Author Topic: Arhosan Seedcasting Index & Discussion  (Read 76304 times)

Offline phaedrusxy

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Arhosan Seedcasting Index & Discussion
« on: April 25, 2014, 09:28:32 AM »
Arhosan Seedcasting is now full integrated into the Arhosa Campaign Setting, and all comments should reference the version there.

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« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 07:31:24 AM by Stratovarius »
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Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 09:39:35 AM »
Thought this might be more appropriate than posting in your newly created thread... If not, feel free to merge/delete this. :D

So... I have an idea about basic design principles: You said your aim with this system is to be able to recreate every spell in the PHB using Seeds. But why bother? It's not like the PHB spells were balanced at all, anyway. Many of them are useless, and others far stronger than needed. The reasons for this vary (some are too specialized, for example).

So why not instead use them as a kind of general guideline for the types of effects you want to create, but then give yourself the freedom to generate your seeds/effects based upon what you want casters to be able to do? You don't have to specifically recreate the D&D spells using a different mechanic, and there is little benefit in trying to (IMO).

Your Illusionary seed might be a good example. Instead of saying "you can recreate any illusion spell with a level = 2xSP spent", how about saying "for 1 spell point, you can create an illusion that affects only hearing, scent, taste or touch. For 2 spell points, you can effect vision. You can combine these to effect more than one sense (2+1 = sight + hearing, for example). Have the original area and range be very small (as with your original spell seeds), and if you want to affect a bigger area/more creatures, you have to augment it.

You could add something like the more points you spend, then the less obvious an illusion it is (so for only 1 spell point, you can create concealment (i.e. it has holes in it), for 3 you can create total concealment, etc).

Your existing Elemental seeds also follow this kind of idea (very generic, do X damage to one creature, if you want more you need to augment).

That's the end goal, really, is to let people build the spells they want, like the elemental seed.

But many effects simply don't lend themselves to that. Take Dimension Door (or any teleport spell) - how do you make that scale per level? Sure, you can have the range increase on a log scale, but at some point you need to bring in all the other bits and pieces from teleport about missing the destination, etc.

It's all those little picky rules that cause me to have to reference back to the original.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 12:30:36 PM by Stratovarius »

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 09:44:03 AM »
I think your original Teleportation writeup was fine (I don't remember what it was called). It doesn't need to increase in a discrete mathematical fashion. You can get a big leap between certain expenditures (approximating different spells from D&D).

And yeah, many of these things will require a bit more granularity, but where possible I'd aim to simplify and feel free to leave out things that don't fit the mold easily, as long as you don't feel they're critical to gameplay (like all the million different information gathering spells... which could probably all be simplified dramatically into only a couple of seeds).

Edit: I think you're basically doing this, but somewhere you said you'd like to be able to reproduce every D&D spell (which I assume you mean core only). What I'm saying is: don't even bother, most of them aren't worth the trouble, as they're poorly balanced/written anyway. Don't feel obligated to tie yourself to the originals at all. Use them for general inspiration only, but give yourself the freedom to ignore them and just make seeds which generate the effects you want to see and think are important.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 09:50:15 AM by phaedrusxy »
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Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2014, 09:57:56 AM »
Well, part of the reason for doing this is I know I'm missing a bunch of effects, or have them set in such a way they don't apply to everything (racially specific ones, etc). So this first step is as much research as anything else, so I know what I have to work with. Then when that's done, I can rework the seeds.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Discussion
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 01:51:45 PM »
So, just starting to tackle a few small segments of the system, and wanted to see what I was missing from the targeting list first. Missing any major ones?

Questions:
Are any of these too expensive? I'm thinking of reducing Targeted to 1 per target, for instance.
Emanation - Have it able to trigger every round, correct?
Fog - Should be added? Or left as a property of the fog spells?
Storm - Should be added? Or left as a property of the storm spells?
Wall - As above.
Ring - As above.
Pillar - As above (it's a vertical line anywhere within the distance)

Targeting
  • Cone - The spell affects all creatures in a cone-shaped burst that is 5' per two caster levels long. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude or Will.
  • Emanation - The spell affects all creatures within 5' per two caster levels of you. This only affects them when they enter the area of the emanation. Point cost: +4 if a Reflex save, +5 for Fortitude or Will.
  • Line - The spell affects all creatures along the line from your position to the target point. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude or Will.
  • Ray - The spell no longer grants a save, and instead uses a ranged touch attack. This only works on spells that allow a reflex save. Point cost: +1.
  • Sphere - The spell affects all creatures within 5' per two caster levels of the target point. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude or Will.
  • Targeted: A spell affected by this change can target one extra creature beyond the first for every two points expended. The creatures must be within 5' per point expended of one another. Point cost: +2 per extra target.
  • Touch - The spell affects a single creature struck by a melee touch attack. It no longer grants any Reflex saves, but Fortitude and Will saves still occur. Point cost: 0.
Also, thinking of adding restrictions that reduce point cost:

Only affects a specific race
Only affects objects
Applies ability damage to the caster
TBD

Offline Garryl

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 03:16:57 PM »
Don't add the point reductions for restrictions. It's just free spell points when the restrictions are met, since spell seed casting lets you put everything together on the fly. If you want spells that are for specific targets only, build that into the base effect, preferably with the option to generalize it by spending more spell points or reducing the effect (depending on whether you balanced it with an increased effect or a reduced base cost).

Likewise for backlash in exchange for cost reductions, it's frequently possible to negate it for even less extra cost than the reduction. That doesn't necessarily mean being immune (although that is probably the most common method), but also just healing it back up cheaply.

Is Sphere supposed to be a burst or a spread? Both should be options.

Why are the area targeting options cheaper for Reflex saves? What are their costs for no-save effects?

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 03:44:06 PM »
Reflex saves are determined by the Spell Seed, not the Targeting option, so it only really applies to things like elemental damage and a few others. The slight difference in save costs is because a Fireball AoE is generally less dangerous, especially as levels go up, than a Fort or Will Save or Suck.

Sphere is snagged from the Fireball spell. I'll add in the other one.

It would be the highest cost for no-save seeds. Most of them are buffs though, or seeds where having an area doesn't work.

Given the on the fly spell building, I probably couldn't justify any restrictions, since they'd just be pointless. Would need to be a feat. Hateful Spellcasting or something.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 08:51:15 PM »
Went with this:

Targeting
  • Cone - The spell affects all creatures in a cone that is 5' per two caster levels long. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Cylinder - The spell affects all creatures in a cylinder that is 5' per two caster levels of the target point, and is twice that in height. Point cost: +3 if a Reflex save, +4 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Line - The spell affects all creatures along the line from your position to the target point. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Ray - The spell no longer grants a save, and instead uses a ranged touch attack. This only works on spells that allow a Reflex save. Point cost: +1.
  • Spread - The spell affects all creatures within 5' per two caster levels of the target point. Point cost: +3 if a Reflex save, +4 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Burst - The spell affects all creatures within 5' per two caster levels of the target point. Point cost: +2 if a Reflex save, +3 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Wall - The spell creates a wall 20 ft. long per caster level. Creatures passing through the wall are affected by its effects. The wall is 20 ft. high. Point cost: +3 if a Reflex save, +4 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Ring - The spell creates a ring with a radius of up to 5 ft. per two caster levels. Creatures passing through the ring are affected by its effects. The ring is 20 ft. high. Point cost: +3 if a Reflex save, +4 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Fog - The spell creates a fog 5 ft. in radius per two caster levels and 20 ft. high. Creatures passing through the fog are affected by its effects. Unless altered, treat a fog spell as Obscuring Mist. Point cost: +4 if a Reflex save, +5 for Fortitude, Will or none.
  • Targeted: A spell affected by this change can target one extra creature beyond the first for every two points expended. The creatures must be within 5' per point expended of one another. Point cost: +2 per extra target.
  • Touch - The spell affects a single creature struck by a melee touch attack. It no longer grants any Reflex saves, but Fortitude and Will saves still occur. Point cost: 0.
  • Shapeable - The spell creates a 10 ft. cube per caster level. Point cost: +4 if a Reflex save, +5 for Fortitude, Will or none.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 07:36:43 AM »
Rebuilt the seed below.

The Following Shadow: A dim reflection of the world, the plane of shadow greets you with its magic, offering dark and sinister gifts.
  • Seed Type: Wizardry
  • Call Shadow: Shadows abound, swirling round and round. You may create any spell from the Illusion (Shadow) subschool by paying a number of spell points equal to the spell's level times two. This cannot be used to create Shadow Walk, Shadow Evocation, Shadow Conjuration, and similar spells.
  • Nightmares in the Dark: Fear of a world long since gone, a home not seen in ever so long. You may create any spell from the Illusion (Phantasm) subschool by paying a number of spell points equal to the spell's level times two.
  • The Nighttime Passage: This seed allows you step into the Plane of Shadow, leaving behind the Material world. You may bring one creature per two spell points expended. This seed has a minimum cost of 8 spell points. Treat as Shadow Walk.
Added these seeds:

Righteous Anger: Fury of the gods pour down upon those who face against you.
  • Seed Type: Prayer.
  • Aid from Above: Divine gifts settle upon you, making your fight easier. The target gains a +1 morale bonus to attack and fear saves, and 1d8 temporary hit points. Spell point cost: +2.
  • Might of the Gods: You grow in size, ready to challenge the unbelievers. Increase your size category by one, gaining a +4 size bonus to Strength and a +2 size bonus to Constitution, and a +2 bonus to natural armour. This enlarges all equipment as well. Spell point cost: +6
  • Godblade: A glowing blade, the sign of a blessed weapon. For 5 spell points, make your weapon anarchic, axiomatic, disruption, holy, or unholy. For a further 7 spell points, make the weapon brilliant energy.
The Ivory Tower: Knowledge was ever the most important component of life.
  • Seed Type: Wizardry.
  • Dusty Secrets: Magic has it secrets, and you are privy to them all. To perform an Identify spell, this seed costs 1 spell point. For 8 spell points, you may create an Analyze Dweomer effect, while Legend Lore is 10 spell points.
  • Eyes of the Magi: Eyes, eyes, eyes in the dark. To perform an Arcane Eye spell, this seed costs 6 spell points. For 8 spell points, you may create a Prying Eyes effect, while Greater Prying Eyes is 12 spell points.
  • The World's Call: Here and there, the whispers of everywhere. To perform a Detect Secret Doors spell, this seed costs 1 spell point, while Locate Object is 2. For 6 spell points, you may create a Locate Creature effect, while Stone Tell is 10 spell points.
The Barrens: Life walks away, rejected by you.
  • Seed Type: Wizardry, Prayer.
  • Rejected Life: Scorned by the living, you scorn them in turn. You bring into being an energy field that prevents creatures of the chosen type from approaching within 5 ft of you. This spell may be used only defensively, not aggressively. Forcing a barrier against creatures that the spell keeps at bay collapses the barrier. Chose one of animals, aberrations, dragons, fey, giants, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, oozes, plants, and vermin. This spell prevents their approach. Each time you pay the spell post of 2 points, add another creature type.
  • Life Artificial: The living are your antitheses, so you create your own. Animate a single object, as per the spell, paying 2 points per size category.
  • Healed the Unhealed: Even those of your strange coterie need nourishment. Heal a construct 10 hit points per point paid. Remove one condition (Ability damage, blinded, confused, dazed, dazzled, deafened, feebleminded, and insanity) for every three paid.
The Jester's Eyes: Even the best of us can be played by the hand of lady luck
  • Seed Type: Wizardry, Prayer.
  • Incompetence Thrives: Every swing in combat, a miss. You apply a -1 penalty to attack rolls for every spell point to the target. Will negates.
  • Mocked, Decrepit: Arms of strength are not so, away does even the best of us go. You apply a -3 penalty to damage rolls for every spell point to the target. Fortitude negates.
  • Fool the Fool: None are so foolish as the fool who does not know he is a fool. You apply a -1 penalty to saving throws for every 3 spell points to the target. Will negates.
The Cursed Mirror: When we are shown what hides on the other side of life, we cringe away, unable to cope.
  • Seed Type: Wizardry, Prayer.
  • That Which I Am Not: Are we in our right forms? Or is this cosmic justice a mockery? You baleful polymorph, as per the spell, the target. This spell can affect 2 HD of creatures for every spell point spent. Fortitude negates.
  • The Right Mind: Perhaps it is better to sit and wait, wait for the end of days. Render the targets docile and harmless for duration. The affected creatures remain where they are and do not attack or flee. They are not helpless and defend themselves normally if attacked. Any threat breaks the spell on the threatened creatures. This spell can affect 6 HD of creatures for every spell point spent. Will negates.
  • That Which You Are Not: Mock those who mock you, and they fall right into the palm of your hand. The affected creatures give you their undivided attention, ignoring their surroundings. They are considered to have an attitude of friendly while under the effect of the spell. If any of the targets is attacked or subjected to some other overtly hostile act, the spell ends and the previously affected creatures become immediately unfriendly toward you. This spell can affect 6 HD of creatures for every spell point spent. Will negates.
The Ghost Within: Are we real? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We straddle the border between.
  • Seed Type: Wizardry, Prayer.
  • Seen But Not Seen: Lost to sight, even the best of us is soon forgotten. You become invisible, as per the spell, for 2 spell points. For 6 points, the invisibility no longer ends when you attack. For 14 points, become astral, as per the astral projection spell.
  • There, Yet Not: What is there, yet not there, if not who we are? You gain 20% concealment, for 2 spell points. For 6 points, the concealment increases to 50%. For 10 points, become incorporeal.
  • Silence Stilled: Where once there was sound and noise and the passion of life, now there is the death of sound. For 2 points, cast Spectral Hand. For 4 points, gain blink, as per the spell. For 12 points, become ethereal.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 10:23:23 AM by Stratovarius »

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2014, 09:41:39 AM »
The new Following Shadow is much more balanced... but makes me sad...  :bigeyes because I was thinking of (ab)using the old one. :P
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Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2014, 11:53:43 AM »
The new Following Shadow is much more balanced... but makes me sad...  :bigeyes because I was thinking of (ab)using the old one. :P

You were the person who told me it was imbalanced. If you want to exploit something, don't tell the designer about it :P

Anyway, I personally really like those spells, so I might see if there's a way to work them back into the setting.

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2014, 07:45:24 PM »
So, I think I have managed to go through most of the spells (in the SRD, at least), and built up enough seeds to cover most of the spell choices. Hopefully, this means I can let the system rest and be played with.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Discussion
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2016, 11:57:20 AM »
All spell seed AoE targeting options cost 1 spell point less for Reflex saves. Would it be possible to bake that in as a general rule instead of having to include exceptions in 80% of the targeting options descriptions?

Also, fog is odd in that it's the only targeting option that adds an extra effect to the spell itself. Maybe split it apart, so the targeting part just does a fog-like spread, then add an obscuring metamagic option (or maybe completely separately as a spell seed's effect) that adds in the obscuring mist-type effect (possibly only to spells with the fog targeting option, but I can see it with any ring and wall as well, or any emanation, really).

Edit: Also about targeting, there should be some targeting options for emanations (eg: creatures only continue to remain affected while they're in the area, and creatures become newly affected if they move in after the spell's already cast). Fog is the only one that's actually like that.

Edit edit: Also, if you go with my suggestion about splitting up the fog and the obscuring mist, you might want to do something similar with the Webspinner class's Webcasting (a targeting option that just sets up the emanation's area, plus a separate effect option that fills it with sticky webs).
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 12:14:36 PM by Garryl »

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2016, 02:48:43 PM »
A long time ago, Phae and I were noodling around about how to fix Spell Seeds, since they clearly had some issues. But it never got much further than that. More or less because I have to throw out the entire D&D spell system and start from scratch if I want this to work, and it's currently a halfway house that just has issues of its own.

Looks like I might need to go back to that to fix things. I'm just not sure I have the motivation to put the effort in... :banghead

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Spellcasting Rebuild Discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2016, 04:10:54 PM »
Okay, given the recent issues pointed out with the Spell Seed system, I'm going to resurrect this thread, and start the approach from a different, smaller, angle.

Goals:
Create a spellpoint & seed (options) system where players create spells on the fly with pick and choose, but retain the iconic flavour of playing a D&D wizard (etc.).

Step #1: Identify iconic Wizard (ne Arcanist) effects.
Fireball (and other direct damage spells such as Magic Missile)
Scrying
Teleporting
Summoning
Charm & Dominate
Finger of Death, etc.
Illusions
Abjurations (protection spells)
Dispel Magic

^^^ is this the list I'll start working from, as well as rebuilding the rules a little.

Offline Garryl

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2016, 05:05:31 PM »
I'm just going to toss out some ideas here. I was going to start with targeting options because that's what I was thinking about, although at some point I meandered a bit into duration. Still need to double back to deal with range at some point, in particular for touch spells.

General idea I had in my head was that each spell seed (or individual seed effect, possibly) lists which categories of targeting it can be used with (individual, area, or continuous), and any that have instantaneous effects are also marked as such. Targeting options include ways to repeat an instantaneous spell effect for that fire cloud sort of effect.

Also, I kinda went overboard and included a ton of extra targeting options to fill some concepts out.

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« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 08:44:47 PM by Garryl »

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2016, 05:38:20 PM »
Wow. Lot of work you put in there. Thanks!  :clap

So, questions:
When dealing with a Wall or Ring spell, how do you cost it out? Right now, what I'm assuming is Wall (1), Wall Duration (3 [Round/level]), Spell Effect (2d6 Fire, 1), Spell Effect Duration (0, instant). Is that correct?
Is Pulse an area spell, or really something that should be combined with Continuous spells? Because it seems like it only works with them.
Is the difference between Quadrant and Spray that one moves with you?

Comments:
For touch, I think it has to be a special case of both individually targeted and a range. Otherwise it's going to break somewhere.

More to come as I think of them.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2016, 05:39:37 PM »
Interesting.

Well, going back to costs will make the need to rewrite feats go away.  :p

Offline Garryl

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2016, 06:01:39 PM »
Wow. Lot of work you put in there. Thanks!  :clap

Thanks. And then I added some more while you were posting.

Quote
So, questions:
When dealing with a Wall or Ring spell, how do you cost it out? Right now, what I'm assuming is Wall (1), Wall Duration (3 [Round/level]), Spell Effect (2d6 Fire, 1), Spell Effect Duration (0, instant). Is that correct?

Correct. That would produce something like a wall of fire, lasting 1 round/level and dealing 2d6 damage to anyone who passes through.

Quote
Is Pulse an area spell, or really something that should be combined with Continuous spells? Because it seems like it only works with them.

Pulse repeats an area spell every round from the same point of origin.

Modifying the example above: Pulse (*), Emanation (3), Pulse Duration (3 [Round/level]), Spell Effect (2d6 Fire, 1), Spell Effect Duration (0, instant)
That would cost 8 SP (7 if it allowed a Reflex save) and would deal 2d6 fire damage to everything in the area when cast, and would deal that damage again each round to anything in the area at the time.

If you were to do the same thing with a straight up emanation, it wouldn't do what you think. The damage (an instantaneous component) would just fire off once when you cast the spell. Trying to apply damage as a sort of continuous/ongoing thing doesn't make sense, as we've discussed above. Pulse is a way of dealing with that to make it work as you'd expect/want it to.

Quote
Is the difference between Quadrant and Spray that one moves with you?

Yep. Quadrant is sort of like Gust of Wind (as a cone instead of a line), while Spray is like Detect Magic.

Interesting.

Well, going back to costs will make the need to rewrite feats go away.  :p

Costs were basically just trying to follow the lead of the current iteration's options, and whatever felt about right given that for the truly new things. They're definitely not in any way, shape, or form final, or necessarily balanced or anything.

Edit: Or did you mean something about the spell seeds not using costs for different targeting/duration options at some point? I haven't kept up on how the development's been going.

Edit: And then I decided to add even more ways of targeting (Bolt, Beam, Stream, and Cage, plus whatever I forgot about while you were posting but before I started writing this response).
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 06:40:30 PM by Garryl »

Offline Stratovarius

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Re: Re: Discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2016, 08:06:22 PM »
To answer the comment about costs - originally, this system required the caster to pay costs individually for Duration, Targeting, Range. Right now, they only pay for the spell effect, and get to spend half of that (for free) on DTR options.

Looking through the list, the only "major" missing targeting option I can see is Missile, which would need a number of different options to account for single target vs can split missile targets, and 1 missile per caster level, or per 2 caster level, etc. Not entirely sure how to break that one down.

Unless I'm wrong, Garryl has just given us a very solid base to work from - now I just need to update the Spell Seeds to match. And get rid of the ones that just say "use old system", effectively.

With this system, how would you do a Summon spell? Summon spell effect, rounds/level duration, and Targeted?