Spell Points for ACKS

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Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Spell Points for ACKS

In the Auran Empire campaign setting, we presume the existence of a "psychic energy" which is used to channel and fuel spells. Clerics and mages use their personal psychic energies to initiate and channel spells, while the actual psychic energy to fuel the spell comes from gods (clerics) or latent elemental energy (mages) respectively. The system ties into the Divine Power section in Chapter 7 of ACKS, which shows how much "psychic energy" a person generates when sacrificed, or per week of devotion.

 

On this basis, I was able to put together a spell point system for ACKS, for those of you who enjoy such things:

 

Spell Level: Cost in Spell Points

1st Level: 1 point

2nd Level: 3 points

3rd Level: 6 points

4th Level: 10 points

5th Level: 15 points

6th Level: 21 points

 

Cleric Spell Points Per Level

1st 0 

2nd 1

3rd 2

4th 5

5th 8

6th 25

7th 45

8th 60

9th 80

10th 95

11th 115

12th 130

13th 135

14th 160

 

Mage Spell Points Per Level

 

1st 1

2nd 2

3rd 5

4th 11

5th 30

6th 45

7th 65

8th 90

9th 110

10th 130

11th 150

12th 170

13th 195

14th 215

 

If any of you test the system, let me know.

Jard
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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

very interesting! points and the mention of "psychic" makes me think of psionic. I think it could be reasonable to say a psionicist class is similar to a mage or cleric but using this point. I am generally not huge on that flavor but it's important for one of my favorite settings: Dark Sun.

If I find some way to shoehorn a class into my PbP game, I'll let you know!

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

I'd like to try it out if I get the chance.

My concern at a glance would be the scaling of spells. For example, it's hard for me to justify that a 6th level mage's magic missile still costs only 1 spell point, much less a 13th, level caster's. So I might add in that if you have a scalable spell, casting it at higher "scale" costs an additional number of spell points. (fiddly though it may be).

Examples:
Magic missile spell cost = 1 point/missile
So a 6th level mage could spend 1 point and cast 1 missile, or spend 3 points and cast 3 missiles as a 6th level mage normally would.

Fireball: 5 points, +1 point for each die of damage above 5 dice. (So a 9th level mage would have to spend 9 points to cast a 9 HD fireball.)

Also, how would you rule replenishing spell points? Would they replenish to your maximum amount each day?

Tywyll
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Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

I really like this.

I wouldn't make spells be scalable because in old school magic there are so many binary spells that are far more powerful (potentially) than a damaging spell, you just make blasts less useful while encouraging save-or-suck spells like little ole Charm Person, Sleep, or Hold Person.

I'm curious about the numbers. Unless I did something wrong, it looks like a mage with this system casts more spells at 14th level than a normal mage. Is that correct?
4x1=4
4x3=12
4x6=24
4x10=40
3x15=45
3x21=63
Total=188 for a normal wizard.

Actually, this gets better at 4th level where a normal wizard would get the equivalent of 8 points, versus the 11 above.

Anyway, I love spell point systems. I might try to tweak this, maybe let elves cast with spell points while humans have slots or something.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Tywyll, the error occurs because I cut-and-pasted the wrong row from my spreadsheet. Here's the correct data:

1st 1

2nd 2

3rd 5

4th 8

5th 14

6th 20

7th 31 (or round to 30)

8th 44 (or round to 45)

9th 65

10th 90

11th 112

12th 151 (or round to 150)

13th 157 (or round to 160)

14th 188 (or round to 190)

Tywyll
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Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

Ah, ok! That makes more sense!

thanks for that!

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I know ACKS is internally consistent because every time I screw it up, someone lets me know. :D

 

Tom Hudson
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Joined: 2011-07-24 18:35

Speaking of which, the high level progression looks off:

10-11: +20
11-12: +40
12-13: +10 << this is very marginal after the big jump at 12th level?
13-14: +30

Tywyll
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Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

We try! ;-)

Cameron
Joined: 2012-05-18 16:35

The spell points provided by level allow the same number of spells cast per day, if the mage follows the chart ... but also allows a huge number of high-level spells, comparatively speaking. I think I would reduce the number somewhat to account for the increased flexibility.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Good points, Cameron. I personally wouldn't mix the spell point system with the current system; I think spell points are effectively superior. 

The values for the spell points emerged from a chapter in ACKS Auran Empire Campaign Setting, discussing the nature of divine power. See below. They aren't balanced or anything - just mathematically derived from the underlying system.

 

 

The “psychic energy” cultivated and harvested by the gods is identical to the divine power detailed in Chapter 7 of ACKS. While the rules discuss divine power in the context of clerical magic, all magic in the world of Cybele is, in effect, a form of divine power, i.e. psychic energy. The difference between arcane and divine magic is that mages use their personal psychic energy to channel power from elemental sources, while clerics use their personal psychic energy to channel it from divine sources.

For Judges who, like Pythagoras, believe that numbers constitute the true nature of things, here are the actual costs in divine power to cast each level of spell in ACKS:

·         1st: 0.1 / 0.5

·         2nd: 0.3 / 1.5

·         3rd: 0.6 / 3

·         4th: 1 / 5

·         5th: 1.5 / 7.5

·         6th: 2.1 / 10.5

·         7th: 735 / 3,500

·         8th: 840 / 4,000 (ritual)

·         9th: 945 / 4,500 (ritual)

The number before the slash is how much of his own psychic energy the spellcaster must expend to channel the spell’s magic, while the number after the slash represents the total psychic energy consumed to fuel the spell.

How much divine power do the gods have access to? From ACKS, we know that sacrificing a normal man to a god will yield 5 points of divine power. Sacrificing 50 normal men will yield 250 points of divine power. Alternatively, 50 average peasants will yield 4 points of divine power per week (out of a maximum of 10), or 1.6% of their sacrificial value. Given its global population of about 150 million normal men, the world of Cybele yields around 12 million points of divine power per week.

There are around 2.7 million clerics in Cybele; fueling their spells only costs about 8 million divine power per week. That leaves the gods with 33% of their power available for other purposes, like creating new pocket universes, exploring the Multiverse, or annihilating troublesome PCs who dare to oppose them. (And of course the gods have more worlds than just Cybele to draw on.)

 

Cameron
Joined: 2012-05-18 16:35

Just out of curiosity: how do you format tables in your posts?

Re: spell points: Makes sense.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I just cut and paste them from Word.

Aryxymaraki
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Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

*pours a vial of unholy water on the thread*

I can't get the numbers to reconcile in my brain, and I'm not sure whether this is my fault or the table is weird.

So the table here is showing number before the slash: personal energy of the caster, number after the slash: total amount of energy required to power the spell.

However, up-thread, the spell point costs are equal to ten times the 'personal energy of caster required' value in the table. The actual number required for 1st-6th level spells is 5 times the personal energy required. This doesn't bother me (it being 5x instead of 10x), spellcasters are mortal, there's some inefficiency involved.

Similarly, I could just say that each spell point is 1/10th of a divine power, and we would have no problems. However! http://autarch.co/comment/12931#comment-12931
tells us that a character generates 6% of their XP value as divine power, and a 14th level mage uses 190 of the 230 that he generates to power his spell points. If every spell point here is only 1/10th of a divine power, then that 14th level mage would only expend 19 of his 230 divine power.

If each spell point is a full divine power, then his 190 spell points can cast ten times as many spells as he actually has (using the personal cost to caster number). If his 190 spell points are powering the full effect of the spell, then he could still cast twice as many as he actually has.

So in conclusion, I am confused :(