5E Using Spell Point Variant Rule?
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  1. #1
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    Guide (Lvl 11)



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    Using Spell Point Variant Rule?

    I was reading about the variant option of using Spell Points in the DMG (p. 288 I think...). I am thinking about suggesting it to our table and am curious if anyone here is using (or used and abandoned) the idea of spell points or their own version? If so, how did it work for your table?

    I like the idea and don't mind the added complexity, but I do have some balance concerns:

    At 20th-level with 133 points a character could have 19 5th-level slots, which seems really powerful.
    As early as at 9th-level, a character could have 8 5th-level slots (with a point left over).
    Even with Eldritch Invocations, the two 5th-level slots a warlock gets at the same level seem very underpowered by comparison.

    So, is anyone using spell points? What issues (if any) have you come across?

  2. #2
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Quote Originally Posted by dnd4vr View Post
    I was reading about the variant option of using Spell Points in the DMG (p. 288 I think...). I am thinking about suggesting it to our table and am curious if anyone here is using (or used and abandoned) the idea of spell points or their own version? If so, how did it work for your table?

    I like the idea and don't mind the added complexity, but I do have some balance concerns:

    At 20th-level with 133 points a character could have 19 5th-level slots, which seems really powerful.
    As early as at 9th-level, a character could have 8 5th-level slots (with a point left over).
    Even with Eldritch Invocations, the two 5th-level slots a warlock gets at the same level seem very underpowered by comparison.

    So, is anyone using spell points? What issues (if any) have you come across?
    We ran an Esper genesus campaign for 18 months. It uses that rule for its psychic types alongside slots for its engineers - think arcane vs divine.

    They worked fine alongside each other.

    If I were going to implement it, any "prepared casters eould keep slots - including wizards. The "known" classes like bards, sorc old get points.
    Warlock fo their own thing with slots.

    But multiclassing would take dome eork.

  3. #3
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    We playtested it as a few different level points. We found that it strongly encouraged casting higher level spells - basically novaing all the time. better action economy, kill foes quicker, etc. But because of that casters ran out quickly and advocated for 15 minute adventuring days. If there was some adventure reason they couldn't take a long rest then instead ended up using mostly cantrips when they weren't using high level spells, which they weren't fond of.

    When there was only 2-3 encounters per day it made casters even more powerful than they are now.

    Because of how upcasting usually isn't as good as spells natively of higher levels, they ended up also using the same few spells over and over, leading to a lot less variety.

    We didn't adopt it after our playtest.
    Last edited by Blue; Saturday, 11th May, 2019 at 10:19 PM.
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  4. #4
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    I am using spell points in my campaign. Because, frankly, I did not understand what I was doing, I also increased the max spell points for all the casters. Even with that I think things are OK, although I'm sure caster behavior is different than if we were using spell slots. The PCs are only up to 6th level, though, and I am a bit concerned with the potential for a lot of high level spells being cast later on. There aren't any warlocks in the party, so I don't have any experience with that aspect. I do think that the players enjoy the added flexibility. And I much prefer seeing them have a resource that feels (to me) more natural than spell slots, which to me feel very 'gamey'.

    In the realm of theory/speculation - the values in the max spell point table in the DMG are (as far as I can see) what you get when you just add up the spell point values of the slots in the table for a typical full caster. Since the added flexibility that spell points give seems like a clear advantage, it seems hard to escape the conclusion that the DMG spell point variant is a definite buff to casters. To try to bring it back in line with spell slots, power-wise (assuming that is something one wanted to do), one thing that I would contemplate would be to raise the spell point cost of higher level spells somewhat, while leaving the max spell point values the same. But I haven't worked through any actual numbers to see what they should be or to try to ascertain if that would have some unintended undesirable consequences.

  5. #5
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    Use it for our Sorcerer as opposed to spell slots. Has been working very well. It is kept separate from the Sorcery Points. Has not out shined the other spell caster.

  6. #6
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    The 5E Sorcerer should have had spell points from the get-go in my opinion.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlassJaw View Post
    The 5E Sorcerer should have had spell points from the get-go in my opinion.
    Agree 110%

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    I've been looking at it more today and trying to come up with a simpler variant just so we won't have to reference the tables:

    * Your spell points are equal to your total caster levels times 3 plus your spellcasting modifier. If you have more than one spellcaster class, you only gain the highest spellcasting modifier to add to your spell points. Paladins and Rangers divide their level by two, and spell-using archetypes divide their level by three.
    * Spells cost one point per spell level to cast. (Ex. a 5th-level spell costs 5 points.) If you choose to cast a spell with a higher level slot, it costs points equal to the spell level slot used.
    * You cannot cast more than two 6th- and 7th-level spells, and only one 8th- and 9th-level spells until you take a Long Rest.

    Ex. a 3rd-level sorcerer with CHA 14 would have 11 spell points. The same sorcerer with WIS 16 adds a level of cleric at 4th-level and would now use the +3 Wisdom modifier, for a total of 15 spell points.

    This works out so casters have a bit more spells available at tier 1 and some of tier 2, but after that most often a caster using slots would have more "potential" (e.g. spell points would normally max out around 65, but you would need 89 spell points to cast all the spells normally available to a 20th-level caster).

    Certain features have to be adapted, such as Arcane Recovery: once per day when you finish a Short Rest, you gain spell points equal to half your wizard level (round up).

    I guess that's it for now.

  9. #9
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    I think that spell points would be a great concept, but the game would have to be designed around it. Instead of spell slots, I would rather have had spell points, but even cantrips would have a cost. Used correctly, it would prevent nova, since the caster really couldn't just fall back to spamming cantrip attacks for decent damage. If you nova, you're using a quarterstaff or dagger for the rest of the fights. Still might be a viable strategy, but not all the time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    We playtested it as a few different level points. We found that it strongly encouraged casting higher level spells - basically novaing all the time. better action economy, kill foes quicker, etc. But because of that casters ran out quickly and advocated for 15 minute adventuring days. If there was some adventure reason they couldn't take a long rest then instead ended up using mostly cantrips when they weren't using high level spells, which they weren't fond of.

    When there was only 2-3 encounters per day it made casters even more powerful than they are now.

    Because of how upcasting usually isn't as good as spells natively of higher levels, they ended up also using the same few spells over and over, leading to a lot less variety.

    We didn't adopt it after our playtest.
    One of my players ran the playtest Mystic in my last Curse of Strahd campaign, and that class essentially uses spell points. And the same thing happened with her... she couldn't help but just throw out Fireball after Fireball, and then found herself without spell points for large swathes of time. It definitely made the class feel different than the other spellcasters... but you need to have a much more conservative player to have it work effectively (and I mean that literally... the player needs to be wiling to conserve their points.) She wasn't able to do it-- the pull of throwing out multiple high-level spells in a single combat was just too great-- but unfortunately for her the house rules for resting I had in place for Barovia made things even worse (8 hours for a short rest, three days for a long.)
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