Magic (D&D)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Recharge Magic

I use a variant of the recharge magic rules from Unearthed Arcana page 157.

At its heart, the recharge magic variant is simple: A well rested spellcaster can cast any spell he knows or has prepared, but then loses access to that level of spells until they have been successfully recharged. Spell slots are never expended; they just become temporarily unavailable.

Spells are prepared in the ordinary fashion. In addition, any spell you can substitute into is automatically considered prepared each day. This includes cure/cause wounds spells for clerics and summon nature's ally spells for druids.

Recharging doesn't require any actions and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. As long as a spellcaster is alive, he naturally recharges his energy. However, it can be prevented is certain ways.

  • It is impossible to recharge magic in a null-magic area.
  • There is a special substance, Alchemist's Lead, that prevents recharging of arcane spells if you are in contact with it. Likewise, being completely encased in ordinary lead, such as a cell lined with lead or a suit of lead armor, also prevents the recharge of arcane spells.
  • A divine caster must have his divine focus in order to recharge spells.

Once a character has cast a spell, he can't cast another spell of that level until he has made a successful recharge test. At the end of each round, you are allowed one recharge roll for each level of spell that is presently not charged. You continue to roll for each uncharged level of spell each round until all your spells are recharged. Once recharged, any prepared spell of that level can be cast again.

Recharge roll

Condition DC
Base DC 8
Level of spell +Spell level
Sorcerer, beguiler, favored soul, shuggenja, spirit shaman, warmage -4

When not running round-by round initiative, a single die roll can be made to determine recharge time. Make a recharge roll as normal; if the roll succeeds, the spell is instantly recharged. If it fails, halve the result of the die roll, rounding down (to a minimum of one); the result is the number of rounds until the spell recharges. Using this system, it never takes more than eight rounds to recharge a spell.

Special Cases

Multiclass Spellcasters

A multiclass spellcaster with access to two different spell lists (for example, a cleric/wizard) applies the recharge magic rules separately to each class. Spellcasters with a fixed number of known spells such as bards or sorcerers get to add their usual spells/day bonus from attributes to their number of known spells instead. This is because spells per day is no longer relevant to them.

Multiple Instances

A specific spell cannot be cast again while the effect of a previous spellcast lasts. In most cases this applies until the spell's duration expires In the case of instantaneous spells that create or summon things, this applies as long as the effect lasts. In either case, preparing new spells the next day nulls this limitation. One way around this limitation is to learn/prepare the same spell several times; if you have prepared cat's grace twice, you can keep two instances of that spell running at once. Any spell can be renewed by casting it on the same target again before the duration runs out.

Drained Spell

A spellcaster that is drained of spells (such as by a spellthief) cannot recharge those spells. He must wait until he next prepares spells to recover them.

Maintaining spells

With this system, a spellcaster can maintain a large number of spells with a duration by constantly re-casting them. Constantly re-casting such spells over a long period requires discipline and Concentration skill.

When a spellcaster who wants to constantly maintain a number of spells is suddenly faced with the need to see if they are active (such as by an unexpected combat), make a Concentration roll for each such spell, with a DC from the following table.

Condition DC
Duration 1 round/caster level or one minute 20
Duration 1 minute/caster level or 10 minutes 15
Duration 10 minutes/caster level or one hour 10
Duration 1 hour/caster level 5
Maintaining more than one spell + number of spells
Distracted or lowered guard +5

A successful roll means the spell is active. The remaining duration is one duration multiple per point of margin; a margin of zero means 1d10 rounds remain if the duration was minutes or more and that it ends on your action if the duration was in rounds. Assume all spells maintained in this manner have recharged.

Only roll if sufficient time has passed since the last check (or initial spellcast) for the spell to expire. It is wise to make a list of which spells you are keeping active under different circumstances, so there is no debate.

Maintaining a spell with a duration in rounds over the long run is as exerting as hustling. Maintaining a spell with a duration less than hours is as exerting as walking.

General Spellcasting

Caster Level

Caster level is always equal to your hit dice. This is a major change for multiclass spellcasters, paladins, and rangers.

Material Components

All material components with a gp cost of 10,000 gp or less are foci, not actual components. They are reusable, but sell for only half price. In a city with a friendly magical guild they can often be hired at 10% of their value, as long as they never leave the premises.


Forget the original metamagic rules except when creating magic items.

Applying metamagic is a free action for all classes, and it is never prepared in advance. You can apply metamagic that brings the effective spell level of a spell up to the highest spell level you can cast, for free. You can apply the same metamagic feat several times to the same spell, with cumulative effects.

Minor Spell Changes

This is a list of minor changes and errata to spells that do not merit a new full writeup, as well as rule changes pertaining to spells.

Entangling Spells

Spells like web and wall of thorns that allow a number of squares of movement based on a roll are changed; instead they allow half movement is the roll succeeds at all (but only for that round).

Polymorph Subschool

Transformation spells that change form and the new polymorph subschool are a headache that is not well resolved in 3.5. My solution is a Polymorph subschool and a Battleform type. Polymorph is a new subschool of the Transmutation school based on the polymorph spell.

  • The following spells fall in this category: aberrate, alter self, alter, mass alter, amorphous form, animal shapes, lesser animal shapes, aquatic escape, aspect of the earth hunter, aspect of the wolf, baleful polymorph, body of war, celestial aspect, displacer form, dragonshape, elemental body, fiendform, flesh to stone, ghostform, holy transformation (lesser), holy transformation, infernal transformation (lesser), infernal transformation, legendary shape, liveoak, megalodon empowerment, nature's forms, plant body, polymorph any object, polymorph, primal form, reverse gender, shapechange, spider curse, spider shapes, spiderform, trollshape, wild runner, and winged watcher, as well as abilities based on any of these spells like the druids Wild Shape. There are most likely more polymorph spells that remain to be classified as such.

Note that the spells in the battleform subschool are also considered polymorph spells, as battleform is a subtype of the polymorph subschool.

Rules: These rules apply to the polymorph subschool.

  • Spells and spell-like abilities from the polymorph subschool are incompatible with each other, with the higher-level spell taking precedence and suppressing any lower-level spells in the group. Supernatural abilities from the polymorph subschool always suppress spells and spell-like abilities.
  • Each 24 hours under a polymorph spell, the target must make a Will save each day or become a creature of that type (as an instantateous effect): In this case it will assume all abilities of that form as well as it's ECL modifier. This can only be negated by break enchantment, miracel, wish, and limited wish, as well as any power that specifically returns creatures to their natural shapes. If the effect is somehow negated, the creature returns to normal.

Battleform Type

Battleform is a spell type that only applies to spells of the Polymorph sunschool.

The spells from the battleform type changes the target into a typical example of the creature in question, including hit points and abilities. They have a short duration and end prematurely if the creature is killed, restoring the caster to normal form and health. Example spells include Aquatic Escape, Displacer Form, Dragonshape, Trollshape, and Winged Watcher.

  • All battleform spells are also polymorph subschool spells.
  • All gear you wear is absorbed by the new form.
  • All spells and effects on the target are suppressed except the last school spell cast.
  • Any damage the target has taken is temporarily supressed.
  • All gear carried is absorbed into the new form.
  • Any gear worn or carried by a typical creature of the type appears with the new form.
  • All the target normal abilities are suppressed, including class and racial abilities and hit points. This includes skills and languages.
  • The target keeps its own personality, motivation and alignment, tough outlook and mannerisms are often colored by the new form.

A battleform spell ends when the duration is up, the assumed form is killed, or the target is otherwise transformed, such as if the target is polymorphed again (see the Polymorph subschool above). When the spell ends, the target instantly reverts to its own form, including all equipment, any damage taken in the original form, and any spells whose duration is still running.

  • Any damage the target had taken in its own form returns.
  • All spells or conditions applied to the new form disappear, including death, level drain, disintegration, entangled, grappled, or pinned. The one exception is polymorph subschool spells, spell-like and supernatural abilities, whose effects remain.
  • If the target is standing in an effect that affects an area, any continuing area effect will continue to affect you. Examples include entangle and incendiary cloud.
  • Any parts of the assumed form or gear that appeared along with the new form disappears, including lost items and separated body parts.
  • Any items or objects picked up in the new form falls to the ground in the target's space.
  • If the target returns to its own form in a space that cannot accommodate its body, such as inside a solid stone, it is violently expelled into the nearest suitable space, taking 1d6 damage per 5 ft.

Magical Projects

Magic and Time

This rule is to balance the fact that the only thing that needs time in a campaign is magic.

Time consuming magical tasks, like spell-learning and magic item creation, takes one week to perform. For any number of tasks. The DM is free to throw in extra requirements in time and/or materials, but the general rule is that all it takes is one week.

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