Making all spells 1st level

I'm a big fan of the idea of all spells being available at first level in some form and scaling in power according to the caster's level (my go to reference for this kind of thing being Wonder & Wickedness, if only for the added Russ Nicholson goodness). So the question is how to apply this kind of thing to ACKS without breaking to much of the surrounding systems.

Any thoughts?

Uhh... Look, I've gotta say, this might be impossible for some spells. Especially if you include rituals, where the whole point of making them rituals is to make them difficult to cast without a lot of preparation.

Any spell that has an effect of effectively irreducible complexity is gonna be kind of tricky, for a start. Any spell that summons a specific creature that doesn't come in multiple strengths, for example. Or Reincarnate; You might be able to make it a level or two lower by making it less reliable or reducing the utility of the forms it can grant, but you'll only be able to do so much before the spell becomes so useless as to be meaningless. 

For that matter, spells which have effects that are usually reserved for high levels are going to be a problem, too. Those sorts of spells exist to allow players to overcome certain challenges that lower-level characters have a great deal more trouble with. Bringing back the dead 'in the field' is one example. So's teleportation. So's creating food; Yes, you could make a lower-level version of Create Food and Water available that only creates a small amount of food, or something - but that's still a big change to the game, since magically creating food is normally impossible for characters under Seventh level, and other parts of the game are built with that assumption in mind. ACKS is designed such that gameplay gradually changes over time (transitioning from Adventurer to Conquerer to King) as parties gain access to new spell effects; Making all effects available from first level, even in a weakened form, would drastically change the game's progression.

Still, for some spells it should be easily possible to created different versions of the effect fo different levels. A lot of the effects covered in the Player's Companion spellbuilding rules could be tweaked for different levels, for instance - and the Spellsinging rules from the Heroic Companion could give you an avenue to investigate, if this really is something you want to try.

I believe that palladium does this. Damage spells such as fireball should be fine, the area of effect might be a little powerful but then it will only deal a single d6 damage at first and then no more spells. You may also want to look at other spell parameters like range. The range doesn't change with caster level in ACKs but perhaps you could bring it back so that a fireball is cast at a range of 20 feet/caster level which makes it potentially dangerous for a 1st level caster.

Healing spells might need to be adjusted, perhaps change them to a single cure wounds spell that scales a little better. After all, no reason to prepare cure light wounds when you can have cure serious wounds.

Other spells might need to be looked at on a case by case basis, the summons especially. You may need to look at their power level and then find levels at which the caster can summon more powerful creatures so that a low level conjure elemental is a small elemental roughly on par with a 1st level PC but one summoned by a 9th level caster is one of the regular, more powerful elementals.

I think this would take some work, but it could be a rewarding system.

Build each ZeroSum's-campaign-spell as a series of ACKS-spells of progressively higher ACKS-spell-level.

[quote="James C. Bennett"]

Build each ZeroSum's-campaign-spell as a series of ACKS-spells of progressively higher ACKS-spell-level.


Yeah, that's the way I'm leaning.

well I would start by reducing range, aoe, number of target, damage and so on... some spell would drop considerably... Now what is the use of a one inch fireball wich does 0 damage at a range o contact is another discussion but with the table in the companion something could be tried :)