Last night, I was trying to fall asleep when suddenly an idea occurred to me that would help to further clarify various Philsys spell ranks and their capabilities. At the moment, this set of ideas does not take precedence over the spellbook, but a lot of this is a combination of the spellbook, people's character sheets, and a general idea of how I think things should work. I'll copy and paste my rough notes for now and I'll elaborate on them later.
Ranks 1-5 produce minor effects.
Ranks 6-11 produce moderate effects.
Ranks 12-17 produce major effects.
Ranks 18-25 produce incredible effects.
Ranks 26-32 produce insanely incredible effects.
Minor means +2.
Moderate means +4.
Major means +6.
Incredible means +10.
Insanely incredible means +20.
Very minor elemental spells cost 4-8 MP, average 6.
Very minor elemental spell average damage (when learned): 13 (2.2 dmg/MP)
Very minor elemental spell average damage (at minor cap 5): 21 (3.5 dmg/MP)
Very minor elemental spell average damage (at moderate cap 11): 33 (5.5 dmg/MP)
Minor elemental spells cost 12-16 MP, average 14.
Minor elemental spell average damage (when learned): 37 (2.6 dmg/MP)
Minor elemental spell average damage (at minor cap 5): 42 (3 dmg/MP)
Minor elemental spell average damage (at moderate cap 11): 65 (4.6 dmg/MP)
Major elemental spells cost 30-34 MP, average 32.
Major elemental spell average damage (when learned): 102 (3.2 dmg/MP)
Major elemental spell average damage (at major cap 17): 132 (4.1 dmg/MP)
Good damage benchmarks. DoT spells should be more MP efficient or more damaging to compensate for slower action.
[Malediction=1]Poison (6 MP) - Level 3 poison (6d6 total damage, average 21, 3.5 dmg/MP).
[Malediction=4]Poison 2 (12 MP) - Level 5 poison (15d6 total damage, average 53, 4.4 dmg/MP).
[Malediction=6]Poison 3 (20 MP) - Level 7 poison (28d6 total damage, average 98, 4.9 dmg/MP).
[Malediction=12]Poison 4 (32 MP) - Level 10 poison (55d6 total damage, average 192).
[Element=1]Element 1 (4 MP) - Generic single target elemental attack. 8+rank*2+1d6 damage.
[Element=4]Element 2 (12 MP) - Generic single target elemental attack. 14+rank*4+2d6 damage.
[Element=12]Element 3 (32 MP) - Generic single target elemental attack. 20+rank*6+3d6 damage.
[Element=4]Area Element (29 MP) - Generic multi-target elemental attack. Affects a small area or a limited number of targets. 10+rank*2+3d6 damage.
[Element=8]Area Element 2 (54 MP) - Generic multi-target elemental attack. Affects a medium-sized area or a greater number of targets. 16+rank*4+2d6 damage.
[Element=16]Area Element 3 (76 MP) - Generic multi-target elemental attack. Affects a large area or a very large number of targets. 22+rank*6+2d6 damage.
[Enhancement=1-5]Improve (8+(rank-1) MP) - Increases a minor physical substat by rank. Includes AT, PA, attack damage, missile evasion, or AC. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 2 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank).
[Enhancement=6-8]Greater Improve (10+(rank-1) MP) - Increases a minor magical substat by rank. Includes MATK and MDEF. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 4 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank)
[Enhancement=7-12]Capacity Improve (12+(rank-2) MP) - Increases a primary stat by 1/3 of rank, rounded down. Includes COU, WIS, INT, CHA, AGI, DEX, STR, and STA. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 6 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank)
[Malediction=1-5]Cripple (8+(rank-1) MP) - Decrease a minor physical substat by rank or apply a minor general penalty of -2. Includes AT, PA, attack damage, missile evasion, or AC. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 2 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank). Effect can be increased up to 2x by quartering the duration.
[Malediction=6-8]Greater Cripple (10+(rank-1) MP) - Decreases a minor magical substat by rank or apply a harsh general penalty of -4. Includes MATK and MDEF. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 4 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank) Effect can be increased up to 2x by quartering the duration.
[Malediction=7-12]Capacity Cripple (12+(rank-2) MP) - Decreases a primary stat by 1/3 of rank, rounded down, or apply a serious general penalty of -6. Includes COU, WIS, INT, CHA, AGI, DEX, STR, and STA. Learn one skill per rank. Cost is determined by rank. Duration negotiable (add 6 MP to cost for every round on average the spell will last than rank). Effect can be increased up to 2x by quartering the duration.
[Healing=12]Revivification (50 MP) - Resurrects a person that has only been dead for up to rank minutes, assuming that their body is repairable.
[Healing=18]Resurrection (included for benchmarking)
[Healing=30]Absolute Resurrection (# MP) - Resurrects a person without need for their body or a destroyed undead creature as the creature they were in life. Resurrection window is extended to rank days.
[Creation=1-5]Call/Create Minor Object (6+(rank) MP) - Calls a relatively minor possession belonging to the caster to his location or creates a simple object.
[Creation=8]Create Significant Object (20 MP) - Creates some sort of magical object with a minor enhancement.
[Creation=12]Create Amazing Object (48 MP) - Creates some sort of very complex or impressive object or a magical object with a moderate enhancement.
[Creation=18]Create Incredible Object (72 MP) - Creates an incredibly complex object or a magical object with a major enhancement.
[Creation=26]Create Absurd Object (168 MP) - Creates an artifact object. Truly powerful artifact objects will require a ritual.
[Summon=4]Summon Minor Creature (35 MP) - Calls a creature that is roughly as powerful as a 1st level character, but that is less versatile and usually not a spellcaster. Average HP 50. Base AT/PA average of 12/12. Base missile evasion of 16. Base MBlock of 16. Base damage average of 14+1d6 for a light attack. Base AC of 8. Spellcasting minor creatures will have a base MATK of 14, ranks capped at 1.
[Summon=8]Summon Moderate Creature (50 MP) - Calls a creature that is roughly as powerful as a 3rd level character, but that is less versatile and usually not a spellcaster. Average HP 65. Base AT/PA average of 16/16. Base missile evasion of 18. Base MBlock of 18. Base average damage of 20+1d6 for a light attack. Base AC of 12. Spellcasting minor creatures will have a base MATK of 16, ranks capped at 4.
[Summon=14]Summon Major Creature (72 MP) - Calls a creature that is roughly as powerful as a 5th level character, but that is less versatile. Average HP 80. Base AT/PA average of 18/18. Base missile evasion of 20. Base MBlock of 20. Base damage average of 26+1d6 for a light attack. Base AC of 16. Spellcasting minor creatures will have a base MATK of 18, ranks capped at 8.
[Summon=20]Summon Incredible Creature - Calls a creature that is roughly as powerful as a 7th level character, but that is less versatile. Average HP 100. Base AT/PA average of 20/20. Base missile evasion of 22. Base MBlock of 22. Base damage average of 30+1d6 for a light attack. Base AC of 20. Spellcasting minor creatures will have a base MATK of 20, ranks capped at 12.
Creature summon spells are separate from Final Fantasy-esque Spirit Summon spells that create a creature that deals damage for one or several rounds before leaving. The damage of these spells should be compared to Elemental rank in terms of effectiveness and adjusted accordingly--they require ranks in more than one skill in most cases, and they also often deal their damage over time. This will usually mean increased effectiveness over equivalent Elemental spells (damage, duration, side-effects).
Creature summoning spells are not intended to use the average values for all of their statistics. Like player characters, some are intended to be higher and others are intended to be lower. A spellcaster summon should have higher casting stats than AT/PA, for example. The AT/PA and damage assume that the summon is not wielding a weapon. If the summon is wielding a weapon, the effective rank is capped as normal for the level, and damage should be calculated as normal for an armed character. Magic skill caps are intentionally reduced because of the power of such spells. If more than one creature is summoned at a time, the resulting creatures should be weaker than the single creature. Creating abbreviated stat blocks or NPC sheets for summoned creatures is an excellent way to condense the relevant information.
Effective Rank Caps at Levels:
15 32 (ranks above 32 not possible for magic)
17 36 (max effective rank for non-magic skills)
Average MP at Levels: Increasing INT and WIS does not grant retroactive MP bonuses, but increasing MAG does, if applicable. "Average" casting stats for a PC caster are assumed to be INT +4, WIS +4, and MAG 5 at 1st level, intentionally weighting them low. The average caster will, then, gain about 5 MP per level for most of his career. The most MP he can possibly gain at levelup is 12, which requires INT +10, MAG 6, and a roll of 4 (8+1d4 MP/level at this point). It is as such safe to assume an average MP gain of 5 per level and a base MP of 70. A very focused mage with high casting stats will have more (+10-20 MP).
If the levels chosen seem arbitrary, it is because they are, but the general idea is to get an idea of average MP around each benchmark of 1, 6, 12, 18, and 26 to assist in spell MP costs. Resurrection is a good example of a ritual spell because its MP cost is such that many wizards will have to burn some HP casting it or need assistance.
The general trend is that destruction should be easier than creation. An elemental burst is still only a major effect even at third tier, because it is just a bigger fireball. Elemental damage caps are such that a PC can incapacitate an average person at rank 11 without a critical hit. At rank 12, killing an average person (or even a very tough person, STA +5 or so) is easy with a little effort. Lower cost damage spells are more slightly more MP-efficient, but they work more slowly, because a character normally only gets one turn each round, and opponents have multiple chances to resist compared to a single, bigger spell.
Even instant-death spells should in most cases be at most high-tiered major spell effects. To undo life is easy--to create it or repair it is more difficult. An instant-death spell that affects a very wide variety of creatures (such as celestials and demons, the most poweful of whom are presumably immune to many things that would kill a normal human) might breach the incredible threshold with appropriate justification.
PCs can gain access to "emergency" resurrection spells at the earliest at level 5, resurrection spells at level 8, and very powerful resurrection spells at level 14. Still not an excuse to kill off PCs at random in most cases, but it gives them a chance to survive a botched encounter if someone is a healer and the party is prepared.
PCs at current generally have up to major effects. Major effects are considered to be very powerful spellcasting in general, but not impossible to achieve by a dedicated wizard. Incredible effects demonstrate true mastery of an art (i.e., bringing someone back from the dead is far beyond the capacity of most casters unless they dedicate themselves to the healing art fully). Insanely incredible effects demonstrate power beyond that of most mortals. A rank 30 effect is effortless for a deity, but would require incredible expenditure of power by a mortal. Insanely incredible effects are generally considered to be only theoretical and are the kinds of things Gunnir Archmagi write long speculative essays about (the creation process of artifacts, returning an undead creature to its former life weeks after its animation, the summoning and binding of demons at least as skilled at magic as they are, raising an enormous pile of plush pink rabbits out of the Val'Ri to create a small artifical island of stuffed animals, etc.) Some insanely incredible effects might be achievable at lower ranks through ritual magic requiring days, weeks, months, or years and adequate arcane assistance from followers or other aides.
The big point is the minor, moderate, major, incredible, insanely incredible benchmarking system. By splitting magical effects up into these five categories, we effectively establish rough but better defined guidelines. Think White Wolf's system and its spheres for Mage--essentially, you're given a couple benchmarks and you're left to figure out what falls between them.
The most important benchmark, I decided, is the Resurrection spell. Bringing someone back from the dead is definitely classified as incredible, which is why the cutoff is rank 18. This is both a suitably hard to reach rank and an appropriate benchmark for most magical skills. Essentially, even the most powerful of basic area-effect elemental spells is only going to be a "major" effect--it takes a lot of energy and effort to blow up an entire room with damaging fire, but it doesn't really do anything that's more spectacular, reality-bending, or impossible than a smaller fireball.
I will clarify further later and would love to discuss this with interested parties. I apologize in advance for weird formatting, I use txt files for everything.
Edit: Included more stuff! <p>
</p>Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=archmage144>Archmage144</A] at: 11/11/05 13:10