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Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


From my unfinished article

One day I need to finish this article. This is the mana system I use for any arcane magic user (including bards)

Since the dawning of the Dungeon and Dragon era, players have faced a simple dilemma when looking at starting a game. What shall I play? In the eternal struggle between fighter vs. mage, mages often were left in the dust because they couldn’t fight well hand to hand, they’d only have one or two spells max at first level, and they had to pick the spells at the start of the day, not knowing what lie in store for the party. It is not surprising to see that the low level parties were often fighter, fighter, fighter, thief and a fighter/mage multi-class because who wanted to be a mage? On the other end of the spectrum, high-level mages have almost god like power and can rarely use all their spells in a day, mostly because they have to take such a generic list to possibly be useful in any given situation.

The problem with the whole idea of memorizing spells each day has never made sense to me. While I could see a first level struggle to remember all the words and movements to a magic missile, I find it hard to believe that the 20th level mage would need to remind himself how to cast a spell he has probably cast every day for the last 20 years. He could do it in his sleep, and probably does, which is why he is still single, but that’s another article.

It was this issue that led me to the concept of mana. Well, actually, I stole the concept from Diablo II but I modified it for 1st/2nd edition D&D. Those of you who play 3, 3,5 or 4 – I have no idea if this works in your world, but feel free to give it a try.

What is mana? Mana is the energy that the mage can channel through his body from the positive or negative material plane. Every mage can handle only so much mana but as they get older and better at their trade, they can channel more and more. Unlike the game, mana cannot be bottled, decanted or turned into a liquid form. Think of mana as an energy that makes the laws of physics sit, lie down and play dead. You are not gonna find a Diet Mana Max to restore your powers fast.

Mana is recovered naturally by sleep. Mages do not lose all their spells due to loss of consciousness as they do under the standard spell memorization system (however if the DM wants they can use the optional mana seepage rule shown later). However, spells that fizzle (due to being interrupted from an attack while casting, for example) still use up mana. To put in simply, once you put the mana into the caster’s hands to do the spellcraft, the mana is released.

Instead of the wizard being assigned a fixed number of various spells per spell level per day, the wizard instead receives a number of mana points equal to the sum of those spell levels (or you can use my alternate mana chart, shown later). So, our sixth level wizard, who normally gets four first level spells, two second level spells, and two third level spells would instead get fourteen mana points (4x1 + 2x2 + 2x3). In addition, the mage receives one bonus mana point for each point of intelligence above fifteen. This is a one-time bonus, not a bonus per level.

Spells cost one mana point per spell level. So a first level spell costs one point, a second level spell costs two points, etc. The mage may cast any spell that is their spell book as often as they like as long as they have sufficient mana. Using our example above, Bob could cast four fireballs and two magic missiles, ten magic missiles and two webs, or five webs, one fireball, and one magic missile, etc. If a mage runs out of mana and needs to cast a spell, they can still do so but at the cost of their life force (Hit points). Hit points lost this way cannot be restored by any magical or other healing means whatsoever - the only way to regain them is to rest one full day per hit point lost.. If a mage is unwise enough to use more lifeforce as mana than he has, he risks literally killing himself with spellcasting (or risk wizard’s twilight, see later in article)

Optional Rule: Wizard's Twilight
Fantasy literature also contains quite a few references to wizards who, in times of dire need, wield their magic beyond the physical limitations of their bodies, risking their lives in an effort to save the day. In typical D&D, the reality is that once your mage is out of spells, they have to rely upon beating monsters with a stick, or hiding behind the fighters if they wish to survive.

If you are using the optional mana rule in your game, you may also use the wizard's twilight rule. What this means is that a wizard may continue to cast spells even after they have expended all of their mana. However, this is very risky.

To continue casting spells after one's mana is exhausted, a wizard must use his own life force to provide power for the magic. In game terms, this equates to one hit point per mana point needed by the spells to be cast. Hit points lost this way cannot be restored by any magical or other healing means whatsoever - the only way to regain them is to rest one full day per hit point lost.

If a mage is reduced to zero or less hit points due to this, they risk wizard's twilight - a state of being where the mind is essentially burned out, and the caster can do nothing but obey the simplest of commands. Free will and personality are gone; the mage tends to slip in and out of consciousness. Wizard's twilight often results in the death of the caster.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 13:21:56.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


summing up

Two warrior types: Raven, KoD*
One generalist Tann*
One cleric/healer type - Dragonblood
One Mage type - Aryn?
One Rogue

*-handed in a basic character write-up.

Merideth hasn't got back to me and she is starting her holidays so I don't know when I will hear from her. I'm not starting until January so we have time.

If Nomad D2 wants to join, I will allow a 7th player because I did offer it to him. So I throw in a few more monsters...

Aryn - you played a cidal ranger in my failed attempt to do a pardinal campaign. So you have played in one of my games but unfortunately not one that made it to the dungeon itself. I have since learned that I should start online campaigns at the doorway of the evil lair. Too much background and you start losing people.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 13:38:15.

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


Concept

I'm going to try and come up with some kind of concept during my plane trip today and hopefully at least shoot something to you soon

M.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 13:52:36.

Ayrn
RDI Fixture
Karma: 122/12
1984 Posts


And how does mana work with Specialist Wizards?

If I have a 2nd level Conjurer with an Int of 17 would I have 5 mana points (2x1st lvl spells +2 for int +1 for bonus spell), one point which must be spent on a Conjuring spell?


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:28:44.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


Grey area

Yes and no. You are correct in your assessment of the mana points but I don't worry too much about the one point in conjuration. The way I look at it, you are limited in schools anyway so chances are you will cast a specialzed spell in a day.

In the future I want to look at the bonus spell as actually a reduction of points needed to cast spell of the specialized school, but I haven't worked all that out yet because you get into half points and carrying over the half points and what if you want to cast this but only have a half point for that, and you know the drill.

So specialist mages - one extra mp, less spells available.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:37:39.

TannTalas
Trilogy Master
RDI Staff
Karma: 174/117
6293 Posts


So let me get this straight

I get one spell at 1st Lvl and with an Int of 17 two bonus mana for a total of 3.

So I can cast 3 1st LvL spells per day...........


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:46:46.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


correct

That is correct Tann. Makes the first level mage not so powerless anymore.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:50:54.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


and for the record

You start with 5 spells in your book. At 2nd level you get two more.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:52:08.

TannTalas
Trilogy Master
RDI Staff
Karma: 174/117
6293 Posts


So my Spells Known is wrong??

Ok does that mean I have too many then, as it said I am able to have 14 spells in my spellbook per LvL or did I read that wrong??


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 16:54:54.

Alacrity
The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6221 Posts


Your software - my rule

Yes you have too many but we will work that out later. Let me get more characters in.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 17:27:14.

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 68/3
985 Posts


Whaa?

Now where did all the rogues run into? They lurking in the shadows? I now Brandr can be fairly intimidating, but come on, the DM said we need a thief.

Hmm... Fighter type is a good description. We'll be in helluva trouble though since neither of our light armor wearing fighters can really take blows.

Clerics can wear plate, right?


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 19:13:59.
Edited on 2009-12-14 at 19:28:50 by Raven

Dragonblood
Facelick Squeegee
Karma: 37/7
401 Posts


tank!

Don't worry your pretty little heads, not only can clerics wear plate, ours will be a cleric of Therassor. +1 Thac0, flaming swords, wielding swords and blunt weapons, as I like to say, you've got a tank in me!

-Dragonblood


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 19:46:34.

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 68/3
985 Posts


Hell yeah

Ah missed that part earlier on. Nice going DB! A tank indeed.


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 19:55:27.

TannTalas
Trilogy Master
RDI Staff
Karma: 174/117
6293 Posts


I be the Thief

As Roger pointed out to me Mage's can't wear armor and since he denied me Elvin Chain (And rightly so ) I'm gonna play my guy as a 2nd LvL Thief with a Kit.

So see Raven I ain't scared of no big bad beasties


Posted on 2009-12-14 at 22:43:32.

Nomad D2
RDI Fixture
Karma: 47/5
2302 Posts


I'm in

Thanks to Alacrity for the invite. I would be pleased to join this group. It looks great.

I have never played a game in Audalis so I have some research to do to figure out what all these races your talking about are all about. I am open to any style. It looks like you have the basics covered, but if there is a suggestion/request for something, let me know.

I seem to have some reading ahead of me. How soon do you need things done?


Posted on 2009-12-15 at 00:34:06.

   


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