Author Topic: Spellcasting nerf  (Read 2883 times)

Offline Prime32

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Spellcasting nerf
« Topic Start: November 11, 2011, 08:04:20 AM »
  • All spells other than cantrips have a minimum casting time of 1 round, unless they previously required a swift/immediate action. At the start of the next round, rather than releasing the spell you may choose to extend its casting time by another round. If you wish you may set a condition on which to end the casting and cast the spell, similar to a readied action. For every round in which you maintain a spell in this manner you take 1 point of nonlethal damage per spell level. You do not need to provide a spell's normal verbal and somatic components while maintaining it, though you must provide them to complete the casting; this does not make the spell any harder to identify, since they are replaced by a distinctive visual display (for somatic components) and/or an auditory one (for verbal components).
    • Classes which get only up to 6th level spells (bard, duskblade) use the original casting times, while classes with spell lists up to 4th level (paladin, ranger) can Quicken their spells for free.
  • Spells with increased casting times which deal or restore hit point damage have that damage doubled.
  • Damage caps do not exist, and HD caps increase to your caster level if higher than the original. If a spell had multiple HD caps then the highest one increases to your caster level and other caps remain the same distance from it (eg. if a spell had caps of 5HD, 6HD and 8HD then casting it at CL20 would result in caps of 17HD, 18HD and 20HD). Lesser planar binding and Greater planar binding do not exist.
  • Casting a cantrip does not expend the slot; in other words you can cast cantrips at will. Cantrips which deal damage have that damage multiplied by the highest level of spells you can cast (minimum 1). Cantrips which heal damage do not exist.
  • If you take damage while casting a spell you lose the spell automatically, unless that damage is backlash from the spell itself. You are flat-footed while casting a spell. Casting defensively does not exist.
  • If you are adjacent to the target of a spell as it is being cast you may attempt to gain its effects as well as a free action, similar to the Spell Stowaway feat. This requires an unarmed attack roll opposed by the caster's caster level check. For instance, when an enemy spellcaster teleports away you could attempt to teleport to the same location along with him. Whether or not you succeed, you take 1d4 points of damage per level of the spell. The caster level for the stolen effect is equal to the original caster level or your BAB, whichever is lower. The spellcaster does not gain any knowledge of whether you are successful. You cannot attempt this on the same casting more than once, nor can you attempt to steal a spell you cast yourself.
  • Shield bonuses to AC apply to touch AC.

Combat Casting [General]
Benefit: When casting a 0th-level spell you may choose to cast defensively. For every 3 points of BAB this benefit applies to spells of one level higher.

Or maybe grant that to everyone, and have the feat let you do it for spells of one level higher.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 05:59:21 AM by Prime32 »

Offline ImperatorK

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #1: November 11, 2011, 08:10:12 AM »
Cool. I'm going to add this to my houserules.
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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #2: November 11, 2011, 08:13:40 AM »
Hmm, simple, yet effective. Though you might want a second look at flat out doubling heal/damage, theres a couple of spells that are exceptions, and those exceptions are going to be enormous exceptions.
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Offline oslecamo

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #3: November 11, 2011, 08:22:39 AM »
This gets my aproval.

Offline Agita

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #4: November 11, 2011, 08:33:04 AM »
If you are adjacent to the target of a spell as it is being cast you may attempt to gain its effects as well, similar to the Spell Stowaway feat. This requires an unarmed attack roll opposed by the caster's caster level check. For instance, when an enemy spellcaster teleports away you could attempt to teleport to the same location along with him. Whether or not you succeed, you take 1d4 points of damage per level of the spell. The caster level for the stolen effect is equal to the original caster level or your BAB, whichever is lower. The spellcaster does not gain any knowledge of whether you are successful.
As it is written right now, this gives you a free Chain on all your out-of-combat buffs. Cast X on party member Y, everyone does their touch attacks, voluntarily fail your opposed check. Might want to rework that somehow.
Also, it needs an action. Immediate? Free? Nonaction?
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Offline Prime32

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #5: November 11, 2011, 08:36:47 AM »
As it is written right now, this gives you a free Chain on all your out-of-combat buffs. Cast X on party member Y, everyone does their touch attacks, voluntarily fail your opposed check. Might want to rework that somehow.
Also, it needs an action. Immediate? Free? Nonaction?
Free, and that was intentional.

Offline RobbyPants

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #6: November 11, 2011, 09:23:30 AM »
Hmm, simple, yet effective. Though you might want a second look at flat out doubling heal/damage, theres a couple of spells that are exceptions, and those exceptions are going to be enormous exceptions.
Yeah. This is really similar to what I posted, so naturally, any spells I was worried about would be much stronger here. Two that come to mind:

Magic Missile - right at level 1, that's an average of 7 automatic damage (no save or attack), which will KO most non-cleric/non-fighter types. Luckily, it won't kill them, though.

Scorching Ray - right at level 3, you're hitting for an average of 28 damage on a touch attack. That will take out pretty much anyone but a fighter-type with a good Con (A con 16 fighter should have 30 HP on average).

That being said, since these spells take a full round to cast, there's always the option of getting the fuck out of the way, or damaging the caster, if that's possible. This is actually simple enough that I may pilfer it in place of my monstrous set of rules that have similar results at a much higher word count. ;)
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Offline Agita

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #7: November 11, 2011, 09:34:03 AM »
Oh, another thing.

Damage caps do not exist, and HD caps increase to your caster level if higher than the original.
I assume the latter refers to spells like Sleep and Cause Fear. How does it interact with staggered HD caps, such as on Color Spray?
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Offline Prime32

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #8: November 11, 2011, 10:13:57 AM »
That being said, since these spells take a full round to cast, there's always the option of getting the fuck out of the way, or damaging the caster, if that's possible.
Or using total defence, tower shields, etc. to increase your chances.

Damage caps do not exist, and HD caps increase to your caster level if higher than the original.
I assume the latter refers to spells like Sleep and Cause Fear. How does it interact with staggered HD caps, such as on Color Spray?
They stay the same relative to the highest cap. Eg. if an lv20 caster used an effect with caps at 4HD and 6HD, they would increase to 18HD and 20HD.


EDIT: An idea based on the most recent Negima chapter
(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 11:08:02 AM by Prime32 »

Offline Havok4

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #9: November 11, 2011, 11:39:14 AM »
I actually think that having catrips that heal damage would not be too harmful to game balance. There are already plenty of ways to get infinite healing, making it readily available if very slow will help keep the 20 minute adventuring day problem down.

Also what does this do to classes like the psychic warrior and duskblade. Perhaps they could get specialized combat casting class features.

Otherwise this looks good. Makes casting spells just as powerful but much more difficult in combat, allowing the mundane classes have a chance to shine.

Offline Childe

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #10: November 11, 2011, 07:40:48 PM »
  • All spells other than cantrips have a minimum casting time of 1 round, unless they previously required a swift/immediate action. At the start of the next round, rather than releasing the spell you may choose to extend its casting time by another round. ... For every round in which you maintain a spell in this manner you take 1 point of nonlethal damage per spell level.
  • If you take damage while casting a spell you lose the spell automatically, unless that damage is backlash from the spell itself. Casting defensively does not exist.
  • If you are adjacent to the target of a spell as it is being cast you may attempt to gain its effects as well as a free action, similar to the Spell Stowaway feat. This requires an unarmed attack roll opposed by the caster's caster level check. For instance, when an enemy spellcaster teleports away you could attempt to teleport to the same location along with him. Whether or not you succeed, you take 1d4 points of damage per level of the spell. The caster level for the stolen effect is equal to the original caster level or your BAB, whichever is lower. The spellcaster does not gain any knowledge of whether you are successful. You cannot attempt this on the same casting more than once.

A couple of thoughts:
What is the point of holding a spell rather than casting immediately? You take (nonlethal damage), open yourself up to interruption for a longer period of time, and get no benefit unless you're waiting for something to happen, and you just wanted to start casting because you weren't sure when that thing would happen.

Cantrips that deal damage become stupidly useful against other spellcasters and spellcaster v. spellcaster fights turn into standoffs. What I mean is that, since cantrips maintain their lower casting time, they can be used to deliver the damage needed to make the opposing spellcaster "lose the spell automatically." Neither spellcaster will want to start casting a non-cantrip spell because the other will simply knock them out of it.

Additionally, though I recognize this may be intended, these rules make spellcasters highly dependent on other players in ways that non-casters are not dependent. By this I mean the casters must have someone to prevent the interruption, so they need the meatshield or whatever. The meatshield, while less deadly, does not rely on the spellcaster in the same way. This also makes solo spellcasters almost useless unless they have a lot of downtime to prepare defenses or are using other "tricks" (admittedly there are many). The interruption mechanic is very harsh. The casting time already dramatically changes effectiveness.

Another observation: the spellcaster, if adjacent to the target, can steal the effect for himself. This is odd, though not necessarily bad. However, should you want to cut it off, I would suggest not disabling all other actions while casting (to prevent the use of the free action to steal the spell) as that would prevent such mundane things as talking (a free action).

Lastly, what happens to spells with irregular cast times, such as swift action castings? There are entire spells devoted to that (Swift Haste, for example), as well as other spells that, while less overt about it being their point, depend on such cast times (one I can't locate at the moment, was a direct damage spell from, I believe, the retired Spellbook article).
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Offline Prime32

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #11: November 11, 2011, 07:52:43 PM »
A couple of thoughts:
What is the point of holding a spell rather than casting immediately? You take (nonlethal damage), open yourself up to interruption for a longer period of time, and get no benefit unless you're waiting for something to happen, and you just wanted to start casting because you weren't sure when that thing would happen.
That's one reason. Another is if your targets move out of range in the meantime and you don't want to waste a spell slot.

Quote
Cantrips that deal damage become stupidly useful against other spellcasters and spellcaster v. spellcaster fights turn into standoffs. What I mean is that, since cantrips maintain their lower casting time, they can be used to deliver the damage needed to make the opposing spellcaster "lose the spell automatically." Neither spellcaster will want to start casting a non-cantrip spell because the other will simply knock them out of it.
Why do you think they have so many rules for wizard duels? ;)

Quote
Additionally, though I recognize this may be intended, these rules make spellcasters highly dependent on other players in ways that non-casters are not dependent. By this I mean the casters must have someone to prevent the interruption, so they need the meatshield or whatever. The meatshield, while less deadly, does not rely on the spellcaster in the same way. This also makes solo spellcasters almost useless unless they have a lot of downtime to prepare defenses or are using other "tricks" (admittedly there are many). The interruption mechanic is very harsh. The casting time already dramatically changes effectiveness.
Hopefully the meatshield will benefit from the ability to steal buffs. I could remove the burn effect from doing it.

Quote
Another observation: the spellcaster, if adjacent to the target, can steal the effect for himself. This is odd, though not necessarily bad. However, should you want to cut it off, I would suggest not disabling all other actions while casting (to prevent the use of the free action to steal the spell) as that would prevent such mundane things as talking (a free action).
Well, talking depends on whether the spell has a verbal component - I'll make an addition to maintenance. You shouldn't be able to steal a spell while casting another.

Quote
Lastly, what happens to spells with irregular cast times, such as swift action castings? There are entire spells devoted to that (Swift Haste, for example), as well as other spells that, while less overt about it being their point, depend on such cast times (one I can't locate at the moment, was a direct damage spell from, I believe, the retired Spellbook article).
Already mentioned. Swift/immediate casting times are not increased.

Offline Childe

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #12: November 11, 2011, 08:03:56 PM »
That's one reason. Another is if your targets move out of range in the meantime and you don't want to waste a spell slot.
Ok, that makes sense.

Quote
Why do you think they have so many rules for wizard duels? ;)
I still feel like this part is awkward (cantrips instant interrupts, essentially at-will counterspells).

Quote
Hopefully the meatshield will benefit from the ability to steal buffs. I could remove the burn effect from doing it.
I was actually expressing more concern for the spellcaster than the meatshield. Rather than saying the meatshield needed incentive to defend, I was saying that it prevents independence on the part of a spellcaster. A solo spellcaster is utterly helpless to anyone who can hit reliably or otherwise produce some simple means of constant damage (which inhibits spellcasting). The fighter character is not likewise strangled. He takes damage, he deals damage.

Quote
Well, talking depends on whether the spell has a verbal component - I'll make an addition to maintenance. You shouldn't be able to steal a spell while casting another.
Talking was an example. Quick draw could have been the point (somatic, yes, I know). I was just pointing out potential collateral to something I was noting as an oddity, encouraging a more specific rule to prevent it rather than a blanket no-other-actions-while-casting restriction.

Quote
Already mentioned. Swift/immediate casting times are not increased.
So they are. Woops.
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Offline Prime32

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #13: November 11, 2011, 08:15:56 PM »
Quote
Well, talking depends on whether the spell has a verbal component - I'll make an addition to maintenance. You shouldn't be able to steal a spell while casting another.
Talking was an example. Quick draw could have been the point (somatic, yes, I know). I was just pointing out potential collateral to something I was noting as an oddity, encouraging a more specific rule to prevent it rather than a blanket no-other-actions-while-casting restriction.
Well I was picturing the caster as being in a pose like this:


Also, what if instead of auto-disrupt you were flat-footed while casting? That would make you more likely to take enough damage to disrupt the spell. (casting defensively still doesn't exist)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 08:20:14 PM by Prime32 »

Offline Childe

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #14: November 11, 2011, 08:34:56 PM »
Well I was picturing the caster as being in a pose like this:


Also, what if instead of auto-disrupt you were flat-footed while casting? That would make you more likely to take enough damage to disrupt the spell. (casting defensively still doesn't exist)

Maybe you could make a couple of variations for it, depending on how the players & DM want to interpret spellcasting (for instance, not every spell even requires a somatic component, which that visualization seems to suggest; and the mechanics don't support the "unable to move, yet willing to endure a beating in order to cast the spell" style that is sometimes portrayed, though in fairness the default mechanics hardly support those, perhaps even less so than the proposed mechanic simply due to the default scarcity of long casting times).

I do think flat-footed is certainly enough of a drawback, coupled with no casting defensively, given that all spells (with exception) have 1 round cast times. It makes the success of any given spell dubious in combat, but it does stop cantrips from becoming all-potent counterspells, and it at least offers a glimmer of hope (maybe) for solo campaigns/players (my main point before, aside from the caster standoff, being that the automatic disruption wiped out the viability of the entire playstyle of solo campaigns).
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Offline ImperatorK

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #15: November 12, 2011, 05:25:39 AM »
Quote
If you take damage while casting a spell you lose the spell automatically, unless that damage is backlash from the spell itself. Casting defensively does not exist.
What about making Combat Casting a feat that enables defensive casting (instead of giving a bonus)?

Quote
Damage caps do not exist, and HD caps increase to your caster level if higher than the original. If a spell had multiple HD caps, the highest one is equal to your caster level and other caps remain the same distance from it. (eg. if a spell had caps of 5HD, 6HD and 8HD then casting it at CL20 would result in caps of 17HD, 18HD and 20HD)
Does this also concern Planar Ally/Planar Binding/Polymorph/etc. spells?

Quote
Shield bonuses to AC apply to touch AC.
BTW. I like this, but what's the reasoning, fluff-wise? A piece of metal that covers almost your entire body doesn't give touch AC, but a shield does?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 05:44:44 AM by ImperatorK »
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Offline Agita

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #16: November 12, 2011, 06:17:21 AM »
Quote
Shield bonuses to AC apply to touch AC.
BTW. I like this, but what's the reasoning, fluff-wise? A piece of metal that covers almost your entire body doesn't give touch AC, but a shield does?
Armor is supposed to take a blow head-on and absorb it, while a shield is designed to deflect or swat away a blow so it doesn't reach the armor in the first place. A touch attack only needs to touch you, so it bypasses armor, but a shield can prevent it from touching you in the first place. You do still have an arm under the shield, but the area of the shield that is right above the arm is small in comparison to the rest of it.
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Offline RobbyPants

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #17: November 12, 2011, 06:54:11 AM »
Quote
Shield bonuses to AC apply to touch AC.
BTW. I like this, but what's the reasoning, fluff-wise? A piece of metal that covers almost your entire body doesn't give touch AC, but a shield does?
Armor is supposed to take a blow head-on and absorb it, while a shield is designed to deflect or swat away a blow so it doesn't reach the armor in the first place. A touch attack only needs to touch you, so it bypasses armor, but a shield can prevent it from touching you in the first place. You do still have an arm under the shield, but the area of the shield that is right above the arm is small in comparison to the rest of it.
I'm doing this type of thing in my set of rules. Mechanically speaking, it helps make shields worth while. For fluff, I agree with Agita.

If it really kills your WSoD, you could always set it so you need a magic shield to get this bonus. It just hurts you the first two levels or so.
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Offline ImperatorK

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #18: November 12, 2011, 07:01:27 AM »
Quote
Shield bonuses to AC apply to touch AC.
BTW. I like this, but what's the reasoning, fluff-wise? A piece of metal that covers almost your entire body doesn't give touch AC, but a shield does?
Armor is supposed to take a blow head-on and absorb it, while a shield is designed to deflect or swat away a blow so it doesn't reach the armor in the first place. A touch attack only needs to touch you, so it bypasses armor, but a shield can prevent it from touching you in the first place. You do still have an arm under the shield, but the area of the shield that is right above the arm is small in comparison to the rest of it.
I'm doing this type of thing in my set of rules. Mechanically speaking, it helps make shields worth while. For fluff, I agree with Agita.

If it really kills your WSoD, you could always set it so you need a magic shield to get this bonus. It just hurts you the first two levels or so.
No need, I also agree with Agita.
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Offline RobbyPants

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Re: Spellcasting nerf
« Reply #19: November 12, 2011, 07:16:20 AM »
I suppose if I wanted to get rally pedantic, I could say how plate armor was really meant more to deflect the blow, but I don't think that necessarily means that plate armor needs to apply against touch ACs.

Semi-off topic, but I'm actually fine giving everyone the benefits of Shield Ward for free.
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