Discussion:House Rule - Lengthening spellcasting to 1 round
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 Ghostwheel 09:33, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
What do you guys think of house rule that would lengthen the casting time of spells (and similar effects) to one round? (Not one full round, but one round, beginning at the start of a caster's turn and ending at the beginning of their next turn.) Spellcasters are often known for being able to overpower an encounter with one or two spells; with this house rule, it would allow enemies a chance of disrupting the spells.
Quickened spells would take only a standard action to cast, a great boon when compared to the standard one round of most spells under this system, and casters would need a decent reason for meleers to guard them, since they couldn't just win initiative and Time Stop before destroying entire encounters. (A high-level exaggeration, but you get what I mean.)
Furthermore, this would make spellcasting work more like I've always thought them to work, something like this. Add on to this lighting a candle as part of the spell, sprinkling dust in a circle about you, sticking a pin into a voodoo doll, arcane circles of power appearing before/below/above your character (think Nanoha or some of the stuff created by Clamp)--whatever. It gives far more time for flavor. Considerably more epic than taking 2-3 seconds to cast a high level spell, isn't it? (Since a full round lasts ~6 seconds, but you're only using a fraction of that for your action much of the time.)
- I'd let spells that are normally a standard action allow a move action before casting. Sitting around as a wizard would get boring.
- Clericzillas and Gishes become a LOT better. I'm not sure if this is a problem, but it is a consequence.
- I'll try this with my group in the next few weeks. A BBEG can cast a curse on them or put a magic dampening field up or something. In fact, I can probably test multiple variants on this idea just by saying that the curse's (or dampening field's) power fluctuated.
- SLAs still stay as fast casting right? This is important for gauging CRs of monsters.
- What about spells that normally take 1 round to cast (summon monster, sleep)?
- What about immediate action spells (feather fall)?
- What about swift action spells?
- What about martial casters (paladin, ranger, duskblade)?
- What about Use Magic Device?
- Quicken spell should have a reduced adjustment. It still only allows you 1 spell per round (you just get to cast it now without chance of interruption).
 Ghostwheel 10:25, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
- 1. That would be part of the balance--casters would spend actions (rounds, even) on getting into a good position so they won't be crushed by the enemy. Furthermore, Defenders begin to matter considerably more, since they start becoming important instead of the wizard handling all battlefield control with a flick of a finger.
- 2. Could you explain how they become better? Keep in mind that Divine Metamagic is out (at least in my house rules) so it's harder to keep buffs up all day, and in-combat buffing becomes a long more dangerous.
- 3. Sounds good, keep me updated on how it goes? :-)
- 4. Yeah, SLAs stay fast-casting--though when I DM 3.x, I usually have custom abilities for the monsters, similar to 4e. Don't want my player's spending rounds getting out of a Solid Fog or killing each other while dominated--not too much fun.
- 5. Spells that normally take 1 round to cast stay 1 round--no need to extend them further IMO. Spells with a full round duration are treated the same.
- 6. Immediate actions can be cast out of turn, but take up your following Standard action; note that Celerity and the like is banned in my games, so no "I win, no matter my init," abuse there.
- 7. Swift spells take a standard action; while this nerfs spells like Wraithstrike (unless you Extend it with a rod or somesuch) it still allows other spells like Swift Expeditious Retreat to be effective.
- 8. They're for the most part under the same rules, except for abilities that allow them to cast faster, such as the Duskblade's Quick Cast which makes it a standard action, Battle Blessing for Paladins, and Duskblade's Channel Spell which would let them get off a damage spell and a strike on the same action.
- 9. Same here, 1 round action if it's used to duplicate a spell, and can be interrupted.
- 10. Hmmm... Could be. Down to +2? +3? Either of those could work--especially since how incredible it is now to be able to quicken a spell. Not as awesome as it was before, but far better than casting a spell as a 1-round action.
To answer #2, even without DMM, there are still a slew of 10 min/level spells (and a handful of 1 hour/level spells). Also, Incantrix can get it for psudo-gish types. But with your banned list, they are severely limited, yes.
 Ghostwheel 10:44, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
- nod* CoDzillas will still be CoDzillas. It'll just make the margin between their power and that of more balanced classes (my personal benchmark of "balanced" is ToB + XPH) a little smaller. Do you think it'll work in doing so? Casters will still have "I win" spells... they just won't be able to finish combats without anyone having a chance to retaliate, or working completely on their own without any help since they can now be interrupted.
I think it will definitely close the gap a bit. That's why I'm looking forward to playtesting this idea. My group has a wizard (master specialist going for IotSFV) and druid (just pure druid) as casters, so I should get a decent assessment of how divine and arcane casters are affected.
 Ghostwheel 13:16, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
Thanks much, I'm between DMing games atm, so hearing the results from the field should be great :-) If you decide to give casters a move action before they cast a spell, could you please also try it the other way, where it takes their whole action? I think taking their whole action might lead to better tactical decisions on their part, and might have them spend a round to get into a tactically safe position.
Making spells take a full round sounds frustratingly obnoxious for wizard players (not much at all for cleric players), who are now unable to target anything (because they declare the targeting when they start casting the spell, then everybody just moves away from the targeted area).
 Ghostwheel 14:00, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
Easily fixed; casters declare the spell they're casting when they begin to cast the spell, but can choose area/targets upon completion of casting. That work?
 Ghostwheel 22:53, 31 July 2009 (MDT)
A clarification or three:
- Spellcasters can choose to designate their target when they begin casting, or when they finish casting. This allows them to touch an ally with something like Greater Invisibility and allows their ally to run off.
- If one identifies a spell and wants to counterspell it, one may cast the same spell/dispel/counter version during one's round. In this special case, the spell goes off on your opponent's turn rather than your own. Your order in initiative does not change. This allows counterspelling to be an effective option, though it's probably better just having your opponent take damage and interrupting their spell that way.
- Link Power and Repeat Spell have the first power/spell go off at the beginning of the round after you begin initiating it, and the second at the beginning of your next round.
The one thing that worries me a little is White Raven Tactics allowing casters to easily finish spellcasting early... though this is no more powerful than the current system, and requires another person and could be counted as a buff, so I'm not sure there's a problem there.
Its interesting and could help some but it probably hurts Arcane casters a lot more then it does divine as they are living targets.
Does make spells that help protect wizards from desruption that aren't gishes better.
I might give this a try in my dnd I got starting up here irl in the first dungeon or 2. Not sure what the exact characters are but can't hurt to try.
 Ghostwheel 01:24, 5 August 2009 (MDT)
Lemme know how it balances 'em out, eh?
 Ghostwheel 01:53, 14 August 2009 (MDT)
Another clarification: Spells whose primary purpose is to deal damage (spells whose minimum damage dice is equal to the minimum CL needed to cast them or spells whose only effect is damage) and spells that heal are exempt from this rule and are cast as standard actions as normal.