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 Post subject: Some Wizard ideas; Variance.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:18 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:24 am
Posts: 22
Too long don't read version: 3 experiments on how to change the wizards caster level bonus from a fixed number to a random variable


Hi again,

Since having my thoughts on spellburn, (which I have posted in the Magic & Spells section), I have had some further thoughts on wizards and randomness. I will present some of these ideas here for discussion. Unlike my spellburn thoughts (which I am eager to use) these are thought experiments, and if I personally use any of my suggestions it will be the one with the smallest deviation from the standard game rules. In short: these are house-rules I would like to discuss, not necessarily implement.

Before we get into the wizards I want to explain where these ideas come from - no one place but a selection of things causing the ideas to germinate. (1) I like the randomness in the DCC spell system, it is so refreshing to have magic unpredictable. (2) I've discovered I love the idea of cool dice, and the potential for using them more is exciting. (3) I came to the conclusion while reading these boards that the wizard spell DC's rise more swiftly than the opponent's save bonus'. (4) The realisation that after a certain bonus it is highly unlikely for wizards to forget memorised spells. (5) the gnome class presented on these boards for CRAWL and (6) the warriors Mighty-deeds

(1) and (2) combined to make me look at increasing the variance of the wizards results, and decreasing consistency. I dislike static bonus' when they start to dominate; that is when they dwarf the variations in the system... d20+5 is fine, d20+15.... well the d20 is seeming redundant. Obviouly the DCC spells are built with these bonus' in mind (they don't break the system). This is just what fuelled the idea.

With regards to (3) I suspect I am completely wrong about this. I'm in Uganda, and while I have ordered a core book I will not be at leisure to read it until I return to England in a week. However this did spark Experiment 1; the down-powered wizard... (combined with (2))

(4) may not actually be a problem. I read about mr. awesome colour spray, and to be honest think the way to "fix" the situation is to make the colour spray spell more random (say 1d6 different coloured results, like a prismatic spray): make the spell always good, just not always a powerful control effect.

Enough of all this talk, onwards to the experiments!

Experiment 1; the toned-down spellcaster.
Instead of having a set bonus to your spellcasting check a wizard gains a variable bonus based on his level, thus:

Wizard Level / Spellcasting Bonus (average roll on indicated die)
1 / +1d3 (2)
2 / +1d4 (2.5)
3 / +1d5 (3)
4 / +1d6 (3.5)
5 / +1d7 (4)
6 / +1d8 (4.5)
7 / +1d9 (5)
8 / +1d10 (5.5)
9 / +1d11 (6)
10 / +1d12 (6.5)


My first experiment does three things: it makes magic a little more unreliable, it utilises funky dice, and it re-powers the wizard (a boost at levels 1&2, a down powering thereafter).

If my, probably false, premise (3) was correct this would be a good fix for wizards. However, as mentioned above, I think this was a misconception of mine.

Experiment 2; the variance wizard.

Ok, if we now assume that the core numbers are right thus point (3) is wrong lets make a higher variance wizard with the expected average CL using lots of funky dice! To do this we could simply use my "spellburn" table of bonus'... however I balk somewhat at the idea of a caster rolling 2d20 to cast a spell (level 10)... to much! So we come to this:

Wizard Level / Spellcasting Bonus (average roll on indicated die)
1 / +1 (1)
2 / +1d3 (2)
3 / +1d5 (3)
4 / +1d7 (4)
5 / +1d9 (5)
6 / +2d5 (6)
7 / +2d6 (7)
8 / +2d7 (8)
9 / +2d8 (9)
10 / +2d9 (10)


Funky dice and randomness covered! Excellent (and a chance to use d9's, awesome!)... you could use 1d11 at level 6, but I think it is a good breakpoint to gaining more consistency (given 2dX is happening at some point!)

However I worry this table may be to much. I want to see what people think. To be honest if it is too much it is only too much at the higher levels; and then it's not consistently to much.

Still given that when I run the game I don't want to jump in with loads of changes before "testing the waters" of the core rules I am not certain of what I think. This desire to not change too much has lead to my final experiment:

Experiment 3; conservative randomness.
Wizard Level / Spellcasting Bonus (average roll on indicated die)
1 / +1 (1)
2 / +1d3 (2)
3 / +1d5 (3)
4 / +1d7 (4)
5 / +1d9 (5)
6 / +1d9 +1 (6)
7 / +1d9 +2 (7)
8 / +1d9 +3(8)
9 / +1d9 +4(9)
10 / +1d9 +5 (10)


Can you see what I did here? :) Perhaps this should be called the combined approach. It still adds extra randomness and uncertainty into spell casting (getting that lucky 9, or losing a spell after rolling a devastating 1), but it removes some of the spike potential of experiment 2. You cant go so low, and you cant reach so high... luck can give you a 4 point nudge one way or another, and I feel this is enough.

If you really wanted to use that d11 that works to; but the 5 point swing feels to much... it's the same nervousness I had with experiment 2, but without the bell curve to mediate it.

So that sum's up my wizard thought experiments: I hope they get you thinking and elicit responses. I'd really like to know how random and awesome wizards feel outside of spellburn... and if they would like to give this idea a spin or steer clear of it. And remember, I wont be implementing these rule till I have had experience with the game (unless they receive an overwhelmingly positive response, which I somewhat doubt!)

God bless,
james

PS I've realised one final, and very critical, reason I'm exploring these ideas: I've loved reading Joseph's reports of how a Wizard has got lucky and turned entire battles. I got the feeling that was in the beta testing. Since then I've read a lot of Wizards using spellburn and turning the tide of an entire battle. This impresses me less. It would still be awesome in a game, but I'm looking for feeling of hitting the jackpot when you need it. I think this was behind my Spellburn ideas also.

PPS I think Crits would result in rolling the spellcasting bonus dice twice, not doubling your existing result... or not as you choose!


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 Post subject: Re: Some Wizard ideas; Variance.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:30 am 
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Steely-Eyed Heathen-Slayer
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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 616
Location: Montreal
Your idea might be good, or not, I can't really say. It would require a bunch of playtesting to see what the actual in-game results are.

What has gotten playtesting, however, and a bunch of it at that, is the rules as they presently exist in the book. Why not start by trying them out and seeing the actual result in game? You might be surprised. I had not problem with a wizard being overpowered yet.

But if changing numbers rocks your boat, well, it's your game. Change the numbers if you feel like it! :)

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Brother Sufferus, level 4 cleric, STR 13 (+1) AGI 15 (+1) STA 11 PER 13 (+1) INT 10 LUCK 9, AC: 11 (13 if wounded, 15 if down to half hit points), Refl: +3 Fort: +2 Will: +3, chaotic, Robe of the Faith, Scourge of the Maimed One, Darts of Pain.


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 Post subject: Re: Some Wizard ideas; Variance.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:35 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:24 am
Posts: 22
I was using the forums as a thinking board really. I've been away from gamers for 6 months, so needed some external input to mould thoughts...

but they are just thoughts, and I've had more since then - but I'm not looking at it as something that needs to be fixed... just something i'm enjoying tinkering with :)

I think my thoughts have lead me to something that looks like this:

1/d3/d3+1/d5+1/d5+2/d7+2/d7+3/d9+3/d9+4/d11+4.

I will use it for spellburn (1 to 10 points), and I'll leave wizards alone. I think it will be a fun tweek that opens up cool dice, and is still pretty close to the core rules. Later I may mess around more - but not till i've played it some :)


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