Friday, October 7, 2011

Spell Casting Mechanics: Points vs Memory

I am currently running two play-by-post T&T games, one at the Trollbridge and another on Roleplay Online. One aspect of the T&T rules that I have had an issue with while running these games is how tedious and difficult it can sometimes be to keep track of Strength/Wizardry points expended by the spell casters and their eventual, slow recovery. In the T&T rules spell casters recover 1 point of ST/WIZ per 10 minutes spent in non-strenuous activity; this typically means nothing more taxing than walking. Keeping track of all of these points can be tiring to say the least. The alternate way of limiting the power of spell casters and eliminating the 'point cost' method is the 'memory' method. Wizards and similar characters memorize spells at the start of the day and they may only cast that spell once. Once it is cast, the word and instructions for that spell vanish from the wizard's mind.

Instead of choosing one of these options, I've thought of a new house rule for T&T spell casting that simplifies the current 'point' method:

Wizards, Rogues, and Warrior-Wizards may cast a number of spells per day equal to his/her Strength or Wizardry attribute. Each level of spell increases the casting cost by 1 point, so a first level spell costs 1 point, a second level spell costs 2 points, and so on. A day starts after the spell caster gets at least eight hours of uninterrupted rest (no moving, no fighting). Spells that are cast do not vanish from memory and may be cast multiple times. So if you have a WIZ of 15, you could cast Take That You Fiend 15 times in a day as long as you cast no other spell. When using the Strength attribute to power magic (1st-5th editions), Strength is not reduced and personal adds are not lost from casting spells.

Benefit of magic staffs: A magic staff increases the number of ST/WIZ points available to a Wizard each day equal to 1D6 + Wizard level. The die is rolled at the start of each day making the benefit of the staff somewhat unpredictable. Makeshift staffs can only be used once before becoming worthless.

Casting lower level magic: Wizards may cast lower level magic at a cost reduced by an amount equal to Wizard Level minus Spell Level. The base cost is always 1 point. So a 3rd level Wizard can cast first and second level spells at a cost of 1 ST/WIZ each. A 10th level Wizard can cast a 7th level spell at a cost of 4 ST/WIZ.

Powering up spells: A wizard can cast some low level spells at a higher level to greater effect. The spell simply costs a number of ST/WIZ points equal to this effective level. So a third level Take That You Fiend costs 3 points.

To me this house rule fits in well with T&T's basic KISS strategy. This approach seems to work out in my mind, we'll just have to see how it works in practice.


  1. I have always done something very similar for my AD&D game, using points instead of memory. Each level spell has a higher point level (50, 100, 150) and you can cast up to 6 1st level, or 6 2nd level spells per day at the normal cost. If you want to cast a 7th 1st level spell, the spell cost doubles to 100...I also use the 8 hours of rest to recoup the points used.

  2. Good ideas here, but something has me confused under Casting lower level magic.

    A 6th level wizard casts a 2nd level spell, that would cost him 4 WIZ (Wizard Level minus Spell Level), whereas it would only cost 2 WIZ for a non-wizard.

    Also, the higher level the wizard, the more he pays for a low-level spell. Ex: A 10th level wizard casts a 7th level spell, it costs him 3 WIZ. The same 10th level wizard now casts a 2nd level spell, it costs him 8 WIZ???

  3. That does seem a little confusing on first reading it Bennet, but the formula (Wizard level - Spell level) actually gives you the amount to reduce the cost of the spell and not the cost.

    For example, a 10th level wizard casting a 7th level spell reduces the cost by (10-7) 3 points, allowing him to cast the 7th level spell for only 4 points.

    Remember, though, that the minimum cost for any spell is 1 point just like in the regular T&T system.

    Also, Rogues do not get to reduce spell costs and cannot use magic staffs.