Monday, August 31, 2009

Hanging out at the Sorceror's Supply

One aspect of my ritual system is that you need the spell level SQUARED time 10 gp worth of components to cast the spell. While talking with Tim about AD&D stuff, he and I worked out a variant of this to use for the Material component of AD&D spells.

In nearly every AD&D groups I been involved with, material components were ditched as being too fiddly and a pain to track. The solution is to use 4th edition D&D' idea of a generic bag of components.

The component cost for a AD&D spell is the spell level SQUARED times 1 gp. So a first level spell that require a material component cost 1 gp and a ninth level spell 81 gp. You need to actually buy the components so you record it on your character sheet has having X gp worth components. The DM may want to impose an addition cost in the form of needing a specific component to control certain spells like Wish.

In my mind the main reason for adding this is to force the magic users and priests to deal with their respective communities on a regular basis. Not to the penalize players by adding an extra fiddly bit to the system.

By having to go back and "load up" on a periodic basis they will be interacting with the temple, guild, or local shop on a regular basis. This an excellent angle to introduce plot hooks or adventure suggestions.

Also on a more negative side it can be used to control any anti-social behavior by the players by working through the in-game society rather than DM fiat. If the local wizard's guild feel that the Magic-user Silverring has fireballed one too many village then they can order all the shops not to sell to him. Forcing Silverring to go onto the black market. Which means....

You guessed it.

More adventure.


Will Douglas said...

Nice. Finally, spell component rules that make sense from multiple points of view and aren't just the DM (or the rules) messing with you. I could work with these.

Fine work, as usual!

Anonymous said...

You know how a lot of the expensive material components in the PHB don't get used up? In 3E they called these Focus components rather than Material components.

We used to say that if the spell required a component but didn't give a price, you are assumed to have some with you.

If the spell had a cost for the component, you had to actually have that thing.

Except for when a cost was a balancing factor in the power of the spell, components were just for roleplaying. You have to swallow a live carp to cast Identify, etc.

You could make this far more light in book-keeping if you just cared about quality of the components. For example, colored powders and rainwater. Every month you have to throw a parcel of money at the Wizard Guild for membership fees. This gives you the opportunity to trade spells and minor magic items, information, and spell components.

If you don't have a current membership, your components are either expired (you bought them when you did have a membership) or low-quality (you gathered them yourself or bought them from a non-guild Wizard). The result is that if you have a current membership, your spells work normally. If you don't have one, your spells all have a 5% spell failure chance. Or just the ones with material components.

And the guild has your file on record, so you can pay ahead of time for many months and just stop in now and then to pick up more components. But if the PHB doesn't list a cost, you don't have to pay for them. Assume that money is a fraction of a copper piece that gets lost in rounding errors when converting to another currency ;)

Unknown said...

Well under that train of thought lets make Warriors have to maintain their weapons and armor like they would have to. We could add a modify for environment. Trust me I never cleaned a weapon and equipment more than I did in the sands of Iraq. Lets also make thieves interact with their counter parts to get gear they need to do their job. There has to come a time when you say enough is enough or you wind up committing suicide while hunting a cow in the rain.

Robert Conley said...

Material components are already part of AD&D. The system is written to expect players to have the components on hand.

However not many play that way as it is a fiddly rule to use. Certain we never did.

Probably made a part of AD&D because Magic Users start to overshadow the other classes after the middle levels.

Likely just simulation run amuck as far as AD&D is concerned.

My suggestion is a less fiddly way to play AD&D as Gygax wrote it.