The Islands: Spellcasting
by, 09-16-2012 at 08:43 AM (605 Views)
(Note: This is ultra-crunchy. So if you were following along hoping for more world info, you're going to have to wait until the next entry.)
All PCs have the Spells class feature. It looks like this:
Spells: You can cast spells. Your Spells Known are on Table [x].2: [class name] Spells Known. [ability] governs your spellcasting.
Yeah, thatís the whole thing. And hereís the skinny.
Divine Spells: You cast divine spells because divine spellcasting is quantitatively better than arcane spellcasting. There is no chance of arcane spell failure for divine spells. Expensive material components and foci sometimes arenít even an issue (Playerís Handbook 174). Regaining spells is more convenient. You do need to get a divine focus, but this divine focus can be anything, not just a generic Playerís Handbook wooden or silver holy symbol. It canít be a weapon, shield, armor, attached body part, or anything permanently stuck to you, and it must be something held in one hand. Damn, dude, get a lanyard and sling your symbol to your wrist if youíre worried about dropping your sacred tankard or whatever.
Minimum Ability Score: Your governing ability must be at least 10 + the spellís level for you to cast a spell of that level at all; if your governing ability score is lower than thatófor whatever reasonóyou canít cast that spell. You should have your spellcasting stat be at least 11 at level 1, 12 by level 3, 13 by level 6, 14 by level 9, 15 by level 12, 16 by level 15, and 17 by level 18. You should want your spellcasting stat high anyway; itís probably important to your class in other ways. But if you want to start with your spellcasting stat at 12 and apply all your level-up bonuses to it so you can just barely cast your spells, the DM wonít stop you. The other players might look at you like youíre an idiot, but, hey, screw them: Itís your character.
Spells Per Day: You can normally only cast 2 spells of your highest spell level per day and 4 spells of your second-highest spell level per day. Your highest level spell is 1 at level 1 and increases by 1 at levels 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18.
Lower-level Spells: Once a spell level is neither your highest spell level nor your second-highest spell level, you can use any spell of that spell level at will as a spell-like ability (which means it still provokes attacks of opportunity (Playerís Handbook 141) but doesnít have verbal, somatic, or material components; require a focus; or have an XP cost). You can still cast these lower level spells instead.
If it matters, when an effect (like a feat or spell) checks, you are considered to have exactly 0 and infinite unused divine spell slots at each level to cast these lower-level spells, and exactly 0 and infinite Spells Per Day for casting these spells, whichever is least advantageous for whateverís checking.
I know thatís counterintuitive, but some things mess with this, and I donít want to deal with them (Iím looking at you, the Arcane Strike feat, you asshole).
For ease of reference, Iím calling spells you can cast this way Ω spells, so that way I can just say, ďAt level 3 your 0th-level spells are Ω spells.Ē
Your Ω spells are available to cast. This is so you can take reserve feats. If something else taps this mechanic on the shoulder and knees it in the nuts, let me know.
Bonus Spells: If your governing ability is 12, you can cast 1 additional spell per day of your second-highest spell level and 1 additional spell per day of your second highest spell level per 4 points after 12 (i.e. 2 additional at 16, 3 additional at 20, etc.). If your governing ability is 14, you can cast 1 additional spell per day of your highest spell level and 1 additional spell per day of your highest spell level per 4 points after 14 (i.e. 2 additional at 18, 3 additional at 22, etc.). So if you put an 18 in your casting stat, you can cast 6 0th-level spells and 4 1st-level spells per day.
Saving Throw DCs: The saving throw DC of your spells is equal to 10 + the spellís spell level + your governing ability modifier.
Regaining Spells: You spend 1 hour in the morning meditating, screaming Screw you at the sky, masturbating furiously, fixing your hair, watering your plants, reading the newspaper, having a few drinks, or whatever ritual you dream up and you get back spell slots you used the previous day, if any. Yes, oodles of shenanigans exist for messing with this, but if you donít travel to planes where time passes ultra-quickly so you can regain spells more often, I will avoid having you accidentally sleep through your spell-regaining hour and be boned for the day.
Spells Arenít Prepared: Your Spells Known and your spell list are the same; you know and cast your spells from a list dictated by your class. You can cast any spell on that list without preparation. However, because Skip Williams hates sorcerers, a restriction applies to this: spells cast without preparation affected by metamagic feats take longer to cast (Playerís Handbook 88). We say no on that shit. If you have a metamagic feat and want to apply its effects to a spell, compute the new spell level, and, if you can cast it, you cast it at the usual casting time. Further, if you apply a metamagic feat to a Ω spell and doing so doesnít push the spell level into the your second-highest or highest spell level, you can cast that metamagic-ed spell with its normal casting time. If, after the metamagic featís applied, the spellís spell level goes up to your second-highest or highest spell level, you have to use one of your spells per day to cast it. So it goes.
Feats and shit that add divine spells to your spell list (not that just add cleric spells to your cleric spell list!) also add the same spells to your Spells Known and vice-versa. These spells are added to your spell list or spells known at whatever level the feat or ability says to add them at, however, and this is probably higher than what my game wouldíve added them at. Thatís another price for the versatility (the first being whatever got you those spells). Further, if you are granted 8th-level or 9th-level spells, those are on your spell list and your Spells Known, you just canít cast them because you donít get 8th-level and 9th-level slots. Unless you somehow weasel into that too, genius.
Universal Spells: All PCs have the following spells in addition to whatever spells are on their Spells Known list.
Table 1.1: Spells Everyone Gets
0thóarcane mark, detect magic, prestidigitation, read magic.
1stósummon component (Complete Mage 118), summon holy symbol (Complete Champion 128).
4thófreedom of movement.
5thócontingency, greater dispel magic.
Your prestidigitation spell has a special effect based on your class. The betrayerís prestidigitation is bleak and creepy, accompanied by ominous strings. The dragonís is awesome and bigger than it needs to be, accompanied by crashing symbols and beating drums. The fistís is needlessly violent, accompanied by drunken, unintelligible singing. The scoundrelís is darkly funny, accompanied by nervous canned laughter. The gnomeís is smoothly mechanical, smells like a wet badger, and is accompanied by a 1980s keyboard ostinato. The martyrís is bright and shiny, accompanied by a brief but loud full choir. The shootistís always looks like itís done close up, in slow-motion, and at a weird angle, accompanied by an acoustic guitar strum.
No, thereís no martyr or shootist yet. But there can be.
I never would, but you can suppress and renew your prestidigitation spellís special effect at will during the spellís duration. This is not an action.
Table 1.2: PC Spellcasting Advancement
Level Spells Per Day
1-2 You can cast 2 1st-level and 4 0th-level spells per day.
3-5 You can cast 2 2nd-level and 4 1st-level spells per day and all of your 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
6-8 You can cast 2 3rd-level and 4 2nd-level spells per day and all of your 1st-level and 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
9-11 You can cast 2 4th-level and 4 3rd-level spells per day and all of your 2nd-level, 1st-level, and 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
12-14 You can cast 2 5th-level and 4 4th-level spells per day and all of your 3rd-level, 2nd-level, 1st-level, and 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
15-17 You can cast 2 6th-level and 4 5th-level spells per day and all of your 4th-level, 3rd-level, 2nd-level, 1st-level, and 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
18-20 You can cast 2 7th-level and 4 6th-level spells per day and all of your 5th-level, 4th-level, 3rd-level, 2nd-level, 1st-level, and 0th-level spells can be cast any number of times per day or be used as spell-like abilities at will.
Once you hit level 3 when you can use your 0th-level spells as spell-like abilities at will youíre going to have spells on your spell list that youíll want to have on all the damn time because you can. These are, essentially, baked in class features that I expect you to have on all the time, especially if the duration of such spells is 1 minute per level or longer. Stopping what youíre doing every 10 minutes to spend 6 seconds staring into space isnít that big of a deal, although it will be obvious to onlooker that youíre either doing something or retarded. However, spells and spell-like abilities with durations of 1 round per level must be used when the time comes; maintaining those all the damn time is too great a burden for even your characters.
As per our Gentlemen's Agreement, you can have all your 1-hour-or-longer duration Ω spells cast all the time, and you can have 1 1-minute-per-level duration Ω spell cast all the time per character level.
(Note: Before you judge, you've not seen any spell lists. I comb through just about every book for just the right spells for each class, and then pick 8 each for 0th, 1st, and 2nd; 6 each for 3rd, 4th, and 5th; and 4 each for 6th and 7th. The casting of low-level spells at will just about eliminates the 15-min. workday that plagues 3.5. Making them all divine spells means everyone can wear armor because, well, armor is cool. Just making a list of what you've got always on prevents anyone from trying to pull shenanigans that will make such a thing happen anyway. The system is playable and fun, and once you use it and then have to go back to having your Wiz9 keep a tally of his 0th-level spells, you'll want to use it, too.)
Next: Campaign Style (or, "Sandbox? Seriously?")