Material Components

Reply to a post on Grognardia, about material components for spells. His blog for some reason allows replies only from Google accounts. I’ve noticed this with a few Blogger blogs, and I wonder about it. Has Google given up on “don’t be evil”? It would be like if you could call only AT&T phones from your AT&T phone.

Anyway.

I like the idea of material components more than actually using them in a game. There are a lot of things I would love to include in a magic system that would bog the game down way too much. I think spell components, like Encumbrance, were one of those commonly-houseruled into nonexistence. For example, I’ve heard of DMs who said:

Write down on your sheet how many components of each spell level you have. You need to spend 1 CP for 1st or 2nd, 1 SP for 3-4, 1 GP for 5-6, 10 GP for 7-8, 100 GP for 9th. Ignore the costs of specific spells’ components because that’s averaged out in your other spells. All spells use material components.

That ignores the problem that some spells with material components should be really expensive to cast (Identify, Wall of Force, Simulacrum). Then again some interesting spells that have expensive material components are just regularly powerful, and nobody ever uses them because of the extravagant cost.

Another option is to say that you must spend money on components for spells that list a cost, but anything without a cost we assume you pick up along the way and don’t bother recording it. If you get captured they take away your spell components though, so you can’t cast any that have an M until you get more.

Another way to deal with it is just to ignore material components. That’s what most players want to do, at least, and a lot of DMs don’t care to bother with the details.

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