My list of banned spells

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Ashtagon
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My list of banned spells

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:39 am

This list mostly relates to 3e-based games. In my campaigns, these spells are banned/nerfed:
  • Wish and related spells are banned. If you find yourself needing to undo a condition that requires a limited wish or better, its an appeal for direct divine intervention. They aren't on any spell list for mortals to cast.
  • Raise dead and related spells require an appeal for direct divine intervention. They aren't on any spell list for mortals to cast.
  • Teleportation spells take you on a barely-shielded trip through the Far Realms. The longer the trip, the more damaging it is to your mental health. They also have a casting time measured in minutes for the longer-ranged versions (anything longer than dimension door).
  • Divination spells that grant you knowledge through means other than direct observation, such as contact other plane (which communicates with an outer being) or comprehend languages (which grants knowledge without perception) are banned. Essentially, the divination school is reduced to those spells that directly enhance your own senses in some way.
  • Any spell that is keyed off alignment is changed, due to my not using alignment in games. Detect good essentially becomes "detect allies of my deity", while detect evil becomes "detect enemies of my deity".
  • Anything that is effectively a "save or die/suck" has a lesser effect over a period of a few rounds, with a save allowed each round. For example, sleep causes fatigue for one round, then exhausted for one round, then sleep (the exhausted condition expires when the spell's original duration expires). Flesh to stone causes 1d6 Con damage per round, with petrifaction occurring when Con reaches 0.
  • Spells that permanently or "instantaneously" create something from nothing (eg. wall of stone) instead have a duration measured in days or weeks per caster level. Good for an emergency barrier when you need one, but not something you want to be making permanent structures from. (Make a DC 10 Intelligence check. If you fail, the duration is hours per caster level. If you succeed, each point you beat the DC number by is the duration in days per caster level).
  • All spells that are listed as taking a standard action or move action to cast instead take a full-round action (some exceptions). Spells that were listed as taking one or more full rounds take an additional full round to cast.
  • The swift XYZ line of spells take a standard action to cast.
  • The power word XYX spells take a standard action to cast.
  • The holy word spell and related spells take a standard action to cast.
  • The inflict XYX wounds spells take a standard action to cast.
  • The cure XYX wounds spells take a standard action to cast. When used to heal, they always heal at least 10% of the target's maximum hp per spell level, regardless of the die roll.
So while I haven't specifically named most of the spells affected, players do know what to expect.

The primary effect is as follows:
  • Most of the "I win" buttons are nerfed.
  • Spells relating to "military intelligence" are generally gone. If the party want knowledge, they have to work for it.
  • Spells that allow the party to bypass overland journeys are generally gone.
  • Spells that allow the party to break the campaign are gone.
----

And some clarification on the consequences for the alignment spells.

Detect evil is replaced with detect enemy (and mutatis mutandis for other alignments).

For outsiders and other "always XYZ alignment" creatures:

Evil outsiders are enemies to any good deity, and vice versa. Lawful outsiders are enemies to any chaotic deity, and vice versa (exception: chaotic good and lawful good outsiders are not mutual enemies due to alignment).

In addition, every deity will typically have one of more enemy deities, enemy creature types, or enemy behaviours. Any of these would trigger their detect enemy spell.

Examples:

As a cleric of Pelor the sun god, my detect enemy won't ping on an amoral faithless murderer, because he isn't an enemy of the faith. It won't even ping on a mortal follower or cleric of any of the "core D&D evil deities", because none of them are directly opposed to the concept of sunlight. It would, however, ping on all undead, due to Pelor's hatred of undead, and would ping on all evil outsiders. It'd also ping on mortal followers of Wee Jas, because Wee Jas has undeath as part of her portfolio.

If I were a cleric of Kord, my detect enemy would ping on all evil outsiders, and mortal followers of Hextor, due to his opposition to the liberty ideals of Kord. It would also ping off any creature that had an attack that directly attacked your Strength, including sentient creatures (Int 3+) with poisons that attack Strength and wizards who have memorised ray of weakness.

As a cleric of Corellon Larethian, my detect enemy will ping on followers of Moradin or Gruumsh (both traditional racial enemies), in addition to the usual "always evil" creatures. It would also ping off any creature who habitually destroyed forests or works of art.

Detect good is replaced with detect ally (and mutatis mutandis for other alignments). An ally is a follower or servant of your deity or a related deity. A related deity is generally (GM adjudication required) defined any deity who is not already defined as an enemy, and is one of:
  • A deity who has the exact same alignment and two or more cleric domains (not counting alignment domains) in common, or
  • A deity no more than one step away in alignment in and has a related portfolio of interests. (eg Artemis and Obad-Hai are both into nature), or
  • A deity who is a fellow member in good standing of a tightly-knit pantheon (eg. the Olympian deities).
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Gecko » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:24 am

Ashtagon wrote:[*] Any spell that is keyed off alignment is changed, due to my not using alignment in games. Detect good essentially becomes "detect allies of my deity", while detect evil becomes "detect enemies of my deity".
I've seen many variations on this idea, but tying it allies/enemies of one's diety is an interesting twist, but it would only work if every sentient being (character/NPC/intelligent monsters) has a patron.
[*] Anything that is effectively a "save or die/suck" has a lesser effect over a period of a few rounds, with a save allowed each round. For example, sleep causes fatigue for one round, then exhausted for one round, then sleep (the exhausted condition expires when the spell's original duration expires). Flesh to stone causes 1d6 Con damage per round, with petrifaction occurring when Con reaches 0.
Very similar to some ideals I saw on a website (which I can't seem to refind at the moment), I like.
[*] Spells that permanently or "instantaneously" create something from nothing (eg. wall of stone) instead have a duration measured in days or weeks per caster level. Good for an emergency barrier when you need one, but not something you want to be making permanent structures from. (Make a DC 10 Intelligence check. If you fail, the duration is hours per caster level. If you succeed, each point you beat the DC number by is the duration in days per caster level).
What if you get exactly a 10 on the Int roll, what's the duration then?, and can you just take 10 if your not currently being harrased?
[*] All spells that are listed as taking a standard action or move action to cast instead take a full-round action (some exceptions). Spells that were listed as taking one or more full rounds take an additional full round to cast.
...listed exceptions....
This is one I've toyed with before, I like your exceptions. Should cantrips & Orisions also be excepted?
[*] The cure XYX wounds spells take a standard action to cast. When used to heal, they always heal at least 10% of the target's maximum hp per spell level, regardless of the die roll.
that 10% per spell level minimum seems awfully powerful.
And some clarification on the consequences for the alignment spells.

Examples:

If I were a cleric of Kord, my detect enemy would ping on ... and wizards who have memorised ray of weakness.
that seems excessive IMHO, unless it's like the wizards favorite/most-used/themed spell, especially if it's just one spell of several the wizard has prepared.

Overall, I like.

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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Morfie » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:18 am

Teleportation spells take you on a barely-shielded trip through the Far Realms. The longer the trip, the more damaging it is to your mental health. They also have a casting time measured in minutes for the longer-ranged versions (anything longer than dimension door).
Spells that allow the party to bypass overland journeys are generally gone.
I limit all teleport spells to places the caster has physically been to before. Therefore they can't bypass anything, but if they need to go home, they can and then must cast it again to go back to where they were.
Spells that permanently or "instantaneously" create something from nothing (eg. wall of stone) instead have a duration measured in days or weeks per caster level. Good for an emergency barrier when you need one, but not something you want to be making permanent structures from. (Make a DC 10 Intelligence check. If you fail, the duration is hours per caster level. If you succeed, each point you beat the DC number by is the duration in days per caster level).
Does this also apply in your campaign if the caster wanted to build a permanent structure such as a castle?

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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Sock Puppet » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:17 am

Morfie wrote:
Spells that permanently or "instantaneously" create something from nothing (eg. wall of stone) instead have a duration measured in days or weeks per caster level. Good for an emergency barrier when you need one, but not something you want to be making permanent structures from. (Make a DC 10 Intelligence check. If you fail, the duration is hours per caster level. If you succeed, each point you beat the DC number by is the duration in days per caster level).
Does this also apply in your campaign if the caster wanted to build a permanent structure such as a castle?
Yes it does. If you want to build a castle, you need to use the mundane economy and get a mason and labourers in. Sure, you could cast permanency on everything, but that has a steep XP cost when done for larger structures.

To answer an earlier question, making the DC 10 Intelligence check exactly results in a duration of hours per caster level.

One subtle side effect of this change is that magically created food is no substitute for real food. It will satisfy immediate hunger issues, but won't provide long term nutrition, because the magically created food vanishes after the duration expires. In game terms, they avoid the fatigue effect but not the non-lethal damage effect of starvation.
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Sock Puppet » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:53 am

Gecko wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:[*] Any spell that is keyed off alignment is changed, due to my not using alignment in games. Detect good essentially becomes "detect allies of my deity", while detect evil becomes "detect enemies of my deity".
I've seen many variations on this idea, but tying it allies/enemies of one's diety is an interesting twist, but it would only work if every sentient being (character/NPC/intelligent monsters) has a patron.
Actually, it was written this way with the intention that most people would ping s "neutral" with respect to you. Detect evil is too often a shortcut to identifying the big bad or his minions, and short-circuits most mystery or detective style adventures. So it needed to be nerfed. By having it so that groups that common society won't necessarily regard as big bads to be done away with, it's no longer such a shortcut.
[*] All spells that are listed as taking a standard action or move action to cast instead take a full-round action (some exceptions). Spells that were listed as taking one or more full rounds take an additional full round to cast.
...listed exceptions....
This is one I've toyed with before, I like your exceptions. Should cantrips & Orisions also be excepted?
Good point. These are probably worth adding to the list of standard action spells.
[*] The cure XYX wounds spells take a standard action to cast. When used to heal, they always heal at least 10% of the target's maximum hp per spell level, regardless of the die roll.
that 10% per spell level minimum seems awfully powerful.
That 10% per spell level is merely to keep up with the rapid growth in hit points, and to keep them relevant at higher levels. It approximates the percentage of hp restored when each spell first becomes available.
And some clarification on the consequences for the alignment spells.

Examples:

If I were a cleric of Kord, my detect enemy would ping on ... and wizards who have memorised ray of weakness.
that seems excessive IMHO, unless it's like the wizards favorite/most-used/themed spell, especially if it's just one spell of several the wizard has prepared.
It's the spell magic contained in the wizard that is pinging the spell in this case, not the wizard's own aura.

I should add that non-sentient creatures typically won't ping the detect enemy spell (eg a god of healing won't consider a poisonous non-sentient snake to be an enemy, since it's just obeying instincts, and hasn't made a conscious decision to act against his divine will).
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Sock Puppet » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:26 am

One other edit I need to make to the 1st post:

* All 1st-3rd level spells that do hp-only damage take a standard action to cast, not a full-round action. This is to raise the viability of blasters slightly relative to other approaches.
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by ghendar » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:04 pm

Do rings of wishes of other magic items that grant wishes exist in your world?

I like the divine intervention angle better than allowing wish spells.

Not such a big fan of totally eliminating save or die spells. Limit them, yes; Make the effects rare, yes; but get rid of them completely, no. I think, used sparingly, they have a place in the game.
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Sock Puppet » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:09 pm

ghendar wrote:Do rings of wishes of other magic items that grant wishes exist in your world?

I like the divine intervention angle better than allowing wish spells.
No. Any magic item that would require a banned spell to make is either promoted to divine relic status (and probably reworked completely in the process) or does not exist.
Not such a big fan of totally eliminating save or die spells. Limit them, yes; Make the effects rare, yes; but get rid of them completely, no. I think, used sparingly, they have a place in the game.
I didn't ban any of the save or suck/die spells; simply changed how they work. The intent is that each of them gives a brief "death throes" period in which the victim can either break the spell or get final revenge. It's just more dramatic that way.
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Re: My list of banned spells

Post by Gecko » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:21 pm

Gecko wrote:
Ashtagon wrote:[*] Anything that is effectively a "save or die/suck" has a lesser effect over a period of a few rounds, with a save allowed each round. For example, sleep causes fatigue for one round, then exhausted for one round, then sleep (the exhausted condition expires when the spell's original duration expires). Flesh to stone causes 1d6 Con damage per round, with petrifaction occurring when Con reaches 0.
Very similar to some ideals I saw on a website (which I can't seem to refind at the moment), I like.
found the one I was thinking of: the Ability Damage Buffer & Converting Spells sections of this page.

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