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Author Topic: The Sorcerer's New Spells  (Read 5073 times)

Ariel

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The Sorcerer's New Spells
« on: February 21, 2012, 12:43:19 AM »
So, this counts as a currently being playtested hack of the Wizard I've been calling the Sorceress/Sorceress. It's been through a few iterations but it seems to be working at the table pretty well.

It's basically my response to the fact that the Wizard is suppose to have phenomenal cosmic power but actually is kinda useless a lot of the time - aside from the one or two maybe critically useful spells they might know and have prepared. Also, you don't have the time or the resources research a Ritual while you're in the dungeon. I wanted something a little more practical for dungeoneering as well as something that rewarded player creativity.

So, here's a thing. It hasn't been game breaking and the Magic-User is still really, really pathetic when it comes to combat even with the greatly expanded options. Casting takes a little more handling time, and some more GM Fiat that before. However, it's been giving the Sorc some concrete tools to be good what he's suppose to be good at on the tin. Like magical shit and eye-fireballs.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19044994/Sorcerer%27s%20Core%20Moves.pdf

There are some gaps in the document. It's mostly meant to share some of my design thoughts and not be like, a complete thing. So, that being said, infer or as questions.

Mike Olson

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 02:42:07 AM »
It hasn't been game breaking and the Magic-User is still really, really pathetic when it comes to combat even with the greatly expanded options.
Tell that to the wizard who almost single-handedly defeated the avatar of Orcus yesterday. I mean, yeah, the rest of us helped, but it was that succession of fireballs that won the day.

Anarchangel

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 03:00:30 AM »
I've been toying with the idea of an Ars Magica-style Dungeon World, so it's interesting to see your approach to a freeform casting mechanic, Nathan. How do you judge mana cost or whether the spell is two powerful for the character (and thus that a lesser version would be all he could manage); D&D spell lists?


It hasn't been game breaking and the Magic-User is still really, really pathetic when it comes to combat even with the greatly expanded options.
Tell that to the wizard who almost single-handedly defeated the avatar of Orcus yesterday. I mean, yeah, the rest of us helped, but it was that succession of fireballs that won the day.

Yep. As Mike says, the Empowered Magic advancement probably gives Wizards the most powerful combat option available to any 3rd level character (a 6d6 dmg fireball).

Ariel

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 03:38:34 AM »
Yeah, I use D&D spell-lists as a rough gauge what a spell or similar spell should cost. Mana costs roughly equal the Level of the Spell. Mostly, it's a case by case basis thing. I have the Mage /Ars Magica spheres in the back of my head when thinking about it. Also, thinking asking myself 'Is this a Minor, Medium or Major effect?', 'Can I offset the benefits some how?' or 'What are the long and short term outcomes of the spell?' Also: give them what they work for not what they hope for.

Fireball is one of those weird spells, though. In every edition that I've played there's this moment that your Wizard hits third level and holy fuck I can nuke shit out of these guys. It's such a big step to go from 2d4 to 3d6 area (plus feats and advances). The rub is that you might only be able to pull that off once during the whole day where the Fighter and the Paladin are able to dish it until their HP runs out. Which incidentally, far later than that of the Wizards.

Generally, thought, it's not going to be a one-to-one thing. Mostly, it's like the Wizard is gonna wanna do something, and I make a call based on what I think is fair and being a fan and all that. It's also salient that my player has very little interest in combat generally, so I don't think it'd even occur to him that he could be casting spells that did that much damage.

The lesser version clause is on there if ever I need to tone down the scope a spell without blocking it too much. Like, if the Wizard wants to do this very powerful thing at third level that's really clearly a ninth level spell, instead of saying 'I'd cost nine points of mana and you only have four' I can say 'it'll cost two points but it'll only do this much of what you want and have these limitations.'

Anarchangel

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 04:02:26 AM »
Yeah, I dig the mana cost and "lesser" options.

It sounds to me like your experience of Wizards not being combat is based on a character that avoids combat. If a DW Wizard wants to blast things, they can be very effective. Losing spells is never much of a concern in games I've played. Do you use your GM move on a miss to say they forget the spell (take away their stuff)? I seldom do that, but it's one way for the GM to fiddle with Wizard effectiveness.

noofy

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 04:44:19 AM »
Ooooh, I like that Nathan! I could see having a handy copy of BW's book of sorcery, or Ars Magica, or any number of d20 magic splats of great help to 'set the scene'.

What do you do with ingedients? I remember having this issue with WHFRP 1st ed and always trying to handwave or turn ingredients into a 'stat' like resources or 'dungeon gear' or the way barter works in AW. How do you handle it when a sorcerer chooses that option on Cast a Spell?

Does Eldritch Assault start at d4 damage?

Wouldn't Mana be Level +INT?

I assume the character can choose a new school of magic as an advance?

The more I think of it, the more I like this magic user playbook! I can see the player handwriting their spells that they have designed as they author them into the game into a spell 'book' (just like we used to all those years ago). So Cool! Well done, I like this very much :)

Ariel

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 04:58:24 AM »
Uhm. No he doesn't avoid it - it's just like I ATTACK WITH COMIC POWERZ and he makes the roll and then it's like 2d4 and rolls a sum of 3 and less armor that's 1 point of damage! Woo! It was worse when he'd attack with the staff, a dozen HP and no armor, then get 7-9 and take eight DMG for the trouble.

Yeah, it's base d4, just like their damage die.

It's been one part abstracted like Dungeoneering gear and one part included specifically as Loot. I kind handle it like barter. So, you have stuff that's worth so much Barter but it isn't Barter; it's bottle caps or alcohol or batteries worth 2-barter. Same for spell components.

Yep. New schools are an advance thing.

Nope, the number of Spells you can Prepare isn't based on Int, it's based on Level:

"When you spend uninterrupted time (an hour or so) in quiet contemplation of your spellbook, you lose any spells you already have prepared and prepare new spells of your choice from your spellbook whose total levels don't exceed your own+1. You also prepare your cantrips; they don't count against your limit."

John Harper

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 07:04:55 PM »
Love this concept. I'm running DW again starting this week, and I think I'll put this playbook in the mix.

I might keep the idea from the Savvyhead that the GM can connect the requirements with OR if she chooses. So:

"Yes, you can do that, but... it's going to cost 2 mana OR it'll require two handfuls of ash from the branch a Yew tree."

Ariel

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 04:11:51 AM »
Yrah, John, it's just like the Savvyheads crap. The AND/OR operator is obvious to me but I didn't include it in the write-up. Oh, AW brain-damage.

I like to include special tags too, like 1-mana or 1-abjuration tags on stuff like [Pickled Owlbear Kidneys] or [Abyssal Bitumen] to denote holds for Casting, Rituals and Assault.

Doc Aquatic

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2012, 03:43:08 AM »
I've just started work on a sorcerer class that used improvised spells, but was designed to have more of a wild magic feel. Do you mind if I use your starting moves as a starting point for my sorcerer, with proper credit?


stras

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Re: The Sorcerer's New Spells
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 07:01:48 AM »
Soo...

How do we request a more complete version with details? ^_^

I think this is a really awesome start.  I love the idea behind it and a lot of what's down, but would like to see it hashed out a little further, maybe with a short writeup for the GM as well.

It's kind of neat to see people starting to share stuff.  I say this because I've been trying to tinker up a druid.  Mind you I've failed at every turn, but I ended up with a sweet barbarian, elf and dwarf (yea oldschool).  I'll toss those up when I get a chance.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 08:18:13 AM by stras »