Mana Burn: Alternate Spell System

The following system is no longer in effect

Mana Burn System


As a balance measure, spellcasters are given limited spells in the form of "Spells Per Day". However, this can lead the characters playing casters to feel restricted. This also leads to parties revolving around these restrictions, such as stopping to rest when casters are out of spells as a countermeasure. This can interrupt the game pace, which may be good or bad depending on the themes of the campaign.  

With the Mana Burn system, there is technically no limit on how many spells a caster may cast, though there are consequences to using spells after exceeding the Spells per Day. Spells per Day no longer limits the number of spells that can be used in a day. Rather, it is the number of spells that can be cast safely in a day with no negative effects. 

Essentially, the Arcane Caster is tapping into the raw arcane energy that permeates the world. Arcane magic is a force, like magnetism or gravity, that can be found everywhere, and all Arcane Casters draw their power from this source. However, exposing yourself to too much Arcane energy can be taxing on the body, as well as any nearby magically attuned items. The effects of Mana Burning come in two parts, the Mana Burn damage itself, and the spell failure chance, which are described further below. 

Mana Burn

Every caster has Spells Per Day for every level of spell available to them. This number is what a caster can cast safely in a day. Regardless of failure, casting a spell with a spell level that exceeds your Spells Per Day limit for that level will deal 1d6 per Spell Level of nonlethal damage to the caster. This nonlethal damage can be healed magically, and regardless of how much Mana Burn damage is taken, it is completely healed with 8 hours of rest. Only Arcane spellcasters are capable of Mana Burning.

Mana Burning also has a few special interactions:

  • While Mana Burning, your spells can be treated as if at +1 caster level
  • While Mana Burning, there is a chance of the spell failing, see the section below
  • Because of their innate magical affinity, Spontaneous Casters are less likely to fail while Mana Burning, and subtract (their Caster Level x 2)% from their failure chance while Mana Burning
  • For prepared spell casters, Spells Per Day also determines how many spells are in your pool for the day. This "pool" is similar to how a spontaneous caster has a list of spells known. Preparing a spell more than once decreases your chance to fail when Mana Burning to cast a spell by (number of times the spell is prepared x 2)%
    • For example, a 1st level spell prepared 4 times would have a failure chance of 3% (11% - 8%) while Mana Burning
    • This allows you to choose between being safer by having fewer spells available but being less likely to fail while Mana Burning to cast them, or having a wider pool of spells available but it being more risky to Mana Burn for them.

Failure While Mana Burning

There is a chance of failure with every Mana Burned casting. This is similar in concept to Arcane Spell Failure, but it is not the same as Arcane Spell Failure chance. When Mana Burning there is an (11% x Spell Level) chance to fail while casting. If the casting fails, roll 1d8 and consult the chart below to determine the outcome.

  1. Greater Magical Disjunction: All creatures in a (5ft per spell level) radius of the caster are subjected to Magical Disjunction (see #3), and as such cannot cast spells, use spell like abilities, or magic items. Additionally, any spells currently in effect by users afflicted with this Magical Disjunction are dispelled. This includes single use magic items, which consumes their use at no benefit. Items with charges are drained 1 charge per spell level of the failed spell.
  2. Nothing Happens: Spell fails to cast, but otherwise nothing happens, neither good nor bad.
  3. Magical Disjunction: Unable to cast spells or use spell like abilities unless Break Enchantment is cast on the caster by a 10th level caster or higher. Any spells currently in effect are not dispelled, unless they require concentration or other forms of control by the caster. Furthermore, summons are dismissed.
  4. Nothing Happens: Spell fails to cast, but otherwise nothing happens, neither good nor bad.
  5. Polarity Swap: The spell is cast, but the intended effect is reversed. Cure spells become Inflict spells, buffs become debuffs, etc. Use DM's discretion, if no obvious reverse is applicable, spell fails as if nothing happened.
  6. Nothing Happens: Spell fails to cast, but otherwise nothing happens, neither good nor bad.
  7. Ouch: Caster takes double Mana Burn damage.
  8. Nothing Happens: Spell fails to cast, but otherwise nothing happens, neither good nor bad.

These homebrew feats pertain to Mana Burning. More details can be found by following the links.

Mana Burn System
Mana Burn System - Manaburn Feats
Mana Burn - Divine Overchannel - Psionic Deluge - Feats - Character Flaws - Skills
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.