Spells: power progression

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Spells: power progression

Postby youngneil1 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:11 am

To keep our rules discussions up and floating some new food for thought: Spell power progression.

As the current default IB system doesn't utilize a maximum number of spells per spell level, casters are not forced to use lower level spells later on. In order to avoid that such low level spells become just junk and clutter, they have to be kept useful by some other mechanism or a mix of these.

One thing is to have them have some unique twist (like being the only spell that a certain type of damage, think acid, so that against certain otherwise nearly immune creatures they stay very effective). Let's call that "situational viability".

Another one is "passive spell inbuilt automatic progression", like making the damage of a spell depend on the level of the caster. OGL/D&D has that (like for fireball or magic missile, adding damage dice per caster level). Obviously such inbuild progression has limits and is usually slower than the power growth of higher level spells. It usually keeps the lower levels in a reasonable range to the high level spells. At least that's how it works in OGL/D&D.

Finally, and that's what I like most right now, is the option to "actively upgrade spells". What I consider right now, is that mages during my campaign can learn traits from special masters/questing that will strengthen the power of specific former low level spells. Somewhat like the mastery concept of the Might & Magic series, where you could e.g. become Grandmaster in something. I am thinking of a balance in the system that knows no weak spells per se, but just spells with different "situational viability". Different fumble chances (see PLW), maybe casting time (see separate thread) and spell point cost would account for the fact that the "situational viability" of certain spell types is higher in my campaign due to the way the whole campaign is designed. E.g. if there are many encounters with hordes of creatures at once, the "situational viability" of area damage spells will be very high.

So, I will like not have "passive spell inbuilt automatic progression", but instead use a mix of "situational viability" and "actively upgrade spells".

What I hope to have is a high questing/learning incentive due "treasure hunting" for those mastery levels in each and every spell. At the same time I hope to avoid too much clutter in the spell book as even early learned spells will stay powerful and remain an alternative when properly mastered. Situation should dictate which spell to use mainly.

Any ideas on that? Just brainstorming for now and open to anything :D . Hint: Traits might very well get that mastery system, perhaps even skills. Effects will be different then though, maybe side synergy boni (e.g. a grandmaster of Tumble has a 10% chance to take no damage from a blow, gracefully rolling with the hit). But let's stay focused on them spells first.
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