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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:51 am 
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Looking at the scorching ray example, it looks to me like the top 6 rows could be condensed down 3 rows, double column.

I also wonder why the level needs to be stated so explicitly. Perhaps just placing the level in brackets after the spell name? e.g., "Scortching ray (2)"

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:37 am 
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Unless you're fighting something that requires fire damage why not just cast an easier Level 1 Magic Missile spell ?

Maybe you could do away with Scorching Ray entirely and have fire as the most likely side effect of a Magic Missile - maybe encompassing the Fireball spell too at a higher roll.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:40 am 
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Of course but what if it's not memorized or already cast?


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:24 pm 
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bholmes4 wrote:
Of course but what if it's not memorized or already cast?

(Translation: What if it's not on your spell list, or been temporarily wiped by spell failure?)

Options aren't a bad thing, but how to express those options in the game without bloat...? I think something along the lines of my type/shape suggestion could work, but at this point I guess I'd assume nobody liked it...

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:24 pm 
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bholmes4 wrote:
Of course but what if it's not memorized or already cast?

Then pick another spell - a non-blaster one, that disables or restrains the enemy so the rest of the party get to do the damage for a change, or maybe he buffs up the party rather than being a one-man-army, or changes the environment to their advantage.

Condensing blaster spells - with the chance of spell failure temporarily limiting that option - seems to actually open up casters to being:

- more interesting than just being arcane bazookas with unlimited spell ammo in the form of lots of slightly different blaster spells.
- not able to always do the most ranged combat damage, so missile weapons actually become necessary.

- not the most reliable damage dealer in the party - that's the fighter's role.

- more in line with Appendix N, where wizards desire a breadth of arcane knowledge rather than being a one-trick-pony.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:12 am 
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geordie racer wrote:
Then pick another spell - a non-blaster one, that disables or restrains the enemy so the rest of the party get to do the damage for a change, or maybe he buffs up the party rather than being a one-man-army, or changes the environment to their advantage.


Oh I agree with you. I was just responding to why someone might cast it over magic missile.

I'd go so far as to say I am not even sure a mage should have a blaster spell at 1st level at all, probably wait until 2nd or 3rd level spells (like OD&D) if you ask me. Then again I do like that they are there, so that I can add/remove them to suit my campaign needs. In my newest campaign magic-users won't be seeing a blaster spell until the 3rd level spell list though for the reasons you point out.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:13 pm 
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bholmes4 wrote:
Of course but what if it's not memorized or already cast?

That's a different kettle of fish. I would prefer that the forget part of misfire and forget be less than all failure results in forgetting the spell.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:21 pm 
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For PCs I'd say that Harley's suggestion is spot on. Bringing a referential "spell book" to the table seems perfectly reasonable.

But for the DM I might say that's an awful lot of chart referencing / page flipping...So, you could potentially shorten that up by doing it ahead of time. I know that it takes away a bit of the "in the moment" drama if things have been rolled up ahead of time, but for those DMs that would rather keep things rolling quickly along when running 12 different monsters / NPCs, this might be a decent alternative.

And for the modules, you could always insert a very brief section that would include 'X' amount of pre-rolled results. So a DM has the choice of using them, or rolling his own, or rolling when needed.

E.G.
Shamus MacSlimy (Chaotic Cultist of Evil Darkness)

Spell 'X': Description blah blah blah
Rolls -
'13' - Spell Succeeds as per description
'9' - Spell fails / loses spell
'18' - Spell succeeds w/ a +1d6 of damage

I LOVE the idea though of tossing in a new spell or two / module! That's kickin.

At the end of the day though, Appendix N arcanists / spell slingers are a very rare breed. How many per adventure do you imagine your party would meet? I'd say they'd be pushing it to meet even one per every couple of adventures...So the DM argument might be moot.
Or whatever... You get the idea. This way you could just check them off in order.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:31 am 
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mntnjeff wrote:
For PCs I'd say that Harley's suggestion is spot on. Bringing a referential "spell book" to the table seems perfectly reasonable.

But for the DM I might say that's an awful lot of chart referencing / page flipping...So, you could potentially shorten that up by doing it ahead of time. I know that it takes away a bit of the "in the moment" drama if things have been rolled up ahead of time, but for those DMs that would rather keep things rolling quickly along when running 12 different monsters / NPCs, this might be a decent alternative.

And for the modules, you could always insert a very brief section that would include 'X' amount of pre-rolled results. So a DM has the choice of using them, or rolling his own, or rolling when needed.

E.G.
Shamus MacSlimy (Chaotic Cultist of Evil Darkness)

Spell 'X': Description blah blah blah
Rolls -
'13' - Spell Succeeds as per description
'9' - Spell fails / loses spell
'18' - Spell succeeds w/ a +1d6 of damage

I LOVE the idea though of tossing in a new spell or two / module! That's kickin.

At the end of the day though, Appendix N arcanists / spell slingers are a very rare breed. How many per adventure do you imagine your party would meet? I'd say they'd be pushing it to meet even one per every couple of adventures...So the DM argument might be moot.
Or whatever... You get the idea. This way you could just check them off in order.


I think this is a good idea. I'd also be more likely to treat NPC spellcasters and monsters as different from PCs. I'd give NPC spellcasters abilities closer to the "powers" available in 4e. Just make them a wee bit unreliable and consider giving a fail/fumble outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:14 am 
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mntnjeff wrote:
Shamus MacSlimy (Chaotic Cultist of Evil Darkness)

Spell 'X': Description blah blah blah
Rolls -
'13' - Spell Succeeds as per description
'9' - Spell fails / loses spell
'18' - Spell succeeds w/ a +1d6 of damage

It could be an even more complex chart, but not hard to do:
1-10 = spell fail
11-15 = as per description
16-20 = +1d6 damage or 1.5x "other" effect (duration, distance, number affected...)
21-25 = +2d6 damage or 2x "other" effect
26-30 = +3d6 damage or 3x "other" effect
31+ = +4d6 damage or 4x "other" effect

I picked the numbers I did because it's easy to remember numbers divisible by 5.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:36 pm 
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1. I support the spell charts. I think it might make or break the success of the game, but I think it is also what sets it apart from other OGL/D&D games. (and I think the concept should be expanded on to thief abilities, turning undead and

2. Separate, fancy, spellbooks as PDF is absolutely the way to go. I love the idea.

3. smaller charts, ie. less effects, would be preferred.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:01 pm 
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reverenddak wrote:
1. I support the spell charts. I think it might make or break the success of the game, but I think it is also what sets it apart from other OGL/D&D games. (and I think the concept should be expanded on to thief abilities, turning undead and

2. Separate, fancy, spellbooks as PDF is absolutely the way to go. I love the idea.

3. smaller charts, ie. less effects, would be preferred.

1. I totally agree
2. I would buy it. Just make a seperate one for clerics and mages/elfes.
3. There might be some truth in yer words. And the tables right now look awful.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:09 pm 
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Ravenheart87 wrote:
3. There might be some truth in yer words. And the tables right now look awful.

The worst of the bunch is Blessing and that's because you just can't do horizontally balanced columns like that if the text isn't similar in length through out.

It should be:

When cast on self
1-11 fail
12-....

When cast on other
1-11 fail
12-....

When cast on object
1-11 fail
12-....

I bet it only takes two pages laid out like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:44 pm 
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I printed out & laminated all 33 spell pages today. Bind Patron & Blessing are double-sided (and I condensed Blessing from 3 pages to 2).

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I might use a hole puncher so I can put them in a binder.
Image
Blessing I printed out in Landscape (Continued on back). All the rest are Portrait.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:08 pm 
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I'd like to keep the charts just like they are. It could add a bit to the bulk of the book, but at the table it really helps a lot to have it right in front of you in a legible size.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:00 pm 
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You can put me in the: "like charts" column and the "doesn't like the layout" column.

Too much empty space in the spell stats area (double columns and get rid of the formatted grid lines around the first 5 stats - it just draws your eyes right to the massive emptiness).

Center the results and use an alternate color for each row vs. the black outlines. Also the spell pages are a stark contrast in comparison to the rest of the layout. This will sound weird but there's too much art and it overpowers the content.

I live the flavor and nuance that you've included it just needs some tweaking.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:21 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
Ravenheart87 wrote:
3. There might be some truth in yer words. And the tables right now look awful.

The worst of the bunch is Blessing and that's because you just can't do horizontally balanced columns like that if the text isn't similar in length through out.

It should be:

When cast on self
1-11 fail
12-....

When cast on other
1-11 fail
12-....

When cast on object
1-11 fail
12-....

I bet it only takes two pages laid out like that.

I agree, this is a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:08 pm 
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naturaltwenty wrote:
You can put me in the: "like charts" column and the "doesn't like the layout" column.

Too much empty space in the spell stats area (double columns and get rid of the formatted grid lines around the first 5 stats - it just draws your eyes right to the massive emptiness).

I also think the manifestations should somehow be outside the spell since you don't need to see all the manifestations at the table. You only need to know YOUR manifestation and YOUR Mercurial effect (which isn't here) on the page.

Removing the big box lines also makes the flow more friendly for stuff like kindles/nooks.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:46 pm 
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The spell system is probably my favorite thing about the game. That being said, I'd like the core book to be thin as well. One thing I'm not sure about is that I noticed all the tables are called out as product identity in the OGL of the Beta rules. Does that mean all the spells are technically not open?

Basically, as long as the spells were open content, someone could create a tool like this:
http://www.thegm.org/perramsSpellbook_d20pfsrd.php

If such a tool existed that could create one-spell-per-page PDFs of 5.5"x8.5" size (or multiple formats for those who have other preferences), that would be all I'd ever need.

At first, I was a bit taken aback that only 1st-level spells were included, but I've grown to like it. I think the best thing to do would be to figure out a standard requirement for the "official" format, include a list of sample spells, and let the DIY community go wild with creating their own spells. But it would be important to have those formatting guidelines so no spell (rituals excepted) should ever be more than one page (or half-page). Then users can grab spells from multiple sources and not have to spend a bunch of time tinkering with the formatting.

I will say that I think the spells that are more than one page in the Beta rules are too much. It's gotta fit on a single letter-size sheet maximum.

One final suggestion would be to have a free PDF spell supplement available for download, that would have enough basic SRD-type spells for those who don't want to bother with the custom spell aspect of the game. I guarantee some people will fall into this camp and would feel ripped off if they didn't have all the spells needed to support the stated level range of the game. And for guys like me, I'd hate to have my core book be 320 pages because of those types. I already have to deal with my 500+ page Pathfinder book, of which I actually use maybe 120 pages in play.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:23 am 
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Geoffrey wrote:
It would be so cool for Joseph to publish a Random Esoteric Spell Generator. Referees could use it to help generate new and unusual spells for NPCs. ...Typically, Appendix N sorcerers are sui generis. ...


I strongly agree.

I love free-form magic systems. D&D 3.0 Epic Spells, Iron Heroes, Ars Magica, Castle Falkenstein, GURPS Thaumatology - all of these allow great creativity. Mage: the Ascension goes too far overboard, IMHO, and doesn't provide enough rules.

Even computer games such as Magicka and computer versions of Magic: the Gathering allow creative combinations.

However, I blush as I write this because I clearly need to re-read the beta rules. I just realized that clerics don't have healing spells because they have the "lay on hands" ability.


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:38 am 
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geordie racer wrote:
I favour condensing spells wherever possible. You say the 32 spells are 1st level - but how many of these cover the effects of higher level spells within their potential range ? - I've only seen the Magic Missile spell and that is hellish powerful at higher rolls. Surely a Charm Person spell encompasses Charm Monster and Mass Charm over it's range ? A Protection spell can have a range of things it protects against, a Healing spell can too.


This sounds like a good idea to me. There are almost certainly far less than 32 types of spells.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:47 am 
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AgeOfFable wrote:
geordie racer wrote:
I favour condensing spells wherever possible. You say the 32 spells are 1st level - but how many of these cover the effects of higher level spells within their potential range ? - I've only seen the Magic Missile spell and that is hellish powerful at higher rolls. Surely a Charm Person spell encompasses Charm Monster and Mass Charm over it's range ? A Protection spell can have a range of things it protects against, a Healing spell can too.


This sounds like a good idea to me. There are almost certainly far less than 32 types of spells.

I'm in favour of getting rid of spell level, limiting the wizard/elf spells to 30 max to avoid option paralysis, then having other spells as Patron-generated, monster-only or in adventure modules.

I'm interested to see if and how Joseph uses spells like Invisibility, Polymorph, Teleportation, Fly, Time Stop in the full version as these are the ones where wizards become superheroes, break adventure modules etc. I think you could scale these skills Invisibility at low levels is more a 'stand still and blend in' - at high levels you could move or/and act before it cuts out - but always be detected by Detect Magic. Fly is Feather Fall and Levitate at low levels. I'm probably against Teleportation - I think it works better as a portal or patron-only spell.

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:53 am 
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And why would Improved Invisibility exist at all. Invisibility should just be "28-29 As above, except attacking does not end the spell."


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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:15 am 
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geordie racer wrote:
I'm in favour of getting rid of spell level
Remember that spell level does serve a purpose -- it puts spells into piles so that young wizards can't try the hardest spells right away. Magic Missile is cool, but it loses some of the pizzazz once you can cast Fireball. Without spell levels, wizards could cast Fireball from the start.

Not agreeing or disagreeing, just pointing out the reason for the design feature in the first place. The pre-D&D Chainmail miniatures rules set had "spell complexity" which would modify success chance but didn't put a limit on which spells could be cast, so one could argue in a sense that pre-D&D didn't have spell levels, either. (At least, one could adjust the DCC charts to have the same basic effect as "spell complexity" from 1971.)

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 Post subject: Re: Spells, and what to do with them.... [long]
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:51 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
geordie racer wrote:
I'm in favour of getting rid of spell level
Remember that spell level does serve a purpose -- it puts spells into piles so that young wizards can't try the hardest spells right away. Magic Missile is cool, but it loses some of the pizzazz once you can cast Fireball. Without spell levels, wizards could cast Fireball from the start.


I feel like DCC could be more streamlined. Maybe with just three spell levels, at 1st level wizards could have access to DC12 spells like magic missile; at 5th they could have access to DC16 spells like fireball; and at 9th level they could have access to DC21 spells. The levels could be called Rudimentary, Complex, and Great Mysteries (although I think wizards might follow the naming conventions of fast food restaurants where instead of small, medium and large they have large, extra large, and supersized :) )


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