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Peek behind the DDRPG designer curtain!!!


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Who's ready for another peek behind the DDRPG curtain?!?!?


This week I'm working on wizard and cleric spells.

Lots to do here.

We use paces instead of feet for ranges and area of effect. Since paces are an arbitrary range of 3-5 feet, this can lead to some confusion. Don't sweat it by overthinking. A pace is a space either a square or a hex. So if a range is stated at 9 paces that's 9 squares or hexes. If the area of effect is stated 2 pace square, that's a 2x2x2 space/pace square.

Simple. So just think in hexes or squares and you'll be fine. Spells are funky. They break the rules either specifically or vaguely. Vague leads to some problems but overspecificity can be equally problematic. A vague description might lead to Players trying to exploit a perceived loophole like using destroy water to instantly kill any living thing 'cuz the body is like 70% water.

No, no it's not. The spell destroys water... nuff said. But what if you're fighting a monster like a water elemental? Well... in some editions the spell inflicts damage with a Con/Fort save for half. In recent 5e the spell does nothing to creatures from the elemental plane of water. Counterintuitive and ultimately unsatisfying. This is the stuff I'm looking to fix in DDRPG.

So one of the current spell is this one:




Level: Wiz 1

Components: V, S, M

Casting Time: 1 action

Duration: 1 hour

Range: 6 paces

Saving Throw: None


The caster summons an ovoid, rigid horizontal concave plane of force, roughly 1 pace in diameter and 1 inch thick. The disk floats 1 pace above the ground in an unoccupied space up to 4 paces from the caster. The disk disappears and the goods fall to the ground if the 500 lb limit is exceeded.


The disk idles when within 4 paces of the caster, when the cater moves further than 4 paces the disk follows.


The disk easily hovers over uneven terrain, up or down stairs and slopes but cannot negotiate elevation changes exceeding 2 paces. The spell ends if the caster is further than 20 paces from the disk, all goods fall to the ground.

Material Component: a drop of mercury is expended


Not a big deal right? Well... think again. 😛


You see, the spell does one thing well but there's lots to consider. You should see my notes regarding caster control, speed of movement, can the disk be scaled up and if so both area and weight limits? Can it be used as a step? What happens when the caster flies or levitates? Can the disk be directed to interpose itself between the caster and some harm? What happens if something clobbers the disk? What happens if the disk moves down a narrow corridor? Does it tip?

Lots to consider from a "simple" utility spell huh? I could leave it all up to the GM to interpret and adjudicate but that can lead to a lot of table turbulence.

I'll complete work on all the spells by this weekend but expect to see enhanced usability, utility, and functionality but also reduced damage. DDRPG isn't hit point happy like in 5e.

On the plus side, many of the must-have spells are going to be available at lower levels. Also, we're doing something NEW and very exciting with the magic system. Stay tuned...


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