One popular alternative in videogames is magic points (MP), spell points, mana points, etc.. This is not so common in fiction, for a number of reasons*. One reasons is that this method seems to logical, too "quantifiable", too... videogamey, I guess.
I once thought MP to be too "rational", too... However, I've come to realize there are also many benefits to this approach.
Let us mention a few. You COULD use some of this with spell slots or random casting, but MP just makes it a lot easier easier.
2. Better than HP. You could always use hit points (HP) instead of MP, but that brings other issues. First, if you can heal HP using magic, this could bring you infinite HP. In addition, all wizard would require lots of HP to function... which goes against the archetype.
3. Divisibility and party composition. If a fighter recovers half HP overnight, or 10% of HP in an hour, etc., how many spell slots does a wizard recover? Unless the answer is "all", it becomes complicated. MP could recover at the same rate as HP, making all members in te party recover their resources at the same time.
4. Short rest/long rest. Even if you want to keep a distinction between these two, MP makes things easier. Maybe wizards recover more MP overnight, but sorcerers recover more MP during a short rest.
5. Fueling MP. You can fuel your MP through various means - provided your know the rituals. Prayer, meditation, trance, study, ritual sacrifice... the possibilities are endless, and a great way of distinguishing spellcasting classes WITHOUT needing a different system for each.
6. Sacrificing MP. Sacrificing your MP FOREVER is a great way to cause permanent effects upon the world. Maybe it is even the only way of creating magic items, etc.
7. Temporary MP. On the other hand, being in the right place or time (the stars are right!) might give you temporary MP. Failing to use MP will bring your MP level slowly back to its usual rate.
8. Meta-magic. MP is great for meta-magic. For example, spend 2 additional MP and double the distance of the spell. Spend 10 additional MP and multiply the duration for 10 (or 1000, depending on your system, etc.)
9. Combining with other systems. You can always combine MP with other systems - maybe you must sacrifice some HP permanently to get MP, for example, or make a roll to see if your spell causes unintended side-effects or, if your roll is good enough, costs you no MP at all.
[EDIT]. 10. Mana potions! Potions, stones, ley lines... several items that could give you extra MP in an easier way than spell slots. Additionally, magic items can store MP for their own spells. It is only appropriate to include this, since this month's topic in the RPG blog carnival is alchemy!
Since I often play D&D-like games, if I were to use such a system, I would like to make it compatible to existing spells. 5e already has rules for this, but I'd try something even simpler... Maybe something like that:
- You get your Intelligence modifier + level in MP.
- A 3rd-level spell requires 3 MP, etc.
- You cannot use more than half your MP at once, or you risk catastrophe.
The exact amount of MP may vary... Probably add a few MP when you reach levels 5, 11 and 17, etc.
* Well, the most common explanation in fiction might be "it is magic, we don't have to explain it". Sometimes this is due to bad writing, but sometimes the authors just want to make magic mysterious.
While we are on the subject, I have a book called Dark Fantasy Magic. It contains shorts essays and many tables that deal with magic, wizards, spells, etc. You can find it by clicking on the link above.
If you like this, you'll find more stuff like this on my Dark Fantasy line.
It is also a great way to support this blog!
Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!
Hope you enjoy it! Thanks!