Enhanced Magic (3.5e Sourcebook)/Advanced Spellcasting
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Low Level Spellcasting
Even at low levels spellcasting is aggressive in nature allowing people to do a lot of damage. However once you start getting to higher levels, usually as low as level 9, you start to notice that spells more than 3 levels lower don't have a whole lot of punch. When you manage to get to 6th level spells first level spells aren't really useful anymore let alone when you are able to cast 9th level spells. This section introduces a few rule changes to allow the lower level spells more access and use since they don't pack the punch they used to
First is the idea of limited low level spells. Let’s face it even at level 15 being able to throw a magic missile isn't exactly game changing. So what we do with truly low level spells is you gain the ability to use some at will. How this works is once a magic user is able to cast 6th level spells he may select a number of 0th level spells equal to his primary caster attribute modifier, (base modifier only, no enhancements are added) to use as spell like abilities with unlimited uses per day. This advances one level until the caster reaches maximum spell casting ability (9th level spells) he will be able to use up to third levels spells as spell like abilities. These spell like abilities cannot be modified through feats or metamagic so even if you think fireballs are fun to toss around at will the best they will do is 10d6.
Also for any spell that is more than 4 levels lower than the highest spell cast by a mage sees a reduction of 1 to all metamagic enhancements to a minimum of 1 per enhancement (I don't know about anyone else but I doubt a 10th level slot needed to make a quickened, maximized and empowered magic missile (38 force damage) would ever be considered well spent.) This allows the mage to put a slight edge on his effects and makes them more viable when he runs out of his treasured high level spells that are used to get the party out of tough binds.
In addition to the spell like abilities the caster also gains one spell as a permanent effect per level. These spells may be taken from the following lists, and anything not on this list would need to be based on DMs approval. The easiest way to determine whether or not a specific spell would be suitable you can run it through the following test: does it have a duration longer than instant? Is it a spell that is cast on yourself only? Does a component of the spell not make sense with this rule (i.e. when would stoneskin regenerate?) As long as these questions are answered and the DM approves move ahead.
Not that all of these tend to be non combat related and this is for a good reason. A permanently blurred individual would draw a lot of attention wherever they visited. A person continuously blinking in and out would find a normal conversation impossible, and someone permanently under the effects of haste would age rapidly to death.
Wizards/Sorcerer suggested permanent spells
- Level 0= Resistance, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Detect Poison
- Level 1= Endure Elements, Shield, Mage Armor, Comprehend Languages, Floating Disc, Feather Fall, Jump
- Level 2= Resist Energy, Detect Thoughts, See Invisibility, Bear's Endurance, Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Darkvision, Eagle's Splendor, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom, Spider Climb
- Level 3= Tongues, Arcane Sight, Fly, Water Breathing
Cleric suggested permanent spells
- Level 0=
- Level 1=
- Level 2=
- Level 3=
Options for Magic
As noted above this is all based off of standard spell casting rules and doesn't use the idea of magic points instead of a base spell list. If you decide to use the magic points system (much like psionic points) then the above sections change drastically. The reason these change is because with the spell point system you are not limited by lower spell level slots and in theory you could choose to have nothing below the 8th level prepared. Giving this setup additional spells for free as a spell like effect would be a complete waste since they are unlikely to use up the spells that will damage their enemies greatly each day. The permanent magical effect is still useful however and would be acceptable since these are all passive bonuses to the mage, not active combat bonuses.
If you decide that the variant rule for spell points is right for your campaign remember that it does not limit the individual to which spells they must take in a day.
While these corrections are all suggested to make the classes more viable the most direct and simple fix is in fact already in existence. The spell point system allows the individual to divide his options so he won't be dealing with low level spells at higher levels, instead you will have slightly less spells overall but all will be higher level and thus able to maintain power. However prior to the warrior revamp this was actually unwieldy since it afforded the mage far more power than a like level fighting variant. With the creation of the Races of War sourcebook the warriors’ power level is significantly increased and allows for this method to be implemented without skewing the power base severely. When utilizing the power point system, the permanent spell effect simply eliminates the requirement to continuously cast spells that would be a nuisance to track and does not overpower the character. With the additional spell abilities the concept of having fall back spells you could use at will no longer becomes a concern as the high level abilities should not run out. For full details on the power point options see the unearthed arcana spell points system.