New Magic System Idea

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So a freind of mine recently inntroduced me to d20 Modern and Urban Arcana and on a whole, I'm really digging the system.  I'm thinking of running my own game with the system, but I have one hang up: the magic system.  I've never been a fan of the vanican system of spellcasting and the whole thing wouldn't work for the setting I have in mind, so I went ahead made my own.  The basic idea behind the system is that spellcasters can cast as many spells as they want, but only in short bursts.  Here's the basic breakdown of what I have so far:

- Threshold is equal to the spellcaster's Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier + their caster levels.
- As spellcasters cast spells, they accumulate Burn.  Spells have a Burn rating equal to their level.
- Once they've accumulated Burn points equal to their Threshold, the spellcaster cannot cast spells until their current Burn drops below their Threshold. 
- Burn dissipates at a rate of one point for every two combat rounds that pass (may introduce feats/class features that bump it down one point per round), except in the case of spells that have durations longer than rounds.
- With spells that have durations beyond rounds, Burn persists for as long as the spell is active.  Once the spell ends, Burn dissipates as normal. 
- There isn't going to be a limit any 0-level spells; all spellcasters effectively know all cantrips and they have no Burn rating.  I don't think this should cause any problems given that cantrips are more geared towards practical, mundane matters and are pretty weak. 

I'm thinking to gain basic spellcasting abilities, you have to take a feat which grants you a caster level of one, the ability to manifest cantrips, and a single 1st level spell.  To gain more caster levels, you have to take levels in a spellcasting advanced class, though I am toying with the idea of having caster levels be feat/talent based.  I'll also be implementing a spells known system that scales with caster level as allowing spellcasters to learn an unlimited number of spells to cast could get a little out of hand.  However, I am planning on implementing a rule that would allow spellcasters to "swap out" a known spell for another one, as I want to afford my players some wiggle room when it comes to choosing spells and I personally like the idea of spellbooks playing a vital role to spellcasters. 

I've also decided to lift a rule from the Book of Experimental Might regarding magical healing: a character can be healed by magic a number of times per day equal to their Constitution modifier + their character level.

There are some thing's I still need to hammer out.  Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to handle damage dealing spells.  I feel like they were designed for use with the vancian system so they may be unbalanced in my system, so I feel like I should nerf them...but not so much that they would be completely useless. 

So, any thoughts/suggestions for my system?
One thing I notice that would be a problem is the continual burn for spells that have a long duration. Like if you cast say.. darkvision (lvl 2), passwall (lvl 5), protection from arrows/bullets (lvl 2), stoneskin (lvl 4). each of those last for quite awhile, 1 to 10 min /lvl or 1hr /lvl. if each is active, that's a total burn of 13 each round for at least 10 minutes. soon as you start casting combat spells or other defensive spells, you'll have burned yourself out quickly, and won't have much burn disipated as you'll constantly be burning each round even when you're not fighting.

There are systems available that use spell points, or mana. Lets you cast any spell you know as long as you have enough mana/spell points. similar to your burn. BESM has a similar system and it's d20 compatible. 

The swapping spells known is nice. I liked in 3.5 where they allowed sorcerers to swap out a few of there known spells for new ones after they've leveled up several levels. 
One thing I notice that would be a problem is the continual burn for spells that have a long duration. Like if you cast say.. darkvision (lvl 2), passwall (lvl 5), protection from arrows/bullets (lvl 2), stoneskin (lvl 4). each of those last for quite awhile, 1 to 10 min /lvl or 1hr /lvl. if each is active, that's a total burn of 13 each round for at least 10 minutes. soon as you start casting combat spells or other defensive spells, you'll have burned yourself out quickly, and won't have much burn disipated as you'll constantly be burning each round even when you're not fighting.



True.  Once of the main reasons I had the continual burn rule was because I was worried about spellcasters stacking perpetual buffs, though on a whole, this is a little more harsh than I thought it would be.  I could just straight up steal a rule from Mage: the Awakening and have a limit to how many ongoing spells a spellcaster can have active without imposing any sort of continual burn.  Under this model, spellcasters can only maintain a number of long duration spells (minutes/hours/days) equal to their spellcasting modifier; if they try to cast long duration spells in excess of this number, they have to drop one of their ongoing spells. 

There are systems available that use spell points, or mana. Lets you cast any spell you know as long as you have enough mana/spell points. similar to your burn. BESM has a similar system and it's d20 compatible.



I'll have to look into it. 

The swapping spells known is nice. I liked in 3.5 where they allowed sorcerers to swap out a few of there known spells for new ones after they've leveled up several levels. 



Thanks.  I've personally known the aggravation of getting stuck with a spell known that turned out to be less than useful for a level or so, so I figured as long as spellcasters have the right spellbooks and enough time, they can swap around their spells as needed. 
I'm just starting to work on a skill based casting system myself. I like the direction you're going. You may want to look at an anime called The Irregular at Magic High. Some of the details they include may help you flesh this out. Example, a single mage can only have a maximum of 10 spells layered at the same time, before they suffer some sort of backlash, usually in the form of spells having a negative interaction with each other (think drug interactions). It also goes a little into very high - level spells, and the personal cost of casting certain spells. The setting is a techno-magic setting, so not everything will apply.

Show's so YMMV it's hard to tell, but the *magical* system looks pretty good. Certainly looks pretty good in the sense of providing ideas for applying Techno-Magic (you know, gadgets that assist with shaping spells and such).

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