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  1. #1
    Hello,
    I am going through the magic system in MIDNIGHT right now and it is nearly
    all ocg - give me a little time and I will see how it could be worked into
    BR and post a synopsis (including the OCG parts). I am not 100% comfortable
    yet - having had the book for 3 days. My current conception of it right now
    is that it is superior to a low magic type of setting than the base system
    and that it has many elements of the Wheel of Time channeler versatility
    built into it.

    Eosin



    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Kenneth Gauck" <kgauck@MCHSI.COM>
    To: <BIRTHRIGHT-L@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM>
    Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2003 11:03 PM
    Subject: Magic Reform


    > I`ve noticed that there is considerable interest in reform of the magic
    > system. Some suggestions have been very modest (there is a
    non-interference
    > pact) other less so. Many settings have been very happy to provide
    entirely
    > new spellcasting systems with whole new spell lists. Many of these are
    > elementally based, but not all of them. In a manner of speaking, the
    whole
    > wizard - magician situation is an early adjustment of the standard D&D
    > spellcasting system, but other settings have left this behind and taken
    new
    > spellcasting systems way beyond BR.
    >
    > What should spellcasting look like in Cerilia? Here are some possible
    > suggestions.
    >
    > 1) Spell power progression slows down after 5th to 7th caster levels.
    > 1A) Spell limits might be more generous with lower level spells.
    > 1B) Other arcane powers might be granted in compensation
    > 1Ba) Additional Spell Focus and Spell Penetration feats
    > 1Bb) Ability to develope and manipulate ley lines
    > 1Bc) Abilities to perform new abilities (travel in Shadow World?)
    > 2) Casting times may begin to increase for higher level spells
    > 3) Required skill checks may necessitate taking levels of Expert
    > 4) Additional requirements are neccesary to move beyond spell level 6
    (being
    > blooded being required to get beyond 2nd level.
    > 5) More specialization
    >
    > What should be going on with Cerilian spellcasters?
    >
    > Kenneth Gauck
    > kgauck@mchsi.com
    >
    >
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    Hello, I guess I gotta have a sig.

  2. #2
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    > What should spellcasting look like in Cerilia? Here are some possible
    > suggestions.
    >
    > 1) Spell power progression slows down after 5th to 7th caster levels.
    > 1A) Spell limits might be more generous with lower level spells.
    > 1B) Other arcane powers might be granted in compensation
    > 1Ba) Additional Spell Focus and Spell Penetration feats
    > 1Bb) Ability to develope and manipulate ley lines
    > 1Bc) Abilities to perform new abilities (travel in Shadow World?)
    > 2) Casting times may begin to increase for higher level spells
    > 3) Required skill checks may necessitate taking levels of Expert
    > 4) Additional requirements are neccesary to move beyond spell level 6 (being
    > blooded being required to get beyond 2nd level.
    > 5) More specialization


    I prefer some of Rich Baker`s work from Spells & Magic. Me and my players
    are going to be testing it to see if the point values still work in 3e D&D,
    but overall I don`t see why they wouldn`t. I`m only going to allow up to 10
    levels in this "True Mage" class though, which means that due to spell
    points, a mage will have much greater versatility but be limited only to 5th
    level spells. I`m going to make similiar adjustments for Druid, Bard,
    Sorcerer, and Cleric.

    In Player`s Option: Spells & Magic, Rich Baker introduced new schools of
    magic to reflect casting instead of magic-spell theme, so Geometer and
    Alchemist specialist wizards were created in addition to Shadow and Song
    specialists. New priests were added like Crusader, Monk, and Shaman, but
    other than the Shaman most of these were horribly unbalanced. (The shaman
    was cool, and a revamped 3e version would fit nicely in Birthright.)

    Chapter 6 included the concept of spell points. At every level, you had a
    certain of points. Every "level" of spell you prepare/memorize, has a spell
    point cost (4 for 1st level, 6 for 2nd level, 10 for 3rd level, etc.). In
    addition, there were "free magics" which doubled the cost. A 3rd level
    "free magic" prepared means that you can choose which spell it is as you`re
    casting it, choosing any 1st-3rd level spell you know. You can choose to
    lower the cost of a spell by adding to the casting time or casting at a
    lower caster level, or raise the cost to cast at a higher caster level or
    even cast higher level spells than you would normally be allowed.

    In addition, chapter 6 included new "types" of magic including the
    Channeller, the Preserver/Defiler, the Warlock, the Alienist, the Ritual
    Priest, and the Conditional Priest.

    The Conditional Priest was cool, but depended on you writing a "template" of
    conditions, basically saying that in some situations you`re priest can cast
    spells at a higher caster level, while in others he`d have a lower caster
    level. Haelyn, for example, might raise a caster level +1 during battles,
    while Eleole might actually lower caster level -1 during battles. The book
    recommended having 5 of each type "positive" and "negative" conditions.

    The Ritual Priest was stupid and depended on using time-dependant and
    gp-dependant rituals to gain spellpoints with which to cast spells. For
    example, performing a 2 SP ritual to cast a 10 SP spell (3rd level) would
    take 5 turns to cast that spell. Making a sacrifice (such as a magic item)
    can gain a lot more SP, making the rituals faster. This was a stupid
    system, as written. Decent ideas to work from, though.

    The Alienist and the Warlock were similiar in theme but had different
    mechanics. Everytime an Alienist memorized a spell, there was a percentage
    chance that he could gain an insanity, and there was a list. The warlock,
    everytime he casts a spell, there`s a chance he`ll be tainted by evil and
    this basically used the corruption rules from Ravenloft (actually granting
    cool benefits at first, then mixed blessings, then turning you into a
    viscious monster, and finally you were an NPC).

    The Preserver/Defiler worked like an arcane version of the Ritual Priest,
    building up SP to cast a spell during spellcasting by taking energy from the
    land. A preserver took a long time to cast a spell, but could cast more
    spells. The defiler was just extremely powerful, but killed all life and
    vegetation around him with each casting.

    The Channeller was the variant magic system that I used that worked really
    well, but made characters really powerful. Everytime the character casts a
    spell, he`d become fatigued based on a chart in the book. Every time
    allotment, depending on the level of fatigue, a saving throw was allowed to
    recover. Spell points were gained again over time instead of per day, so
    that three hours of rest might be enough to get a couple spells back. The
    Channeller in my game died in a climactic battle because he was 5th level
    and attempted to cast a 5th level spell ("Hold Monsters") costing most of
    his SP, and risking Mortal Fatigue. He failed his save, and never awoke
    again.


    Ritualists, if done better, would be cool for Cerelia. The
    preserver/defiler might be a cool type of elven magic. I think Warlocks and
    Channellers would also have their place. The Shaman class, which summoned
    spirit guides (choose either animal, nature spirit, or ancestor) to cast
    spells for you or to help you prepare them, but these spirit guides often
    asked favors and demanded codes of conduct. You also needed a lengthly
    ritual to summon them. I highly recommend the spell point system in any
    case and will be posting it soon along with my class writeup of the Mage and
    possibly the Shaman. It`ll be written up in a d20Modern/ClassicallyModern
    format similiar to the Scion of Vorynn class I posted earlier this week.

    -Lord Rahvin

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  3. #3
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    Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >I`ve noticed that there is considerable interest in reform of the magic
    >system. Some suggestions have been very modest (there is a non-interference
    >pact) other less so. Many settings have been very happy to provide entirely
    >new spellcasting systems with whole new spell lists. Many of these are
    >elementally based, but not all of them. In a manner of speaking, the whole
    >wizard - magician situation is an early adjustment of the standard D&D
    >spellcasting system, but other settings have left this behind and taken new
    >spellcasting systems way beyond BR.
    >
    >What should spellcasting look like in Cerilia? Here are some possible
    >suggestions.
    >
    >1) Spell power progression slows down after 5th to 7th caster levels.
    > 1A) Spell limits might be more generous with lower level spells.
    > 1B) Other arcane powers might be granted in compensation
    > 1Ba) Additional Spell Focus and Spell Penetration feats
    > 1Bb) Ability to develope and manipulate ley lines
    > 1Bc) Abilities to perform new abilities (travel in Shadow World?)
    >2) Casting times may begin to increase for higher level spells
    >3) Required skill checks may necessitate taking levels of Expert
    >4) Additional requirements are neccesary to move beyond spell level 6 (being
    >blooded being required to get beyond 2nd level.
    >5) More specialization
    >What should be going on with Cerilian spellcasters?
    >Kenneth Gauck
    >kgauck@mchsi.com
    >
    The Expert class is a bad idea if it really comes to that scions are
    required to take levels in a scion class.
    Then we would have a Expert/Scion/Wizard - after all a wizard needs to
    be a scion with a bloodline and if he also needs lots of skill points
    then what will be so great about a Wizard as compared to the Magician?
    bye
    Michael Romes

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  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Here is my current plan for magic in the BR setting. It combines several
    things I have been trying to accomplish.

    1) starting with a more narrow spell list, but coming up with a mechanism
    for implementing this
    2) lowering the magic level of the setting without making spellcasting
    classes poor choices.
    3) breaking down the barriers between class spell lists, including arcane
    and divine.

    So here is what I`ve done.
    A) Spellcasting classes (cleric, druid, wizard, sorcerer) can not exceed
    half of your total character level.
    B) Alternate classes provide feats as well as new spells known (without
    increasing your ability to cast new spells, they also typically have pretty
    good skill points.

    So, take a priest of Avani. He might take a second class (based on where
    the players wants to focus the character, could be a 3-level, 5-level,
    10-level, or 20-level class) that provides new spells to learn, special
    feats, and a skill list that keeps the character competitive. So our priest
    of Avani wants to be a ruler of holdings one day, and develop fire energy
    powers. So, I whip up a fire class based on Avani (probably also based off
    of something in Tome and Blood, or another supplement). It will have 6
    ranks of skill points per level, d6 hit dice, clerical BAB, fortitude save,
    add knowledge of spells dealing with sun, fire, and protection, add a domain
    the player is interested (lets say a sun domain that immolates undead and
    uses fire to purify) and a minor power that increases the character`s power
    over fire, or related domains. The other class might be Aristocrat, a PrC
    from any of a variety of sources or something I make the character more of a
    ruler.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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  5. #5
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    --- Kenneth Gauck <kgauck@MCHSI.COM> skrev: > Here is
    my current plan for magic in the BR setting.
    > It combines several
    > things I have been trying to accomplish.
    >


    Is this planned to be a part of the conversion book,
    or is it your private musings?

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    That would mean anything over a 5th level spell is not available for casting. A 6th level spell needs a 11th level caster. If you make it mandatory to dual class, that means they need to be 21st or 22nd level. Add a scion template to increase the ECL and it gets even worse.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003, destowe wrote:

    > That would mean anything over a 5th level spell is not available for
    > casting.

    I would have said that was the *intent*, not a side effect. The concern
    is that once you have even a tiny handful of people able to command such
    magics, the world simply is not "low magic" anymore -- those high-level
    spells are the problem being solved by this plan.

    > A 6th level spell needs a 11th level caster. If you make it mandatory
    > to dual class, that means they need to be 21st or 22nd level. Add a
    > scion template to increase the ECL and it gets even worse.

    I see no reason to cap total class level at 20, especially for the many
    ancient and powerful creatures hanging around Cerilia. For example, given
    that I think I probably do want the Magian and Llaeddra (but very possibly
    no one else ever, including PCs) casting 9th level spells, I have no
    problem at all giving each of them at least 34 total class levels. Among
    other things, I think the Gorgon should get his full 25 levels of Fighter,
    with no need to introduce "epic" classes, as the right way to extend the
    table progression (especially for that class) is completely obvious.


    Ryan Caveney

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  8. #8
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ryancaveney

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003, destowe wrote:

    > That would mean anything over a 5th level spell is not available for
    > casting.

    I would have said that was the *intent*, not a side effect. The concern
    is that once you have even a tiny handful of people able to command such
    magics, the world simply is not "low magic" anymore -- those high-level
    spells are the problem being solved by this plan.

    > A 6th level spell needs a 11th level caster. If you make it mandatory
    > to dual class, that means they need to be 21st or 22nd level. Add a
    > scion template to increase the ECL and it gets even worse.

    I see no reason to cap total class level at 20, especially for the many
    ancient and powerful creatures hanging around Cerilia. For example, given
    that I think I probably do want the Magian and Llaeddra (but very possibly
    no one else ever, including PCs) casting 9th level spells, I have no
    problem at all giving each of them at least 34 total class levels. Among
    other things, I think the Gorgon should get his full 25 levels of Fighter,
    with no need to introduce "epic" classes, as the right way to extend the
    table progression (especially for that class) is completely obvious.


    Ryan Caveney
    But the way the Epic rules are written all progression beyond 20th level is handled using epic progression. This character level, not individual class levels. A multi-classed character can be an epic character but not be epic in any one class. Part of the progression is a change in progression of BAB, saving throws, etc. It is important to "follow" those rules since they are inmportant for blanacing out of the system. Now, if using a "home-brewed" system like you do then this doesn't apply, although it will mean handling everything accordingly (monsters, NPCs, CRs, etc.). Using Epic progressin also allows for the acquisition of "epic" feats which are substantially more powerful than the "ordinary" ones.
    Duane Eggert

  9. #9
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003, irdeggman wrote:

    > A multi-classed character can be an epic character but not be epic in
    > any one class.

    I know. I think the whole idea of "epicness" is entirely unnecessary.

    > Part of the progression is a change in progression of BAB, saving
    > throws, etc.

    A change which I think is silly and unappealing.

    > It is important to "follow" those rules since they are inmportant
    > for blanacing out of the system.

    I disagree completely -- I think they make things much more imbalanced.

    > Now, if using a "home-brewed" system like you do then this doesn`t
    > apply, although it will mean handling everything accordingly
    > (monsters, NPCs, CRs, etc.).

    Clearly, introduction of the "no more than 1/2 your levels in a
    spellcasting class" rule (which I quite like, btw) would already make
    anyone`s campaign a "home-brew", so there`s little point in not making any
    other rules changes suggested by it. Personally, given the way the "epic"
    stuff is handled, I think it`s much more of a rules change from the PHB
    than is "just don`t cap character level at 20".

    > Using Epic progressin also allows for the acquisition of "epic"
    > feats which are substantially more powerful than the "ordinary"
    > ones.

    Some parts of it are amusing, and others are annoying, but overall I find
    it awkward and generally unhelpful. Considered as a whole, I think the
    official epic level rules are a bug, not a feature.


    Ryan Caveney

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  10. #10
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    My limiting spellcasting levels to no more than half of all character levels
    is nothing more than my own home rules. Ryan is correct, that the very
    purpose of this adjustment is to reduce the power of magic that is routine
    in the campaign. Powerful magic will be ancient and DM placed. I will add
    that I think 3e is designed for higher level play than previous editions.
    Playing at the lowest levels means you lose out on many of the most
    interesting character options. I`ve boosted the place where I plateau
    character development by failing to provide consistently more dangerous
    opponants every time they turn the corner. I want to see knights with more
    than power attack.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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