5E Using Spell Point Variant Rule?

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Rule system only solution to the 15m adventuring day?
Replacement for the /rule part/ solution that he removed - cantrips which can be done at-will.

There is also the DM and adventure parts of avaoidign 15 minute adventuring days. He removed a mechanical fix, so I was looking for a mechanical replacement for it. Not a hand wave to put more on the DM.

**But** if for some reason I wanted to mechanically homogenize folks to a more "forced" adherence to an OTP house rule "one true pace" then I would consider this.
Calling it "One True Pace" really sounds like "this is the only way to play". I'm not for any single pace, I am for not regularly doing the shortest 1-2 encounter pace because of the balance between classes.

There is an undeniable mechanical balance factor between classes that are primary at-will, primary short-rest recharge, and primary long-rest recharge. I think you will agree that, for instance, a long rest after every encounter vs. a long rest only after ten encounters would find certain classes more powerful in those extremes. Just like a warlock in a game with no short rests will find themselves at a disadvantage vs. other casters in terms of slots per day. So there is, mechancially, a range where the three types of classes are more-or-less balanced against each other. And please, there's no "one true pace" that they should all be the same. Vary it up byt he story, vary it up with some shorter days, some longer days, some days with more short rests and some with short. Do whatever you need or want - all I'm saying is just don't always do very short days because that throws off the mechanical balance between classes.

[Good ideas about how to break up long rest recharge into short rests to encourage longer adventuring days snipped. Wanted to acknowledge and appreciate them.]

In my play experience with spell points, the biggest change was almost exclusive loss of upticking/upslotting. It's just not worth losing a spell that can be cast to power a level up. The sole exception is if the uptick is multiple targets, like invisibility or other buffs, where there is a need for multiple folks.
You're talking about the DMG variant. Shiroiken was suggesting another variant that also charged points for cantrips. Which is the primary method characters use to extend their spells. That's the safety value being removed I was talking about. He wants casters to go back to quarterstaves and such if they don't want to spend points. It would have a different feel than either core PHB or the DMG spell point variant.
 
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Shiroiken

Adventurer
If you want/need a mechanical rule to prevent the 15 minute work day that doesn't require any DM input, you need a meta-game solution. I've heard of another game system (13th Age, maybe?) that only replenishes abilities after a set number of encounters, regardless of how long it takes for that to happen. Many DMs & players are not fond of this, however, since it tends to break immersion and verisimilitude. I wouldn't have minded seeing that as an option in the DMG, as well as suggestions on how the DM can time manage the game to help prevent the short adventuring day problem.


You're talking about the DMG variant. Shiroiken was suggesting another variant that also charged points for cantrips. Which is the primary method characters use to extend their spells. That's the safety value being removed I was talking about. He wants casters to go back to quarterstaves and such if they don't want to spend points. It would have a different feel than either core PHB or the DMG spell point variant.
Correct. Realistically, while I love the idea of spell points, to do it right you'd have to completely rework the way spells function. Cantrips wouldn't damage scale and would cost spell points, so they aren't a fall back after going nova. The existing DMG system doesn't do any of this, and would greatly encourage going nova, since you can just cantrip any further combats you're forced into.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
We wouldn't scale cantrip damage most likely if we implement a spell point system. However, I would probably suggest allowing cantrips to include spellcasting ability modifier to damage, just as STR or DEX can add to weapon attacks.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
If you want/need a mechanical rule to prevent the 15 minute work day that doesn't require any DM input, you need a meta-game solution.
This is mischaracterizing my question. We're not looking for a 100% solution -- that's a different thing. There are mechanics that help reduce 15 minute adventuring days. Having cantrips that allow a caster to contribute *meaningfully* without using a slot is one of them. Havign a large number of slots (vs. effectively reducing the number of slots by consolidating to fewer high level slots). Both of these increase the pressure for 15 minute adventuring day.

Having removed these mechanical relief valves, what mechanical relief to help reduce pressure for 15 minute adventuring days will replace them?
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
This is mischaracterizing my question. We're not looking for a 100% solution -- that's a different thing. There are mechanics that help reduce 15 minute adventuring days. Having cantrips that allow a caster to contribute *meaningfully* without using a slot is one of them. Havign a large number of slots (vs. effectively reducing the number of slots by consolidating to fewer high level slots). Both of these increase the pressure for 15 minute adventuring day.

Having removed these mechanical relief valves, what mechanical relief to help reduce pressure for 15 minute adventuring days will replace them?
The problem is that having a relief valve encourages nova behavior, because you can nova without fear that you can still contribute meaningfully if you have to continue before resting. The existing system has this issue because of the cantrips, and using the DMG spell points with them will make the issue worse. In reality, this is an issue the DM is going to have to deal with in-game, because players will always find a way to use the mechanics in their favor.

If you want a mechanical way to prevent nova behavior using spell points, I would recommend having them refresh over time, rather than after a long rest (just as the psions points did in 2E). In addition, I'd have the refresh rate be based on the percentage remaining, so the lower you have left, the slower it recovers. This would discourage nova behavior, since they would get back fewer spell points if they go nova. This still probably won't solve the problem, because players will simply stop after going nova until they refresh sufficiently to continue.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
The problem is that having a relief valve encourages nova behavior, because you can nova without fear that you can still contribute meaningfully if you have to continue before resting.
Yes, and so what? Nova-ing isn't inherently bad. As a matter of fact, it's a feature of daily resource usage vs. a more spread at-will (or somewhat spread short rest). So it looks like it is something intentional from them designers.

Let's not move the goalpost. The question is about replacing removed mechanical ways to help avoid 15 minute adventuring days.
 
If you want/need a mechanical rule to prevent the 15 minute work day that doesn't require any DM input, you need a meta-game solution.
Vancian, spell points, spontaneous casting - they're all metagame constructs that poorly model magic as seen in fantasy fiction(& myth, etc).

There is an undeniable mechanical balance factor between classes that are primary at-will, primary short-rest recharge, and primary long-rest recharge.
heh. The value of this factor is IM, as in imbalanced. ;P ::sigh:: not as funny as it sounded in my head.

Shiroiken was suggesting another variant that also charged points for cantrips. Which is the primary method characters use to extend their spells. That's the safety value being removed I was talking about. He wants casters to go back to quarterstaves and such if they don't want to spend points. It would have a different feel than either core PHB or the DMG spell point variant.
So to help that work you could use some sort of casting-stress system. The more spell points you spend in a short period, the greater the stress. That could be stress on the mage - exhaustion, hp damage, inability to cast for a time - or stress on reality (magical side-effects, spells going out of control).

Actually, you could use a system where you can't spend more than one spell point unless you spent a spell point in the previous round - so you have to 'warm up' to cast big spells - but also have to make concentration checks every round with a cumulative penalty based on how many spell points you've used so far...
… and have some sort of backlash when you finally fail.

If you want a mechanical way to prevent nova behavior using spell points, I would recommend having them refresh over time, rather than after a long rest. In addition, I'd have the refresh rate be based on the percentage remaining, so the lower you have left, the slower it recovers. This would discourage nova behavior, since they would get back fewer spell points if they go nova.
That actually answered the question.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The spell point variant is fairly broken. It would be much more interesting had it imposed a limit on the number of points you can expend in a short while.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
I imagine experience is the best teacher here. After a couple times of novaing and then being less than effective when you are really needed, it seems like discretion would quickly be acquired. Also, with cantrips always available, it is no worse than when a character runs out of spell slots normally.
Yeah this presumes something that rarely is true.

Novaing is something you do against hard foes, making those encounters much less interesting and challenging.

That the other encounters, the easy ones, become slightly less easy, is not a concern.

The real conclusion here is to ask yourself why the game allows you to nova at all, at least without paying a hefty price.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The problem I see with the spell point system now is that you can nova all your high level stuff, then fall back to cantrips for everything else. If cantrips also cost spell points, and you have suficient encounters, this makes full nova a less viable, since basic attacks are likely much less useful.
This.

The spell point system kind of worked (not really, but work with me here) in the context of 3rd edition.

In 5E, where you always have your four-dice firebolts or whatever, it simply doesn't work precisely for the reason S lays out above.
 

Perun

Mushroom
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?
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.
I'm playing an 8th-level sorcerer in a campaign, using spell points. Unlike ScuroNotte, however, we pool spell points and sorcery points together. It has provided some versatility to the sorcerer, but it doesn't feel as a significant power-boost to the class. We switched to spell points when the character was 6th or 7th level, so I've had the opportunity to get a taste of both versions.

There is the temptation to go nova, but it has happened only once or twice, when we were facing overwhelming odds, so I'll call that justified :) Normally, I like to spread my resources, but spending an odd spell-point or three to boost your chromatic orb seems like a nice feature to have, and goes really well with sorcerer's flavour.

Just my 2 cp.

Regards.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
So to help that work you could use some sort of casting-stress system. The more spell points you spend in a short period, the greater the stress. That could be stress on the mage - exhaustion, hp damage, inability to cast for a time - or stress on reality (magical side-effects, spells going out of control).

Actually, you could use a system where you can't spend more than one spell point unless you spent a spell point in the previous round - so you have to 'warm up' to cast big spells - but also have to make concentration checks every round with a cumulative penalty based on how many spell points you've used so far...
… and have some sort of backlash when you finally fail.

That actually answered the question.
Funny you should mention a "casting-stress" system... I was thinking about something like the "spell drain" system in Shadowrun.

Spell Drain

After you cast a spell, you make a Spell Drain check using your spellcasting modifier. The DC is equal to 10 plus the spell level of the spell you cast. If you fail your spell drain check...

(options)
1. you suffer psychic damage equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Not bad, but since damage can be healed fairly easily, not much of a thing really.)
2. you suffer a level of exhaustion. (Good, but might be too much of a penalty.)
3. you cannot cast another spell for a number of rounds equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Makes casting higher level spells potentially risky.)

Cantrips could be included in all this, or might be left out. So with option #3, maybe you can still cast cantrips or maybe not? If anyone has other options for failing the spell drain check, let me know. :)

What do you think, Tony?
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Funny you should mention a "casting-stress" system... I was thinking about something like the "spell drain" system in Shadowrun.

Spell Drain

After you cast a spell, you make a Spell Drain check using your spellcasting modifier. The DC is equal to 10 plus the spell level of the spell you cast. If you fail your spell drain check...

(options)
1. you suffer psychic damage equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Not bad, but since damage can be healed fairly easily, not much of a thing really.)
2. you suffer a level of exhaustion. (Good, but might be too much of a penalty.)
3. you cannot cast another spell for a number of rounds equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Makes casting higher level spells potentially risky.)

Cantrips could be included in all this, or might be left out. So with option #3, maybe you can still cast cantrips or maybe not? If anyone has other options for failing the spell drain check, let me know. :)

What do you think, Tony?
Not Tony but if this is meant to prevent or discourage nova i think its hard fail.

Its so small a diff between casting 5th and 1st that u are much better off casting fewer bigger spells for their greater impact.

The risk from lower level casting combines with their lower output to make it not worth the risk.

This seems nova-better rule.
 
Funny you should mention a "casting-stress" system... I was thinking about something like the "spell drain" system in Shadowrun.
That was one of the things in the back of my mind, yes. Magic is often presented as 'dangerous' or 'exhausting' or otherwise something you wouldn't want to do systematically just because you can - alternately, magic is often presented as something that /can't/ be used any time you want (only at certain times under certain conditions, with the aid/approval of some entity, etc). Vancian, in an abstract/meta-game/dissociated way, does boil down those sorts of things down to a net effect: you can only use magic n/day, but it's a pretty kludgy way of doing it.

Spell Drain
After you cast a spell, you make a Spell Drain check using your spellcasting modifier. The DC is equal to 10 plus the spell level of the spell you cast. If you fail your spell drain check...
(options)
1. you suffer psychic damage equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Not bad, but since damage can be healed fairly easily, not much of a thing really.)
2. you suffer a level of exhaustion. (Good, but might be too much of a penalty.)
3. you cannot cast another spell for a number of rounds equal to the spell level of the spell you cast. (Makes casting higher level spells potentially risky.)

Cantrips could be included in all this, or might be left out. So with option #3, maybe you can still cast cantrips or maybe not? If anyone has other options for failing the spell drain check, let me know. :)

What do you think, Tony?
IDK about options under the player's control, and don't much care for the exhaustion mechanic in general. I might prefer if option 3 was the default, then if you 'violated' it - cast again before the requisite number of rounds - you took the psychic damage. Maybe? Or would that be 'cooldown?'
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
The reasons we keep Sorcery Points and Spell Points systems separate are

  • We already kept them separate, but when the question was posed to Crawford, he wrote the intended use was for them to be separate.
  • Sorcery Points can no longer be used for creating spell slots when using Spell Points. And spell slots cannot create Sorcery Points.
  • Sorcery Points are only used for Metamagic and Sorcerer Features. This allowed us to create a recovery system of Sorcery Points based on sorcerer level after a short rest.
  • It requires a Bonus Action to convert Spell Points to Spell Slots before casting a spell. This forces the player to have prepared spell slots for spells when needed, that require reactions, or if they want to Quicken Magic a spell.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Not Tony but if this is meant to prevent or discourage nova i think its hard fail.

Its so small a diff between casting 5th and 1st that u are much better off casting fewer bigger spells for their greater impact.

The risk from lower level casting combines with their lower output to make it not worth the risk.

This seems nova-better rule.
No, this was not any sort of attempt about novaing. I don't care about novaing. No matter what system you use, someone can always nova--whether it is to a lesser or greater degree maybe--but they can always do it.

That was one of the things in the back of my mind, yes. Magic is often presented as 'dangerous' or 'exhausting' or otherwise something you wouldn't want to do systematically just because you can - alternately, magic is often presented as something that /can't/ be used any time you want (only at certain times under certain conditions, with the aid/approval of some entity, etc). Vancian, in an abstract/meta-game/dissociated way, does boil down those sorts of things down to a net effect: you can only use magic n/day, but it's a pretty kludgy way of doing it.

IDK about options under the player's control, and don't much care for the exhaustion mechanic in general. I might prefer if option 3 was the default, then if you 'violated' it - cast again before the requisite number of rounds - you took the psychic damage. Maybe? Or would that be 'cooldown?'

When I wrote about options those aren't under the player's control, they are options for how the mechanic plays out. I am not sure which I prefer either, but since then have adapted a variant mechanic using this as a base. Anyway, it is late and has been a long day, more to come tomorrow. :)
 

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