The Carrion Crown
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Spells and Spell casters tend to be a sore point for many players. I am not anti caster but at the same time I want to make magic more special and just a bit more challenging to fit in the ‘low magic’ theme as well as the flavour of Jim Butchers series of books.
Here are the relevant house rules pertaining to magic and spell casting.
Spell casting is normally obvious, with the exception of metamagic feats to quieten the spell or remove the need for moving your hands, spells must be spoken in a clear strong voice (not a whisper) and require arcane gestures, and likely the use of material components. Unless care is made, those present will notice you casting, however one can attempt a sleight of hand check for spells using material components or stealth for spoken components or both (if relevant) to the casting attempt as a swift action.
This makes casting intent pretty well known under most circumstances.
Spells have a generic initiative penalty of -1 per level of the spell cast. Use your standard initiative and simply declare the spell to be cast. On the adjusted initiative turn you act, move etc and cast the spell. This may open up casters to additional grief so additional care must be taken.
The Quicken Spell Feat in addition to the normal benefits, negates this penalty.
All core spells are available and can be learned as normal. Spells from the APG are considered to be rare and spells from other sources considered to be unique. These rules are covered under Spell Rarity.
Taking more than a 5ft step when casting requires a concentration check of 10 + spell level, the same as if subject to vigorous motion while casting (DC15 + spell level). The feat ‘Combat Casting’ aids casters in making the concentration check for movement.
Casters of all sorts can leave spell slots open, instead of memorising a specific spell. That open slot can be filled with 15 minutes time to pray or study for a spell already known to fulfill a specific need or can either be used to power spells with metamagic feats on the fly.
Spontaneous metamagic, used this way consumes the base spell cast as well as an open slot of the level what the spell would have been if the feat was used. This does not change the advantage that sorcerers or oracles have when using metamagic feats as they do not need to leave a slot open.
For example, the Still Spell metamagic feat adds one level to the casting level. A first level spell can be memorised as a 2nd level spell slot and cast as normal with the metamagic effect applied… or the caster could leave a 2nd level slot open and can cast any of their level one spells as needed as a still spell, consuming the level 1 spell cast, AND the open 2nd level slot.
Applying a metamagic feat on the fly to a spell also takes the casting time to that of a full round action. The caster must have access to the metamagic feat in question to be able to use it as normal.
There are items that are in game to help casters. Using the relevant craft or forge skill, a caster can create objects that improve their spell casting ability.
To create a spell focus item that increases the casting level of one specific spell by 1, the object is treated as a +1 weapon enhancement, for a specific school of magics it is as if it were a +2 modification. For a focus item that impacts all spells, the object is as if modifying the item with a +3 weapon enhancement.
The same rules apply for items that grant a +1 to the DC of a spell or spells.
Open practitioners of magic in general suffer from mild discrimination at the best of times in Ustalav – used by an obviously appointed divine caster and in accordance with clear need, ceremony or request there generally isn’t any issues. Divine casters normally embellish their spells as part of a full round casting time (though this is not needed) to almost that of a ceremonial nature so as to allay the fears of local Ustalavs.
Arcane casters (including bards) on the other hand suffer considerable prejudice and those who openly practice their arts have an uphill battle to grudging acceptance and are among the first suspected when events take on a paranormal tone.
That said practitioners of magic may gain bonuses on intimidation checks against the ignorant who fear its effects.
Operating in medium rain or standing on something over water such as a bridge calls for an additional concentration check as if the caster were moving. Spell level of the spell is also impacted by a level. The same applies for casting when unwelcome within a normal thresh hold.
Under heavy rain, standing in water or within the area protected by a strong threshold the base DC is 20 and the spell level is reduced by 2.