High points of this variant spell casting system.
- All three mental stats are used. High intelligence lets you learn more spells. High Wisdom gives you more magic points. High Charisma lets you cast your spells more effectively.
- Spells are grouped by paths. Learning spells requires study and dedication. Learning more difficult spells depends on learning simpler spells of a similar nature. This is modeled using pseudoskills called ‘spell paths’.
- A common spell slots table. All spellcasters use the same table to determine base spell slots available per day.
- Spell selection is spontaneous. Spells may be chosen at the time of casting. There are still benefits to preparing spells ahead of time, but you are not required to do so.
Instead of relying on only a single mental ability score that varies by class, all spellcasters use the same ability scores for the same purposes.
Intelligence affects how many spells you know by adjusting the number of skill points you receive. Spell knowledge is acquired by buying ranks in pseudoskills called ‘Spell Paths’.
At each caster level a character receives additional skill points equal to his Intelligence bonus that must be spent on buying spell knowledge. A fullcaster will gain these skill points at each level (doubling his skill points gained at each level), a halfcaster gains these skill points every other level.
If the character is a fullcaster at first character level, these skill points are multiplied by four as usual.
The power to cast spells is drawn from the world around the character. This is largely a matter of training (spell slots are determined primarily by caster level and feats), but are partly intuitive.
A spellcaster gains additional spell slots based on his Wisdom (per the PH). He also gains additional 0-level slots equal to his Wisdom bonus.
Your Charisma modifier is added to your save DCs and your caster level check when trying to overcome spell resistance.
Spell knowledge is gained through a combination of feats and skills. It is not necessary to be a spellcaster (have a caster level) in order to gain spell knowledge.
A Tradition models ‘formal training as a spellcaster’. A character gains access to a Tradition by taking a Tradition Knowledge feat.
Each Tradition gives access to three Spell Paths as crossclass skills (ranks limited to (HD+3)/2). All spells on these paths are considered on the character’s ‘class list’ for the purpose of spell completion and spell trigger magic items.
Traditions tend to be associated with certain item creation and metamagic feats, in that it is common for those trained in the Tradition to use these feats. It is not required for a member of a Tradition to have or use these feats, nor are these feats (usually) limited to these Traditions.
A Spell Path is a pseudoskill that gives access to spell knowledge. Each Spell Path contains 10 spells. Ideally there will be one spell of each level from 0 to 9, but this is not required.
A character knows any spell that is of a level no higher than one-half his ranks in a Spell Path. For instance, a character with 10 ranks in a Spell Path knows all spells of level 0..5 on that path. (Yes, this means that a 7th-level character can know a 5th-level spell.)
Caster level for a spell is capped by the ranks in the Spell Path containing the spell. For instance, a 10th-level character with 6 ranks in a Spell Path (enough that he can cast 6th-level spells) casts spells of that Spell Path as a 6th-level caster. He still has his normal spell slots (including those higher than 3rd level), but gains only those effects possible to a 6th-level caster with these spells.
Greater Spell Paths
There may be Paths that ‘naturally’ have more than 10 spells. If this happens, all spells on the Path will use the same skill to determine spells known, but more than one Spell Knowledge feat will be needed to access all of them.
For example, if a particular Spell Path contains two spells of each level, it will be split into two Paths (Lesser and Greater), each containing 10 spells (levels 0..4 and 5..9 respectively, I expect). The same skill will be used to determine spells known and maximum caster level, but the spells on the Greater path are not available, regardless of ranks in the Spell Path’s skill, unless the Spell Knowledge feat is taken for the Greater Path as well.
I will try to avoid having this happen, but it may be that some Spell Paths cannot be otherwise broken down without it being completely arbitrary.
Spontaneous Spell Selection
Spellcasters choose the spells to cast at the time of casting, as a core Sorcerer, consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level.
You may still choose to prepare spells ahead of time in order to remove the additional time required to cast the spells. Each prepared spell ties up spell slot until used, but may have as many metamagic feats applied as desired (within normal spell level limits) without increasing the time needed to cast the spell.
All spellcasters use the same progression to determine spell slots available per day, but advance along this progression at different rates (halfcasters advance one rank per level, fullcasters advance two ranks per level). Additional spell slots may be gained through use of the Extra Path Spell and Extra Tradition Spell feats.
A spellcaster may apply one or more metamagic feats to a spell cast at the time of casting. This increases the level of the spell slot required by an amount depending on the feats applied, and usually increases casting time.
The first metamagic feat applied to a spell increases casting time to one round if normally less than one round, or adds a round to casting time if normally one round or longer. Each additional metamagic feat applied to the spell increases casting time by an additional round.
Applying the Quicken Spell feat to a spell reduces the casting time to a swift action if the casting time is one round or less. This is determined after all other feats are applied, so it may be possible to add Quicken Spell and one other metamagic feat to a spell and still cast it as a swift action.