Hello dear readers, apologies for the lack of an update last week. There was an instance of family illness I returned home to deal with and have not yet built a buffer of articles to cover unforeseen circumstances.
Today’s update is, once more, a series of design notes for a product on the DM’s Guild.
This time around, rather than build a class from the ground up, I’ve expanded upon the spell-casting rules and created two new feats and a new Arcane Tradition to take advantage of the expansion. The Arcane Tradition is perfectly usable as a class option for the Wizard without using the rest of the rules so I had to be careful about what made it into the final draft of the Tradition.
The actual spell-casting rules themselves are a) far more cinematic and b) more representative of the double-edged nature of magic (in my opinion, magic should always have a cost other than a spell-slot) but they may not be for everyone. The intention behind them was to enhance gameplay rather than add another layer of complexity to it.
The document is split into three parts: Weave effects, Feats and the ‘Weaver’ Arcane Tradition.
The Weave Effects
The Weave effects (being the bulk of the expanded rules) are presented on a series of tables with a variety of random effects on them. The effects either thematically tie into the School of Magic that the triggering spell is from, or replicate the effects of a spell from that School to a limited degree.
I decided the effects would happen AFTER the spell is cast (whether successful or not) because some of the effects would interrupt the spell-casting process and thus waste the spell-slot. The effects themselves are limited to a certain area (that grows with higher level spells) because I felt that as the Weave was being twisted in a particular place, rather than over the whole battlefield, the effect itself should have a point of origin and then weaken as it moved further from that point.
The effects themselves are merely suggestions and DMs using them should feel free to change the listed effects (or the whole table/section) as they see fit. These rules are a device to enable more dangerous spell-casting, and if they serve as a springboard to even more fun, then so be it.
The feats were designed to take advantage of the new rules and Weave effects.
Focussed Caster is intended to represent a spell-caster who has achieved a far greater level of control over the side-effects of their magic. Most of the time, they know what result their magic will have and even when they don’t, can sometimes use their knowledge to create advantageous situations. This is why, rather than the DM rolling for the effect, the player does. If they manage to get either of the two effects they have chosen, that’s great. But even if they don’t, they have a (roughly) 1:3 chance of either one of those effects or a ‘9’ which allows them to roll twice and pick an effect. This means the Focussed Caster has a 2:3 chance of getting the Weave effect they want and then, even if that fails, good odds of still getting it. This, of course, has a cost (a bonus action) and still allows for random chance.
On the other end of the scale, the Refined Caster can’t control what the effect is, but they can control who it affects. This presented, I thought, a nice opposite to ‘Focussed Caster’ and provided a nice synergy with it should a player want to take both Feats. Again, the cost (a reaction) is intended to balance out the fact that the player MAY affect the target of their spell with the Weave effect as well as whatever would happen as a result of the spell being cast.
The Weaver Arcane Tradition
In addition to these, the Weaver Arcane Tradition is also included in the document but can be used independently. My goal with this was to create an option for Wizards who opt to focus on the spell-casting process itself, rather than the magic they wield.
Raw Potential is my way of suggesting that ‘Weaver’ Wizards are more offensively focussed than other Wizard traditions, and ties in with the idea that they have a strong link the Weave.
This link was further strengthened with The Thread, providing an option to use the Wizard’s close connection to the Weave to cast multiple spells per turn.
The Loom is the feature I see getting the most usage. Thematically, it is intended to show that the ‘Weaver’ Wizard has gained a high level of mastery over the Weave and can use it to strengthen their spells. Mechanically, being able to target something else with a spell and not expend a spell slot to use it is offset by the relatively limited range that second target can be in and the cost of a bonus action, as well as the fact that it may only be used with spells that target a specific character and that the damage from the spell will only ever come from the damage dice, never any damage modifiers or critical hits. In order to prevent a high-level Wizard dominating the battlefield with this feature, I felt that at higher spell levels, the concentration required to hit a second target would incur a larger penalty and so built this in as a balancing aspect to the feature.
The Pattern is fairly self-explanatory, at this level of power the ‘Weaver’ can see the Weave itself and replicate the effect of spells if they choose to. The ‘Weaver’ is also capable of pulling harder on the Weave to fuel their rituals, negating most of the time required to perform a ritual. The intention here is that a ‘Weaver’ given enough time, COULD perform a ritual in the middle of combat.
The Tapestry. The pinnacle of the Weaver tradition. At this stage, the Wizard has become one with the Weave, able to use it both as a means of protection and a means of defence. There’s nothing much to say about this one, I wanted something passive that would aid in the Wizard in both attack and defence as well as tie in with the overall idea of the Tradition. I built upon this with the ‘active’ ability by giving it a cost to provide guaranteed damage.
That rounds out my design notes. If you have any feedback, leave a message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, if you have used this class, please feel free to give me feedback on it at the same address so I can improve and update it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this.