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Saturday, February 02, 2013

More uses for Spell Slots in a Vancian World

I don't know about all gamers or other people's games, but from playing D&D for over 30 years I know this has happened to me more than a few times...my favorite class are Magic-users (Wizards, Arcanists, Arcane Spellcasters, however you want to call them). Being that 1st level noob to the career is always fun when you find ways to make your cantrips last, load up on normal gear and find interesting ways to use a wet bedroll, 10 ft of rope and a 10 ft pole to confound your enemies and amaze your friends. To say the least, having a vancian spell casting system makes you think hard not only in spell selection, but how to survive without spells too.

There comes a time though, if your lucky and smart, where you reach the level when your character is ready for the heady power of a 2nd level spell...and you don't have any. Back in the day the Referees I've played under have run the gamut from 'tough luck' to allowing the use of the spell slot for lower level spells and adding some wild effects. In more recent years I've toyed with the extra effects for using a higher powered slot for lower level spells. When 3e came out it provided more of a template for what those slots can do (via Metamagic feats). Now don't turn your nose up Gentle Reader! While 3e may have been a departure from D&D (only in my own humble opinion) it took alot of things from what WAS in many homegrown D&D campaigns. So presented here is one such retro system that grants more felxability to those spell casters that may be suffering from a small spell selection, hopefully allowing them to remain useful for their party.

As a side note, we've allowed this for all spellcasting classes (including Clerics). While it might not seem like much use, it is impressive when a Cleric uses a 4th level slot to make a Cure Light Wounds spell into a range 30ft magic that increases the healing done by +50% and can be cast even while silenced, allowing him to keep an ally on his feet that's in melee while he guards the Magic-user.


Mixing Spell Slots
If a player wishes to do so, he may use higher level spell slots to memorize lower level spells by exchanging the slots (not the spell’s level vs the spell slot level used to memorize it) on a 1-for-1 basis. For example, an Arcanist (3rd level Magic-user) could use his 2nd level spell slot to memorize a 1st or 2nd level spell if he desired to.

If a spell is memorized in a slot 1 level higher than normal the caster can apply one of the following effects:
·          Increase the base duration of a spell by 50%.
·          Inflict a -2 penalty on saving throws against the spell’s effect.
·          Increase the range of a spell by 50% or give a touch spell a range of 30 ft.
·          Remove the need to use somatic (gestures) or the need to recite the spell’s chant to cast.

If a spell is memorized in a slot 2 levels higher than normal, the caster can apply one of the following effects:
·          Apply any 2 separate effects from above.
·          Change the area of area effect spells to a cone, cube or diameter of the same size.
·          Increase all dice effects of a spell by 50%.
·          If the spell deals elemental (Cold, Fire or Lightning) damage, change it to another element.
·          Inflict a -3 penalty on saving throws against the spell’s effect.

If a spell is memorized in a slot 3 levels higher than normal, the caster can apply one of the following effects:
·          Apply any 2 separate effects from above.
·          Double the area of effect.
·          Increase all dice effects of a spell by 100%.
·          Increase the range of a spell by 100% or give a touch spell a range of 60 ft.
·          Inflict a -4 penalty on saving throws against the spell’s effect.

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