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4/23/2014 8:02 am  #21


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

NAJones wrote:

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere in the thread, but I kind of like the spell casting system in Crypts & Things. It's a S&S, d20 game with its mechanics rooted in Swords & Wizardry. It divides spells into White, Gray and Black magic and depending on what you are casting you might have to drain your own health (or that of a victim) and black magic can (temporarily) drain your sanity. 

It's all very neat and tidy and easy to keep track of, far more so than DCC's multi-page spell effects.

I second this game. The magic system is very reminicent of S&S tales. Using it also requires that you also incorporate their HP system. Basically, HP represent stamina and are easy to recover, but when your HP are gone, you take CON damage, representing actual wounds and damage.

I have not use dit with AS&SH, but it would be possible. The biggest task would be to define which spells are White, Grey and Black.


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4/23/2014 11:09 am  #22


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

joseph wrote:

I second this game. The magic system is very reminicent of S&S tales. Using it also requires that you also incorporate their HP system. Basically, HP represent stamina and are easy to recover, but when your HP are gone, you take CON damage, representing actual wounds and damage.

Based on the Akratic Wizardry version (which was stated upthread as being the same as Crypts & Things, but I haven't looked at C&T to confirm this), it's definitely an improvement by attaching a cost (in HP and CON damage, as well as potential WIS damage from black magic) to spellcasting, but it still treats magic as a completely-predictable technology.  Spells still work every time, their effects are just as predictable as in stock D&D spellcasting, and even the damage taken due to casting is completely predictable aside from whether or not black magic causes WIS damage (but, if you do take WIS damage, the amount is predictable).  There's no chance of accidentally pushing yourself too far because the damage is fixed based on the spell level and known in advance.  It adds cost, but does not add risk.

Also, as a side point, I don't care for the white/grey/black division.  IMO, all magic should be risky and at least somewhat unpredictable.

My first-pass thoughts on incorporating the elements that I think are missing and doing so in a (relatively) simple way:


  • In all cases, the terms "Cleric" and "Magician" are considered to include their subclasses and any other class casting spells belonging to that class or any of its subclasses.  (e.g., "Cleric" would include a Ranger casting Druid spells and "Magician" would include a Ranger casting Magician spells)

  • A Magician's Intellect Modifier is derived from Intelligence by the same progression used to derive Willpower Modifier from Wisdom.

  • Characters can have a number of "available spells" of each level equal to their maximum spells per day of that level plus their Intellect Modifier (Magicians) or Willpower Modifier (Clerics).  The number of spells of a given level that can be cast per day remains limited as usual, but any "available" spell may be cast.  Making a "known" spell "available" takes a week and costs 100gp per spell level.  When a new spell is learned, it may be added to the character's list of available spells immediately at no additional cost if there is an available slot for it.  (This is basically the "Spell Repertoire" rule from ACKS, but with a 90% cost reduction for swapping spells into the "available" list.  (1,000gp per spell level to move a known spell into your repertoire? Seriously?!?))

  • When casting a spell, roll a d20 + CA - (spell level * 2) + Intellect (Magician) or Willpower (Cleric) Modifier.  This is your Spellcasting Roll.

  • If you have taken damage while casting the spell, roll a Concentration Check as per p.100 of the Players' Manual.  The Spellcasting Roll is modified by an additional -2 per successful Concentration Check and -5 per failed Concentration Check.  Even if one or more Concentration Checks were failed, the spell will still be cast normally.  The only effects of taking damage while casting are the penalties to the Casting Roll.

  • You may increase your Spellcasting Roll by inflicting 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution on yourself per +1 to the roll.  This must be done before making the Spellcasting Roll.  Any damage inflicted in this way is recovered at a rate of 1 point per day and may not be healed by any magical means short of a wish or direct divine intervention (i.e., not simply a Clerical healing spell).

  • Casting a spell via a ritual on an auspicious date, sacrificing rare alchemical reagents, extended casting times, voluntarily taking corruption, etc. may all provide additional bonuses to the Spellcasting Roll at the GM's discretion (and generally in accordance with the guidelines on p.124-126 of the DCC rules).

  • To abort casting a spell in the face of unfavorable modifiers, or simply to avoid making a no-longer-necessary Spellcasting Roll, you must make a successful Saving Throw, adjusted by your Willpower Modifier.  This must be done before rolling the d20 for Spellcasting and it still counts as one of your allowed spells for the day even if it is successfully aborted.

  • If the final Casting Roll is a natural or modified 1 or less, you suffer corruption (Magicians) or divine disfavor (Clerics) and you must make a final Concentration Check to determine whether the spell goes off properly or misfires and causes an unintended effect of the GM's choice.  If the final Casting Roll is less than zero, it is applied as a penalty to this Concentration Check.

  • If the final Casting Roll is a natural or modified 20 or higher, the caster may increase any numerical aspect of the spell by 25% plus an additional 25% for each 2 points above 20 (50% with a Casting Roll of 22, 75% at 24, etc.) or gain some other equivalent improvement in the spell's effect, subject to GM approval.

  • Corruption: Roll to determine whether the character is corrupted in a manner related to the spell's effects (1-2) or rolls on DCC's Minor (3-5), Major (6-7), or Grave (8+) Corruption table.  This roll is made using a d3 for level 1 spells or a d(spell level * 2) for higher-level spells.

  • Divine Disfavor: As DCC Deity Disapproval (p.122-123).

(OK, that's a lot more words than I expected.  But it's still very simple in my head...)

I'm a little unsure of the Corruption roll (it should tend to be worse for higher-level spells, but 8+ on a d12 seems a bit too likely for a Grave effect, regardless of the spell level) and whether the bonuses for getting over 20 on the Spellcasting Roll might stack up too quickly, but, otherwise, it feels good to me.  Does anyone see any errors, problems, or loopholes that I've missed?

 

4/23/2014 11:47 am  #23


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I'm pretty lousy at analyzing a RPG's mechanics on a just a read-through, but at first blush it seems way too "fiddly" for me, in the same way that DCC's spell casting system is more crunch than I want to deal with as a GM or player.

Which isn't meant to imply it's bad or broken, it's just more book keeping and rules lookups than I want.

If I wanted a system that incorporated cost and risk I'd probably just take the Akratic/C&T system and make the HP/Con/sanity costs variable for gray and black magic.

 

4/23/2014 2:46 pm  #24


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

NAJones wrote:

I'm pretty lousy at analyzing a RPG's mechanics on a just a read-through, but at first blush it seems way too "fiddly" for me, in the same way that DCC's spell casting system is more crunch than I want to deal with as a GM or player.

Which isn't meant to imply it's bad or broken, it's just more book keeping and rules lookups than I want.

I agree that it certainly looks like that written out.  In more practical terms, it is (or at least should be):

- ACKS repertoire rules (because I think it sucks having to guess at the start of the day which spells you'll need that day)

- Casting Roll: d20 + CA - (spell level * 2) + stat modifier.  1 or less = bad stuff, 20 or more = good stuff.

The rest is basically just trying to account for everything else that could happen while you're casting the spell and how to determine what exactly the bad/good stuff is.

Which isn't to say that it might not still be too fiddly for you.  I just don't think it's nearly as bad as it looks.  http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png

 

4/23/2014 3:44 pm  #25


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I do like the repertoire idea and I've had a long standing house rule that allows spell casters to pick their spells ad hoc for all spells 2 or more levels lower than their current maximum spell level (e.g. a magician able to cast up to 3rd level spells can cast any first level spell he knows).

I'll have run some of these other ideas by my players when next we meet. Too bad we're on a sort of a hiatus for the next couple of months.

Last edited by NAJones (4/23/2014 3:46 pm)

 

4/24/2014 7:44 am  #26


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

NAJones wrote:

I do like the repertoire idea

Agreed.  It's a great compromise between strict Vancian rules and allowing players to choose any spell they know at any time (assuming a slot of the appropriate level is available).  I just wish I'd thought of it myself instead of having to steal it from ACKS.

 

8/13/2014 3:41 pm  #27


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I am just now working up my ASSH game and I am seriously thinking of just replacing the casting system with the old Bard Atlantean trilogy system. I can still use spells from ASSH, I get detailed summoning rules and heirarchies of demons, devils, spirits, and elementals and what they can do for a summoner (and the cost), and basic rules for potions and magic items and how to create them. It has a very Clark Ashton Smith feel. You cast one plus INT modifiers spells per day, and hold all known spells in memory. Your mage gets to cast one extra spell per day per level, of any spell level he knows...the limit is by level...every level he can cast one level higher, so that by sixth level any spell known of any level could be cast, and he could cast a base six spells. Spells can also be cast from grimoires and scrolls at no cost to the 'cast per day' total.
The problem with this, I'm not at all sure some of the classes in ASSH would work (Paladin, Ranger in particular).
But I think it would capture the 'feel' of Hyperborea very well.

 

8/13/2014 3:53 pm  #28


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

It wouldn't be the end of the world if you just stripped the paladin and ranger of spell-casting powers.  They have plenty of other goodies IMO. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/13/2014 4:21 pm  #29


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Funny, I was just thinking that very thing.
Do you see any difficulties with other classes in this regard?
(I defer to superior experience with the system). Not having much experience with level systems I feel like I am treading a minefield here.


 

 

8/13/2014 5:25 pm  #30


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

Using the system you describe, casters would get more powerful spells much sooner (e.g., a magician normally needs to be 11th level to cast 6th level spells).  Whether that's a problem or not depends on what you're trying to accomplish.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/13/2014 5:44 pm  #31


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

I want sorcerers to be powerful to the point of arrogance. It's fun to watch them get hoist on their own flagpole.
Also, I want sorcerers as npcs to be extremely dangerous but not omnipotent.
Finally, it's always frustrating to players to know about the more powerful spells and usually not ever get them. It takes a lot of attention to keep it from getting out of control...but hey, I did successfully run Stormbringer, the home of the most insanely powerful sorcerers you can imagine. 

Anyway, most of the spells I allow won't be stuff like fireball (there will be one, but it's relatively weak) or disintegrate. My modus operandi is magic that is primarily support for the serious stuff, summoning  and other powerful ritual magic. Clark Ashton Smith stuff. I'll 'flavor' different groups: Atlanteans will specialize in automatons and manipulating lifeforms, Ixians in necromancy, and so forth.
The old Bard games book already has ready made 'types' of magic...Low, High, Sorcery, Elemental, Black, Astrology, Mysticism and a couple of others. That will be useful in building different and flavorful styles of magic.

 

8/13/2014 7:24 pm  #32


Re: Supplemental and Alternative Spellcasting Systems

famouswolf wrote:

I am just now working up my ASSH game and I am seriously thinking of just replacing the casting system with the old Bard Atlantean trilogy system. I can still use spells from ASSH, I get detailed summoning rules and heirarchies of demons, devils, spirits, and elementals and what they can do for a summoner (and the cost), and basic rules for potions and magic items and how to create them. It has a very Clark Ashton Smith feel. You cast one plus INT modifiers spells per day, and hold all known spells in memory. Your mage gets to cast one extra spell per day per level, of any spell level he knows...the limit is by level...every level he can cast one level higher, so that by sixth level any spell known of any level could be cast, and he could cast a base six spells. Spells can also be cast from grimoires and scrolls at no cost to the 'cast per day' total.
The problem with this, I'm not at all sure some of the classes in ASSH would work (Paladin, Ranger in particular).
But I think it would capture the 'feel' of Hyperborea very well.

I've had the same thought, but think the rules are different: casters in the Arcanum match AS&SH for what level they must be to cast a given spell (see p.69 of the Arcanum), and they can cast 2 spells/day +1 spell per level of ability (no Int bonus; see p.68).

Since I use the AS&SH rules in an Atlantean setting the fit would be natural.


"'Silence!' thundered Pharesm. 'Do not forget that your penalty remains to be fixed; it is the height of impudent recklessness to hector a person already struggling to maintain his judicious calm!'"
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