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Spellcasters as gods. Lower magic, grim Hellfrost?

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    TAG Wiggy

    I have another one I have seen suggested and have thought about. Instead of an unmodified one being required for a siphoning it could be that any one causes it. So if a caster is maintaining two other spells (so casting at a -2) even a three will result in a siphon. You could make this even more concerning if you want to include that a result of one on the wild die can cause a siphon as well.

    I’ve been mulling the “modified 1 or less = Siphoning” as well. 🙂

    Triple Ace Games Creative Director


    If you’re going to use the “modified 1 or less = Siphoning” I would suggest making it natural 1s cause siphoning and if a penalty puts you at 0 or lower that also causes siphoning. I’ve seen that elsewhere and it seems to work.

    Also if you really want to go more “Song of Ice and Fire” you could always say no arcane backgrounds but I’m not sure how happy players would be about that.

    Champion of Chronos


    There are also extra rules for magic that you might want to check out

    Champion of Chronos


    I would not recommend increasing the power of the Siphoning. My game is seeing many of the same problems that yours saw. The spellcasters are completely dominant. I have had a few characters who have toyed with arcane casters, but all of them died. The party is now made up of 5 priests / paladins (Nauthiz, the Norns, Scaetha, Ullr, and the Unknowable One.) No one will play an arcane caster anymore due to fear of the Siphoning, and no one is playing a mundane character because the priests/paladins are tremendously overpowered compared to the mundanes that have been played.

    I have honestly been considering and discussing with my party the idea of scrapping the campaign because it seems so unbalanced and overpowered. I have wondered about using the Hellfrost setting but using the rules in the SWD including the option for no power points. If so, I might drop the siphoning rule and just say that in the past arcane casters, like miracle users in the SWD, used to get their arcane skill as a protection against backlash, but now they do not. It looks like the SWD rules for spell casting in general, and no power points specifically will likely lead to a greater balance.


    Interesting. Our mage seems to be the most powerful member of the group and rarely syphons. Bennies typically allow him to avoid. I could definitely see making the syphoning more likely to help curb the amount of magic thrown around. Good point though that it would make the faith based casters more powerful since they would not be impacted.


    I am curious to know more on the spellcaster balance as I want to make Hellfrost my main fantasy campaign (after my players save the world in 50 Fathoms). I would prefer to run it “out of the box” and not have to tinker with the rules.

    So the constraints as I see them are:

    1. Immediate -1 per spell maintained (in Core the PPs purchase you 3 free rounds for most spells before the penalty hits)

    2. Enforce that if the caster becomes Shaken or Wounded (probably add in level of Fatigue like under the No PPs option in SWD) they must make an immediate Smarts check/Arcane Check vs. Damage (with new Wound/Fatigue penalties applicable) or drop the spells *

    * I’ll admit in our last fantasy campaign using PPs we did not enforce this

    3. Enforce the Sins strictly

    4. Since just a Shaken can force the Smarts roll, Test of Wills, Tricks, and just anyone targeting the caster can burn them through their Bennies. Especially problematic for Mages when there is no Bennie to ward off the Siphoning.

    So given the above, where does the issue arise? Is it when there are more investigative type games (if the PC is never hit or under pressure by adversaries, then bennies are available to avoid the worst effects)? Single monsters vs. mobs (the monster is too busy pounding the warriors and not getting to the mages)?

    Left is Death!


    Usually there is no real issue, unless you might have a group consisting of 2/3 magicians/clerics … and those players find ingeneous way to use their magic – like cross-casting (where the importants buff/defensive spells are always cast by another magician who stays in the back).

    Regardless if you take a mob or a single BBEM your players have more bennies to their disposal, especially with larger groups.

    One thing i learned is, that i have to be a strict GM with spellcasters. I have to enforce possible sins, shaken situations, and the tests of wills/tricks. Then i look for the “cultural” component, where spellcasting isn’t always accepted, even up to spell permits in certain settlements and areas.

    So to reduce this burden only allow one or two spellcasters per group, that holds the power on an acceptable level.

    High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of Qedeshet

Viewing 7 posts - 11 through 17 (of 17 total)
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