Homebrew Spell Cards, Spell Use Tracker and 5e Style Casters


Homebrew and House Rules


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I hope its alright if I start a new thread for my newest release. This thread is for my complete 5E-style casting alternative. Before I get into the the how and what of this, I want to delve a bit into some of the larger drivers that led me and my home group to move towards these changes.

DESIGN GOALS
Our group wanted a few things. First, we wanted casters to be more flexible. We were OK with toning down spells and the move from straight save or suck to 4 degrees of success. However, we were not OK with PF2's strict Vancian systems and were a bit more at home with the 5E implementation. We knew that spontaneous casters were a bit more flexible but the sorcerer and the bard simply did not appeal to my players or fit the character types they wanted to play.

A secondary goal for us was ease of use at the table. My players wanted to quickly select their spells and painlessly track their use. While this could be done OK with a spell list using the stock system, it wasn't as easy as we were used to in 5E.

Our last goal was around giving casters a bit more oomph. They had been nerfed significantly from 3.X (and we are ok with that to an extent). But having to deal with strict Vancian as well made casters just feel lackluster. They may well indeed be "balanced" but they didn't seem fun. We were hoping to make playing a caster a bit more enjoyable. That is SUPER subjective. So, please be aware that this is more fun for US but may not be more fun for YOU. YMMV

Please be aware we came to these goals AFTER playing through several playtest scenarios AND the Fall of Plaguestone. We are gearing up for my PF2 conversion of Curse of the Crimson Throne and wanted to alter things before starting that.

THE GIST
So, the gist is this:
1. Prepared casters get to prepare a number of spells equal to their base spellcasting ability modifier plus level every day. When a prepared caster uses a prepped spell, it is not expended but an appropriate spell slot is.
2. Spontaneous casters get to know a number of spells equal to their base spellcasting ability modifier plus level every day (sorcerer bloodline spells do not count against this limit).
3. All casters may spontaneously heighten their spells (whether prepared or known) into higher level slots by using those higher level slots.

With all these things in there, class feats and features had to be changed or removed to better work with new mechanics. The Wizard in particular had to undergo massive changes and significant thought went into balancing different schools against the universalist and how to balance the Wizard against the Sorcerer.

THE GOODS
Here are the links to the classes themselves. Please note that I have provided these as alternative classes with different names. This means my players know that any Wizard feat that may be released later is not going to work with the Mage I present unless I vet it first, for example. Additionally, this reinforces that using these classes is, for me, optional. If a player wants to play with the vanilla casters, they may do so. I have not bothered with Multiclass Dedications for these. They should be more or less like the vanilla ones.

I have linked by the PDFs and my InDesign files. Please note the InDesign files do not have fonts embedded. They are commercial and you will have to get them on your own. I am providing the InDesign files so those of you that have your own ideas about addressing concerns about casters in PF2 can do so on your own time and in your own space. Please be aware that more thought and energy was put into the Mage and the Vicar since those are the classes that my players will be using in our upcoming campaign.

The Mage, Wizard alternative (PDF)(InDesign)
The Shaman, Druid alternative (PDF)(InDesign)
The Skald, Bard alternative (PDF)(InDesign)
The Thaumaturge, Sorcerer alternative (PDF)(InDesign)
The Vicar, Cleric alternative* (PDF)(InDesign)

*Significant changes were made to the Cleric in putting together the Vicar. These are mostly to meet what my player wanted from the class.

PLAY AIDES
One of the benefits of the casting classes linked above is that tracking spell use is pretty easy for all of them. We use spell (and action) cards which I am putting together and a small tracker sheet. The cards and the tracker sheet are all meant to be printed out on 4x6 cards. You have to have a printer that allows for that and you typically have to define a custom paper size to do it.

Here are the links:
PF2e 4x6 Cards* (PDF)(InDesign)
Spell Tracker Card (PDF)

*Please note that my group's house rules are reflected in these cards. This is notable in stuff like Electric Arc being a bit nerfed and in Orc Ferocity being a free action.

A few notes on the Spell Tracker:
1. The drop down does not show up when you print.
2. The Spell Tracker can help the Mage I made track his special "School Slot" as well. When you click on a check box before printing, a grey out star appears to denote a "School Slot."
3. You will likely need to open this in Adobe Reader (not your web browser) to get it to work.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
These are the house rules our group will be using. If you have your own wildly different thoughts on how to balance this stuff or you feel this is crazy OP or whatever, please offer those alternatives in your own threads. However, if you find any typos or would like to provide specific constructive feedback on the solutions provided here, please do so.

Anywho, thats it, I hope folks find this useful. I am still working on the PF2 cards and will be updating them based on what my group members need over the course of play. I may also update other items as time goes by depending on player feedback.


Oops, it should read "Spontaneous casters get to know a number of spells equal to their base spellcasting ability modifier plus level."

I hate that these boards don't let you edit after an hour.

Sovereign Court

I love all he work you did in creating this stuff! Are you going to post a pdf of your house rules so we can read them all together and print them out for ourselves if we want? I for one would enjoy seeing that.

Also, I created my own version of the Thaumaturge. I'll post it in my Pathfinder 2e Changes thread. Just finding various fonts (I couldn't find most of the ones you used, so I found others that worked). The only changes I made are to the Diabolic, Demonic, and Elemental Bloodlines. I look forward to reading your Skald and Shaman!

Sovereign Court

Looking over the Shaman, it's interesting that you didn't increase the access to Focus points for wild shapers. One of the most common complaints is that you gain access to more and more shapes, but your number of focus points doesn't keep pace. What do you think of either changing the Refocus requirements, or allow the Shaman to gain 1 more Focus point with each feat that expands Wild Shape (and more broadly, whenever you gain a feat that provides a focus spells you gain 1 more focus point, up to your max of 3.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Samurai wrote:
Looking over the Shaman, it's interesting that you didn't increase the access to Focus points for wild shapers. One of the most common complaints is that you gain access to more and more shapes, but your number of focus points doesn't keep pace. What do you think of either changing the Refocus requirements, or allow the Shaman to gain 1 more Focus point with each feat that expands Wild Shape (and more broadly, whenever you gain a feat that provides a focus spells you gain 1 more focus point, up to your max of 3.)

I don't like the idea of making too many large design changes - especially not blind. The wild shape thing is one where I just don't have enough understanding as to why the devs did what they did.

I would rather not make dozens of changes if I can help it and, instead, stay closer to stock. With the exception of getting rid of the cleric doctrine for my player (to make a more "5e option" available), the changes have largely been to accomodate the changes to casting rather than dramatically alter game balance.

Some other changes above have also been to simplify things or to reduce book keeping. But I dont want to commit to dozens of tweaks that are not born out of the needs of my actual play.

Sovereign Court

Data Lore wrote:
Samurai wrote:
Looking over the Shaman, it's interesting that you didn't increase the access to Focus points for wild shapers. One of the most common complaints is that you gain access to more and more shapes, but your number of focus points doesn't keep pace. What do you think of either changing the Refocus requirements, or allow the Shaman to gain 1 more Focus point with each feat that expands Wild Shape (and more broadly, whenever you gain a feat that provides a focus spells you gain 1 more focus point, up to your max of 3.)

I don't like the idea of making too many large design changes - especially not blind. The wild shape thing is one where I just don't have enough understanding as to why the devs did what they did.

I would rather not make dozens of changes if I can help it and, instead, stay closer to stock. With the exception of getting rid of the cleric doctrine for my player (to make a more "5e option" available), the changes have largely been to accomodate the changes to casting rather than dramatically alter game balance.

Some other changes above have also been to simplify things or to reduce book keeping. But I dont want to commit to dozens of tweaks that are not born out of the needs of my actual play.

That's a reasonable response. I haven't made that change either yet in my house rules, but the decision to grant more focus spells (or focus options) but not more focus points tends to leave wild shapers looking for ways to get more focus points, typically by choosing a second druid order/spirit circle with Order Explorer/Circle Explorer. That works ok, but it means they have to take Wind Caller instead of Soaring Shape if they want the focus point. That has always seemed a bit wrong to me.

Sovereign Court

Have you given any thought to how the multiclass dedication feats for these classes will work? Dedication, Basic, Expert, and Master spellcasting feats + Breadth?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not yet since thats not a thing my players are exploring. It probably wouldnt be that different from stock as far as how many spell slots. Probably something akin to spells known/prepped being like spell ability mod (which is likely lower than a full caster) + max spell level (instead of character level) or some such. Otherwise more or less the same as current caster dedication beyond that. I might give thaumaturge dedication bloodline granted spells so theres a point to pick it over a prep dedication if a player were to ask.

Sovereign Court

Data Lore wrote:
Not yet since thats not a thing my players are exploring. It probably wouldnt be that different from stock as far as how many spell slots. Probably something akin to spells known/prepped being like spell ability mod (which is likely lower than a full caster) + max spell level (instead of character level) or some such. Otherwise more or less the same as current caster dedication beyond that. I might give thaumaturge dedication bloodline granted spells so theres a point to pick it over a prep dedication if a player were to ask.

After thinking about it for a while, I don't know if the 5e style can really work with multiclass dedications. I think that for now I'll leave it as "2 spells know/prepared and 1 spell slots for each level that can be cast, and Breadth adds +1 more of each."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I actually will be using some form of 5e style with dedications in my homebrew (already started the doc!).

Sovereign Court

Data Lore wrote:
I actually will be using some form of 5e style with dedications in my homebrew (already started the doc!).

Cool, I'm looking forward to seeing it. I think it would be much easier without having to buy all those feats in order to get spellcasting of certain levels. If the base dedication included the Basic, Expert and Master spellcasting then you could just say "You get caster stat mod + highest spell level", or something like it, but how to break it up into feats seems more difficult.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Naw, the feats don't change hardly at all. I just need to add the thing about gaining spells by spell level to the initial archetype page.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nice idea. This would work as an actual OGL published mini PDF for people in love with Arcanist/5E "Neo Vancian" slot spellcasting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is a the 1.3 Update to my homebrew 5E-style variant casting classes and related play aides.

THE NEW GOODS
The links in the original post are automatically updated with the latest version. Various typos and formatting errors were addressed. Also, spontaneous casters now gain a class feat at level 1 to give them some added oomph early on. Below are links to the new files.
The Archetypes (PDF) (InDesign) New archetypes for my homebrew 5e-style casting classes.
Related Tweaks (PDF) Tweaks were made to certain related character options.

Sovereign Court

Data Lore wrote:

This is a the 1.3 Update to my homebrew 5E-style variant casting classes and related play aides.

THE NEW GOODS
The links in the original post are automatically updated with the latest version. Various typos and formatting errors were addressed. Also, spontaneous casters now gain a class feat at level 1 to give them some added oomph early on. Below are links to the new files.
The Archetypes (PDF) (InDesign) New archetypes for my homebrew 5e-style casting classes.
Related Tweaks (PDF) Tweaks were made to certain related character options.

Looks very nice. However, I would allow all of the archetypes to know 2 spells per level just like the Mage. (Why should the Mage know 2 spells and the others can only learn 1?) In fact, I would just add it in to the spell casting definition: "You learn/can prepare 2 spells of each level and get 1 spell slot to cast either of them with." Also, I would not put the restriction on Breadth of "you get +1 spell slot except your 2 highest slots". I feel it should just be "you get +1 spell slot for each level you can cast" If they learn 2 spells of each level, the Breadth now allows them to cast each of them instead of having to choose one, or they could cast the same one twice.


I appreciate the suggestion but I'll be sticking with my solution. The mage gets two spells known because of the spellbook. Remember that's known not prepped.

Shaman and vicar know all their spells right off the bat.

The spontaneous casters are different.

Also, I think it's important that the top two spell levels get only 1 slot from a balance perspective.

As I mentioned, I am not looking at making tons of tweaks where I don't need to and want to have it feel close to stock in certain ways. I try to just stick to changes that ensures stuff works well with my change to casting for the most part.


Small update:
Fixed some typos in the archetype doc and added a "Domain Spell" feat to the Vicar Archetype (it doesn't have a Domain Initiate feat due changes to the base class). Also, small change to spontaneous archetypes.


This is really cool!

You mentioned not bothering to convert the MCD (Multi-Class Dedication) feats.

But if you did, would they have the same number of prepared spells per day (Level + Key)?

Perhaps 1/2 Level + Key?

Cheers.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I did convert them. They are in the archetypes file above. Number of spells in repertoire or prepped is base spell casting ability mod plus the highest spell level they can cast. Breadth only adds slots.

Like the base variant classes I made, this keeps number of distinct prepped or repertoire spells just shy of what you could get stock but that's fine since you can spontaneously heighten and have flexibility in casting. You typically wouldn't really even fall behind stock until level 20 and only if you picked up the master spellcasting feat.

Also, I wanted to tie it to highest spell you could cast so that it was tied to feat investiture in the archetype.


I always thought that in the 5e casting system, sorcerer should be using the spell points system, or something similar.


Parduss wrote:
I always thought that in the 5e casting system, sorcerer should be using the spell points system, or something similar.

I can see that. It could use some variant of the 3.5 Psionics system.

It would be a pain to balance and design though. Typically such systems need to have differently balanced/designed powers which account for the efficiency of spell points. That would also require all new class feats. I am also very big on ease of use. Making the system not be super complicated would be hard in and of itself.

Super big headache. Tons of work.

That's more than I want to go in for, honestly. This homebrew is just about straight up slapping Neo-Vancian mechanics on PF2 with as little muss and fuss as possible.


OK, stealing some inspiration from the 5e DMG.

Spell points costs 1st:2 2nd:3 3rd:5 4th:7

The existence of the 10th level slot is ignored entirely.

Starting at level 7 (because any lower does nothing)

All spell slots half you highest slot rounded down & lower get converted into spell points.

So level 7-10 you have 20 points that can be spent on level 1-2

levels 11-14 40 points, 1-3rd level slots

levels 15-20, 68 points, 1-4 level slots

If you want to be immature, give them an extra spell point at level 19.


Ya, just not something I'm gonna implement here. It's just beyond the scope of this homebrew and there is a lot more to balancing that and supporting it with feats.

If you wanna try balancing and releasing a spell point variant, I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to use my templates but please release in your own thread. I am willing to bet you'd get some interested folks who would be willing to help you balance it out and design feats for it too.


Slots are just Points with different Weights...

I am strongly considering using this system for spontaneous casters in my games while keeping prepared casters normal.

Because having a Repertoire under this system is simply more user-friendly, which, is one of the spontaneous caster's greatest strengths, really.

Cheers.


If another table out there finds a way to use any of this in a way that suits them, awesome.

My party will have a Vicar and a Mage when our Curse of the Crimson Throne PF2 campaign kicks off. We'll see how it goes.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / Homebrew Spell Cards, Spell Use Tracker and 5e Style Casters All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Homebrew and House Rules