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[Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

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[Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby ShneekeyTheLost » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:27 am

Okay, as we all know, the main problem with Arcane Magic in 3.5 is that it has too many 'Win' buttons, and can break the action economy too easily. I propose we go back a couple of editions to help limit these problems.

This is designed specifically to plug into and work with the Wizard, or any other class which explicitly casts arcane magic to limit how powerful it can be.

1) Magic Is Slow - In AD&D, it took TIME to cast magic. During which time it could easily be interrupted. Now, d20r already has a couple of things which directly manipulate Initiative. Ranger, I believe, has a class ability which explicitly does this, for example.

So how about this: When you begin casting a spell, you declare any and all variables (I cast a Fireball at this area), and it finishes and produces an effect at initiative (your initiative - spell level). Therefore, if you are on Initiative 15, and you cast a Fireball at a group of Goblins, the spell itself doesn't go off until Initiative 12. If the goblins move on Initiative 13, they could well end up scattering before the fireball lands.

As a corollary to this: Magic normally takes a full-round action to cast, rather than a standard action. This limits their mobility and their ability to flit around the battlefield tossing around Win Buttons.

Now then, Swift action spells (such as Feather Fall) are exempt from this, which makes them very useful, if rare. However, this means we need to strongly look at Quicken Spell (although if you can't reduce metamagic, then it's not so much of a problem, since it's a +4 adjustment).

2) Magic Isn't Easy - Again, in earlier editions, if a wizard got hit while he was casting a spell... it went poof. No save, no concentration check... goodbye. While I don't want to be quite that cruel, wizards do have far too easy a time of casting spells in melee without worrying about getting hurt.

First off, remove Casting on the Defensive. The Concentration check is just too easy to pull off. So any time a wizard casts a spell, he provokes AoO.

Second, if he gets hit by a non-damaging effect which negates his ability to cast (for example, if he failed his saving throw against a Stinking Cloud while he was in the middle of casting), he automatically loses the spell slot, as though it had been cast, but to no effect. If he is affected by a non-damaging effect which does not negate his ability to cast (Ray of Enfeeblement), he has to make a Concentration check (DC 10+HL+Mod) or lose the spell. If he takes damage while casting the spell, he has to make a Concentration check DC 10+ damage taken or lose the spell. If he successfully saves and takes no effect from an effect (for example, if he made his Fort save against Stinking Cloud), and it has no secondary effects, then his spellcasting is not affected.

Third off, spells with no Somatic components do not provoke AoO when cast in melee. This makes Still Spell very valuable, and I find that a +1 SL adjustment is a fitting price to pay for making it safer to cast in melee. We may need to remove somatic components from touch spells, though, to prevent nerfing them entirely. On the other hand, touch spells can be kept charged, so the wizard can cast it on one turn, then step in and release it on the next, so maybe not.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Feedback?
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby DogbertLinc » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:33 am

The "magic isn't easy" entry would need to futurely have a very clear description of what effects would stop someone from casting, otherwise it'd become a massive headache in play to decide what qualifies.

Following from the given example, it'd be spells that directly screw with your ability to go on with the somatic or verbal components, correct?
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby ShneekeyTheLost » Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:03 pm

DogbertLinc wrote:The "magic isn't easy" entry would need to futurely have a very clear description of what effects would stop someone from casting, otherwise it'd become a massive headache in play to decide what qualifies.

Following from the given example, it'd be spells that directly screw with your ability to go on with the somatic or verbal components, correct?


Any effect or condition which would prevent him from casting the spell in the first place.

This can also include effects which prevent you from taking full-round actions, such as Slow or Nauseated, and effects which cause you to do something different, such as a Fear or Confusion effect.

Basically, if you wouldn't be able to cast the spell in the first place with that condition, then if you get hit with it in the middle of your spell being cast, it auto-fails the spell.

Screwing with verbal or somatic components might not necessarily do it if the spell is cast Still and/or Silent in the first place.
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby Fax » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:18 pm

I'd rather nerf the spells themselves than get that vicious to spellcasters, though honestly a little of both is probably good.
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby DogbertLinc » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:02 am

Any effect or condition which would prevent him from casting the spell in the first place.

This can also include effects which prevent you from taking full-round actions, such as Slow or Nauseated, and effects which cause you to do something different, such as a Fear or Confusion effect.

Basically, if you wouldn't be able to cast the spell in the first place with that condition, then if you get hit with it in the middle of your spell being cast, it auto-fails the spell.

Screwing with verbal or somatic components might not necessarily do it if the spell is cast Still and/or Silent in the first place.


Yeah, I get what you meant much more clearly now, I had confused Stinking Cloud and Coudkill before. Too many cloud based names...

And to refer to the screwing with the components, It'd make sense for a spell to fizzle if someone drops Silence on your area mid-casting, or lassos you, or all those situations Still/Silent were meant for and are more likely to happen if they can disrupt spells.

In that scenario, Still/Silent would be the defenses for enemies prepared to screw you.
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby Morty » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:05 am

I agree that a "mix of both" would work well. Spellcasters already have limitations in D&D; it's just that their spells are powerful enough that those limitations just don't do the trick. Enforcing limitations without limiting the power of spells would only encourage more paranoia and piling up contingencies... that, and it would be painful to low-level and/or unoptimized spellcasters.
That said, some limitations are required too. Limiting defensive casting sounds like a good idea, so that engaging a caster in melee to disrupt his spells actually works. Again though, one should be careful not to screw over the low-level wizards in the process, who're already fragile unless in the hands of experienced players doing their best to maximize their effectiveness. In d20r, I suppose the same applies to Clerics.
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Re: [Discussion/Concept] Arcane Magic Limitations

Postby ShneekeyTheLost » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:01 am

You know... I had another interesting idea, which might actually *help* Blastomancy...

The reflex/half save for fireballs and such... I don't get. You're still in the area effect. A twenty-foot ball of fire is not going to only do minimal damage to you because you dodge within the ball of fire.

Now then, if we look at the first point in my post, Magic Is Slow, we see that people now have a window of opportunity to react before the ball of fire shows up. So moving out of the way will, in fact, be negating the damage.

So why bother with a saving throw for half damage on blastomancy? If you see a wizard readying a spell, start moving. It's a bit more realistic and a bit more tactical.

If you feel this nerfs Rogues and Evasion too much, you can replace Evasion with an ability that lets them move a small amount when they see something heading their way. This is a fairly accurate representation of what I think a Rogue should be (quick on their feet, and able to jump out of the way) without having to resort to explanations like 'Roguespace'...

Besides, Blastomancy already has a tarnished name. Maybe this'll give it the shot in the arm it needs.
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