... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Re-Doing Spell Durations: Magic-User

I've been looking at simplifying and unifying spell statistics for Liber Zero, again, mainly because I saw a forum thread wishing for more "build your own" rules for monsters, classes, and spells, instead of lists of those things. The last official post I did on this was the revised spell statistics post, although I did massage these a bit when I did my spell study series and stripped them way down when I proposed a cheap, tiny version of D&D.

I was looking specifically at the spell durations, first. For magic-users, I had come up with:

  • Instant: open-ended change of state
  • Brief: turns = spell level, minimum 2 turns
  • Standard: 6 turns/2 spell levels
    • plus caster level, if physical
    • or 2d6 turns, if combat-related
  • Every spell type would be considered Instant, Brief, or Standard. But I'm wondering what the harm would be to merge and compress Brief and Standard to just "2d6 turns/2 spell levels, half that for spells that delay or interrupt, with a bonus = caster level for physical effects like flight or levitation".

    Reasons in favor:

    1. Many combat spells are already 2d6 turns.
    2. Since many low-level non-combat spells are 6 turns, replacing the duration with an average roll of 7 won't be too bad.
    3. We give physical effects a level-based bonus, just so players can predict how long Fly might last.

    Is it really so wrong?


    1. I've simplified even further: for non-instantaneous spells, duration = level in exploration turns.

      Or, duration is indefinite, but only one effect may be maintained, and concentration checks are required in certain circumstances (this is the Gravity Sinister "sustain" approach). Thus, one can fly or be shielded, but not both, and switching the effect requires casting another spell (and thus using up some of whatever resource allows casting spells).

      I think I prefer the second method conceptually, given that it doesn't require tracking any countdowns, though duration = level is easier to explain to experienced players.

      1. We have different design goals, though. You're trying to reduce workload and make it easy for players to grasp, while still fitting into your personal conception of magic. I'm simplifying as much as possible while still keeping the final version of the spell as close to those in the original as possible.