Proposed Non-Vancian Magic System

For those of you who prefer not to use Vancian Magic I offer you this, somewhat old school solution.

First: A wizard may never cast a spell that they have not learned, nor may they cast any spell they are not high-enough level to cast.
Secondly: A Wizard may cast any spell they have learned, so long as they have power to cast it.
Thirdly: A wizard dtermines how much spell power they have by adding up their total spells slots per day and adding their level.
Fourhtly: When a wizard cast a spell, he loses a quantity of spell power equal to the level of the spell.
Fifthly: A Wizard regains a portion of their spell power after a short rest, recommeneded equal to intelligence modifier, and all of their spell power after a long rest.

Example.
Lamak the fifth level wizard can cast 4/3/2 (4 first level spells, 3 second spells and 2 third level spells)
Lamak has 14 Spell Power and choose to cast Fireball which is a third level spell, leaving him with 11 spell power, the following round he cast Shield which is a first level spell costing him one point, and the third round he cast magic missile at one level higher, upgrading its cost to two points, leaving him with 8 spell points at the beginning of round four.

After the battle, the players have a short rest and since Lamak has an INT score of 18, he regains four spell points, returning him to twelve spell power. (Yes, the intention is the higher level a wizard is, the more rest he will require as Magic is tasking on the body.)

 
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This is basically how the sorcerer worked when we briefly saw it a couple packets ago. It's a decent system, the only problem is that, as with all spell point systems, it allows people to use more higher or lower level spells than they otherwise could. Using your example, in the normal vancian system your 5th level wizard could cast 2 third level spells per day. Using your spell point system, he could cast 4. On the other end, he could cast 14 first level spells in a day, instead of just 4. I don't think that is a problem, but some people prefer the way spell slots force you to spread out your resources.
Because the Playtest is still in flux, it is difficult to identify the most balanced amounts of spell points. Based roughly on the spells that a Wizard is expected to cast in the current Playtest, it seems ok to simply say:

Mana points = Level × 2 + Int

For example, a Level 10 Wizard with Intelligence +2 enjoys Mana 22.



This amount of Mana allows the Wizard to moreorless cast their highest Mana spells four times before running out of Mana. If the gaming math can handle this (and it probably can), this seems ideal.



The vancian style caster can use this Mana to prepare spells (perhaps in the form of amulets) during a 1-hour spellbook session. Thus readying four of the most powerful spells, or many more lower-Mana spells. The above amount of Mana is a good chunk for vancian prep to work with, allowing some experimental choices for the day.

During the same hour, the spontaneous caster can relax and save this amount of Mana til later, to use it spontaneously to cast from known spells. Or perhaps study from the spellbook to swap a new known spell in.



(The cool thing is, it is no longer necessary to suffer the confusion of a “Class Level” 10 Wizard casting a “Spell Level” 5 spell. Now, level means level, and only refers to class levels. In other words, a Level 10 Wizard can cast a Mana 5 spell.)
Because the Playtest is still in flux, it is difficult to identify the most balanced amounts of spell points. Based roughly on the spells that a Wizard is expected to be cast in the current Playtest. It seems ok to simply say:

Mana points = Level × 2 + Int

For example, a Level 10 Wizard with Intelligence +2 enjoys Mana 22.



This amount of Mana allows the Wizard to moreorless cast their highest Mana spells four times before running out of Mana. If the gaming math can handle this (and it probably can), this seems ideal.



The vancian style caster can use this Mana to prepare spells (perhaps in the form of amulets) during a 1-hour spellbook session. Thus readying four of the most powerful spells, or many more lower-Mana spells. The above amount of Mana is a good chunk for vancian prep to work with, allowing some experimental choices for the day.

At the same time, the spontaneous caster can save this amount of Mana til later, to use it spontaneously to cast from known spells.



(The cool thing is, it is no longer necessary to suffer the confusion of a “Class Level” 10 Wizard casting a “Spell Level” 5 spell. Now, level means level, and only refers to class levels. In other words, a Level 10 Wizard can cast a Mana 5 spell.)

This is a pretty good formula but can we please call it something other than mana...how about "Arcane Energy"

I have no kbjections to Vancian magic for Clerics..there gods alot them only so many spells, fine by me...but it is time for Wizards to start remembering spells for longer than a day.
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“Mana” is the anthropological technical term for exactly what this is: magical energy.  :D  And it sounds cool.
Im thinking: 

A 1-hour rest during the day (like lunch) can replenish: Mana = Level × ½.



This means, the Wizard can moreorless recover one highest-Mana spell. It would take 4 to 5 hours to fully recharge, comparable to a solid sleep.

If so, the only time it would necessary to do a 1-hour session in the morning after waking up, is to swap in a new known spell, or to prepare new spells. Otherwise the Wizards wakeup fully recharged, can skip the 1-hour session, and can just cast from the known spells (or the unused prepared spells) of the previous day.
I am hoping:

Many players will be tempted to camp out before every encounter. 5 hours if they can. There is nothing wrong with this. It is a smart thing to do. Even in-game, any cautious person in a magical world, entering a dangerous area, feels a strong desire to prepare as much as possible.

Think about the modern world. What soldier wouldnt want to make sure they have enough ammo before entering a combat zone?



However, I am hoping:

Because it is easy to camp for an hour to recharge, I hope it is easy for the DM to say, “No, you cant. You see a monster coming.”

The vancian daylong requirement holds many DMs hostage. Either the DM lets the players sleep for the full 6 hours - even during absurd situations with monsters crawling everywhere - plus about 2 hours including the 1-hour spellbook study - Or everyone knows there is going to be a TPK. It is extortion. Different DMs respond differently, depending on the nature of the players. But the pressure is there.

However, now with the possibility of a 1-hour recharge, at any time, the DM should feel happy to interrupt it. And conversely, when it really does make sense in the story for heroes to take break, the players can plausibly hideout for about an hour, and refresh, before heading back into battle.

Hopefully, the adventure story will be able to unfold more naturally.
“Mana” is the anthropological technical term for exactly what this is: magical energy.  :D  And it sounds cool.

LOL, not if you have seen the term used in every video game and rpg since the beginning of time. 

Mana is actually a reference to spirtual energy rather than Arcane (or so it's usage throughout history seems to indicate)
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Mysticism (for many traditions) simply calls this energy, “Light”. It is a cool word, because it can refer to both the light (energy) shining in the external world, and the light (sight) of ones own personal consciousness, which for the mystic are ultimately the same thing.
so a level 20 wizard has 37 spell points and wants to cast metor storm which is a level nine spell instead of having only 2 9th level spell slots at that time he now has the ability to cast 4 before having 1 point left and then he can rest overkill much
The Level 20 Wizard with Intelligence +2 would have Mana 42. Enough to cast four Mana 9 spells, plus one Mana 6 spell.

In previous editions, the Wizard has that many level 9 spells, not to mention, many more spells in all of the other levels.

In 1e, the Wizard reaches six level 9 spells. 2e capped it at Level 20 Wizard with two. But 3e increased it to four Level 9 spells. Plus all of the other spells in all of the other levels.

So, it isnt a surprise if the 5e Wizard can, likewise, have four Mana 9 spells. The math of the gaming system would need to calibrate with the math of the spells, but it seems straightforward enough. If casting a Mana 4 spell and a Mana 5 spell across two rounds deals slightly more damage than one Mana 9 spell in one round, then there is incentive to use lower Mana spells. It should balance out fine.
Perhaps limit the total highest spell level (beyond spell level 1) to be castable a maximum of twice per day/extended rest. The remaining point can only be spent on the lower spell levels.

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Perhaps limit the total highest spell level (beyond spell level 1) to be castable a maximum of twice per day/extended rest. The remaining point can only be spent on the lower spell levels.



The whole point is to get rid of the DAILY vancian mechanic.

But focusing on making it difficult to repeat the *highest* spells, sounds like the right idea.

Flavorwise it makes sense too. These are powerful spells, the Wizard is still making an effort to master them, and these spells arent necessarily as easy as the lower spells that the Wizard is now accustomed to.
Wait, it also seems worthwhile to discourage “spamming” the unexpectedly powerful spells of the lowest levels.
Brainstorming ...

How about using positive reinforcement to avoid spamming? Something like ...



Renewal of Consciousness
You do the unexpected, transcend the finite expectations, you glimpse the infinite

Each time you use a spell that was unused in this encounter, you get a +1 Mana bonus.



Something like that. It encourages the player to switch around between spells. If a player gains +4 Mana during an encounter, it can even be more than a 1-hour rest, so it is valuable. Hopefully it diminishes the temptation to spam the same low-level spell. It may also alleviate the problem of a long protracted encounter, as the recharge allows something interesting to do later on.
I like having unused spells refresh points. It's an intriguing idea.
In theory the lower spells shouldn't be desirable to be spammed, since the aren't scaling by caster level anymore. The cost per spell level needs to factor relative cost. If the formula is as simple as 1 point per spell level, then casting two spell level 1 spells has the same cost as one spell level 2, then that's kinda a problem, and where I feel previous attempts at a spell point system fall short.

At risk of making it TOO  mathy, I think it makes sense to find an alternate progression that doesn't have each spell level an entire magnitude better than the previous. Something like this:













































Spell LevelSpell Points
12
23
35
47
510
6*
7*
8*
9*

*These spell levels have no spell point cost, as you can only cast a single spell per day per spell level.

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At risk of making it TOO  mathy, I think it makes sense to find an alternate progression that doesn't have each spell level an entire magnitude better than the previous.



PT3 had a slightly simpler table:













































Spell LevelSpell Points
11
22
33
44
55
66
77
88
99
Point-based system should not use ability scores to determine quantity.  Casting ability score should determine quality, via DC, but not quantity.

And yes, the original Sorcerer had a very straightfoward system that had the virtue of being easy to convert.  The Sorcerer spell point table was actually identical to what you would get if you used the 1:1 level:point conversion that Qmark posted on the Wizard spell table.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I love this kind of magic system. I thought of something more or less like this:

Spell Level Cost
Cantrip 1
1 2
2 4
3 6
4 8
5 10
6 12
7 14
8 16
9 18
Consider this:













































Spell LevelSpell Points
11
22
34
48
516
632
764
8128
9256
I love this kind of magic system. I thought of something more or less like this: Spell Level Cost Cantrip 1 1 2 2 4 3 6 4 8 5 10 6 12 7 14 8 16 9 18


That would be workable. Any greater growth in spell cost would likely make casters useless after the first few spells in an above average difficulty encounter.
To discourage spell-spamming consider adding 1/2 cost to spells for repeat casting.

4th-level spell 1st time = 4 points
2nd time = 6 points
3rd time = 9 points
4th time = 14 points

etc.

multicasting a 9th level spell then becomes 9,14,21,32.


This would encourage variety in spellcasting in general which is probably a good thing. 
Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I don't think spell points should be used for spell levels 6+, since currently they are all fixed as castable once only (not counting broken class options that double the number of castable spells for spell levels 6+).

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Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?

Personally, I don't think we do.  But I prefer a pureply at-will caster anyway.  I was just addressing the concern above about point-based caster who get to toss out repeated max-level spells being over-powered...

Feb 7, 2013 -- 11:47AM, Mand12 wrote:

Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?


Personally, I don't think we do.  But I prefer a pureply at-will caster anyway.  I was just addressing the concern above about point-based caster who get to toss out repeated max-level spells being over-powered...


In this kind of systems, if you use too many points and go Nova, you won't cast more spells, since in this kind of system often doesn't have at-will magic. And I don't think it should have, this is a kind of system that doesn't need at-will magic. So if you choose to cast some very powerful spells, you will cast just those spells. i think it's fine.
Personally I think that this kind of magic system have many good points. I will write a text about this later.
In theory the lower spells shouldn't be desirable to be spammed, since the aren't scaling by caster level anymore. The cost per spell level needs to factor relative cost. If the formula is as simple as 1 point per spell level, then casting two spell level 1 spells has the same cost as one spell level 2, then that's kinda a problem, and where I feel previous attempts at a spell point system fall short.

At risk of making it TOO  mathy, I think it makes sense to find an alternate progression that doesn't have each spell level an entire magnitude better than the previous. Something like this:













































Spell LevelSpell Points
12
23
35
47
510
6*
7*
8*
9*

*These spell levels have no spell point cost, as you can only cast a single spell per day per spell level.


The 3e spell point system, for Psionic, abandons “spell levels” and defacto goes by class levels. So instead of a Level 17 Psion getting a new “spell level 9 spell”, the Level 17 Psion gets a “Mana 17 spell” (namely a 17-point power).



Remove “spell levels”, just use Wizard levels.













































Wizard LevelMana Points
  1  (≈ spell level 1)  1
  3  (≈ spell level 2)  3
  5  (≈ spell level 3)  5
  7  (≈ spell level 4)  7
  9  (≈ spell level 5)  9
11  (≈ spell level 6)11
13  (≈ spell level 7)13
15  (≈ spell level 8)15
17  (≈ spell level 9)17




There is no need to keep separate tables. Mana can be spent on a spell of any Wizard level. The known spells can be any level. There is almost no bookkeeping. Just keep track of mana points, like hit points.

If the Wizard gains Mana 2 × Level + Intelligence, then the Wizard can cast their highest spells moreorless two times before running out of mana.

Mechanically, these numbers work great. But I do like working with the single digits, 1 thru 9, that the spell levels use. It looks much friendlier. Not a big deal tho. It is probably better to go by actual level, than adding the confusion of something called a spell “level” that is different from a class “level”.

Finally, just going by Wizard level is awesome. If a spell is more powerful than other Mana 15 spells, but less powerful than Mana 17 spells, just make it a Mana 16 spell. No problem.

By only referring to Wizard level, the design and bookkeeping become ultra-simple.
Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?



It is a matter of taste. But for many vancian lovers, and actually for me too, using the exact same spells almost every encounter becomes routine, stale, and boring.

Players who dont experience this boredom, dont need to worry about spamming.

There can be an issue of balance. Some spells are more powerful than others, and repeating them frequently might become more powerful than expected. But really, in these situations the solution is to assign the spell the appropriate level. If a spell is too powerful, promote it to a higher level, or if poor, demote it to a lower level, where it seems more comparable.
Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?

Personally, I don't think we do.  But I prefer a pureply at-will caster anyway.  I was just addressing the concern above about point-based caster who get to toss out repeated max-level spells being over-powered...


This is fixed by designing max-level spells properly.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I don't think spell points should be used for spell levels 6+, since currently they are all fixed as castable once only (not counting broken class options that double the number of castable spells for spell levels 6+).


 Casting high-mana spells multiple times isnt a big deal.

First, it is just this Playtest Packet that has 1 spell slot per highest levels, and for the history of D&D is unique. Normally, multiple high levels are fine.

Besides, even if this Playtest becomes the new standard that 5e adopts, casting a Mana 17 spell three times is roughly comparable to casting a Mana 17, a Mana 15, and a Mana 13 spell, each once. According to the game math, they are all high level spells. Obviously the Mana 17s are a bit better, but not enough for the gaming math to worry about.
Why do we need to discourage spell spamming?

Personally, I don't think we do.  But I prefer a pureply at-will caster anyway.  I was just addressing the concern above about point-based caster who get to toss out repeated max-level spells being over-powered...


I think that spell-spamming is fine if that's what you want your character to do. In the system we have no with the allowance of being able to cast lower level spells at higher level it is possible to create a character that uses a chosen power which grows. I always dreamed of making a telekinesis mage in which had a growth power or maybe now it will be possible to create a character similar to Piper from Charmed who has Hold Person and Hold Monster as well as Molecular Combustion.... although that last one I am unsure of what would translate to that. The point is that I see little wrong with allowing players to spam the same spells if that's what they enjoy. Allowing spam could create smaller spell lists on its own (which some have complained about wizards getting so many spells) since some players would enjoy using less spells. 
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Point-based system should not use ability scores to determine quantity.


Because the Wizard can regain spells (and mana) several times during the same day, during a 1-hour rest, it should remain balanced if an intelligent Wizard gets 1 to 3 extra mana points. The less intelligent Wizard can rest slightly more often, and even that wont be necessary too often.

Also, the couple of extra points from Intelligence round out the number of spells at the lowest Wizard levels. Where the simple formula is gain Mana 2 × level, the extra points from Intelligence allow most Wizards to function well, so as not to slow down the Fighter.

The Fighter needs ways to benefit from 1-hour rests as well. The 1-hour rest is typically a meal break. And there are obvious ways to benefit from a meal, a chance to heal, and the elimination of fatigue.



But I prefer a purely at-will caster anyway.


The designers might surprise us. By removing the per-day sleep refresh, and switching to the per-1-hour-meal refresh, it is even possible to have something almost like an atwill vancian caster.



In any case, the Mana Wizard will still have atwill cantrips. According to the design, these cantrips are actually “Level 0” spells, and therefore cost “Mana 0” to cast. In other words, they are free atwill cantrips.



In any case, the Mana Wizard will still have atwill cantrips. According to the design, these cantrips are actually “Level 0” spells, and therefore cost “Mana 0” to cast. In other words, they are free atwill cantrips.




I think that this kind of system doesn't need at-will magic.


In any case, the Mana Wizard will still have atwill cantrips. According to the design, these cantrips are actually “Level 0” spells, and therefore cost “Mana 0” to cast. In other words, they are free atwill cantrips.


I think that this kind of system doesn't need at-will magic.



I feel the system does need atwill cantrips. And designwise they work well.

There will be adventures where it is reasonably impossible for the party to rest, even for 1 hour. In these extreme situations, the Wizard needs magic.

Also, notice. The mana point formula is extremely low. 3 points per level! Other spells systems have spell points that increase quadratically, and this isnt in any way the case here!

The mana remains a precious resource to manage.

So, atwill cantrips are vital.




I always dreamed of making a telekinesis mage in which had a growth power.


Seriously! I would love this!

A Wizard with an atwill Telekinesis cantrip, comparable to Mage Hand, that the Wizard can use mana to smoothly spike the amount of push.
Mana = Class Level

Spells cost 1 mana per spell level. 

Regain all mana after a short rest.

Level 1 Manacaster gets 1 level 1 spell per encounter and then relies on at-wills.

Level 3 caster can cast 3 level 1 spells or a level 2 spell and a level 1 spell and then relies on at-wills.

Level 5 caster can cast some combination of level 1 2 and 3 spells totaling 5 mana be it 5 level 1 spells, a level 3 and a level 2 spell, etc.
For those of you who prefer not to use Vancian Magic I offer you this, somewhat old school solution.

First: A wizard may never cast a spell that they have not learned, nor may they cast any spell they are not high-enough level to cast.
Secondly: A Wizard may cast any spell they have learned, so long as they have power to cast it.
Thirdly: A wizard dtermines how much spell power they have by adding up their total spells slots per day and adding their level.
Fourhtly: When a wizard cast a spell, he loses a quantity of spell power equal to the level of the spell.
Fifthly: A Wizard regains a portion of their spell power after a short rest, recommeneded equal to intelligence modifier, and all of their spell power after a long rest.



Looks intresting, but i think it breaks at low level
a level 1 wizard has 2 level 1 spells, so one with this sustem would have 3 spell points.
and a int 16 woud be somthing a 1st kevel character can have.

meaning a level 1 wizard using this system would be much more powerfull then a level 1 wizard. 
Mana = Class Level

Spells cost 1 mana per spell level. 

Regain all mana after a short rest.

Level 1 Manacaster gets 1 level 1 spell per encounter and then relies on at-wills.

Level 3 caster can cast 3 level 1 spells or a level 2 spell and a level 1 spell and then relies on at-wills.

Level 5 caster can cast some combination of level 1 2 and 3 spells totaling 5 mana be it 5 level 1 spells, a level 3 and a level 2 spell, etc.


The suggestion above would be devastatingly inferior to a vancian spellcaster. The vancian caster can go nova, unleashing the entire days worth of spells at once. And is unacceptable.



Alternatively, the vancian spellcaster might be using the same mana system. Using the same amount of mana to prepare spells from the spellbook ahead of time (thus increasing the number of different known spells). This Wizard who prepares spells must have a reasonable amount of mana to work with, so there can be enough room for some experimental choices. The choice to prepare some spells ahead of time beyond the favorite spontaneous spells can be available to all Wizards.



If switching to Wizard Levels for the spell cost, then the formula for the amount of mana would probably be smoothest designwise at:

Wizard level ×3 + Intelligence.

So, Level 17 Wizard with Intelligence +2, will have Mana 36, and will be able to cast Mana 17 spells three times. There will still be cantrips and a Mana 2 spell left over.



A Wizard needs to cast more than one spell in an encounter. So a sufficient amount of mana is necessary.

Finally, to regain max mana after every single encounter (or else being powerless) would get horribly routine and stale. I want there to be a difference between a brief breather on the run (10 minutes) and a full meal with reasonable safety (1 hour). This is an importance difference in the adventure narrative.



For many reasons, the Wizard must have a good size chunk of mana to work with. Designwise, the “simplicity” is the same time, but that extra amount of mana makes the game far more “deeper”, more versatile. It is more elegant to avoid stinginess.
It is so hard to take this proposal seriously when it includes the words: "secondly", "thirdly", "fourthly", and "fifthly".

-SYB
Mana = Class Level

Spells cost 1 mana per spell level. 

Regain all mana after a short rest.

Level 1 Manacaster gets 1 level 1 spell per encounter and then relies on at-wills.

Level 3 caster can cast 3 level 1 spells or a level 2 spell and a level 1 spell and then relies on at-wills.

Level 5 caster can cast some combination of level 1 2 and 3 spells totaling 5 mana be it 5 level 1 spells, a level 3 and a level 2 spell, etc.


The suggestion above would be devastatingly inferior to a vancian spellcaster. And is unacceptable.



How is the suggestion weaker than vancian casting. The caster's nova potential is lower yes, but in terms of staying power they would have far more. After 4 encounters per day this method would pull ahead in total spells cast. It also allows for the use of utility magic without impeding combat potential.
Mana = Class Level

Spells cost 1 mana per spell level. 

Regain all mana after a short rest.

Level 1 Manacaster gets 1 level 1 spell per encounter and then relies on at-wills.

Level 3 caster can cast 3 level 1 spells or a level 2 spell and a level 1 spell and then relies on at-wills.

Level 5 caster can cast some combination of level 1 2 and 3 spells totaling 5 mana be it 5 level 1 spells, a level 3 and a level 2 spell, etc.


The suggestion above would be devastatingly inferior to a vancian spellcaster. And is unacceptable.


That formula is horrible.

It would mean the Wizard can only cast one single spell per encounter. Because that would become the optimal thing to do. In combat, only taking out an enemy is viable. A wounded enemy is just as deadly, perhaps moreso. And because the Wizard is *forced* to fully recharge after every single encounter (or else be powerless), it will be the exact same single spell virtually every single time, over and over and over again. That formula is horrible, horrible, horrible.

Sorry for being so dramatic. I was imagining, what if this is the Wizard that ended up in the rulebook. I would be unhappy.