Casting beyond daily limits


Combat & Magic


I think this is sort of related to the "fifteen minute adventuring day", but I think Pathfinder would be an excellent place to introduce a mechanic for spellcasters of all types to cast beyond their daily limits, through spellcraft checks, and taking nonlethal damage equal to the spells level (with possibly double damage or lethal damage on a failed spellcraft check).

What does the rest of the playtest team think? I started another thread on this before in the OGL forum, but I thought it was worth bringing up again here.


Wow, stuff gets buried fast on this board.

I think the suggestion I've seen around these parts to subdivide the alpha playtest board is probably a good idea.

Poor, flooded-with-ideas Jason. Keep your chin up, buddy.


I was thinking along the same lines as you. More precisely, I was toying with the idea of "corruption points" if you play with arcane power when you shouldn't. This is how it could work:

  • You could accumulate corruption points every time you cast more spells than you daily allocation.
  • You gain 1 corruption point per level of spell you cast that adds to your corruption pool.
  • Every time you overextend yourself, you have to do a spellcraft check against a DC 10+corruption pool.
  • If you succeed. Everything is fine, though you get the corruption points anyway.
  • If you fail, something bad happen to you depending on the size of your corruption pool. For example: 1-5 corruption point - You glow in the dark. 20 - corruption point - reality tears you apart.
  • Some very powerful spells (wish? raise dead) could even automatically give you some corruption point
  • You can voluntarily chose to blow-up your corruption point pool. Better to blow up 5 points in one go rather than 20

I guess this would make life interesting for casters


TabulaRasa wrote:

I was thinking along the same lines as you. More precisely, I was toying with the idea of "corruption points" if you play with arcane power when you shouldn't. This is how it could work:

  • You could accumulate corruption points every time you cast more spells than you daily allocation.
  • You gain 1 corruption point per level of spell you cast that adds to your corruption pool.
  • Every time you overextend yourself, you have to do a spellcraft check against a DC 10+corruption pool.
  • If you succeed. Everything is fine, though you get the corruption points anyway.
  • If you fail, something bad happen to you depending on the size of your corruption pool. For example: 1-5 corruption point - You glow in the dark. 20 - corruption point - reality tears you apart.
  • Some very powerful spells (wish? raise dead) could even automatically give you some corruption point
  • You can voluntarily chose to blow-up your corruption point pool. Better to blow up 5 points in one go rather than 20

I guess this would make life interesting for casters

That's interesting. It's very similar to the paradox mechanism from Mage: The Ascension.


Interesting idea, but I’m not totally in favor of it. I think a simple mechanic can be used that actually works well with the current system. Actually I foresee this being a problem in 4th edition too, after using up the per encounter and per day powers, characters seem to get a lot weaker as longer fights start to linger.

So I’ve been thinking about this, 3.5 uses a variant of the old fire and forget system, except it’s now completing a ritual, that was started in the beginning of the day and ends in the casting of the spell. Why not simply add a additional mechanic that allows to perform the ritual again after a spell is spent to reestablish it. I guess something like, my mage cast all his magic missiles spells, so he can spend five minutes (or rounds) reestablishing it, just long enough that it isn’t easy to do in the mist of battle, but still possible.

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Or a Caster could conserve some of their spells and let the Fighters earn their pay and mop up the minions...


A system for casting beyond daily limits should have a price to it. Not something permanent, but something that prevents abuse. A system of constitution damage makes sense to me. The spell's level equals the number of con points lost. For instance, if a wizard wants to cast a first level spell past his limit he must not only know the spell, but make a Spellcraft check. If the check succeeds the spell works if the check fails the spell fails, but the con point is lost regardless. this would keep it from being abused and would mostly prevent the use of high level spells past a wizard's limit unless desperate.


I'm not entirely sure why a spellcaster's spells need to be daily at all. I know it's sort of a sacred cow, but the more I think on it the more I think...really? Why?

Is it unbalancing to change the time limit of rest and restudy needed? I don't think so. Rather than 8 hours of rest and 1 hour of study, how about just a simple, 2 hours of resting/restudying. Done.

I've house ruled this recently in my own game to avoid the 15 minute adventuring day. Sure, we do our 15 minutes and then we rest, count coins, check out loot, search a cleared room, update our map, catch our breath, all the while the spellcasters are resting and studying their book/recharging their energies/praying/etc. A couple of hours of this and we're off and ready to go again.

Seems to be an extremely logical, simple, and elegant solution. I can't imagine I'm the first person to bring this up. What am I missing, what is the fatal flaw that I'm not seeing?


Jeff Greiner wrote:

I'm not entirely sure why a spellcaster's spells need to be daily at all. I know it's sort of a sacred cow, but the more I think on it the more I think...really? Why?

Is it unbalancing to change the time limit of rest and restudy needed? I don't think so. Rather than 8 hours of rest and 1 hour of study, how about just a simple, 2 hours of resting/restudying. Done.

I've house ruled this recently in my own game to avoid the 15 minute adventuring day. Sure, we do our 15 minutes and then we rest, count coins, check out loot, search a cleared room, update our map, catch our breath, all the while the spellcasters are resting and studying their book/recharging their energies/praying/etc. A couple of hours of this and we're off and ready to go again.

Seems to be an extremely logical, simple, and elegant solution. I can't imagine I'm the first person to bring this up. What am I missing, what is the fatal flaw that I'm not seeing?

I agree, at least in part. To me the only real concern is how many spells you can cast in a combat sequence. I think it’s a good idea to avoid having player spaming the same spell over and over, again this is one thing I already don’t like about 4th edition, a wizards tendency to spam magic missiles since it never runs out. However I don’t see why a spell caster is forced to rest eight hours afterward just to regain a few spells.

Grand Lodge

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What if wizards could memorize twice their allowed spells and after they run out of their daily limit they can cast spells but they take non-lethal damage for each additional spell. Maybe 1d4/spell level .

I always like the parts of Dragonlance where Raistlin is casting more than he should and soon his companions are practically carrying him because he is so weak.

This would give the Wizards and Sorcerers the option to cast more but at a cost.

Thoughts?


Dreamweaver wrote:

What if wizards could memorize twice their allowed spells and after they run out of their daily limit they can cast spells but they take non-lethal damage for each additional spell. Maybe 1d4/spell level .

I always like the parts of Dragonlance where Raistlin is casting more than he should and soon his companions are practically carrying him because he is so weak.

This would give the Wizards and Sorcerers the option to cast more but at a cost.

Thoughts?

I like it in theory, but it's too easy to heal. The wizard and cleric can work together to abuse the heck out of it. Maybe make it so that you acquire conditions like fatigued/exhausted/etc. Something that takes a lesser restoration to heal.

Scarab Sages

Recycling rules I'd been tinkering with to replace XP cost in spells, pretty sure I've posted these (or earlier versions) around here before, and I'm definitely too lazy to do more than just paste them here as-is, but something could probably be developed along these lines to adjudicate casting beyond normal limits:

Spoiler:
Instead of spending XP to cast spells which have an XP cost, a spellcaster risks taking ability damage in his primary spellcasting ability. The amount of ability damage dealt when casting these spells is determined as follows:

2d3 + spell cost modifier - 1 per four caster levels

A spell's cost modifier is equal to 1 per 1,000 XP cost (or fraction). Spells with no XP cost have no cost modifier, rather than a cost modifier of 0, and so do not trigger this effect when cast.

The caster must make a ability check (DC 15 + spell's cost modifier) when the spell casting is completed. The check modifier is based on the caster's primary casting ability.

If the save succeeds, the caster takes half the amount of ability damage rolled. If the save fails, he becomes fatigued and takes the full amount of ability damage rolled (minimum 1). If the save fails by 5 or more, the caster becomes exhausted instead of fatigued, and takes nonlethal damage equal to twice the spell's cost modifier in addition to any ability score damage. The minimum ability damage for failed saves does not apply if the maximum ability damage that can be rolled is 0 or less.

Fatigued Characters: Fatigued characters who would become fatigued on failing the ability check instead become exhausted, suffering the effects listed above for failing the ability check by five or more. Fatigued characters who would become exhausted when failing the ability check save by 5 or more take lethal damage rather than nonlethal.

Exhausted Characters: Exhausted characters who would become fatigued on failing this ability check take lethal damage as noted above. Exhausted characters who would become exhausted when failing the ability check save by 5 or more take one point of ability drain in addition to suffering lethal damage as noted above.

Because these effects are linked to manifestations of the caster's magical abilities, any ability damage suffered, and any fatigue or exhaustion inflicted on a failed save, may be recovered only through rest and non-magical healing. Ability drain inflicted by a failed ability check may not be regained by the usual means, though at the DM's discretion a way to restore this ability drain may become available in the form of a quest or other unusual circumstance.

At the DM's discretion, a spell's cost modifier may be increased in areas where unusual magical effects inhibit or otherwise interfere with spellcasting. Likewise, a spell's cost modifier may be decreased in areas where the caster's connection to magic is stronger than normal, or under other conditions that aid in casting a particular spell.

Spells without listed XP costs may be assigned a cost modifier if, for some reason, the DM wishes to limit their use. For example, spells with the Fire descriptor may be assigned a cost modifier in areas of magical or elemental cold. Lower cost modifiers decrease the amount of ability damage possible, as well as the save DC to resist fatigue.

If you think the damage potential is too low, you could use 2d4 instead of 2d3. If you think it's too high, use 2d2 instead. If your game runs into a wild magic zone, replace 2d3 with 1d6 (or 2d2 with 1d4) to reflect how the volatile nature of wild magic zones affects the cost of casting these spells.

Scarab Sages

Dreamweaver wrote:
I always like the parts of Dragonlance where Raistlin is casting more than he should and soon his companions are practically carrying him because he is so weak.

This is exactly why I spend so much time tweaking random bits of rules to add new and various kinds of pain, suffering, or possibly just inconvenience ;p


I do quite like the idea of allowing excess casting at a personal cost to a character. The drawback should apply to the caster such that over-extending one's self carries enough of a drawback to keep it from being a daily occurance, but not so damning that it would be an instantly derelict mechanic.

I am think along the lines of making the caster make a save versus their own spell DC (reflex, con, will).
Success indicates something crummy (diminished saves, hp, stats) for the rest of the day based on spell level (like -1 Con/3 spell levels).
Failure indicates they take universal magic damage (no resistance/protection can negate this ever ever ever)per the spell level (1d6/spell level+1/caster level) with the spell damage coming from their NATURAL hitpoint pool first (permanent CON item buffs count for natural HP but temporary spells/effects would not).

You would be able to make any over-cast spell contain a bit of bite to it. The diminished stats should be able to be overcome with NATURAL rest ONLY of x amount of time in order to keep clerics from memorizing only Restoration spells. The casting of higher level spells could be a real pickle for casters. If they failed a high level spell save they could literally burn themselves out. A wizard in a truly grand fight may end up killing themselves...but that extra Disintigrate might just be what the doctor ordered.

I DONT think this option is the miracle fix for the 15min adventuring day. I do not think that D&D needs to necessarily have a 12hour adventuring day model either. Forcing players to use their spells wisely and work with their adventuring party for success has always been a cornerstone of D&D. I belive there should be finite amo in the minigun...

I DO think that this option would capture the essence of a few of the house rules i've seen put forth on this issue, and allow for additional magic use in time sensitive/important situations.

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grrtigger wrote:
a comment telling Timitius to come visit this thread

And so I shall.....I posted this over in the 15 min Day thread, but now I see its home should be here....

So, I'm reading the alpha rules now, and I really like what I see. Many of the additions may lessen the issue, but I still don't see a solution for the spellcasters running out of spells before noon, though.

Perhaps an option (feats?) of taking an early withdrawal for the next day's allotment, with the penalty being:
1. No spells for tomorrow, of course, and
2. Loss of spell-casting related ability (Wis, Int, Chr) point(s) for rest of the day. Say, a loss equal to half of your level (round up)?

Therefore, a 7th level cleric, with a 16 Wis would lose 4 Wis points until he/she rested for the 8 hrs. This would also mean that said cleric would be operating at 12 Wis, thus only being able to cast up to 2nd level spells. Obviously, higher level characters suffer a bit more than lower level characters, but the brain drain for higher spell levels should be more. Also, characters with marginal stats will find it harder as well.

This could be applied to both divine and arcane magic. Maybe the cleric would pray urgently, or the wizard would pour over his tome, studying intently, or the sorceror would spend time meditating, digging deep down inside his/her soul (or spend X action points, or sacrifice some XP, or <insert option here>) to gain the much-needed spells to overcome adversity.

This way, you CAN get more spells when your party truly needs them, with the further understanding that you had better be finished by tomorrow....and without turning your magic system upside-down.


What about overcastting? Overcasting allows a spellcaster to cast spells beyond her daily allotment by making a relevant ability check against DC 11 + spell level attempted. A successful check allows the caster to cast the spell normally, but the spellcaster becomes fatigued. If the check fails, the spell is not casted, but the caster is still fatigued. The spellcaster can make other attempts at overcastting, however, further overcasttings result in the spellcaster becoming exhausted. Any further overcastting results in relevant ability damage equal to the level of the spell attempted.

Opinions?

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Biomage wrote:

What about overcastting? Overcasting allows a spellcaster to cast spells beyond her daily allotment by making a relevant ability check against DC 11 + spell level attempted. A successful check allows the caster to cast the spell normally, but the spellcaster becomes fatigued. If the check fails, the spell is not casted, but the caster is still fatigued. The spellcaster can make other attempts at overcastting, however, further overcasttings result in the spellcaster becoming exhausted. Any further overcastting results in relevant ability damage equal to the level of the spell attempted.

Opinions?

Gods! That's so crazy simple it might work! ;-)

Geez, I took the long way, and you took the shortcut. Sort of.

Scarab Sages

Biomage wrote:
Opinions?

Definitely the simplest yet! I like it.


Biomage wrote:

What about overcastting? Overcasting allows a spellcaster to cast spells beyond her daily allotment by making a relevant ability check against DC 11 + spell level attempted. A successful check allows the caster to cast the spell normally, but the spellcaster becomes fatigued. If the check fails, the spell is not casted, but the caster is still fatigued. The spellcaster can make other attempts at overcastting, however, further overcasttings result in the spellcaster becoming exhausted. Any further overcastting results in relevant ability damage equal to the level of the spell attempted.

Opinions?

In all honesty this doesn’t really solve the problem.

The main issues with spell caster is they start of very strong at the beginning of the day, but by the end of the day are very week, since they have fewer spells or non at all.

To compensate the rest of the party has to shut down for eight hours while a spell caster recharges his spells.

Your system would only allow a spell caster to go through another combat maybe two if he pushes it, but he gets some serious drawbacks for doing so.

This is the issue; of course spell casters spells need to be keep in check so they don’t overpower the rest of the party, which they already do. But, I don’t see how this will overall benefit the party, there are going still have some long downtimes in between encounters.

Instead of a 15 minute work day it’s a 20 minute work day.

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I like the above mentioned overcasting...I might impose some kind of Spellcraft check with Ability damage for failure, though. You really don't want your low level wizards running around casting fireball just because the only penalty is that they get tired.


Speed-reading
A caster can rapidly re-memorize his/her spells in a pinch. It requires however 5 min of in a calm environment (not in combat to avoid the spaming of fireballs) but it is neverthless a mentally exhausting process.

Rules: For every empty spell slot the caster has, he/she can make a spellcraft check of DC10 + 2x the spell level (so that it mostly work on low level spells) to recharge it with a spell of the said level. You fail the check, you cannot recharge the slot and in addition you become fatigued as a result. You can continue speed-reading a further time but this time you become exhausted if you fail your spellcraft check. This fatigue/exhaustion is magical in nature and can only be cured by 8 hours of rest. You can also use speed-reading to voluntarily change one of your memorized spell.

The pros of this solution:
* Simple.
* Avoid magic missile spaming during combat.
* Extend the use of spell but at a cost.
* No pools of point to track.
* Close to the essence of D&D (spells work unless there is a save).
* More spell flexibility (avoid the let's rest for 8 hours until I regain the right spell).
* Interesting dilema of do I recharge an extra slot and run the risk of getting exhausted?
* Avoid the at-will spells signature of 4th edition.

The cons of this solution
* You have to track fatgued/exhausted effects.

I think this is better than overcasting because it prevents caster from spaming magic missiles/fireballs/cloudkills during combat.

Like it or Not? Discuss, please.

Dark Archive

Biomage wrote:

What about overcastting? Overcasting allows a spellcaster to cast spells beyond her daily allotment by making a relevant ability check against DC 11 + spell level attempted. A successful check allows the caster to cast the spell normally, but the spellcaster becomes fatigued. If the check fails, the spell is not casted, but the caster is still fatigued. The spellcaster can make other attempts at overcastting, however, further overcasttings result in the spellcaster becoming exhausted. Any further overcastting results in relevant ability damage equal to the level of the spell attempted.

Opinions?

Good, though it mostly adds another variable condition to keep track of.

Would like better a mechanic where there's a fixed amount of damage, and where the effort is focused on obtaining a more generic benefit.
I use a house rule in which a spellcaster can sacrifice a fixed number of his health (I use the vitality/wound option from UA) value to gain a number of spell slot of his higher spell level available, multiplied by his INT/WIS/CHA.
This, coupled with the spell slot dynamic exchange* I've taken from Arcana Unearthed, creates a very flexible approach, giving spellcaster more magical stamina per day, while balancing it out with a hefty cost. Moreover, goes a long way in making metamagic feats more useful and interesting even at lower levels.

*: a spell caster can sacrifice a spell slot to gain two spell slots of a immediately lower spell level (eg. lose one 3rd level spell slot to gain two 2nd level slots) or sacrifice three spell slots to gain one spell slot of a immediately higher spell level (eg. three 1st level slots to gain one 2nd level slot). Magic users such as the wizard or the claric can use this mechanic to "refresh" already prepared spells only.


TabulaRasa wrote:

Speed-reading

A caster can rapidly re-memorize his/her spells in a pinch. It requires however 5 min of in a calm environment (not in combat to avoid the spaming of fireballs) but it is neverthless a mentally exhausting process.

Rules:For every empty spell slot the caster has, he/she can make a spellcraft check of DC10 + 2x the spell level (so that it mostly work on low level spells) to recharge it with a spell of the said level. You fail the check, you cannot recharge the slot and in addition he/she becomes fatigued as a result. You can continue speed-read a further time but this time you become exhausted if you fail your spellcraft check another time. This fatigue/exhaustion is magical in nature and can only be cured by 8 hours of rest. You can also use speed-reading to voluntarily change one of your memorized spell

The pros of this solution:
* Simple
* Avoid magic missile spaming during combat
* Extend the use of spell but at a cost
* No pools of point to track
* Close to the essence of D&D
* More spell flexibility (avoid the let's rest for 8 hours until I regain the right spell)
* Interesting dilema of do I recharge an extra slot and run the risk of getting exhausted?

The cons of this solution
* You have to track fatgued/exhausted effect

I think this is better than overcasting because it prevent caster from spaming magic missiles/fireballs/cloudkills during combat.

Like it or Not? Discuss, please.

Thank you.


I still prefer the Recharge Magic variant from UA (found in the SRD). It's simple, already thought out, and works nicely in a magical world.

Dark Archive

I believe in the Midnight campaign setting, when you go beyond your daily capacity you take temp CON damage equal to the spell level. Or something like that.


Koriatsar wrote:
I believe in the Midnight campaign setting, when you go beyond your daily capacity you take temp CON damage equal to the spell level. Or something like that.

I think any damage from casting beyond your ability should result in damage to the relevant ability. Wizards take Int damage, clerics take Wis damage, sorcerers take Cha damage.


General questions regarding casting beyond daily allotment:

Should it require a check? If so, what type?
Should it do damage? If so, what type?


So if you take a 9th level wizard with 20 in INT (a starting 18 and the bonus points for 4th and 8th level, not uncomon for a wizard), he could in theory shoot an aditional 20 extra 5d4+5 magic missiles in a single encounter. This is of course on top of the 6 missiles he can cast as part of his dailies.

At first glance, that's a total of 442 point of spell damage for a single wizard in 1st level spell only....OMG!!!

The problem with ability damage as a cost is that you can do it in combat and spam you opponents with cheap low level spells

Dark Archive

Some combination of limiting factors should exist to keep it from being used willy-nilly.

Check to succeed and take either 1 Con pt / spell level or 1d6 nonlethal damage / spell level, depending on which system you are using. This is unavoidable. (Casters with no Con score lose Cha or something instead.)

If you succeed, also make a Fort save (DC 15 + spell level?). If you succeed, you are Fatigued (on a 20, you manage to avoid even that!). If you fail, you are Exhausted. On a 1, you drop Unconscious!

Every single attempt to cast a spell beyond your daily limits has a 5% chance of knocking you Unconscious, and a chance of Fatiguing / Exhausting you.


With the new school-based class abilities, I really don't think this is an issue. Each wizard except the abjuration specialist has some sort of offensive ability they can use at will, meaning you no longer run into that problem of low-level mages being useless after expending their allotment of spells per day; even abjurers have a useful at-will combat ability at 1st level. And really, when are high-level mages ever going to run out of spells?

When would this problem come up anyway?


Yes but at-will spell power is so 4th edition... Speed-reading or Overreaching a so much more in line with 3.5

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TabulaRasa wrote:

So if you take a 9th level wizard with 20 in INT (a starting 18 and the bonus points for 4th and 8th level, not uncomon for a wizard), he could in theory shoot an aditional 20 extra 5d4+5 magic missiles in a single encounter. This is of course on top of the 6 missiles he can cast as part of his dailies.

At first glance, that's a total of 442 point of spell damage for a single wizard in 1st level spell only....OMG!!!

The problem with ability damage as a cost is that you can do it in combat and spam you opponents with cheap low level spells

To be nitpicky, he would only be able to cast another 10 1st level spells, as when he reaches INT 10 he is no longer capable of casting 1st level spells.

In addition, if he does cast the 10 magic missiles, it's going to take 5 days of rest before his INT heals back to 15 and he can cast his highest level spells again.

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