This is the 1st in a (very) irregular series of posts setting out some thoughts on how we might convert some Pathfinder spell effects to the Dragon Hack mod. This post is primarily about stats and laying the groundwork… I don’t have any answers – yet!
In the PF core rulebook there are 623 spells; DA has 56 in Sets 1 and 2. For reference these are broken down by school of magic like this:
and by class like this:
Clearly it will not be possible to convert all the PF spells – it would take ages! (Or AGEs even… ha ha!) We should also consider the number of spells available to mages: At 20th level a PF wizard with high Int could probably have access to 40 spells per day (about 4 each of spell levels 0 to 9) – about 10% of the total available to him. A Dragon Hack mage of the same level might have between 13 and 20, depending on talents and specializations. (Interestingly this is similar to a 4th ed character, which has about 17 powers at level 30, discounting racial and feat powers.) One could take this “10%” figure to arrive at a final spell list of 150 to 200 spells or so, roughly 3 to 4 times the size of the current Dragon Age list. Still quite a lot.
Of course, the DH mage can cast as his spells as long as he likes as long as he has the mana for it. But if you were to merely transfer the spell list “as-is” he would have nowhere near as much choice – it has to be cut down somehow.
The first thing we can do is concentrate on spell effects, i.e. don’t have spells that simply duplicate effects but at higher levels. So Cure Light Wounds and Cure Critical Wounds are basically the same; Charm Monster and Mass Charm Monster should be the lumped together; Restoration, Greater Restoration and Lesser Restoration likewise; Summon Monster I to IX ditto. Applying this “filter” brings the total number of spells down to 539, which unfortunately is still quite high.
Some other possibilities for reducing the number of spell effects to convert include:
- There are buffing spells for each ability, like Cat’s Grace, Bear’s Endurance etc. These should be fairly easy to convert (see Heroic Offense, for example).
- A number of spells are effectively Arcane Lance (Magic Missile, Acid Arrow etc). These could be emulated by having magic school talents allow the mage to add that damage type to their Arcane Lance (e.g. Journeyman Primal allows your Arcane Lance to do Fire damage etc).
- Some effects can be granted by the various degrees of the magic talents. There isn’t much scope for this, but you could save maybe 10 or 12 spells that way. But this would be a good way to simulate cantrips.
- Following on from the first “filter”, there are many similar effects under different names. Heal, for example, has the same basic effect as Cure Light Wounds. Many of the Divination spells are similar in nature, just varying in degree of effect.
- Alignment spells (Detect Good, Detect Evil etc) could be combined into “Detect Enemies” and so on.
- Some spells have the same effect but applied to different types of target, e.g. Hold Person, Hold Monster etc. These could be combine into a single “Hold Creature” spell.
Finally for this post: should we retain the Dragon Age magic schools, or switch to the PF ones? To be honest, I’ve never thought that PF or D&D wizards identified themselves by school particularly, although PF wizards can choose preferred schools. So I’d say we keep the Dragon Age ones and – very broadly – map the PF ones as follows:
Creation: Conjuration, Transmutation, Abjuration
Spirit: Divination, Enchantment, Illusion
However, “Entropy” is not really a PF/D&D term. I’d suggest calling it “Destruction” or “Necromancy” just for flavour. Similarly “Primal” is fine as a school, but it could easily be split into “Nature” and “Elemental” if there are enough spells. Druids could then pick one as of these as a preferred school, for example. It would also necessitate an additional Magic talent, which could allow more flexibility.