On the Magic Bell (Curve)

So I've been using Chainmail style roll to cast in my games for a while now. It was originally mentioned in a post here by Jeff, and followed up with these posts by Brendan.

The 2d6 curve is a real thing of beauty.

But there are problems.

First, there is add level + stat bonus and subtract armor worn value. This is easy enough, it becomes a 'magic bonus' which works very much like a 'to hit bonus'. The real issue comes in when you have to subtract both the level of the spell and the number of times you have cast per day! That double subtraction option is a real tough pill to swallow.

Here is my new idea.

You get 2d6. You get an additional d6 to your pool for ever level you have and every bonus for your statistic.

Table stays the same, you may roll as many as you wish to cast a spell.

Any die that comes up with a number equal to or less than the level of the spell you are casting is lost and cannot be regained till you rest. Armor reduces the number of dice you have available.

2 Spell fails. Lose the spell
3-5 Spell goes off at end of the round. Lose the spell
6-8 Spell goes off at the end of the round, you can cast the spell again
9-11 Spell goes off at the start of the round, you can cast the spell again
12 Spell goes off at the start of the round, you can cast the spell again
As in the current system, doubles are wild surges, boxcars are spell surges, and snake eyes are spell mishaps.

If you get hit, the spell for that round is canceled, it is only lost on a roll of 5 or less.


  1. I might be misreading, or having incomplete knowledge.
    Assuming levels of spells go beyond 6, wouldn't all dice be lost on a really high level spell right at the first casting?

    1. A Fifthteenth level caster goes on an adventure. He has 2 + 15 + 3 dice in his pool. (A total of 20). He also has a wand of telepresence, which gives him a +1 on all spell rolls involving translocation and a -1 to effective spell level.

      He casts Teleport with 2 dice using the wand. This is treated as a 4th level spell. He rolls 2 and 2 causing a spell surge. He can no longer cast teleport today. He also loses both those dice because they are below the (effective) level of the spell, 4. If he had rolled three dice and gotten 5, 5, 3, he would have only lost one die.

      Later he casts Disintegrate to save the party from a dragon and rolls 4 dice. He gets a 6, 4, 4, 2. He loses all the dice. (leaving 14 in his pool at this point)

      He casts disintegrate again, with only 2 dice. He gets a 3 and a 6 losing both dice.

      At this point he still has 12 dice!

      But yes, this limits or makes the casting of higher level spells more risky, but makes lower level spells more repeatable. Another option would be to remove a die any time you use it for a weaker caster archetype.

  2. Hmmm. This is very interesting. I think it would change the flavor of magic dramatically in a campaign. I may need to implement this for the S&W campaign I am running now... No wizards yet... :)

  3. I quite like this system. I'm curious how you imagine the intersection of the different "doubles" effects working with one another, and with the roll-to-succeed chart.

    Say a 4th-level wizard intends to cast Invisibility. He really, really wants to succeed and also to keep his spell memorized. So, he rolls 6 dice to cast a 2nd level spell. His result could be {6, 6, 3, 3, 1, 1} = 18.

    If I'm reading right, the cumulative effect of the above rules is:
    - Per the chart, casting succeeds ("Spell goes off at the start of the round, you can cast the spell again")
    - Per the spell level, he burns two dice for the 1's he rolled.
    - Per the boxcars, he triggers a spell surge.
    - Per the non-boxcar, non-snake-eyes doubles, he triggers a wild surge.
    - Per the snake-eyes, he triggers a spell mishap.

    Obviously something amazing happens. How would you interpret this?

    1. To clarify: what's the most important and fundamental part of this result? Is it the mishap, the spell surge, the wild surge, or the 18 success result on the chart? Do any of these cancel each other out, amplify each other, etc? Should we interpret the end result, relative to the caster's desired "I want to turn invisible" effect, to be a success, a failure, or several different strange and independent effects?

      (He turns invisible, it lasts a very long time, the biggest monster in the room turns invisible too, and it can still see him? That about covers the die-roll; the spell surge; the wild surge; and the mishap all in one go.)

    2. I have charts for wild surges, power surges, and mishaps. In the case you present above, I would apply them all.

  4. I really like the resource management aspect of this; but with the example Patrick produced, doesn't it slow down the game too much?

  5. I've been looking into using a Chainmail style casting check and like what you've done here.

    I'm curious about your comment "As in the current system, doubles are wild surges, boxcars are spell surges, and snake eyes are spell mishaps" Do you have any further details on what you do for these effects, as I couldn't find any other posts about this.



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