D&D 5E Shadowdark casting in standard 5E


Sounds interesting, but I really feel 5e spellcasting is too reliable as it is. Adding funny misfires while still having the spell work as intended seems to work against the purpose to me.
Yeah, totally get that. DCC is a great game, and I can't wait to play.

I'm just reporting my "actual field conditions" implementing something not dissimilar to what Reynard was asking about. Not making any judgments about "the right way" – just this is the feedback that I got, I respected my players, and working towards a compromise that's fun for everyone.

EDIT: You reminded me, I ran a Freebooters on the Frontier game this weekend (PbtA + OSR + DCC-ish casting) and magic-user failed her first casting check of The Weakening Death of Youth (I forget the spell name exactly, something like that) on a wyvern, so I had her old magic-user begin to age in reverse like Merlin. It was fun in the moment, but feedback after from the magic-user player was a bit frustrated "love/hate the magic system" were her exact words.

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Yeah, obviously however you want to do it and your gang is happy? That's the right way.

It is worth considering the increase in points of failure...

For example, consider a knight...
  • I attack (one roll), and I miss. No damage dealt.
  • I attack (one roll), and I hit. I'm going to deal SOME amount of damage no matter what (barring weird monster immunities).
Consider a Roll-to-Cast magic-user...
  • I cast (one roll), and I fail. No effect.
  • I cast (one roll), and I succeed!
  • I roll attack or enemy rolls save (second roll). If I miss or they succeed, no effect. I need to hit or they need to fail on this second roll for me to deal ANY amount of damage or effect (barring "half damage on failed save" spells).
In other words – and this may be fine for you, just clarifying the design issue – there are now 2 points of failure there for the magic-user compared to the 1 point of failure for the knight.
Yeah, the two points of failure thing is an issue. You could fold them together though so that targeted spells get their threshold from the target's saves, which of course is 4E-ish and so is certain to cause a scandal.

It should also be noted that there are a lot of Shadowdark spells that if they work just don't offer a saving throw to the target.


I crit!
I’ve been thinking along these lines.

I want to give magic users a thematic way to regain those spells via a costly or tiring or damaging or dangerous ritual. Vs just sleeping.

That way they could try to get them back during the adventure.


I crit!
Expending hit dice would be interesting. The idea of wizards sacrificing blood/life/etc for magic is a common trope.
Oh! That’s a good one.

I’d want a variety of options too. Like destroying valuables. Or betraying a close friend or loved one. Or doing something dangerous or foolish like a Leeroy Jenkins.


Oh! That’s a good one.

I’d want a variety of options too. Like destroying valuables.
That is good if treasure means anything. Maybe in 5e you have to "burn out" a magic item, or if that is too harsh sacrifice an attunement slot until a long rest or something.


I crit!
The wizard prays to the only god that might listen, Krom, and Krom answers without mercy. Two words, “Leroy Jenkins”.

The wizard, fear grinding his guts, charges into battle screaming those words and recovering all his spells, while Krom cruelly laughs.

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
You could do something like:

0) Spells targeting AC now target a save, generally a physical one.

1) Roll a Arcane, Religion, Performance or Nature check vs a DC of 10+Spell level+ Save bonus. Spells that allows a save after each round use the 4e ''save ends'', meaning you roll a flat d20 and need a 10+ to saves.

On a success, you cast the spell and it takes effect, no need to do a second round of saves or spell attack roll.

2) On a failed, the spell fails or does its miss effect, if any. You then lose it 'til your recover (long rest for most classes)

3) On a roll of 1, roll the Scroll Mishap table from the DMG.
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Another thing that makes martials seemingly more okay with missing occasionally on their attacks is that they have more opportunities to roll dice on each of their turns-- either from Extra Attack, two-weapon fighting, gaining Advantage more often (due to only having attack rolls), etc. etc. So each turn a martial might be rolling two or more d20s with a chance to hit, and thus have less a chance to completely miss outright (and "wasting" their turn.) They might miss one but hit on the others.

For a caster, I would assume it's one and done, yes? One single caster roll more often than not for one single spell, so it ends up as all-or-nothing. Thus casters will feel the effects of "wasting turns" potentially more often. Just something to think about if comparing casters to martials in this way.

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