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July 11, 2017

Dungeons & Delvers: Wizard Spells

Someone pointed out that it’s possible for a 1st-level human wizard to start the game with either Fireball or Lightning Bolt (and every other race could pick it up by 2nd-level). Fireball inflicts 7d6+Intelligence fire damage to a 10-foot radius, while Lightning Bolt inflicts 6d10+Intelligence lightning damage to a single target (Reflex save for half in both cases).

Either talent costs 2d4 Mana per use. Yeah, you could luck out and get 2 (which is why I reduced the overall effectiveness of most spells), but you could also roll an 8, which for a 1st-level wizard with a Constitution of 0 or less is enough to drop you immediately: since Mana costs are paid before the spell goes off, this would mean you go down without anything happening at all.

By 2nd-level you’d have enough Mana to foot the cost even on a maximum Drain roll, though you’d have to mediate for several hours to replenish it (unless you’re cool burning through your paltry WP and/or VP).

I’m not sure how much of a problem this really is. On one hand I’m pretty fine in theory with a wizard overspecializing and gambling knocking themselves out attempting to drop one big spell, and on the other hand it is a fuckton of damage (which could result in some pretty awesome stories where a wizard lucks out blowing an ogre apart with a lightning bolt).

What do you think?

For those that consider it an issue, here’s a list of possible solutions (though I’m open to others and could implement more than one):

  • Reduce the base damage and have the spells automatically scale up to a point. Like, they could start out dealing two or three dice of damage (ie more than Evoker), and as you level up they deal more dice until they cap out.
  • Change/increase the Mana cost. Currently the costs are mostly based on the spell point costs from 3rd/5th Edition: since a 3rd-level spell costs 5 spell points I pegged it at 2d4. I don’t want to change it up too much, but I could do something like 1d6+2, which at least increases the minimum Drain.
  • Impose a level restriction, so you can’t even choose them until 5th-level.

Announcements

If you’re curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

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