Lazlo COS Pathfinder - Low Magic
Spells and Magic
A good sounding board for the level of magic represented in the LCM Ruleset would be set somewhere between the HBO series “Game of Thrones, the Lord of the Rings (movies and books) and the “Witcher 2 & 3” video games. These are worlds which have relatively strong magic components but the characters in them can still be affected by common things like getting lost in the dark or the hazards of a winter storm.
Please note that spell casting generates a form of magical “sonic boom”. The more powerful the spell, the louder the boom and greater the distance it can be felt. This is a cumulative effect based on how many spell levels are cast over a short period of time (5 rounds). A party full of casters who unload they spell payload over a few combat rounds is guaranteed to attract a lot more attention than what they want.
- The LCM Ruleset makes use of the Active Spellcasting Variant Rules. Among them are Overclocked Spells, Spell Fumbles (PU 149), Spell Criticals (PU 149), Spell Attack Roll (PU 148) and all “prepared” casters now use a “Prepared – Spontaneous” form of casting referred to here as a Spell Matrix. In practice this functions the same way as the spell casting from the Hybrid class: Arcanist.
LCM – Spell Attack roll:
D20 + ½ caster Level + Caster Stat Bonus + Feats / Bonuses (spec / domain add the normal + 2 bonus). NOTE: this formula is based off caster level vs spell level.
- All Casters gain the ability to detect magic. Full casters are much stronger at the ability, while those who specialize in Divination style magics are much stronger still.
- READ MAGIC: obsolete
- RESTRICTED MAGIC: Psionics, Planar Travel, Shadow Magic, and Negative Energy / Necromancy are all universally BANNED. Magic specifically listed as “evil”, which conjures demons, or summons / creates undead are likewise BANNED as NPC BlackMagic and as such are not allowed in the campaign.
- All spells listed as Cantrips / Orisons (these are 0 level spells for most classes) are BANNED. Magic spells are hard capped at 6th level.
- Any spell which heals HP or ability damage, cures conditions (blindness, stun, etc), or specifically restores damaged limbs (or other body parts or functions) and lost stat points (such as Restoration) are universally included in the Healing Domain.
- Any spell which specifically restores life to a slain person (PC or NPC) is BANNED. (Reference to Death, Damage and Healing).
Spell Components: Spell components are only tracked if they are very rare (usually requiring a quest to obtain) or very expensive (more than 25 gold X caster level).
- Domain / Spec School: Spell Duration extended by the caster’s primary caster stat.
Spell Resistance: has been replaced by Elemental Resistance or a bonus to resist certain types of magic, such as a + 2 vs charm and enchantments. Particularly tough foes may have have more than one effective resistance to consider, such as Resist Fire 10, + 6 ref save vs fire effects for foes like a demon or dragon that would be very resistant to fire.
- Spells which create permanent effects such as Wall of Iron or Fabrication magics are now limited to a duration of 2 hr / caster level, except for those which create or move earth & stone. These spells are assumed to be pulling stone from the ground, rock walls, etc near the target area and simply repositioning them, thus creating permanent effects.
Counter spelling relies on the defending mage sacrificing a spell of equal level to the spell they are attempting to stop, and making an opposed caster check. If the counter spell attempt is exceeded by + 10 or more the spell feeds back upon the original caster for 1d6 damage per level of the spell thus countered. This rule also applies to the use of magical items that reproduce spells and spell-like abilities, but supernatural abilities such as a dragon’s breath weapon function normally. The defending mage must be targeted by the spell, within its area of effect or within line of sight between the caster and the target.
Out of Combat Magic: magic actually works pretty well when there is no one trying to kill you! As such a caster may augment their non-combat spells with a free meta-magic up to a level equal to their primary caster stat bonus. This effect can only be applied to specialty school or domain spells. NOTE: This rule may not be used at the start of combat in order to get a free meta-magic during a surprise round / attack. It is an out-of-combat role-play feature.
Prepared-Spontaneous magic: The Spell Matrix
The LCM ruleset uses a Prepared-Spontaneous system (aka Matrix) for all casters who would otherwise have to memorize individual spells. This system is similar to the spontaneous casting except it uses the casters Spells Per Day table and may be changed on a daily basis.
Once prepared the spells remain a part of the casters “known spells” matrix indefinitely until changed. In addition to this, all casters gain bonus spells from high stats which are available at 1st level as additional spells castable for that day.
All Domain spells, and those covered under Arcane Spell Mastery, are always considered memorized into the active matrix as “free spells”, similar to a Sorcerer’s bloodline spells. These spells do not add additional slots to the Dynamic Spell Matrix, but are considered memorized for the purposes of Dynamic casting. Druids are considered to have the Domain “Summon Nature’s Ally” for the purpose of adding their free bonus spells to their matrix, and Clerics are considered to have their Domain spells permanently added to their matrix as bonus “slots”.
Dynamic Meta-Magic: Meta-Magic can be dynamically added by a Matrix caster to any spell in they have memorized and does not increase the casting time of spells for any class. Spontaneous casters (Sorcerer, Bard, etc) must chose two spells which are permanently augmented by such meta-magic at the time the feat is chosen. Spell LvL is calculated after all meta-magics are applied. If a Cleric is adding Meta-Magic to a Domain spell it is at a – 1 level bonus, non-Domain spells are at a + 1 level penalty for each Meta-Magic applied (this same rule is used for Wizards in regards to their specialty schools). Meta-Magic may not be applied to Prohibited Schools / Prohibited Domains at all.
Changes to Enchantment / Illusion schools
The distinction between Enchantment and Illusion under the LCM has been largely blurred as both are now defined as “I can make you think / see / believe what I want”. Illusion is not a physical altering of light, but rather a type of “vision” where you are perceiving the world around you differently, much the way a charm / enchantment spell would have you think the evil hag is your new girlfriend.
- Comprehend Languages, Tongues and similar magics are simply BANNED. In an LCM campaign there are much fewer languages anyway thus this comes up far less often.
Immunity Effects such as Endure Elements now add a + 4 bonus to survival rolls, Immunity to conditions such as Immunity to Disease (or similar) would instead apply a + 2 bonus to the respective Save (such as a Fort Save vs Poison, Disease, etc) per spell level.
How to read the spell conversions to skill / save bonuses – For the most part if a spell is really just a powerful version of a skill such as Spider Climb (Climb), Knock (Disable Device), Detect Evil / Lie / Alignment (Sense Motive) or Resist Elements (Survival) then the spell will grant a + 4 bonus to the appropriate skill check with an additional + 2 per spell level and qualifies for Skill Unlocks as per the Rogue (Unchained) class feature. If the spell instead grants immunity to an effect such as Immunity to Poison then it translates to a + 2 save bonus per level of the spell.
Detect Anything: Detect Good/Evil/Magic/Gold/etc are problematic with the amount of information they reveal. As such they will only offer a vague sense of uneasiness (or whatever), which may allow for further skill checks such as Knowledge: Undead or Knowledge: Arcana, or Sense Motive. Typically for a LvL 1 Detect Spell they would allow a + 4 bonus to a relevant skill check.
Fabrication effects: have been changed to only create very generic items which last for 2hr/Level. The quality of these items may never be improved beyond its most simple form. As such a fabricated rope is always a rough hemp rope, never a silk rope. A sword is always a rough iron sword, never masterwork / steel / etc. These spells may still be augmented with Meta-magic to increase duration, range, etc as per normal.
Summoning Spells: Summon Monster, Summon / Create Undead, Summon Natures Ally, etc can be used to summon virtually anything who’s HD/CR is not more than twice the spells level and who’s alignment is neutral or within one step of the caster. Consider using Templates for effect such as Elemental, Fey, Celestial, etc. NOTE: Do to wild variances in monster CR vs HD across the various Monster Manuals, each monster will need to be pre-approved BEFORE being summoned. Do this prior to game time or your spell automatically fails. NOTE: summoning demons / undead / etc would fall under the heading of “Black Magic”.
Summoning limitations: the Summon Monster spell line is currently under review for modification along the lines detailed in the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana to have a much more limited scope of what can be summoned by a given caster. An example would be a “Fire Sorcerer” casting summon and only being able to summon Fire Elementals or similar creatures with a Fire subtype, or a Cleric of Good only being able to summon angels or beings with a celestial template. (The details of which can be found here.)
Conjuration: Teleportation Magic
Under the LCM Ruleset such magic is limited to Dimension Door and Teleport. Teleport is only castable via the waypoint arches (based on this article), and thus limited in scope to major locations such as cities (and lost locations whose arches are still intact). Teleporting to a Waypoint Arch is only possible if the mage has physically been there at least once and studied the arch for at least a week. Granted there is nothing stopping a mage from taking another mage to a waypoint they have not yet discovered for the purpose of studying it.
Dimension Door ranges are extended by x10 if it would result in the mage arriving at either a Waypoint Arch or one of their free Jump Points.
A Conjuration specialist may have a small number of “jump points” equal to their INT bonus that they may Teleport to without penalty and are essentially treated as if they were a Waypoint Arch. These places must be ones which the mage is intimately familiar with and has spent at least a month there such as a home, magical college, etc.