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D&D 5E – Mana-Based Spellcasting (Variant Rule)
April 13, 2017Posted by on
There has always been a lot of discussion regarding the magic system used in Dungeons and Dragons. It doesn’t seem to be very “logical” and there are other systems that might be better. This is my attempt to address this with an alternative to the “spell slots” system that fifth edition uses. This uses the same spells and everything else as presented in the Players Handbook (PHB) except for replacing its “spell slot” system with a “mana” system. There are several systems out there that use Mana or Spell Points for magic. Let me know what you think of mine.
Magic Points – Mana
Each day a spell casting character has a magic threshold. We’ll call these mana points.
The mana cost of a spell is equal to the spell’s level. So to cast a 2nd level spell would require deducting 2 mana from a character’s mana points. Casting the spell does not remove the spell from the spell casters memory, and the same spell can be used over and over as long as there are mana points in the character’s mana pool. Spells that can be cast at higher levels require one additional mana point for each additional level.
Cantrips use a negligible amount of mana and do not deduct from a character’s mana points. Refer to the tables in the PHB for the number of cantrips each class receives based on their level.
To recover mana a character must rest. All spell casters except for Warlocks recover 100% of their mana after a long rest. Warlocks recover 100% of their mana after a short or long rest.
You cannot cast a spell that you have not memorized. To memorize a spell it must be in your spellbook. You prepare the list of wizard spells that are available for you to cast. To do so, choose a number of wizard spells from your spellbook equal to your Intelligence modifier + your wizard level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level that you can cast.
Bards, Clerics, Druids, Rangers, Sorcerers, and Warlocks
You prepare the list of spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the spell list for your class. When you do so, choose a number of spells equal to your primary ability modifier + your spell caster level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level you can cast. The primary ability for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks is Charisma. The primary ability for Clerics, Druids and Rangers is Wisdom.
You prepare the list of spells that are available for you to cast, choosing from the Paladin spell list. When you do so, choose a number of spells equal to your primary ability modifier + half your Paladin level (minimum of one spell). The spells must be of a level you can cast.
All Spell Casters
You can change your list of prepared spells when you finish a long rest. Preparing a new list of spells requires at least 1 minute per spell level for each spell on your list.
When you gain another level in your current spell casting class, you can replace one spell that you know with another that is on your list and that is of a level you can cast.
Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. You can only cast two spells each of levels 6th and 7th, and one spell each of levels 8th and 9th. You can’t cast another spell of the same level until you finish a long rest.
Multi Class Spell Casters
You add your total mana points from all your classes. Multi class Warlocks only recover mana points equal to their mana points as a Warlock during short rests.
Mana Points Table
The maximum number of mana points a spell caster can have and the maximum level any spell can be is listed on the following table:
|Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard||Paladin, Ranger||Warlock|
|LVL||Max. spell level||Mana||LVL||Max. spell level||Mana||LVL||Max. spell level||Mana|