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Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Thu 07 Nov 2019, 21:54
by Ayathor
So I've been recently thinking about the fact the game welcomes players and GMs to design new spells, even of higher rank. Is there any threat out there that covers that?

If not, I would like to start a discussion about it. The idea here is to not make this a game breaker. Something the game would have, yet is opened and has no rules. 

My first thoughts come to, for instance, pick an existing spell and scaling up the effect, such as duration, damage, range, targets... While this make sense to me, it does not have much creativity. We can then take this as a starting point to design new spells. 

I have never had to think about this because I neither GM'd a magic user who wanted this nor played it. But now I am in a situation where I want to explore it and I would like to have the community's input in it. Any ideas, examples, files? 


Thanks !

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Fri 08 Nov 2019, 02:38
by Ebrim
I haven’t thought much about it. Maybe think about what different spells within a talent have in common. Like is there some ultimate end to these forces that people tap into for these effects?

A higher level spell I’d imagine would be a much more direct and larger scale demonstration toward some thematic end. Does that make any sense? Like perhaps a spell beyond tier 3 in healing would cause everything around it to revert in age toward some state of ultimate life potential. It would be incredibly hard to control though so turning a tree into a sapling or maybe an acorn. A human might not just get younger they may revert to an infant or even beyond.

Another idea to think about: why don’t people generally know this rank 4 or higher? It could just be so inherently dangerous that the cost/benefit just isn’t there, leaving it the realm of the insane and deranged - who likely don’t survive long.

To put it differently: if something is possible to do and it has benefit then we’d expect someone to do it. So why isn’t it being done in your world?

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Fri 08 Nov 2019, 13:01
by SpandexAndy
I am not sure it is desirable to get Rank 4 spells. I know it is inevitable, once your PC is able to cast Rank 3 spells, to start looking for the next progression. It is natural.

This tendency is why 1974 Basic D&D only had Level 3 as the max level. AD&D made it Level 20. D&D4e made it Level 30. There is always a wish to become greater, and eventually the game starts trying to model a different scale of power. E.g. It stops being a gritty game about raiders and becomes a superhero game. D&D has this problem.

So my concern is that if we start adding Rank 4 spells, it will inevitably lead to fighter PCs wanting Rank 4 in their Talents. Then after a few weeks it will be Rank 5. And then it is a slippery slope to the game becoming something different than what it set out to be.

So I'd suggest that having a cap on the power is a good thing. But maybe thats just me!

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Fri 08 Nov 2019, 14:10
by MegaMagus
I agree with Andy for the most part, if players want to spend more XP on things, I guess they just need to broaden their skill set rather than making their current one more and more specialized.

On the other hand, one of my players is currently working on home brewing a system for Rank 4 talents (and ONLY Rank 4, never higher). The idea of this system as far as I know is that to get the Rank 4 ability, you have to become a true master of that field. This is achieved through narrative means, usually requiring you to seek out the current master in a talent (Like 1 per world kind of rarity) and somehow convince them to train you to be like them. This gives the GM and players a great and meaningful story arc if they wish to take it, a quest for the Messiah or something along those lines, probably a very dangerous and demanding journey. I feel like potentially you could also award Rank 4 talents if player's did something absolutely extraordinary with their skills, like something that altered the world significantly.

Just some thoughts on the topic.

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Tue 12 Nov 2019, 08:02
by Ayathor
This is all fantastic, thank you all! 
if something is possible to do and it has benefit then we’d expect someone to do it. So why isn’t it being done in your world?
I like this. I can see a wise old fella who has studied the forbidden arts for her whole life and realized this knowledge should never be shared. After all, casting a spell from upper level does have consequences. 
So my concern is that if we start adding Rank 4 spells, it will inevitably lead to fighter PCs wanting Rank 4 in their Talents. Then after a few weeks it will be Rank 5. And then it is a slippery slope to the game becoming something different than what it set out to be.
My understanding is that the character would learn a rank 4 spell with a profession rank at level 3, which is the maximum. By doing so, they are forced to have a mishap every time they cast a spell from a rank higher than their profession rank. I do agree there has to be a limit, after all the players are meant to be nobody. One of the main characters in the Raven's purge book does a pact with a demon in exchange of power, which makes her lose something very important, and the spells are barely rank 2 and 3. Something like that seems good to me, with higher degree of course.
This gives the GM and players a great and meaningful story arc if they wish to take it, a quest for the Messiah or something along those lines, probably a very dangerous and demanding journey. I feel like potentially you could also award Rank 4 talents if player's did something absolutely extraordinary with their skills, like something that altered the world significantly.
100%. It does focus the whole campaign to that, and forces everybody to follow the same path to help a single individual, which can end good or bad. 
I have been thinking in some concepts for rank 4. 
  • Healing: regrowing/reattaching limbs. Some restrictions may apply, like you need the part of the body that has been cut in order to "glue" it back. 
  • Shapeshifting: intelligent being. You become half animal half kin, or you are an animal with your mental capacity. Ultimate blend between both realms. 
  • Awareness: Time shift. What would you do if you could shift back a single minute? 
  • Symbolism: I'm a bit short here. Some sort of a very powerful rune. 
  • Stone Song: I feel construction would be the theme here. I am aware there are already construction spells but, can you imagine creating a whole mountain or a palace?
  • Blood: Demons. I can not thing of anything different here. We have the BIND DEMON spell, but it has its limitations. Maybe it can be the secret spell the rust brothers use to grow limbs to their members, it can be the spell to become a demon, or let a demon posses you. 
  • Death: It would be really cool if you can become ethereal. 

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Tue 12 Nov 2019, 08:23
by Mr Oldtimer
Following this thread with interest. Not sure wath to think about level 4 spells yet but the discussion is intriguing.

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Fri 15 Nov 2019, 15:03
by SpandexAndy
My understanding is that the character would learn a rank 4 spell with a profession rank at level 3, which is the maximum. By doing so, they are forced to have a mishap every time they cast a spell from a rank higher than their profession rank. I do agree there has to be a limit, after all the players are meant to be nobody. One of the main characters in the Raven's purge book does a pact with a demon in exchange of power, which makes her lose something very important, and the spells are barely rank 2 and 3. Something like that seems good to me, with higher degree of course.
Okay thanks for explaining. Yes it does sound cool when you link it to a story element like that. Awful sacrifices for magical power is a big trope in sword and sorcery, after all. :)

Re: Rank 4 spells for players

Posted: Fri 15 Nov 2019, 17:39
by d(sqrt(-1))
I am not sure it is desirable to get Rank 4 spells. I know it is inevitable, once your PC is able to cast Rank 3 spells, to start looking for the next progression. It is natural.

This tendency is why 1974 Basic D&D only had Level 3 as the max level. AD&D made it Level 20. D&D4e made it Level 30. There is always a wish to become greater, and eventually the game starts trying to model a different scale of power. E.g. It stops being a gritty game about raiders and becomes a superhero game. D&D has this problem.

So my concern is that if we start adding Rank 4 spells, it will inevitably lead to fighter PCs wanting Rank 4 in their Talents. Then after a few weeks it will be Rank 5. And then it is a slippery slope to the game becoming something different than what it set out to be.

So I'd suggest that having a cap on the power is a good thing. But maybe thats just me!
As an aside, the original White Box D&D certainly had characters advance higher than 3rd level - it was the later "starter sets" that had the 3 level limit. AFAIR the white box certainly went up to 13th level and maybe higher as it definitely had 6th level spells in it...