Sunday, April 7, 2013

Magical Efficacy

This idea can be used with any flavor of OD&D.

I've pontificated at length about options for fighters. I'm a fighter guy. However, I also desire some tactical flexibility for magic-users. Not only as a referee, but also as a player. Straight-up OD&D magic is fairly dull. The only tactical decisions to be made are which spells to memorize and which one to use in a given situation. Pretty static choices, with little room for "seat of the pants" magic. Here is a propositionto allow a little more "situational thinking" to enter into things.

The idea is really simple. If a magic-user has memorized the same spell twice, he can cast the spell double. That is, he uses both memorizations of the spell in a single casting. The results are thus:

  • Range/Duration/Area of Effect/Number Affected are all increased by 50%
  • Damage is increased by +1 per spell level
  • Saving Throw is made at -2
If a given spell does not have a particular listed above, then, obviously, there is no benefit to that parameter. In other words, a spell that is Instantaneous doesn't suddenly have a duration, or one with a range of Touch can't suddenly be hurled across the room.

At first glance this may seem over-powered, modifying all the parameters. I haven't playtested this idea, but I don't think it will prove overpowered for a couple of reason:
  • Very few OD&D spells have all of the parameters listed, so it will be a truly rare occurrence that all of the modifiers will be in effect.
  • There is an inherent synergy in OD&D that will cause on to carefully consider double-casting. Think about wanting to hurl a doubled Fireball so you can ramp up the damage. The blast radius also increases, though, so you have to carefully consider the volume of space you're in and the proximity of allies. Also consider that any allies that do get caught in the blast will be saving at -2.
  • There is also . . .
The Risk

A wise man once said "Pimpin' ain't easy" and neither is commanding the fickle forces of magic. If a caster wishes to double-cast, the player must make a d20 roll. He must roll under his current level + INT bonus. This roll is modified by adding the spell's level. For example:
An 8th level magic-user, with an INT 16, wishes to double-cast the ubiquitous Fireball. He must roll 6 or less (8 (Caster level) + 1 (INT bonus) - 3 (Spell Level) on d20.
If the roll is failed, the spell is still cast. The hazard is that in releasing that much magical energy in a single burst, the caster will be injured. If the roll is failed, the caster suffers damage equal to the d20 roll minus what was needed, divided by 2 (round up).
Let's suppose the caster from our example had rolled a 13. The spell still goes off, but he is injured during the casting. He will suffer 4 points of damage (13 (d20 roll) - 6 (target number) = 7 divided by 2 = 3.5 (round up)).
And there you have it. An on-the-fly tactical option that makes magic users a little more unpredictable and dangerous, but not without potential consequences.

No comments:

Post a Comment