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Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Description: Player characters use hit points to cast spells, but should the same be true for monsters?

Discussion and Reviews of rules-lite tabeletop RPGs (games like Microlite20, The Black Hack, etc.)


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wsc981
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Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Post by wsc981 »

Players use hit points to cast spells, should the same be true for monsters or would that make encounters perhaps too easy? What is balance-wise the best approach?

Let's say if we look at a DnD Skeletal Mage keeping in mind the Microlite20 Purest Essence guide, it might look something as such:

HD: 1d8+3 (7hp)
AC: 12
Weapon: Crooked Staff +2 (1d8)

Perhaps this character might be able to cast the following spells:

  • Detect Magic (level 0 - signature - cost 2 hp)
  • Magic Missile (level 1 - signature - cost: 2 hp)
  • Mage Armor (level 1 - cost: 3 hp)
  • Shocking Grasp (level 1 - cost: 3 hp)

Just casting 2 spells from the list would likely draw half the life of the Skeletal Mage.

In case it's better to not drain hit points for enemy monsters, should we instead:

  • Add a prepared spell list
  • Allow an amount of casts per day (I feel this would be a good fit for Microlite20, in case we don't drain hp)
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quaffeine
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Re: Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Post by quaffeine »

I think part of the way m20 Purest Essence offsets this for PCs is by starting them with STR plus 1d6 HP (if memory serves), providing more fuel for casting even from 1st level. So one option is to do the same for NPCs.

Both of your suggestions also seem sound, as does perhaps Mana Points or something similar. But overall I agree with your assessment: something should be done to even out the cost of spellcasting for NPCs (particularly enemies).

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wsc981
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Re: Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Post by wsc981 »

I think I'm going with spells per day then. Indeed, players get higher STR to help with mana cost for spells.

One way to deal with this is to give monsters a hidden mana pool equal to their health pool. And when a monster casts a spell, the hit point cost is drained from their hidden mana pool until empty. This way, monsters can still try to cast the best spell for a given situation as human players can do, which would not be possible with a prepared spell list.

When players rest, monsters could recharge their mana pools as well, in order to keep encounters challenging.

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randalls
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Re: Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Post by randalls »

wsc981 wrote:
Mon Sep 26, 2022 11:42 pm

Players use hit points to cast spells, should the same be true for monsters or would that make encounters perhaps too easy? What is balance-wise the best approach?

In all the years Microlite20 (and variants) have been around, I don't believe I've seen this question asked. :shock:

As I'm an old school gamer's I've never thought PC and monsters had to work the same way, so with one exception, I've never had spell-using monsters use hit points for their spells/spell-like abilities. The exception being "monsters" who are actually opposing NPCs with character classes, those I treat just like PCs.

However, if you are used to 3.x games where every being is treated just like a PC, charging them hit points for their spells is probably closer to 3.x expectations. Note that doing so will make things harder for the GM as it is just one more thing the GM would need to track in combat. Personally, I don't think the trade-off would be really worth it. Others who don't mind the extra time/effort in takes might feel otherwise.

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RandallS
Playing and Gamemastering Tabletop RPGs Since 1975
Designer: Microlite74, Microlite75, Microlite78, Microlite81, Microlite20 OSS, and others
Compiler: The Microlite20 RPG Collection
Administrator: Rules Light RPGs

wsc981
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Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2022 12:12 pm
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Re: Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?

Post by wsc981 »

In all the years Microlite20 (and variants) have been around, I don't believe I've seen this question asked. :shock:

I should note I am trying to create a CRPG - a single-player turn-based rogue-like based on Microlite20 rules, hence for my implementation these questions do pop up.

It's now my 3rd or 4th attempt at a CRPG based on Microlite20, so hopefully I manage to get something finished this time.

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