easily resolved. Assuming a linear spell point system ...

First, if your problem with spell points is that they allow casters to cast the same spell over and over, then simply add a rule -- a wizard cannot cast a single spell more than their maximum spells per day in a single level. So your example wizard would only be able to cast a single spell five times before that spell is exhausted and they must choose another. Wizards are still limited by the spells they know in their spell book and so must seek a wide variety of spells to have a diverse range of choices.

Second, if your problem with spell points is versatility -- the wizard can cast whatever spells at whatever time, simply force wizards to allocate spell points at days start (i.e. choose their spells). This is mechanically identical to Vancian memorization. Spell points better incorporate the metamagic feats system (i.e. quickened adds four points to spell cost), by the way. Its worth noting that many who use spell points do not see versatility as a bad thing and so skip this limitation. But it is an option if you want it.

This is a well thought out point, however the problem I'm seeing with your argument is that it means tacking on additional provisional mechanics to prevent abuse of the system, which to me immediately says that there's something inherently wrong with the base system.

Also, tacking on yet more rules is contrary to one of the primary stated goals of switching over to a spell point based magic system from the clunky old vancian fir and forget system, and that's finding a simpler and more elegant way to handle the mechanics of spell casting.

Lastly, the rules you suggest for limiting the use of each spell, basically drags the whole system back into the vancian arena, which is also contrary to the goal at hand.



Fourth, casting fireball 66 times per day does not break D&D. A 20th level wizard can easily afford a wand of fireballs which means they can shoot 50 fireballs if they so choose. Your case against Sonic Energy substitution is a better critique against that ability than against spell points. In fact, by 20th level the wizard is mostly wasting their actions by casting such a sub-par spell as a 10d6 fireball or a 5d4+5 magic missile.

Casting 66 10d6 Fireballs doesn't break the game, because it's the most fire is the most common evocation element, and probably more than half of higher level monsters have some sort of resistance to it. The reason I cited energy substitution: sonic is because it creates a long range AoE spell that does 10d6 points of damage that almost nothing has a resistance or immunity to. I've seen even high level characters breeze through encounter after encounter using this tactic, especially with a magic user who is optimized to overcome spell resistance. And this is when they could only do it 5 times a day. Being able to do it 66 times a day, in my opinion, is most certainly game breaking.



Third, wishes are limited by XP cost. 22 wishes would cost the wizard 110,000 XP. I think the proliferation of wishes is not a problem. In fact, many 'breaker' spells are limited by costly components or XP expenditures.

The real limitor against spell efficacy is actions. A fight in D&D 3.5 only lasts a certain number of rounds. And each round, the wizard must choose how to spend their resources to maximize their importance to the fight. A 20th level wizard (under a Vancian magic system) can have a 9th level spell to contribute to the fight for four rounds (perhaps fewer with quickened spells). Then his power must slowly ebb away (only 8th level contributions; four rounds later ... only 7th level ... and so forth). A spell point wizard can burn brighter (using only 9th level spells) but for a shorter amount of time in the long run (when their spell points run dry). And they are still limited by actions.

My other argument against a spell point system is that basic idea fits spells that can be used as a standard action, but what about spells that take a full round action, or even an hour of game time to cast? How does one adjudicate these?


So, to summarize -- spell points definitely change the game but with a few rules to limit wizards, the system is completely playable.

My counter argument is that if you need to tack rules onto a system to make it playable, then the system is inherently flawed. It's not that I think that spell point systems are entirely unplayable...but I believe that for all it's clunkiness vancian casting simply works better

It is my firm belief, that in order to make a spell point system work for D&D, that you have to rework the spells from the ground up and remove spell levels, instead having a repetoire of spells with scaling effects, similar to what I've seen with 3.5 psionics rules (though admittedly I have only a passing familiarity with this system)

So far, the best and most playable alternative to the vancian system is the one presented in Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed. If you're unfamiliar with it I can summarize.



For a good example of how a game can use a spell point system, might I recommend Fantasy Flight Game's 'Midnight'?

Gary

Thank you for the recommendation. I'm not familiar with this game, but I will look into it.

gdmcbride
04-26-2008, 05:03 AM
This is a well thought out point, however the problem I'm seeing with your argument is that it means tacking on additional provisional mechanics to prevent abuse of the system, which to me immediately says that there's something inherently wrong with the base system.


The purpose of any rule (whether in D&D, chess or Marco Polo) is to make the game more fun. Any rule that gets you closer to the completely subjective experience of fun is a good rule. Notions of a base system which are somehow inviolate and unmodifiable are nonsense. Simplicity is often fun, but not always.



Also, tacking on yet more rules is contrary to one of the primary stated goals of switching over to a spell point based magic system from the clunky old vancian fir and forget system, and that's finding a simpler and more elegant way to handle the mechanics of spell casting.

Lastly, the rules you suggest for limiting the use of each spell, basically drags the whole system back into the vancian arena, which is also contrary to the goal at hand.


Actually I mostly agree with you here. One of the primary virtues of a linear spell point system is simplicity and versatility. The rules fixes I proposed are fixes to hypothetical problems you proposed. I mostly believe your 'problems' are non-problems, but even so I endeavored to show, even if we grant the problem, they are easably resolvable using very simple rules.



Casting 66 10d6 Fireballs doesn't break the game, because it's the most fire is the most common evocation element, and probably more than half of higher level monsters have some sort of resistance to it. The reason I cited energy substitution: sonic is because it creates a long range AoE spell that does 10d6 points of damage that almost nothing has a resistance or immunity to. I've seen even high level characters breeze through encounter after encounter using this tactic, especially with a magic user who is optimized to overcome spell resistance. And this is when they could only do it 5 times a day. Being able to do it 66 times a day, in my opinion, is most certainly game breaking.


This a valid critique of energy substitution (something not part of the D&D core system). I would not allow that ability in my games. However, this whole paragraph is completely irrelevant to spell points. You start the point by admitting that casting 66 10d6 fireballs per day is not game breaking. Since, this basically cedes my point ... well, I'm not sure where to take this discussion.



My other argument against a spell point system is that basic idea fits spells that can be used as a standard action, but what about spells that take a full round action, or even an hour of game time to cast? How does one adjudicate these?


Casting times are unchanged in spell point systems. Spell points are expended at the exact same time as a spell slot is expended. No additional rules are necessary.



My counter argument is that if you need to tack rules onto a system to make it playable, then the system is inherently flawed. It's not that I think that spell point systems are entirely unplayable...but I believe that for all it's clunkiness vancian casting simply works better

It is my firm belief, that in order to make a spell point system work for D&D, that you have to rework the spells from the ground up and remove spell levels, instead having a repetoire of spells with scaling effects, similar to what I've seen with 3.5 psionics rules (though admittedly I have only a passing familiarity with this system)


You are of course entitled to your opinion, but it is not particularly persuasive. I am good friends with members of a gaming group who played a three year (and running) D&D 3.5 game using a very simple spell point system instead of that "clunky Vancian system". So far, the game appears to be anything but unplayable.

Last year, I ran a D&D game using spell points for 16 sessions. It was definitely not unplayable.

Ultimately, I am not trying to convince you that spell point systems are perfect or clearly better than Vancian magic systems. It is ultimately an aesthetic choice -- like choosing chocolate over vanilla. What I do disagree with is your initial assessment that spell point systems are so broken as to be unplayable and that you need to redesign every spell to make them work. In my own experience, that is simply not the case and for several simple reasons:

1. Spell points are simple and versatile. If that degree of versatility bothers your it is easily mitigated with a few house rules.

2. The problem of being able to cast low level spells over and over is mitigated by the number of actions in a standard D&D fight. Low level spells are almost always a suboptimal use of the wizard's most important resource -- time!

3. Getting rid of Vancian magic speeds game play and limits game delays due to spell selection. A faster game is almost always a funner game.

Thus, I enjoy spell points. Your mileage may vary.



Thank you for the recommendation. I'm not familiar with this game, but I will look into it.

As an aside to this discussion, you should definitely check Midnight out. The Midnight 2nd edition main rulebook is a thing of unbridled beauty.

You can find a great review of Midnight at:
http://www.enworld.org/reviews.php?do=review&reviewid=2010263

It is one of six five-star reviews at ENWorld for the game.

Gary

Tony Misfeldt
04-26-2008, 09:21 PM
That wouldn't be an improvement. Spell Points have been tried numerous times with the game and the end result is always failure. The concept just plain doesn't work with D&D's spell tier system.

However, 4th edition DOES oust the traditional vancian style magic system...so it's at least a step in the right direction.

Perhaps the problem was trying to combine a "Magic Point System" with the vancian style "Fire & Forget" style. Maybe they could have a syatem more like this:

Wizard's Magic Points = Wizard's Hit Points
Magic Point Cost = Minimum Level To Cast Spell (1st lvl=1mp, 2nd lvl=3mp, 3rd lvl=5pm, etc).

If a wizard's Magic Points drops to 0 or lower, he becomes fatigued. He suffers a -3 penalty to his Movement, To Hit rolls, Skill Checks, Saving Throws, and AC, andmust make a successful Willpower check in order to maintain the concentration necessary for spell casting.
If a wizard's Magic Points drops to -50% or lower, he becomes exhausted. He suffers a -6 penalty to his To Hit rolls, Skill Checks, and Saving Throws. His Movement and all of his stats are at 50%, and all opponents gain a +6 on their To Hit rolls against him. And he still has to roll a successful Willpower check to cast spells.
If a wizard's Magic Points ever fall to -100% or less, every time he successfully casts a spell (after a successful Willpower check), he has to save vs Fortitude or die.

I think that should adequately lower a wizard's power level.

tesral
04-26-2008, 10:30 PM
If I am understanding this right a Wizard has to "damage" himself to cast spells? No, undue burden. They have few enough hit points as it is.

I don't thing that passes the increased play value bar.

I have never really had anyone complain about my modified wizard casting. Fire and don't forget. It make them a little more powerful, but you are not getting 66 fireballs a day.

I don't think the D&D magic system can be "fixed" with spell points. I have seen a dozen of more tries, it either comes out too powerful or totally nerfed. I've given the task up.

Now, if you want to ditch the entire D&D system and come up with a spell point d20 system that does work, more power to you. I wouldn't waste one minute trying to make it compatable. Start from scratch, blank page. I would give up trying to fix the system in that direction. Good effort after bad.

JSorenson1979
04-27-2008, 01:44 AM
The purpose of any rule (whether in D&D, chess or Marco Polo) is to make the game more fun. Any rule that gets you closer to the completely subjective experience of fun is a good rule. Notions of a base system which are somehow inviolate and unmodifiable are nonsense. Simplicity is often fun, but not always.



Actually I mostly agree with you here. One of the primary virtues of a linear spell point system is simplicity and versatility. The rules fixes I proposed are fixes to hypothetical problems you proposed. I mostly believe your 'problems' are non-problems, but even so I endeavored to show, even if we grant the problem, they are easily resolvable using very simple rules*edit*

I think that our main disagreement is a question of preference...I prefer a simplified and streamlined ruleset built on a unified mechanic and straightforward mathematics. (whereas D&D features an exceptions based design, though this has been less true with each successive edition) but these things are certainly not strictly required in order to have a fun game, so I must concede this point to you.

I stand by my critique however, though Fireball may not be the best example...afterall it isn't as powerful a spell as it seems to many people, as I'm sure many of you know. Perhaps 66 Bestow Curse Spells would be a better example. Or 40 Cloudkill spells, or 33 Contingency or Circle of Death or Disintegration spells. I could go on.

Of course these things can be mitigated by adding on yet more mechanical exceptions to limit the use...which makes the system more clunky. But again we come back to a mere difference in preference concerning game mechanics. I would however, by interested to know what experience levels these characters were playing at though, just to satisfy my own curiosity.

So in light of this, I'll have to change my thesis from "spell points don't work at all" to "spell points don't work any better than the vancian system" which I still stand by.

I can almost guarantee though, that buried somewhere in the spell compendium is a lower level spell, maybe 6th or 7th level....that is so affective, that a dozen uses in a day will break the game. I suggest you start looking for it.

Annshadow
04-27-2008, 10:46 AM
I think that our main disagreement is a question of preference...I prefer a simplified and streamlined ruleset built on a unified mechanic and straightforward mathematics. (whereas D&D features an exceptions based design, though this has been less true with each successive edition) but these things are certainly not strictly required in order to have a fun game, so I must concede this point to you.

I stand by my critique however, though Fireball may not be the best example...afterall it isn't as powerful a spell as it seems to many people, as I'm sure many of you know. Perhaps 66 Bestow Curse Spells would be a better example. Or 40 Cloudkill spells, or 33 Contingency or Circle of Death or Disintegration spells. I could go on.

Of course these things can be mitigated by adding on yet more mechanical exceptions to limit the use...which makes the system more clunky. But again we come back to a mere difference in preference concerning game mechanics. I would however, by interested to know what experience levels these characters were playing at though, just to satisfy my own curiosity.

So in light of this, I'll have to change my thesis from "spell points don't work at all" to "spell points don't work any better than the vancian system" which I still stand by.

I can almost guarantee though, that buried somewhere in the spell compendium is a lower level spell, maybe 6th or 7th level....that is so affective, that a dozen uses in a day will break the game. I suggest you start looking for it.

^^ Like almost all of the Ray spells that do ability DAMAGE [ray of stupidity, comes to mind again.... Level 3 wiz one shotting ANY hydra [no save no spell resist ranged touch attack] or ANY animal.... T-Rex ect

As with the Psion rules which seems extremely powerful a closer look reveals a more balanced system.

although you will get more spells the lower level spells will be resisted and their save is a lot lower

The mechanics actually work out where a high level sorcerer is more powerful with spell slots then with spell points.

I invite you all to read up on the Psion threads which counter this arguement.

JSorenson1979
04-27-2008, 10:31 PM
Perhaps the problem was trying to combine a "Magic Point System" with the vancian style "Fire & Forget" style. Maybe they could have a syatem more like this:

Wizard's Magic Points = Wizard's Hit Points
Magic Point Cost = Minimum Level To Cast Spell (1st lvl=1mp, 2nd lvl=3mp, 3rd lvl=5pm, etc).

If a wizard's Magic Points drops to 0 or lower, he becomes fatigued. He suffers a -3 penalty to his Movement, To Hit rolls, Skill Checks, Saving Throws, and AC, andmust make a successful Willpower check in order to maintain the concentration necessary for spell casting.
If a wizard's Magic Points drops to -50% or lower, he becomes exhausted. He suffers a -6 penalty to his To Hit rolls, Skill Checks, and Saving Throws. His Movement and all of his stats are at 50%, and all opponents gain a +6 on their To Hit rolls against him. And he still has to roll a successful Willpower check to cast spells.
If a wizard's Magic Points ever fall to -100% or less, every time he successfully casts a spell (after a successful Willpower check), he has to save vs Fortitude or die.

I think that should adequately lower a wizard's power level.

It's a decent idea...but as I see it, there are two major problems:

A)the goal isn't to lower a Wizards power, or daily spell casting capability but rather to keep it comparable to Wizards using the vancian system.

B) This doesn't take into account other spell casting classes.

Let's say that we take the average Wizards HP at 20th level: 42 (assuming no constitution modifier and an average roll of 2HP per level) this is enough for the Wizard to cast 4 9th level spells, but not much else.

If we look at a Cleric or a Druid, who we can expect to have an avergae of 84hp by 20th level, which means that they can cast 8 9th level spells as opposed to the Wizards 4. So their spell casting capability is significantly increased.

Also, if we take a look at a multiclassed character; say a 1Fighter/9Wizard/10Eldritch Knight, who would have an average of 58HP at level 20, or a 3Rogue/7Wizard/10Arcane Trickster who would have an average of 46hp at level 20; both of whom can be expected to have a greater spell casting capacity than the Wizard.

You see the problem.

Actually, the best alternate system to the vancian ideal for a D&D style spell tier system is the one used in Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed.

In this system, Spell casters had a finite amount of spells they could prepare each given day, and from this prearranged repetoire, they could cast spontaneously. Simple, elegant, and works well with traditional D&D magic.

gdmcbride
04-28-2008, 01:22 AM
I can almost guarantee though, that buried somewhere in the spell compendium is a lower level spell, maybe 6th or 7th level....that is so affective, that a dozen uses in a day will break the game. I suggest you start looking for it.

Ummm...no thanks. Generally, I prefer to run games core only with players having to request and receive approval on anything in other supplements. Seems to keep the game breakers to a minimum.

Gary

gdmcbride
04-28-2008, 01:39 AM
^^ Like almost all of the Ray spells that do ability DAMAGE [ray of stupidity, comes to mind again.... Level 3 wiz one shotting ANY hydra [no save no spell resist ranged touch attack] or ANY animal.... T-Rex ect


That spell sounds broken casting it ONE time per day.

Gary

JSorenson1979
04-28-2008, 02:07 AM
That spell sounds broken casting it ONE time per day.

Gary

It's exactly as broken as Ray of Enfeeblement.

And Spell Compendium IS core.

gdmcbride
04-28-2008, 03:08 AM
It's exactly as broken as Ray of Enfeeblement.

And Spell Compendium IS core.

Ray of enfeelbement allow spell resistance and can never take STR below one. Those are major upgrades if ray of stupidity allows that.

I don't consider the Spell Compendium core. Everything in that needs approval individually when I run a D&D game. The description of ray of stupidity is making me not regret that decision.

Gary

Annshadow
04-28-2008, 07:53 AM
Ray of enfeelbement allow spell resistance and can never take STR below one. Those are major upgrades if ray of stupidity allows that.

I don't consider the Spell Compendium core. Everything in that needs approval individually when I run a D&D game. The description of ray of stupidity is making me not regret that decision.

Gary

After discussing the spell with my DM and since we were in an outdoor adventure with a lot of T-Rex sized stuff we decided that the spell casters could only use PHB and PHB II and DMG for all feats and spells.

In Spell Compendium there are several spells that do ability DAMAGE to dex and as we all know Damage is different that ability Penalty in that damage stacks with damage and a penalty does not.

I really am looking forward to version 4.

It seems like over time the spells have gotten way out of step and the different prestige classes have become so much cheese. I believe version 3.5 has become so big it is broken.

My DM plans on running a ver. 4 game as soon as possible and I will be buying the book asap.

Tony Misfeldt
04-28-2008, 05:02 PM
It's a decent idea...but as I see it, there are two major problems:

A)the goal isn't to lower a Wizards power, or daily spell casting capability but rather to keep it comparable to Wizards using the vancian system.

B) This doesn't take into account other spell casting classes.

Let's say that we take the average Wizards HP at 20th level: 42 (assuming no constitution modifier and an average roll of 2HP per level) this is enough for the Wizard to cast 4 9th level spells, but not much else.

If we look at a Cleric or a Druid, who we can expect to have an avergae of 84hp by 20th level, which means that they can cast 8 9th level spells as opposed to the Wizards 4. So their spell casting capability is significantly increased.

Also, if we take a look at a multiclassed character; say a 1Fighter/9Wizard/10Eldritch Knight, who would have an average of 58HP at level 20, or a 3Rogue/7Wizard/10Arcane Trickster who would have an average of 46hp at level 20; both of whom can be expected to have a greater spell casting capacity than the Wizard.

You see the problem.

Actually, the best alternate system to the vancian ideal for a D&D style spell tier system is the one used in Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed.

In this system, Spell casters had a finite amount of spells they could prepare each given day, and from this prearranged repetoire, they could cast spontaneously. Simple, elegant, and works well with traditional D&D magic.

Well, the rule was originally intended for use in conjunction with the vancian "fire & forget" system. It could use a little fine tuning to be used on it's own. As for a 20th level wizard only being capable of casting 4 9th level spells? Well first of all you're assuming he's only going to be using the 42 Spell Points he has without fatiguing or exhausting himself. Secondly, you're also assuming that during a conflict or crisis he's going to launch all his heaviest artillary first thing. The most commonly used spells are between 3rd and 6th level. And I have taken into account that priests, clerics, druids, bards, and other spell casting classes have more hit points and would thus be able to cast more spells as well. But you also have to remember that these classes have fewer "weapons of mass destruction" in their spell repetoirs and would thus be less likely to throw game balance off.

You are also forgetting that the purpose of the old vancian "fire and forget" system was so that the wizard wouldn't be the overly powerful member of the team and just waltz into every situation and just blast it away with one devistating spell after another. So the purpose of the spell point system is in fact to keep the wizard class power level in check, just as the vacian system is. If magic is cast without some form of cost (forgetting the spell, physical pain, fatigue and exhaustion, etc) then there would be no room for warriors or rogues in the game. Everyone would be a spellcaster of some sort.

JSorenson1979
04-28-2008, 08:09 PM
Ray of Stupidity isn't the only example of a spell that is poorly considered and written and has the potential to be game breaking.

Anyway, If the spell point thing works for you, then great. but heed this warning, the right player can take a system like this, and exploit it to dizzying heights of merciless game-rape if you're not careful. Most people, even gamers, don't have the capability to pour through dry mechanical text and pick out semantics loop holes that will allow maximum exploitation. But power gamers do think in this way, so keep a close eye on things, even core material.

Malruhn
04-28-2008, 09:00 PM
Okay, let's play the game for a moment...

There sits a wizard that can cast 33 Sonic Balls (10d6 damage per) each day. Let's even go further... let's give him extended ranges and more AOE on his explosions of sound.

The fix? Simple - a change of venue!!

No open battle-field battles! Make it a city setting with lots of innocent civilians. Make it a cave setting with lots of stalactites to fall on heads if things get loud. Make it a situation where undue attention will bring down thousands of evil baddies.

Go ahead, uber-wizard of soundness!! Cast your spells!! I dare you!!!

Case One: After the authorities get done with the wizard for killing civilians, things will be easy... twenty-five to life years from now when he gets out of the dungeon.

Case Two: One spell, and the entire group has to save or be skewered multiple times. So does that pretty, pretty Princess that they were trying to save.

Case Three: One Spell and the entirety of the Nation of Evilness will be down their throats. Go ahead, Mr. 33 Balls of sound a day - you can't stop ten thousand bad guys.

If the idea that a 33 Fireball a day Wizard breaks your game, I don't think it's the game - I think it's your DM.

JSorenson1979
04-29-2008, 02:50 AM
Well, the rule was originally intended for use in conjunction with the vancian "fire & forget" system. It could use a little fine tuning to be used on it's own. As for a 20th level wizard only being capable of casting 4 9th level spells? Well first of all you're assuming he's only going to be using the 42 Spell Points he has without fatiguing or exhausting himself. Secondly, you're also assuming that during a conflict or crisis he's going to launch all his heaviest artillary first thing. The most commonly used spells are between 3rd and 6th level. And I have taken into account that priests, clerics, druids, bards, and other spell casting classes have more hit points and would thus be able to cast more spells as well. But you also have to remember that these classes have fewer "weapons of mass destruction" in their spell repetoirs and would thus be less likely to throw game balance off.

Clerics and Druids get some of the heaviest damage dealings sells in the game (Insect Plague, Storm of Vengeance, Harm, Energy Drain, Mass Inflict Critical Wounds, Earthquake, etc. and let us not forget access to spells like Implosion, Disintegrate and Incendiary Cloud through Clerical domains)

Also, Evocations aren't actually the most effective spells in the game...they're just the most flashy. I would put Enchantement and Illusion spells at the top of that list.


You are also forgetting that the purpose of the old vancian "fire and forget" system was so that the wizard wouldn't be the overly powerful member of the team and just waltz into every situation and just blast it away with one devistating spell after another. So the purpose of the spell point system is in fact to keep the wizard class power level in check, just as the vacian system is. If magic is cast without some form of cost (forgetting the spell, physical pain, fatigue and exhaustion, etc) then there would be no room for warriors or rogues in the game. Everyone would be a spellcaster of some sort.

Fat lot of good it did. Spellcasters are still significantly more powerful than Fighters and Rogues.

You know what does do a good job of keeping casters in check and cranking up the power level of nonmagical classes?

4th Edition! Woo hoo:p


Okay, let's play the game for a moment...

There sits a wizard that can cast 33 Sonic Balls (10d6 damage per) each day. Let's even go further... let's give him extended ranges and more AOE on his explosions of sound.

The fix? Simple - a change of venue!!

No open battle-field battles! Make it a city setting with lots of innocent civilians. Make it a cave setting with lots of stalactites to fall on heads if things get loud. Make it a situation where undue attention will bring down thousands of evil baddies.

Go ahead, uber-wizard of soundness!! Cast your spells!! I dare you!!!

Case One: After the authorities get done with the wizard for killing civilians, things will be easy... twenty-five to life years from now when he gets out of the dungeon.

Case Two: One spell, and the entire group has to save or be skewered multiple times. So does that pretty, pretty Princess that they were trying to save.

Case Three: One Spell and the entirety of the Nation of Evilness will be down their throats. Go ahead, Mr. 33 Balls of sound a day - you can't stop ten thousand bad guys.

If the idea that a 33 Fireball a day Wizard breaks your game, I don't think it's the game - I think it's your DM.

Wow...all of that effort just to nerf someone using a house-ruled magic system? Seems like the easier way to do it would be to stick with the system that the game was designed for.

Also, how many players do you know that think about things like extraneous collateral damage? Remember the game is based around playing impulsive sociopaths that make their livings through home invasion, murder and burglary...so you may be overestimating their moral fiber just a little.

And I wouldn't be so sure about a 20th level Wizard not being able to take out 10,000 guys. Especially with 33 Chain Lightning spells, or 22 Weird Spells, or maybe just one Gate spell. How many of those guys do you think would have a weapon capable of hitting an enraged Pit Fiend?

I once had a 9th level Fighter that dropped over one hundred guys in a single fight. The only time I was ever glad that I took Great CLeave.

tesral
04-29-2008, 11:36 AM
Given the D&D spell system is not perfect. It works more or less however; Spell points while a keen idea,and I'll say it again, do not graft onto this system well. I have tried and watched other people try to hammer spell points onto exsisting D&D magic for 32 years. 32 years of not getting it right.

If you want a point based system throw the whole thing out, Lock, stock, and spell levels. Start with a clean page.

upidstay
04-29-2008, 06:50 PM
I've been doing spell points for years. I use the simple 1 spell point per spell level system. Works great, never had a problem. I have recently instituted a "Fatigue Point" system to prevent someone from casting nothing but high level spells. Basically, you can cast up to 5th level spells all you want. After that, a spell incurs one Fatigue Point per spell level above 5th. You can accrue FP's equal to your Character level plus your Concentration skill score. 8 hours of sleep will wipe out FP's equal to your character level. PC's are still only 3rd level, so not sure how this will work. Will keep you posted.

fmitchell
04-29-2008, 07:28 PM
I have recently instituted a "Fatigue Point" system to prevent someone from casting nothing but high level spells. Basically, you can cast up to 5th level spells all you want. After that, a spell incurs one Fatigue Point per spell level above 5th. You can accrue FP's equal to your Character level plus your Concentration skill score.

Actually, this sounds similar to the Spell Point system in Iron Heroes, and the "Unlimited Mana" (http://www.io.com/~sjohn/unlimited-mana.htm) system for GURPS (which already uses fatigue points to power spells). In both, every arcane caster has a budget of "mana points" he can use safely per day. The caster can spend *over* that budget, but the further in debt he goes, the more likely spells will fail, backfire, or take effect on the wrong target. Mana points return on an hourly or daily basis, but (at least with Umana) at a fraction of the mage's total mana capacity.

With "Unlimited Mana", mages can reliably cast incredibly powerful spells ... once or twice a day. After that, they have to recover their mana, or become a walking time bomb.

Malruhn
04-29-2008, 07:58 PM
Wow...all of that effort just to nerf someone using a house-ruled magic system? Seems like the easier way to do it would be to stick with the system that the game was designed for.I don't have a problem with spell points. No need to nerf it - or someone that uses it. I just play my NPC's like that have an INT and WIS score.
Also, how many players do you know that think about things like extraneous collateral damage? Remember the game is based around playing impulsive sociopaths that make their livings through home invasion, murder and burglary...so you may be overestimating their moral fiber just a little.How many players don't think about it? All the munchkins that I know. Once a person stops playing for high-score, they mature into people that do consider things like collateral damage.

Or at least they will with their next character! :lol:
And I wouldn't be so sure about a 20th level Wizard not being able to take out 10,000 guys. Especially with 33 Chain Lightning spells, or 22 Weird Spells, or maybe just one Gate spell. How many of those guys do you think would have a weapon capable of hitting an enraged Pit Fiend?
Perhaps one. However of those 10,000, there will be at least 1000 with bows. How many thousands of hit points did this mage have again? A holdover from the original D&D game was that a summoned monster disappeared when the summoner was killed. Only an idiot fights a pit fiend on equal terms, because the pit fiend will win - every time.
I once had a 9th level Fighter that dropped over one hundred guys in a single fight. The only time I was ever glad that I took Great CLeave.You did well - on an encounter that used all the AI of a console-style video game. If your enemy sees that you are able to mince them with your three foot blade, then if they have an INT score of over 2 (animal intelligence), they will stay at least 3.5 feet away. If they have an INT of better than 8, they will use a four foot - or better - weapon. If they have an INT of 10 or better, they will use a missile weapon.

In my campaign, you would be able to take out about 15 enemy. The other 85 would turn you into a porcupine.

It truly sucks to battle a monster that actually gets to USE their INT scores. If they have a WIS score, then you are in REAL trouble! :laugh:

JSorenson1979
04-30-2008, 05:41 AM
I've been doing spell points for years. I use the simple 1 spell point per spell level system. Works great, never had a problem. I have recently instituted a "Fatigue Point" system to prevent someone from casting nothing but high level spells. Basically, you can cast up to 5th level spells all you want. After that, a spell incurs one Fatigue Point per spell level above 5th. You can accrue FP's equal to your Character level plus your Concentration skill score. 8 hours of sleep will wipe out FP's equal to your character level. PC's are still only 3rd level, so not sure how this will work. Will keep you posted.

Because that's MUCH easier than "Wizard gets 4 6th level spells per day"

Is your goal to make the game MORE complicated?

tesral
04-30-2008, 07:31 AM
Because that's MUCH easier than "Wizard gets 4 6th level spells per day"

Is your goal to make the game MORE complicated?

Simpler is usually better. A more complicated rules MUST add sufficient play value to over set the added complication. This seldom happens. It is one of the reasons I have not opted for a "better" magic system. The current one works well enough and all my players understand it. No one is complaining that spell casters are either under powered or over powered.

Since no one is complaining, it ain't broke. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

JSorenson1979
04-30-2008, 07:41 AM
Perhaps one. However of those 10,000, there will be at least 1000 with bows. How many thousands of hit points did this mage have again? A holdover from the original D&D game was that a summoned monster disappeared when the summoner was killed. Only an idiot fights a pit fiend on equal terms, because the pit fiend will win - every time.

There are two problems with this logic.

A) While summoned creatures do in fact disappear back to their home plane when their summoner is killed, a Pit Fiend brought over via Gate spell would not. This is because Gate is a calling effect rather than a summoning effect.

B) The other problem is, even the threat posed by your 1,000 archers is negated by a simple Fly Spell. And I guarantee that the Wizards arsenal has a much higher effective range than arrows. As a matter of fact, a 20th level Wizard using spell points could just fly 200ft. in the air and Summon Pit Fiend after Pit Fiend while no one in that army could touch him. (Here's a side question...how many Pit Fiends do you think it would take to tear through 10,000 1HD schmucks with mundane weapons) And hey...if things really got hairy...the Wizard could just teleport to safety and then do it again the very next day.

See...aren't spell points grand?


You did well - on an encounter that used all the AI of a console-style video game. If your enemy sees that you are able to mince them with your three foot blade, then if they have an INT score of over 2 (animal intelligence), they will stay at least 3.5 feet away. If they have an INT of better than 8, they will use a four foot - or better - weapon. If they have an INT of 10 or better, they will use a missile weapon.

In my campaign, you would be able to take out about 15 enemy. The other 85 would turn you into a porcupine.

This particular fight took place during a large scale battle, and most of the bad guys I killed were peon Orc foot soldiers...who were relenetlessly charging a line of steadfast defenders. They didn't have missile weapons. Or hell, maybe teeming hordes of thousands and thousands of Orcs are each as well provisioned as a typical PC in your campaign and thus each of them has a shotgun. That'll keep those pesky fighters in line.

And hey...why shouldn't a higher level Fighter be able to take out a hundred? Afterall, under your system a Wizard can just Summon Pit Fiends or Solars then disappear...fighters should at least get the chance to get a decent body count in the face of the world shattering power your wizards and Clerics.

Also, I don't play video games skippy.




It truly sucks to battle a monster that actually gets to USE their INT scores. If they have a WIS score, then you are in REAL trouble! :laugh:

you should try using your own INT score

Skunkape
04-30-2008, 09:59 AM
B) The other problem is, even the threat posed by your 1,000 archers is negated by a simple Fly Spell. And I guarantee that the Wizards arsenal has a much higher effective range than arrows. As a matter of fact, a 20th level Wizard using spell points could just fly 200ft. in the air and Summon Pit Fiend after Pit Fiend while no one in that army could touch him. (Here's a side question...how many Pit Fiends do you think it would take to tear through 10,000 1HD schmucks with mundane weapons) And hey...if things really got hairy...the Wizard could just teleport to safety and then do it again the very next day.

Why are 1HD schmucks going up against a 20th level wizard without some higher levels with them? Plus, even a 3rd level ranger could easily hit that 20th wizard flying at 200ft!

Farcaster
04-30-2008, 01:27 PM
First of all, lets cool it on the personal attacks. Again, if you haven't already, please read over the forum rules.



B) The other problem is, even the threat posed by your 1,000 archers is negated by a simple Fly Spell. And I guarantee that the Wizards arsenal has a much higher effective range than arrows. As a matter of fact, a 20th level Wizard using spell points could just fly 200ft. in the air and Summon Pit Fiend after Pit Fiend while no one in that army could touch him.

The range increment on a heavy cross bow is 120 feet and a longbow has a range increment of 100 feet, meaning the archers in your scenario could still peg the wizard in this example at that range -- or even out to 1,000+ feet, actually!. Granted your wizard is probably going to have an impossible to hit AC for the archers, but through the magic of natural-20s, they will still be able to hit him. So, that means that your 1000 archers would score an average of 50 hits per round. Two to three of those are going to be confirmed criticals as well. And if you use the optional 20-20-20 instant death rule, there is a roughly 10% chance every round that one of the 1,000 archers is going to outright kill your wizard boy. (My dice ache just thinking about rolling that many d20s, btw!)

Nonetheless, 48 regular hits at say 4 hit points a strike is an average of 192 points of damage. If we're using long bows, the confirmed critical hits are going to add an average of 12 points each. So round one your wizard is taking 216 points of damage. If he had Protection from Arrows up, its gone now and he took 116 points of damage. If he additionally had Stone Skin up, that only has 34 points left on it now. Next round he's in trouble if he's still in range.

So, indeed, it seems that in the outlandish event that a wizard is being confronted by one thousand level one archers that can all spot-on fire on him Hero style, they definitely have a shot of defeating him -- and relatively quickly, actually, if the wizard uses those tactics.



See...aren't spell points grand?
As you pointed out, realistically how many Pit fiends would it take to wipe out a town? Not too many. So spell points aside, he could still use much of the same tactics. Of course, it is fair to point out that every time the wizard calls one of those pit fiends using Gate he is burning 1,000 XP. He can also only control one at a time unless he is 36th level or higher. And, yeah, if he's 36th level, he should definitely be able to wipe out a town on his own unless there are some powerful adversaries to stand in his way. He could basically be considered a demi-power at that level anyway!

MortonStromgal
04-30-2008, 01:46 PM
What I dont like about the D&D magic system... There is no flexiblity! With most classes you must pick what spells you have chosen to memorize for which spell slot. 3 fireballs 2 magic missles etc, I find this stupid. I'm ok if you limit me to only picking a hand full of spells but then I should be able to cast them infinitely or limit me to spells per day but let me pick on the fly what I cast. I also have no problems with spell points as is. Slinging magic missile every round in a combat doesn't bug me on either side of the screen. Personally I think WFRP 2nd got it right, you can sling spells as much as you want but they may backlash.

Malruhn
04-30-2008, 10:54 PM
I will never argue that the system as it stands is something on the other side of silly.

Now, Joe Peon will at least have a passing familiarity with spell casters. I'm not talking about Knowledge: Magus-1 or anything, just that they summon stuff and that if the wizard gets killed the critters summoned will go away. They won't know about Gate, but it doesn't matter at all. They will still attempt to get rid of the wizard... and 200' won't matter a darn, considering the number of concentration checks the wizard will have to roll as he is attempting to concentrate on FLYING (not hovering), and also casting spells (9th level, no less!), and getting hit by lots of arrows.

Two rounds later, after the wizard's dead body gets done bouncing on the ground, the orcs will realize that this wizard had big mojo as they all die at the hands of an angry pit fiend... but the wizard will still be dead.

And we didn't have to magically gift the orcs with anything more than an 8-9 INT score.
___________________________

Then we get to play with the battle with the 100 peons being killed by one sword-wielding fighter. The description is similar, but the battle was skewed from the start. A sword is very expensive in raw materials to create, while a bow (even a crappy one at -4 to hit or worse) is quite cheap. Any being strong enough to build an army of thousands of orcs will have to have an INT high enough to realize that nothing but swords will end up being too costly to his/her army. Bad guys are smart. They should be used that way.

I question your DM's competence and judgment. This was a gimme.

tesral
05-01-2008, 06:01 AM
Then we get to play with the battle with the 100 peons being killed by one sword-wielding fighter. The description is similar, but the battle was skewed from the start. A sword is very expensive in raw materials to create, while a bow (even a crappy one at -4 to hit or worse) is quite cheap. Any being strong enough to build an army of thousands of orcs will have to have an INT high enough to realize that nothing but swords will end up being too costly to his/her army. Bad guys are smart. They should be used that way.

I question your DM's competence and judgment. This was a gimme.

Spears are cheaper still. The majority weapon. While the materials for a bow are cheap, it takes time to make an archer, two years of constant practice in fact (My bow case is in the living room). There is a great deal of effort behind every arrow. You can't slack off on the fletchings, it won't fly right (I fletch my own shafts, and have modern equipment). You can get a decent pikeman in half an hour.

In general, pikes were cheaper than archers, archers cheaper than men-a-arms. Traditionally archers were not seen as a war willing weapon until the Welsh Longbow became the English national weapon. A shortbow lacks the cast to be effective at range, unless we are talking the Mongol horse bow. That short bow has the draw to have an effective cast. But again it takes time to make an effective archer.

Again know the circumstances before you condemn.

Kilrex
05-01-2008, 07:32 AM
Traditionally archers were not seen as a war willing weapon until the Welsh Longbow became the English national weapon. A shortbow lacks the cast to be effective at range, unless we are talking the Mongol horse bow. That short bow has the draw to have an effective cast. But again it takes time to make an effective archer.

WRONG! You as most western people are only thinking of Europe. Bowmen were integral to many ancient armies, especially used for garrison troops. Pictures in the pyramids depict archers. Chinese armies had thousands of archers. Arabians and Persians used mounted archers as skirmishers well before the Mongrels, but definitely not as good due to lack of stirrups. Indians used archers in baskets on the back of elephants and were considered an elite troop. And in the Americas the archer was the high end of warfare technology.

JSorenson1979
05-01-2008, 12:20 PM
I will never argue that the system as it stands is something on the other side of silly.

Silly in that it's easy and that it works better than any of the substitutions people have tried over many many years?

You're absolutely right.


Now, Joe Peon will at least have a passing familiarity with spell casters. I'm not talking about Knowledge: Magus-1 or anything, just that they summon stuff and that if the wizard gets killed the critters summoned will go away. They won't know about Gate, but it doesn't matter at all. They will still attempt to get rid of the wizard... and 200' won't matter a darn, considering the number of concentration checks the wizard will have to roll as he is attempting to concentrate on FLYING (not hovering), and also casting spells (9th level, no less!), and getting hit by lots of arrows.

Two rounds later, after the wizard's dead body gets done bouncing on the ground, the orcs will realize that this wizard had big mojo as they all die at the hands of an angry pit fiend... but the wizard will still be dead.

And we didn't have to magically gift the orcs with anything more than an 8-9 INT score.

Wow...those are some unusually well learned Joe Peons...especially considering that they have below average Intelligence scores...what with knowing all those esoteric mechanics surrounding Wizards and all.

But we'll give your army of peons the benefit of the doubt, and assume not only that they know the rules of magic, but also that 10,000 of them, traveling en masse, can approach a Wizards domicile without him knowing hours in advance. Because I know that MY high level wizards live in indefensible cottages with absolutely no security whatsoever:rolleyes:

Well now let's look at the math. You're typical Orc peon has a -2 WILL save, which means that in the face of an illusion, say a Persistent Image spell depicting said Wizard fleeing in terror, which would have a WILL save DC of 19 (assuming a 19 INT score for the Wizard and no feats focusing on illusion spells) which means that the only way they can make the save is by rolling a natural 20, which statistically only 1% will roll. (also, assuming they all attempt to disbelieve) that means that the ruse will fool all but 100 of the Orcs.

Meanwhile the Wizard will have no doubt cast greater invisibility (My high level spell casters always have this memorized as a quickened spell...but the we've already established that this particular Wizard is completely incompetent) upon his person. This will also fool all but 100 of the Orcs.

Then come the Pit Fiends. Lots of them, while taking a break every once in a while to recast improved invisibility on him/herself. This is of course, using the aforementioned spell point system.

The moral of this story is you don't send an army of 10,000 peons to kill a 20th level wizard, you send 4 experienced adventurers.


Then we get to play with the battle with the 100 peons being killed by one sword-wielding fighter. The description is similar, but the battle was skewed from the start. A sword is very expensive in raw materials to create, while a bow (even a crappy one at -4 to hit or worse) is quite cheap. Any being strong enough to build an army of thousands of orcs will have to have an INT high enough to realize that nothing but swords will end up being too costly to his/her army. Bad guys are smart. They should be used that way.

You seem to be under the assumption that:

A) My character killed all of these foes within a few rounds, when in fact this battle took place over an entire day

B) Said character was fighting alone when in fact he was fighting at the vanguard of an army

C) That he didn't take a beating throughout all of this, when in fact he came close to dying a few times.

D) That the enemy army was a well trained and organized fighting force rather than a barbarous horde of brutish thugs being pushed inexorably forward though they couldn't see 10ft. in front of them by comanders, who had the only vantage point, and who's primary tactics involved overwhelming the enemy by sheer numbers, which actually worked better than you would imagine.


I question your DM's competence and judgment. This was a gimme.

You've never gamed with that DM, and have only scant knowledge of the events, without regard to circumstance and rationale. Therefore you have no grounds to make any judgment concerning his competency or judgement.

Also, I think that you may be thinking of a different game, possibly Warhammer FRP or Rolemaster...a game where they PC's aren't super human engines of destruction like they are in Dungeons & Dragons.

tesral
05-01-2008, 01:13 PM
WRONG! You as most western people are only thinking of Europe. Bowmen were integral to many ancient armies, especially used for garrison troops. Pictures in the pyramids depict archers. Chinese armies had thousands of archers. Arabians and Persians used mounted archers as skirmishers well before the Mongrels, but definitely not as good due to lack of stirrups. Indians used archers in baskets on the back of elephants and were considered an elite troop. And in the Americas the archer was the high end of warfare technology.

And the short bow does not have the cast to be as effective as the long bow, unless it has the full draw. I can see guys on elephants being elite troops. Ancient armies also didn't go in for armor quite as much. And yes, Harold died of a Norman arrow.

Cast is cast. It effects the viable range of the bow in question. Ancient archers with short cast would have to get in much closer.

Example: 80 pound hand cross bow. The bolt starts dying at ten yards. It has a 6 inch cast, the draw weight not withstanding. 40 pound recurve, 28 inch cast. Will drive an arrow into 3/4 inch plywood at 20 yards. Effective against soft targets out to 100 yards. Those two are bows I own and know well. The Welsh longbows had draw weights of 100 to 120 pounds. Similar cast depending on the height of the archer.

I never call a bow inefective. But only the Mongol and the Welsh bow had power and range.

Tony Misfeldt
05-01-2008, 09:07 PM
Clerics and Druids get some of the heaviest damage dealings sells in the game (Insect Plague, Storm of Vengeance, Harm, Energy Drain, Mass Inflict Critical Wounds, Earthquake, etc. and let us not forget access to spells like Implosion, Disintegrate and Incendiary Cloud through Clerical domains)

Also, Evocations aren't actually the most effective spells in the game...they're just the most flashy. I would put Enchantement and Illusion spells at the top of that list.



Fat lot of good it did. Spellcasters are still significantly more powerful than Fighters and Rogues.

You know what does do a good job of keeping casters in check and cranking up the power level of nonmagical classes?

4th Edition! Woo hoo:p


1) I never said druids and clerics/priests don't have the heaviest damage dealing spells in the game, I said they have fewer of them and they're farther between. They also get them much later in their careers. Wizards and sorcerers get spells like Magic Missile, Melf's Acid Arrow, and Fireball very early in their careers as adventuring spellcasters. Clerics/priests and druids don't get their really heavy firepower until much later.

2) Spellcasters are always going to be more powerful than fighters and rogues at the higher levels. Compared to a wizard's Discintigration spell or a high priest's Destruction spell, a fighter with a longsword and shield or a rogue with a shortsword and dagger aren't too intimidating, no matter how many of what feats they have. The idea isn't to keep them the weakest characters forever, it was to keep them from dominating the party right out of the gate.

3) I haven't seen anything official on 4th edition yet, so I'll save my judgements for later.

If you don't like the "Fire & Forget" system, and you want your wizards to be able to cast whatever spells they want whenever they want, turf the Wizard class, rename the sorcerer class "wizards" and just use that. It gives you the freedom of not having to memorize your spells every day, but you can still only cast so many per day. You may wish to tweek the class a bit to allow for more spells at first level, but that would effectively give you what you're looking for.

If you want to try a point based system, I'd try to develope a system which simulates the spell casting in Buffy The Vampire Slayer seasons 5-7. In Season 5, Buffy's BFF Willow (who was a very powerful witch) decided to take on the demon goddess Glory to avenge her lesbian lover Tara whom Glory had made insane. She blasted Glory with everything she had, which drained her and made her physically weak (fatigued). In Season 6, Willow cast a resurection spell to bring Buffy back from the dead. But when the demon bikers attacked Sunnydale, Willow was too weak from her spellcasting to cast any more spells. Later in the season, Willow transmuted Amy from a rat back into a girl (Amy's also a witch who turned herself into a rat to escape an angry mob, but couldn't change back). When they went out to The Bronze club together, they cast a bunch of spells to liven the place up how they wanted it. When Willow got home, she was so magically spent she couldn't close the drapes with a simple telekenisis spell (very simple in the Whedonverse). Then in the two part season finale "Hell Hath No Fury Like A Wicca Scorned", Willow went on a murderous rampage to kill Warren, Andrew, and Johnathen after a stray bullet from Warren's gun killed Tara. She ran so hot for so long magically that she burned herself out and had to "recharge" by draining the lifeforce of other powerful witches or powerful magic items. And in the final episode of Season 7, Willow cast a spell to unlock the power of all the potensial vampire slayers all around the world creating an army of Slayers. Once the spell was cast she collapsed and said "That was neat." If you're going to be using a spell point system, that is a good model to base it on in my opinion. It grants the power you're looking for without overbalancing the game one way or the other.

Tony Misfeldt
05-02-2008, 03:11 PM
Fourth, casting fireball 66 times per day does not break D&D. A 20th level wizard can easily afford a wand of fireballs which means they can shoot 50 fireballs if they so choose. Your case against Sonic Energy substitution is a better critique against that ability than against spell points. In fact, by 20th level the wizard is mostly wasting their actions by casting such a sub-par spell as a 10d6 fireball or a 5d4+5 magic missile.


Casting Fireball 66 times per day can in fact break a D&D adventure/campaign, unless of course you're adventuring in the lower planes. Using the army of 10000 troops scenario listed, a single wizard could leave most of those troops crispy critters with that many fireballs. About all that would be left would be the high powered enemy commanders. Even using the old "Fire & Forget" system, a single 20th level mage could unleash a whole lot of devistation. There should always be some cost to the mage casting the spells in any game system, whether that cost be the mage's health, forgetting the spell once cast, or whatever. That's just my opinion.

tesral
05-02-2008, 11:02 PM
There should always be some cost to the mage casting the spells in any game system, whether that cost be the mage's health, forgetting the spell once cast, or whatever. That's just my opinion.

So what does swinging a sword all day do to the fighter? How about all that sneaking around, what does it cost the thief?

Why the insistence that the Mage pay a greater price than the other classes?

I've seen high level 3.5 fighters, they lay some serious smack-down on everything around them. The Mages are no slouches, but they have limits. Fighters don't. Thief sneak attack is deadly at those high levels. Again they can sneak all day. Where is the counterbalancing "damage" to them?

The mage is not an over powered game stealer. I see no reason to punish the class. This from a DM PoV as well.

JSorenson1979
05-03-2008, 02:37 AM
So what does swinging a sword all day do to the fighter? How about all that sneaking around, what does it cost the thief?

Why the insistence that the Mage pay a greater price than the other classes?

I've seen high level 3.5 fighters, they lay some serious smack-down on everything around them. The Mages are no slouches, but they have limits. Fighters don't. Thief sneak attack is deadly at those high levels. Again they can sneak all day. Where is the counterbalancing "damage" to them?

The mage is not an over powered game stealer. I see no reason to punish the class. This from a DM PoV as well.

The mage isn't an overpowered game stealer?

They can summon monsters which can fight far better than any Fighter.

The Greater Invisibilty spell makes them stealthier than any Rogue.

Enchantments and Illusions work far better than a Bard's Diplomacy or Bluff skills.

The only classes who's fire a Wizard doesn't completly steal is a Cleric or Druid. They're essentially the all-powerful swiss army nukes of D&D.

This is why I'm glad that 4th edition will be segregating classes and giving them each a unique identity (in most cases) while dialing down the power of magic users and dialing up the capabilities of Rogues and Fighters. Because from my perspective (also a Dm's perspective) the game is a lot more fun for everyone when the classes are balanced with eachother.

upidstay
05-03-2008, 05:52 AM
As I stated earlier, I've been using the same spell point system for years now. My players all love it. I have not found any loss of game balance. No more so than giving a fighter a really powerful sword to go along with the great cleave, greater specialization, greater focus, a very high strength score plus a critical strike can do.
Haven't had a fighter or two get lucky and drop the main "boss" critter with one or two crits? Happened to me. While the mage did 15 points with his Flame arrow spell. There is no saving throw for 1/2 damage with a great sword. I alos remember playing a 20th level thief with a crossbow. I was doing an average of 30 hit poits per bolt, and a heck of alot more if I rolled well or criticaled.

Annshadow
05-03-2008, 08:10 AM
As I stated earlier, I've been using the same spell point system for years now. My players all love it. I have not found any loss of game balance. No more so than giving a fighter a really powerful sword to go along with the great cleave, greater specialization, greater focus, a very high strength score plus a critical strike can do.
Haven't had a fighter or two get lucky and drop the main "boss" critter with one or two crits? Happened to me. While the mage did 15 points with his Flame arrow spell. There is no saving throw for 1/2 damage with a great sword. I alos remember playing a 20th level thief with a crossbow. I was doing an average of 30 hit poits per bolt, and a heck of alot more if I rolled well or criticaled.

One of my most valuable damage spells is casting Haste on the fighter.

Casting Slow on the mobs does more in combat healing then the cleric.

Wizards gots to know their job.

Sure, I do damage with spells too, but not as much as that haste does to the fighter and rogue.

Tony Misfeldt
05-03-2008, 02:17 PM
So what does swinging a sword all day do to the fighter? How about all that sneaking around, what does it cost the thief?

Why the insistence that the Mage pay a greater price than the other classes?

I've seen high level 3.5 fighters, they lay some serious smack-down on everything around them. The Mages are no slouches, but they have limits. Fighters don't. Thief sneak attack is deadly at those high levels. Again they can sneak all day. Where is the counterbalancing "damage" to them?

The mage is not an over powered game stealer. I see no reason to punish the class. This from a DM PoV as well.

There are also optional rules for fatigue and exhaustion for fighters, thieves, priests, and anyone else who goes in for the strait up fight, I just didn't list them because this is a thread about spellpoints and I was trying to stay on topic. Does a fighter become tired swinging his sword all day? Yes. Does this affect his ability to continue swinging his sword? Yes. Is this a little more complicated than just having everyone swing their swords and cast their spells and whatever without any consequences? Sure, but it's also more realistic. As for the thief's stealth? Do you as the DM just have your PCs in perfectly clean & dark stone walkways 100% of the time? Or just make them make one stealth check per game session? You don't put them in brightly lit hallways with sqeaky wooden floorboards? Or make them try to hide in the shadows after running at top speed for several hundred yards (you try hiding when you're gasping for breath)? Or make them try and sneak into enemy teretory when they're severely sleep deprived from a forced march? Or pick locks in sub zero temperatures? If every situation you put your party through is in prestine condition for all members to perform at optimal efficiancy, then it's not the game system that needs fixing. It's the story writing.