Ultimate Preserver tactic? Self defiling

I have been on some good pain pills lately and they seem to be opening my mind to other ideas for mechanics.

I had an idea for preserver that only relies on tapping into your own lifeforce to power spells. I’m sure it has been done before somewhere, but I haven’t seen one solely devoted to self defling.

My idea is this, the cost in hit points to cast the spell doubles each spell level. The damage being necrotic, or whatever the equivalent is in your version of the game. So the cost would look like this…

1st level spell: 1 hp
2nd level spell: 2 hp
3rd level spell: 4 hp
4th level spell: 8 hp
5th level spell: 16 hp
6th level spell: 32 hp
7th level spell: 64 hp
8th level spell: 128 hp
9th level spell: 256 hp
10th level spell: 512 hp.

Of course the higher level spells would kill the caster outright unless that caster had resistance to the magic type, but I have the idea that the caster could split the damage done to self between the environment and their self. Of course if the caster could use hostiles HP to power the spell, they could be insta kills at high level, but spread across many enemies it might not be that powerful.

I’d have to figure out how all that worked, but thought I’d run it by you folks for suggestions to make it balanced.

Another idea at higher level is Grey casting, using the life forces in the Grey to power half the spell, so then the caster only takes half damage.

Gosh, that table shoots up HARD.

Fun idea though.

Maybe use a gentler progression? PSP cost, 3.5e This is the PSP cost for psionic powers in 3.5e, its not awful. 1->17, 1st ->9th.

Depending on edition, a lvl 20 caster is still only going to be able to do 3-4 spells before really being in trouble…

Well 10th level spells are meant to be cast with many casters, called a Mythic in previous additions, so you could technically spread the damage… but yea it might be too much at higher levels without some sort of life giving force coming back at you, perhaps a tree of life or tree of death…

Or possibly lichdom using 1/4 life force, 3/4 Grey casting would negate some of the damage, I don’t know, I just thought it was a neat idea and needs better balancing.

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That looks like a good chart but a bit too forgiving. Maybe double those numbers and it might be balanced?

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Yup, 100% agree; Fun idea, proably needs balancing.

Yeah, maybe. It’d take some playtesting. To be fair though, those hp will also be going away from attacks. It’s a bit like the old (d20?) Star Wars Vitality Points for Force Users. Hit points & spell points rolled into one number.

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You could always take a page from the SKs and make it work similarly to Dragon Magic, only you have to be a high level Preserver/Psion to manage it. This also leaves a bit more room for it to be more powerful as well as some possible spins on it, such as it draining both power points AND hp. Heck you could base an epic prestige class off the concept.


oh thats a good idea, you use psps to supplement the hp loss. I’ll have to think about that.

I read up on 10th level spell casting in Dark Sun, apparently in Dragon Kings it gives a flat 1d6 per spell level in damage to other people in the area when defiling. So that seems feasible for a self defiler, especially if you can supplement some of the damage with PSPs. Max damage at lvl 10 would be 60 damage if you rolled all 6s…

So I think the class would look something like this…

1d6 damage per spell level, up to half the damage can be mitigated by spending equal amount of PSPs.
You may make a Prime Mental Ability save to take only half damage, if you want. The Prime stat being the highest mental stat that your character has from Wisdom, Intelligence, or Wisdom. Perhaps madness could be involved somehow if you fail a save, to give the class a bit more of the crazy ass caster vibe…

As far as class features, I hadn’t though about it much. Perhaps it is a half caster that has psionic powers, similar to how the 1/4 casters Eldritch Knight or the Arcane Trickster work, they could get some Psionic powers, but their spell casting ability is halved.

Perhaps you could expend PSPs to expand your mind and give yourself an extra spell slot.

That seems like a cool concept, that way you wont have to mutliclass, it would be a sub class all by itself. I’m of course talking in 5e terms you guys are free to do with it what you will in earlier editions, Prestige class or whatever…

I’ll keep hashing it out in my mind and try to get a prototype document for 5e made soon…

Nice ideas Jason, certainly worth exploring further.

To be honest the only thing where I thought it was awkward, rules wise, is where you said “Of course the higher level spells would kill the caster outright unless that caster had resistance to the magic type”.
For me, such self defiling, and the hp loss, would take place in powering the spellcasting mere moments (but still before) the magic effects manifesting. Hence, there is no resistance to be had to a magic type. It’s cannibalising on yourself as a power source.

Unless I’m reading / understanding it wrong. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Yes that was a problem. But i think this new iteration of it being not inherently deadly from the start helps, and making a save against it willingly at the risk of madness if you fail adds another cool dynamic, I am starting to think that it is a sort of Wild Mage preserver, but dont have all the details worked out. Hopefully while im on the chemo pump for the next few days I will have the time to work most of it out.

A made save could reflect that you are drawing half of the energy from another accessible plane, Elemental, Grey, Cosmos, etc. instead of your own body for that one spell.

Ok I have the first part of the job done. I made a feat that would allow any caster that can defile to choose it.

Self-cannibalism Preserver Feat

The next thing to do is make the actual class or subclass I am thinking of making it a subclass, that would be accessible to any class that can defile. That would give more options to use it.

Hey Jason, that Gdrive link is not set to sharing I think?
It says I need to ask permission.

Also: N/m, I need to read better: you mention 5E a few posts above.

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Ok sorry I think I fixed it, if not I can link from the DS forum on FB.

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It works now: I can read the document.

If I could make suggestions then I’d tie the madness only to attempted saves being done from INT / WIS / CHA that fail. I would give the caster two saves actually.

First, a CON save. If made, they can cannibalise their PSP reservoir to actually attempt to soak up some damage.
Second, the caster can attempt a INT/WIS/CHA save to attempt to only take half damage.

This way they are separate saves doing different mechanical things.
A caster can then always decide which, if any, of the saves to attempt.

Were I such a caster then I might just offset with PSPs only when I have more to spare. Or if I were in dire straits I’d use both PSPs and run the risk of some madness due to the taxing of my own body by defilement magic that I psionically try to contain. Those are some big risks if you ask me for any caster.

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So you want to make the saves opposite of what they should be? I don’t get it. Constitution deals with the physical body, so if you saved with that you should be able to half the damage to yourself.

Choosing which mind stat you want to use is basically a way of allowing it to be used with all classes, a sorcerer uses Char, a Wizard uses Int, Evil clerics and Druids would use Wis. but defiling your own mind should have some consequences if you fail, so that is why I added madness to it.

So in effect with my system you can choose 1 way to mitigate the damage, and you must commit to it, which something you would need to do if you were going to go all out and defile yourself over defiling the world around you… it’s a bit like that scene in Lawrence of Arabia, when he lights the match and then allows it to burn his fingers… it’s mind over body, or body over mind… whichever.

My big thought on this is Pathfinder does a prestige class from a book called City of Strangers. You use your own blood to power your spells. Unbalancing your humors using that technique can have dire consequences.

It also does feel similar to me to psions and the like taking Burn to power abilities.

Having said that, I’d never want to Burn Intelligence. Not much point if you are so stupid after casting the spell you fail anyway.

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No burn, just madness. Although that could lead to some deeply disturbing things if it gets out of hand.

I think I finished my self defiler 5e class. It does not currently have any subclasses. I don’t plan on adding any, but your guys are free to subclass it as you like. give me some feedback on what you think of it? It is basically a mashup of Sorcerer, a tiny bit of warlock, and a half Psion, with lots of PSPs, but not many abilities. I think it is pretty balanced. lots of power at the cost of life or mind.

Maybe I need to add more madness to it, I’m not sure.

[Autosarcophagy Mentalist] (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yFnvxdhTcPUhzWzkRLDMBoSAlklH71Fa/view?usp=sharing)https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yFnvxdhTcPUhzWzkRLDMBoSAlklH71Fa/view?usp=sharing

I think the spell slot level got messed up somehow, the spell slot level was supposes to go to 9th… I might need to edit it.