Spell Points - Less gamey name please


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Quote:

Domain Powers and Beyond

Pathfinder has always had domain powers, school powers, bloodline powers, and other special class-based spell-like abilities that you can use a certain number of times per day rather than using your daily spell slots on them. In the playtest, we've expanded this idea, allowing even more classes to gain these kinds of powers and standardizing the way we talk about the powers and their daily uses. The powers are now treated as a special kind of spell, and they are all cast using Spell Points. There is power in naming something; while you don't really count them differently than if you had a pool of uses per day, this allowed us to create new and interesting abilities that cost multiple Spell Points or that you could add extra features to at the cost of more Spell Points, in a way that works across classes more smoothly.

The concept for this is great! My thoughts on this however, is that it's problematic that these are called Spell Points. As shown in the All About Actions blog, I thought a new design principle is that abilities should have a more flowing naming sense. Step, Stride, Strike!

So with that, what is your thought on naming this daily usage pool? Your only limitation is that it should be class agnostic, so it should make sense for both arcane, divine, bardic, nature, psychic, etc..


  • Spell Power
  • Power Reserve
  • ??


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Uh... "Spell Power" is less gamey than "Spell Points"? OK? My critique is if it isn't strictly tied to spells (and even if it is upon initial release, doesn't sound like that is it's inevitable fate for all time). So my concern is more in dropping the Spell angle. I'm not even sure if the name should be tied to 'magic' at all, if the same system could conceivably be applied to merely (Ex) abilities like Spell-less Ranger tricks.

I think you misunderstand the tendency in Action Blog. The goal is not removing "gamist terms", it is consolidating the game mechanics. Using gamist terms for a game is good practice if you want language relevant for the task it's applied to (a game, in this case). "Action" is a "gamist" term in that it is counter-intuitively not correlated to a single plain English action, in that one of latter definition could consume 2 or more game "actions", or conversely one game "action" could include more than one plain English action.


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Neither of those things are remotely less "gamey," and "Spell Points" fits right along with "Hit Points" in that regard. I see absolutely no issue here, but further, I don't find the logic behind the desire to stand up to scrutiny. Any number of terms that are baked into the game, from HP to Saves, are as "gamey" as anything else.

"Spell Power" is used in many video games as a term to describe magic attack, for instance.


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At least they didn't call it 'Mana'.


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My main objection to Spell Points as the term is that it would only be appropriate if it was being used as a system to replace spell slots. But it's mostly being used to manifest miscellaneous supernatural abilities like domain powers, and you're still using spell slots for your actual spells. So the term will just cause confusion.

I don't care if the end term is gamist, like Power Points (though that specific one would make Dreamscarred and psionics fans unhappy), or flavorful, like Inner Power. I just want it to not be Spell Points.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
My main objection to Spell Points as the term is that it would only be appropriate if it was being used as a system to replace spell slots.

This makes the most sense to me. As the blog says, words matter. I think "Spell Reserve" works. Or if this reserve of "points" is intended to be used across all classes than "Heroic Reserve" or "Heroic Surge" would work better for non-magical abilities.


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CraziFuzzy wrote:
At least they didn't call it 'Mana'.

Games didn't invent Mana, the term has history in real mythology/spirituality.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
CraziFuzzy wrote:
At least they didn't call it 'Mana'.
Games didn't invent Mana, the term has history in real mythology/spirituality.

Yes, which have nothing to do with how videogames and tabletop RPGs treat mana. So it's good they don't increase the number of systems which misrepresent it.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
My main objection to Spell Points as the term is that it would only be appropriate if it was being used as a system to replace spell slots. But it's mostly being used to manifest miscellaneous supernatural abilities like domain powers, and you're still using spell slots for your actual spells. So the term will just cause confusion.

So your objection is to the extent Spell Points are used for "Not Spells". (what we know so far includes spells as their usage)

Perhaps "Spell" being the problem in "Spell Points" here, then?


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I personally have no problem with the name Spell Points, but if it doesn't directly affect spells, I know some players who will constantly get tripped up on it. (Same guy still can't understand the limit of 1 bonus action per turn in 5e)


Without having even one class to see them in action, it is really hard to get a sense of what these things should be named. The blog suggests to me that these are a mechanic that are going to subject to a lot of play testing and possible change. I strongly dislike spell points as a final name, but am willing to see how “universal” they are before suggesting any kind of alternative.


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To be fair, I have mentioned a couple times during this early playtest period a desire to 'simplify' things, and this CONCEPT does seem to do that - I can see this "SPELL POINTS" mechanic as a one-off replacement for arcane pool, ki, panache, grit, luck, etc. A general purpose resource that is used for all sort of abilities. That said, for that purpose, Spell Points doesn't make sense. I would rather they come up with a different name, along the lines of the resonance mechanic, that doesn't tie it to one specific usage (the SLAs this blog suggested).


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I agree with Fuzzypaws. The problem with "Spell Points" is not the abstract game term "points"; rather, it is the word "spell." The spell points are not used for spells. They are used for supernatural or spell-like abilities that relate to the character's source of magic.

Better names include:


  • Magic Points
  • Incantation Pool
  • Genesis Pool
  • Wellspring
  • Mystic Energy
  • Enigma

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I believe one of the things they are trying to do is unify the term usage throughout the ruleset, so classes have Class Feats instead of Exploits, Talents, Powers and so on. Spell Points (which I believe needs renamed, myself) are used for all casters to represent the various class abilities that are beyond the known/prepared spells in their reserves. This is on top of getting their own class feats.

So is Mana Pool completely out of the question for some? It has a nice ring to it for me.


I also like the idea that the points for these pools are being grouped into one place. This will radically help simplify multi-classing, since the number of points won't have to double and be tracked separately, you will just be able to do more different stuff with them. If they cross over to martial classes (covering things like panache and grit), spell points is not going to make much sense, but making sure the mechanic works and is balanced for all the things they want these points to do is definitely preferable than having an awesome name for something that is a mechanical mess.


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Quandary wrote:
Uh... "Spell Power" is less gamey than "Spell Points"?

Yes.

Anything with "points" in sounds gamey.

I can just about imagine something in a fantasy world saying, "His spell power is too much for us! We must retreat!" Or talking about "magic reserves" or "spirit energy" or "mana" or "mystic vitality" or something like that.

I can't imagine "He has too many spell points!" as anything other than a game term.

Not that this is a big problem. Hit Points is clearly a game term, but we got used to that.


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Unicore wrote:
I also like the idea that the points for these pools are being grouped into one place. This will radically help simplify multi-classing, since the number of points won't have to double and be tracked separately, you will just be able to do more different stuff with them. If they cross over to martial classes (covering things like panache and grit), spell points is not going to make much sense, but making sure the mechanic works and is balanced for all the things they want these points to do is definitely preferable than having an awesome name for something that is a mechanical mess.

Well, grouped into two places so far, Resonance and Spell Points. I suspect there will be a third pool for non-magical abilites, let's call it Stamina.

It would be an interesting balance to have exactly three pools. The size of Resonance is level plus Charisma modifier. The size of Spell Points is unknown, but in a unified system we could have it as level plus Intelligence modifier. The size of Stamina could be level plus Strength modifier. The other three stats--Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom--give bonuses to saves rather than to resource pools.

I doubt that the pools will run everything. The barbarian rage rounds and bard performance rounds are bigger than those pools would be.

Silver Crusade

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While we're at it can we replace Spell Levels with Spell Tiers, because between character levels, class levels, caster levels and dungeon levels you'd think somebody would have pulled out a thesaurus in the past 40 years.

Tiers, valence, grades there's plenty of good words to use that don't make reading a sentence like, it's an SAT Word problem:

"A 5th level character with two fighter levels and three wizard levels can cast 2nd level spells. If that character chooses to heighten the 1st level charm spell to 3rd level then the target is charmed for a number of minutes equal to the character's caster level, instead of a number of rounds."

For instance.


thaX wrote:

I believe one of the things they are trying to do is unify the term usage throughout the ruleset, so classes have Class Feats instead of Exploits, Talents, Powers and so on. Spell Points (which I believe needs renamed, myself) are used for all casters to represent the various class abilities that are beyond the known/prepared spells in their reserves. This is on top of getting their own class feats.

So is Mana Pool completely out of the question for some? It has a nice ring to it for me.

I'm a big fan of mana pool too. Mana's real world etymology/connotations was mentioned somewhere up thread, and I can't think of anything more appropriate then ""power", "effectiveness", and "prestige". In most cases... understood to be supernatural" to define a broad pool of points to keep track of powers that aren't spells but aren't extraordinary (but mundane) abilities.

It's also really recognizable in modern gaming vernacular, unlikely to confuse as easily as a more uncommon term might be


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Power pool seems suitably generic for spells and (Ex) abilities.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
My main objection to Spell Points as the term is that it would only be appropriate if it was being used as a system to replace spell slots. But it's mostly being used to manifest miscellaneous supernatural abilities like domain powers, and you're still using spell slots for your actual spells. So the term will just cause confusion.

Domain powers and the like are called "a special kind of spell" in the blog, so they're spells. That's likely the reason behind the term Spell Points.

I don't know how this will reconcile with the monk's ki powers or any equivalent powers for non-casters. Maybe those will be called spells too? That would sound strange, but on the other hand, calling all magical powers "spells" would be an effective way to get rid of "spell-like abilities" and "supernatural abilities". This unification of language fits with an important design goal.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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The advantage of "X points," be it spell points or something similar, is that it makes it very easy to use the lexicon in few words.

"You use two spell points" as opposed to, "you spend two uses of spell power."

It's not a huge difference, but I think the "gamey" name has more flexibility both in text and at the table.


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Yeah, I like "power pool". Using the word "spell" is a bad idea because I feel like it will cause confusion with actual spells and spell slots.

I don't really care if it's a gamist term or not, just don't use the word spells.

To be honest, I don't care if anything is gamist. Gamist works, even if it's uninspired. Players can choose to call it whatever they like from an RP perspective, but as long as everyone understand what it is and doesn't confuse it for something else we're good.

Silver Crusade

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If you call it a power pool, and spend points from the pool for all practical applications players will call them power points, and you’re back where you started.


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"Spell pool" is still an upgrade from "Spell points"

Silver Crusade

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Honestly I wish the game had a universal pool accessible to all classes called “Stamina” or “Reserve” or “Resolve” or something that could function as the resource for rage, domain powers, bardic performance, fighter abilities, very fancy rogue tricks etc. hp replenishment etc

Similar to Starfinder but I’m aware that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Silver Crusade

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Flower Points. I like that term.

Silver Crusade

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Honestly I wish the game had a universal pool accessible to all classes called “Stamina” or “Reserve” or “Resolve” or something that could function as the resource for rage, domain powers, bardic performance, fighter abilities, very fancy rogue tricks etc. hp replenishment etc

Similar to Starfinder but I’m aware that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Yeah I wouldn’t really be a fan of everything from completely different classes being tied to the same thing.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Gregg Reece wrote:
"Spell pool" is still an upgrade from "Spell points"

You’d still spend spell points from your spell pool. For all practical purposes that’s just adding another step.

If the name is to be changed (and it probably won’t), but if it was I’d prefer it have a single word.

Mana is popular, but has too much association with card games.


gwynfrid wrote:
calling all magical powers "spells" would be an effective way to get rid of "spell-like abilities" and "supernatural abilities". This unification of language fits with an important design goal.

I don’t remember the reference (GCN podcast maybe?) but it has been stated by a developer that SLA (and presumably SU by extension) are now all just spells. One reason that was explicitly stated was for consistency of interactions between abilities.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Uh... "Spell Power" is less gamey than "Spell Points"?

Yes.

Anything with "points" in sounds gamey.

I can just about imagine something in a fantasy world saying, "His spell power is too much for us! We must retreat!" Or talking about "magic reserves" or "spirit energy" or "mana" or "mystic vitality" or something like that.

I can't imagine "He has too many spell points!" as anything other than a game term.

Not that this is a big problem. Hit Points is clearly a game term, but we got used to that.

I'm on your bandwagon here: Game mechanic term =/= how it's referred to by PCs/NPCs

I get that people aren't always on board with the terms used in the game. From a gameplay perspective, though, HP isn't supposed to be known without using status on people. Deathwatch provides a good explanation of how things appear to PCs.

I will admit, though, that some players have gone the extra mile to get around that with phrasings like "on an arbitrary scale of 0 to 94, I'm at about a 33."


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I like the term "mana" myself, yeah lets call it "mana".


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We use spell level in our game. It's even called the Vancian scale (from 0 to 9) and is named after the great wizard Vance who first proposed the classification method.


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Rysky wrote:
Flower Points. I like that term.

Rainbow reserve! Does that sparkle with you? ;)


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

While we're at it can we replace Spell Levels with Spell Tiers, because between character levels, class levels, caster levels and dungeon levels you'd think somebody would have pulled out a thesaurus in the past 40 years.

Tiers, valence, grades there's plenty of good words to use that don't make reading a sentence like, it's an SAT Word problem:

"A 5th level character with two fighter levels and three wizard levels can cast 2nd level spells. If that character chooses to heighten the 1st level charm spell to 3rd level then the target is charmed for a number of minutes equal to the character's caster level, instead of a number of rounds."

For instance.

I like this idea, too. I also like the Order of the Stick reference.

Given Matthew Downie's suggestion that names sound like something characters would say, how about Intensity for spell levels? "We cannot stand against the wizard. His spells are too intense!" That is even consistent with the PF1 metamagic feat Intensify Spell, which raises the spell level of the spell effects.

"A 7th level character with two fighter levels and five wizard levels can cast intensity 3 spells. If that character chooses to heighten the intensity 1 charm spell to intensity 3 then the target is charmed for a number of minutes equal to the character's caster level, instead of a number of rounds."


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Someone went with Circles for the levels of spells. “This is a spell of the eight circle of magic!”

I started to use it and it went well.


graystone wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Flower Points. I like that term.
Rainbow reserve! Does that sparkle with you? ;)

Rainbow -> Spectrum -> Spectral

"Spectral Pool" sounds good.


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I dislike "Spell Points" for for sounding more gamey than the concepts they replace, because it feels off in descriptive power, and overly limiting as a simplifying concept.

I think others have talked about the gamey aspect, and its the one I least care about so I'll ignore that here.

The latter two points are intertwined. Its explicitly stated as underlying how domain spells and bloodline powers work. Those two nominally feel like spells. However its also seems applicable to say bard songs rounds/day or paladin lay on hands, which feel less spell like. It feels directly on points for the pools Magus/Arcanist work with and Spell points is semi-reasonable there. But then you have to ask why is it not the term for grit/panache? If bard songs are included why not rage?

I think I'd prefer the neutral "power points" or "class points" to cover all of those, or skip this particular unification -- the different pools had a lot of narrative/descriptive power in the old system.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Mana is popular, but has too much association with card games.

I've played enough Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior games since the 80s that Mana is foremost a computer RPG term. World of Warcraft didn't help with that, either.


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I’ll spend a thaum from my thaumic reserve.

I’m cool with spell points. It’s no worse than “SLA” was.

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graystone wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Flower Points. I like that term.
Rainbow reserve! Does that sparkle with you? ;)

Can i use it to unlock the Rainbow Road course?


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My only concern is that if will be used across all classes, "Spell" may not be universally applicable. I'm happy with "Points" because this is the game and I'm the player*, so it can be meta.

Flower Points is ok, but I'd prefer Snowflake Points.

*This side of my fourth wall...we will dispense with tangential discussions of how my Id and presentation of self is a Benign-User Illusion generated by my glorified gastrointestinal tract to give it meaning beyond eating and making Waste...


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If we're looking to use if for MORE than just spells (which I think is appropriate), I suggest it be either Energy, or Power (the electrician in my leans toward energy, as that is an actual amount of work that could be stored).

So an ability can be written to use 1 ENERGY POINT, or one point from your ENERGY POOL, or quite frankly, have the ability include a line that simply says:

Cost: 1 EP

Scarab Sages

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I am fine with using the word "Point". I prefer gamey terms for things like that, because its intuitive, and game mechanics should be intuitive. And realistically, if you call it Spell Pool or Power Pool or some other Pool, most people are going to say, I've used up my Spell Pool Points anyways. Call it what it is.


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And I see absolutely no problem letting different classes use the same pool. If you're a wizard monk, why not allow your arcane power recharge your ki? A prayer to the cleric/rogue's god could use some of your divine influence that you normally use for your domain powers to fuel is rogue talents. Or the ever elusive barbarian/monk could channel his ki into restoring his rage powers?

If you can flavor the ability to transfer "energy" from one class pool to another, then why go through the trouble to do so, and simply merge them all to the same pool - making the game itself that much easier to play.


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Magic Stuff Points :)


Rysky wrote:
Flower Points. I like that term.

Flower points representing Azureflower Mist?

Granted the final form did get named mana in the end.

Scarab Sages

CraziFuzzy wrote:

And I see absolutely no problem letting different classes use the same pool. If you're a wizard monk, why not allow your arcane power recharge your ki? A prayer to the cleric/rogue's god could use some of your divine influence that you normally use for your domain powers to fuel is rogue talents. Or the ever elusive barbarian/monk could channel his ki into restoring his rage powers?

If you can flavor the ability to transfer "energy" from one class pool to another, then why go through the trouble to do so, and simply merge them all to the same pool - making the game itself that much easier to play.

The problem with combining pools from different classes is balance.

If I have a pool of 7 points for my domain power, and I can activate said power 7 times per day (this is the explanation as I understand it, that the points equals the uses per day), and it only increases by level or every 4th level or as my ability modifier increases permanently, then adding another level of a different class would add another 7 points for its 7 uses per day. And at 2nd level, now I can use either ability 14 times per day, where I might not reach 14 times per day until 10th or 15th level.

This could be a way to dip a complimentary class level to essentially double the uses of a per day power by 2nd level.

So any kind of combining of class pools should only be done with this balance issue in mind.


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gwynfrid wrote:
Fuzzypaws wrote:
My main objection to Spell Points as the term is that it would only be appropriate if it was being used as a system to replace spell slots. But it's mostly being used to manifest miscellaneous supernatural abilities like domain powers, and you're still using spell slots for your actual spells. So the term will just cause confusion.

Domain powers and the like are called "a special kind of spell" in the blog, so they're spells. That's likely the reason behind the term Spell Points.

I don't know how this will reconcile with the monk's ki powers or any equivalent powers for non-casters. Maybe those will be called spells too? That would sound strange, but on the other hand, calling all magical powers "spells" would be an effective way to get rid of "spell-like abilities" and "supernatural abilities". This unification of language fits with an important design goal.

If they want to redefine domain powers, wizard school abilities, and sorcerer bloodlines as spells, that's fine. But the game still has spell SLOTS, so this pool should not be called spell POINTS, since they're clearly being kept in a different mechanical space.

Spell Anything also limits the flavor of the mechanic and limits its extension to other things. For example, with a name like Inner Power or Stamina it could also do the following:

  • Spend a point to activate your Barbarian Rage or Bardic Performance for (class level + ability modifier) rounds.
  • Replace panache, Grit, etc.
  • Activate feats usable only a certain number of times per day, if things like Stunning Fist still have that restriction.
  • And yes, it also still keeps the flavor necessary to represent using magical abilities like domain powers.


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Flour Points???

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