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Talk:Mana-Based Spellcasting (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Design Question Edit

Before I rate this Surgo, I'd like to know if you think spell power follows the same growth pattern as character level. This is a how things actually are question, since you built this for current spells, not a how should they be question. Specifically: do you think that 1 spell of level X+1 = 2 spells of level X? If not, is 1 spell of level X+1 better than or worse than 2 spells of level X in general? - TarkisFlux 22:27, December 16, 2009 (UTC)

I just noticed this. Unless you're circumventing the round down rule, a level 1 mana caster only recovers strain from sleeping since half their level rounds to 0. Is this intentional? Similarly, the half level rule means that at level 8 onward you only need 7 hours of rest to fully recover and decreases consistently to only 4 hours at level 20 (assuming 20 or less in the casting stat at start, level bonuses to casting stat, and BoG item increases). Is that recovery period decrease intentional as well?
It's not intentional, but it might be a feature -- I'll have to think about that one. As for the "how things are" question -- neither. Since this is a "how things are", I don't think that question has an answer -- you're asking me to quantify the difference of a level X and X+1 spell, and there are so many spells and so many variables that that just isn't possible and I think it would be a mistake to attempt to do that and then build a system based off of that for balance. I also don't think it's important to the balance of the overall system, which is similar to (but not quite) the spells-per-day numbers of a spellcaster's higher levels of spells. Surgo 00:03, December 17, 2009 (UTC)
That last bit actually answers my question in a bizarre way. I'll hold off on favor until you decide if that's a now-intentional feature or if you're going to change the recovery mechanic somehow. - TarkisFlux 01:19, December 17, 2009 (UTC)
Not a feature, I'm editing it to make level 1 a special case. Surgo 01:24, December 17, 2009 (UTC)
Blah, edit conflicted. I realized it wouldn't change my thoughts anyway. - TarkisFlux 02:06, December 17, 2009 (UTC)

Recovery Mechanic Edit

Something I forgot to include in this page, which would probably change Tarkis's favor, is that the recovery mechanics are designed to be pluggable. You have three of them here -- fatigue-based casting; recharge magic; and the sleep-eight-hours for those dinosaurs who still believe in the 4-encounter workday. They can, and sometimes are, plugged in and out depending on what you're looking for. I just need to find a way to fit this text in to the overall narrative. Surgo 03:06, December 17, 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, that probably would. Tweaking that resolves all of the spell points issues I think you even can resolve without making serious changes to spells. If you're considering tweaking these anyway, I should point out that (barring spell buffs) your half level or cast stat mod, whichever is less, only matters at 20 given the same stat adjusts I used above. Quarter strain or cast stat mod, whichever is less, is a little more consistant but might fail some of the other adjusts you have in mind. - TarkisFlux 03:34, December 17, 2009 (UTC)
I'm having a really tough time working the extra words about the pluggable recovery mechanic into the page's narrative. Hrm... Surgo 03:43, December 17, 2009 (UTC)
There, a footnote should do okay -- no added length. Surgo 04:00, December 17, 2009 (UTC)

Tarkisflux's Criticism Edit

Reading Tarkisflux's favor, I thought overnight about the criticism of being able to cast more as you go up in level. I personally believe that is a feature (and why it's designed that way), but I can understand why some people wouldn't like it. I'm thinking of adding in a second footnote, or part of the first, an example recovery mechanic that replaces the normal recharge with a recharge that's static based on caster level. What does everyone else think? Surgo 14:30, December 17, 2009 (UTC)

I think that since you intend people to adjust to taste you might be well served by staying away from specifics. A short discussion on what adjusting each variable does to a caster might get you there more effectively. For example, it might be nice to spell out that increasing or decreasing the strain pool doesn't have a strong impact on how many spells you can cast in a day if the recharge mechanic is turned up to high, but it does impact how many spells they can cast in a series of encounters before they need to recharge. And that the recharge amount limits total day castings more strongly than strain limit unless it's fairly low. Or that the refresh at night thing being eliminated only impacts the game at low levels or if recharge is turned down. So I guess some higher level interaction talk to better equip people who don't think about this stuff all of the time to make the adjustments they want. - TarkisFlux 23:16, December 17, 2009 (UTC)

Favor Edit

RatedExcellent Tarkisflux's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Tarkisflux, for the following reasons: This is significantly better than the points system in UA (or any recent psionics system). By not charging for some aspects of scaling you don't make some spells cost less than others to remain level appropriate, and you don't have to recalculate the cost of your spell regularly. The small and downward scaling costs eliminate the issues that arise from regularly subtracting numbers from increasingly large numbers, which makes the method easier for new players to pick up. It has an interesting, flavorful, and likely iconic overcast / fatigue mechanic. So there's much to like about this, and much to recommend it over its published alternatives. It's not without some standard points systems concerns, but these can be addressed to some degree by adjusting the recovery mechanic as briefly mentioned in the article. If you're looking for a points based system that doesn't require any other adjustments, this is an excellent choice.

RatedExcellent Rithaniel's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Rithaniel, for the following reasons: This variant rule does so much correct that has been failed at in the past, that it makes my head spin. Right off the bat, let me simply state that the idea behind this variant rule is extremely clever, and should not be forgotten. Having said that, this system works solves a blaring problem that I have always had with point based systems: you have thousands of spells per day at higher levels. With this system, instead of gaining a bigger pool, you have a relatively set pool, but simply take less out of it at a time. This, I like in it's ingenuity, and must simply tip my hat to it. In addition to this, the triple recovery mechanic makes for a very interesting time getting your spells back. All in all this variant rule earns a big thumbs up from me. Favored.

RatedExcellent Ganteka Future's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Ganteka Future, for the following reasons: Hooray for variant rules that people might actually use. It isn't campaign specific, or play style specific or... well, it's general enough to be used by anyone who dislikes the core spellcasting style and would prefer to try something else. Easy to understand. Easy to implement. Heck, you could implement it mid-campaign if you really wanted without messing with the story of the game at all. That's cool.

RatedExcellent Jota II's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Jota II, for the following reasons: Although there is the issue of wizards becoming more akin to sorcerers in this mana-based system (something I can hardly consider a good thing, with wizards being what they are) I doubt such a change truly makes a big difference given that a wizard's power lies in his versatility of spell selection rather than in his volume of usable spell levels per rest. With that said, this system is very user friendly and seems to scale well at face value. The fatigue system is a nice reflection of what magic is often seen as in less crunch-based descriptors (read: books) and allows the character to push himself, something which isn't provided for under the current system. The flexibility of the system is a great plus as well, although I am not sure spell strength scales in proportion with mana costs. That, however, is more a problem with spells themselves than with the system. Furthermore, this system actually caps the spellcaster's strengths to some extent in that the number of high level spells that can be cast is more limited than as standard. It also does screw with some feats a little bit, but none that are integral to the game or in ways that cannot be accommodated for with a little ingenuity. Between the added nuances of the system, the expanded versatility available from lower level spell slots, and the restrictions on higher level spells, this may actually be an improvement on the traditional spellcasting system, as opposed to just a variant.

RatedExcellent TK-Squared's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by TK-Squared, for the following reasons: Something something dark side... I also like it.

RatedExcellent Sam Kay's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Sam Kay, for the following reasons: What more is there to say? I've never really liked spells per day...

RatedExcellent Leziad's Favor
This article has been favored and rated Excellent by Leziad, for the following reasons: Way better than either the current spell-per-day mechanic or he UA spell point system.

LogoRoughCrest Ghostwheel's Favor
This article has not been favored by Ghostwheel, for the following reasons: This variant has a few problems that make it less usable in my mind; first, without changes it shares a problem with the Vancian magic system in the 15-minute workday, where the mage (or sorcerer) might use up their highest level spells and then force the party to call for a rest. An attempt is made to address this problem by suggesting a change to recharge times, but if you have a character recharge in a much shorter space of time (to account for possible encounters spaced shortly one after another) you can fall prey to allowing the mage to cast spells that are problematic virtually at will. To contrast, the Recharge Magic variant has a built-in protection against specifically problematic spells that the DM still wants to keep in the game, but wishes to limit--a specific recharge time. The DM is free to change the recharge time of specific spells, a mechanic already inherent in the system, allowing them some control of spells that become problematic when used often in a session. This variant has nothing against it, and while I usually enjoy point-based systems, the downsides of this one outweigh any upsides it might have in my mind.

So basically.. Edit

It's just like Ledgendary Quest, with some minor modifications. It was a good idea 7yrs ago and it's still a good idea. I think I like LQ's way of doing it though, no free spells for one thing. =P If you haven't heard of it, although given the similarities.. 23:34, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I have never heard of it. I play very, very few systems. Surgo 23:38, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

Epic Edit

How do you handle epic casting? Just keep going the same way? So 4th lvl spells are free at 23rd lvl, etc. And how are epic spells cast? If at all. 23:38, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

You don't gain any new spell slots in epic anyway, so I don't see a convincing reason to extend the table to get your spells even cheaper (they're already technically getting cheaper because your mana keeps going up). 10th level slots, 11th level slots, etc., should cost maybe 12 mana. Surgo 23:40, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

What about Bards? Edit

That's my question, what about the other classes? like bard, duskblade, hexblade, artificer, etc.? Is there some sort of special equation used to figure out what their strain/mana cost would be? I'm wondering b/c I think this is the best spell casting alternative, and I would like to apply it to some other classes to see how they look. 13:36, April 23, 2010 (UTC)

Every full caster should have the mana cost given in the table. There needs to be one made for non-full casters, like Bard -- I'll get on that. As far as spell-like abilities go, I have not attempted to fit them to the system. Surgo 18:42, April 23, 2010 (UTC)

I rather like this variant, and would like to try it out. The only issue I'm seeing is a lack of specialist rules, which I tend to use quite often. I would imagine something along the lines of -1 to the strain cost for spells in your specialist school for each other school banned to be balanced enough. Thoughts?

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