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Comments on 2008-10-13 M20 Spellcasters Loose Hitpoints

I’d suggest going with 0 level spells being at-will.

Alternatively, give him a Magic Point stat which is equal to 3/4 of his current max HP total, and set his new max HP equal to 1/4.

For example: if his current max HP is 24, that becomes 18 MP and 6 HP.

If he runs out of Magic Points, he can burn Hit Points instead.

Essentially it’s still the same (actually a little worse - one good hit and your poor 6 HP Wizard is dead meat) but with a little more old-school (ie, weak Wizard) style.

He’ll soon be demanding the original way back :)

greywulf 2008-10-14 00:01 UTC


Your writeup provokes several thoughts; some emotional, some logical.

Emotionally, I find it perhaps a little unfair to be told “wizards are not for me”. I think that blaming it on the player is little bit too easy to say. On the contrary, wizards are my class of choice above all other classes. Surprised? It’s true. To say “there’s not much we can do for him” is also untrue. This is play-testing, right? Feedback is the point, and evolving the game is a positive result of play-testing. Of course, you may be unwilling to alter the rules, in which case you have my feedback.

Logically, I find the “spellcasting costs HP” incorrect. Fighters don’t take damage when they deal it - at least, not directly. A fighter with a high AC, or an archer (even better example) doesn’t take 5HP damage for each bow he shoots. Wizards do.
For me, hitpoints represent your will and strength to live. Physical resilience and indestructability. Is spellcasting that harsh that you pour your life essence into each spell you cast? Perhaps, but it’s not what I imagine spellcasting to be.

What I propose is the Mana system we discussed last time. You have Mana equal to your hitpoints - in my case 20. The argument against it as I recall was twofold: Wizards have too many hitpoints anyway (1d6 per level), and the spell DCs are far too high, which compensates for only casting two to three spells per round. I would say reduce the hitpoints (make it 1d4 hit die for wizards, or something), and make the monsters harder to hit. Reintroduce the save perhaps? (magic attack = d20 + caster level + spell level + MIND modifier, magic defense = d20 + hit dice + appropriate modifier). In my case I would have 16HP instead of 20, and my magic attack bonus would depend on the monster’s skill and luck.

Important for me is that I can participate as a wizard for the entire combat (not a crossbowman or oil hurler or whatever).

With regard to Greywulf’s comment, I think you’ve hit on to the same idea I have except that, as you point out, it’s not an improvement. 6HP is not much - I suggest 1d4 per level like regular wizards.

Regardless, I’ve laid a few ideas. Take them, drop them, discuss them. I hope it helps develop the game.

– Marco 2008-10-14 11:25 UTC


Food for thought indeed. I’ll have to figure out what Mana means in terms of numbers of spells a wizard will be able to cast during a fight. It would seem to me that while melee fighters do not take damage while they’re dealing damage, they do need to put themselves into harm’s way in order to do it. Ranged fighters do not take damage while they’re dealing damage, and that’s why the hard core rules variant doesn’t grant a STR bonus to ranged weapon damage.

I thought that saves are equivalent to magic defenses, except that the attacker rolls the dice:

D&D
Attacker determines DC, eg. 10 + spell level + ability bonus. Let’s assume sleep spell by an Int 16 wizard and the DC is 14. Defender rolls d20 + save + ability bonus. Let’s assume a first level guy with a “good” save and no ability bonus, ie. save = level = +1. Mathematically that means roll 13 or higher on a d20 to “save” (40% to save).
M20
Defender determines DC, 10 + character level + ability bonus. In this case that would 11. Attacker rolls magic attack which is d20 + character level + ability bonus, ie. d20 + 4. Mathematically that means roll 7 or higher on a d20 to “succeed”, ie. 6 or less to fail (30% to save).

There will be larger differences as time passes because in a high level D&D game lower level spells have less chances of succeeding due to DC scaling with spell level, ie. caster level halved and good saves progressing at two thirds of your character level.

Changing this to a magic attack roll and a magic defense roll would be like changing AC to d20 + armor bonus + dex bonus (this option is in fact discussed in the DMG), ie. it would add more randomness to the result. I’m sure that’s not the intended effect.

Sorry about the wording regarding wizards and you. All I wanted to say was that maybe “M20 wizards as written” are not to your liking – I didn’t want to imply anything about D&D wizards or wizards in general. After all, I knew about your wizard character in Bev’s game!

AlexSchroeder 2008-10-14 12:09 UTC


Maybe I could suggest another way. I’ve recently started playing microlite74, and I’ve added a Vancian houserule to the mix. http://retroroleplaying.smfforfree4.com/index.php/topic,62.0.html

The twist is that a Vancian style Wizard can try and reuse the spell, but there are real dangers and very little chance that might happen. (I might, as my players get higher level, allow a bonus to increase the possibility, but I don’t know yet)

Not sure if this’ll help, the math you outline makes sense and it sounds like you’re working on a different approach.

Chgowiz 2008-12-01 20:08 UTC


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