Wednesday, January 6, 2010

3.5 Sorcerer: Pseudospell Powers

As sorcerers are simply conduits of raw magical power, it stands to reason that a limited number of spells is not the only way a sorcerer can manifest such power. These casters likely didn't first realize their prowess by casting a spell with verbal, somatic, and material components (that seems extremely silly, actually). Most sorcerers discover their talents as adolescents, as their desires or frustrations begin to shape the world around them (an angry boy accidentally sets his house on fire with his burning hands while throwing a tantrum, a scared girl magically illuminates her bedroom to ensure there are no monsters under her bed, etc). I think most people understand this idea and even subscribe to it (even the game developers), but it seems as though all of those 'pseudospell powers' go by the wayside once the first game session begins.

Not in my games, anymore.

Sorcerers now have the ability to evoke minor effects (less powerful than level 1 spells, but potentially as powerful as 0-level spells) as long as they have magic coursing through their veins.

The effects they have available rely largely upon the spells he/she has chosen as Spells Known. For every different type of spell known, more options are available.

The sorcerer must have at least one spell per day left uncast of the same level from which the pseudospell ability derives.

If the sorcerer has light (a 0-level spell) in her Spells Known, and has at least one 0-level spell per day remaining, she may produce a light in her hand equivalent to candelight as long as she concentrates.

A sorcerer who knows alter self and hasn't cast all her level 2 spells may transmute a minor portion of herself for various effects (e.g., add/remove a tail or hair).

A sorcerer with burning hands (a level 1 spell) in his Spells Known, and has at least one level 1 spell per day remaining, he may set a torch or kindling (or similar highly flammable material) afire as a standard action.

Perhaps the same sorcerer above also has fireball known, and a remaining 3rd level spell per day uncast, he may also light a torch or kindling as a standard action, even if he has no 1st level spells available.

The sorcerer essentially draws upon the power that he uses for spells. As he become more powerful (i.e., gains more Spells Known), he will have more and more pseudospell powers available to him.

It is up to the DM and the player to police the use of these powers, but they exist for freedom and creativity.

Notes on balance: The sorcerer must maintain concentration for any non-instant effect (a minor altering of one's appearance, or a light, etc). Also, at no time may a pseudospell power damage a creature or object (not even unintentionally).

What are your thoughts? Do you have any examples of pseudospell powers?


Ronald said...

There's actually a mechanic for this in the Complete Mage. It's a list of feats that do pretty much the same thing that you listed here.

B'omarr Punk said...

Ah, yes, spell reserve feats. But 1) they're feats you have to take instead of granted powers and 2) they're a bit more powerful as they're beneficial in combat. I'm considering adding reserve feats bonus feats at 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level (akin to a wizard.)