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Friday, 8th April, 2011, 01:58 PM #1
Hydra (Lvl 25)
I Want My Magic Back! - the Vancian Mage
Welcome to the first in a series of EN World subscriber articles entitled "I Want My Magic Back!" by Sigfried Trent. This series aims to encapsulate the old-school eclectic and wondrous feel of pre-4E magic in a 4E class.
One of the more dramatic changes made by 4E was the abandonment of the so called ôVancianö magic system. It was so named in honor of the fantasy author Jack Vance who inspired D&D spell memorization with his Dying Earth series. Instead of memorizing a series of single use spells from a large pool of possibilities, 4E wizards have a relatively fixed set of spells drawn from a far more limited pool. The range of what spells could do also shrank dramatically from near infinite possibility, to a more limited list of damage values and status effects focused mainly on combat with more utility-based effects shifted off into rituals.
The aim in this series of articles is to recapture that old-school magic feeling, but in a way that is mechanically compatible with 4E. Maintaining game balance is important, but we will be stretching the boundaries from time to time in order to give our new spellcaster flexibility in their repertoire and capture some of that wondrous and eclectic magic feeling of yesteryear.
In this first article we will establish the basic rules for acquiring and casting Vancian spells by detailing a new class: the Vancian Mage, complete with schools of specialization and counterspelling. Finally we will offer a taste of what is to come with a small handful of iconic spells.
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