Dealing Spell Slots

You may remember from my last post that I wanted to ways to burn out spells without having to take the feats. I put forth Dealing Spell Slots.

Selling Spell Slots
Devils are prone to getting mortals to sell everything from their firstborn to their souls. With jargon-laded contracts and fulfilling not exactly what was asked but the basest desires of what was wanted, if they didn’t buy your soul the first time, they’d place you right in the spot where they could save you, only if you’d sell your soul. Getting a soul into the Blood War was a timely affair, though, without breaking their contracts.

The Devils, however, pioneered a way to possess the magical energy that was thought to be linked to a creature’s soul. Every attempt to tear it away made it come back, but with the right rituals, as long as the caster was willing, they could actually surrender the magical energy, allowing the Devils to use it just as if it were a spell slot. Many Devils can now use these spells to some use, only if it’s to repower magic items or to power reserve feats. A select few have been able to cast full spells from these slots, however, and because of their use, they have quickly become a second currency in the Nine Hells.

Any Devil that has been trained in Knowledge (planes) and Spellcraft can forge a deal with a willing spellcaster to forever surrender one or more spell slots. If the caster accepts the deal, the spell slots are burned out, although at the devil’s discretion, the spell slots may temporarily return. The deal is enforced by the Planes of Law, and even attempts at regaining the spell slot by Wish or Miracle will fail without the approval of the Planes of Law.

The table listed below will give the typical value of a spell slot. Neither the devil nor the caster needs to start at this price point, nor does all of the payment in the deal have to be in gold, but should be in gold, services, and items that the caster values as the payment value. This spell energy may be transferred to another devil, and the new devil enjoys all of the rights of the original contract.

Spell Level Value
1st 500 gp
2nd 2000 gp
3rd 6750 gp
4th 12000 gp
5th 25000 gp
6th 45000 gp
7th 73500 gp
8th 128000 gp
9th 243000 gp

Note to the DM: The costs here assume that players are getting near WBL at all levels. If the players are getting some percentage less than WBL, you should reduce these values by the same percentage. Unlike unusual treasure hoards, it is highly discouraged to mitigate all of this wealth to bring it back to WBL. This, unlike an extreme treasure hoard, is trading in permanent class features for an infusion of money or services. It is highly encouraged to play up the fact that the devil can regrant the spell slots temporarily.

New take on alignments: The basics

At one point, I was working on another take on alignments. It probably could use some work, but here was the start of the idea. The main thing to pull is the 1000 foot idea of each of the alignments.

Alignment has been the source of much griping and fighting in D&D (and not in-game either). A ton of groups don’t give a darn about most of the character’s alignments, only really having them apply for Clerics/Paladins. What if most mortals weren’t aligned, though. Sure, a mortal might be CE compared to other mortals, but it is rarely the sort of thing that even blips on the cosmic scale. Only characters that are gifted or punished by the forces of the alignments even appear on the cosmic scale. Mechanically, it means only creatures who have earned an aura of an alignment come up on a Detect Alignment spell. These creatures are the only ones not penalized by aligned weapons/items, and these are the only creatures affected by Smite Alignment or aligned Word.

Alignment in a few words:
Good: The best actions are the ones that make as many lives as good as you can while damaging as few lives as possible. Protecting the weakest of the world is the best way to mitigate problems.
Pragmatism: The world itself is what has to be protected. It’s not necessary to destroy everything in the world to save it from worse, but there are some creatures, strong or weak, that are doomed. Only by solving the right problem, and not being distracted by unnecessary power, nor by possible bloodshed can anyone protect the world.
Evil: Power is everything. Creatures that are weaker than you are you have full dominion over. Creatures that are stronger than you you respect until then can no longer ruin you. The best way way to solve the world’s problems is to throw incredible power at them, no matter the cost.

Chaos: The best way to “improve” the world is to take advantage of opportunities, no matter how far fetched. The best way to solve the world’s problems is to give each and every person the power and agency to solve individual problems.
Observant: The right answers are never easily found, always weaving itself into the strangest patterns. Creatures on their own will do as they need to survive, and disrupting that with either order or randomness risks destroying the answers we all need. Only by careful observation to these undisturbed answers will one also find the way to solve the world’s problems.
Law: Order and planning are the best way to improve the world. Only by having different talents work in lockstep can the world’s problems be truly solved.

I know having such a simplistic view on alignment is not enough to rewrite a whole system, and there are purposes that alignments serve that aren’t served by deciding most mortals aren’t aligned, but one problem at a time.

Variant: Regional Languages

Something that bothered me when I started making a half-orc character is the language list. Now, I know that some people think that having anything besides Bonus Languages: All is just a waste of time, I can understand how it’s interesting for flavor. However, a Half-orc growing up in Sigil and a Half-orc growing up in a desert orc tribe should not have the same languages to choose from. So, I want to move languages to something based on a region. This variant will unfortunately take more work from the DM, but I feel it should add to the world.

The basic idea is that every region has a set of primary languages, and a set of secondary languages. Primary languages are languages that someone in the region will hear all of the time, while secondary languages come up from more than the occasional traveler. When you choose a race, that race will then either restricted, fluent, or all languages. While all languages works as before, a race with restricted languages can only pick from their home region’s primary languages, while a race with fluent languages can pick from the secondary list, also. Races without “All” will often have 1-2 languages that they can just learn independent of the region. These are often languages that are similar to the races dialect or that a race often carries with them no matter their home.

The first step would be to give a few sample regions. In general, a region has 4 primary languages, and 3-5 secondary languages (regions should be noted to have common if it does exist, however, it does not count as one of the languages).
Sigil Primary: Common, Celestial, Infernal, Auran, Terran These languages form the trade languages between the planes, and are used to relatively equal presence within the city.
Secondary: Aquan, Ignan, Draconic, Protean While not trade languages, many creatures within Sigil use these languages to communicate with creatures that know none of the trade languages.

Standard Human Kingdom Primary: Common, Halfling, Draconic, Gnome, Elven Human kingdoms survive with the intermixing of races, especially ones that prefer to live in the wilds.
Secondary: Goblin, Giant, Gnoll, Undercommon, Orc The frontier guards often know bits and pieces of these languages to help them learn what is happening next with the more dangerous monstrous races.

Orc Warcamps Primary: Orc, Goblin, Draconic, Sylvan Common rarely spreads into these areas, instead borrowing the more practical languages of the warlike races.
Warcamps Secondary: Common, Halfling, Elven, Draconic Intercepting trade wagons mean that Orc camps have to occasionally deal with creatures that speak these languages.

Other regions that your players might come from get these sets too. This actually lets you add languages without having to evaluate every race and guess who might get these languages.

The second part of this change is the races themselves. Every race, as stated above, gets a language designation, and 1-2 languages they can always learn. This will often add 1 or 2 languages to the base race, depending on how the regions are written up.

Dwarf: Gnome + Fluent
Elf: Sylvan, Draconic + Fluent
Gnome: Restricted (note they get 3 automatic languages)
Half-elf: All
Halfling: Elven + Restricted
Half-orc: Goblin + Restricted
Human: All

Let me know if you’d like more region examples or to add races beyond the Core Rulebook races.