I like when you roll to cast, but for me it feels a little too similar to a melee or ranged attack, and I want the spell to be a whole different feel. I derived a spellcasting system from VDS’s skill system, because I think it’s great for what I want to achive with a different but simple to understand system.
We had our first live-test with my group, and it went pretty great. I’m sure it needs some refinement, but I think the basis is solid.
I thought I share it here, maybe others with similar thoughs can get some inspiration aswell.
The rules in bulletpoints:
- At 1st level you get 2 spells.
- You can acquire a spell through learning, scrolls, books, research etc.
- Spell have their own level (own dice pool). They level individually.
- Initially every spell has 2D (2d6) dice pool.
- When you cast the spell, you roll the dice. 1-2-3 are failures, and 4-5-6 are successes.
- The Effectiveness of the spell is measured by how many die succeeded. Lot of DM discretion.
- When you roll for a spell and all of the dice are successes (4-5-6), you stripe a mark after your spell. If who have 5 stripes, your spell levels up, giving 1 extra die to the spell’s pool. Note: every die has to be success, so after every level it will be harder and harder to level up your spell)
- The maximum dice pool of a spell is 5D (5d6).
- Every 1 rolled after the first one cause a miscast:
- Miscast 1 - two 1s: minor mishap (like you can’t cast this spell for 1 turn, or you drop your wand)
- Miscast 2 - three 1s: major mishap (I created a miscast table with random effects, like you become frightened, stunned, can’t cast spells until some rest etc.)
- Miscast 3 - four 1s: catastrophe, this is when shit hits the fan (the spell explodes in your hand, you cast the spell as critical to your friend, you die etc.)
Additional rules to consider:
- You can create spell specific tables like –
- Fireball: Miscast 1 - Caster creates a gust, knocking her prone, DEX check, or SPELL save; Miscast 2 - Light explosion, everyone NEAR becomes blinded, Miscast 3 - The caster is the center of the explosion and maximum damage
- Polymorph: Miscast 1 - Caster grows slimy scales; Miscast 2 – Own hands are polymorphed can’t cast or use object, Miscast 3 - The caster turns herself into a chicken
- If you roll a 6, it is a success and you can decide, if you want to re-roll the die once (note, that the result can be a 1)
- Narrative difficulty: the player wants to use a spell to a harder or unorthodox task, you can increase the success level (e.g.: only 5-6 considered successful rolls)
- Example: ‘I want to collapse the tunnel with my 4D fireball’ – ‘OK, rolls 4d6, you need to roll three 5’.
Example of play:
- 3D Fireball.
- The rolls are 2, 5, 5. The success level is 2 (I narrate what happens, for example it will deal 4d6 damage (2d6/success level).
- If he rolls 1, 1, 5, for example he will deal 2d6 damage, but burns his hand and can’t cast for 2 rounds)
- 5D Polymorph
- The rolls are 1, 2, 2, 5, 6. The success level is 2, and she decides to reroll the 6, rolls 4, so the success level is 3. She polymorphs a stronger enemy to a medium sized creature, or if they’re fighting a horde, then turns 3 goblin to rats (DM discretion).
- The rolls are 1, 1, 1, 5, 6. The success level is 2, and she decides to reroll the 6, rolls 1! She turns into an eagle with 1 INT, forget her identity and flies away into the skies.
Feel free to share some constructive criticism or any idea about the system.