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Thread: Spell Points over spell slots

  1. #1
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    Spell Points over spell slots

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    Here's something I used a number of years ago with my PC spellcasters.

    They got a number of spell POINTs instead of slots. To figure it, I used the standard spells per level charts, and added bonus spells for ability scores. I then added up all of the total spell levels available (1st level spell equals 1 point, 5th level spells equals 5 points, etc) and let them draw from this.
    (example: a 4th level sorcerer gets 6 first and 3 second level spells per day. This would give them 6x1 + 3x2 = 12 spell points per day, not counting bonus spells for high ability scores)

    They had a finite number of spell they knew, equal to listed allowable number of spells known, but could cast any spell they wanted, as long as they didn't run out of spell points. For the really big, nasty epic battles, I let them trade hit points for spell points on a 3 hp equals 1 spell point, or sp.

    I also added in fatigue points to prevent them from just flinging nothing but high levels spells. 1st to 4th level were ok for constant use, but each spell level above 5th caused 1 fatigue point per level above 5th. They were allowed character level plus constitution score in fp's before they had to start making saving throws. A failed save might cause a failed spell, spell misfire (used Wild Magic tables), or loss of hp or even intelligence points if they really pushed it. Failed save results were based on number of fp's accumulated. One day of rest would wipe out their constitution score in fp's.

    It worked out pretty well. Players liked it as it gave them alot more flexibility with their spells.

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    Yeah, spell points are cool. I developed a spell point system for 1st AD&D many moons ago as well.

    Unearthed Arcana has a spell point optional rule in it for 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons.

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    i have had this same problem, with players who have played to many games that use magic essence so they cannot deal with spell slots. i am going to introduce your system and see how it works

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    I like the idea of fatigue to prevent them from slinging the most powerful spells all day. That's always been my concern about a spell point based system.

    Have you tried applying fatigue relative to thier highest spell slot?

    Meaning "the highest level spell you can cast" deals the most fatigue, the second highest deals less, the third highest deals even less, and so on until we dont care anymore.
    Last edited by DrAwkward; 02-05-2008 at 01:13 PM.
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    In an early 2e game I ran, we used neither memorized slots or points. We set it up based on level and fatigue. The higher your level, the more spell levels you could cast before fatigue. Fatigue wore off slowly. A couple thought that constitution should be worked into the equation. Some players complained that spell casters were too powerful because they could cast more spells in a day. Some spell casters complained that it took away the option to dump all their good high level spells on one big important encounter. We ended up dropping it despite the fact I liked it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drohem View Post
    Unearthed Arcana has a spell point optional rule in it for 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons.
    The variant rules for using the spell point system are also freely available online from the d20 SRD at:

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/magic/spellPoints.htm
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    Guess I am lucky that I never had any magic users not like the spell slot system. I always did make them have to "relearn" the used spell. I think I remember reading on one of the sites that this has went by the wayside though. Can't remember if it was in 3.X or is supposed to be coming in 4e.

    When I say "relearn," it is more just a quick reread of the spell from their spellbook. Now if the magic user came upon a new spell that they did not know, the full rules of learning a spell were used.

    I look forward to see what 4e has dealing with both situations.

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    I've yet to see a spell point system I was happy enough with to make the change. By "happy" I mean totally gleeful about.

    No one in my game is complaining about slots. Ergo, a change is not yet needed.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    In regards to "fatigue points", I used a system like that for spellcasters. I took some feats I found in a small market RPG book, tweeked them a bit, and also worked skill use into the formula.
    If it sounds complicated, it wasn't. It basically allowed spellcasters to increase the potentcy of their arcane abilities at the expense of their physical & mental well being- think Raistlin from Dragonlance; he had awesome magical talents, but it had its price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RealmsDM View Post
    In regards to "fatigue points", I used a system like that for spellcasters. I took some feats I found in a small market RPG book, tweeked them a bit, and also worked skill use into the formula.
    If it sounds complicated, it wasn't. It basically allowed spellcasters to increase the potentcy of their arcane abilities at the expense of their physical & mental well being- think Raistlin from Dragonlance; he had awesome magical talents, but it had its price.

    Sounds interesting! I could most likely utilize a system like that. Especially since I really like the Dragonlance series.

    On another note, I would like to see them make a whole series of unanimated movies of the entire Dragonlance series. I think that would be extremely cool. I would definately buy all of those when they came out on DVD.

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    I don't like spell points.

    Here is an explaination why.

    Here are two spells: Magic Missile and Acid Fog

    One is a somewhat useful low damage spell, and the other spell wins encounters.

    There is no number of magic missiles you could cast that would be worth one acid fog. Yet spells points essentially say it's okay to trade away your magic missiles to cast a fog cloud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Count Arioch View Post
    There is no number of magic missiles you could cast that would be worth one acid fog. Yet spells points essentially say it's okay to trade away your magic missiles to cast a fog cloud.
    Feats are not balanced at all, but some people love them.

    Depending on the circumstances you can place several spells in that category. How many magic missiles is a knock spell work if you have a door you need to open? Is knock useful if you have no door, but a handful of Orcs?

    I understand what spell points are trying to do, and that is to give the caster more flexibility and options. For all the power a caster has they have truly limited options. They get few skills, cannot fight well, and everything is tied up in a handful of abilities called spells to which they have limited access. It's like telling a thief you can only "disable device" 3 times a day, but only if you are specially prepped to do so, or telling a fighter he can hit for 5d6 per sword swing, but can only swing three times a day.

    My solution was to drop fire and forget. Magicians work like Sorcerers in my game. X spell, X slots, mix and match. It takes care of the flexibility part of the problem. Some people try spell points. If i ever meet a system that jumps out and says "use me", I will, but i have yet to meet that system.

    The D&D spells are not perfectly balanced and could be argued even well balanced on the effectiveness per level basis.

    D&D is still getting over an idea, and that idea was to cripple the spell caster to the point of unusability. Gary Gygax admitted he hated magicians, and he did everything he could in AD&D to make life hard for them and not take it out of the book entirely. If you follow every rule on spell casting in AD&D you cannot play a spell caster effectively. So many of the spells are crippled with conditions or material components that you are never going to get. The memorization rules would mean that a high level wizard would take days to study all his spells. Mid level casters will spend half the day. You don't get the spells you want, only the spells you can find. No one is willing to share unless you give ten times the value of a spell. The system is designed to hate magicians.

    That legacy has not been total shed as of yet.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    The option I like more than spell points is having each spell school similar to saves and making checks to see if the spell goes off (My DC formula is (spell lvl+1)*5 I also let natural 20s = 30). A spellcaster would pick 1 primary that goes up like a good save, 2 secondary that go up like an average save and the rest go up as a poor save. You can have effects based off how well they make (or fail) their saving throw (maybe when they fail they take subdual damage or something, if you wish. I prefer that something unexpected happens). For wild magic you can throw in a wild die that will determine if your saving throw modifier is positive or negative.
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; 02-07-2008 at 11:45 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MortonStromgal View Post
    The option I like more than spell points is having each spell school similar to saves and making checks to see if the spell goes off (My DC formula is (spell lvl+1)*5 I also let natural 20s = 30). A spellcaster would pick 1 primary that goes up like a good save, 2 secondary that go up like an average save and the rest go up as a poor save. You can have effects based off how well they make (or fail) their saving throw (maybe when they fail they take subdual damage or something, if you wish. I prefer that something unexpected happens). For wild magic you can throw in a wild die that will determine if your saving throw modifier is positive or negative.

    But the spell still has a to hit roll or a saving throw?

    I don't like double jeopardy. I might even go so car as to say I hate it. It is one of the reasons I never bought into the 2e psionics system. You had to roll to see if it happened then roll to see if it worked after it happened. I'm very much a one event one check kind of guy. Likewise I don't like roll to hit then roll to see if you damage with the hit. Why did I roll to hit if I hit and don't do damage?

    Second argument, would you use a tool that had a 1 in 20 chance of hurting you? If you knew that there was a 1 in 20 chance of you car hurting you on the way to work, would you drive it? I wouldn't I would find a different way to get to work.

    I feel that way about spells or weapons as well. People are not going to do things with that high a chance of bitting them in the ass. They will find other ways to deal with the situation. So I don't impose that kind of possible penalty on a spell failure, or impose much in the way of spell failure either. Fighters do not have to make a concentration check to keep fighting if wounded.

    I just feel that too much in terms of backlash and limitations are imposed on the spell casting classes to truly be balanced.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    First off my formula was wrong should be (spell lvl+1)*3 as 30 should be the highest it goes for a 9th level spell.

    Let me try and explain it better

    I just use the saves as how you get better. You get 1 good school, 2 ok schools and, 5 poor schools.

    you roll once if you get above the DC it goes off as listed, if you beat the DC by 2 its a little better than the description (maybe +2 for the monster to save, whatever), if you beat it by 5 its a considerable bit better, etc. If you fail it fizzles, nothing happens can cast again next round. Fail by more than 2 it fizzles and an un-inteneded minor effect happens, Fail by 5 or more it fizzles and an unintended noticeable effect happens, etc.

    Id like to point out there are no spell points here, you can keep casting as much as you want.

    Wild magic is where it gets fun because your +12 may become -12 because of the wild die. You still roll vs DC as normal but your more likely to fail by a lot meaning your spell fizzles and some spell you did not intend to cast goes off.
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; 02-07-2008 at 01:25 PM.
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