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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4211 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2011 :  06:55:04  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I was wondering how other DMs handle players wanting to create their own spells?

I have a very loose system based on whatever edition I'm using and just comparing it to spells of similar ability already existing...but sometimes I get stumped when a player comes up with a unique idea. What then?

As an example, myself (many years ago) got tired of the damnable Drow resisting some of my spells when I tried area of effect against them...so I came up with a spell that essentially shattered surrounding rocks and sent shrapnel flying. Now, it could easily be declared they would still get a spell resistance check; but I pointed out to my DM that it is only normal rocks AFTER the spell makes them explode...

That sort of thing...how do you both rule and guide in the creation of spells in your campaigns?

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!

Diffan
Great Reader

USA
4430 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2011 :  10:49:26  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In a spell like your describing, I wouldn't subject it to Spell Resistance because your not actually targeting the Drow with the spell. Take Hail of Stone (SC), rocks fall in a 10ft radius which has no reflex save or spell resistance.

If the spell actually targets a creature, it's more prone to have SR attached and doubly so if it deals direct damage or energy-like damage.
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Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
729 Posts

Posted - 09 Mar 2011 :  13:02:05  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I basically try to work out the level based on comparison to other spells (for 1E and 2E, the Spell Compendiums come in very, very handily).

In the case you are describing, I think you're right - no magic resistance or spell resistance would apply, but saving throws might (for half damage, perhaps?). I have a recollection (not sure whether it is accurate) that in the olden days the Dragon Magazine Sage answered a question on whether magic resistance / spell resistance would protect a creature from being squashed by a wall created by the wall of stone spell. I believe that the reply was that, if the wall of stone (or iron) fell over on top of the target, it would not get the benefit of magic resistance or spell resistance, but might get a saving throw to avoid being caught, depending on circumstances.
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4211 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2011 :  04:13:05  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
More specifically...I'm talking about other's experiences. The one spell I gave as an example is one that I created for my character.

Are there any systems that anyone uses that they have created?

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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Kyrel
Learned Scribe

151 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2011 :  20:16:30  Show Profile  Visit Kyrel's Homepage Send Kyrel a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally I tend to have two rules of thumb, when it comes to new spells:
1) Do I like the idea as a concept?
2) Do I believe it will fit within the game, and that it will either be fun to use, or at least not disruptive/destructive to the game?

If I like the idea, and if I believe it will be a positive, non-disruptive addition to the game, then I'll probably allow its creation. As for how to determine spell level etc. I'll say just go with some common sense, compared with some comparison with similar spells (if they exist).

As for the spell you described as an example, it's basically just a Fireball with a twist that makes it a little better against creatures with spellresistance. I'd probably call it a lvl. 4 spell, since it's arguably a little better than a standard fireball. No Spell Resistance, Ref. save for half dam. (or maybe a Fort. save instead?)


On a related note, however, I'm personally a great fan of simply taking existing spell mechanics and twisting minor details about them, and then change the descriptions, in order to make it a more personalized spell. Dragon Magazine issue 200 (I think) had a great article about this concept. I.e. a Web spell cast by a mage specializing in Cold/Ice/Frost spells might simply be a load of ice, rather than webbing. Rest of the rules remain unchanged. Or a Magical Missile that rather than be actual force missiles flying at the target, simply mirrors the daggerswipe performed by the casting mage, and opens up slashes in the target. That spell could follow the normal rules, but would require a dagger as a Focus, in order to work.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7978 Posts

Posted - 14 Mar 2011 :  23:06:26  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've allowed innumerable new spells, most aren't particularly interesting though some are rather brilliant. Of course, even the "common" spells aren't standardized; they often differ in details and components, etc. Much spell research at my table has a focus on adapting existing spells toward different tasks.

Questions for other DMs
Does the reverse of a spell count as a different spell? Or are enlarge and reduce just different applications of one spell formula?
Does a variation (say, a continual light with a different coloured glow) count as a separate spell?
Does a variation which uses different components (say, darkness being cast with coal dust or squid ink) count as a separate spell?
(Insofar as being recorded in spellbooks and counting towards "max # of known spells" limit.)

[/Ayrik]
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4211 Posts

Posted - 15 Mar 2011 :  03:55:13  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kyrel

Personally I tend to have two rules of thumb, when it comes to new spells:
1) Do I like the idea as a concept?
2) Do I believe it will fit within the game, and that it will either be fun to use, or at least not disruptive/destructive to the game?

If I like the idea, and if I believe it will be a positive, non-disruptive addition to the game, then I'll probably allow its creation. As for how to determine spell level etc. I'll say just go with some common sense, compared with some comparison with similar spells (if they exist).

As for the spell you described as an example, it's basically just a Fireball with a twist that makes it a little better against creatures with spellresistance. I'd probably call it a lvl. 4 spell, since it's arguably a little better than a standard fireball. No Spell Resistance, Ref. save for half dam. (or maybe a Fort. save instead?)


On a related note, however, I'm personally a great fan of simply taking existing spell mechanics and twisting minor details about them, and then change the descriptions, in order to make it a more personalized spell. Dragon Magazine issue 200 (I think) had a great article about this concept. I.e. a Web spell cast by a mage specializing in Cold/Ice/Frost spells might simply be a load of ice, rather than webbing. Rest of the rules remain unchanged. Or a Magical Missile that rather than be actual force missiles flying at the target, simply mirrors the daggerswipe performed by the casting mage, and opens up slashes in the target. That spell could follow the normal rules, but would require a dagger as a Focus, in order to work.



Thanks for the input Kyrel, the spell in question did indeed come out as 3rd level; but only because it did a d4 damage instead of a d6 per level of the character...I did make a higher level version that did a d6 and it was fourth level! There were not Reflex saves then though...this is the day when Saving Throws were pretty dangerous things to have to roll in 1st Edition.

EDIT: and welcome to the Keep!

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!

Edited by - Dalor Darden on 15 Mar 2011 03:55:36
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