Any point in spell level?

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BanjoJohn
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Any point in spell level?

Post by BanjoJohn » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:30 am

So I was thinking about how spells work in DCC, with certain thresholds to cast successfully and different tiers of success available for each spell, is spell level even necessary any more?

The only function I see spell level having is a level-based gateway to keep players from using spells before certain levels, but the way I figure is that the actual difficulty in not getting a failure result is probably gateway enough. the power-level of higher level spells doesn't seem to increase that much compared to level 1 spells especially when you consider the powerful results possible from the level 1 spells.

What reasons are there to keep the spell-level system?

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Raven_Crowking » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:41 pm

Some Mercurial effects have variables based on spell level.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

BanjoJohn
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by BanjoJohn » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:12 pm

Yeah, but mercurial magic is kind of a side feature of magic in DCC, could probably modify it to not require anything to do with spell level.

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Raven_Crowking » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:50 am

BanjoJohn wrote:Yeah, but mercurial magic is kind of a side feature of magic in DCC, could probably modify it to not require anything to do with spell level.
If you wanted to, sure.
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:21 pm

I've considered making spells beyond your current range require a step down the Dice Chain per level to cast, just to create some distance, but still allow them to be cast.

On the theoretical level, I'd imagine a higher level spell to be exponentially more complex, not linearly more complex.

But it's never actually come up.
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Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Jim Skach » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:33 pm

GnomeBoy wrote:On the theoretical level, I'd imagine a higher level spell to be exponentially more complex, not linearly more complex.
This....right here...

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by BanjoJohn » Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:10 am

Those are good points, although you could just make different categories of spells, where they do get step-down in the die used to cast them, and still not have them be cut-off by character level because they are too low to learn it, it just means it is all the more difficult for a lower level character to cast the spell.

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Raven_Crowking
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Raven_Crowking » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:22 am

BanjoJohn wrote:Those are good points, although you could just make different categories of spells, where they do get step-down in the die used to cast them, and still not have them be cut-off by character level because they are too low to learn it, it just means it is all the more difficult for a lower level character to cast the spell.
You can absolutely fold, spindle, and mutilate this game in any way you wish, to make it into the game that you wish!
SoBH pbp:

Cathbad the Meek (herbalist Wizard 1): AC 9; 4 hp; S 7, A 7, St 10, P 17, I 13, L 8; Neutral; Club, herbs, 50' rope, 50 cp; -1 to melee attack rolls. Hideous scar.

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Jim Skach » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:21 am

Yeah I think maybe there's a misunderstanding. you asked for reasons why one would keep the spell level system. well...here they are.

But these reasons are going to be world-building reasons; fiction reasons; non-rule reasons.

Actual rules driven reasons you can't do something are virtually impossible to find in DCC. At it's core it's an almost completely stripped down bare bones d20 chassis with relatively independent subsystems bolted on. The magic system is one of those sub systems. Therefore, there are going to be almost no reasons....well, rules driven reasons you couldn't do exactly what you're suggesting.

If I were to consider doing the same, then I'd still find ways to make certain spells difficult to find - as it suggests on pages 314-315.

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Ozerulz » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:30 pm

Pretty much all RPGs are progression based in some respect, percentile games acquire increased performance, D&D contains new available spells etc etc
I think having restrictions on characters is simply the way society has always looked at things. Veterans have knowledge that rookies don’t. It’s why Conan is still a badass as King even though he’s much older. Just my two cents.

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Starbeard » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:31 am

It sounds like you can get what you want by simply ridding your game of spell level requirements, rather than ignoring spell levels entirely.

Mechanically, spell level does serve a couple of functions—it is affected by mercurial magic, and it has a direct effect on where the threshold is for casting failure—but all of these are independent of the character casting the spell. In other words, those mechanics remain in effect whether the spell is being cast by a 1st level warrior or a 15th level wizard.

So why not? Let your wizards learn whatever spell they can get their hands on, and see how it goes. Just treat their current "maximum spell level" as an in-world guideline on what's generally considered safe to cast.

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herecomethejudge
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by herecomethejudge » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:27 am

BanjoJohn wrote:So I was thinking about how spells work in DCC, with certain thresholds to cast successfully and different tiers of success available for each spell, is spell level even necessary any more?

The only function I see spell level having is a level-based gateway to keep players from using spells before certain levels, but the way I figure is that the actual difficulty in not getting a failure result is probably gateway enough.
I think they make sense for a number of reasons, in addition to what's already been listed in the thread.

One is that your PCs start out as villagers with little education. Learning magical arts would be a huge leap for most. Making some spells simply unattainable for novices seems to jive with real-world experiences of learning simple things before complex ones, and it gives players something to look forward to as their PCs progress.

There's also already a danger of magic-using characters "breaking" adventures even at lower levels, so limiting the spells they can access also helps to keep the party reasonably challenged as they progress.

While I personally would not do this, a possible house rule could be that at each level, magic-users get a certain number of "spell level points" which are spendable on any combination of spells. I.e. at first level, a character gets 5 spell points, which could be used to learn five 1st level spells or one 5th level spell. But again, I like the system as it is.

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DM Cojo
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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by DM Cojo » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:30 pm

I could see adding a house rule about “chance to learn spell” like AD&D had. Maybe have a set DC, which is modified by caster level (down) and spell level (up). Then have the caster roll when they discover a new spell. Failure means the spell is beyond their comprehension. They could try again after attaining a new level. You could even allow it to be modified by luck or intelligence, or both. Maybe they can improve the roll by spending luck too? Could be fun!

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:45 pm

Hmm... that makes me think:

What if, when you try to learn spells of a level higher than you're supposed to learn, you roll a d50 for additional Mercurial Magic effects for each level beyond your 'grasp'...?

1st Level Elf trying to learn a 3rd Level spell, "Sure, why not? Roll a normal Mercurial effect, and two more with just a d50, please..."

So you can have the spell, but you're really not good at it. :twisted:
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: Any point in spell level?

Post by Starbeard » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:43 am

GnomeBoy wrote:
Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:45 pm
Hmm... that makes me think:

What if, when you try to learn spells of a level higher than you're supposed to learn, you roll a d50 for additional Mercurial Magic effects for each level beyond your 'grasp'...?

1st Level Elf trying to learn a 3rd Level spell, "Sure, why not? Roll a normal Mercurial effect, and two more with just a d50, please..."

So you can have the spell, but you're really not good at it. :twisted:
Not a bad idea. I do like tying in existing systems as much as possible, and any excuse to roll more mercurial magic is a bonus in my mind.

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