Why is applying a Spell Failure Chance unacceptable to the community?


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I have noted in a few threads on these boards that anytime the possibility arises to apply a penalty to a caster that might cause them to lose a spell a large and vocal section of the community backlashes against the concept and appears completely unwilling to consider the idea under any circumstances.

What I don't understand is why. Why are spell slots sacred (obvious puns about Clerics aside)? Why should casters be immune from losing a resource or having an action fail when every other class has abilities that can be rendered ineffective or be denied the ability to use key class features? Why is even the smallest chance of failure unacceptable? And why have I seen posters advocating for penalties to Caster Level and all of the negatives that would entail, including losing the ability to cats more potent spells, rather than face any chance of losing a spell for that rest period?

Frankly, I just don't understand this mentality. I have heard the argument regarding the "15 minute adventuring day" and I personally find it to be unsatisfying. The 15 minute adventuring day seems to be more a problem of DMs who choose to not follow encounter guidelines than it is a critic of the game's mechanics. While I would be happy to get into a deeper discussion of the 15 minute issue - I have yet to seen any of its advocates respond to the encounter guidelines argument - I am also curious to know if there is any other justification for granting spells this Holy Grail, untouchable status.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I concur, it is a puzzlement. I, personally, like the new concentration rule.


Tell you what: When you reduce sneak attack to a limited number of times a day, or you let the fighter have an endurance score he must subtract from anytime he swings his weapon then we'll talk.

Spell Failure makes sense in some cases: Armor is the primary one. Losing spells from broken concentration is another. However in these cases a spell caster can do things to limit 1. His exposure, and 2. His chances of failure, by casting lower level spells and raising the concerned bonuses or not wearing armor.

However with straight spell failure that doesn't exist.

Beyond that the one time you brought up adding spell failure (straight like that not a chance at breaking concentration just straight spell failure) you choose to not apply similar penalties to everyone affected by the condition.

It was gamist. Pure and simple. Everyone had the penalties, everyone suffered but you wanted more than that from the casters. When caster level checks where suggested you wouldn't hear it. When skill checks without losing the spell (too scared to talk so can't even start casting the spell) you wouldn't hear it.

The only solution you were willing to accept was to cause the caster to lose his spell 10%~30% of the time with no regards to his skill at casting, his ability to concentrate, or his sheer will at casting. You did not want to apply similar penalties to everyone else (too afraid to swing the sword) even when that was offered as a solution.

So I see it not so much as people unwilling to lose spells, but you unwilling to have even mechanics in place.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Tell you what: When you reduce sneak attack to a limited number of times a day, or you let the fighter have an endurance score he must subtract from anytime he swings his weapon then we'll talk.

Spell Failure makes sense in some cases: Armor is the primary one. Losing spells from broken concentration is another. However in these cases a spell caster can do things to limit 1. His exposure, and 2. His chances of failure, by casting lower level spells and raising the concerned bonuses or not wearing armor.

However with straight spell failure that doesn't exist.

Beyond that the one time you brought up adding spell failure (straight like that not a chance at breaking concentration just straight spell failure) you choose to not apply similar penalties to everyone affected by the condition.

It was gamist. Pure and simple. Everyone had the penalties, everyone suffered but you wanted more than that from the casters. When caster level checks where suggested you wouldn't hear it. When skill checks without losing the spell (too scared to talk so can't even start casting the spell) you wouldn't hear it.

The only solution you were willing to accept was to cause the caster to lose his spell 10%~30% of the time with no regards to his skill at casting, his ability to concentrate, or his sheer will at casting. You did not want to apply similar penalties to everyone else (too afraid to swing the sword) even when that was offered as a solution.

So I see it not so much as people unwilling to lose spells, but you unwilling to have even mechanics in place.

1) This thread was meant to encourage discussion on all chances for spell loss including concentration/caster checks not just flat SF%.

2) If you read the thread you are referencing you will note that we have been discussing a caster level check ala the mechanic featured in the Kyra preview, not a flat failure chance, since the Kyra preview was released - actually even before.

3) Why can't casting carry some level of risk under certain conditions - casters are already more powerful? Why is losing the spell rather than just losing the action an absolute deal breaker?


Matt Rathbun wrote:
I have noted in a few threads on these boards that anytime the possibility arises to apply a penalty to a caster that might cause them to lose a spell a large and vocal section of the community backlashes against the concept and appears completely unwilling to consider the idea under any circumstances.

I wouldn't say "under any circumstances" - I still like loss of spells for a caster doing something stupid by his own choice, like wearing platemail or casting from horseback without the benefit of feats to offset the arcane failure.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
What I don't understand is why. Why are spell slots sacred (obvious puns about Clerics aside)? Why should casters be immune from losing a resource or having an action fail when every other class has abilities that can be rendered ineffective or be denied the ability to use key class features?

You don't think casters have abilities that can be rendered ineffective? You don't think casters can be denied the ability to use a key class feature?

Ever fought an Iron Golem?

Ever tried to fireball a beholder?

Ever tried to cast your best spells in an area of silence?

Ever tried to cast any spells in an area of antimagic?

Etc.

The list of tricks that DMs use to deny spellcasters is too exhausting to list even a fraction of it.

The most common trick that (probably) all DMs use, over and over, is simply having the important monsters save against the really SOS or SOD spells the players use against them.

In fact, this last trick is so common that I can name DMs that I will never, ever use SOD or SOS spells against any of their BBEGs, and rarely even prepare them to cast them on mooks, because no matter how high I munchkinize my save DCs, my enemies almost always save, unless we're losing badly and facing a TPK, in which case they almost always fail - so I keep a good one as backup...

Over 35 years of playing, I've had great DMs and lousy DMs and new DMs. The list of DMs who regularly denied my SOD/SOS spells with unbelievable regularity of miraculous saves is much longer than the list of DMs who didn't.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Why is even the smallest chance of failure unacceptable?

Small chances, for the right reasons, are very acceptable to me.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
And why have I seen posters advocating for penalties to Caster Level and all of the negatives that would entail, including losing the ability to cats more potent spells, rather than face any chance of losing a spell for that rest period?

Can't aswer that one. I cannot think of any situation where I would choose a caster level penalty instead of losing a spell. These kinds of conditions don't seem to have any overlap in my opinion.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Frankly, I just don't understand this mentality.

Why not?

It's been spelled out for you, just as you've spelled out your vewpoint and I understand what you're saying just fine.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
I have heard the argument regarding the "15 minute adventuring day" and I personally find it to be unsatisfying. The 15 minute adventuring day seems to be more a problem of DMs who choose to not follow encounter guidelines than it is a critic of the game's mechanics. While I would be happy to get into a deeper discussion of the 15 minute issue - I have yet to seen any of its advocates respond to the encounter guidelines argument - I am also curious to know if there is any other justification for granting spells this Holy Grail, untouchable status.

Well, that right there is my main argument.

So I guess you better get into your deeper discussion, because this paragraph doesn't even tell me what I, as an advocate (of extending the adventuring day, I presume) am expected to respond to.

I've said this before. Yesterday in fact. On a thread you were participating in. So I'll put it in a spoiler here for those interested again.

Spoiler:

My reason for despising forcing any spellcasters to lose their spell resources:

We sit at the D&D table to have a good time adventuring. To enjoy as our heroes bravely face horrific challenges and gain power, prestige, and wealth. To roleplay with our friends, preferably as we adventure through the dangerous world (or we could just break out a tea set and roleplay a tea party with our friends).

Heading into the dungeon to brave the unknown terrors, only to fight a battle or two then retreat from the dungeon, just minutes after entering it, so we can go find a campsite and set up camp for 23 hours until tomorrow morning when we can once again charge back into the dungeon for another 20 minutes of adventure - that's just silly.

It breaks our verisimilitude.

It breaks our sense of heroic accomplishment.

It distances us from the love we might feel for our characters.

It robs us of at least some of the fun we could be having if we were not so handicapped by having such limited resources.

Paizo has done a great job of fixing much of this. I love love love the unlimited at-will spellcaster ranged attacks - at least the casters can do something more useful than missing with their crossbows because they already cast both (!!!!) of their daily spells in the first 10 minutes we were in the dungeon.

IMO, and in the opinions of many other gamers, the short adventuring day is one of the paramount problems D&D has always faced, in all editions.

Heck, it was a cornerstone goal for the 4e designers to eliminate it at virtually all costs - they wouldn't do that, knowing in advance how many D&D fans would be turned away by their totally revamped game, unless they felt, and could back with hard evidence, that the short adventuring day was a huge problem for the game.

Paizo made great strides in eliminating some of this problem, and I love them for that.

In my opinion, imposing a condition/rule/mechanic on any player that robs them of irreplaceable resources is one of the worst things a DM can do to everyone at the table - himself included. How many DMs really cherish the 15 minutes spent retreating, scouting for a camp site, setting up watches, rolling various checks through the night, breaking camp, returning to the room we were in 15 minutes ago, etc.? A few times, maybe, but it gets old really fast.

As a DM, I would much rather see my players facing that clever trap I created in the next room, than facing their pillows somewhere outside the dungeon.

Losing a spell hurts not just the caster. It hurts him, and hurts all the PCs, and detracts from the fun that we all, even the DM, share at the game table.

This is why I argue so vehemently against any game mechanics that deplete resources unnecessarily.


1. Its psychological in that casters like to feel powerful, perhaps more than any other class. Most of them make trade-offs to be weenies who can't wear armor, don't get hit points, can't whack things with pointy sticks, they just get to cast spells. All those trade-offs are supposed to pay off in that glorious moment when their spells fires. And its not just their own expectations, their party is expecting big things from the casters too for providing all those tanking and healing and trapfinding services.

2. You have said that spells are the caster's expendable resource and compared that to hit points in the other classes. This is true to some limited extend, but within one adventuring day there are numerous ways to replenish hit points, but there are only maybe one or two very expensive ways to replenish spells (Pearls of Power come to mind). So when you knock out someone's highest level spell for the day, you're taking away their action for the round, and you're taking away a proportionally larger amount of their daily resources than you would for a fighter who was paralyzed for a round.

3. Depending on what form of spell failure you're talking about, there really are multiple jeopardies at work. Spells can fail due to missing on a ranged/melee touch attack, the target can pass its save, and Spell Resistance. Casters always fear this and do their best to mitigate this as much as they can. Adding an additional category of ways to fail that needs to be mitigated would certainly be cause for strong opinions.


I know my first post in this thread was really long.

Many people skip the long posts, so here is a short version:

Robbing a PC spellcaster of his resources is not just robbing him.

A cleric who loses healing spells is now less able to heal his party. A mage who loses attack spells is now less able to fight the next encounter. Etc.

The entire party suffers when any caster in the party loses spells.

It leads to early retreats from half-finished dungeons, and frequent camps, often only minutes after entering the dungeon.

It truly can cause a 15-minute adventuring day. Or a 2-hour adventuring day.

But always a shorter adventuring day than it otherwise would have been.

That isn't fun for the spellcasters who have to say "Hey guys, I'm out. We gotta leave.

That isn't fun for the rest of the players who want to kick down the next door but are, essentially, dragged out of the dungeon by the casters so that we don't all suffer a TPK.

That isn't fun for the DM, who really wants them to kick down that door and play the game, but insetad, has to arbitrate over another camp session.

Everyone loses.

Just write a mechanic so that nobody loses, and let's all have more fun.

Dang, that's about as short as I get...


Arbitus wrote:

1. Its psychological in that casters like to feel powerful, perhaps more than any other class. Most of them make trade-offs to be weenies who can't wear armor, don't get hit points, can't whack things with pointy sticks, they just get to cast spells. All those trade-offs are supposed to pay off in that glorious moment when their spells fires. And its not just their own expectations, their party is expecting big things from the casters too for providing all those tanking and healing and trapfinding services.

2. You have said that spells are the caster's expendable resource and compared that to hit points in the other classes. This is true to some limited extend, but within one adventuring day there are numerous ways to replenish hit points, but there are only maybe one or two very expensive ways to replenish spells (Pearls of Power come to mind). So when you knock out someone's highest level spell for the day, you're taking away their action for the round, and you're taking away a proportionally larger amount of their daily resources than you would for a fighter who was paralyzed for a round.

3. Depending on what form of spell failure you're talking about, there really are multiple jeopardies at work. Spells can fail due to missing on a ranged/melee touch attack, the target can pass its save, and Spell Resistance. Casters always fear this and do their best to mitigate this as much as they can. Adding an additional category of ways to fail that needs to be mitigated would certainly be cause for strong opinions.

1) All classes want to be heroes, not just casters, and not all casters are "weenies" who can't wear armor and have no hit points.

2) There is a flip side to that argument. You implicitly concede that a caster is more effective in any given round than a non-caster. Since casters are by that logic more powerful why shouldn't they have equivalently greater weaknesses?

3) That doesn't explain why Spell Loss is verboten but saving throws and Spell Resistance are acceptable.


DM_Blake wrote:
snip

Sadly I don't have time this evening to give you a full point by point. However, if you allow me, I will attempt to summarize why I disagree with the 15 minute adventuring day.

The core of the idea is fairly simple, spells are limited use per day because you are not supposed to be able to use them in every round of every encounter. By allowing the party to rest one the casters' schedule rather than the adventure's schedule you turn those limited resources into unlimited resources.

Further, those limits on spells per day are intended to balance the overall power of the caster so that they do not always outshine non-casters. If you remove that limit you break the game in favor of casting in such a way that non-casters are not required and are not as entertaining to play especially as you approach higher levels.

D&D was balanced around the idea of many encounters per rest cycle. If the DM forces his casters to expend their resources in a conservative manner, rather than just going nova, they force the casters to rely more heavily on the non-casting classes in the same way that non-casters rely on casters for buffs to be effective. This forces greater party cohesion and allows all classes an equal chance to shine leading to a better play experience for everyone.

I agree that losing a spell is a significant set back for a caster. I disagree that this is something to be avoided at all cost. If you assume, as the 3.x and hopefully Paizo designers did, that casters should not be casting their best spell each and every round it suddenly isn't such a hardship to occasionally and under specific circumstances allow for that spell to have a chance to fail and no longer be available for that day. The caster is then forced to evaluate other options and weigh the risks relative to the rewards of casting that spell which I think again makes for a better play experience.

A 15 minute adventuring day should only occur when the DM has poorly built their encounters. In a balanced game it should never be a concern as the casters will not be allowed to call a halt for the day and as such they will conserve their resources rather than going nova and making everyone else feel useless.

Scarab Sages

Easy solution is to make the spell fail, but not make it lost.

in 1e, when you lost spells your spells were more powerful, 20d6 fireball damage versus a dragon that had 130 hit points was HUGE...

a 20d6 fireball versus a dragon that has 700 hit points isn't so huge..

Spell casters have lost a lot of the power they once had, but they also won't be level 14 when the thief is level 20...

remember druids? leveling stopped at 14...and there was only one of them...

certain races were limited to 5th level in certain classes...ouch.

How far does the Spellflinger nerf have to go?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -

Personally, I like a skill based caster system. (But I'm not going to ask Paizo to change the core of D&D to accomodate my tastes.)

cast as many spells as you want, want to add a metamagic feat to the spell, cool, DC goes up...

It eliminates the 15 minute adventuring day completely.

(It does pose a problem with healing though, since a level 1 spell can heal the entire party between encounters...but that also eliminates the 15 minute adventuring day doesn't it...)

YPSMV!


Matt Rathbun wrote:
Arbitus wrote:
2. You have said that spells are the caster's expendable resource and compared that to hit points in the other classes. This is true to some limited extend, but within one adventuring day there are numerous ways to replenish hit points, but there are only maybe one or two very expensive ways to replenish spells (Pearls of Power come to mind). So when you knock out someone's highest level spell for the day, you're taking away their action for the round, and you're taking away a proportionally larger amount of their daily resources than you would for a fighter who was paralyzed for a round.
2) There is a flip side to that argument. You implicitly concede that a caster is more effective in any given round than a non-caster. Since casters are by that logic more powerful why shouldn't they have equivalently greater weaknesses?

He didn't implicitly concede any such thing.

His statement would be equally true if you made a new class, call it Junior Warlock, and give them only one spell that they can cast a few times per day - this spell only does exactly 1 HP of damage.

Such an imaginary class would be hugely weaker than any non-caster.

Despite that, robbing a Junior Warlock of one or more of his daily uses of his pathetic little 1 HP spell sill robs him of a large amount of his (puny) daily resources.

While robbing a fighter of a chance to swing his sword for a 1d8 HP still doesn't prevent him from swinging that sword a thousand more times today, for a 1d8 HP every time.


DM_Blake wrote:

He didn't implicitly concede any such thing.

His statement would be equally true if you made a new class, call it Junior Warlock, and give them only one spell that they can cast a few times per day - this spell only does exactly 1 HP of damage.

Such an imaginary class would be hugely weaker than any non-caster.

Despite that, robbing a Junior Warlock of one or more of his daily uses of his pathetic little 1 HP spell sill robs him of a large amount of his (puny) daily resources.

While robbing a fighter of a chance to swing his sword for a 1d8 HP still doesn't prevent him from swinging that sword a thousand more times today, for a 1d8 HP every time.

His post was referencing PfRPG casters, classes theoretically balanced against non-casters, not some straw person clearly under-balanced class.

The implication of a lost spell being a greater loss than a round of paralyzation for a fighter - as an aside is flawed because it compares a consumable resource to an unlimited resource; swings per day is not fighter's consumable resource, hit points, potions, etc are consumable and as such puts us in an apples vs oranges situation - necessarily implies that a spell is worth more than a full round of actions by a fighter which then results in the conclusion that round for round casters are more powerful than non-casters.

Note: I believe this is correct. If you allow casters to cast their best spells each round they will in fact outshine non-casters. In any given round a caster can always outshine a non-caster, however, if you allow enough rounds per day for the non-caster to leverage their unlimited damage resources and greater durability you can bring all of the classes back into parity over the course of the entire adventuring day. Non-casters are built for endurance. Casters are built for bursts. This only becomes a problem when the DM limits the length of the adventuring day to the length of the caster's ability to burst and/or doesn't encourage the caster to conserve their bursts so that they can last the entire day.


I just don't like the mechanic.

Why have a percentage mechanic with 5% partitions on a d100 in a system called "the d20 system"?

Why not just roll a d20 if it is statistically the same?

Oh wait, a Concentration roll!


Matt Rathbun wrote:


1) All classes want to be heroes, not just casters, and not all casters are "weenies" who can't wear armor and have no hit points.

2) There is a flip side to that argument. You implicitly concede that a caster is more effective in any given round than a non-caster. Since casters are by that logic more powerful why shouldn't they have equivalently greater weaknesses?

3) That doesn't explain why Spell Loss is verboten but saving throws and Spell Resistance are...

1. I didn't say all, I said most, but all casters do make trade offs in other powers to receive their casting abilities.

Your question was "Why are some people opposed to this?" and I answered. You can't deny that they're against it because inventing new ways to fail isn't very heroic. Sure everyone wants to be heroic, but we're not talking about everyone in this thread, this is why casters don't like you. ;)

2. I will now explicitly concede that a caster at a certain point gains the ability to be more powerful than her counterparts for up to a few rounds a day. Once they run out of their few top spells, then they are average for a while, and when reduced to their low level or at-will abilities, they are significantly underpowered.

I think generally the caster's optimal role is to be a balancing force. When faced with a great threat, you bring out your biggest abilities to try and even the odds. Most other archetypes apply their abilities more or less on a constant level, so reducing their chance to hit maybe linearly reduces their damage output by an average of 10% per -2 (numbers utterly fictional), but when you put in a caster level check you're potentially dropping it a lot more just when the casters are needed the most to even out that big fight. That could take the form of the caster dropping to zero effectiveness for that round, or dropping to 50% as they use lesser spell levels.

3. It isn't inherently different, its a mechanic for the same thing. I think its a less fun mechanic because there's less theater around it generally speaking, but the biggest problem I think is that its an ADDITIONAL way. If you said something like, ok I'm designing a game from scratch, it will be similar to D&D in many ways, but I'm doing away with Spell Resistance and instead some monsters will make you afraid and you lose your spells if you can't make a caster level check of some sort, then people might be more receptive to the overall balance of it.


toyrobots wrote:

I just don't like the mechanic.

Why have a percentage mechanic with 5% partitions on a d100 in a system called "the d20 system"?

Why not just roll a d20 if it is statistically the same?

Oh wait, a Concentration roll!

This thread was not intended to discuss only the % based chance but rather any mechanic that causes a spell to be lost like a failed concentration check. In general, there seems to be a large backlash against any suggestion for a condition to cause a spell to be lost be that through a % chance or requiring a concentration check.


Matt Rathbun wrote:


The implication of a lost spell being a greater loss than a round of paralyzation for a fighter - as an aside is flawed because it compares a consumable resource to an unlimited resource; swings per day is not fighter's consumable resource, hit points, potions, etc are consumable and as such puts us in an apples vs oranges situation - necessarily implies that a spell is worth more than a full round of actions by a fighter which then results in the conclusion that round for round casters are more powerful than non-casters.

Note: I believe this is correct. If you allow casters to cast their best spells each round they will in fact outshine non-casters. In any given round a caster can always outshine a non-caster, however, if you allow enough rounds per day for the non-caster to leverage their unlimited damage resources and greater durability you can bring all of the classes back into parity over the course of the entire adventuring day. Non-casters are built for endurance. Casters are built for bursts. This only becomes a problem when the DM limits the length of the adventuring day to the length of the caster's ability to burst and/or doesn't encourage the caster to conserve their...

But this is exactly what we have to compare.

And I agree that spells allow the caster to "burst" out on occasion which is what they should do (it's magic!) but this is my precise reason for not wanting to see spells lost to no effect very often, and I want to see it be based primarily on choices the player makes specifically.

Being Feared is not a choice, hence why everyone gets a save throw. To then take all the same penalties, on the reduced starting point spell casters already have, and add something else specific to casters on top of that that takes away their ability to 'burst' means you are not only punishing them for failing (just like anyone else) but also for daring to be use dependent.

If they lose the action, ok. That happens in the same basic effect on everyone, however everyone doesn't lose a basic class feature in losing that action too. Also including the multiple ways spells can already fail on top of that and it starts to look like a simple beat down on spell casters.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
This thread was not intended to discuss only the % based chance but rather any mechanic that causes a spell to be lost like a failed concentration check. In general, there seems to be a large backlash against any suggestion for a condition to cause a spell to be lost be that through a % chance or requiring a concentration check.

I'm going to hazard a guess that it comes from the impression that class abilities are being removed arbitrarily.

Note that I am not saying I agree with this perception.


Arbitus wrote:
You can't deny that they're against it because inventing new ways to fail isn't very heroic.

I consider overcoming ways to fail to be the essence of heroism.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
toyrobots wrote:

I just don't like the mechanic.

Why have a percentage mechanic with 5% partitions on a d100 in a system called "the d20 system"?

Why not just roll a d20 if it is statistically the same?

Oh wait, a Concentration roll!

This thread was not intended to discuss only the % based chance but rather any mechanic that causes a spell to be lost like a failed concentration check. In general, there seems to be a large backlash against any suggestion for a condition to cause a spell to be lost be that through a % chance or requiring a concentration check.

Oh.

Yeah, okay, I'm with you. That's bull. It's a part of the game since forever, and in the game's metaphysics with respect to spellcasting it makes perfect sense.

Liberty's Edge

What bothers me about it is that there are so many other ways for a caster's effect to be diluted. You don't get a save to take half damage from a melee attack, or to avoid it entirely, but you do for most of the higher-end spells. Caster's base attack is so low that there's a reasonable enough chance that they'll miss with a spell attack that ISN'T area-effect or magic missile as well. Damage resistance has to be pretty impressive for it to block ALL of a fighter's damage in a round, but Spell Resistance ALWAYS has a chance to do the same for a wizard's spell. A fighter-type doesn't have a chance of losing their action when they are badly damaged by an attack either, which, by the way, would make pretty decent sense from a real-world perspective as well.

It basically takrs an entire class and makes it so much harder for it to accomplish the very basics of what makes the class special than it does for any other class to make the actions that make IT special.

Yeah, Magic's powerful... if it weren't, the smart adventurers would all go Rogue for the skill points. But it truly doesn't need quite the level of limitation in combat that it takes from the Attack of Opportunity provoking and chance of losing a spell in combat if you're hit that it does take to be truly balanced. (Either ONE of those things would work OK, but not BOTH. Personally, I never got the attack of opportunity bit myself, if you can talk in combat and not take one.)


Stark Enterprises VP wrote:


But it truly doesn't need quite the level of limitation in combat that it takes from the Attack of Opportunity provoking and chance of losing a spell in combat if you're hit that it does take to be truly balanced. (Either ONE of those things would work OK, but not BOTH. Personally, I never got the attack of opportunity bit myself, if you can talk in combat and not take one.)

Don't ask yourself what would happen if you managed to cast a Quickened, Eschewed, Still spell with no Verbal component in combat. You might not like the answer.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
The core of the idea is fairly simple, spells are limited use per day because you are not supposed to be able to use them in every round of every encounter.

Agreed.

But, remember, when the spellcaster says "hey, this encounter looks easy, I'll just sit back here and waste my crossbow bolts" it's very much the same thing as the guy on the sports team sitting on the sideline watching his teammates play the game .

Spellcasters accept that this will happen, and they know they can't blast all day long, or heal all day long, etc., and they try to manage their resources to use the right spells in the right encounters to maximize their effeciency, and the rest of the time they sit on the sidelines and watch.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
By allowing the party to rest on the casters' schedule rather than the adventure's schedule you turn those limited resources into unlimited resources.

Quite true.

If the DM allows the party to fight one encounter, rest, fight one encounter, rest, etc., their casters are always fully ready for every encounter.

And if the PC casters know in advance that this is the plan, they won't hold back. They won't reserve anything for a second encounter because there won't be a second encounter this day.

In that case, their spells would be truly unlimited, unless their one daily fight lasts so long that the casters run out of spells before it's over.

But I really don't think many DMs play that way at all. I've never met one or heard of one.

And I've never read a published adventure that relies on this model either - certainly not with player foreknowledge that any particular encounter is their last one of the day.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Further, those limits on spells per day are intended to balance the overall power of the caster so that they do not always outshine non-casters.

Agreed.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
If you remove that limit you break the game in favor of casting in such a way that non-casters are not required and are not as entertaining to play especially as you approach higher levels.

Agreed.

But I don't think anyone is suggesting to remove that limit.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
D&D was balanced around the idea of many encounters per rest cycle. If the DM forces his casters to expend their resources in a conservative manner, rather than just going nova, they force the casters to rely more heavily on the non-casting classes in the same way that non-casters rely on casters for buffs to be effective. This forces greater party cohesion and allows all classes an equal chance to shine leading to a better play experience for everyone.

I totally agree with all of this.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
I agree that losing a spell is a significant set back for a caster.

Thank you for conceding that point.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
I disagree that this is something to be avoided at all cost.

Not quite "at all cost."

Matt Rathbun wrote:
If you assume, as the 3.x and hopefully Paizo designers did, that casters should not be casting their best spell each and every round

Obviously nobody at WotC or Paizo is assuming this.

Nor am I.

Nor is anyone I know of.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
it suddenly isn't such a hardship to occasionally and under specific circumstances allow for that spell to have a chance to fail and no longer be available for that day. The caster is then forced to evaluate other options and weigh the risks relative to the rewards of casting that spell which I think again makes for a better play experience.

Which results in the caster's options being more limited than they would be if he still had the spell.

Which results in more time on the sidelines watching his teammates play.

Which results in the caster speaking up sooner and saying, "Hey guys, we gotta go camp, I'm out of spells."

Matt Rathbun wrote:
A 15 minute adventuring day should only occur when the DM has poorly built their encounters.

Maybe.

Imagine a perfectly built dungeon. This will be long, but hopefull illustrative:

Spoiler:

It has 8 encounters, laid out so there are 3 mook-ish encounters and then a miniboss, followed by a good chance to rest, then 3 more mook-ish encounters followed by the final boss.

That fits the 3.x model, right? 4 encounters per day, then a rest, then 4 more encounters the next day.

At 9 AM the PCs enter the dungeon.

Day 1, encounter 1, 9:05 AM: All goes well. PCs win, casters use about 1/4 of their resources, as expected.

Day 1, encounter 2, 9:20 AM: All goes fairly well, but due a couple bad d20 rolls, the cleric wasted a couple spells, which dragged out the fight one extra round, and the fighter took a big hit in that extra round. The cleric healed everyone up, but he really used up about 1/2 of his total daily resources.

Day 1, encounter 3, 9:45 AM: All goes well. PCs win, casters use about 1/4 of their resources, as expected.

But now the cleric is out of spells. The rogue scouts ahead, stealthily, and reports back that the next room has a huge fight (it's the miniboss encounter) and he can't find a way around it. The group decides to withdraw and replenish resources.

At 10 AM they leave and go camp for 23 whole hours.

Now is the time that a DM who plays his monsters intelligently might just have that miniboss figure out that adventurers have invaded. Maybe they go looking for them, in force, and raid the PCs camp - before the PCs get any spells back - but this would be a TPK. Maybe they just get reinforcements from those remaining 3 mook encounters and have them ready to reinforce if the adventurers come back. But that would be a TPK too (fighting the miniboss AND 3 regular encounters simultaneously).

Maybe they just reinforce a little bit, to "punish" the PCs for retreating, so the DM adds a couple mooks to the miniboss encounter.

Day 2, encounter 1, 9 AM: The miniboss, marginally reinforced. This fight is tough. Some characters go unconscious or nearly unconcsious and the cleric manages to save them all valiantly. It was originally designed to deplete the final 1/4 of the party's spell resources, but with the totally justifyable reinforcements, that number rises to 1/3, and for the cleric, it's more like 1/2.

Day 2, encounter 2, 9:30 AM: A fairly easy fight, but one lucky crit by a mook nearly killed the fighter, so the cleric used up over 1/4 of his resources. Hey, it happens sometimes. Now he has less than 1/4 of his daily resources left.

The party debates leaving for the day to restore their cleric - another unlucky critical like that and someone may die. The DM decides things for them and the next mook encounter bursts in, drawn by the sound of combat.

Day 2, encounter 3, 9:32 AM: The PCs make it, but the cleric is totally drained. He started this fight with less than 1/4 of his spells remaining, and the PCs were taken by surprise. The mage correctly realized that this one would be close, so he went nova, pulling out the big guns to make sure they survived, and now he is also out of spells, or very close to it.

At 9:35 AM the party withdraws.

Day 3, encounter 1, 9 AM. The party returns to face the boss, fully restored. The DM never planned on them being fully restored at this point, and realizes, correctly, that the boss fight is about to be trivial, so he modifies it on the fly to make it harder - he combines the final group of mooks and the boss into one big ugly fight.

The DM has to think this out very carefully - too much and the fight is a potential TPK, but not enough and the fight is boring.

It turns out to be a good fight, and the PCs win.

Day 3 ends at 9:10 AM.

In this example, there is only one, just one, time when I suggested that any caster lose any spells. And yet that one time, one instance when a caster loses a couple spells, has the following ripple effect:

1. The PCs need 3 days to finish the dungeon instead of two - what if this scenario had that final boss destroying the world, or opening a portal for Orcus (or Lamashtu), or some other horrible thing, at the end of the second day?.

2. The DM has to make modifications on the fly. A good DM can do this, but new DMs or inexperienced DMs may not be able to, so why create a game mechanic that forces it to happen unnecessarily?

3. Depending on how camping is handled, lots of extra real time might have been wasted camping twice instead of only once. Marching, finding the site, setting camp, building a fire, setting watches, rolling random encounters, etc. Or not. Many groups like this, but it really amounts to wasted time if it is done unnecessarily.

4. The PCs have to retreat twice. Heroes don't retreat! A couple unfortunate rolls resulted in losing a couple spells, and suddenly the PCs are 2x as unheroic as they would have been otherwise.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
In a balanced game it should never be a concern as the casters will not be allowed to call a halt for the day

Why not? If they are out of spells, for any reason, why can't they call a halt for the day?

Matt Rathbun wrote:
and as such they will conserve their resources

They conserve resources anyway.

This whole thread is about forcefully taking resources away from them no matter how much they conserve them isn't it?

Matt Rathbun wrote:
rather than going nova and making everyone else feel useless.

I never see good players "going nova and making everyone else feel useless".

Not once.

I see new players do it, and I show them the error of their ways, with them feeling helpless for a while while, in just this case, I don't let them call a halt.

****************************************************************

Summary:

By your final paragraph, I think I get a glimpse at what you perceive is the flaw here.

You perceive that the only reason for a shortened adventuring day is bad players "going nova" and bad DMs letting them get away with it.

Am I right?

Sure, that happens, but that's far far from the only reason for shortened adventuring days.

I think my example of that group in their 3-day dungeon romp shows another way. And nowhere in there did I even suggest going nova except at the end of day 2 when the only caster with remaining resources felt it was necessary to survive.

Time and time again I give my players multiple balanced encounters in a single adventuring day.

And time and time again I see them fumble, or monsters crit, or they blow a bunch of saves, or whatever, and suddenly a generic encounter turns deadly. Resources are expended because they have to be expended, not because the players "go nova and make everyone else feel useless".

This always shortens adventuring days when it happens.

My whole point is, any game mechanic that deliberately and forcefully depletes the party's resources will also shorten the adventuring day.

And that can't even be blamed on bad players "going nova and making everyone else feel useless" because, if a monster inflicts a mechanic that depletes party resources, then no player did anything wrong at all - the DM did.

No need to set us DMs up to fail our players and ruin the fun.


DM_Blake wrote:
Long post

Casters can do lots of things other than fire a cross-bow and still be useful; especially in PfRPG. Remember, the game is balanced with the assumption that the caster will in fact not being casting, or at least not casting their best spells, every round. Also, limiting spells per day helps to encourage economical spell selections.

If as a DM you allow the party to adventure for 15 minutes, expend all of their resources and then go rest at their discretion you are allowing the casters to play as if their resources are in fact unlimited. (Note: I am using "you" here as a generic, not as a specific reference to anyone posting on these boards.)

You remove the limit on casters' resources by allowing them to rest at will. I was never suggesting that anyone else was suggesting a de jur change to the rules to allow unlimited casting. I am saying that allowing casters to dictate rest cycles is a de facto grant of unlimited resources.

If casters are not reliant on spells to be effective in each round, ie they develop other strategies that help them to conserve their spells, then the loss of a spell is not a significant hardship as the caster has learned how to be successful despite this loss.

Was your dungeon built using PfRPG rules? PfRPG gives caster a lot of additional options and extra healing to get through this encounter. Also, if encounters are consistently exhausting excess resources then they are poorly built encounters.

The DM and not the players should set the pace for the day. If you allow casters to call for rests whenever they want then you begin to slide toward the perpetual nova.

Spell Loss is not a forceful taking of resources. The caster could choose another action or could optimize themselves to avoid the loss. My point with the 15 minute adventuring day is if you for casters to rely on more than just their spell slots then the loss of any one spell is not insurmountable. The loss of a spell is only inconceivable when the DM and the players decide spells are the only way for the caster to have fun or be effective.

You are correct. My argument against the 15 minute adventuring day is predicated on the assumption that many DMs who subscribe to this philosophy coddle casters at the expense of non-casting classes. I participated in similar arguments about the relative power of Psionics and Magic back on the old WizO 3.5 Psionics Messageboards. It turned out that all the proponents of the Psonics is overpowered philosophy were running single encounters per day during the Psionicist, a spell points caster, into a nova monster. Based on those experiences combined with a lot of posts on these forums I am under the impression that most DMs do not follow the encounter guidelines. DM_Blake, you example is the first one of I have seen where someone actually planned to play with the suggested four encounters per day.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Matt Rathbun wrote:


The implication of a lost spell being a greater loss than a round of paralyzation for a fighter - as an aside is flawed because it compares a consumable resource to an unlimited resource; swings per day is not fighter's consumable resource, hit points, potions, etc are consumable and as such puts us in an apples vs oranges situation - necessarily implies that a spell is worth more than a full round of actions by a fighter which then results in the conclusion that round for round casters are more powerful than non-casters.

Note: I believe this is correct. If you allow casters to cast their best spells each round they will in fact outshine non-casters. In any given round a caster can always outshine a non-caster, however, if you allow enough rounds per day for the non-caster to leverage their unlimited damage resources and greater durability you can bring all of the classes back into parity over the course of the entire adventuring day. Non-casters are built for endurance. Casters are built for bursts. This only becomes a problem when the DM limits the length of the adventuring day to the length of the caster's ability to burst and/or doesn't encourage the caster to conserve their...

But this is exactly what we have to compare.

And I agree that spells allow the caster to "burst" out on occasion which is what they should do (it's magic!) but this is my precise reason for not wanting to see spells lost to no effect very often, and I want to see it be based primarily on choices the player makes specifically.

Being Feared is not a choice, hence why everyone gets a save throw. To then take all the same penalties, on the reduced starting point spell casters already have, and add something else specific to casters on top of that that takes away their ability to 'burst' means you are not only punishing them for failing (just like anyone else) but also for daring to be use dependent.

If they lose the action, ok. That happens in the same basic effect on everyone, however...

Nothing in this thread is about fear having an effect on casting...


Ok in general then. If they give up so much else just to be able to burst at times (of their choosing generally) then they should be allowed those times to burst. To take away their ability to burst would be akin to giving the fighter a normal sword then only sending incorporeal undead at him, or only letting the rogue fight oozes. You are denying the class its core ability and therefore rendering the class moot.

Now if the player chooses to put himself in a position where he might lose a spell and he knows this and does it anyways that's one thing. If someone else can put the player in a position where he needs to make a check or lose the spell, or suffer an attack that might cost him the spell (i.e. casting defensively) then he should have some options on improving that check, but that's still in the range I could be comfortable with.

I'm not seeing where you are coming in with this idea that "Applying spell chance failure is unacceptable to the community."

Everyone has said that in cases spell failure is acceptable, and those places are primarily in armor or casting defensively.

In short where are you going to add it in then? It's already there and already accepted.

I'm starting to thing you are running on a fallacy here.

Dark Archive

So we've got two options here.

1) Balance the spellcaster vs. the non-spellcaster by having the spellcaster be all whiz-bang for a few rounds a day, and then limp as overcooked spaghetti after that, while the non-spellcaster can unleash his Power Attack-backed Great Cleaves, or +Xd6 Sneak Attacks a hundred times a day. That's the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition AD&D/D&D option.

2) Balance the spellcaster vs. the nonspellcaster by having each of them do the same damage every round, so that neither of them can outshine or obsolesce the other, and declare that the swordsman is doing it via his Martial source and the wizard is doing it via her Arcane source. And that's the solution that 4E picked.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Set wrote:
Good stuff.

I'll take option #1; it feels more like the D&D I've been playing since 1985.

That aside, I agree with Matt here. There's also some economy of actions in play here. All things being equal, the Wizard's "best attack" in any given round is a standard action (sometime a free action when he has a quickened spell, more rarely a full-round action such as a summon). He's left with a move action. On the other hand, the Fighter's "best attack" is almost always a full-round action (before the advent of Vital Strike, assuming it still exists in it's Beta form).

Besides, casters aren't useless when their prepared spells are gone: that's why they're supposed to carry wands and scrolls.

-Skeld

Liberty's Edge

About the wand/scroll comments... it certainly can be argued that being dependent on magic items to accomplish something that is basically a class feature makes the class worth less overall, since a Rogue with Use Magical Device then becomes just as good as the Wizard about 20% of the time. (Note: percentages are completely pulled out of ol' Presto's hat here for sake of hyperbole.) It's sort of like the deal back in 2nd Edition where, no matter how good a fighter you were, if you didn't have the right items to fight a werewolf, you were totally up the creek. If that's worth changing, then this probably should be too.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
Casters can do lots of things other than fire a cross-bow and still be useful;

Not really. Arcane casters are almost completely one-trick ponies. They either cast a spell to be useful, or they are not useful.

Divine casters have more to offer. Better BAB, armor, and weapon selection means they are a bit more effective in melee than arcane casters, but it is generally far less effective than they are when they cast spells instead (they can, at least, buff themselves with a few spells and greatly enhance their melee effectiveness - but that still requires spellcasting to achieve).

Matt Rathbun wrote:
especially in PfRPG.

This is true.

Pathfinder has given many casters more to do.

But it also seems, though we don't yet know all, that some of what hath been given (in Beta) will be taken away (in Core).

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Remember, the game is balanced with the assumption that the caster will in fact not being casting, or at least not casting their best spells, every round. Also, limiting spells per day helps to encourage economical spell selections.

I agree with both points, and said so before.

Casters should not cast every round.

But the guys who wrote the d20 DMG already said that monster CRs and ECLs are balanced assuming that a party will fight 4 encounters per day, and that doing so will deplete their resources so much that a 5th encounter would be a very real threat of defeating the party.

That means that casters are expected to cast 1/4 of their resources in every "balanced" battle.

If they "conserve" more than that (by relying exclusively on their crossbow and not casting their spells, or only casting very few), then they are making each encounter extra challenging - the downside is that the encounters become longer (let's face it, a level 1 wizard with a crossbow might need 20 rounds to kill 4 orcs, but a sleep spell will get them in 1 round) so the monsters do more damage and deplete HP resources instead (the cleric only has so many heals, and the backpacks only have so many potions).

If they "conserve" less than that (going nova, for example), then they are making each encounter less challenging - the downside is the casters run out of spells too fast and don't finish their quota of 4 daily encounters.

No, I don't metagame it down to the exact spell count. I cast some spells and reserve some spells for later, and try to be reasonable about it. I stop casting when the encounter seems to have reached a stage where we can win fairly easily.

As a DM, I often discourage my inexperienced players who want to magic missle the last orc when he has 4 party members all flanking the orc ready to kill him easily - I teach them why that's a bad idea.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
If as a DM you allow the party to adventure for 15 minutes, expend all of their resources and then go rest at their discretion you are allowing the casters to play as if their resources are in fact unlimited. (Note: I am using "you" here as a generic, not as a specific reference to anyone posting on these boards.)

You do know that "15-minute adventuring day" is just a term, right? It's almost never 15 minutes.

But it is almost always short, at least in areas crowded with enemies, like dungeons.

As a DM, I give them fair and balanced encounters. I encourage them to conserve spells when it's wise to do so - I even outright say it to the casters "Hey, Bill, this fight is almost over. Save that fireball and let your fighters kill the last two ogres."

Sometimes, especially in dungeons, those 4 encounters are all close together, just minutes apart. Each one only lasts a minute or so (sometimes not even half a minute).

All together, in a dungeon, fighting 4 encounters in under an hour (in-game time) is very easy to do.

*************************** Hey, wait a minute ********************************

Could it be that you think the term "15-minute adventuring day" refers to our REAL time? Our minutes as we sit around the game table?

Boy, if so, that would sure clear up my confusion on why you are so down on DMs allowing 15-minute game days. I would totally agree with you if my spellcasters were blowing all their spells in 15 minutes of REAL time!

*************************************************************************** ****

In any case, once their spells are gone, what else is a DM supposed to do?

"No, you cannot rest. You must go on to fight the Tarrasque in the next room with only your daggers and maces. Good luck!"

Matt Rathbun wrote:
You remove the limit on casters' resources by allowing them to rest at will.

At will?

I've already said I don't do that.

If the players have been careless or have deliberately squandered their own resources, I have no trouble at all interfering with their resting/camping plans.

But if they've done their job, conserved resources, fought the battles I have provided, then yeah, I let them rest when they need to.

I am not sufficiently Machiavellian to force them into a TPK encounter when they've done nothing wrong.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
I was never suggesting that anyone else was suggesting a de jur change to the rules to allow unlimited casting. I am saying that allowing casters to dictate rest cycles is a de facto grant of unlimited resources.

So, tell me your secret.

You players are adventuring along. They are being responsible, using their resources very wisely, and making no mistakes. Not going Nova - far from it.

But now the casters are burned up. Out of spells. Everyone's HP are falling because the healer can't heal them anymore.

But they are only halfway through the dungeon - hey, it has 8 encounters in it - nobody is expecting a normal party to handle 8 level-appropriate encounters in one day, right?

So now what?

What's your secret?

The casters say "Hey, another encounter like the last one will kill us for sure. We need to withdraw and rest."

But you say "No, I am the DM - I dictate when you rest, not you!"

So, do you march them into the next encounter and watch them die?

Or do you tone down the last 4 encounters so they can be defeated by girl scouts with crossbows?

Or do you let them go rest, despite the fact that doing so flies against your mantra of not letting the casters dictate when they can rest?

Matt Rathbun wrote:
If casters are not reliant on spells to be effective in each round,

Nobody is saying they are.

Not every round.

Certainly I am not.

Actually, I think only you are saying this - do you really believe that we believe such a silly thing?

Matt Rathbun wrote:
ie they develop other strategies that help them to conserve their spells, then the loss of a spell is not a significant hardship as the caster has learned how to be successful despite this loss.

But you're forgetting that the encounters are balanced for casters to use 1/4 of their spells in each encounter.

The d20 designers said so.

So if you force them to use less than 1/4 of their spells, then you're forcing them to play against the rules that the game was designed for them to use.

You're forcing them to under-utilize their primary, and for arcane casters, only class ability that matters in an encounter.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Was your dungeon built using PfRPG rules? PfRPG gives caster a lot of additional options and extra healing to get through this encounter.

Of course not.

Neither of us really has enough knowledge of the Pathfinder game to make assumptions about encounter design in a game not released yet.

I used d20 guidelines found in the 3.5 DMG.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Also, if encounters are consistently exhausting excess resources then they are poorly built encounters.

True!!!

Ding! Ding! Ding!

The 3.5 DMG says the right amount is 1/4 of the resources each fight. It goes on to say this can be fluid, so one fight might take 1/2, but then the DM should make the other fights that day easier, so they each only consume 1/6 instead of 1/4. There's quite a bit of detail in there.

And what you said is completely true. I'll repeat it: if encounters are consistently exhausting excess resources then they are poorly built encounters.

I bolded the key part: excess resources.

I would emphatically declare that any game mechanic that forcefully removes a player's resources qualifies as "exhausting excess resources".

Unless, somehow, the DM has reduced the ECL of the encounter to plan ahead for the resource depletion - but that is very hard to do. Surely the encounters in published materials are not built this way, and that goes 100x more true when we're discussing creating houserules to deplete resources in ways those publishers never imagined we would.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
The DM and not the players should set the pace for the day.

Agreed.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
If you allow casters to call for rests whenever they want then you begin to slide toward the perpetual nova.

Only if your players are going nova.

If they're playing the game the way it is intended (managing resources to handle 4 level-appropriate encounters per day), then they are playing exactly right, and so is their DM.

So DMs shouldn't come along and yank away the resources that they are tying to manage - it makes it impossible for them to manage their resources if we do.

And don't say "they should already know tactics to contribute without their spells in the next encounter" because that encounter was designed for them to use 1/4 of their spells, but now they can't because the DM yanked some spells away from them.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
Spell Loss is not a forceful taking of resources.

Sure it is.

DM: "You lose your spell"
Player: "I don't want to lose my spell."
DM: "Tough. You lose it anyway. The rule says so."

Doesn't get much more forceful than that.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
The caster could choose another action

The encounter is designed for them to use 1/4 of their spells and yet their DM took some spells away, so now they must choose another action, which makes them weak in this encounter.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
or could optimize themselves to avoid the loss.

Maybe.

But this thread started in response to a proposed houserule to have Fear cause spell loss.

How many other ways are there to lose spells?

How many other houserules are floating around out there, in the millions of gaming tables, that have more housrules to lose spells?

How can any spellcaster optimize himself for all of that?

The very word "optimize" means quite the opposite of "generalize".

Matt Rathbun wrote:
My point with the 15 minute adventuring day is if you for casters to rely on more than just their spell slots then the loss of any one spell is not insurmountable.

You are right. A caster with 40 spells spread across 8 levels won't miss one. Or two.

But what about a 3rd level caster who has 4 spells?

He is supposed to use 1/4 of them in each fight. That's one spell per fight.

Once he loses one or two spells due to fear, or anything else, then that means one or two fights today that he will use ZERO spells - despite the fact that the game is designed, and level-appropriate encounters are designed, with the expectation that he will use a spell in those encounters.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
The loss of a spell is only inconceivable when the DM and the players decide spells are the only way for the caster to have fun or be effective.

The guys who made the game balanced it this way.

Spells really are the only thing that makes arcane casters effective, and divine casters with no spells are not effective either, though they are a bit more effective than arcane casters.

For most players, bouncing harmless crossbow bolts off of monsters is not fun. Not when they have, or could have, magic missile, sleep, prismatic spray, or whatever - but they don't have it because the DM took it away.

It's also not fun watching a normal encounter be extra hard because you (generic "you") are not doing your job. If your a caster, and you're not casting, and the encounter goes from typical to very challenging because of yoru inability to cast, then you and everyone else at the table know that you didn't do your share.

In that case, if you're the guy who went nova last fight and now you're out of spells, then it's your fault.

But if you're out of spells because the DM took them away, then it's the DM's fault.

Matt Rathbun wrote:
You are correct. My argument against the 15 minute adventuring day is predicated on the assumption that many DMs who subscribe to this philosophy coddle casters at the expense of non-casting classes.

Well, now that I've submitted rationale for why enforced spell loss is detrimental to the casters, the rest of the players, and even the DM, without this situation being the reason, where do we stand?

Matt Rathbun wrote:

I participated in similar arguments about the relative power of Psionics and Magic back on the old WizO 3.5 Psionics Messageboards. It turned out that all the proponents of the Psonics is overpowered philosophy were running single encounters per day during the Psionicist, a spell points caster, into a nova monster. Based on those experiences combined with a lot of posts on these forums I am under the impression that most DMs do not follow the encounter guidelines. DM_Blake, you example is the first one of I have seen where someone actually planned to play with the suggested four encounters per day.

Thanks for the props.

Now that we're seeing eye-to-eye on encounter design, are we also seeing eye-to-eye on how robbing casters of their resources limits their effectiveness in their remaining encounters?


Skeld wrote:
I agree with Matt here. There's also some economy of actions in play here. All things being equal, the Wizard's "best attack" in any given round is a standard action (sometime a free action when he has a quickened spell, more rarely a full-round action such as a summon). He's left with a move action. On the other hand, the Fighter's "best attack" is almost always a full-round action (before the advent of Vital Strike, assuming it still exists in it's Beta form).

But it's rare that a caster will use his best action every round.

Encounter design is not created for a caster to unleash his best action every round - he will run out of spells long before his adventuring day should be over.

So, many rounds, he is reduced to firing that ineffective crossbow bolt which, after level 3 or 4, more or less, is about as useful in an encounter as sneezing on the enemies.

But the melee guys are still going strong, doing their best stuff.

Even if there are only a couple encounters today, and the casters can feel free to unleash the beast, nobody has more than a couple of their "best actions" - that would be their highest level of spells. Then a few more "second best actions" and a few more "third best actions".

By the time an 18th level mage is down to using Burning Hands on the Balor, the whole party is in trouble...

But, after the casters burn up their "best actions" and "second best actions", which for most, is just 5-6 rounds, all the rest of the rounds of combat they face that day will be using really weak stuff.

But those melee guys are still dishing out their best stuff, round after round after round after round. 100 rounds a day if they have to. 1,000 rounds a day if they can.

Skeld wrote:
Besides, casters aren't useless when their prepared spells are gone: that's why they're supposed to carry wands and scrolls.

You're right. Often that's exactly what they do.

But that's also a limited resource.

Heck, in many campaigns that are "low-magic", those things may not exist at all.

Even in the "standard" campaigns, the mage gets a wand with 20 charges of magic missile and the fighter gets a +1 sword.

Guess which one of them uses up their magic item 20 rounds later? Oh, you can say he should "conserve" it - but does that mean he's back to firing his crossbow when he's conserving his daily spells and his wand? Doesn't that put him back to useless?

Guess which one still has his magic item for as long as he wants it, and then can ultimately sell it for a hefty chunk of change to go toward a down-payemnt on something else he wants?

No, consumable magic items resourcs are not all rosey, and still limit the casters.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stark Enterprises VP wrote:
...it certainly can be argued that being dependent on magic items to accomplish something that is basically a class feature makes the class worth less overall...

It can be argued, but that doesn't mean it's a good argument.

Wands and scrolls are a back-up plan, pure and simple. The Wizard carries them for the same reason the Greatsword Fighter carries a +1 cold iron dagger and a +1 shortbow: just in case.

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:
Stark Enterprises VP wrote:
...it certainly can be argued that being dependent on magic items to accomplish something that is basically a class feature makes the class worth less overall...

It can be argued, but that doesn't mean it's a good argument.

Wands and scrolls are a back-up plan, pure and simple. The Wizard carries them for the same reason the Greatsword Fighter carries a +1 cold iron dagger and a +1 shortbow: just in case.

-Skeld

True, but the fighter can probably use his dagger and shortbow thousands of times if he needs to. And when he is done with those, he can sell them or trade them for a pile of coin or a down payment on nicer items.

I bet the wizard can't use his wand or scroll thousands of times, and when he's done with them, he can't sell them for anything at all.


One additional side note that should be mentioned.

We talk a lot about what the casters do when they run out of spells.

Let's not forget what they do when they are saving spells for later.

It's entirely reasonable for a mage to wake up, prepare his spells, then walk into his first encounter of the day firing crossbow bolts right from round 1.

In fact, it might be a very good idea to do so, if this first encounter seems fairly easy, so he can save his spells for the next encounter.

He'll be fairly ineffective during this fight, but that might be OK if it really is an easy fight.

Interestingly, that first encounter might be the only encounter for the day, in which case, the mage goes to bed that night without ever casting a single spell because he "saved" them all.

So even a fully ready spellcaster may very well underutilize his primary class ability because he feels a strong need to save those limited resources for a harder fight.

But, you don't see the melee guys saving their best attacks for later fights.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Long post

Casters can do lots of things other than fire a cross-bow and still be useful; especially in PfRPG. Remember, the game is balanced with the assumption that the caster will in fact not being casting, or at least not casting their best spells, every round. Also, limiting spells per day helps to encourage economical spell selections.

If as a DM you allow the party to adventure for 15 minutes, expend all of their resources and then go rest at their discretion you are allowing the casters to play as if their resources are in fact unlimited. (Note: I am using "you" here as a generic, not as a specific reference to anyone posting on these boards.)

You remove the limit on casters' resources by allowing them to rest at will. I was never suggesting that anyone else was suggesting a de jur change to the rules to allow unlimited casting. I am saying that allowing casters to dictate rest cycles is a de facto grant of unlimited resources.

If casters are not reliant on spells to be effective in each round, ie they develop other strategies that help them to conserve their spells, then the loss of a spell is not a significant hardship as the caster has learned how to be successful despite this loss.

Was your dungeon built using PfRPG rules? PfRPG gives caster a lot of additional options and extra healing to get through this encounter. Also, if encounters are consistently exhausting excess resources then they are poorly built encounters.

The DM and not the players should set the pace for the day. If you allow casters to call for rests whenever they want then you begin to slide toward the perpetual nova.

Spell Loss is not a forceful taking of resources. The caster could choose another action or could optimize themselves to avoid the loss. My point with the 15 minute adventuring day is if you for casters to rely on more than just their spell slots then the loss of any one spell is not insurmountable. The loss of a spell is only inconceivable when the DM and the players decide...

Neither the DM nor the players should be deciding when to rest. The adventure sets its own pace. If the PC have a lucky dice day and roll through four encounters, no pun intended, why force them to rest if they still have the resources to continue? On the other end if the dice are against them, why try to force them to continue? Even if you had a party without casters you would have to rest/resupply in about the about the same period of time because most likely new healing supplies would have to be purchased. They may also have to return to town to buy items that would not be needed if they had an caster. Another thing is that by making casters lose spells the fights take longer, meaning more resources are spent on an encounter, which changes the 15 minute word day into a 10 minute work day. Your idea actually makes things worse. If you have an issue with casters overshadowing the party, due to powergaming that is not a system issue. It is a player issue.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:

So even a fully ready spellcaster may very well underutilize his primary class ability because he feels a strong need to save those limited resources for a harder fight.

But, you don't see the melee guys saving their best attacks for later fights.

That's kinda like basic game class design, isn't it? If my best action is twice as good as your best action, mine should be more limited than yours. Maybe that's uses/day or a harder check or one of the other standard methods available.

The balance point is a judgment call really. I think Jason and crew exercised their judgment and arrived at a different conclusion that you or I would have. They based their decision on their experiences and all the playtest feedback they've received. Without checking the threads, I seem to remember the majority of folks posting to the defensive casting threads were calling on Paizo to make it more difficult. The result shouldn't surprise anyone.

-Skeld


DM_Blake wrote:
Matt Rathbun wrote:
The core of the idea is fairly simple, spells are limited use per day because you are not supposed to be able to use them in every round of every encounter.

Agreed.

But, remember, when the spellcaster says "hey, this encounter looks easy, I'll just sit back here and waste my crossbow bolts" it's very much the same thing as the guy on the sports team sitting on the sideline watching his teammates play the game .

Spellcasters accept that this will happen, and they know they can't blast all day long, or heal all day long, etc., and they try to manage their resources to use the right spells in the right encounters to maximize their effeciency, and the rest of the time they sit on the sidelines and watch.

Let's also keep in mind that the "sideline" issue occurs with every class at times. Also, the crossbow tends to stay stowed away once owning magic items (wands and scrolls in particular) start to become the norm.


DM_Blake wrote:


But you say "No, I am the DM - I dictate when you rest, not you!"

So, do you march them into the next encounter and watch them die?

Or do you tone down the last 4 encounters so they can be defeated by girl scouts with crossbows?

Or do you let them go rest, despite the fact that doing so flies against your mantra of not letting the casters dictate when they can rest?

That's not what he meant and all, and I suspect you're not really interpreting it like that either. It's simply not letting the PCs rest without consequences for their actions. If they try to hole up and rest in the dungeon (or even take 20 every 5' to search for traps/hidden items), wandering monsters can harry them. If they leave the dungeon environs, the creatures within react to the incursion in the most appropriate manner. Maybe they try to track them back to camp to punish them. Maybe they fortify. Maybe they leave and take the treasure with them.

The 15 minute day is a problem when the DM allows the PCs to recover their most potent spells without consequence.

DM_Blake wrote:


But you're forgetting that the encounters are balanced for casters to use 1/4 of their spells in each encounter.

The d20 designers said so.

Actually, no they don't. Level appropriate encounters, according to page 49 of the DMG, take up about 20% of the party's resources. That should be about half the encounters they face. Another 20% should take up more. 30% should be expected to take up less.

That said, it's not necessarily 20% of every resource across the board. It could be spells, it could be hit points, it could be magic item charges, ammunition, whatever. It could even be concentrated on one party member since it's about 20% of the party's resources.

DM_Blake wrote:


Sure it is.

DM: "You lose your spell"
Player: "I don't want to lose my spell."
DM: "Tough. You lose it anyway. The rule says so."

Doesn't get much more forceful than that.

Yet that lost spell isn't even as significant as an expended charge in a wand since that charge is gone for good. That spell comes back tomorrow. It may be a bummer, tactically, to lose a spell, but truly it isn't that big a deal, no bigger than the barbarian raging only to have the rogue take down the opponent with a lucky critical + sneak attack before he can attack.

DM_Blake wrote:


For most players, bouncing harmless crossbow bolts off of monsters is not fun. Not when they have, or could have, magic missile, sleep, prismatic spray, or whatever - but they don't have it because the DM took it away.

You seem to have a real thing about spell loss = DM taking them away. Do you similarly complain about melee characters being unable to fight because the DM took their hit points away? Rogues being unable to sneak attack because the DM threw incorporeal undead at them and thus taking the sneak attack opportunity away? How about counterspelling by NPCs?

There are simply certain things that can cause spells to fail, not all within the control of the spellcaster, just as there are certain things that can make it hard for the melee-optimized fighter to get into striking range, hard for the rogue to sneak attack, hard for the archer to fire off a good shot. Is there a reason these things are worse for the caster than anyone else? Does every PC have to be equally or fully effective for every encounter?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
concerro wrote:
Neither the DM nor the players should be deciding when to rest. The adventure sets its own pace. If the PC have a lucky dice day and roll through four encounters, no pun intended, why force them to rest if they still have the resources to continue? On the other end if the dice are against them, why try to force them to continue? Even if you had a party without casters you would have to rest/resupply in about the about the same period of time because most likely new healing supplies would have to be purchased. They may also have to return to town to buy items that would not be needed if they had an caster. Another thing is that by making casters lose spells the fights take longer, meaning more resources are spent on an encounter, which changes the 15 minute word day into a 10 minute work day. Your idea actually makes things worse. If you have an issue with casters overshadowing the party, due to powergaming that is not a system issue. It is a player issue.

Well said.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:
You seem to have a real thing about spell loss = DM taking them away. Do you similarly complain about melee characters being unable to fight because the DM took their hit points away?

Hit points can be healed without resting. Spells cannot be reclaimed without rest (or an insanely expensive magic item). This is an unfair comparison.

Bill Dunn wrote:
Rogues being unable to sneak attack because the DM threw incorporeal undead at them and thus taking the sneak attack opportunity away?

This occurs based on encounter type. There are encounters that can make a spell fail, too, due to Spell Resistance and successful Saving Throws.

To make this a fair comparison, the sneak attack feature should have a chance of failure for ALL encounter types, not just select encounters.

bill dunn wrote:
How about counterspelling by NPCs?

An action being canceled by an action is also not a true comparison. If an NPC is using a spell to counter a PC spell, then both sides are losing an equivalent resource. This is also not a fair comparison to a general spell failure chance.

bill dunn wrote:
There are simply certain things that can cause spells to fail, not all within the control of the spellcaster, just as there are certain things that can make it hard for the melee-optimized fighter to get into striking range, hard for the rogue to sneak attack, hard for the archer to fire off a good shot.

Agreed.

bill dunn wrote:
Is there a reason these things are worse for the caster than anyone else?

They are not. In fact, the current system takes these into account already with AoOs, Concentration Checks, Spell Failure for wearing armor, Saving Throws, Spell Resistance, Anti-Magic Fields, etc. There is no legitimate reason to add an arbitrary percentage for spell failure to the mix.

bill dunn wrote:
Does every PC have to be equally or fully effective for every encounter?

No. All classes face the possibility that their key class abilities may not apply to all encounters. After all, that is why they are travelling together as a group - to pick each other up by making up for each other's potential short-comings.


Just a quick note:

I intended to use this thread to try and understand why losing spells either do to raw spell fail percentage chance or concentration checks or physical interruption of spells earns such a strong backlash. Why those mechanics are a bridge too far for many in the community.

In several places and threads throughout this beta process and on these boards various mechanics have been discussed to help ensure balance of conditions or balance late game play between casters and non-casters. I was inspired to start this thread due to some of the response on the "Fear. What's up with that stuff?" thread - where proposals to revamp the fear mechanic in such a way as to potentially include a forced concentration check of some kind or a raw failure chance were met with total unwillingness to ever be considered and with an attitude that seemed to indicate that causing spell loss was never acceptable under any circumstances. In the "How are melee classes at higher levels?" thread, proposals to extend the casting time of some spells so that there might be a reasonable chance to interrupt them or at least force a concentration check were similarly considered intolerable because they might cause a caster to lose a resource.

I am still curious to know, outside the context of specific examples, why it seems to the community that it is never reasonable to consider causing spell loss when beta testing mechanics or discussing house rules or suggesting improvements for later editions of PfRPG.

I understand that casters face save DCs and SR, but non-casters have to contend with AC and DR. Moreover, casters and their spells are simply more powerful than their non-casting counterparts. Why shouldn't that greater reward be exposed to proportionally greater risk as well? Assuming limited circumstances and conditions that may be avoided through use of other feats, skills, items or tactics.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matt Rathbun wrote:
Why shouldn't that greater reward be exposed to proportionally greater risk as well? Assuming limited circumstances and conditions that may be avoided through use of other feats, skills, items or tactics.

Because no matter how you slice it, for someone that enjoys playing a specific character type (be it Cleric, Druid, Wizard, etc.) since 3.x's inception feels like you're arbitrarily taking away their toys. People don't like having their toys taken away. They've gotten comfortable with playing a certain way and change is difficult to accept.

Adding to is one thing, subtracting from is another matter.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Matt Rathbun wrote:


I understand that casters face save DCs and SR, but non-casters have to contend with AC and DR. Moreover, casters and their spells are simply more powerful than their non-casting counterparts. Why shouldn't that greater reward be exposed to proportionally greater risk as well? Assuming limited circumstances and conditions that may be avoided through use of other feats, skills, items or tactics.

Maybe this can help you with the prevailing viewpoint using the greater risk/greater reward question you bring up:

There already is a greater risk for a spellcaster. Using DC/SR vs. AC/DR as an example:

AC vs. DC (no, there is no in-fighting in Angus Young's band. Calm down, and bear with me...):

If a character fails to damage a foe by missing his AC, he can try again with the exact same attack (usually) with his next attack action (sometimes even during the same round).

If a spellcaster fails to affect a foe because the foe makes his save DC, the spellcaster loses the spell until the next time he can memorize/pray for it. Depending on the spell, he may get a limited effect, but not nearly what he was hoping for.

DR vs. SR:

If a character is affected by DR, he only loses a part of the damage he deals. (In some cases, he may lose all of it) But, like AC, he gets another chance to overcome it with his next attack action. In addition, he can usually switch weapons until he finds something that can overcome the DR. In either situation, DR can be overcome within a few rounds of combat.

If a spellcaster is affected by SR, it's all or nothing. If he can't overcome the SR, the spell fizzles, and the caster loses it until he can memorize/pray for it again. True, there's a chance it can go off, but there's also a pretty good chance it won't.

This is where the greater risk/greater reward you mention comes in. If you notice, a character affected by AC and DR gets a second chance to overcome the obstacle. A spellcaster affected by DC and SR does not get a second chance.

The great reward: Powerful effect if you can overcome your foe's defenses and cast the spell successfully.

The great risk: Losing the spell entirely if you cannot overcome your opponent's defenses.

This built in mechanic, combined with other variables that can make a spell fail (Concentration, AoOs, Anti-Magic Fields, armor, etc.), is probably what makes players loathe to add another spell failure mechanic to the game. As it is, there are quite a few rules that can cause a spell to be lost. Adding another could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.


Larry Lichman wrote:
Snip

There is one problem with this argument; it assumes that all rounds are equal. It is true that assuming their hit points hold out a non-caster can theoretically use their primary ability for 9,600 rounds per day. The problem is that a non-caster will never find themselves in 9,600 rounds in a day. The reality is that a non-caster's ability to swing their sword is limited to the number of combat rounds they experience in any one day. As a result any round in which a non-caster fails to successfully attack a target is a lost resource on par with a caster's loss of a spell.

Physical combat is a race between attack actions and hit points. In this race attack actions are a valuable resource and the loss of each action increases the likelihood that you will lose hit points and be defeated by the encounter.

A given adventuring group with casters and non-casters will see a finite number of rounds per day based on their available hit points and other potentially consumable resources. For each of those rounds the loss of actions is equal between all of the classes. It is no greater loss for the caster to lose a spell to SR, Saves, Concentration Checks or SFC than it is for a non-caster to lose actions due to AC, DR, Movement or other status effects. It is also no more fun for a non-caster to miss than it is for a caster to fail a concentration check.

If you will allow me I will predict and attempt to respond to a couple of arguments I expect to hear against this position:

1) Non-casters can keep swinging into more rounds should they choose, but when a caster is out of spells they are just out.

2) Hit points are much easier to restore than spell slots.

My responses:

1) A non-caster is still limited by their durability. They will never hit that 9,600 rounds per day figure because they will long ago be out of hit points. Hit points are the limit on the endurance of non-casters and are in effect a non-caster's consumable resource of rough equivalence to a caster's spell slots. Also, yes casters have hit points too, but they have a lot fewer and are less likely to lose them, I would argue that the non-casters consumable resource is really just the number of hit points they get that exceed those of casters.

2) True. But as a consumable feature hit points pale in comparison to spells. Moreover, especially at higher levels, casters have far more spell slots than non-casters have hit points if you compare their relative value. For example; Fighter X has 200 hit points. In an average encounter round Fighter X loses 20 hit points. As a result Fighter X has an average of 10 rounds per day use of his resources before they are required to rely on items or allies. Casters have way more than 10 rounds worth of spells.

In conclusion, the greater the risk the greater the reward. If you want to be a supernatural powerhouse capable of shaking the foundations of the world there has to be some sort of downside.

Also regarding the 15 minute day, you could just as easily extend the day by preventing non-casters from missing, make sure that each round they successfully affect their targets. That doesn't sound like much fun to me but it is mechanically equivalent to preventing casters from losing spells. If we can't lose spells why not also not allow misses? Make sure that adventuring day goes all 9,600 rounds...


These are the problems I have with the current Concentration rules.

1) The chance to fail has increased at least 20%. You can color it anyway you want, a 20% reduction in power is huge. Any class would not like to be nerfed by 20%.

Apparently the community felt it was needed but I never felt it ruined my game to allow spellcasters a super low chance of failure when casting defensively after level 10. At level 10, maybe they are heroic enough they shouldn't worry about it? How would it look in the novels if everytime Raistlin or Gandalf cast a spell beside an enemy that he failed 50% of the time? Because all heroes get up close and personal with the enemy at some point. I'll tell you, it would be retarded.

To me, whether a caster should fail at casting 50% of the time is really a matter of opinion. You never see this kind of mechanic in movies and books however, so if you have a group that likes to play heroic or epic games, this mechanic just doesn't fit. I'm not sure it fits with my games. And certainly not failing at 50-60%, it's too high. Not all of us play Monte Hall games where we hand out +6 stat bonus items to overcome this.

2) There're already plenty of things melee types can do to prevent spellcasting. There are tonnes of things that can interupt spellcasting in general. Opponents already had at least 2 very viable ways to prevent spellcasting (besides just killing the spellcaster, which is usually the most effective). Readied actions and grappling. The easiest thing that a melee character can do to prevent spellcasting is grappling of course. Now, not only do spellcasters have to break a grapple (which is nearly impossible at high levels), they then have to make a cast defensive roll (50/50 chance), and after that the opponent then gets a saving throw (which is often made). The chance of doing anything against a melee opponent at high levels was highly unlikely even before this change. Did they really need something else? I don't think so but I guess I'm in the minority and I guess people play a lot of pvp games in their campaigns, that they'd care enough to want a major nerf like this to spellcasting in general.

3) The penalty for failing is huge (losing your spell), but it was fairly rare that you failed in 3.5. If the chance to fail is going to be significantly increased, the penalty for failing needs to be decreased, or you're going to affect the balance of power too significantly. Imo, with the Pathfinder RPG, the spell shouldn't be lost, only the action for that round should be lost. It *might* be like that in the final PFRPG, but my hopes aren't high.

I don't know what the purpose of this thread is except to bait the people that don't like the rule, it's not like you're going to change our minds and it's not like we're going to change yours. I don't think many of you understand, but maybe you will after some of your more spellcasting inclined players actually try it out. Maybe when players drop or want to play something else you'll understand.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion on it and that's fine, but opinions mean nothing, everyone has one and we're not all going to agree.

I'm guessing that in the end I'll keep the system they are promoting but I'll reduce the DC and won't make the caster lose a spell. Or maybe we'll just go back to the old system, who knows? I play in games where Gandalf doesn't f*** up just because a dark rider or an orc is in front of him.

Anyway, this is the last time I'm discussing it until I playtest it for a few weeks.


Skeld wrote:
Matt Rathbun wrote:
Why shouldn't that greater reward be exposed to proportionally greater risk as well? Assuming limited circumstances and conditions that may be avoided through use of other feats, skills, items or tactics.
Because no matter how you slice it, for someone that enjoys playing a specific character type (be it Cleric, Druid, Wizard, etc.) since 3.x's inception feels like you're arbitrarily taking away their toys. People don't like having their toys taken away. They've gotten comfortable with playing a certain way and change is difficult to accept.

For me, it's not about that.

Fighter is my favorite class, and the only class I've played consistently since my first character, a dwarf fighter named Orodruin, way back in 1977.

I've dabbled in magery and the priesthood, and they're fun for a while, but I always go back to fighters.


Matt Rathbun wrote:
Also regarding the 15 minute day, you could just as easily extend the day by preventing non-casters from missing, make sure that each round they successfully affect their targets. That doesn't sound like much fun to me but it is mechanically equivalent to preventing casters from losing spells.

No it isn't.

If we want to talk about "mechanical equivalents," then we have to compare loosing spells to weapons breaking. To get it even closer, we have to let non-casters repair all of their broken weapons by taking 1 hour a day, but only after a full 8 hours of uninterrupted rest...


Matt Rathbun wrote:

There is one problem with this argument; it assumes that all rounds are equal. It is true that assuming their hit points hold out a non-caster can theoretically use their primary ability for 9,600 rounds per day. The problem is that a non-caster will never find themselves in 9,600 rounds in a day. The reality is that a non-caster's ability to swing their sword is limited to the number of combat rounds they experience in any one day. As a result any round in which a non-caster fails to successfully attack a target is a lost resource on par with a caster's loss of a spell.

Physical combat is a race between attack actions and hit points. In this race attack actions are a valuable resource and the loss of each action increases the likelihood that you will lose hit points and be defeated by the encounter.

A given adventuring group with casters and non-casters will see a finite number of rounds per day based on their available hit points and other potentially consumable resources. For each of those rounds the loss of actions is equal between all of the classes. It is no greater loss for the caster to lose a spell to SR, Saves, Concentration Checks or SFC than it is for a non-caster to lose actions due to AC, DR, Movement or other status effects. It is also no more fun for a non-caster to miss than it is for a caster to fail a concentration check.

You're missing a key point in this logic.

How many magic missiles can a level 1 wizard cast? What if he also prepared a Shield spell today?

Answer: just 1, unless he has a 20 INT, in which case it's 2.

Just 2 Magic Missiles.

Now we fight some orcs. The fight takes 8 rounds.

Then we fight some goblins for 6 more rounds.

Then we fight some more orcs for 9 rounds.

And then we fight an ogre for 6 rounds.

That's a good day at level 1.

Now answer this:

1. How many rounds did we fight?
2. How many times did the fighter swing his sword?
3. How many times did the wizard cast Magic Missile?

Answer:

1. 29 rounds
2. 29 rounds, or nearly so, as movement and position dictats.
3. 2 times.

Now tell me, if that fighter loses one swing, and that wizard loses one Magic Missile, have they lost equal opportunities?

Before you tell me "yeah, but they won't be level 1 for long!" consider this:

How many Meteor Swarms can a level 17 wizard have prepared? What if he also prepared a Quickened Teleport today?

Answer: Just one.

So yeah, maybe that 17th level wizard won't care much if he's trying to cast Magic Missle or even Lightning Bolt while under the effect of Fear, and he loses those spells.

But he surely will miss losing his one Meteor Swarm, his single best and most powerful attack of the day.

And I guarantee you that if the fighter, under the effect of fear, misses his 4 hasted Vital Striking Power Attacks with his Sonic Flaming Burst Vorpal falchion this round, well, he will still get another 4 next round. And the round after that.

It's not equal.

Losing your best ability and then not being able to use it anymore for the rest of the day is never equal to losing an action that you can try to repeat 1 round later.

Not equal at all.


Here's even more to it Blake. He has only one Magic missle, and if he tries to cast it defensively and fails, he not only looses his action for the turn, but his spell for the day.

The fighter tries to close and fails, he looses his action, but he gets to try again next round. He swings and misses, he gets to try again next round. A Cleric casts hold person in melee he needs to not only cast defensively but his foe also gets a save, if he either fails to cast defensively or his foe save he's done nothing useful and lost a spell. Two chances to fail, and failure removes one of his options not for the round, but for the entire day.


Thurgon wrote:

Here's even more to it Blake. He has only one Magic missle, and if he tries to cast it defensively and fails, he not only looses his action for the turn, but his spell for the day.

The fighter tries to close and fails, he looses his action, but he gets to try again next round. He swings and misses, he gets to try again next round. A Cleric casts hold person in melee he needs to not only cast defensively but his foe also gets a save, if he either fails to cast defensively or his foe save he's done nothing useful and lost a spell. Two chances to fail, and failure removes one of his options not for the round, but for the entire day.

Hold Person does not equal a standard fighter attack.

At the level they are introduced, Hold Person is a great deal more effective if it works. That's sort of the point.

The notion that this new rule is "unfair" to casters carries no weight with me. I don't think this will even inconvenience the wizard in the game I GM.

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