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Seethyr
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  01:06:26  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I know that Tashaís might not have been out long enough for everyone to digest everything thatís in it, but Iím finding more I like every time I read it.

Adjustments to spell themes has me smiling at the moment.

If you havenít read it, basically this allows you to change the way your spells appear as long as itís not used to gain the system mechanically.

The example they used was a wizard/farmer who turned all his magic missiles into flying chickens comprised of force. Silly in a way, but if you see the graphic I thought it was incredibly clever and something I think a hedge wizard from the Dalelands would most definitely do!

Can you think of any other themes that might work for yourself, a region of the realms or a specific realmsian caster? All I could come up with is the standard skull motif for a Larloch or Thayan necromancers.

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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  01:29:51  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Drow could have their magic missiles look like spiders. Gnomes could have the grease spell look like a bunch of banana peels. Fireball could be a flaming jack-o-lantern before it explodes for that hedge wizard. Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter could have feathers tickling the sides of the beings affected if a gnome cast it.

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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  01:45:31  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-I vaguely recall a wizard (Red?) in a book using what I assumed were Magic Missiles, but they were skulls instead of just plain magical bolt.

-Third edition had a feat that did that (served no purpose mechanically except I think it made Spellcraft DCs higher for enemies trying to identify your spells) that I took a few times for characters. Had fun with my "Spider Mage" character.

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Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  04:00:23  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
One of the very, very few things I liked in the Phlan books was that wizards often used signature colors and such for their spells. I'd not have it go as far as every single spell following a theme, but I do think it should be relatively easy for a wizard to put a slight visual twist on their casting.

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bloodtide_the_red
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  05:43:55  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is not a new idea. In the Ye Old Time Before Time (before cell phones, internet, social media, etc) the idea of changing spells look, but not effect was quite common. This was also true for monsters. The Color of Magic from Dragon Magazine #200 (December of 1993) is a perfect example.

3E dropped this idea hard with the annoying EVERY single person in the world automatically knows EVERY spell in the world in full game detail. Though it got the vague feat in The Magic of Fareun that gave like a lame +2 to the Spellcraft roll....wow.

I have been using the Color of Magic idea...well forever(yikes, count the years....Dragon#200 was sold a long lost Waldenbooks(at the mall) in a BOX because it was so thick for a magazine.)

I always hatted that when the PCs travel through time and space and end up on the 477th layer of the Abyss, and the demon troll wokini there cast....magic missile and lightning bolt. ZZZZzzzzz.

My demon troll wokini are casting swirls of acidic liquid, bolts of dark slime and flying magical mouths full of sharp teeth. I'll do the quick 're skin' of spells and effects during a game...but often like to make new spells out of them, just to get new things.

I always liked the lore that the Red Wizards of Thay have special magic, Southerners have special magic, ancient elven magic and so on. But the rules have always been lacking.
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Ayrik
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  05:59:36  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's an old idea from 2E Players' Option: Spells & Magic. Spell signatures, signature spells, signature "lineages", sense shifting, etc. It wasn't really a valid concept in 1E - where each spell variant was the product of dedicated and deliberate magical research - although I do recall some ancient Dungeon and Dragon articles which briefly explored the idea in the context of certain adventure modules. Illusionists can become a lot more powerful with these sorts of rules.

The earliest Realmslore often contained variations of standard spells which were largely just cosmetic differences. Sometimes different casting components and slight differences in effects which could offer minor advantages in special situations.

Other than that, I don't really see how the notion is particularly specific to the Realms. Greyhawk Adventures did the same thing. Even Dragonlance sometimes strayed away from generic vanilla spell descriptors, especially in the novels. Al Qadim and Ravenloft made their own almost-different versions of spells to establish setting flavour. While Spelljammer and Planescape settings (and most CRPGs) ran cosmetic details in all sorts of bizarre directions.

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[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 02 Jan 2021 06:55:55
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Returnip
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211 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  09:38:44  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The feat was updated in Players Guide to FaerŻn, p 44 (3.5 edition).

Spell Thematics [General]
Your spells manifest with a distinct theme or appearance.
Prerequisite: Arcane spellcaster level 1st.
Benefit: Due to the unusual appearance of your spells, the DC of any Spellcraft check made to identify a spell you have cast increases by +4. In addition, you may designate one spell you know per spell level as a thematic spell and cast it at +1 caster level. As you gain access to new spell levels, you can designate new thematic spells; you don't need to select this feat again to acquire new thematic spells.

Nearly any theme is possible, so long as you can describe a visual link for unification. For example, your theme might be "lightning," " spheres," or " screaming skulls." If you choose spheres as your theme, your magic missiles might take the form of glowing spheres of light, and your summoned monsters might emerge from mysterious rainbow-colored globes. If your theme is "lightning," your haste spell might manifest as a bright green spark that leaps from ally to ally.

You can't use this feat to make your spell manifestations invisible, nor do your spell thematics change the type of damage a spell deals, regardless of its appearance. This feat supersedes the version found in Magic of FaerŻn.

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 02 Jan 2021 09:43:46
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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1750 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  13:19:19  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been doing this for decades (didn't use the feat in 3e). It's still nice to see it in Tasha's though.

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Returnip
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211 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  14:35:56  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Arcanamach

I've been doing this for decades (didn't use the feat in 3e). It's still nice to see it in Tasha's though.



So does it give a benefit in your games or is it just for flair and spellcraft checks to identify are unaffected?

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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sleyvas
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  15:20:06  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's a lot of ideas for themes to use. For instance, someone's spells might revolve around illusory faeries appearing and firing arrows that trail faerie dust for magic missile. When they turn invisible or fly, a "pixie" might appear above them and sprinkle dust on them. Color or prismatic spray appearing as a swarm of butterflies. Having burning hands cause a small dragon head to appear between your outstretched fingers.

That being said, I agree that in 3.5e, it made sense to have it affect spellcraft since the effect itself "looks" funny. I just hated that it took a whole feat for that benefit. It would seem to be an ability that maybe illusionists should get as part of some prestige class for free. Other classes focused on defensive/offensive spellcasting might learn it, etc...

I like that they included the concept in Tasha's, but I again feel as though there should have been some rules applied to them to make this affect the game more. That being said, I understand why they didn't, because they consider it just a fun way to let a player express their personal wizard rather than the way I see it (as a means to confound your opponent).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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34475 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  15:35:16  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

That being said, I agree that in 3.5e, it made sense to have it affect spellcraft since the effect itself "looks" funny. I just hated that it took a whole feat for that benefit. It would seem to be an ability that maybe illusionists should get as part of some prestige class for free. Other classes focused on defensive/offensive spellcasting might learn it, etc...


A feat slot is pricy for that... Maybe have it as one of a number of "lesser" feats available for free, at say 3rd level. It makes sense that a caster needs to get some experience under their belt before starting to do this, but at the same time, some casters are not going to bother. So pick some feats that aren't too unbalancing, and let the caster have one of them for free.

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Azar
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184 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  15:43:09  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll add my voice to the choir and say that this isn't a new "invention". There was one game where a Fireball was described as fire sculpted into a Red Dragon's head that roared on impact.

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Seethyr
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USA
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  18:39:47  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Never really claimed it was new. Itís certainly new to 5e though unless youíve already homebrewed it in.

I donít think there should be anything required from a caster to be able to use this as long as it affects nothing game oriented. Even allowing it to disguise a spell (geez what does fuchsia fireball do?? I donít know what kind of resistance I need!) should not be allowed.

What do you think El might do to his spells? Gromph? The Sisters?

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Returnip
Learned Scribe

211 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  18:41:27  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on the DC for spellcraft checks to identify your spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.

EDIT: Corrected formulation.

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 03 Jan 2021 10:06:33
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bloodtide_the_red
Learned Scribe

USA
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Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  22:12:28  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Elminster, by his nature, casts an insane mix of everything, so has no "type".

Gromph- darkness, acid, poison and stone...much like typical drow spells. Add in more spider effects, like the spell fire spiders, but for all spells so cone of cold becomes cone of spiders.

The Sisters- well use the Seven Sisters book as a guide so you get a lot of dagger and sword effects, twinkling stars, pale light 'moonlight', fey looking effects like a 'force unicorn'.

By race:

Elves-nature effects by default. Sun elves fire and bright light. Moon elves water and pale light. Wild elves more savage effects like teeth and thorns. Aquatic elves water and water animals, like coral and clams. Winged elves air and bird effects.

Dwarves- basic elements, stone, fire, water and air, plus acid. Also machines like wheels. Plus axes and hammers.

Halflings- simple 'homemade' looking effects. Food effects. Plus domesticated animals. Happy emotion type spells.

Gnomes- much like elves, but with a more goofy twist and small effects. Plus over the top joke spells. Plus goofy machines for some gnomes.

Kobolds- small effects, like pebbles. Trap effects. Lizards and scales...plus dragon like effects.

Goblins- alchemy effects, lots of liquid effects plus slime and goo and glue. Also 'sharp' machines. Wolf like spells.

Orcs- effects that don't "look" like spell effects, like creating weapons...axes, clubs and spears from thin air

Hobgoblins- much like orcs, but even more military like plus iron and rust and war machines

Bugbears- sneaky spells of darkness and slight looking effects like ropes or vines to strangle. Plus furry effects.

By Region:

The Savage North: sharp ice and rock, bitter cold, predator like effects

Moonsea north: more snow and sparkly ice and 'tame' north creatures like elk and birds

Thay: fire effects, plus lots of fiend and lower plane summoning

Amn: shadows and 'money' effects like coins and gems

Clashmain: "Arabian" like effects....plus sand

Chult: lost world dinosaurs effects

Mulhorand: "Egypt" like effects

Unther: "Babloyain " effects

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Azar
Learned Scribe

184 Posts

Posted - 02 Jan 2021 :  23:14:16  Show Profile Send Azar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.

Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.
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Seethyr
Senior Scribe

USA
942 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  00:04:43  Show Profile  Visit Seethyr's Homepage Send Seethyr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

Elminster, by his nature, casts an insane mix of everything, so has no "type".

Gromph- darkness, acid, poison and stone...much like typical drow spells. Add in more spider effects, like the spell fire spiders, but for all spells so cone of cold becomes cone of spiders.

The Sisters- well use the Seven Sisters book as a guide so you get a lot of dagger and sword effects, twinkling stars, pale light 'moonlight', fey looking effects like a 'force unicorn'.

By race:

Elves-nature effects by default. Sun elves fire and bright light. Moon elves water and pale light. Wild elves more savage effects like teeth and thorns. Aquatic elves water and water animals, like coral and clams. Winged elves air and bird effects.

Dwarves- basic elements, stone, fire, water and air, plus acid. Also machines like wheels. Plus axes and hammers.

Halflings- simple 'homemade' looking effects. Food effects. Plus domesticated animals. Happy emotion type spells.

Gnomes- much like elves, but with a more goofy twist and small effects. Plus over the top joke spells. Plus goofy machines for some gnomes.

Kobolds- small effects, like pebbles. Trap effects. Lizards and scales...plus dragon like effects.

Goblins- alchemy effects, lots of liquid effects plus slime and goo and glue. Also 'sharp' machines. Wolf like spells.

Orcs- effects that don't "look" like spell effects, like creating weapons...axes, clubs and spears from thin air

Hobgoblins- much like orcs, but even more military like plus iron and rust and war machines

Bugbears- sneaky spells of darkness and slight looking effects like ropes or vines to strangle. Plus furry effects.

By Region:

The Savage North: sharp ice and rock, bitter cold, predator like effects

Moonsea north: more snow and sparkly ice and 'tame' north creatures like elk and birds

Thay: fire effects, plus lots of fiend and lower plane summoning

Amn: shadows and 'money' effects like coins and gems

Clashmain: "Arabian" like effects....plus sand

Chult: lost world dinosaurs effects

Mulhorand: "Egypt" like effects

Unther: "Babloyain " effects





These are great, exactly what I was looking for. I like the idea with Amn and money (which I feel like Sembia could use as well). Magic missiles being flying gold coins of force. Yes!

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The Arcanamach
Master of Realmslore

1750 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  02:04:13  Show Profile Send The Arcanamach a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@Returnip: It's just for flavor in my games (5e), no benefit. I didn't DM much in 3e so the feat never came up and I never used it when I was playing a wizard.

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Diffan
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USA
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Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  02:27:49  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is the premise 4E does and encourages players to do. No need for an official book or specific rule for you to turn your Magic Missiles from glowing orbs of force to small smoking skulls or red-glowing eyeballs or maybe small green sparrows.

Talking about how one visualizes spells, if someone wanted to play something similar to a Chronomancer, id have spells that have the Slowed, Dazed, or Stun effect appear to the target as time-manipulation.

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

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Returnip
Learned Scribe

211 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  10:03:56  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.



I didn't write it correctly. I meant the feat gives a +4 on the DC to identify your spells. (Skill Focus still exist, but give a bonus to your rolls. Spell Thematics give a higher DC to beat for your opponents).

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 03 Jan 2021 10:08:01
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9900 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  15:29:50  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.



Yeah, I get that you can make a feat for the mechanical and then allow the change in looks for free. That borders on something though that irritates me with pathfinder... rules for mathematical reasons without real reasons behind them to make it really make sense. The idea behind thematics where "hey it looks different so someone using spellcraft to identify it may be stymied"... that makes sense... and if you ARE making your spells different, there should be some kind of bonus to it like that. Again though, I wasn't really happy with it being a feat, and if you do spend a feat for it, it should be a really advanced version to indicate that maybe you're using different gestures, words, etc... as well as a different look. Granted, I'm not worried about making new rules for 3.5e (if I were playing a 3.5e or PF game, maybe), but maybe give some easy way to get making minor visual changes with a slight bonus to hiding which spell it is and then the feat adds to that to make it really hard to identify your spells.

In 5e, I still don't view giving it away for free as necessarily a good idea. Perhaps giving someone who has the minor illusion cantrip that ability to modify their spells in this way the option. That way its KIND of free, or at least not that hard to get, and allow for a limited number of uses, but when its used allow it to raise a spell's level by 1 in terms of setting the DC for any kind of counterspell, dispel magic or similar attempt. For those that want to decry to me that "this goes against the idea of 5e that things should be simple", please understand... I don't care about those sentiments. I believe in balance, not "gotta make it simple", and considering that its a rare situation that anyone ACTUALLY counterspells, I don't think its going to extremely slow down play.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

211 Posts

Posted - 03 Jan 2021 :  22:55:03  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.



Yeah, I get that you can make a feat for the mechanical and then allow the change in looks for free. That borders on something though that irritates me with pathfinder... rules for mathematical reasons without real reasons behind them to make it really make sense. The idea behind thematics where "hey it looks different so someone using spellcraft to identify it may be stymied"... that makes sense... and if you ARE making your spells different, there should be some kind of bonus to it like that. Again though, I wasn't really happy with it being a feat, and if you do spend a feat for it, it should be a really advanced version to indicate that maybe you're using different gestures, words, etc... as well as a different look. Granted, I'm not worried about making new rules for 3.5e (if I were playing a 3.5e or PF game, maybe), but maybe give some easy way to get making minor visual changes with a slight bonus to hiding which spell it is and then the feat adds to that to make it really hard to identify your spells.

In 5e, I still don't view giving it away for free as necessarily a good idea. Perhaps giving someone who has the minor illusion cantrip that ability to modify their spells in this way the option. That way its KIND of free, or at least not that hard to get, and allow for a limited number of uses, but when its used allow it to raise a spell's level by 1 in terms of setting the DC for any kind of counterspell, dispel magic or similar attempt. For those that want to decry to me that "this goes against the idea of 5e that things should be simple", please understand... I don't care about those sentiments. I believe in balance, not "gotta make it simple", and considering that its a rare situation that anyone ACTUALLY counterspells, I don't think its going to extremely slow down play.



In 3.x there are several ways of obstructing identification attempts of your spellcasting. Using the Sleight of Hand skill to disguise it (Races of Stone) and the somewhat similar Conceal Spellcasting skill trick (Complete Scoundrel), the latter also avoids attacks of opportunity. The Deceptive Spell feat (Cityscape), the Disguise Spell feat (Complete Adventurer) for bards, and not to mention feats like Still Spell and Silent Spell.

What if they were not thinking "how can we make a feat and a bonus of changing the way spell looks"? What if they were thinking "we need a feat that makes spells harder to detect. What should it entail"?

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 03 Jan 2021 22:58:32
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9900 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2021 :  14:43:38  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.



Yeah, I get that you can make a feat for the mechanical and then allow the change in looks for free. That borders on something though that irritates me with pathfinder... rules for mathematical reasons without real reasons behind them to make it really make sense. The idea behind thematics where "hey it looks different so someone using spellcraft to identify it may be stymied"... that makes sense... and if you ARE making your spells different, there should be some kind of bonus to it like that. Again though, I wasn't really happy with it being a feat, and if you do spend a feat for it, it should be a really advanced version to indicate that maybe you're using different gestures, words, etc... as well as a different look. Granted, I'm not worried about making new rules for 3.5e (if I were playing a 3.5e or PF game, maybe), but maybe give some easy way to get making minor visual changes with a slight bonus to hiding which spell it is and then the feat adds to that to make it really hard to identify your spells.

In 5e, I still don't view giving it away for free as necessarily a good idea. Perhaps giving someone who has the minor illusion cantrip that ability to modify their spells in this way the option. That way its KIND of free, or at least not that hard to get, and allow for a limited number of uses, but when its used allow it to raise a spell's level by 1 in terms of setting the DC for any kind of counterspell, dispel magic or similar attempt. For those that want to decry to me that "this goes against the idea of 5e that things should be simple", please understand... I don't care about those sentiments. I believe in balance, not "gotta make it simple", and considering that its a rare situation that anyone ACTUALLY counterspells, I don't think its going to extremely slow down play.



In 3.x there are several ways of obstructing identification attempts of your spellcasting. Using the Sleight of Hand skill to disguise it (Races of Stone) and the somewhat similar Conceal Spellcasting skill trick (Complete Scoundrel), the latter also avoids attacks of opportunity. The Deceptive Spell feat (Cityscape), the Disguise Spell feat (Complete Adventurer) for bards, and not to mention feats like Still Spell and Silent Spell.

What if they were not thinking "how can we make a feat and a bonus of changing the way spell looks"? What if they were thinking "we need a feat that makes spells harder to detect. What should it entail"?



Yeah, there probably were a few ways to do it in 3.5. Since its been over a decade, getting rusty on the different options. Main thing though, if someone does change the visual nature of their spells, it should affect the ability to figure out what the spell is (i.e. it shouldn't just be for roleplay). How much that bonus is, how to apply it, etc... in 3.5 if someone wants to debate it I'm willing to brush up on the old rules again, but even a +1 works. But, it shouldn't be "free" (and not everyone should be able to do it... it should take even some minor training). That being said, if it was related to having proficiency in a skill like sleight of hand... and I totally forget how "skill tricks" in complete scoundrel worked, but that sounds like a possibility too if its not a "expensive to the character" process. As an alternative if someone DID want to do it for free, then each spell they want modified should have to be researched specifically differently (whereas someone who learns the "trick" to do it more easily probably adjusts more easily). In the end, what I'm ultimately saying is "it should be easy to get and not affect things terribly, but there should be SOME effect and it should require SOME effort".

That being said, you have me curious on skill tricks and the mechanics of them, and I think I'm going to go back and review that. I don't think we ever incorporated those rules into anything since that was near the end of 3.5.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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sleyvas
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Posted - 04 Jan 2021 :  15:00:16  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, and I just looked at "skill tricks" and conceal spellcasting doesn't do what we're talking about (it totally hides the fact that you're casting) but they DO have one called false theurgy where you make the casting of your spell look as though you're doing something different to mess with people using spellcraft. False Theurgy requires the person to have either bluff or sleight of hands skill of a decent amount (total 8) and a decent spellcraft(8), yeah, THIS makes MUCH more sense that if someone said they wanted to use false theurgy skill trick to make their spell visually different I'd say that fits the spirit of the skill. It only costs 2 skill points to learn a skill trick, so its not as "expensive" as a feat, but you do have to have an appropriate proficiency. If I were playing 3.5 that's a good way to replace the aforementioned feat. I might even say offer a lesser version that "levels up at no cost as you put more points in bluff or sleight of hand", so you can buy into it quicker (maybe even skill rank of 4 in bluff or sleight of hand and 4 in spellcraft) but have it not make your spell "immune" to spellcraft detection like the official skill trick, but just offer a simple +1 to the DC and you could do whatever minor visual mods you want for roleplay purposes. This might imply that at first ALL you learn is how to change the visual imagery, and later you actually learn how to change your gestures, mouth movements/words, etc..

This really makes me wish 5e actually had skill points of some sort... as annoying as they were, the idea of putting out minor skill tricks like this for people to learn to make their character different somehow has merit. Perhaps a system where you trade in ability score bonuses for a pool of points for the equivalent of multiple "lesser feats" instead of one big feat. People would probably hate me for making 5e more complex with that concept though.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

211 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2021 :  15:04:08  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Azar

quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

I don't see why both can't exist. A feat for a +4 on spellcraft checks to identify spells is not unbalanced. And if you just want the flavour I could allow it but rule that indentification is of the magical energies rather than the visual look of a spell, making the Spell Thematics feat disguise said energies instead. So if a player wants to spend a feat to make their spells harder to counterspell they can do that and if they just want to express themselves they can do that too without spending a feat.



Is the "Skill Focus" Feat no longer available? A +3 to a Skill in all circumstances is generally superior to any Feat that grants a +4 Skill bonus in a specific situation.



Yeah, I get that you can make a feat for the mechanical and then allow the change in looks for free. That borders on something though that irritates me with pathfinder... rules for mathematical reasons without real reasons behind them to make it really make sense. The idea behind thematics where "hey it looks different so someone using spellcraft to identify it may be stymied"... that makes sense... and if you ARE making your spells different, there should be some kind of bonus to it like that. Again though, I wasn't really happy with it being a feat, and if you do spend a feat for it, it should be a really advanced version to indicate that maybe you're using different gestures, words, etc... as well as a different look. Granted, I'm not worried about making new rules for 3.5e (if I were playing a 3.5e or PF game, maybe), but maybe give some easy way to get making minor visual changes with a slight bonus to hiding which spell it is and then the feat adds to that to make it really hard to identify your spells.

In 5e, I still don't view giving it away for free as necessarily a good idea. Perhaps giving someone who has the minor illusion cantrip that ability to modify their spells in this way the option. That way its KIND of free, or at least not that hard to get, and allow for a limited number of uses, but when its used allow it to raise a spell's level by 1 in terms of setting the DC for any kind of counterspell, dispel magic or similar attempt. For those that want to decry to me that "this goes against the idea of 5e that things should be simple", please understand... I don't care about those sentiments. I believe in balance, not "gotta make it simple", and considering that its a rare situation that anyone ACTUALLY counterspells, I don't think its going to extremely slow down play.



In 3.x there are several ways of obstructing identification attempts of your spellcasting. Using the Sleight of Hand skill to disguise it (Races of Stone) and the somewhat similar Conceal Spellcasting skill trick (Complete Scoundrel), the latter also avoids attacks of opportunity. The Deceptive Spell feat (Cityscape), the Disguise Spell feat (Complete Adventurer) for bards, and not to mention feats like Still Spell and Silent Spell.

What if they were not thinking "how can we make a feat and a bonus of changing the way spell looks"? What if they were thinking "we need a feat that makes spells harder to detect. What should it entail"?



Yeah, there probably were a few ways to do it in 3.5. Since its been over a decade, getting rusty on the different options. Main thing though, if someone does change the visual nature of their spells, it should affect the ability to figure out what the spell is (i.e. it shouldn't just be for roleplay). How much that bonus is, how to apply it, etc... in 3.5 if someone wants to debate it I'm willing to brush up on the old rules again, but even a +1 works. But, it shouldn't be "free" (and not everyone should be able to do it... it should take even some minor training). That being said, if it was related to having proficiency in a skill like sleight of hand... and I totally forget how "skill tricks" in complete scoundrel worked, but that sounds like a possibility too if its not a "expensive to the character" process. As an alternative if someone DID want to do it for free, then each spell they want modified should have to be researched specifically differently (whereas someone who learns the "trick" to do it more easily probably adjusts more easily). In the end, what I'm ultimately saying is "it should be easy to get and not affect things terribly, but there should be SOME effect and it should require SOME effort".

That being said, you have me curious on skill tricks and the mechanics of them, and I think I'm going to go back and review that. I don't think we ever incorporated those rules into anything since that was near the end of 3.5.


Well, the Sleight of Hand usage is opposed by a Spot, so available to low level characters as well. But to do more advanced stuff like negating AoOs because your enemy literally don't see you cast the spell feels more like there should be a feat because that's quite powerful. Same with the Disguise Spell, where a bard can basically conceal a spell being cast in a performance check, which of course limits when it can be used but since it's a bard it's hard to know if they're just singing a little ditty or putting you to sleep.

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 04 Jan 2021 15:08:41
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

211 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2021 :  15:21:33  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

Ah, and I just looked at "skill tricks" and conceal spellcasting doesn't do what we're talking about (it totally hides the fact that you're casting) but they DO have one called false theurgy where you make the casting of your spell look as though you're doing something different to mess with people using spellcraft. False Theurgy requires the person to have either bluff or sleight of hands skill of a decent amount (total 8) and a decent spellcraft(8), yeah, THIS makes MUCH more sense that if someone said they wanted to use false theurgy skill trick to make their spell visually different I'd say that fits the spirit of the skill. It only costs 2 skill points to learn a skill trick, so its not as "expensive" as a feat, but you do have to have an appropriate proficiency. If I were playing 3.5 that's a good way to replace the aforementioned feat. I might even say offer a lesser version that "levels up at no cost as you put more points in bluff or sleight of hand", so you can buy into it quicker (maybe even skill rank of 4 in bluff or sleight of hand and 4 in spellcraft) but have it not make your spell "immune" to spellcraft detection like the official skill trick, but just offer a simple +1 to the DC and you could do whatever minor visual mods you want for roleplay purposes. This might imply that at first ALL you learn is how to change the visual imagery, and later you actually learn how to change your gestures, mouth movements/words, etc..

This really makes me wish 5e actually had skill points of some sort... as annoying as they were, the idea of putting out minor skill tricks like this for people to learn to make their character different somehow has merit. Perhaps a system where you trade in ability score bonuses for a pool of points for the equivalent of multiple "lesser feats" instead of one big feat. People would probably hate me for making 5e more complex with that concept though.



No need to overcomplicate it. There are three parts to a spell being cast: The method, the material and the finished effect. The method are the hand gestures and words you use. The material is the weave or the shadow weave for example. And the finished effect is the effect, like a bolt of lightning or a cone of cold air. Each of these could be masked depending on the result you want. If you want to not show that you cast a spell at all you mask the method. If you want to pretend like you're a regular weave user while you are actually a shadow weave user you mask the material. And if you want to modify the effect you do that. The question becomes which component is it that is identified when you roll that Spellcraft check? Considering it's harder for weave users to identify Shadow weave user spells it could be argued that it's the material. And if so the other parts shouldn't matter. But similar arguments can be made for the other components too. Take a pick.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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