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    How do you handle spell components if you're not OCD?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 25, 2012
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    From: Virginia

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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:55 pm  
    How do you handle spell components if you're not OCD?

    So, I've let my mage know that I'll be holding him to using spell components, so now I need to enforce it (whoops - should have thought that out first).

    Part of my thinking was to say all low level components, from 1-4 for example, are readily available at most trading posts. The only real challenge then would come if the mage was broke, captured or somehow missing his supplies (fire burned them up, mugged, hasty escape...).

    However - this is just a rough sketch - I don't really know how I'd handle it when the rubber meets the road - or how much these items should cost.

    Aside from items with specific pricetags (1000gp diamond) - is there any documents that lay out the costs and management of spell components in the world for DMs? Preferable something easy Happy
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    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:18 pm  

    I can't help you with an official product with such information, but I will tell you that you have potentially created much more work for yourself. You can mitigate it somewhat, however.

    First, if you're requiring your spellcasting PCs to actually keep track of pricey spell components, you'll have to provide them to those PCs during the course of the adventures they have, whether that be as parts of treasure hords or available for purchase. You'll need to read up on the components of each of the spells that your PCs knows and might discover during the course of an adventure. I suggest you have the player(s) keep track of them like they would scrolls or potions carried by their PC. It shouldn't be too difficult to assume that they have myriad belt pouches or pockets in their robes into which they have placed said components within easy reach, so making it an issue in battle shouldn't be cause for concern. Well, until they are tied up, grappled, etc.

    As the PCs rise in level, they'll be casting some spells with very costly components. You may need to increase the amount of treasure you make available unless you specifically want to restrict the amount of times your PCs can make use of certain spells. Stoneskin, for example, requires diamond dust each time it is cast. This may also cause friction within the party as spellcasting players expect spell components to be removed from party treasure before it is divied up, but non-spellcasters expect such components to be counted as part of the spellcasters' share.

    SirXaris
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 10, 2003
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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:36 pm  

    Nerdcav,

    I always played it as simple items like candles and bags no need to track. However more obscure items would require the mage to actively purchase such things out right. If they did not mention diamonds or statue of cylindrical items being purchased then they could not cast a spell.

    You can also assign a cost per month or week on the wizard character based on the total average component value of the spells the pc knows. Example: The pc knows ten spells the average cost is 20 gp value a day based on a 5 spells casting a day. The character pays 100 gp for a week and 400 gp for the month. any item value at 20 gp or less is never questioned. Any items over 20 gp value can be used based on the value minus 100 gp so if a spell has a 50 gp value component limit its use to twice a week or 8 times a month. Base its usage off the value paid for the month so each use is 50 gp value once they hit 400 gp value for that month then they have exhausted the component and need to replenish it.

    This is a suggestion as to not bog down the game and still place a constraint easy enough to track for you.

    I hope this helps.

    Argon
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:49 pm  

    We only keep track of spell components with a value of around 10 gp or greater. For others, I think we assumed that a Mage had enough components in a spell component "kit" for 20 castings of each spell. Also, any place that could supply spell components (a guild, herbalist, etc.) could supply a "kit" for 10g.p. per level of the Mage, so a 10th level Mage could restock all basic spell components, for all of their spells, for 100 g.p. That wouldn't include anything more expensive like diamond dust, or more specialized/cheap things that are unique, such as a small clay statue depicting the Mage. "Why yes! We have a whole bin full of clay statuettes of you right over there! Help yourself!" Yeah, that's not ever going to happen. Laughing

    I think we said that a spell component "kit" weighs about 1/2 lb. per level of the Mage, with any heavier objects being tracked individually.
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 01, 2007
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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:54 pm  

    Nerdcav ...
    In 3rd Edition and Pathfinder, the PHB lists a "Spell Component Pouch" (2lb, 5gp). I generally make my players simply refresh this item periodically, and I thus don't have to worry about particular components. I generally say that in any particular session where they did spellcasting, I charge them 1d4+1 gp as how much they have to replenish in their pouch(es). Basically, if they had combat or average amount of casting I charge them 2 to 5gp to replace components.
    3rd Edition Player's Handbook wrote:
    Spell Component Pouch: This small, watertight leather belt pouch has many compartments. A spellcaster with a spell component pouch is assumed to have all the material components and focuses needed for spellcasting, except for those components that have a specific cost, divine focuses, and focuses that wouldn’t fit in a pouch (such as the natural pool that a druid needs to look into to cast scrying).

    Hope that helps!
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:54 pm  

    Nerdcav, as an ardent supporter of using spell components (and 2nd edition products), get your paws on a copy of Player's Options: Spells and Magic. It is the BEST reference guide I know of, with a near-complete listing of all sorts of material components for clerics and mages in nicely constructed tables/charts, with prices, and relative accessibility tables, too! Happy I make extensive use of this book. It is, quite frankly, a Godsend.

    I have my player keep track of ALL components, no matter how trivial (I guess I am a 'digital' player on this score), and ask him how they are allocated. He marks them off after each use. If he fails a saving throw, most likely he has lost any/all components he has on his character, depending on what the item is, and what he is saving against (I refer to the DMG chart on item saving throws for this).

    Granted, you may not want to be as 'OCD' on this issue as I am, but I find that it keeps his mage 'honest' and cognizant of his monies, the amounts of certain components at his disposal, and adds a nice balance against a mage's growing power (the same holds true for priests). By now, I have it down to a fine science, and it also adds a nice dimension to the game.

    -Lanthorn
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Aspedri

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:39 am  

    Aurora's Whole Realms Guide was a 2E Forgotten Realms product written like a turn of the century Montgomery Ward Catalogue. I did not like the concept behind it (trivializing magic) but it had a great section on spell components and their costs.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:32 am  

    Dragon #81 had a great article about shopping for components that categorized them by rarity (was reprinted in the Best of Dragon Anthology Volume 4). It also included a comprehensive list of every material component at the time.
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:25 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Nerdcav, as an ardent supporter of using spell components (and 2nd edition products), get your paws on a copy of Player's Options: Spells and Magic. It is the BEST reference guide I know of, with a near-complete listing of all sorts of material components for clerics and mages in nicely constructed tables/charts, with prices, and relative accessibility tables, too! Happy I make extensive use of this book. It is, quite frankly, a Godsend.

    Second this! though not a proponent of some of the "options" tables the spell components is a good one source.
    Lanthorn wrote:

    Granted, you may not want to be as 'OCD' on this issue as I am, but I find that it keeps his mage 'honest' and cognizant of his monies, the amounts of certain components at his disposal, and adds a nice balance against a mage's growing power (the same holds true for priests). By now, I have it down to a fine science, and it also adds a nice dimension to the game.

    Your not the only one afflicted with "OCD" hehe I to do the same thing, and for another reason. Even in a dungeon crawl, the Fighter seeks out the weapons and armor, the rogue things small but valuable and pawn-able, the priest and wizard should naturally seek out the tombs, scrolls, and reagents of their crafts. One mans junk is another's treasure, and that creates a larger set of treasure choices for the DM...
    Glow worms, glass beads, bones, and the taxidermy of animals becomes a treasure hoard! (ie feathers, hairs, etc)
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 25, 2012
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    From: Virginia

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:26 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    get your paws on a copy of Player's Options: Spells and Magic. It is the BEST reference guide I know of, with a near-complete listing of all sorts of material components for clerics and mages in nicely constructed tables/charts, with prices, and relative accessibility tables, too! Happy I make extensive use of this book. It is, quite frankly, a Godsend.


    Wow Lanthorn - this is great! I think this guide, combined with some time saving tips such as the spell component kit or pouch also mentioned will help tons. I'm giving my mage a bit more power to start, so I really wanted something to balance it out - and components seemed a good equalizer. Thanks all!
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    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:27 am  

    Mempter wrote:
    Dragon #81 had a great article about shopping for components that categorized them by rarity (was reprinted in the Best of Dragon Anthology Volume 4). It also included a comprehensive list of every material component at the time.

    TRUE! thanks for chiming in Mempter! forgot about that source.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 03, 2011
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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:05 pm  

    I'll have to echo a few options here.

    I recommend (as Lanthorn does) Player's Options: Spells and Magic, it's really good. Or you can go with Dragon #81. Either of those will serve you well.

    With those as reference, the easiest is to have a monthly expense account that the magic-user pays. This then assumes he/she has all of the necessary common components. However, if they're going to be casting spells with expensive or rare components. They better tell you ahead of time. It's not like they can just wander into a local market and get a dozen beholder eyestalks for a few hundred gold.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 14, 2009
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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:43 pm  

    Just remember, every mage that they fight will have item's on them as well. Happy
    Paladin

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:56 pm  

    baronzemo wrote:
    Just remember, every mage that they fight will have item's on them as well. Happy

    Baronzemo,
    Tables a good point. The opponent wizards and priests would certainly have "those treasures" and a list is fairly easy to generate via the spell lists most mods have in place. Take those spell lists x 2or3 for casting encounters or 10 if lair encounter to generate items list.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:23 pm  

    Icarus wrote:
    Nerdcav ...
    In 3rd Edition and Pathfinder, the PHB lists a "Spell Component Pouch" (2lb, 5gp).


    Given that the Healer's Kit specifically says how many times it can be used before it needs to be replaced, I'm surprised that they didn't incorporate a similar rule for the Spell Component Pouch.

    5 gp provides components for a certain number of spells and then it has to be replenished. It would allow the need for components to be a genuine limitation without requiring you to track every rose petal, live spider, and guano ball.
    A wizard planning a long wilderness or underground expedition would load up with ten or twelve pouches, like carrying rations. If they ran out, then he would be limited to what he could scavenge from the environment.

    It would probably be limited to components that cost 1 gp or less, like the Eschew Materials feat.
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:25 am  

    One PC concept my player came up with was a 'component hunter' mage who is a freelance agent for the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk City. It gives me a great deal of latitude for adventure hooks.

    Right now this character is helping a party to find trolls for their hearts to make Potions of Vitality...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:11 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    One PC concept my player came up with was a 'component hunter' mage who is a freelance agent for the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk City. It gives me a great deal of latitude for adventure hooks.

    Right now this character is helping a party to find trolls for their hearts to make Potions of Vitality...

    -Lanthorn


    I like that idea, Lanthorn. A part-time job for any adventurer. Smile

    SirXaris
    Paladin

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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:43 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:
    One PC concept my player came up with was a 'component hunter' mage who is a freelance agent for the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk City. It gives me a great deal of latitude for adventure hooks.

    Right now this character is helping a party to find trolls for their hearts to make Potions of Vitality...

    -Lanthorn

    I like that idea, Lanthorn. A part-time job for any adventurer. Smile

    I like it!! though with my twisted dark mind I see a PC advisary come to life....
    Paladins a treasure trove on two legs hehehe
    heart> Courage
    Blood> immunity to disease
    Elves immunity to sleep and charm
    etc.
    Mawwahaaaaaa Evil Grin
    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:50 pm  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    Lanthorn wrote:
    One PC concept my player came up with was a 'component hunter' mage who is a freelance agent for the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk City. It gives me a great deal of latitude for adventure hooks.

    Right now this character is helping a party to find trolls for their hearts to make Potions of Vitality...

    -Lanthorn

    I like that idea, Lanthorn. A part-time job for any adventurer. Smile

    I like it!! though with my twisted dark mind I see a PC advisary come to life....
    Paladins a treasure trove on two legs hehehe
    heart> Courage
    Blood> immunity to disease
    Elves immunity to sleep and charm
    etc.
    Mawwahaaaaaa Evil Grin


    Uh, oh! Sir Xaris and his household had better be on full alert. Sounds like Dark Lord Galen is coming. Cool

    SirXaris
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:25 pm  

    Thanks, guys, for the accolades. Smile Sadly, even though my player and I both had an idea for a component hunter for a long time, it is only recently that we actually pulled the trigger on fashioning such a character. Too, he's a higher lvl mage, so we are having to co-create a backstory to him. Nevertheless, it has been mutually fun to try out this concept. I've already thought of numerous potential 'enemies' that Vincent may have achieved through his past deeds seeking out certain materials for his trade (a druid comes to mind). However, I am holding them in reserve for a rainy day. In the meantime, this 'hunt' to find trolls for their hearts (which I have judged will remain beating and 'alive' for three days after removal) has taken a twist and a turn, of course. Wink

    Good stuff, and it certainly has 'adventure' written all over it.

    Also bear in mind that mages aren't the only ones who need components for casting spells or creating magical items. Priests (and thus, their churches or temples) do as well. After all, it's not the Guild of Wizardry that is making these Potions of Vitality with those troll hearts the party is seeking. It's High Matriarch Sarana of Pelor! Priests have just as much reason to barter and trade or buy for components as wizards in order to further their own religious aims and goals.

    -Lanthorn
    Paladin

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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:30 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Thanks, guys, for the accolades. Smile Sadly, even though my player and I both had an idea for a component hunter for a long time, it is only recently that we actually pulled the trigger on fashioning such a character.

    I'm thinking he totally looks like a cross between Harry Potter's Mad Eye and Van Helsing. hehe
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:16 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    One PC concept my player came up with was a 'component hunter' mage who is a freelance agent for the Guild of Wizardry in Greyhawk City. It gives me a great deal of latitude for adventure hooks.


    Just chiming in with everyone else to say what a great idea this is. Good ideas deserve great praise!

    Nerdcav, I've done similar things (not with spell components) and the best thing that worked out was a regular monthly or weekly cost, with a little bit of randomness to it ("roll 1d6+12 for this month") to represent the randomness of the market and other variables.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:55 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:


    Just chiming in with everyone else to say what a great idea this is. Good ideas deserve great praise!


    You guys are swell...thanks, man. Happy

    -Lanthorn, Humbled
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