Spirituality and Spellbinding

Advanced Spell Casting Concepts in

By Darkgolem

Once you get past character
generation and the first few adventures, it can be difficult to
understand some of the complicated factors involved in spell
casting.  It’s important to know what affects the success of spell
casting, and how feat and skill choices affect a character’s
development, before moving along in one’s career as a divine or arcane
spell caster.

Armor Checks


Wearing armor causes arcane spell casters (wizards and sorcerers)
difficulty in casting. Divine spell casters (clerics, rangers and
paladins) do not have this issue because, in effect, instead of casting
spells they are asking their god to cause the spell to happen for them.
Warforged, because they are made of less flexible materials than other
races, also suffer difficulty casting arcane spells. Whenever an arcane
caster casts a spell, the percentage chance of the arcane spell failing
is checked. It is not necessary to make an armor check when casting a
spell without a somatic (body/movement-based) component, such as

Most spells require somatic components, and usually this is
disruptive enough to prevent the use of armor for arcane spell casters.
Since certain spells, such as Blindness and Otto’s Irresistible Dance
do not require somatic components, wearing armor is a viable style="font-weight: bold;">option for fighter mages and similar
character builds.


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When casting a spell, concentration
is essential. Concentration is a skill that enables a spell-caster to
avoid having their spells disrupted during casting. In the
pen-and-paper game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) concentration
checks may be made when you’re taking damage during spell casting, or
when you’re in environmental conditions that could style="font-weight: bold;"> break your concentration, such as
in high wind, and so on. In DDO, it appears concentration only applies
when taking damage. There are two types of checks made when taking
damage while casting spells: one is for continuous damage and the other
is for taking damage only once.

Continuous damage requires a
concentration check of Difficulty Class (DC) 10 + half the continuous
damage taken while casting a spell. 

The DC of a concentration check for
non-continuous damage is 10 + the amount of damage taken.

An example of a type of continuous damage is acid damage caused by the
spell Melf’s Acid Arrow, or any other spell or effect that causes
damage over time.

Some feats and enhancements, such as Combat Casting, can add to
concentration skills by substantial amounts.

Difficulty Classes

Spells in DDO have a difficulty class (DC) based upon the level of the
spell, your primary ability score for your class, and feats. The higher
the difficulty class of a spell, the more difficult a spell is to
resist.  The exact formula for this is as follows:

Difficulty class = 10 + the level of
the spell + the ability score modifier of the primary ability score of
the caster + bonuses due to feats. 

For example, if a wizard has 15 intelligence and has the Spell Focus:
Enchantment feat, and he casts Sleep (a first level spell of the
enchantment school of magic), then the DC of the spell that must be
saved against is 14.

The primary ability score of a spell-caster is based upon the class of
the spell-caster.  The primary ability href="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/files/gallery/albums/Exclusive_Screenshots/ScreenShot00077_001.sized.jpg"> alt=""
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hspace="5" vspace="5"> for wizards is intelligence; sorcerers and
bards use charisma; and clerics, rangers and paladins use wisdom. To
determine the bonus for a spell-caster added to the difficulty class,
add 1 for each 2 points above 10 in the ability score.  So a 15
intelligence provides a +2 bonus for a wizard.  Temporary bonuses
to abilities, such as the bonuses provided by spells like Fox’s
Cunning, Owl’s Wisdom and Eagle’s Splendor, count for this bonus. These
spells add a +4 ability bonus, so the +2 that is gained in turn to
casting ability from using these spells can be quite helpful.

The feats that provide bonuses to spells are based upon the schools of
the spells.  Spells are divided into 8 different schools, based
upon how these spells function. The schools of magic in DDO are listed

Evocation: causes an energy to
form and be directed in the world

Divination: finding
information through magical means

Transmutation: change the
nature of something into something else

Conjuration: draws a creature
or affect from another world to this one

Necromancy: magic that affects
or is affected by the dead and the power of undeath

Abjuration: magic that repels,
banishes or protects

Enchantment: spells that
affect the minds of creatures

Illusion: magic that affects
the senses of creatures or changes how a thing is perceived

All magic has a school it is assigned to, for example, invisibility
(since it makes you no longer visible) is an illusion. The feats that
provide bonuses to DC’s are called Spell Focus.  Spell Focus
provides a +1 increase to the appropriate spells.

Certain schools of spells are more effective against certain types of
creatures.  Enchantment spells, for example, while powerful, do
not affect giant vermin, oozes, constructs or undead.  However,
necromancy often has spells that are particularly effective against
undead. While I do not know if this rule is applied to DDO, conjuration
spells normally do not require a spell resistance check (when
applicable) to succeed, and are therefore particularly effective
against demons and highly magical creatures who tend to have spell

Other schools do not depend as much on your opponents failing saving
throws in order to be effective. Evocation, since spells of this type
usually do half damage even when a save is made, is one of these
schools of magic.

Metamagic Feats

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hspace="5" vspace="5">Metamagic is a way of changing the nature of
a specific spell.  Using metamagic, a spell caster can make spells
last longer, make them reach farther, make them more difficult to
resist, or even make them do more damage.  The ability to
manipulate metamagic in DDO is gained by acquiring metamagic feats.

To use a metamagic feat in DDO, the caster activates the feat, and
until deactivated, any spell that can be modified by that type of
metamagic will have the feat’s affect applied to it. When a spell is
cast under the effect of a metamagic feat, the spell costs additional
spell points, based upon what metamagic feat was used.

Metamagic feats, while increasing the spell costs of spells, can make
spells much more useful. For example, Extend Spell increases the costs
of a spell by half, but doubles the duration of the spell. So if the
spell being extended is something always kept active by a caster, than
Extend Spell makes the spell much less expensive, since the caster will
only have to cast the spell half as much.

The following are the metamagic feats
in DDO:

Empower Healing Spell
spell heals ½ more damage, but costs ½ additional to
normal cost.  This additional healing also applies to this spell
when used to damage undead.

Empower Spell: spell causes
½ more damage, but costs twice as much

Enlarge Spell: doubles the
range of the spell, but costs ½ additional to normal cost.

Eschew Materials: spell does
not use spell components, but costs 1/3 additional to normal cost.

Extend Spell: spell lasts
twice as long but costs ½ additional to normal cost.

Heighten Spell:  spell
level is increased to the highest level you can cast, cost of spell is
increased to that of the highest level you can cast.  You must be
able to cast 2nd level spells to acquire this feat.

Maximize Spell:  spell
deals double damage.  Spell costs three times as much.

Quicken Spell:  spell is
cast in a short duration and cannot be interrupted.  Spell costs
twice as much.

It’s important to understand how spell casting works, especially when
you start to expand beyond the basic spell caster build.  Casting
in armor and using metamagic can be complicated, and making the right
choices in build and equipment can spell the difference between a
successful and unsuccessful spell caster.  When you understand
these complications, it’s possible to experiment with different builds,
such as specializing in certain schools of magic, or a mixed
combatant/spellcaster build.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016