D&D 5E Hot Take: remove spell slots, use Strain instead.

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
So my hot take of the day is this:

At my table, I'd remove spell slots, an instead have the player do a Strain check to avoid forgetting the spell after using it, like they do in the Black Hack 2e.

Here's the rule:

  • Casters have know spells and prepared spells, like usual
  • When a player casts a spell, after the action is resolved, they make a ability check based on their casting ability. The check is made against a DC 10+Spell level.
  • On a failed check, the spell is forgotten and cant be used until regained by a long rest and re-prepared is necessary
  • If the spell has been cast since the last long rest, the check is made with disadvantage.
  • If upcasted, a lower level spell must make a strain check against the DC of the upcasted level, and if failed, the forgotten spell is one of the upcasted level. You must have a spell know or prepared of the level you want to upcast your spell.

ie: You, as a wizard, want to upcast magic missile as a 2nd level, after the casting, you must make a DC 12 intelligence check. On a failed roll, you forget a spell of 2nd level you are prepared.

Rituals and cantrips dont require Strain check, unless you use a variant where cantrips must pass a DC 10 Strain check.

How does it look?
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
Interesting idea!

Could spellcasters prepare multiple versions of the same spell? Like a Cleric preparing two Cure Wounds in case one is forgotten.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Sorcerer could even have a feature that gives them +Con mod to Strain check, making it easier to cast multiple time the same spell, since they know only a few.
 

I love it all but the last bullet point. I feel it'd be pretty annoying to have to take a break after every turn to cross reference my upcast spells with what I have prepared and then update etc etc etc.

I'd just let the Strain check rock as normal. upcast a spell, make the appropriate difficulty for it. In your proposed system, there's no need to adhere to 5E's spell slot economy. Upcasting a spell now has a bigger cost (more difficult check), thus doesn't need another one.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So my hot take of the day is this:

At my table, I'd remove spell slots, an instead have the player do a Strain check to avoid forgetting the spell after using it, like they do in the Black Hack 2e.

How does it look?

Honestly, how it looks would vary depending on the spell level cast.

Level one ... probably like holding in a fart.

Level five? More like when a person has a bowel movement ... but you're really trying to get it out.

Level nine? Oh my, that's some strain. That's kinda like passing a kidney stone that's the size of a bowling ball.


That's how the caster would look.
 

HammerMan

Legend
So my hot take of the day is this:

At my table, I'd remove spell slots, an instead have the player do a Strain check to avoid forgetting the spell after using it, like they do in the Black Hack 2e.

Here's the rule:

  • Casters have know spells and prepared spells, like usual
  • When a player casts a spell, after the action is resolved, they make a ability check based on their casting ability. The check is made against a DC 10+Spell level.
  • On a failed check, the spell is forgotten and cant be used until regained by a long rest and re-prepared is necessary
  • If the spell has been cast since the last long rest, the check is made with disadvantage.
  • If upcasted, a lower level spell must make a strain check against the DC of the upcasted level, and if failed, the forgotten spell is one of the upcasted level. You must have a spell know or prepared of the level you want to upcast your spell.

ie: You, as a wizard, want to upcast magic missile as a 2nd level, after the casting, you must make a DC 12 intelligence check. On a failed roll, you forget a spell of 2nd level you are prepared.

Rituals and cantrips dont require Strain check, unless you use a variant where cantrips must pass a DC 10 Strain check.

How does it look?
cool idea.

back in 2e and 3e I had a hombrew idea like Mage the Ascension where you use the epic seeds with learning seeds and building spells.
 

No spell slot?
So you prepare a bunch of high level spells a throw them at least once, maybe two or even three time or more before failing a check.
enhance ability + bardic inspiration and you start throw spells.
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Classes that prepare/know more spells will be casting significantly more spells than those who only know a few. Sorcerers will be casting the fewest spells per day. So some classes have both more flexibility and more spells per day.

Effectively a ton more "high level slots", since the chance to lose them isn't much more than lower level ones. Fireballs are only 2 DC worse than Magic Missile.
 




vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Don’t forget enhance ability, lucky feat, bardic inspiration and others help mechanics.
you may be surprise on how many time players will succeed their checks.
That's a really good point.

I think with the power level of 5e, that rule would be too much to play with without redoing a bunch of classes.
 


vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Don’t worry house ruling is rarely good right from the first draft. But it can be very cool to remove spell slot and have a simple strain mechanic.
At least spells in 5e arent that powerful, and concentration helps also.

The rules kinda works for up to spells level 4-5 but, like with the spell points variant from the DMG, 6th level spells and higher should be only cast once per day.

Classes with prepared spells should also be something like half-level + ability mod prepared spells instead of full level. That would leave most prepared casters with nearly the same number of spells per day as a known spell caster like the sorcerer.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
How does it look?
Looks good. We tried a "Drain" check (i.e. Strain) based on the idea of Shadowrun drain for spellcasting, but instead of losing the spell, you lost HP equal to the spell level you cast the spell at as the idea was failing the check meant you were fatigued from casting the spell.

Eventually, we just move to a more restrictive spell slot system.

6th level spells and higher should be only cast once per day.
Another option is if you try to cast them more than once per day, you gain a level of exhaustion.
 



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