Nov 8, 2011

Fractional Spells

In yesterday's post about the Science based Cleric I included the idea that they could use fractions of spell slots based on the total duration of the spells. I broke it down into a single spell being 120 points - which is the number of minutes the longest duration 1st level spell would last. Some spells would take 1 point per minute (lasting up to 120 minutes in total) while others would use 2, 6 or even all 120 points representing their different total durations.

I think this would work well, but 120 is a rather large number to be working with and feels like it could be introducing a lot of accountancy, especially when you start thinking about multiple fractional spells.

Perhaps breaking things down into 1 turn increments (10 minutes) would let us keep using fractional spells without it becoming unreasonably cumbersome.

Each spell slot would provide 12 points usable for a spell of that level. So a character with 2 x 1st level spells and 1 x 2nd level spell would have 24 x 1st level spell points and 12 x 2nd level spell points. 2nd level spell points couldn't be used for 1st level spells (and vice versa).

Spells could be listed with their points per turn cost:

Cure: 12*
Light: 1
Detect Life: 2
Detect Magic: 6
Protection: 1
(Remove) Fear: 12
Resist Cold: 2

* I think an additional option for Cure that allows you to take a full turn, spend 2 points, and regain 1 hit point might work well with this system. You can go for the fast cure (1 round, 1d6+1 hp) with random results, or take up to an hour and ensure the character regains 6 points. This also allows low level clerics to do some healing while also making use of some of their more interesting spells.

With the spell points based on 12 point slots we could opt to use our d12 dice (often underused in D&D) to keep track of the points remaining. If you had multiple d12s (and let's be honest, we all do) you could have different colours for different levels.

So far I've only been looking at this for the non-Vancian Cleric class, but I think it should also work for Magic-Users as well.

What do you think? Does d12 Fractional Magic sound like something that would work?