Arcana Evovled Spellcasting to Pathfinder


Conversions


Has anyone tried applying Arcana Evolved-style spellcasting to Pathfinder? I like the elegance of the AE's use of vancian slots for spells / day yet blending elements of study & intrinsic spell knowledge.

At the time of AE's release it was a bit like combining the best elements of the wizard & sorceror. You used your spellbooks to determine which spells went into your spell readied list but the actual spells cast were determined by your spells/day.

Now with Pathfinder, the wizard & sorceror are much more distinct through their class abilities. I still am not a fan of the old style "geez, I forgot" nature of the Wizard's spell memorization.

So for anyone who's applied the AE spellcasting system (or at least elements of it) to Pathfinder, how did it go? Any recommendations?

Thanks!


In theory, simply adapting the Pathfinder casters to having Readied spells and Spell Slots as in AE will make them more versatile, and therefore more powerful. In my experience it mostly just makes them easier and more enjoyable to play, and no more or less terrible in the hands of a power gamer than the standard mechanics already can be.

I might suggest picking up a copy of Trailblazer: New Horizons in 3.5 Roleplaying, published by Badaxe Games, which proposes using a unified casting progression for all classes. While I can't say I like what this system does to the bard, the treatment of the cleric, druid sorcerer and wizard is relatively sound. Essentially, all of the classes use the same casting progression for both spells known and spell slots. If you have four spells at that level, you ready four spells and have four slots. Clerics get their domain spells and cures as bonus readied spells, and druids likewise always have summon nature's ally prepared at every level in addition to their normal allotment. Wizards get bonus spells readied as a class feature, and sorcerers get bonus spell slots in the same fashion (I.e. "Bonus readied spell-1st level" written in the class feature column). Since all casters are effectively spontaneous with this change, it makes sense that sorcerers and oracles would no longer have slower spell acquisition. As for the 1st-6th level casters, I would keep their charts as written, with Known spells simply becoming Readied spells.


Thanks! I'd been revisiting the Action Points and some other elements of Trailblazer but hadn't delved into the spellcasting changes. Sounds like that might be just want I needed.

Thanks again.


I once ran a game using Unearthed Arcana's spell recharge system. It works in a somewhat similar way (prepared casters memorize spells in the morning and that becomes your "spells known" for the day), but of course it removes the idea of spell slots altogether (instead adding a "cool-down time" for each spell level).

I like the Arcana Evolved system as well for some things, but I'm not sure it would have the same effect if you didn't add heightened/diminished spells, say, or retool which spells are available to which class and which spells are simple/complex/exotic, etc.


I know but I'm hoping the PF-goodness of the new class abilities will compensate somewhat. I love the heightened/diminished spells & spell lenses.

Unfortunately, I really like what Paizo's done with casters from reinventing wizard & sorceror and making them interesting to the new additions of oracle & witch.

When my Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign wraps up, I may ultimately choose to use AE casters & spellcasting system as that is a more seasoned group where the break from D&D tropes might be a very welcome change.

For my current PF campaign I'm running for my kids, however, I'm trying to keep the Pathfinder classes intact.

Honestly, I'd love to hit the powerball, buy the rights/IP to AE, and hire a crack team to Pathfinder-ize the whole darn thing so I could have my cake & eat it, too.


BPorter wrote:


Honestly, I'd love to hit the powerball, buy the rights/IP to AE, and hire a crack team to Pathfinder-ize the whole darn thing so I could have my cake & eat it, too.

I don't normally wish for someone else to win Powerball, but as I'd love to see this happen...good luck!

I'd love to win the lottery so I could buy Greyhawk and turn it over to Paizo. Wish me luck!


BPorter wrote:
Honestly, I'd love to hit the powerball, buy the rights/IP to AE, and hire a crack team to Pathfinder-ize the whole darn thing so I could have my cake & eat it, too.

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I like some of the mechanics of AE, but I'm not fond of the setting itself.


Honestly Hogarth, I don't think you're in the minority at all when it comes to the setting material. In fact, I daresay that the setting is what has prevented a lot of people from embracing the product. It deviates so far from the "D&D" norm that it loses the broad-base appeal of vanilla fantasy, and caters instead to a very niche market, or rather a plethora of niche markets, from fans of Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series to fans of "Furry Fantasy".

In fact, with the exception of the very first Arcana Unearthed game I was in, I have not played in the Diamond Throne setting. That's saying something, especially since I've been playing and running AE for eight years, across seven campaigns as GM and three as a player.

Over time, my games have become increasingly hybridized with 3.5, Pathfinder, and Trailblazer, while drifting further toward D&D norms. I still have akashics, champions and totem warriors, but I allow barbarian, rogue, and ranger as well. I've dropped greenbond in favor of homebrewed versions of cleric and druid, and use an alternate monk instead of oathsworn. I've given the magister a spellbook instead of blanket access to all complex spells (simple are still free, but complex and exotic need to be scribed as a wizard does). I even dropped all of the anthropomorphic races in favor of elves, dwarves, and orcs once I realized that my players were never going to take things seriously and stop making fetish jokes so long as there were "furries" around. Ceremonial feats, truenames, and oaths almost seem like legacy code at this point, things have changed so drastically.

Yet for all these changes, I still consider AE to be my d20 game of choice and myself one of its more devoted fans, even if I haven't visited the Diamond Throne itself in eight years.


Robert Ranting wrote:
[good stuff deleted]

I think I would probably agree with all of the changes you made, from the sound of it.

If I were going to cherry-pick just a few things from Arcana Evolved, I'd probably go with:

  • adding the ability to combine low-level slots into a single higher level slot (and vice versa)
  • combining various metamagic feats into one multi-purpose feat (I think there's an AE feat that combines Silent Spell, Still Spell, Extend Spell, etc. whose name escapes me at the moment)
  • allowing caster levels from multiple spellcasting classes to stack
  • adding some spell template feats (although some of them I don't particularly care for)


I'll agree with Robert Ranting here. I had been in a few 3.5 games before but after experiencing the sexiness of the AE spellcasting system I just can't bring myself to touch Vancian casters anymore. The setting of the Diamond Throne I've never looked too much into but the system itself is very fun.

In regards to BPorter there is a book called Spell Treasury which came out as a supplement to AE that has *most* of the standard DnD spells converted into the AE Spell System already.

In most of the games I have been in that were not strictly following 3.5 or PFRPG RAW the "Spells Known/Prepared" simply doubled as "Spells Readied per day" that one could mix and match freely among their Spells Per Day. This way we avoid the issue of the wizard only knowing how to blow something up once a day, and still having some utility magic handy.

And the feat you're thinking of Hogarth is Modify Spell. (which is awesome)

While I don't believe there is an official connection Monte Cook also has a book out (whose name I can't recall) with an alternate version of the Bard class that can easily be integrated into an AE system.


Bofdm wrote:
In most of the games I have been in that were not strictly following 3.5 or PFRPG RAW the "Spells Known/Prepared" simply doubled as "Spells Readied per day" that one could mix and match freely among their Spells Per Day. This way we avoid the issue of the wizard only knowing how to blow something up once a day, and still having some utility magic handy.

The only problem with that is that it makes spontaneous spellcasters like sorcerers even less popular, relatively speaking. I don't know what the best solution is, other than just using the AE spellcasting classes in lieu of the PFRPG ones. (And even that isn't a great solution, IMO, since there are some AE spellcasting classes that I don't think are very good -- the Witch, in particular.)


hogarth wrote:
Bofdm wrote:
In most of the games I have been in that were not strictly following 3.5 or PFRPG RAW the "Spells Known/Prepared" simply doubled as "Spells Readied per day" that one could mix and match freely among their Spells Per Day. This way we avoid the issue of the wizard only knowing how to blow something up once a day, and still having some utility magic handy.
The only problem with that is that it makes spontaneous spellcasters like sorcerers even less popular, relatively speaking. I don't know what the best solution is, other than just using the AE spellcasting classes in lieu of the PFRPG ones. (And even that isn't a great solution, IMO, since there are some AE spellcasting classes that I don't think are very good -- the Witch, in particular.)

With the new versions of Wizard and Sorc in PFRPG they have their own individual flavors that can still make them fun and exciting to play. As an addendum to this, one of the common changes in my gaming group is that Sorcs get full casting progression rather than a staggered progression - since spontaneous casting was the big 'boon' for playing a sorc most of the time anyway. In this way Sorcs still get more spells *per day* while Wizards have more versatility to *prepare* more.

The Witch from AE is a very underrated class as well, with it's 3/4 BAB and supplemental spellcasting you can make a very powerful character that dips into a lot of areas. There's a lot you can do there. Now granted if you want to simply use the AE casters of Magister and Greenbond as your primaries, and just import all of the PFRPG non-caster base classes things could still work out very well.

Have you had the chance to experience a game in the AE system? Or just going through the core book for now?


Bofdm wrote:
As an addendum to this, one of the common changes in my gaming group is that Sorcs get full casting progression rather than a staggered progression - since spontaneous casting was the big 'boon' for playing a sorc most of the time anyway.

That would certainly help make sorcerers a lot more competitive with other spellcasters.

Bofdm wrote:
The Witch from AE is a very underrated class as well, with it's 3/4 BAB and supplemental spellcasting you can make a very powerful character that dips into a lot of areas.

I guess it's a matter of taste. I think the Mageblade is a better 3/4 BAB casting class and most of the witchery powers are boring (i.e. a Magister could get the same effect by casting a spell and still have plenty of spell slots to spare).

Bofdm wrote:
Have you had the chance to experience a game in the AE system? Or just going through the core book for now?

I don't have any AE playing experience, so take my comments with a big, big grain of salt. :-)

The only AE games I've ever found were taking place in the Diamond Throne world, which I'm not interested in.

Liberty's Edge

I was wondering something similar, since I'm pretty sure one of my players is going to want to play an AE race. Has anyone mixed the spell systems? Or tried to convert the diminished/heightened spells, laden spells, spell templates, simple/complex/exotic spell stuff?


xellos wrote:

I was wondering something similar, since I'm pretty sure one of my players is going to want to play an AE race. Has anyone mixed the spell systems? Or tried to convert the diminished/heightened spells, laden spells, spell templates, simple/complex/exotic spell stuff?

I did. My homebrew world originally used the AE rules. As we've gone one to the third campaign in my world, we've gone from just AE, to AE and Pathfinder, to straight pathfinder. I had a wizard from another world come through a portal to my world with magisters and their heightened and diminished spells. He had to try spellcraft to determine if it was a fireball being cast or if it was sorcerous blast.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the response. ^_^ Did you have any major changes to the ways spells worked when you mixed the two systems?


xellos wrote:
Thanks for the response. ^_^ Did you have any major changes to the ways spells worked when you mixed the two systems?

Not really, to be honest. He was able to cast fireball, and when he saw a sorcerous blast being cast using lightning, I just gave him a Spellcraft check to see if he could determine if it was a different spell or a metamagicked fireball. It worked the same with heightened and diminished versions of the various spells.


I may be resurrecting an old thread, but this is something I toyed with off & on.I think it would work if you were also using the spells from AE. Most were toned down a bit. I always started with the thought that I would use the Magister & Mageblade, but with Pathfinder (before it was 3e/3.5e) the core classes have the flavor I would want.

I would have the Wizard & Sorcerer have the same spell progression under this system. Let the feel of each class be in the differences between bloodline & scholarly pursuit.

Since I would have all spells as on one spell list, I would most likely not have Clerics. I would still have Druids & Oracles.

The 3/4 casters wouldn't be too hard to change. Bards get all simple & complex illusions & sonic spells.

I wouldn't have any 1/2 casters. Would use a non-casting ranger and replace Templars from Super Genius Games.

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