Sometimes, I'm not that happy with the vancian system. I like it, I really do, but sometimes, for some worlds and modules, I wished for an alternative. Well, there now is one, and Super Genius Games bring honor to their name with
This pdf is 24 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 22 pages of content, so let's check this out!
After a short discussion on the discrepancy between the vancian spellcasting system and the convention of magic-use in literature, we are introduced to a system that is radically different and more in line with literary depictions of magic - a system of spell points. While the idea per se is not new (SGG had already created a point-based wizard and sorceror archetype), its implementation is rather interesting:
The first 50% of a pool are a caster's are an open pool, the second half make up his reserve pool. Casting from the reserve pool entails first fatigue, then exhaustion and even unconsciousness when failing a will save of 10+spell points used in the casting. Divine spellcasters have to attune themselves to spells when praying and can attune themselves to a number of spells equal to their wisdom score (not the modifier) per spell level. And then there's eldritch dissonance, which is a great balancing factor: Preparation spellcasters add the spell's level to the spell point cost after having cast it once, thus preventing them from spamming a certain spell. Spontaneous spellcasters only add +1 to the spell point cost. Metamagic increases the casting time of spells enhanced by it and also the spell point cost - with quicken spell being the exception to the first clause.
On a fluff side, it's rather interesting to see sample names suggested to make a distinction in-game between regular and spell point-based classes. After that, we get a run-down of all base-classes (including APG and UM) with tables of the respective spell points for each levels - spontaneous casters like the oracle and sorceror get up to 260 spell points, whereas wizards etc. get up to 189. IT's rather interesting to note that the level 6-casters like bards, inquisitors and summoners get 150 spell points, which feels like quite some bunch when compared to the array of wizards and witches. Magi get an uncommon 155 spell points at 20th level. 4-level spellcasters like the paladin and ranger only get up to 35 spell points. Imbue with spell-like ability and mnemonic enhancer as spells get a revised treatment to make them compatible with the system and magic items like the ring of wizardry and pearls of power are also covered to ensure compatibility with the new system.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect: I noticed some minor typos. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and the pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. This pdf can be considered a godsend for many people - there always has been demand for a spell-pint system and psionics has shown that they can and do work nicely. This pdf contains an elegant system of spell points that can easily be implemented with minimal hassle and without impeding any functionality of the base-classes.
In fact, I'm astounded by the mechanical elegance of this spell point system and applaud that designer Owen K.C. Stephens has managed to create a system that does not require a reworking of all kinds of spells. In all honesty, I can't really judge whether the low discrepancy in spell points between Magi and e.g. Wizards and other prepared casters might not prove to be problematic. Without a lengthy playtest, I can't say for sure. That being said, I'm a huge fan of this system, especially as it takes the taxing nature of spell casting and the potential fatigue to create a great balancing factor alongside eldritch dissonance, making for better, more versatile tactics as well as a cool, more cinematic casting that may send a caster to his knees. If I had to voice one gripe, then that no guidelines for choosing spell-points and creating lists like this for casting PrCs are provided and that we don't get advice on multiclassing spell point pools - do they stack or are they separate pools? It is these minor issues that make me omit my seal of approval from an otherwise flawless, excellent product that will come as a godsend to everyone who was never content with the vancian system - I still remain with a final verdict of a full 5 stars. Recommended!
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,