I’ve been dealing with the “Mongolian Death Flu” the last few days, but I’ve actually managed some work on Apprentice. One of the big changes we made was to how countering spells works. Previous incarnation:
Detecting magic, counterspelling magic, reading magical writing, or identifying/knowing about magical beasts such as dragons and constructs.
Counterspell: As an immediate interrupt, you can make a Arcana check to know what spell is being cast. An DC(8) tells the school of magic, a DC(13) tells the name of the spell, and a DC(18) tells the details of the spell. If you make a DC(18) check, you may also expend an equivalent spell slot to counter the spell.
There was a few problems with this approach, however. Arcana also is how you used Detect Magic, and it was sort of weird to use Arcana to counter divine or spiritual magic. So we split the identifying spells into the various skills and added a new skill called Spellcraft focused solely on the essence of magic. Here is part of the new Arcana:
Identifying/knowing about magical beasts such as dragons and constructs. Identify arcane spells are they are cast.
Identify Arcane Spell: As an immediate interrupt, you can make a Arcana check to know what arcane spell is being cast. An DC(8) tells the school of magic, a DC(13) tells the name of the spell, and a DC(18) tells the details of the spell and allows you to counter the spell with a DC(18) Spellcraft check.
While Spellcraft looks like this:
Detecting magic, counterspelling magic, or reading magical writing.
Counterspell: Once you have identified the magic using an Arcana(arcane), Religion(divine), Nature (nature or spiritual), or Psionics(psionics or Breath) check, you can make a Spellcraft check of DC(18) to also expend an equivalent spell slot to counter the spell. Wands or scrolls can be used this way as long as they are in hand.
Detect Magic: As a standard action, can make a DC(13) check to activate Detect Magic. Your eyes glow with a magical light. You can now see auras surrounding magical objects and spells, through distance and objects can weaken this vision. Grants+3 to the associated skill check to identify the spell. Detect Magic lasts 5 minutes.
Now, Arcana also includes identifying arcane creatures and lore, as well as giving you rituals(which need to be developed much more). Religion allows you to Detect Undead, Nature allows you to Detect Spirits, while Psionics grants minor telepathy and bonuses to Breath(mechanic for ninjas, soul binders, and psychics). So all of the individual knowledge get you some bonus, but to be able to successfully counter an enemy spellcaster, you’ll need to identify the spell with the appropriate skill check, then make a successful Spellcraft check. This does give a double check to countering spells, but we don’t want it to be too easy to do, while remaining a powerful tool to those who need to counter that enemy Lich’s Dominate spell.
The new skills can be found in the 0.7 live version. Current campaigns can continue using the zip of 0.6 here.