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Appendix 2 - Grim-N-Gritty High Magic
The Grim-n-Gritty rules are not intended for a campaign setting in which magic is common and powerful—-especially if that setting uses the standard magic system.
All sorts of game balance issues crop up when you attempt to implement these rules in that type of setting. A 3rd-level spell, like fireball or lightning bolt could easily wipe out a group of high-level adventurers.
If you do wish to use the Grim-n-Gritty rules for a high magic setting that uses the standard magic system, here are a few suggestions for “balancing” spells.
The Really Grim Option
In this option, you leave spells as are. A medium level spell will kill anything, and magic-users are the most deadly force in your game universe.
Limited Scaling Option
Spells work normally, but the maximum dice of damage is limited to the spell’s level + 1. For example, a third level spell can inflict no more than four dice of damage.
Slow Scaling Option
Double the levels necessary to scale up the damage for spells. For example, if a spell normally gives 1d6 damage per level, it gives you 1d6 per two levels.
Reduce Damage Dice
Reduce the size of the damage dice to one step lower than normal. Convert dice sizes as follows…
- d4 = 1 point of damage
- d6 = d4
- d8 = d6
- d10 = d8
- d12 = d10
- d20 = d12
For example, if you normally roll 10d6 for a spell, you would only roll 10d4.
Odds = 1
You roll the normal dice for your spell. However, any dice that have an odd numbered result are automatically counted as “1,” regardless of the number rolled.
For example, if you rolled 5d6 with dice results of 2, 1, 5, 4, and 6, you would not have “18” as your final result. You convert the odds to ones. This gives you 2, 1, 1, 4, and 6: a result of “14.”
The Odds = 1 Rule is probably the best one for converting a pre-existing spell system to Grim-n-Gritty mechanics. You do not have to change any of the spell’s mechanics. You do not have to remember any complicated conversions, nor perform additional subtraction or division on your rolls. You still get to roll a fist full of dice for powerful spells.
The Odds = 1 Rule makes magic very unpredictable. You still have the chance to inflict the maximum damage possible for a spell—a devastating thing in the Grim-n-Gritty system. Yet, it tends to force damage to a lower average for spells.
It is a satisfying system for players because they do not feel they are losing anything from the “old rules.” Also, it creates a fun “anxiety” when rolling the damage dice of a spell: “Am I going to get a bunch of odds?!”
Spells and Called Shots
As a rule of thumb, if a spell does not have an Attack roll, it cannot inflict Called Shots.
Use the Right Tool for the Right Job. If your campaign is going to focus on the use of the core magic system, then use the core combat mechanics. The magic rules have been thoroughly play-tested and balanced to be internally coherent with the core combat mechanics. You cannot go wrong using them as intended.