Jump to content

scalable save modifiers: correlating caster level to modifier


Recommended Posts

scalable save modifiers: correlating caster level to modifier


Hello all.


Scalable save modifiers has a lot of potential.

I like the concept a LOT, so long as it preserves or improves internal consistency.


I was thinking of some general scalability guiding principles--when determining penalty/bonus for caster level relative to spell, the PnP progression can serve as a reliable guideline:




with the essential principle being that the level at which a caster can FIRST cast a "level X" spell is very significant, falling in four distinct "difficulty ratings":

1. L1 spells rate as "easy", "grade-school" difficulty;

2. L2 through L5 spells are "advanced, lower division";

3. L6 through L9 spells are "advanced, upper division";

3. L10 spells are "epic" difficulty, "...not to be used lightly"... etc. etc.


it seems very reasonable to me that save modifiers should have a definite "sliding scale" to reflect these distinct "difficulty ratings".


Of course, the proof check should typically be: "how effective is the spell if the caster casts it on HIMSELF" as a benchmark. That is pretty obvious--I think such an apples to apples correlation here is critical to maintain any sense of continuity. Point being that interaction with other classes' "saves" should remain utterly untouched and "unforced". Let the save throw charts stand as they are without tinkering from the mod to force an "advantage" for the caster. Let the tables be the general guide.


The Point Is:

That disclaimer being said, I think a good rule of thumb would be applying a -1 save throw modifier (penalty) for every THREE experience levels the caster currently has ABOVE the minimum required for being able to chuck any given "lower division" spell (L1-L5) from memory (in addition to other modifiers like racial modifiers, wisdom score etc.).

Similarly, a -1 save throw modifier (penalty) for every FIVE experience levels the caster currently has ABOVE that required for being able to chuck any given "upper division" spell from memory. ("upper division" is "harder")

L10/Epic spells should flat out have NO "extra" experience level modifiers--they are already by definition as "epic" as can be, so take that into consideration.


For example, L1-L3 mages have no experience level bonuses on any spells they can cast, but on reaching L4 that mage would get to attach a "-1" save penalty to L1 spells only; but meanwhile, another L17 mage is able to chuck an L6 spell with a "-1" save bonus, and he could chuck L1/L2 spells with a "-5" save penalty modifier attached, (L3 = "-4" to save, L4 = "-3" to save, L5 = "-1" to save....).


Apples to apples check:

Therefore that L17 mage casting an L1 spell on "himself" would attach a "-5" to his save of "6 or less" (base "17 or less" with "+11" modifier for L17 yeilds: "6 or less" ), resulting in a required roll of 11 or less to save.


Note on cap limit:

Seems prudent to cap such save modifiers at "+5"...same as max. enchantment limit


Expertise limits:

should this sort of "spell" type save penalty be available to spells that force a save on "poison", or "breath weapon", etc?

While mages may be the unquestioned experts at forcing magic "spell" saves, that does NOT mean they equally expert at say, forcing a "breath weapon", or "poison" save...or maybe not, who can say?

Link to comment

I've started to like scalable save penalties only recently, and I think only playtesting can help to discover how to implement them. One thing I generally didn't liked is having spells of a lower level with better save penalties than higher level spells (and I still think that at least higher level spells' "starting save penalty" has to be better than lower level spels). Anyway I've recently redone Shocking Grasp following players' suggestions and I've started to realize that things are more complex. Save penalties can help weak effects/spells to better "survive" later stages of the game, but implementing a general rule to the "scalability" (which was exactly what I was trying to do) probably isn't the best solution.


Let's take two first level spells as examples to see how they'd work with global scalable save modifiers.


Blindness: improving its save would make this spell clearly too powerful for its level. Even capping the penalty to -4 this spell would pratically become as powerful as Power Word: Blindness. Thus this spell shouldn't be improved at all with caster's levels imo.


Shocking Grasp: using this spell is very dangerous being it a touch spell that requires an attack roll to hit the target, and its effects aren't phenomenal either, thus improving it with levels is pratically essential to make it a spell at least appealing compared to the ever-useful Magic Missile.


"Conclusion": I think each spell has to be considered singularly before deciding if/how to implement scalable save modifiers (or other solutions).

Link to comment
....I think each spell has to be considered singularly before deciding if/how to implement scalable save modifiers (or other solutions).



Without question.


OTOH, let's again consider that L1 "blindness" chucked on top of a "greater malison"--and there is your -4 save penalty at L4....


So then, if it just boils down to "implementation" of save tweaks let's come up with the following and call it good:


1. an L2 mage "lesser malison": a one shot -2 save penalty to one enemy (akin to L1 cleric "doom", but save aspect only).


2. an L5 cleric spell "Divine Favor/Infernal Assertion": a combination of "bless"/"chant"/"harmony" good for defensive +3 save/ac bonus to party, and the offensive opposite,

"Divine repudiation/Infernal Curse" (ranged), good for -3 save/ac penalty on ONE target (i.e. not quite as "good" as malison on saves, but does go after AC)....


3. an L7 cleric "Divine Sanctity"/"Infernal Desecration": good for +4 save/ac bonus to party, and the opposite,

"Divine Judgement"/"Infernal Defilement" (ranged), good for -4 save/ac penalty on ONE enemy target, PLUS an additional "splash" area effect of -2 save/ac penalty to nearby enemy.



In my view, these are merely sensible extrapolations of elements ALREADY present/common in the game.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...