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On the right track with spell build?

Gooba42

Registered User
I'm trying to get my head wrapped around EoM properly as DM before I unleash it fully on my players.

Below is a spell concept/stats as I currently have them written. I'm trying to maintain some backwards compatibility to D20 Fantasy and backporting as best I can (13 MP ~ 6th Spell Level). I'm concerned about a couple of items; the spell level looks high for what the actual undead spawn looks like, I'm not sure I've got all the Spell Lists added up properly (Am I animating/de-animating? When is Transform Undead *not* animating or de-animating?), and there might be a more efficient way to produce the same effect. It's my fault for making the spell so complicated but as I'm still testing I'm sort of probing the system for boundary cases anyway.

Here goes...


Necromanos
Necromancy [Evil]
Casting Time: Two full rounds.
Duration: Up to ten minutes (D)
Range: 30 ft.
Target: A creature or corpse
Area of Effect: One creature targeted
Saving Throw: Fortitude Negates; Will Partial (See Text)
Spell Resistance: Yes

A harsh, guttural incantation and your subject begins to scream in agony clutching at their wrist before a terrible wet tearing noise announces the arrival of their new enemy, the animated bones of their own hand.

A subject, living or dead (but not undead), failing a Fortitude save loses the use of one hand while its bones are animated as a minion of the caster. The intense pain results in a minor dementia and Wisdom damage as well as the loss of the hand. The subject is entitled to a Will save against the dementia but even on success all other spell effects remain.

Elements Of Magic Audit/Build: Drain Mist 1/Transform Death 9/Charm <Creature> 1/Gen 2

* Drain Mist 1 - -2 to Wisdom or Constitution or -1 to both at Caster's option
* Transform Death 9 - 3 for Force Change, 4 for Strong Defenses, 2 for De-Animate
* Charm <Creature> 1 - HD Threshold 5, Confusion effect
* Gen 2 - 1 MP Duration, 1 MP Range
* 13 MP total (Requires caster level 13 minimum as-is)


Variants:

* The Confusion component of this spell can be omitted, making this a 12 MP spell. (Level 6)
* The 7 points for Force Change can be omitted if this spell is cast on a corpse or opponent not entitled to a Fortitude save making this a 6 MP spell. (Level 3)
* The CR of the hand may be increased by adding


Todo:

* Stats for the animated hand (CR 1/2 by default)
 
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Gooba42

Registered User
If I understand right....

Fireball
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Area: 20-ft.-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

A fireball spell is an explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage. The explosion creates almost no pressure.

Elements of Magic Build:
Evoke Fire: 3 Moderate Side Effect, +1 per additional D6
Gen: 3 Range, 2 Area
Total: 8 MP ~ Spell Level 4, Caster Level 8

To duplicate fireball (with 4d6 less damage), achievable under normal d20 at CL 5 you need an additional 3 levels. Is there another balancing factor I'm missing? Is this some odd corner case? I'm okay with lower power in exchange for higher flexibility but I need to be sure before my game is riding on it where the balance level resides.

Edit/Update...

Fireball appears to be one of those weird boundary cases. Looking over the SRD spells everything else I've checked seems to fit the EoM rules. Congrats on what appears to be a more balanced and transparent system than the internal SRD builders'. If there were nothing else to it, this system is a nearly perfect "Feature Points" system for spell comparison.
 
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Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
I really like that first spell :)

It looks right to me, altho you need to add in the 'Splitting' {1 MP} for cutting the persons hand off...

As to Fireball, yes you are missing something. Per the 3.5 RAW a Fireball has the equivilent of an Ambient side effect, so a 3D6 Fireball at short range would be 5 MP:
2MP Evoke Fire
1 MP short range
2MP Targeted 20' area


The down side of this is that you have to pay additional MP instead of getting 'free' boosts for caster level.

The up side is that you *can* add in the elemental side effects and burn down the entire forest :)

And yes, this system is great for estimating spell levels for various effects :)
 

Gooba42

Registered User
Thanks so much for the reply.

You've got the Fireball down for Short range, the SRD has it at long, right? That's 3 MP for the range and the core rules version never does less than 5d6 (Since you can't get it any lower than 5th level.) For the revised build to match the basic Fireball:

Elements of Magic Build:
Evoke Fire: 0 Ambient Side Effect, 4 Damage
Gen: 3 Range, 2 Area
Total: 9 MP ~ Spell Level 4, Caster Level 9

It's actually *gained* one MP/CL over my previous build because I didn't omit the damage dice this time. I think this build is more accurate to RAW specifications but serves only to highlight how out of line this spell is with anything of comparable level. Little wonder that this is a must-have spell for its level.

Now I'm on another bump on the road to EoM...

There's a reference in the appendix to Permanent Duration costing 30 MP but the limit for non-epic casters is 20 MP. Does the Craft Permanent Spell feat lift the requirement for MP spent on duration?
 
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Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
There's a reference in the appendix to Permanent Duration costing 30 MP but the limit for non-epic casters is 20 MP. Does the Craft Permanent Spell feat lift the requirement for MP spent on duration?
This is EoM doing the same way two different ways...

You can craft a Permanent spell with the feat and spend XP/gold to make it permanent...which requires a 10 minute duration

...or...

you can add 30MP for a permanent duration.

There are advantages both ways. With the former its easier to make lasting spell effects rather cheaply. With the latter the odds of your spell being dispelled or disrupted is pretty slim :)

The extended durations tend to be used in ritual castings instead of an individual mage.


re: Fireball... I keep forgetting the range because I never see it used outside :)
And yes, this shows how Evoke at higher levels are less devastating, its often much better to toss a "Necromanos" than it is to toss another fireball.
 

Gooba42

Registered User
Alright, that's kind of where I was leaning on the Permanent Spell bit. It's a bit of an oddity but I suppose if you have 30 MP to spare just for duration you should be able to get good use out of it. Also plays into the Ritual rules for Mythic Earth where you might have several lower level mages throwing MP into the pot to get one enchantment.

I just played my session tonight where I gave my players the rundown on EoM casting. One was sick, another half-asleep and the third isn't a caster (but plans to be) and didn't seem to see the point of my explaining it to him. I'm sure I'll explain it 2 more times at least before anybody really "gets it".

We're going into what could be a combat heavy next session so I have a chance to build some EoM opponents which might get their attention.
 

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
From my experience with the system, unless you have a rule tweakaholic like me at your table, the best way to teach the system is to start at 1st level. The players then get to practive building limited spells and learn the basics of the system, then ramp up in complexity as they gain levels.

Altho some players are not good at the Tetris-like spell building and don't have the motivation to work on it. One nice thing is that you can mix Core with EoM with very little effort. My campaign includes both, as well as Psionic...

One thing to do in your combat heavy session is to trot out some of the uniqueness of EoM. A mass Slow {Move: Death} is a fast attention grabber.

Or you can be mean and a ranged 'raise undead' that brings recently defeated enemy back into combat is a real eye-opener... first time I used that the CR -4 encounter with the Cults guards suddenly turned into a CR equivilent encounter! :)
{Transform: Undead as a Signature spell....only targets Corpses}

Basically, have spells that break out the 'Wow! Thats Magic!' reaction. A portion of this is, of course, staging and presentation. Its hard to really wow your players with a 'Joe the evil caster mumbles some words and casts an Create Fire, Summon Undead spell to call into being a flaming skeleton to fight you.'

And it can be the simple things.. Zombies with Spider Climb...walking on the ceiling..

I hope you and your players have a blast with the game and the system.
 

Gooba42

Registered User
The first level advice is sort of the conclusion I came to for my own purposes. The book as written is a bit hard to absorb, to really *get it*, I started a character sheet and worked up a level 5 character using one of the classes in the first chapter. Everything started to click once I had a sort of working knowledge of the system.

I don't know if it's just me being dense or if it's the book itself but the skills are still difficult to wrap my head around. I've got a spreadsheet doing dispel/anti-magic checks for me, but the divination, scrying and spellcraft I may have to see in action.
 

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
Not just you..

Ranger Wickett has a new version planned once he finished working on the WoBS project that will fix the magic skills...

I honestly have not even used them yet, but I have a player reading the system and he will be converting over..and he already has stated he will use Scry :eek:
 

Gooba42

Registered User
It's kind of unnerving reading those sections, like listening to a schizophrenic... he sure knows what he's talking about but it's not getting through to me!

I'm curious, what do you do for Metamagic feats? I've got a ton of them from various sources (Complete Arcane, notably has a bunch of them). Not all of them will make sense in the EoM system as they overlap with already available spell effects but others are kind of unique. I'm tempted to say that the added MP cost of the Metamagic feat overlaps too closely with the MP cost of buying the effect from a spell list.

Energy Substitution or Energy Admixture are high on the list of redundant feats but Earthbound Spell (Cast spell into ground as a trap) not so much.
 
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Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
Metamagic goes on a case by case basis.. alot of the feats are pointless, others not so much as you have pointed out.

Alternatively, you could alter the Feats so they slightly reduce the cost of mixing the spell. For instance, Energy Admixtures could grant you 2 bonus MP that can be spent beyond your MP limit when casting an Evoke that uses two energy types.

Of course, I haven't even had an EoM character dip into metamagic, the bonus boon feat is much more tempting :)
 

Gooba42

Registered User
I could definitely see that being the case.

Have you played with traditions at all? At the moment I'm all starry eyed, ready to reimplement all my casters as traditions but before I dive in, I thought it might be prudent to consult an expert ;)
 

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
No where near expert...

Genshou, Ranger Wickett, or Thanee should jump in here and save us :p

My players were a bit reticent about how complex the system was, so I ended up running a mixed game where one adventurous soul played under EoM and the others played Core. The only time we used a tradition was with a Druid..and that worked out pretty well.

The highest level I have really played with was 8th level, so its not like I stress tested the system.
 

Gooba42

Registered User
I'm wandering into uncharted territory then... par for the course.

I think I really like the idea of class features implemented as tradition feats. It also gives me some flexibility to play with the alternate class features from PHBII. If I really had guts, I'd go wipe my existing classes out of RPGXplorer and re-enter everything EoM style.

Thanks for the help thus far. I think by Game Night I'll have gotten as much as I'm going to get.
 

Gooba42

Registered User
This thread is drawing out further and further but I guess I'm still on-topic here..

Using a Transform spell list, I can increase the CR of a creature 1 level for each 2 MP spent.

Is it then reasonable to build a spell that confers a Template to a character for the same cost through an associated list? This seems like it'd probably be easier on a mechanical basis than changing to a different type of creature altogether.

i.e. Using Transform Dragon 4 to grant the Half-Dragon template for the duration of the spell?

I'm a serious template collector and I really like this idea but I don't have the chops to know if it's a good fit.
 

Primitive Screwhead

Community Supporter
I don't see why not.. I have a partially abandoned project of codifying an EoM to Upper Crust CR chart where you could pay the cost for the type and for special abilities.. kind of a 'build your own creature' approach to transform on a plain mechanical approach ala PHBII wildshape rules.

A cost for adding templates would be good, and we have some core spells/feats to guage the power level from. Of course, some templates are more equal than others...

But, a 2MP per +1 CR would suffice for a SWAG, and is probabaly a much less intensive solution than what I was working on. A standard rule that any templating has a minumum cost of 2MP and you cannot have an end result CR above what your normal Transform would be limited to...

In other words, if you could at best Transform something into a CR 7 critter, you cant grants a template of +2 to a CR 6 creature...

It would be pretty easy to take your collection of templates and guage them as 'weak +1', 'normal +1', 'strong +1' and cost them at 1 MP, 2 MP, and 3 MP respectivly.

Actually this might be a better route than full transformations as it would be easier in play instead of recalculating everything :)
 

Gooba42

Registered User
Awesome! Just what I was looking to hear!

I'm looking at the Advanced Bestiary index and it caps out at a +6 template so this is right on track with the EoM chart.

I may, for the meantime, have exhausted my supply of questions.
 

John Q. Mayhem

Villager
Gooba42 said:
The first level advice is sort of the conclusion I came to for my own purposes. The book as written is a bit hard to absorb, to really *get it*, I started a character sheet and worked up a level 5 character using one of the classes in the first chapter. Everything started to click once I had a sort of working knowledge of the system.
I've had this problem, too. EoM is really hard to wrap your head around at first, but it's so worth it ^^

Unfortunately, most of the people I play with aren't as good with rules as me, so I don't get to use it as much as I want.
 

Gooba42

Registered User
John Q. Mayhem said:
I've had this problem, too. EoM is really hard to wrap your head around at first, but it's so worth it ^^

Unfortunately, most of the people I play with aren't as good with rules as me, so I don't get to use it as much as I want.
In my current game they're all newbies. I figured it was probably best to introduce this as an option early before there were any habits or expectations built up.

Nobody's taken the bait yet, but they're all a little timid about even the core rules so I can't say as I'm too surprised.
 

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