I have a spellcasting system. It does some things well, and I quite like the way in which it shapes the warfare and civilizations of the setting which hosts it, both by its strengths and by its limitations. In attempting to make that setting compatible with Pathfinder, I'd like to preserve such things. However, in the case of the spellcasting system's resource system, I am finding that what I currently have is likely a bit too complex for mid-game bookkeeping, and so would like to simplify it if I can do so without losing the effects it has on the setting.
The specific effects I would like to preserve from this resource system are:
- Given appropriate magic items and sufficient power in their path, mages can continue to cast lesser spells indefinitely, and can cast multiple greater spells in a single combat due to quickly recovering from the exhaustion.
- Without such (expensive) investment, even lesser spells will quickly tire a mage and leave them unable to defend themselves adequately.
- - This has the further effect of encouraging mages to pair up with military units, which can effectively keep enemies from reaching the mage.
- Greater spells exhibit the above even more strongly, with the least of them knocking the caster unconscious unless they have more than the minimum power level to cast that spell.
The specific system I currently have is as follows:
A character with spellcasting ability possesses a fatigue pool, which starts at 0, has a floor of 0, and a ceiling of 200. Fatigue is added to the pool when spellcasting, at a rate determined by the spell being cast. For example, fireball adds 20, while summon fire elemental adds 100.
When fatigue is at 30+, the character gains the fatigued condition, and effects which apply that condition also apply 30 fatigue. At 70+, the character gains the exhausted condition, and effects which apply exhausted also apply 70 fatigue. At 100+, the character falls unconscious. At 200+ damage, any further fatigue is translated to hp damage at a 10:1 ratio.
Each round, a character recovers fatigue at a rate of 1+reinvigoration, where reinvigoration is the total value added by their magic items and current spell effects.
This system is decently robust, and already simplified a fair bit compared to its source, but I expect that if not further simplified I will need to bring a spreadsheet with me to each session to track caster fatigue.
The only simplification I've come up with thus far that somewhat works is to have spells deal nonlethal damage to the caster when cast, and make the reinvigoration items into fast healing items. I have reservations about doing that because it simplifies away any effect of fatigue until literally one point short of falling unconscious. If I did do this, I'd likely houserule the staggered condition from nonlethal damage to happen at half current hitpoints, rather than equal to current hitpoints, or some other change to make it a bit more granular.
Any suggestions or advice for how to better handle this would be appreciated, even if it's just 'write up that spreadsheet and use it.'