Author Topic: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]  (Read 1703 times)

Offline TheGeometer

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Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« on: November 04, 2018, 07:27:14 PM »
Thought Magic


Somewhere between the commonplace magic of Wizards and Clerics and the mental abilities of Psions is Thought Magic, the power to let ideas tug forcefully at the fabric of existence until they make themselves real. Unlike magic and psionics, however, Thought Magic can't be so easily controlled. Thought magic users, or thinkers, can't merely utter the right words and make the right motions to shape the world around them; rather, at any given moment, they only have access to a few random notions that flit around their mind, and thus to only a few, randomly-chosen, magical effects that they can produce.


Ideas as Cards

Mechanically, Thought Magic is played with a standard 52-card deck of playing cards. On the character sheet, the thinker lists all of her known abilities, called ideas, as well as the cards representing them, and how many of each card should be in her deck, which represents her subconscious mind. These factors are constrained by class level in a thinker class. A valid deck cannot contain more than 2 copies of any given idea, and no more than 26 different ideas overall. This is both for balance reasons and to allow for the easy use of standard playing cards - each idea can be labeled by a color and number/face, such as red 5 (5 of hearts/diamonds) or black queen (queen of clubs/spades). Some ideas, called unique ideas, can only be represented once per deck. Each day, a thinker must rest for 8 hours and then spend 10 minutes in uninterrupted contemplation; during these 10 minutes, the thinker decides how she will structure her deck for that day.

For instance, a 1st-level Creative's deck contains 5 0th-level ideas and 4 1st-level ideas. When she builds her deck, she chooses which ideas to fill those slots, out of the ideas that she knows (both her deck composition and ideas known are level-dependent and are described in Table: The Creative). Then she lists on her character sheet which card (number and color) corresponds to that idea in her deck. For instance, she could write:
  • Red A - Inkling
  • Black A - Fleeting Inspiration
  • Red 2 - Thinker's Resistance
  • Black 2 - Envision Auras
  • Red 3 - Insight
  • Black 3 - Mindarrow

She could then put 2 red aces (one of hearts, one of diamonds), a black ace, a red 2, and a black 2 into her deck to represent her 5 0th-level ideas, and 2 each of a red 3 and a black 3 (i.e., all 4 suits of threes) to represent her 4 1st-level ideas. Any time she draws a black 2, for instance, she knows that she has access to the idea Envision Auras. This is only one possible composition; she could have instead used only 1 red ace and 2 black aces, if she preferred Inkling to appear more often than Fleeting Inspiration. Any composition is allowed as long as she uses the correct total number of ideas of each level and has no more than 2 copies of any idea.

Whenever the thinker begins a new period of intense thought (typically at the start of an encounter, but see "Intense vs Idle Thinking"), as well as at the end of each of the thinker's turns during that period, she draws a hand of 3 cards + 1 per 4 levels after 1st, as indicated on the class tables below ("Hand Size"). During her turn, she can bring into effect, or express, any ideas represented in her hand by playing them in front of her. Ideas already expressed in this way are considered neither in her hand nor discarded until she has finished her actions for the turn. At that point, all expressed ideas, as well as those remaining in her hand, are discarded. Any time she is required to draw an idea (such as at the end of her turn or if directed by another idea) and her deck is empty, her discard pile is immediately shuffled and becomes her deck. This can occur at any time, so if the remaining deck is smaller than the size of a hand to be drawn, then what remains of the deck is drawn, the discard pile is shuffled and replaces the deck, and then the rest of the hand is drawn from there, and the process continues.

In this way, the ideas that a character knows are made available to her a few at a time, and in a random order, but given a long enough encounter, she will have the chance to express them again. This is similar to the maneuver recovery mechanic of the Crusader class from Tome of Battle, though at a much faster pace. The exception to this cycle of discarding, shuffling, and drawing cards again is the concept of "retiring" ideas. If an idea states that it or a different idea is to be "retired," it is removed entirely. It is not discarded and will not reenter the deck at any point, and the deck-hand-discard system becomes smaller from that point on. After her period of intense thinking ends, however, retired ideas join expressed ideas and ideas in the hand and discard pile in being shuffled into the deck, ready for the next combat.

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Expressing Ideas

Expressing each idea requires an action, usually a move action (though ideas that manipulate the deck and each other are generally free actions). Therefore, a thinker is often restricted to producing at most two magical effects per turn. Many of the ideas in hand may go unused, and are discarded at the end of the turn before drawing again, just like expressed ideas.

In addition, thinkers require flashes of inspiration to fuel their magic, which takes the form of Insight Points (IP). Unless otherwise stated in its description, an idea cannot be expressed unless the thinker spends 1 IP. The idea may also allow her to augment it, spending more than 1 IP to produce a more powerful effect, though she cannot spend more additional IP on an idea than 1 per 4 levels after 1st, as shown on the class tables ("IP / Idea Limit"). When thinking intensely (see "Intense vs Idle Thinking" below), a thinker starts each turn with 1 IP, and some zero-IP-cost ideas may grant her more. Any IP gained during a turn is lost at the end of the turn unless stated otherwise.

Ideas are spell-like abilities, and function in every way not mentioned here as spells. Though they cannot be affected by meta-ability feats such as Quicken Spell-Like Ability, they can be dispelled, may be subject to spell resistance, do not function in an Antimagic Field, and so on. Any idea with a move-action expressing time or longer provokes attacks of opportunity unless the thinker expresses defensively (same DC as casting defensively). The DC against an idea is 10 + the idea's level + the thinker's primary expressing modifier (Charisma for Creatives, Wisdom for Philosophers, and Intelligence for Strategists).

Thought magic can be progressed by prestige classes, obtaining an increase to their effective level for the purpose of deck composition, ideas known, hand size, IP per idea maximum, and thinker level (the equivalent of caster level) at each level that advances casting (even if it specifies arcane or divine spellcasting level). Thought magic cannot, however, be progressed by prestige classes that progress multiple classes in one level, such as the Mystic Theurge, Cerebremancer, Anima Mage, or Ruby Knight Vindicator. Thinkers can meet "able to cast X-level spells" prerequisites of feats and prestige classes if they can express ideas of that level or higher, even if they specify arcane or divine magic - though thought magic counts as neither for all other purposes. They can also meet caster level prerequisites, using their thinker level instead. Other types of casting prerequisites, such as those that require spontaneous or prepared casting, cannot be fulfilled by thought magic.


Intense vs Idle Thinking

The process described above, of drawing and discarding hands of cards, occurs only during what are known as periods of "intense thinking." These bouts of enhanced focus allow thinkers to call many ideas to mind quickly, albeit in a random torrent. However, thinkers can also assume a slower, more methodical mode of thinking, useful for expressing thought magic outside of combat. This is called "idle thinking." Each period of thinking (both intense and idle) lasts 2 minutes (20 rounds), or less if the thinker wishes to stop earlier. When a period of intense thinking ends, retired cards are shuffled back into the deck.

Thought magic is mentally draining, and as such, thinkers can only perform a limited number of periods of thinking per day before needing to rest for 8 hours. A thinker can use thought magic a number of times per day equal to 5 + 1/2 her thinker level + 1/2 her primary expressing modifier (rounded down). These daily uses are gained at the start of the day, and thus don't increase or decrease if the thinker's expressing modifier changes during the day. Idle thought costs 1 daily use of thought magic, while intense thought costs 2 uses. Thought magic cannot be used outside of one of these two types of thinking. A thinker must end one period of thinking before she can begin another (ending and beginning a period of thinking are both free actions).

During periods of idle thought, thinkers do not draw cards or gain 1 IP per turn automatically. Instead, by spending one full round in concentration, a thinker can call any one idea from her deck to mind and gain an amount of IP equal to her IP limit per idea. Note that ideas must be in the deck to be called; ideas known but not currently in the thinker's deck are unavailable to them for that day. During the next round, she can express the called idea at most once, optionally spending IP up to her maximum to augment it. At the end of that second round, any unspent IP is lost, and the idea ceases to be called (even if it was not expressed). An idea can be called multiple times, but it can be expressed only once per idle thought per time that the idea appears in the thinker's deck composition. Since idle thinking ends after a maximum of 20 rounds, only up to 10 ideas will be able to be expressed in general, at a rate of 1 idea every 2 rounds.

Effects that cause cards to be drawn, discarded, or retired, or that specifically mention the hand, deck, or discard pile, do not occur during periods of idle thought (ideas may have functional effects in addition to their negated card-manipulation effects). IP cannot be gained in any way during idle thought other than when calling an idea; any mention of gaining IP applies only to periods of intense thought.


Multiclassing

A character with levels in multiple thinker classes keeps track separately of the ideas gained from each class. She makes multiple decks, each satisfying the requirements of a single thinker class and only containing ideas known on that class's list, and only then does she shuffle all of her decks together and use them as a single deck in combat. Note that multiclassing does not allow a character to circumvent the limit of 2 of the same idea per deck, even if that idea can be learned by multiple thinker classes. Nor can she have more than 26 types of cards in her deck.

Add all of her levels in thinker classes for the purpose of determining her hand size, maximum IP per idea, and thinker level. In addition, multiclass thinkers gain +1 to their hand size for each thinking class they have after the first. A multiclass thinker can choose which of her thinker classes' primary expressing modifiers to use for determining the DC's for all of her ideas, regardless of which class they came from. She makes this choice each time she takes her first level in a new thinker class - once made, this choice is permanent.


Changelog

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« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 07:32:23 AM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2018, 07:28:14 PM »
THE CREATIVE


"Ooh, I just had the most wonderful idea!"
-Meli, a Creative, shortly before frying ten hobgoblins with a bolt of lightning

Creatives are free-thinking, with a style that’s unrestrained and grows increasingly fast-paced and chaotic throughout an encounter. Their minds are constantly in flux, giving rise both to ingenious works of art and to a complexity in combat that mystifies even other thinkers.

As far as their ideas' effects are concerned, Creatives have options ranging from illusions and enchantments to powerful evocations, bolstered by "meta"-ideas like Empower Idea that no other class has access to. But the true strength of the Creative lies in the multitude of ways that they draw, shuffle, and retire cards. They are the only thought magic class to be able to reliably remove cards from their deck with Creative Process, allowing them to streamline their turns and get access to better ideas on average, though this is only one of many play-styles available to them.

MAKING A CREATIVE

Abilities: Creatives’ idea DC’s are based on their Charisma Modifier. As always, Dexterity and Constitution are vital defensive abilities.
Races: Most every race has a creative spark among its members. The versatility of humans in particular makes them well-suited for this class.
Alignment: Any non-lawful.
Starting Gold: As Bard
Starting Age: As Bard
   
Class Skills
The Creative’s class skills are Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Disguise, Diplomacy, Forgery, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Listen, Perform, Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, and Use Magic Device.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + int) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + int

Table: The CreativeHD: d6


Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Base
Attack
Bonus
+0
+1
+2
+3
+3
+4
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5
+11/+6/+1
+12/+7/+2
+12/+7/+2
+13/+8/+3
+14/+9/+4
+15/+10/+5

Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12


Special                                 
Inspired (1/day)
Imaginary Friend I
Artistry
Fast Learner (Skills)
Imaginary Friend II
On My Mind (1/day)
Inspired (2/day)
Imaginary Friend III
Create Object
Fast Learner (Feats)
Imaginary Friend IV
Inspired (3/day)
On My Mind (2/day)
Imaginary Friend V
Worldbuilding
Fast Learner (Ideas)

Hand
Size
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
7
IP /
Idea
Limit
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
Deck Composition
 
0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
54
45
46
362
363
364
2552
2553
2554
14552
14553
14554
034552
034553
034554
0234552
0234553
0234554
0234555
0234556
Ideas Known
 
0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
63
64
65
652
662
663
6632
6642
6643
66532
66542
66643
666532
666542
666643
6666532
6666542
6666643
6666653
6666654


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Creatives are proficient with all simple weapons, the heavy pick, bastard sword, whip, and bolas, and with light armor and light shields.

Ideas: The Creative begins play knowing 6 0th-level ideas and 3 1st-level ideas. At every subsequent level, the Creative learns one or more new ideas as given in the Ideas Known section of the table above, and can use between 0 and 2 of each to create the deck composition that corresponds to her level (as given in the Deck Composition section of the table). She may choose lower-level ideas whenever she would be allowed higher-level ones, both when learning new ideas known and when building her deck. At 4th level and every 4 levels afterward, she may exchange one idea known for another idea of her choice of that level or lower. The DC for her ideas is 10 + the idea's level + her Charisma modifier.

Inspired: Even if an idea isn't useful in the moment, the Creative can at least gain insight from it. As a free action, she may discard an idea in her hand and gain +1 IP for that turn. This ability is usable once per day at 1st level, and at 8th and 15th level, she gains an additional use per day. It cannot be used more than once per round.

Imaginary Friend: At 2nd level, the Creative gains the aid of a loyal companion, an imaginary friend. An imaginary friend is transparent, lacking color altogether, so it appears invisible (+20 to Hide, +40 when immobile) even against effects such as See Invisibility or True Seeing. It does have a physical form, however, so Blindsense, Blindsight, and Tremorsense can locate it. The Creative always knows where her friend is, though she can't see it herself without one of these special vision modes. She can, however, hear it. To her ears, it can speak intelligibly in any language that she can understand, and it can understand her in return. No other characters, regardless of any special senses, can hear the imaginary friend speak.

As the Creative's imagination becomes more powerful, her friend can take on a variety of forms. It can share the effects of the Creative's ideas as the Share Spells feature of a familiar. Its skill ranks and mental ability scores are half of the Creative's, and its saving throws and HD are the same as the Creative's. It does not gain feats except as described below. Though it is intelligent, it cannot use spell-trigger, spell-completion or use-activated magic items, nor is it proficient with any weapons or armor (except as noted below). Determine all other attributes, such as AC, BAB and HP, from its base stats as described below. It always has a BAB equal to its HD and d8 hit dice.

Whenever the Creative has the ability to gain a new friend, she may select either the form made available to her most recently or any of the forms detailed at lower levels. A new imaginary friend can be created either when an old one dies or when the Creative dismisses it (a free action), but either way, the process requires 24 uninterrupted hours of concentration.

Initially, the friend is Small-sized, with only a vaguely-humanoid shape. It has Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of 8 and a movement rate of 20 feet. It cannot attack in any way, but can carry objects and make skill checks.

At level 6, the Creative's imaginary friend becomes more developed, taking the form of a Medium-sized humanoid. It has Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of 14 and a movement rate of 30, and may be equipped with a transparent melee weapon that the Creative imagines into existence with a full minute of intense focus. The melee weapon can be of any mundane type, including double weapons or exotic weapons, and the friend is considered proficient with any weapon created for it. The weapon is not considered to be of any special material, and it is not masterwork. It vanishes if it is ever separated from the imaginary friend for whom it was created. Conversely, while the imaginary friend can pick up and use other weapons, it takes non-proficiency penalties with them, even if it is simultaneously proficient with a weapon created for it that is of an otherwise identical type.

By level 10, the imaginary friend begins to seem decidedly non-humanoid. It grows to Large size, its Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores improve to 20, its movement rate increases to 40, and it gains two claw attacks and a bite attack typical for its size (1d4 and 1d8 at Large size, respectively). It is able to use all three on a full-attack, and gains the Multiattack feat. Finally, should anyone touch it or attack it, they would notice that it is now protected by scales, or perhaps some kind of chitin. This provides it a +6 natural armor bonus to AC.

At level 14, the Creative's imagination spreads out of control. Her imaginary friend becomes Huge, its Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores increase to 26, and its movement rate reaches 50 feet. Its natural armor becomes more durable, instead granting it a +10 natural armor bonus to AC, and now also resulting in DR 5/-. More shockingly, it has developed a pair of wings that, while as transparent as the rest of its body, have a leathery texture and move noisily with poor maneuverability, also at 50 feet.

At level 18, the full, monstrous form that the Creative had brought into being is revealed. The imaginary friend is now Gargantuan, with Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of 32 and a base land speed of 60 feet. Its flight now has good maneuverability and a speed of 90 feet, its armor bonus is +15, and its damage reduction rises to 10/-. It gains 4 tentacles which erupt from its back, each with a base damage of 1d8. It uses all of them as secondary weapons whenever it makes a full attack.

Artistry: Though a Creative's skills truly shine on the battlefield, few can compare when it comes to the mundane arts such as painting and music. At level 3, she gains a +3 bonus to Craft checks, Perform checks, and Profession checks which involve creativity such as Profession (Writer).

Fast Learner: The Creatives are notorious among thinkers for their ability to quickly pick up new skills and ways of thinking. She gains the ability to make changes to her character as a free action which last until the end of the day, usable a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier (her uses per day are determined at the time in which she contemplates to recover her ideas and do not change if her Charisma modifier changes).

At level 4, she may expend a use of this ability to gain a number of temporary skill points less than or equal to her hand size, which she then adds to any one skill, subject to her usual level-dependent cap (her level + 3 for class skills, and half that for other skills). She is considered trained in any skill that receives a skill point in this way. The temporary skill points are lost if she uses this ability again, so only one skill at a time may ever benefit from these temporary skill points.

Starting at level 12, she may expend 3 uses of this ability (if she has that many) to change one feat she took into another feat that she had qualified for at the time. Such a change is only permitted if it respects all relevant prerequisites from prestige classes and other feats. Like all uses of the Fast Learner ability, the feat choice reverts to its initial state at the end of the day.

At level 20, the Creative becomes so adaptable that she can change any of her ideas at a moment's notice. She may expend 2 uses of her Fast Learner ability (if she has that many) to change one of her ideas known into a different idea of the same level, which cannot be one that she already knows. Neither the idea changed nor the replacement idea may be unique. Mark the difference by changing the name of the idea next to the corresponding card on her character sheet. This may even change the meaning of an idea in the Creative's hand that hasn't yet been used that round, dramatically improving her versatility in combat.

On My Mind: Sometimes an idea just gets stuck in the Creative's head, and she can conjure it to mind more quickly. Starting at 7th level, the Creative can select one of her ideas known at the beginning of the day. Once that day when she expresses it, the expressing time is one step shorter. A full-round action becomes a standard action, a standard becomes a move, a move becomes a swift, and a swift action becomes a free action. If this idea is changed via her 20th-level Fast Learner ability, the new idea must be eligible for On My Mind, and it has reduced expressing time instead until the end of the day. At level 16, she can use this ability twice per day, though both uses must be of the same idea.

Create Object: By level 11, the Creative has become adept at imagining objects so clearly that they become physical. Three times per day, she may create a single, nonliving, nonmagical object of volume up to 1 cubic foot per class level whose value does not exceed 100 gp. The object vanishes after 1 hour per class level, and can't be used as a material component or focus for a spell. The object cannot be so unique or exotic that it could not be found for sale in an average city.

Worldbuilding: The 19th-level Creative's imagination is so powerful that she can conjure an entire world into being. By spending 1 hour in concentration, she can create a demiplane, which forms at a random point in the Astral Plane. It takes 1 week for the demiplane to form, during which time it cannot be accessed. After that point, however, she can spend a standard action to travel instantly to any location on her world, along with up to 7 other willing creatures joining hands with her. While on her world, she can travel to any other point in that world using the same action, or travel back to the plane and location outside of her world where she had been most recently. The demiplane can also be accessed as normal with Plane Shift or a similar effect if the planar traveler knows its location or sees it in the Astral Plane.

The Creative's world is between 200 feet and 1 mile in each dimension (Creative's choice - once chosen at the time the world is created, this cannot be changed); past that point, it loops back on itself, so traveling west for half is length reaches the same point as traveling east. It has temperature and weather comparable to the Material Plane, anywhere between the coldest mountain and the hottest desert. It can have any terrain the Creative wishes, including structures up to 50 feet tall (though composed only of mundane, typical stone, dirt, wood, sand, and/or water or ice), as well as flora and fauna of the Creative's own design. Each creature made in this way must have the same statistics block and abilities as an existing animal of up to 5 HD, though it is considered to be an outsider native to the plane. The demiplane may support no more than 200 HD of life, and in a poorly-designed ecosystem without a balance of flora and fauna, that number will quickly dwindle, possibly to 0. Creatures native to the demiplane die within 1 minute if they are brought outside it.

Additionally, the Creative has special control over her world. She is aware of any intruders on her world, even if she is currently on another plane. She does not necessarily know their location, but she can see through the eyes of any native creature on her world by concentrating (she does not have any form of control over them, though they can theoretically be tamed and trained). In addition, while she is on her world, she can reshape the terrain or structures within 100 feet of her as a full-round action. Finally, while she is on her world, she may, as a standard action, lock her world, preventing all planar travel in or out. The lock can be undone as a standard action, and it automatically ends if the Creative dies. Until that point, it can only be bypassed by Wish, Miracle, or an equivalent effect.

The Creative can make a new world at most once per month. Once she begins the formation of a new demiplane, her existing demiplane, if any, contracts in on itself, physically compressing the landscape by 100 feet once per hour. Gravity intensifies immediately, rendering flight impossible and reducing land speed by half. Each time the plane compresses, an Earthquake occurs (DC 25). Eventually, the demiplane fully implodes to a point and vanishes. Creatures inside at that time must make a Fortitude save (DC 25) or be annihilated. Even creatures that are normally immune to Fortitude saves, such as undead, are affected. Surviving creatures find themselves floating in the Astral Plane where the demiplane used to be.

IDEA LIST

Ideas written in blue are expressed as free actions, cost 0 IP, and cannot be used in periods of idle thinking unless stated otherwise. All other ideas are assumed to be expressed as move actions for a cost of 1 IP and can be expressed in either mode unless stated otherwise. Ideas which can be augmented by spending additional IP to express them are listed with an A symbol.

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« Last Edit: Yesterday at 05:57:52 AM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2018, 07:30:03 PM »
THE PHILOSOPHER


"Embrace your hypocrisy, as I always say. Yes, I always say that, my boy, but I never act on it."
- Yove the Philosopher, unprompted, to a complete stranger

Philosophers concern themselves only with the largest questions, of meaning and place in an unfathomable world, of life and matter and thoughts themselves. Such is the scope of their ideas that they can extend beyond their minds and manipulate their surroundings. Their dedication to making their arguments unassailable manifests as an incredibly focused and powerful school of thought magic.

Mechanically, the Philosopher is simpler than the other classes, though by no means less powerful. Players will appreciate this class if they like the idea of swapping out available magic by drawing cards, but don't want to deal with deck management. Philosophers are by far the most adept at utility effects, having more uses of idle thought per day, but they also have unique combat capabilities like healing and special buffs, divinations, debuffs, and summons.

MAKING A PHILOSOPHER

Abilities: Philosophers’ idea DC’s are based on their Wisdom Modifier. As always, Dexterity and Constitution are vital defensive abilities.
Races: Long-lived races such as elves are well-suited to their long periods of study and contemplation, but races naturally gifted with Wisdom, like aasimars, will find that they have a particular knack for the philosopher's way of thinking.
Alignment: Any non-chaotic
Starting Gold: As Wizard
Starting Age: As Wizard
   
Class Skills
The Philosopher’s class skills are Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Listen, Perform (Oratory) Profession, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Spot.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + int) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + int

Table: The PhilosopherHD: d6


Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Base
Attack
Bonus
+0
+1
+1
+2
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+7/+2
+8/+3
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5

Fort
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12


Special                                 
Lore
Practical Reason
Rebuttal
Bonus Feat
Personal Philosophy
Active Mind
Pure Reason
Bonus Feat
Forceful Rebuttal
Personal Philosophy
Judgment
Seminal Work
Bonus Feat
Personal Philosophy
Insightful Rebuttal
Philosopher's Stone

Hand
Size
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
7
IP /
Idea
Limit
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
Deck Composition
 
0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
54
45
46
362
363
364
2552
2553
2554
14552
14553
14554
034552
034553
034554
0234552
0234553
0234554
0234555
0234556

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Philosophers are not proficient with any weapons, armor, or shields.

Ideas: A Philosopher's knowledge is so extensive that she does not need to learn new ideas at each level. Rather, all ideas on her class list are considered known to her. She is still limited to using only combinations of ideas that fulfill her deck composition requirements, shown by level in the table above, with no more that 2 copies of any given idea in use at a time. She may fill higher-level slots in her deck composition with lower-level ideas if she chooses. The DC for her ideas is 10 + the idea's level + her Wisdom modifier.

Lore: All philosophers are well-read, and those which can be found in adventuring parties are typically well-traveled, too. This gives them a wide array of knowledge that they've picked up over time and can tap into should the need arise. Treat this as the Bardic Knowledge class feature, except that the Philosopher applies her Wisdom modifier to the check rather than her Intelligence modifier.

In addition, this ability grants them a bonus on all Knowledge checks equal to their Wisdom modifier or their class level, whichever is lower.

Practical Reason: Philosophers seek a breadth of experiences and ideas, and refuse to constrain their usefulness to just combat. At level 2, the Philosopher gains 3 additional daily uses of idle thinking. Unlike normal thought magic uses, these bonus uses cannot be spent on intense thinking.

Rebuttal: Starting at 3rd level, the Philosopher can use the magical essence of argumentation itself to debate her enemies' spells into nonexistence. Whenever the Philosopher is aware of an enemy using a spell or spell-like ability within Close range while she is in a period of intense thinking, she may spend an immediate action and discard some number of random ideas from her hand (she shuffles her hand without looking at it, then discards a number of cards of her choice from the top of the stack). If the level of the effect is at most twice the number of ideas discarded, it is negated, as though it had been counterspelled. For instance, discarding 2 ideas would be sufficient to counter Solid Fog, but not Mind Fog. If the level of the spell or spell-like effect is 2 or more levels higher than the highest-level idea in her deck composition, the Philosopher's rebuttal attempt fails automatically. Before deciding whether to rebut an effect, the Philosopher may make a Spellcraft check to identify the effect and offer some clues as to how many ideas will need to be deployed in her argument and whether she can successfully rebut it.

At level 11, the Philosopher's arguments become so forceful that they physically impact against their targets. Whenever she successfully rebuts an opponent's spell or spell-like ability, that opponent takes 1d6 force damage per level of the spell countered.

At level 19, the arguments are so brilliant that they inspire even the Philosopher as she says them. She gains +3 IP during the turn after she executes a successful rebuttal.

Bonus Feat: The Philosopher gains a bonus feat at level 4 and every 6 levels afterward. She may choose any [Thought] feat or the [General] feat Magical Intuition (both described below).

Personal Philosophy: By level 6, the Philosopher moves beyond an understanding of how other minds before her described the world, creating her own notions of reality different from her fellow Philosophers. At this level, and every 6 levels afterward, she may choose an idea on another class' idea list and add it to her own. This idea may be of any level, even one that she cannot currently express. However, she may not choose any idea whose name contains the name of another thinker class, such as Creative Process or Strategist's Grenade.

Active Mind: The Philosopher's mind is always pondering and reflecting, making it unusually difficult to slow or distract her thinking. At level 7, this grants the Philosopher immunity to external effects that inflict Daze, Fascinate, or Sleep. She is not immune if she inflicts these conditions on herself, and she still requires a night's rest to express ideas the next day.

Pure Reason: The 8th-level Philosopher is a master of abstract thought, able to hold more ideas in her mind than other thinkers of her level. When she draws cards for each new turn during periods of intense thought, she draws 1 more than her hand size. Though this acts as though her hand size were 1 larger than normal, it does not change her hand size for the purpose of ideas, feats, or class features that refer to hand size.

Judgment: By level 14, the Philosopher has become assured and rigid in her way of thinking, and becomes adept at countering other viewpoints. Her harmful ideas have +1 DC against creatures whose alignments differ from hers by at least 2 steps. Thus, for example, a NG Philosopher would have +1 DC against foes that are CN, CE, NE, LE, or LN.

Seminal Work: At level 15, the Philosopher creates her life's work, the theory for which she will be known to future scholars; this takes the form of a slight embellishment on an idea that countless other Philosophers before her have expressed. She chooses an idea on her class list of level no lower than 2 and no higher than 5 which cannot have been gained from her Personal Philosophy class feature. Once chosen, this idea cannot be changed. For the purposes of composing her deck, she treats that idea as being one level lower than it would be normally. For instance, if she chooses Chilling Thought, she would treat it as a level 1 idea when building her deck, but it would still have the DC of her level 2 ideas when she expresses it.

Philosopher's Stone: At 20th level, the Philosopher deduces the greatest secret known to her class: the method for the creation of a Philosopher's Stone. She may make use of the stone's properties despite not being an arcane spellcaster, though she still needs to procure a cure potion should she wish to make an oil of life. Making the object requires only a small stone to serve as its base, ritualistic components worth a mere 100 gp, and a single week to weave the magic into place.

As with all Philosophers before her, she realizes that if the simplicity of the stone's enchantment were revealed, it would upend all of society, so she forbids herself from sharing the secret or bringing a stone into existence while another of her created stones' magic is unspent. So strong is her conviction that no effect, mundane or magical, can extract this knowledge from her in any way. It is due to the unimpeachable wisdom of each generation of great Philosophers that the secret has been kept to this day.


IDEA LIST

Ideas written in blue are expressed as free actions, cost 0 IP, and cannot be used in periods of idle thinking unless stated otherwise. All other ideas are assumed to be expressed as move actions for a cost of 1 IP and can be expressed in either mode unless stated otherwise. Ideas which can be augmented by spending additional IP to express them are listed with an A symbol.

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« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 07:03:56 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2018, 07:30:23 PM »
THE STRATEGIST


"Captain, if the enemy underestimates our position as much as you, then I daresay we'll have the camp by dinner!"
-Beltham the Brain, a Strategist, to the captain of the platoon he'd been sent to aid

Wizards may be scholarly, Warblades may be cunning with a blade, but nobody can match the Strategist when it comes to clever warfare. A Strategist's mind cycles quickly without end through ideas of how to control the battlefield and everyone on it. Typically, she'll stay off to the side, out of harm's way, but regardless of where she is, regardless of who wins and who surrenders, combat that involves a Strategist is forced to play by her rules.

The Strategist makes ample use of battlefield control ideas with areas of effect, as well as teleportation effects to move allies and enemies into more advantageous positions. The way she interacts with her deck is also very different from the Creative and Philosopher: none of her abilities shuffle the deck, and she has many options to find out precisely where cards are and manipulate their order. Her strategy often relies on planning ahead, making sure that her next few turns are more optimal than they would be if left to random chance.

MAKING A STRATEGIST

Abilities: Strategists’ idea DC’s are based on their Intelligence Modifier. As always, Dexterity and Constitution are vital defensive abilities.
Races: Strategists are well suited to open warfare or races that can socialize well enough to form a functional squadron. This includes organized and clever races like elves and humans, as well as creatures adept at fighting en masse like kobolds or halflings.
Alignment: Any
Starting Gold: As Wizard
Starting Age: As Wizard
   
Class Skills
The Strategist’s class skills are Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Listen, Move Silently, Profession, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, and Use Magic Device.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + int) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4 + int

Table: The StrategistHD: d6


Level
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Base
Attack
Bonus
+0
+1
+2
+3
+3
+4
+5
+6/+1
+6/+1
+7/+2
+8/+3
+9/+4
+9/+4
+10/+5
+11/+6/+1
+12/+7/+2
+12/+7/+2
+13/+8/+3
+14/+9/+4
+15/+10/+5

Fort
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12

Ref
Save
+0
+0
+1
+1
+1
+2
+2
+2
+3
+3
+3
+4
+4
+4
+5
+5
+5
+6
+6
+6

Will
Save
+2
+3
+3
+4
+4
+5
+5
+6
+6
+7
+7
+8
+8
+9
+9
+10
+10
+11
+11
+12


Special                                 
Tried and True
Battle Clarity
Know Thine Enemy
Element of Surprise
Tried and True
Siege Engine Experience
Cunning Tenacity
Terrain Advantage
Tried and True
Siege Engine Mastery
Mental Temerity
Tactical Advantage
Tried and True
Saw it Coming
Ward Battlefield
Siegebreaker

Hand
Size
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
6
6
6
6
7
7
7
7
IP /
Idea
Limit
1
1
1
1
2
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
4
4
4
4
5
5
5
5
Deck Composition
 
0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
54
45
46
362
363
364
2552
2553
2554
14552
14553
14554
034552
034553
034554
0234552
0234553
0234554
0234555
0234556
Ideas Known
 
0th1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
63
64
65
652
662
663
6632
6642
6643
66532
66542
66643
666532
666542
666643
6666532
6666542
6666643
6666653
6666654


Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Strategists are proficient with simple weapons, with the longsword, warhammer, longbow, and net, and with light and medium armor and shields.

Ideas: The Strategist begins play knowing 6 0th-level ideas and 3 1st-level ideas. At every subsequent level, the Strategist learns one or more new ideas as given in the Ideas Known section of the table above, and can use between 0 and 2 of each to create the deck composition that corresponds to her level (also given above). She may choose lower-level ideas whenever she would be allowed higher-level ones, both when learning new ideas known and when building her deck. At 4th level and every 4 levels afterward, she may exchange one idea known for another idea of her choice of that level or lower. The DC for her ideas is 10 + the idea's level + her Intelligence modifier.

Tried and True: While the Strategist generally likes to adapt to the circumstances of each battle, some techniques work too well not to keep up her sleeves for every occasion. At 1st level and every 5 levels afterward, she selects a non-unique idea on her list of ideas known (which may be one that she already chose for this feature). Once per day per time chosen, she may treat an idea in her hand of equal or greater level as that idea.

Battle Clarity: The 2nd-level Strategist can use her wits to keep herself out of danger. She adds her Intelligence modifier or her class level, whichever is lower, to her Reflex saves.

Know Thine Enemy: At 3rd level, the Strategist gains a +2 bonus to Knowledge checks made to identify enemy monsters and Spellcraft checks made to identify enemy spells and spell-like effects.

Element of Surprise: The 4th-level Strategist knows how best to seize the advantage of striking first. Whenever she is able to act in the surprise round, she may take any actions that would be available to her in a normal round (normally, a character acting in a surprise round is restricted to a single move or standard action).

Siege Engine Experience: Siege Engines are a vital component of many armies, and so the Strategist familiarizes herself with them in order to better incorporate them into her battle plans. She gains Siege Engine Experience (described below) as a bonus feat at level 7, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. If she already has the feat, she can take any other feat for which she meets the prerequisites instead.

Cunning Tenacity: At level 8, the Strategist's understanding of battlefield dangers like poison and death effects helps her body physically withstand them better. She adds her Intelligence modifier or her class level, whichever is lower, to Fortitude saves.

Terrain Advantage: The 10th-level Strategist knows how to make the most out of whatever cover is available. She gains +2 to AC and Reflex saves while behind cover (for a total of +6 to AC and +4 to Reflex saves due to cover). The feat Precise Shot only negates 4 points of the AC bonus, not the remaining +2.

In addition, the Strategist is treated as having cover as long as there is a square adjacent to her in which she would normally be considered to have cover. Thus, for instance, a Strategist standing west of a 5-by-5-foot boulder would count as having cover from a far-off archer to the north, since she is within 5 feet of the space just south of the boulder from which the archer's shot is obstructed.

Siege Engine Mastery: At level 12, the Strategist gains Siege Engine Mastery (described below) as a bonus feat, even if she does not meet the prerequisites. If she already has the feat, she may take any other feat for which she meets the prerequisites instead.

Mental Temerity: The 14th-level Strategist's intelligence provides her with resolve in the face of mental attacks. She adds her Intelligence modifier or her class level, whichever is lower, to Will saves.

Tactical Advantage: The 15th-level Strategist is a master tactician, choreographing her allies' movements to devastating effect. All allies within 60 feet of the Strategist (including the Strategist herself) gain an additional +2 to melee attack rolls when flanking (for a total of +4). In addition, allies within this range do not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving out of threatened spaces.

Saw it Coming: By level 18, the Strategist knows every trick in the book; nothing surprises her anymore. She always acts during the surprise round, rolling initiative as normal, even if only the enemy side has the surprise advantage. This does not necessarily guarantee that she will be able to accomplish anything; for instance, if someone sneaks up on her while she is sleeping, if she wins initiative before the attack and does not manage to awaken, she will spend that round continuing to sleep. However, if the enemy wins initiative and attacks her, then assuming she survives, she would wake up and be able to counterattack within that surprise round.

Ward Battlefield: The level-19 Strategist can instantly imagine magical defenses into being in order to hold their position. Once per day as a standard action, she may produce the effects of a Guards and Wards spell cast at her expresser level as a spell-like ability. However, this version of the spell is less strict when it comes to where the aspects of the spell can be placed. The fog, Web, Dancing Lights, Gust of Wind, Magic Mouth, Suggestion, and Stinking Cloud effects can be placed anywhere, not just in corridors, though no square can contain more than two of these effects in it. In addition, the confusion effect can be placed on any intersection, not necessarily indoors (though the paths must be clearly delineated, such as a fork in a road; a tree that can be passed either to the right or to the left is not a sufficiently universal intersection). The DC for any effect produced by this class feature is 16 + the Strategist's Intelligence modifier.

Siegebreaker: At level 20, the Strategist learns of a powerful technique capable of changing the tide of battles and singlehandedly breaking sieges. She may indicate a location within 1 mile to be affected by an extreme version of the Repulsion effect. Its area can be of any radius up to 10 miles, and rather than being indiscriminate, it only applies to creatures the Strategist indicates, as though setting the trigger for a Glyph of Warding. Any applicable creature already within the warded area must make a Will save (DC 19 + the Strategist's Intelligence modifier) or be forced to leave the area as quickly as it is able without expending limited resources (i.e., an army will run, but if it has siege weapons within the area, it will not abandon them, even though recovering them would slow it down). Creatures outside the warded area must succeed on the Will save or be unable to enter for 24 hours.

This effect lasts 1 day per class level, with each day requiring a new saving throw for creatures wishing to enter the area and creatures already within it. The Strategist may end it at any time as a free action. If the Strategist dies or moves more than 1 mile from the warded area, the effect ends automatically. The Strategist must wait at least 1 week after the end of one use of this effect to use it again.

IDEA LIST

Ideas written in blue are expressed as free actions, cost 0 IP, and cannot be used in periods of idle thinking unless stated otherwise. All other ideas are assumed to be expressed as move actions for a cost of 1 IP and can be expressed in either mode unless stated otherwise. Ideas which can be augmented by spending additional IP to express them are listed with an A symbol.

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« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 07:04:19 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2018, 07:30:48 PM »
NEW FEATS

GENERAL FEATS

These feats can be taken by characters without levels in a thinker class.

Feat Name                               Prerequisites                                          Description                                                                                                             
Magical IntuitionYou can apply your Wisdom modifier to Spellcraft and Use Magic Device checks.
Siege Engine ExperienceProfession(Siege Engineer) 4 ranksAll allies who can hear you are capable of operating siege weapons.
Siege Engine MasteryProfession(Siege Engineer) 8 ranks,
Siege Engine Experience
Allied siege weapons near you can be reloaded more quickly.

THOUGHT FEATS

These feats can only be taken by characters with at least one level in a thinker class. Unless stated otherwise, they apply only during periods of intense thought.

Feat Name                               Prerequisites                                          Description                                                                                                             
Azure InsightCon 13You can convert IP to essentia and draw IP from your crown chakra.
Creative DefenseDiscard an idea to gain a bonus to AC.
Extra InspiredCreative level 3Gain additional uses per day of your Inspired ability.
Final ThoughtThinker level 8Once per day, express a powerful idea with your last conscious breath.
Flow of BattleBAB +3Express an idea as part of a full attack, Flurry of Blows, or Cleave bonus attack.
ForesightYou can spend IP on one turn to gain IP next turn.
Fresh IdeasThinker level 4Gain +1 IP whenever your deck is shuffled.
Gain Reserve AbilityYou learn a reserve feat, normally only available to spellcasters.
Heighten IdeaIdeas prepared in higher-level slots count as that level.
Insightful AttackExpend IP to increase your attack roll.
JokerThinker level 4Add an idea to your deck that, when drawn, can act as any lower-level idea you know.
Lucky IdeaExpend a luck reroll to discard your hand and draw a new one.
Meditative HealingHeal yourself whenever you discard ideas.
Meta-analysisYou can save "meta-ideas" for later use.
MnemonicTwice per day, place a retired idea in your hand.
Off the Top of My HeadAt the start of each day, choose which idea will be on top of your deck in encounters.
Overwhelm ResistanceTreat energy resistance as halved if two of your ideas deal energy damage in a round.
Psionic SynergyThinker level 2, Manifester level 1Use IP in place of PP for your psionic powers.
Steady MindThinker level 4+1 IP per turn. You lose this benefit next turn if you draw, discard, or retire an idea.
Thought on the RunExpress ideas as part of your movement actions.
Thoughtful FriendImaginary Friend class featureWhen your imaginary friend uses an action to aid you, you can draw an extra idea.
Trump CardThinker level 8The last idea in your hand is especially powerful.
Two of a KindExpress two identical ideas as a single action.
Visual ThinkerAll copies of an idea in your deck are face-up.


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« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 01:02:40 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 07:31:39 PM »
IDEA DESCRIPTIONS (LEVELS 0 - 2)

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« Last Edit: July 07, 2020, 06:51:20 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2018, 07:32:37 PM »
IDEA DESCRIPTIONS (LEVELS 3 - 4)

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« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 07:31:56 AM by TheGeometer »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2018, 07:41:06 PM »
IDEA DESCRIPTIONS (LEVELS 5 - 6)

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« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 02:58:58 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2018, 08:23:28 PM »
You could call them Insight Points or Intuition Points if you want to avoid reusing the name of an existing mechanic.

Other than that I think the rules look okay (although I have no idea how I would play one in a PbP game).  I'll look over the class when I have some more time.

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 08:29:02 PM »
Alright, that took longer than I expected.

I added a section about ideas outside of combat to the introduction, changed Inspiration Points to Insight Points (thanks, Nanshork!) and added the Philosopher. Strategist will be coming in the next few days.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2018, 09:04:51 PM »
You're welcome! There's a reason that I'm the site's official homebrew reviewer.  :p

Fyi my phone hates your tables made up of multiple tables, even when I look at the desktop site.

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 06:42:06 AM »
Yeah, I figured vertical tables would be the way to go, since some of these classes had the huge "Ideas Known" statblock and others didn't. After I saw your post, I went back and looked through the post templates thread to see what I could do to make the tables nicer. I ended up fixing a bunch of issues, and now they look way more crisp and clean.

...probably still won't work on mobile, though.  :p

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2018, 08:18:04 AM »
...probably still won't work on mobile, though.  :p
It doesn't but it looks great on a computer. Nice improvement.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2018, 09:54:03 PM »
Well, they're better on mobile.

I agree, they're a lot nicer on my computer.

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2018, 09:18:02 AM »
Strategist is up. Feats will be coming up soon (for now, you get the gist. Philosopher can make ideas better in various ways, Strategist lets allies use siege weapons better). The detailed idea descriptions are saved for last, because they'll take by far the longest and they're not too necessary to evaluate the main ideas or the balance.

So... can we talk about something other than the tables now?

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats]
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2020, 04:49:09 PM »
It's done! Finally, it's all done!

I've been working on this quietly in the background for a while now, and have overhauled the class features and feats, as well as added descriptions of all the ideas. You don't have to read all of it (honestly, that would be asking a lot), but at least read some of the shortened idea lists in the spoilers at the end of the classes to get a feel for how it all works. I'd love to get as much feedback as possible.

There's a changelog at the bottom of the first post, for those who've read this before and want to skip to what's different.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 05:02:23 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline Garryl

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats] (COMPLETE!)
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2020, 08:00:54 PM »
Welcome back, TheGeometer! I remember you from this board's 'brewing heyday. Nice to see you around again, and with a big thing like this, to boot!

First off, some analysis of the deck building mechanic. That's the core concept of this project and the big draw, so let's dive into it first.

I can already tell that it's going to be a pain to keep track of at higher levels if you don't use proxy cards. It's easy if everything is a 4-of or a mix of 4-ofs (rank) and 2-ofs (rank + color), but mixing odd numbers around could make it difficult to intuitively keep track of which playing card represents which idea, something very important for speed of play and ease of analysis (ie: figuring out what you can actually do in a turn). Assigning each separate idea to a different card rank is only guaranteed to work up until level 7, at which point you have 15 ideas known, and is guaranteed to fail at level 15, which requires at least 14 different ideas to fill out the deck.

Typically with deck-building card games, a smaller deck is better than a larger one. D&D's closest equivalent to a card-based class, the crusader, was designed with that in mind; whenever its maneuvers readied (deck size) increases, its maneuvers granted (starting hand size) increases equally, leaving the same number of ungranted maneuvers left in the deck, so your odds of getting whichever maneuver you actually want always stay the same or increase, while also keeping a fixed rate of cycling through your deck. The progression used in these classes doesn't respect that concept, so there are several levels where your reliability and consistency actually decrease. For example, at level 1 (3 draws), a deck of 4x idea that does something you want in combat (ex: Corrosive Streak) and 2x Resolve has a 100% chance of drawing at least one combat actions and a 60% chance of drawing 2 combat actions and 1 Resolve for the extra IP to use both in one round (which also guarantees the same draw in the following round). Increasing to level 2 reduces those odds by forcing you to add 2 more cards into your deck. Upping this to 6x idea that does a combat action and 2x Resolve lowers the odds of drawing 2 combat actions and 1 Resolve to 54% while also removing the guarantee that you'll get it on the second draw if you got it on the first. (For reference, a 5-3 split gives the exact same 54% chance of a double idea turn, but gives a 2% chance of failing to draw any combat action ideas.) This happens again at 3rd level. The issue is exacerbated at low levels, both because you're diluting your card pool with equal- or lower-value cards and because you're reducing the control that a large hand size relative to your deck size gives you.

Enlarging your deck can be beneficial under the right circumstances. Roguelike drafting deck builders like Slay The Spire do this by starting your deck with mediocre cards and letting you add better cards to dilute them. The consistency of your deck drops because the inconsistent parts are stronger. You get that effect at higher levels when you start adding higher-level idea cards to your deck. It just doesn't work for the first few levels because you've already selected the strongest combination of 1st-level ideas for your first 6 cards, so anything you add to that is by definition weaker. It also makes the leveling progression feel a bit odd. At higher levels, you add more high-level ideas to your deck than you do low-level ones, so you're still improving the overall card quality and deck power, but since you continue to add more of the weakest ideas, it gives the impression of self-sabotage. Those drafting deck builders typically also periodically allow you to remove some of the weakest cards from your deck to improve consistency.

Also, as a side-note, if you select two unique-tagged ideas as your only ideas for a level (at the levels when you only know 2 ideas of the new idea level), it is literally impossible to build your idea deck. I don't think there are any classes that get 2 unique ideas at the same level, but that might change if you ever expand the system, so it would be a good idea to address it, regardless.

I would suggest looking into altering the deck building progression. The first few levels need adjustment to avoid the unintentional decrease in combat power and consistency. The higher levels don't technically need adjustment, but the bookkeeping may become too difficult for quick play and the continued growth of low-level ideas in the deck feels bad. Some suggestions off the top of my head (some of which are mutually exclusive):
- Replace the current deck limit with a number of different ideas (up to 13) that are allowed to be in your deck. As your level increases, you can select more of the higher-level ideas you know to be in your deck, and possibly also fewer of the low-level ideas. You could possibly also adjust the minimum and maximum number of copies of any idea by level, with each new character level increasing the maximum number of copies for your highest-level.
- Create some 0-level ideas and start at level 1 with a deck mostly composed of 0-level ideas.
- Balloon the deck size to much larger earlier on using more low-level ideas. As levels increase, increase the minimum deck size more slowly, but make room for higher-level idea slots by reducing the minimum number of lower-level ideas.

I'll try to take a look at the classes and ideas later on. I've only done a little skimming so far, so I don't quite have a good sense of the abilities in play and how they mesh yet. I'm a little worried about most everything being usable as a move action, which makes it very easy to combine with other caster classes, possibly too easy. It's something to keep an eye on.

Note: Formula for calculating card draws easily with AnyDice from here.
https://anydice.com/program/1c30d - 3 Resolves, 7 do-a-thing ideas
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 08:06:16 PM by Garryl »

Offline TheGeometer

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats] (COMPLETE!)
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2020, 08:50:04 PM »
Welcome back, TheGeometer! I remember you from this board's 'brewing heyday. Nice to see you around again, and with a big thing like this, to boot!

Hey Garryl, thanks so much for all the input so quick! :) Sorry that I changed the name of Resolve to Insight just after I posted it (I'd been meaning to make those +IP ideas simpler for a while, but forgot to do it until after it was up). I unwittingly made your excellent analysis more confusing. Anyway, I'll go over your main points.

Assigning each separate idea to a different card rank is only guaranteed to work up until level 7, at which point you have 15 ideas known, and is guaranteed to fail at level 15, which requires at least 14 different ideas to fill out the deck.

Yeah, I was prepared to have 2 different decks and a lot of bookkeeping, but some of your suggestions (which I'll get to in a sec) seem way better, and now you've got me thinking about other ways to do things.

Also, as a side-note, if you select two unique-tagged ideas as your only ideas for a level (at the levels when you only know 2 ideas of the new idea level), it is literally impossible to build your idea deck. I don't think there are any classes that get 2 unique ideas at the same level, but that might change if you ever expand the system, so it would be a good idea to address it, regardless.

Gonna address this early so I can address your main comment all at once. Good point, easy fix - "You cannot choose ideas known such that you would be unable to build a deck composition (such as by picking too many [Unique] cards)". Will add.

It just doesn't work for the first few levels because you've already selected the strongest combination of 1st-level ideas for your first 6 cards, so anything you add to that is by definition weaker. It also makes the leveling progression feel a bit odd. At higher levels, you add more high-level ideas to your deck than you do low-level ones, so you're still improving the overall card quality and deck power, but since you continue to add more of the weakest ideas, it gives the impression of self-sabotage. Those drafting deck builders typically also periodically allow you to remove some of the weakest cards from your deck to improve consistency.

I would suggest looking into altering the deck building progression. The first few levels need adjustment to avoid the unintentional decrease in combat power and consistency. The higher levels don't technically need adjustment, but the bookkeeping may become too difficult for quick play and the continued growth of low-level ideas in the deck feels bad. Some suggestions off the top of my head (some of which are mutually exclusive):
- Replace the current deck limit with a number of different ideas (up to 13) that are allowed to be in your deck. As your level increases, you can select more of the higher-level ideas you know to be in your deck, and possibly also fewer of the low-level ideas. You could possibly also adjust the minimum and maximum number of copies of any idea by level, with each new character level increasing the maximum number of copies for your highest-level.
- Create some 0-level ideas and start at level 1 with a deck mostly composed of 0-level ideas.
- Balloon the deck size to much larger earlier on using more low-level ideas. As levels increase, increase the minimum deck size more slowly, but make room for higher-level idea slots by reducing the minimum number of lower-level ideas.

Okay, a ton of fantastic ideas here. First of all, limiting the deck to 13 ideas and a smaller scale is an elegant fix. However, it clashes with the other thing you suggested that I really want to do - filling the deck with a bunch of 0th-level ideas that you gradually replace as you level. I'll think about this some more and see if I can come up with a way to solve both the progression issues and the bookkeeping issues in one fell swoop.

I should note that (with the exception of levels 1-3, which, yeah, thanks for catching that), every level is an unambiguous improvement over the previous, since the ratio [number of level-X spells] / [number of level-(X-1) spells] never decreases at any level or for any value of X. Every time the deck adds a level-1 idea, it always adds at least one idea of every level above that. So I definitely tried to keep that in mind at least when designing the progression. As you said, though, it doesn't feel like a perfect solution.

I'll try to take a look at the classes and ideas later on. I've only done a little skimming so far, so I don't quite have a good sense of the abilities in play and how they mesh yet. I'm a little worried about most everything being usable as a move action, which makes it very easy to combine with other caster classes, possibly too easy. It's something to keep an eye on.

The caster thing is a little worrisome, true, but I think it's balanced by the fact that you're losing caster levels, no? (Also yeah, I wanted this system to have prestige class options so I let it count as a casting class, but if I specify that it can't be used for dual-progression PrC's, then that loophole is solved at least). Are you worried about 1-level dips? Because as far as I can tell, a Wizard 5 / Strategist 5, for instance, doesn't seem more powerful than a Wizard 10 or a Strategist 10.

Anyway, thanks again! I'll be brainstorming and looking forward to anything else you find.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 09:00:26 PM by TheGeometer »

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats] (COMPLETE!)
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2020, 10:00:37 PM »
It's been two years, I don't remember what this looked like before.   :P

I just wrote up a review of an entire game system, I'll give this a look-see at a later date when I have some motivation again but I am definitely going to look it over.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Thought Magic [magic system, base classes, & feats] (COMPLETE!)
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2020, 11:37:59 PM »
Still reading things, but before I forget, SLAs take the same amount of time as the spell they mimic unless otherwise specified. Strategist's Ward Battlefield incorrectly refutes that. Also, Opening Play still a few refers to Not Playing With A Full Deck, which doesn't exist any more.

Okay, a ton of fantastic ideas here. First of all, limiting the deck to 13 ideas and a smaller scale is an elegant fix. However, it clashes with the other thing you suggested that I really want to do - filling the deck with a bunch of 0th-level ideas that you gradually replace as you level. I'll think about this some more and see if I can come up with a way to solve both the progression issues and the bookkeeping issues in one fell swoop.

I did say they were mutually exclusive.

Quote
The caster thing is a little worrisome, true, but I think it's balanced by the fact that you're losing caster levels, no? (Also yeah, I wanted this system to have prestige class options so I let it count as a casting class, but if I specify that it can't be used for dual-progression PrC's, then that loophole is solved at least). Are you worried about 1-level dips? Because as far as I can tell, a Wizard 5 / Strategist 5, for instance, doesn't seem more powerful than a Wizard 10 or a Strategist 10.

Anyway, thanks again! I'll be brainstorming and looking forward to anything else you find.

It's not casters specifically. Martial adepts are often standard action-focused and multiclass really well. Gestalt is an optional method of character creation for some campaigns worth at least thinking about. Sometimes you have a magic item or a racial ability that's normally just a little subpar but now stacks on top of your casting system. Sometimes it's just a matter of leveraging an action that's balanced as low value a little too well and getting a little too much out of a dorje of Hustle. Nothing that's necessarily game breaking or OP, but something to keep an eye to make sure that it stays that way.

If you wanted to nip any concerns about this in the bud and just not have to worry about it, you could make expressing ideas like performing a full attack, where it's a standard action to express one idea, a full-round action to express two of them, and you can decide which action you're spending after you've expressed the first and are choosing whether or not to express a second.