I'm using the spell point system in my next campaign, and was wondering what the hivemind thinks a mana/spell point potion should cost. I'm not completely up on psionics, is there a similar thing that could be modeled after?

If there isn't, here's what I'm thinking:

Elixir of Power (SP)

Market Price: SP2 × 50 gp.

School Evocation; Strength varies based on the SP in the Elixir

Prereq: Brew Potion, Craft Wondrous Item, Caster Level must be at least equal to the SP infused in the potion (Use standard gp/xp cost to create formulas)

Effect: Standard Action that provokes an attack of opportunity, Restores (SP) Spell Points to your power pool. If this takes you over your maximum, the excess is gained as temporary SP that lasts for 10 minutes.

New Rule/Effect, Mana Burn: Each round, at the beginning of your turn, if you have temporary SP, you take an amount of damage equal to your temporary SP.

What do you think?

Yes, a 1st level that somehow got their hands on an Elixir of Power (20) would probably kill themselves, as it is far too much power for them to handle.


Psionics does not, quite, have a pearl of power analogue—the closest it comes is the cognizance crystal, in which psionic characters can store power points and then later (including days later when they’ve refreshed their power points) use them to manifest powers. Notably, you cannot combine the power points of a cognizance crystal with your own power points to manifest a single power—the points in the cognizance crystal have to be used on their own to manifest something. Thus, while they perform a similar function to a pearl of power or your elixir of power, they have a distinct limitation.

The best spell point adaptation for 3.5e,1 Ernir’s Translation of Vancian Spellcasting to Psionic Mechanics, unsurprisingly uses the same system for its pearls of power, since it uses psionic mechanics for spellcasting so pearls of power just become spell-point-based cognizance crystals.

Moreover, neither cognizance crystals nor pearls of power allow for any excess to be used for anything.

So your elixir of power is substantially more powerful than cognizance crystals or pearls of power. The pricing, though, looks very similar: Your formula of \$SP^2 \times 50\text{ gp}\$ is equivalent to \$\left(2\times SL - 1\right)^2 \times 50\text{ gp}\$. Leaving off the \$-1\$ for ease of comparison, that’s roughly \$SL^2 \times 200\text{ gp}\$. Meanwhile, cognizance crystals and pearls of power both cost \$SL^2 \times 1,000\text{ gp}\$. And per the item-creation guidelines, a single-use consumable should cost 1/5 what a 1/day item costs, so that checks out—it is basically a consumable pearl of power, and it is priced to match.

And the extra power does come with a downside, and the logistical hassle that consumables cause could justify having a little bit extra. Ultimately, the balance here is not terribly far off.

I would say the mana burn mechanic is awkward, though. Similar items just have excess go to waste. The damage is substantial, so I am not too worried about the power level of it, and it probably captures the idea you want pretty well, but I kind of expect it is just going to go unused, which means it might be a bit pointless to bother explaining and considering.

That said, cognizance crystals have substantial limitations relative to pearls of power, and there are reasons for that. Spellcasters are the most powerful classes in the game, and prepared spells are better off than spontaneous, and spell points advantage spellcasting a lot, and prepared spellcasting especially. Getting to use points instead of slots is a great advantage in flexibility, and for prepared casters, not having to choose how much of each spell you were going to use is another great advantage, and so having more limitations is probably a good idea.

Actually, for that matter, the Unearthed Arcana spell points variant is a massive upgrade for spellcasters, too, and again they really, really don’t need it—so I’d advise against that, too. Ernir’s translation of spellcasting to psionic mechanics is a far more balanced option—since psionics is better-balanced than spellcaster, his work provides a more balanced alternative to regular spellcasting, instead of empowering overpowered spellcasters even more.

  1. The Unearthed Arcana one is pretty terrible.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you are comparing price of reusable items to price of single use elixir. Am I missing something? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Jul 27 '19 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Well that’s embarrassing, you’re right. I don’t know why on earth I thought an elixir was reusable. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 27 '19 at 13:23

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