Mana

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DragoonWraith · talk · 22:34, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
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Contents

This is an alternative to the traditional Vancian spellcasting system of D&D. It is, at its most basic, a fairly standard Spell Point system, but the specifics here have a few goals: to make multiclassing with Arcane casters more reasonable, to make lost progression less damning, and to put some limits on the Wizard while tossing a few minor bones to the Sorcerer.

All things that are self-aware (i.e. have a Wisdom and Charisma score, and are therefore not objects) possess Mana, an intangible quality that is associated with their life-force. The specifics of what Mana is or where it comes from are completely unknown, though debated heavily and numerous groups and factions will claim to know the 'truth' about Mana. It is not even clear whether or not different individuals or species have more or fewer Mana than others, or if some are simply more skilled in its use and therefore able to do more with the same amount. It is likely that no one will ever be able to come up with a definitive answer on this.

Mana is used in spellcasting. By definition, anything that uses Mana is a spell. Casting spells is draining, and though lack of Mana does not impair a creature's mental or physical ability in any way, a creature can nonetheless 'feel' its lack.

Mana is replenished by sleeping. The average creature requires eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to replenish their Mana.

Caster Level

A character's Caster Level is equal to the sum of his levels in any spellcasting classes, plus half their levels in any non-spellcasting classes.

The Caster Level affects the potency of a character's spells, the amount of Mana they can bring to bear in a given day, and the highest level spell they can cast. No character may learn or cast a spell with a spell level higher than half their Caster Level, with the sole exception of cantrips and 1st level spells, both of which may be cast with a Caster Level of 1.

Bonuses to Caster Level of any kind do not affect the Mana gained each day or the highest level spells that a character can cast, only the potency of their spells.

Mana per Day

Mechanically, Mana is quantized. This number is inherently an abstraction, but creatures are aware at least of relative magnitudes of Mana. As mentioned above, this may be the same 'amount' of Mana that is simply more powerful in the hands of a more accomplished mage, but the number is larger to illustrate the increased efficiency. Ultimately, the number is defined by the number and strength of spells that that the owner of that Mana is capable of casting.

Generally, a creature wakes up in the morning with Mana equal to its Caster Level multiplied by its Mana Multiplier. For characters without any levels in a spellcasting class, the Mana Multiplier is 1. Spellcasting classes, like the Sorcerer or Wizard, have a higher Mana Multiplier, depending on their level, and also gain bonus Mana for having a high Ability modifier in their primary spellcasting Ability. Half-levels of Caster Level are counted for determining how much Mana a character receives each day (unlike the usual rule where fractions are rounded down), though half-Mana points do not actually exist. So a 4th level character who is Sorcerer 3/Rogue 1 (Caster Level 3.5, Mana Multiplier 5) has 17 Mana, not 15 (or 17.5). This does not influence the potency of spells, however (where the Caster Level is rounded down as normal).

Bonus Mana

A spellcaster gains a bonus to his Mana based on his primary spellcasting Ability. Namely, he adds one-quarter of his Ability bonus (if any) to his Mana Multiplier when determining his Mana for the day.

Spell Levels, Costs, and Minimum Caster Level

Spell
Level
Mana
Cost
Caster
Level
0th 0 1
1st 1 1
2nd 3 4
3rd 6 6
4th 12 8
5th 18 10
6th 27 12
7th 36 14
8th 48 16
9th 60 18

Casting Spells

Casting spells requires an amount of Mana equal to the amount in the table above. For those who are interested, the formula is ¾(spell level)2. Beyond this, casting spells has not changed in any way, and therefore all other rules of 3.5 D&D apply.

Metamagic

Metamagic feats increase a spell's level. The caster of a metamagic'd spell must pay the Mana Cost of the new, higher Spell Level.

Casting Spells Spontaneously

Spells cast spontaneously involve the caster willing their Mana into the form of the spell, powering its Arcane energies with this renewable resource. Learning a spell well enough to form the Mana into the proper shape on the fly is difficult, and the number of spells that a character might learn this way are usually very few. The advantages for doing so, however, are obvious, since such a spellcaster may utilize any spell she knows on the spot.

Metamagic changes the form that the Mana must take for a given spell, by adding to the amount of Mana necessary. Since spontaneous casters function by having memorized and practiced their spells to the point that they can form them on the fly, adding metamagic to the mix complicates things. Whenever metamagic adds to the spell's Mana Cost by at least half the spontaneous caster's Caster Level, the casting time of the spell increases according to the following table:

Original
Casting Time
Metamagic'd
Casting Time
Swift or Immediate Move Action
Move Action Standard Action
Standard Action Full-Round Action (Move + Standard)
Full-Round Action 1 Round
1 or more Rounds 1 additional Round

Casting Spells Prepared from a Spellbook

A spellbook is a useful aid in spellcasting, because such a spellcaster does not need to have the form of a spell completely memorized and practiced; they can take their time and use their spellbook to help them prepare the spell. Of course, this process still takes a fair amount of knowledge of the spells in the spellbook, so it is not as if anyone could just pick up a spellbook and figure out the spells in it. It takes training to do that, which is represented by levels in a prepared spellcasting class. During preparation, the spell's Mana is actually shaped into the spell, but not yet cast. It is held in this limbo state within the caster, who may then use it as easily as one who has memorized the spell as thoroughly as a spontaneous caster. However, he must always prepare these spells ahead of time, and has no ability to easily cast a spell he hadn't realized he would need.

The rules for preparing spells has not changed other than the need to pay the Mana Cost associated with the spell. This payment occurs during preparation; even though they still have the Mana until they actually cast the spell, it is already shaped into a spell and is therefore tied up. There is no way to recycle that Mana once thus prepared.

Divine Spellcasting

Divine spellcasters do not actually use their own Mana in their spells. Instead, during their morning prayers, they actually send their Mana to their deity. In fact, all prayers essentially do this, even for those who do not have the ability to cast Divine spells. These are essentially donations to the deity. In the case of those who do not cast Divine spells, it is typically only a token donation; a prayer would not diminish a Sorcerer's total Mana for their own spells. It is simply a show of faith to the god of choice.

For divine spellcasters, however, the donation is anything but token. Divine spellcasters typically send just about all of their Mana to their deity, and in return their deity grants them already-formed spells. It is unclear how, exactly, this process works; whether or not this is the caster's own Mana returned to them, whether or not the "amount" of Mana sent back and forth matches, etc, is all unknown. Because the numbers associated with Mana are based on the number of spells a caster can cast, a divine spellcaster's Mana Multiplier represents the Mana value of the spells they are granted each morning - which may or may not actually match their own personal Mana. Such a thing is not actually quantifiable in-game, and is therefore unknown.

Divine spellcasters may be spontaneous or prepared. They follow the same rules as Arcane casters, but in both cases are not dependant on knowing the spells themselves - instead, a deity may grant access to spells either by giving the requested spells during morning prayers, or by having a set of the spells a spontaneous divine spellcaster "knows" that the spellcaster may call for at any time.

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

Characters with levels in more than one casting class have separate Caster Levels in each. They therefore also have separate pools of Mana for each class, each of which is equal to that class's Caster Level times that class's Mana Multiplier. Mana from one class cannot be used for spells from another class. Why this is constitutes one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the Arcane sciences.

Levels in a spellcasting class do add half a Caster Level to any other spellcasting classes that a character may have. Therefore, a Sorcerer 4/Wizard 4 has a Caster Level of 6 for both Sorcerer and Wizard, and may cast 3rd level spells in each.

Prestige Classes which add "+1 to the level of an existing spellcasting class" add 1 to that class's Caster Level and advance that class's Mana Multiplier as if a level of the class had been attained. They also add to the character's Spells Known, if appropriate. They do not gain anything else that a level of that class might have attained. They also add half a level to the Caster Level of any other spellcasting classes that the character may have.

When a Prestige Class has levels which advance spellcasting, but other levels that do not, the "dead levels" still add half a level to the spellcasting class. In some cases, it may be necessary to add additional non-progressing levels to the class in order to maintain balance, but in many cases the loss of a full Caster Level is more of a penalty than is warranted by the class, and so many classes may be able to maintain the same number of lost levels even as the effect of the lost level is softened somewhat.

Classes

Versions of casting classes using Mana:

See also: Mana Multiplier Progressions of other spellcasting classes.

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