L&L: Putting the Vance in Vancian - Page 11





  1. #101
    Meh. Mage hands and floating discs are fun, non-combat abilities that spellcasters should get for free. Burning a feat on these mild spells would sting.

    I also don't see much merit to Vancian magic other than its historical roots in the game. If D&D never had this type of magic, and someone were to pitch fire-and-forget spells as the core system of magic, I doubt many would want it. Magic should be so much cooler.

    Maybe . . .

    • Casting spells is physically taxing. Wizards must balance their stamina, while always having the option to push themselves closer to exhaustion to cast a few more spells before they rest.
    • Spells are weaved together on the spot based on a Wizards knowledge of the magical traditions. More complex spells take longer to cast or are more likely to misfire.
    • Spells are gained by bargaining with powerful planar creatures. Using the most powerful spells indebts the wizard a favor to these beings.
    • Magical energy is drawn from the shadow realm, and casting spells has a chance of drawing the attention of or summoning vengeful undead.
    • Or spellcasters simply have a pool of mana to manage throughout the day (or encounter, or turn).

    Let's see something to get excited about!

 

  • #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    I think he's trying to avoid the Great Terminology Turn-off of 4e. These things that you have to prepare in advance on a daily basis and are expended once used? They're "Spells".

    These other things that you can use at will? They're not spells. No sir. They're "Abilities". Or maybe "Feats". And they're not "Powers", either. Absolutely not. We don't use the "P-word" around here any more.
    The problem of course is you then make your system into an unmaintainable mess that lacks expressive power. If there are 42 different things that are basically SPELLS but heaven forbid we offend someone by calling an at-will a 'spell' then out the window goes any other thing (modules anyone) that wants to refer to spells as a whole and apply some rule to them.

    This was the fundamental basic thing that killed 2e and turned it into a giant mess. There were all sorts of options, but there was no rational organization to them whatsoever.

  • #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odhanan View Post
    Are we talking about the core-sans-modules, or the whole game including modules? I have nothing against options... as options. I think that's really what is not computing with me right now: the core of the game is supposed to be just that. The core of the game experience. Customization and options are the realm of modules, of add-ons. I am more happy with a central core that relies on the imagination of the players primarily. I'd be fine with that kind of core. Other players who want options and stuff could use the modules.

    I think you can't go about this in 36 different ways: it is much simpler to add options than substract them. As such the core is the simplest expression of the game. It should be. From there you add options you can trigger on and off to reflect your particular playstyles.

    You can't start with feats and skills being the part of the core-sans-modules when these things are not core to the D&D experience itself, unless you're telling me that iterations such as AD&D, OD&D, B/X, Holmes et al. somehow "got it wrong" or should not be considered as being part of this shared experience, in which case there is SUCH a disconnect as to what we think the core of D&D is there can be no possible common ground from there.

    The aim for the designers shouldn't be IMO whether to have the core be/reflect AD&D OR 3rd ed OR 4th ed. The aim should be to have the core be what is COMMON between these iterations of the game so that, THEN, with modules, you can recreate AD&D AND 3rd ed AND 4th ed by toggling them on and off.

    Starting with Skills and Feats is a non-starter. It's bone-headed.

    It's a simple question of logic, in my opinion.
    How do you plan on having AD&D Thieves without skills? If the core/basic Thief has such skills that follow the general rules for skills presented later, does that work, or must thieving skills be a special subsystem that works on totally unique mechanics? It seems to me that if you're going to have skills at all, they might as well follow the same rules. Making up separate subsystems seems "boneheaded."

    Was not the Wilderness Survival Guide the 1e book which introduced NWPs in 1986? And didn't the Unearthed Arcana introduce Weapon Proficiencies in 1985? So, while AD&D didn't have feats, it did have "skills" for most of its run. (14 years with, and 9 years without)

    So, of the editions, only OD&D (3 years) and Basic didn't have some kind of skills/proficiencies. So either 2/6 or 2/9 versions lack "skills" (depending on how you count the 2e "Option"s, 3.5 and Essentials.) I think having some kind of basic resolution system for skills makes quite a bit of sense as part of the "core" of D&D.

  • #104
    If I can switch off feats entirely and switch on Vanceian magic, then I'm OK with this...whatever.

    Now, when I say switch off, I mean OFF as in just say "those things aren't included" fullstop. Not "now I must rewrite how characters are handled" because I could make 4e into AD&D using such a method. Doesn't mean I wanna go through the effort. (And I don't, and I won't.)

    Then it's not a dealbreaker.
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  • #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by AbdulAlhazred View Post
    The classic (at the risk of using a hackneyed term) old school argument is that skills and whatnot just get in the way. ALL PCs are reasonably competent and can do most things. Only a few very very narrow niche things are carved out. Thus any PC can climb an ordinary wall (maybe with a check of some kind) and a thief has a niche carved out, he can climb a sheer wall with no handholds (again with a check). The point is everyone is competent and you just use ability scores to determine how far the PC's ability actually goes.

    Actually, IMHO the skill system Monte has outlined is really very much a modernistic version of this, at least potentially. You just use ability scores, and then you COULD have 'skills' which are just very niche things where your character has 'mastery' (like climbing for a rogue).

    But when I said all adventurous PC should be competent at combat, some look at me funny. But that is a thought for another day.

    To the real topic.

    D&D has added many different methods of cast spells over the years. It only makes sense that they should be many different systems. You can make a club out of stone, wood, or iron but each uses a different method of crafting.

    My homebrew world has many types of casting. A person can weave the design of a spell's fabric into the their mind and complete the pattern a the time of casting like a wizard. Or they can spontaneously force absorbed latent magic through the patterns imprinted in their blood like a sorcerer. Or have a deity or nature implant the spell pattern in their brains like clerics and druids. An arcanist can also snatch loose magic thread out the air and fire out a minor spell on the spot at-will.
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    I've come to the conclusion that 4E half Vancian magic was a mistake. They need to either go all Vancian or not at all. I really hate the idea that some characters in the group are managing daily resources while others are not. It creates 15 minute adventuring days and inept wizards shooting crossbows. And because the Vancian Mage had a different power curve, they needed the other PCs to survive the early levels before dominating the later levels. This is how the sweet spot was created in the first place. Why reintroduce legacy problems when you don't need them?
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  • #107
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    It does raise the question of how NPCs will be handled in published products, which modular options will be in use by default. If an NPC is built using particular options and there's no equivalent option that handles the same abilities, this might get a bit tricky, particularly in regard to what level of PC group that NPC can challenge (assuming it is an NPC that would be at odds with the PCs for whatever reasons).
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  • #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedungeondelver View Post
    If I can switch off feats entirely and switch on Vanceian magic, then I'm OK with this...whatever.

    Now, when I say switch off, I mean OFF as in just say "those things aren't included" fullstop. Not "now I must rewrite how characters are handled" because I could make 4e into AD&D using such a method. Doesn't mean I wanna go through the effort. (And I don't, and I won't.)

    Then it's not a dealbreaker.
    Would you be okay if "switching feats off" meant: "Instead of feats, each class gets a default class feature whenever it would get a feat: with some of the class features having a suspicious similarity to a feat"?

    IE. no feat choices, but still feat-effects baked into the classes instead?

    The advantage with that system is that it allows AD&D style characters to be relatively balanced with feat-based characters.

    Would you approve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CMG View Post
    It does raise the question of how NPCs will be handled in published products, which modular options will be in use by default. If an NPC is built using particular options and there's no equivalent option that handles the same abilities, this might get a bit tricky, particularly in regard to what level of PC group that NPC can challenge (assuming it is an NPC that would be at odds with the PCs for whatever reasons).
    This is the purpose of "baking in" feats. It keeps the with-feat characters balanced with the no-feats characters.

    It can also be applied to skills. Baked-in skills would be something like a +1/+2 basic competency bonus to all skill rolls, except when there's a specific class bonus, while actual skill choices would remove the basic competency, keeping things reasonably close to balanced.
    Last edited by Kingreaper; Tuesday, 28th February, 2012 at 03:18 AM.

  • #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    If one's copacetic with fighter dalies in 4e...
    I'm not. I put up with them because of the game's other strengths, but I'd be happy if they went away and didn't come back.

    Even setting aside my personal dislike of the Vancian mechanic, I want to see mechanical diversity among the classes in 5E. Vancian casting cannot possibly be the only way to create strategy-focused classes with an element of resource management.

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  • #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dasuul
    I'm not.
    Sure, but lots of folks are, and, given that that's one of the big divisive issues of 4e, I can't imagine them forcing you to use vancian fighters in 5e, if they exist.

    All I'm sayin' is that there should be lots of different resource management mechanics for lots of different classes, and they don't all have to be wizards or spellcasters to use different resource management mechanics.
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Tuesday, 28th February, 2012 at 02:15 PM.
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