Here is a stab at an alternate Magic system based on breaking the rules in the Players Guide.
It’s a really interesting take on a Sorcerer. I’m kinda tempted to steal it for my homebrew. I confess I’m a little confused by this section of the description:
The rules for how often a spell can be used are broken slightly as well.
1st level spells can be used once an hour (except detection abilities) unless they take 1 Turn.
2nd level spells can be used 3 times a day, but no more than once an hour, unless they take 1 Turn.
3rd level and above as the Player’s Guide.
Spells can be chosen more than once by the sorcerer so they can use them more than once per time unit. So a first level spell could be used twice an hour if taken twice. A second level spell can be used six times a day, no more than twice an hour if it’s chosen twice.
However, due to the nature of how their powers work, fourth and higher level powers are usable far less often than a mage could. Again though, they can choose the same power more than once to allow more uses within the same time period (day, week, month, etc).
Specifically, ‘3rd level and above as Players Guide’ and ‘Again though, they can choose the same power more than once to allow more uses within the same time period (day, week, month, etc)’.
Are you saying that when a 5th level Mage gets to cast 1 3rd level spell a day, a 5th level Sorcerer gets to use 1 3rd level power a day?
Where does the ‘time period’ greater than a day come into it? Is this reference to the handful of spells that can only be cast one a week?
How does this align with ‘However, due to the nature of how their powers work, fourth and higher level powers are usable far less often than a mage could’? What is the actual impact of this?
Hey! Glad you like it.
First off, they need the Player’s Companion to make sense. I didn’t feel comfortable explaining the rules for spell-like abilities in the PC. If you don’t have that, a lot of their stuff won’t make any sense. If you do, then basically, there is a ‘refresh-rate’ on spell like abilities in the class building section. I changed how level 2 spells worked, but otherwise, you go by what’s in the PC.
So, hypothetically, if 1st level spells get used 1x hour, 2nd 1xhour/3xday, 3rd 1xday, 4th 1xweek, 5th 1xseason and 6th 1xyear (just making these numbers up for example).
If the hypothetical sorcerer had a spread of abilities from 1st to 6th level, unlike a pure mage who gets their spell slots refreshed every day, if the sorcerer uses their 1 sixth level spell, they have to wait a year for it to refresh. On the other hand, they can throw out 1st level spells repeatedly and 2nd level repeatedly (to a less degree). In effect, they have to marshal more powerful resources much more closely and only use them at times of great need. Unlike a mage who could literally blow all their spells and come back tomorrow and do it again.
Does that make more sense?
I like this a lot! Reminds me strongly of the 3.5 warlock, though it’s a bit troublesome that it’s missing the XP to level and the spell progression data. I may roll something similar for my own use along these lines.
Oh…holy crap. Where did that go? I’ll edit that back up. I know I copy and pasted them in…but then, also, Wordpress went funky and I had to repost it so they must have gotten lost. Crap crap…
Argh… ok, fixed it now. The xp chart and power list is up. Sorry about that.
Ah that’s loads better! Half my confusion has been addressed!
I really like the idea behind the class and how you’ve constructed it - it’s very ACKS specific and I love how it uses the mechanic from the Player’s Guidebook. Very creative and interesting - all the stuff below is in my humble opinion:
I’d like to see them in play, because just eyeballing it they seem quite a bit more powerful than a mage at less than half the experience requirements. By third level a sorcerer will have access to five first level spells that can be cast once per hour. A mage of equal level will have access to 2 castings of first level spells (of which they potentially have up to 5 to choose from, depending on Intelligence bonus) and one casting of a second level spell per day (which may be chosen from up to 3 known spells, depending on Intelligence bonus). The sorcerer could conceivably cast well over 100 first level spells in one 24 hour period - or 5 spells per hour. And detect magic at will. Am I correct in this?
I might start with granting them (through level progression) a maximum of half the total number of mage spells per level, rounding up - that way they can cast over and over again but possess an incredibly narrow range of spells. In ACKS even 1 first level spell that can be cast once per hour is an incredibly powerful ability.
So a first level sorcerer will have 1 first level spell usable once per hour.
A 14th level sorcerer might have:
2 first level spells at once per hour
2 second level spells at 3x per day but no more than once per hour
2 third level spells at the PG level for spell-like abilities
2 fourth level spells at the PG level for spell-like abilities
2 fifth level spells at the PG level for spell-like abilities
1 sixth level spell at the PG level for spell-like abilities (I’d round down for this level)
2 floating spell slots given at 13th and 14th that the character may choose to place.
I might start with that and see if I needed to tweak from there.
Additionally, I would, much like the cleric’s list, pick 5-10 spells per level and make that the sorcerer’s list of choosable spells, trying to reduce the potential for some really dangerous spell issues. For instance - I personally wouldn’t want a sorcerer to be able to cast charm person once per hour, even if that was the only thing he could do at first level. It would also give you the ability to place certain spells at higher levels that you may want the sorcerer to be able to access but not at the level they’re currently offered - like I might allow the sorcerer to choose invisibility as a 4th level spell, rather than at second level when he could cast it multiple times in a day.
I would, finally, label the spell-like ability mechanic at lease as expensive as full mage progression and have them level accordingly.
This is all just my opinion. Great mechanic worth exploring. Cheers!
Cool, thanks for the feedback! I’m glad you like the idea and really appreciate that you took the time to read and consider them. Here are some of my thoughts on those issues:
First off, yes, certain spells would be problematic. But they are problematic for a high level character as well. Yes, Charm Person once an hour could be a problem, but a mid level mage can cast it 3-4 times a day which merely pushes back the problem till later…but the problem still remains. It’s an issue with the spell really. Yes, a sorcerer could charm an entire town, 24 people at a time, assuming they didn’t rise up and pitchfork him to death. But a
mid level wizard could do it 3-4 people at a time, so that doesn’t change much. Even a second level wizard could charm 2 people a day and have a mob of best friends.
I kind of balance that flagrant behaviour in my setting with roleplaying restrictions (sorcerers are effectively illegal and using magic that openly will get you imprisoned or worse), but obviously YMMV. Usually I’d expect a DM to nip that nonsense in the bud, or at least be prepared for it.
That being said, perhaps level 1 spells could be capped at no more than 5 or 6 times a day. If I were to make a change, that’s probably what I’d try first.
I like the idea of a spell list for sorcerers to choose from, but that’s beyond the scope of time I have to devote to them. I’d tweak a lot of ‘touch’ spells to make them self only and increase duration or potency, for example. Stupid job… ;(
I wouldn’t reduce the number of spells overall that they get to choose from however, at least not if they remain ‘spell like abilities’, simply because that reduces their breadth dramatically. They already are quite limited compared to a normal mage, especially because they cannot simply spam a useful spell over and over like a mage can. I’d imagine that most sorcerers would choose a mixture of spells, blasts, buffs, and utility, so they can meet the demands of whatever situation they encounter. However, if they only have one 1stlevel combat spell then they can only contribute to one fight an hour until they get to having level 2 spells. As to the XP…at first I was concerned that it was too low. However, then I thought about the rationale that Gygax gave for why mages advanced so slowly and needed so much xp. He said it was because at the higher levels, magic-users were so much more powerful than the other characters. Now, if the reason their XP is so high is because of abilities they get at levels 9+, then this class doesn’t hold a candle to their magic-using brethren. Once they use their higher level powers, it could be a month before they get them back…versus a Magic-User’s night of rest. In effect, they are like Thieves with a bunch of high level scrolls that they can refresh once a month. Only without the ability to fall back on fighting once they run out of scrolls (though yes they have their lower level abilities that they can draw on instead). In effect, the ‘5-minute work day’ which seems far more prevalent in old school style of play hurts them /more/ than other casting classes because they can’t benefit as much from a night’s rest. Now, I do agree that maybe their xp cost it too low. Perhaps it should be increased to the cost of a thief. But really, I think thieves suck as written, so it’s hard to take them seriously… er, I mean, it’s hard to use them as any kind of basis for evaluation. Either way, I agree, we do need to see them in play and I’d love to get my players to give them a swing (or hire one as a hireling). If anyone does get to use them, let me know how they work.
Sorry about the formatting…stupid phone internet…