Adepts of All Flavors

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Adepts of All Flavors

Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:04 pm

I have a much-loved old D&D (2e) homebrew campaign world that some years back I translated into d20 terms. I was considering translating into M&M, but now I'm thinking that True20 will work even better.

Thing is, a lot of the flavor of the world depends on the distinction between wizards and sorcerers... and between arcane, divine, and psionic powers. I don't insist that the difference be the *same* as it was in d20, just that it be a real and flavorful difference.

I'm still working on priests and psions, but here's what I've come up with for sorcerers and wizards. Please let me know if you think they're balanced or not. (Note: The Wild Talent feat doesn't exist in this campaign.)

First, I'm thinking of requiring that Arcane adepts speak and gesture to use spells. There is a new feat, Reduced Ritual, that lets them overcome this need. (+1 to Fatigue DC for no speech, +1 for no gesturing, +2 for both.)

Second, note that Ward (and the new Dispel power from these boards) typically only work against one power source. ie, Dispel Arcane is not the same thing as Dispel Psionics. (And I don't think Divine power can be Dispelled or Warded at all.)

Third, arcane adepts can't use Imbue Life. Except for some variations on the sorcerer (the druid is one such - they're arcane, not divine, in this world), they can't use the Cure powers either.

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Sorcerers must trade in their background favored feats for a supernatural power. (Yes, this means that ALL elves are potential sorcerers.) This power must be taken before any other sorcerous powers are; unlike the others, it uses total levels rather than adept levels for all purposes.

All powers use Cha.

Sorcerers do not take fatigue from powers. Instead, if they fail their save, the power goes out of control as per the Wild Talent feat: The caster is stunned and the power changes targets and parameters as the Narrator sees fit. A point of Conviction will prevent this from happening. (It may be spent after the save fails - the idea being that you almost lost control, but didn't.)

(The idea here is that sorcery is dangerous, but also easier to use in quick succession; they don't have to worry about mounting fatigue - though they *do* have to worry about being stunned.)

Note: Some sorcerers use music as part of their magic. Such cannot take the Reduced Ritual feat, but gain Fascinate as a favored feat.

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Wizards:

Must be literate. (Literacy is *not* automatic in this campaign - you have to spend a language slot on it.) All powers use Int.

Wizards cannot spend a point of Conviction to gain temporary powers. Instead, they have the following ability:

Spell Preparation: A wizard may cast all but the last bit of a specific use of a power, and keep it held in abeyance until such time as he desires to use it. Any fatigue (and fatigue penalty) from the spell is suffered at the time it is prepared, not the time it is cast. When cast, the spell is treated as Quickened; it may be maintained normally. The maximum number of spells a wizard can have prepared is equal to his Int. Dispel and Ward work normally against prepared spells. (This might be a feat. But since I'm taking away their versatility-via-Conviction, maybe it should just come standard. I also thought about requiring a Conviction point to prepare a spell, but that didn't seem fair.)

New Feats:

Spell Trigger: A prepared spell can be set to go off as a reaction under certain conditions, without conscious volition of the mage. If the mage is conscious, he may prevent the spell from going off when the conditions are present, but this will cause it to be lost unless a point of Conviction is spent.

Transfer Spell: A wizard can give someone else a prepared spell to hold and use as they see fit; such a spell counts against the maximum number of spells the wizard can have memorized at a time. (Unless the other person is also a wizard, in which case they can "adopt" it as their own.) The original wizard may spend a point of Conviction to reclaim an as-yet unused spell (unless it was "adopted"); the spell is lost in the process.

Spell Trap (prereq: Spell Trigger and Transfer Spell):

The wizard may transfer a prepared spell to a person, place, or thing, set to go off when the right conditions are met. (This can make a handy geas! "Do it or else!" Though it can be beneficial, too.) Unwilling subjects can resist with a Will save against the wizard's power save DC. Dormant Spell Traps count against the number of spells the wizard can have prepared until they go off. (The wizard knows when this happens.) The original wizard can reclaim the Spell Trap if desired without spending Conviction.

----------------

Thoughts?
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Postby skywalker » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:03 pm

I did something similar but easier.

I had the Wild Talent feat represent Sorcery, made all such Powers use Cha and just removed the 1 Wild Talent only cap (the only actual additional rule). Powers otherwised used Int.

The result was that Sorcery was generally more powerful (Total level +3) but dangerous. Also Sorcerers tended to be better all rounders as they could take the WT feat from other roles.

Arcane magic was generally less powerful (Adept level +3) unless you specialised. Also Adepts were less all rounders as they were forced to stay in the Adept role for more power.
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:43 pm

I've got my reasons for being more complicated, Skywalker, but I do like your fix. It's certainly simple and elegant! (Though WT goes off when you're "stressed". How did you decide which power would go off?)

Do you think it's balanced to free sorcerers from Fatigue in exchange for occasional unreliability? And to give wizards Spell Preparation in exchange for no Conviction-for-powers?

A final, related, question:

How would you handle someone who has different kinds of power? Like, a cleric / sorcerer? I suppose you could say that every time you get a power, you specify whether it's a sorcerous one or a cleric one. But that has the rather odd effect that all your powers go up the same every time you gain an Adept level!

On the other hand, the main alternative is to essentially create different Adept "classes", which I'm wary of doing.

Or just telling players, "You can't do that," I suppose! :) Only one kind of power to a character.
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Postby aaronil » Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:55 pm

The Shadow wrote:Do you think it's balanced to free sorcerers from Fatigue in exchange for occasional unreliability? And to give wizards Spell Preparation in exchange for no Conviction-for-powers?


Hey! It sounds like ALL powers for the sorcerer have the capacity to go awry, whereas for the wizard ONLY fatiguing powers require fatigue save. That seems pretty balanced to me. You also might consider requiring sorcerers to make a Fortitude save as their Fatigue save (instead of Will).

How would you handle someone who has different kinds of power? Like, a cleric / sorcerer? I suppose you could say that every time you get a power, you specify whether it's a sorcerous one or a cleric one. But that has the rather odd effect that all your powers go up the same every time you gain an Adept level!

Actually, it makes sense that your powers advance regardless of their source. In True20 there's no distinguishing advancing a level as an adept (mystic cleric) vs. adept (sorcerer). Moreover, cleric/wizard characters tend to be followers of goddesses of magic (and usually it's goddesses, not gods), so it makes sense that their divine "curriculum" also includes arcane study. Of course, I'm talking about a cleric/wizard.
And for a sorcerer it's total levels that matter, not adept level, as you've said.
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Postby DnDChick » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:09 pm

As a start to make a priestly Adept, I gave each god a set of at least 5 powers that represent the god's aspect. This sort of like a True20 version of domain spells.

A preist of that god gets a +2 on power checks when using one of those powers.


The other aspects of playing an adept as a priest are roleplaying in nature, and I haven't really gotten around to working out those detials.
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Postby DnDChick » Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:12 pm

First, I'm thinking of requiring that Arcane adepts speak and gesture to use spells. There is a new feat, Reduced Ritual, that lets them overcome this need. (+1 to Fatigue DC for no speech, +1 for no gesturing, +2 for both.)


I like this and might very well yoink it. :)

I'll post my ideas for sorcerers and wizards later. For starters, I call them the incarnate mage (magical ability as an innate heritage) and the learned mage (magical ability through the recitation of arcane formulae).
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:27 pm

aaronil wrote:Hey! It sounds like ALL powers for the sorcerer have the capacity to go awry, whereas for the wizard ONLY fatiguing powers require fatigue save. That seems pretty balanced to me. You also might consider requiring sorcerers to make a Fortitude save as their Fatigue save (instead of Will).


No, only fatiguing powers have a chance to go awry. They make a Fatigue save just like anyone else... but if they fail, instead of being fatigued, the power goes awry. (And they're stunned for a round, as per Wild Talent.)

I suppose one *could* force a control save every time they use a power, but I'm not sure just how to have Second Sight go wild, for example. And just when it counts as being "used".

And for a sorcerer it's total levels that matter, not adept level, as you've said.


No, only for the first, background power. (I call it the "theme power".) I based it off the elf background. Other powers are bought as normal, at least as written. You think I should change it?

DnDChick: Glad you like it. Feel free to yoink. :) I kinda like your "domain power" option too. I'll mull that one over.
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Postby DnDChick » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:32 pm

Thanks!

Of course, there are also limits to what a god lets the priest do. A god of healing might forbid the adept from learning Harm or Imbue Unlife. A god of darkness or evil might forbid Cure spells or Light Shaping.

The only thing I am having a problem with is, in the absence of alignments, what can we write into the priestly adept's path that represents their devotion to their god?
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:38 pm

DnDChick wrote:The only thing I am having a problem with is, in the absence of alignments, what can we write into the priestly adept's path that represents their devotion to their god?


My take is this:

Require the Dedicated feat to their faith. If they falter in their dedication, their powers are diminished or even inaccessible.
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Re: Adepts of All Flavors

Postby timemrick » Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:26 pm

The Shadow wrote:Second, note that Ward (and the new Dispel power from these boards) typically only work against one power source. ie, Dispel Arcane is not the same thing as Dispel Psionics. (And I don't think Divine power can be Dispelled or Warded at all.)

Can Ward and Dispel only be taken for the adept's own power source? Or can each version be learned separately? (For example, in the d20 Psionics Handbook, if the "psionics != magic" option is used, wizards might be able to learn a separate dispel psionics spell, and psions a dispel magic power.)

I'd say that in some cases, at least, dispelling or warding divine powers should be allowed. Warring priests of directly opposed gods come to mind--good/evil, life/(un)death, fire/water, etc. However, it may be that only a divine adept can learn Dispel/Ward Divine, evn if "cross-training" is allowed for other Dispel/Ward sources.
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:02 pm

Timemrick:

Yes, "cross-training" is allowed. Arcane adepts can get Dispel Psionics, or whatever. It's just of course much less common than Dispel Magic. (Few cultures make a big thing out of both magic and psionics. Only so many resources to throw around.)

Psionics is fairly uncommon in my campaign world; there's only two regions that really go in for it, and one of them's pretty far away from the campaign area. (Though I have ruled that the "chi" powers of monks are basically psionic in origin, monks aren't at all common either.)

The psions of the more nearby psionic-favoring region don't have a whole lot of motive to get Dispel/Ward Arcane, though, even though they despise arcane magic... Their favored method is to draft the sorcerers that pop up in their nation and put them through a training regimen that ONLY lets them dispel magic. ;) "If you're gonna have mages anyway, you might as well put them to good use!" Waste not, want not, that kind of thing.

Yes, you're right, clerics of different gods might well be able to dispel each other's powers. (Unless, I suppose, the deities have a non-interference pact?) But I don't want mages or psions telling the gods what to do, basically. :)
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Postby Jonathan Moyer » Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:03 pm

DnDChick wrote:
First, I'm thinking of requiring that Arcane adepts speak and gesture to use spells. There is a new feat, Reduced Ritual, that lets them overcome this need. (+1 to Fatigue DC for no speech, +1 for no gesturing, +2 for both.)


I like this and might very well yoink it. :)

Indeed, this is a neat idea. At the very least, it offers alternative method for me to stat the "memorized spells" I so dearly love. Basically, a Memorized Spell is a feat that gives a bonus to the fatigue save of a certain application of a spell. I shall ponder this futher ...
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Postby The Shadow » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:22 pm

Jonathan: Did you see the "Spell Preparation" stuff in that same post? I'd think that's yet another example of what you're looking for.
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Postby Jonathan Moyer » Thu Mar 09, 2006 7:27 pm

The Shadow wrote:Jonathan: Did you see the "Spell Preparation" stuff in that same post? I'd think that's yet another example of what you're looking for.

Indeed, it's a another way to tweak the system. I didn't notice it on the first pass - I think I scanned the post too quickly!
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