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Krynnish Spellcasters Initial Notes 1.0 [for DLA3e]

D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules

by Cam Banks, André La Roche, Trampas Whiteman


Editor's Note: This article is the original document about Krynn's spellcasters from the early days of the Dragonlance Adventures 3rd Edition project created by the Conclave of Wizards, the team working on defining magic (Cam Banks, André La Roche, and Trampas Whiteman). Some of these concepts made it to the Dragonlance Campaign Setting, others were revised. They are presented here as a snapshot of history. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed contributing to it.

The following is a brief set of revisions to Players Handbook classes to account for the use of ambient & focused magic in the Dragonlance D&D campaign setting.

Glossary

These terms are used throughout these notes:

  • Ambient Magic: Magic that is present in the world of Krynn, generated by mortals. Also known as "wild magic".
  • Focused Magic: This is ambient magic that has been refined, reflected, or manipulated by the Gods of Krynn and made available to various mortals.
  • Faith Magic: Magic centered around belief and the spirit. In its ambient form, it is also known as mysticism or spiritual magic. In its focused form, it is celestial or divine magic.
  • Creation Magic: Magic centered around the elemental forces and creative energies. In its ambient form, it is known as sorcery or elemental magic. In its focused form, it is high sorcery or arcane magic.

Ambient Spellcasting Classes

There are two major spellcasting classes who use ambient magic – the mystic and the sorcerer. These are for the most part very similar to the PHB sorcerer, in that they cast spells without preparing in advance, "on the fly" as it were. However, they are not limited just to the spells they know – they can attempt to cast other spells as well, shaping them from the ambient magic around and within them.

The spells known by mystics and sorcerers represent those spells which they have practiced and developed through trial and error. As they advance in levels, they can add more and more of these spells in their repertoire. Unlike the PHB sorcerer, these are not magical abilities "unlocked" due to a pact or bloodline, but crafted spells practiced to the point where failure is reduced. They are not the spells of High Sorcery, though they are consistent with High Sorcery spells for the purposes of rule mechanics. Essentially, though their origins are different they work much the same, in keeping with 3rd edition's maxim of "if something works like something else, use that something else."

Bards and rangers are also ambient spellcasters, though they are different from mystics and sorcerers because they don't have the same understanding of how ambient magic works. For the most part, they follow all the rules of their PHB versions.

Bards have used ambient magic throughout the history of Krynn as "song magic", and the techniques are passed on from master to student in a more structured format. Nevertheless, although they know of it as subtle inflections of lyric and the use of music to produce effects, it is ambient and wild magic, not the arcane magic of High Sorcery. In fact, it has much more in common with mysticism than sorcery.

Rangers use ambient magic to enhance and assist them in the wilderness. Their magic is, like that of the bards, less flexible than that of sorcerers and mystics – they cast spells because their traditions have passed down the use of herbal preparations, attunement with nature, and similar mystical tricks. Unlike clerics or paladins, they don't pray to the Gods for magic, although many rangers have believed their magic to originate from divine sources in the past. Indeed, during the Cataclysm many rangers didn't think to draw upon their spellcasting because they did not believe it would actually work.

Focused Spellcasting Classes

The counterparts to the mystic and sorcerer are the cleric and wizard. Clerics and wizards function just like their PHB write-ups, although the wizard benefits from the influence of the Moons of Magic. These influences are global effects and don't distinguish between wizards who have passed the Test and are members of the Orders of High Sorcery or those who are renegade. Clerics, too, receive the use of divine magic if they are faithful to the Gods and remain so – even if they don't get along with the Holy Orders of the Stars.

Paladins and druids are also focused spellcasters. They too remain unchanged from their PHB versions.

Druids are for the most part "nature clerics" – they draw power from reverence of Gods of nature or related spheres. The majority revere Chislev, though good druids have been known to serve Habbakuk and evil druids follow Morgion. Unlike rangers, druids are fully aware of the divine nature of their magic, and they are priests, not mystics.

Paladins, too, draw power from the Gods, notably the Gods of Good (though dark paladins, such as the Knights of Takhisis, also exist.) All of their powers are of divine origin, and remain so if the paladin is faithful and reverent. A paladin who turns from his faith or acts contrary to the wishes of the Gods loses his or her powers. Fallen paladins may later turn to mysticism, but that is no substitute for the close relationship between the paladin and their God.

Rules Revisions and Clarifications

Mysticism is not the equal of divine magic, although it is very similar and can accomplish much in the hands of a truly committed and insightful mystic. Even so, mystical healing follows different rules than clerical (or "true") healing. Mystics (and bards) who use the Cure spells from the Player's Handbook do not remove lost hit points completely, but instead turn hit point damage into subdual damage. This subdual damage then heals at the faster rate of subdual damage and represents the wounded individual not being as badly hurt as they thought, and the invigoration of the wounded individual's life force and body through mysticism.

Example: Consider the mystic who casts a Cure Serious Wounds spell on an injured comrade who has lost 10 hit points in a fight. Unlike the cleric, whose Cure Serious Wounds would restore 3d8 +1 hp/caster level of damage, the mystic could only turn 3d8 +1 hp/caster level into subdual damage.

Mystics and Sorcerers can cast the spells they have developed and practiced ("spells known") by following the standard rules for spellasting in the PHB. They may apply any or all metamagic feats to these spells, as usual, and they may also choose to "learn" a spell with the metamagic feat already applied to it. This has the benefit of not taking longer to cast (since all metamagic feats used by sorcerers and mystics typically increase casting time from a standard action to a full round action) but it occupies a "spells known" slot of higher level.

Example: A 7th level sorcerer advances to 8th level, and finds that according to table 3-17 in the PHB he gets an additional 0-level spell and his first 4th-level spell. The sorcerer decides that rather than pick up a 4th-level spell, he will learn Flaming Sphere (a 2nd level spell) with the Empower Spell metamagic feat applied to it in its place. He writes this under "4th level spells known" as Empowered Flaming Sphere.

Mystics and sorcerers can also attempt to cast spells that they do not know. This uses a caster level check (1d20 + level of caster) against a DC of 10+ (2 x spell level). The spellcaster can also attempt to use metamagic on these spells, in which case they use the new modified spell level after the metamagic feat is considered. They may also choose to use metamagic feats that they don't know, but this adds +2 to the DC for each metamagic feat applied. Each attempt at casting a spell in this manner uses one of their spells per day slots as if they were casting a standard spell, even if the attempt fails.

Example: The 8th level sorcerer above tries to cast a Silent Glitterdust spell (2nd level + 1 level for the Silent Spell feat = 3rd level). This uses one of his 3rd level spell slots for the day. He needs to beat a DC of 16 (10 + 2x3 = 16) with his caster level check of 1d20+8.

Sorcerer Class

The only changes to this class beyond the notes on crafting spells, above, are to the spell lists (to be decided) and the removal of the familiar at 1st level. This keeps the sorcerer in line with the version used by the creatures in the Monster Manual, though for the most part those creatures don't have as limited a spell list as the PC sorcerer, as they have been using ambient magic for thousands of years.

Mystic Class

The Mystic class is identical to the Sorcerer, except for class skills. Use the class skills from the cleric instead. The key attribute for mystics is Charisma, much like the sorcerer. Note that even though this is the counterpart to the cleric, which has larger hit dice and better attacks and saves, mystics are not clerics and do not receive the same basic martial training and discipline as they do.

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