Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Quick Spell Failure Table For My Sorcerer

Recently, I've been working on a sorcerer class for Castles & Crusades. I want to present him as a spontaneous caster who cannot always handle to primal energies he's channeling. Therefore, I depicted him as more of a Wild Mage--for starters, he needs to roll when casting. On a natural 1-2, something unexpected happens, and it generally ain't good, though the seasoned Sorcerer will learn how to turn some negatives into positives. Here's the quick n' dirty chart I made up:
Sorcerer Spell Failure Table (Roll 1d20)
(Note: All particulars at GM discretion)

1) Spell forgotten; relearned in d8 hours.
2) Lose all but 0-level spells for 1d4 rounds.
3) All in 30’ radius take 1d4 fire damage.
4) Caster glows brightly for 2d4 rounds.
5) Caster blinded 2d6 rounds.
6) Spell casts at half effect, caster asleep d10 min.
7) 50’ radius filled with black smoke 1d6 minutes.
8) All in 30’ radius take 1d6 cold damage.
9) Spell does opposite of normal effect.
10) Polymorph cast on self instead. Goblin form.
11) Spell forgotten; relearned in d6 weeks.
12) Lose all but 0-level spells for 1d4 days.
13) All food and water spoils within 25’ radius.
14) Seismic event; STR check to stay upright.
15) All in 30’ radius take 1d6 lightning damage.
16) Animal summoned; caster has no control.
17) Caster becomes elemental being 1d4 rds.
18) Random spell of +d4 levels cast.
19) Hungry infernal being summoned; stays d4 rds.
20) Spell forgotten; relearned in d6 months.

I will likely eventually expand this to a d100 chart, but I think it works well enough as a starting point. The finished version, however, must contain a grue.


Chgowiz said...

The finished version, however, must contain a grue.

That predicament seems particularly cruel.

Cool chart! I might use ideas from that for the counterspelling.

gleichman said...

I'm not a large fan of the 'backfire' as balance concept in rpgs although I note with some approval that none of the results on your table so far are more than 'unpleasant'.

Too often designers put character destroying effects in such tables.

As a balance mechanic it completely fails. As a sim question of matching the world, it may suceeed- but I find that such success comes at the price of player interest (either amount or type).

Badelaire said...

I like it. Always nice to see some random elements worked into D&D magic. I'm currently in the initial planning stages of trying to weave some sort of reagent-based variable into D&D magic, and some sort of mishap table seems appropriate as well. For me it's not a matter of balance so much as it is a matter of adding a little unpredicability - anything to keep players from just "running the numbers" a la WoW and going from there...

Zachary The First said...

@gleichman: I've never been a fan of "destruction" tables in that sense. I think the results should be unexpected, but not instantly fatal. Unpleasant side effects can even be useful sometimes, if a character is quick on their feet.

Thanks for the comments, guys!

R said...

Nice! Believe it or not, I've found that 100 options is too few and not random enough for my magical mishaps/wild surges. It's funny how often you get duplicates. Currently I have a table with 396 effects, and I definitely plan on adding these 20 to them!

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