D&D 5E Alternative magic systems for 5e? [+]

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
this is not any existing system but i wonder how much restriction on the quantity and level of spells that a caster could know would be required as the price for them to use at-will levelled spells?
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I've not looked at it myself so I have no idea if it is demonstrably different than 5E Vancian-light casting... but I've seen on DMs Guild a "Magic: The Gathering" five-color casting ruleset someone made up to go along with the Theros setting for D&D. It sounded like it changed some things up, but I cannot confirm or deny how or why, only state that it exists.
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
Adventures in Rokugan by Edgeent had got a no-Vacian magic system.
What’s it like?

I'm not aware of any 3PP that does this for 5e, but you could take a look at 13th Age for inspiration. The magic in that system works basically as you describe (some spells are daily, some encounter, and some at-will).
Or derp. It’s not like the authors are old friends of mine or anything. Yes, I should review that.

I've not looked at it myself so I have no idea if it is demonstrably different than 5E Vancian-light casting... but I've seen on DMs Guild a "Magic: The Gathering" five-color casting ruleset someone made up to go along with the Theros setting for D&D. It sounded like it changed some things up, but I cannot confirm or deny how or why, only state that it exists.
Interesting. Thanks, I’ll look that up.
 

In Rokugan 5e the duelist was like a martial adept, but with "concentration points". In the fight you earn a con.point each turn and these can be spent for special attacks.

The ritualist had got something like focus points, and the magic spells could be better according certain circustances, for example fire magic would be more powerful in dry zones, and water magic would be better if the ritualist is on the water, for example.

I would need time to get used. It weren't designed to be compatible with the rest of classic classes.
 

Dausuul

Legend
this is not any existing system but i wonder how much restriction on the quantity and level of spells that a caster could know would be required as the price for them to use at-will levelled spells?
To some extent we already have an answer in the form of warlock invocations: There are quite a few leveled spells, such as disguise self and levitate, that can be made at-will without trouble as long as you keep a tight rein on how many a character can have.

This is obviously not something that can be extended to all spells; at-will fireball is going to be a problem even if it's the only spell you have, except maybe at very high level. But on a carefully curated subset, it should work fine.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
To some extent we already have an answer in the form of warlock invocations: There are quite a few leveled spells, such as disguise self and levitate, that can be made at-will without trouble as long as you keep a tight rein on how many a character can have.

This is obviously not something that can be extended to all spells; at-will fireball is going to be a problem even if it's the only spell you have, except maybe at very high level. But on a carefully curated subset, it should work fine.
oh for sure, but the warlock only has a handful of explicitly picked spells for those invocations, i was considering to what extent it might have limited to be applied to the existing spellcasting classes
 

That last one sounds interesting but not for me, alas. I love the decision paralysis adventure.

What you’re calling cooldown magic is what I’m calling recharge magic:


Just so we sync up.

The powering-up option is very appealing tome. Gotta mull that one. Thanks!

Anyone know about published 3PP variants?
The power up started as a bad guy thing. They would use a bonus action to power up for an ability on their next turn. This was reserved for big stuff like a breath weapon, high level spell, or action surge. In one case I used it to show a giant picking up two boulders with the idea that she'd throw both on her next turn. The idea is to hint to the players that the next turn will be a big one and they should act appropriately.

Moving it to both players and normal npcs can add concepts like interrupting an action and makes things like taking the dodge action or cover more valuable.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
Half baked idea.
All non cantrips are cast via hit dice. You have to roll above three times the spell level using Hit Dice to cast. Fail to roll above? You take exhaustion and lose the hit dice. Tie, no exhaustion, but you lose the HD. Roll above? You cast successfully.

Level two and want to cast fireball? Roll your 2d6 and try to get higher than 9.
 

Dausuul

Legend
oh for sure, but the warlock only has a handful of explicitly picked spells for those invocations, i was considering to what extent it might have limited to be applied to the existing spellcasting classes
For noncombat spells, it depends a lot on where you want to draw the lines of "Level X characters can do Y."

Speak With Dead, for example, could be made available -- at-will or otherwise -- at 1st level, or 9th, or 17th. From a mechanical balance perspective, it doesn't much matter. It's more a question of worldbuilding and adventure design. How rare should this power be? When should DMs have to start accounting for it? That's more a matter of taste than balance.

For straight-up damage spells, on the other hand, you could work out a mechanical answer by calculating roughly how much damage a PC of level X should be able to do, then adjust the spell's damage and AoE for the level where you want it.

The trickiest spells are the ones that mix combat and utility applications, like Fly.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
A magic system I’ve been tinkering with is a mana pool system. You get so much mana but each one is a die, say a d6. You spend those on bigger effects, like accuracy, damage, increased range, etc. Literally roll the mana die and add to you baseline spell. Extra accuracy is +1d6 to your d20 roll, extra damage is +1d6, etc. You have cantrips which are free to cast. You regain mana when you’re not spending it. Say one per round. This lets the caster nova when they want but also limits things in a way you can balance and gives a natural ebb and flow to fights. This is similar to 4E in that it’s only combat magic. Bigger stuff is treated like rituals.
 

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