Refresh Spellcasting (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Eiji-kun (talk)
Date Created: 3-28-11
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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In an effort to think of a form of spellcasting which one could refresh in the middle of the day without needing to rest, and yet still retain some sort of balance, I developed refresh spellcasting. Related to how maneuvers are handled for initiator classes, the project partly succeeded. The system wasn't broken, and it was interesting, but is is ultimately still a power boost to casters who do not need it. It also does not help casters who already had at-will powers such as warlock, though I would recommend strengthening warlocks in the first place. Fortunately, the boost in strength to spellcasters from this variant rule should not too extreme and so this rule may be appropriate for high level games where a small shift in power means very little. Also recommended for spellcasters with poor or nerfed spell lists, and wishing to inject a new style of play into the game.

Refresh Spellcasting[edit]

When refresh spellcasters start out, there is very little difference between it and normal spellcasting. They are limited to spells per day, casting as normal. It is not until they gain levels do the changes become apparent. Spellcasters may attempt to refresh an expended spell one lower than the maximum level they can cast by experiencing 8 hours of non-stressful activity. The caster need not meditate during this time, but he cannot be involved in combat or other stressful situations. If he attempts to refresh in a stressful situation, he must meditate actively by spending the required time to do nothing but focus.

As their power grows, their strength does too. Casters may attempt to refresh a spell two levels lower than maximum in 4 hours. They may refresh a spell three levels lower than maximum in 1 hour. At four levels lower than maximum they may refresh in 30 minutes. Five levels, and it only takes 1 minute. Six levels, and it takes a full-round action. Seven levels lower and it takes a standard action. Eight levels lower and beyond, refreshing a spell is a swift action. By the time a caster obtains 9th level spells they cannot refresh 9th level spells, can refresh 8th level spells in 8 hours, 7th level spells in 4 hours, 6th level spells in 1 hour, 5th level spells in 30 minutes, 4th level spells in 1 minute, 3rd level spells in a full-round action, 2nd level spells as a standard action, and 1st level and 0th level spells as a swift action.

What this ultimately means is that high level casters have the ability to fire off 1st level spells rapidly in the midsts of battle without running out, and can refresh higher level spells in a pinch as well, but it becomes difficult to pull off in combat beyond 1 full-round action. Out of combat, it means they often have up to 5th level spells at their ready but without long periods of downtime spells above 5th level are not guaranteed to be refreshed in time before a new danger rears its head.

For casting classes which do not obtain 9th level spells, such as bard or paladin, you can still use refresh spellcasting. Treat them as a wizard of their caster level for determining the change in refresh rates in their spells. For example, a 17th level bard would be able to refresh 6th level spells in 1 hour, 5th level spells in 30 minutes, 4th level spells in 1 minute, 3rd level spells in a full-round action, 2nd level spells as a standard action, and 1st level and 0th level spells as a swift action.

Regardless of how many spells were expended, the typical 8 hours of sleep and 1 hour of preperation refreshes all spell slots as normal.

Refresh Rate
Spell Level Refresh Time
Max Level No Change
Level -1 8 Hours
Level -2 4 Hours
Level -3 1 Hour
Level -4 30 Minutes
Level -5 1 Minute
Level -6 Full-Round Action
Level -7 Standard Action
Level -8 or less Swift Action

Differences Between Prepared, Spontaneous, and Full-List Casters[edit]

There is only a minor change to how casters prepare and use their spells. For prepared casters like wizards and clerics, filling spell slots is much like preparing maneuvers. When used, the spell is expended and refreshing restores the spell as if it had not been cast. They enjoy a very large list of spells known, but can only "ready" certain spells at a time.

Spontaneous casters like the sorcerer or bard enjoy having all their spells "readied" all the time, and when they refresh a spell they add another use per day to the appropriate level, to be used on any spell which they can cast at that level. However their spells known is limited.

For full-list casters such as the beguiler or dread necromancer, they work much like spontaneous casters but simply obtain their entire spells known right away without being able to pick and choose what spells they know (barring class abilities and feats which add to them).

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewVariant Rules

Eiji-kun's Homebrew (4145 Articles)
AuthorEiji-kun +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
RatingUnrated +
SummaryA different spellcasting system where different spell levels recharge at different rates. It means at high levels, low level spells may be used at whim while higher level spells take a long time to refresh. +
TitleRefresh Spellcasting +