L&L: Putting the Vance in Vancian - Page 6
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  1. #51
    AEDU + rituals worked better for casters than any other class in 4E. My issues are with poor execution not concept. Rituals could be so much better than they are. Spells and several general concepts about magic need to be revamped. Bring back the power level of spells and magic from 3.x, bring back summoning, polymorph, hold, prison, etc, the spells in 3.5 were like the pinnacle of the best spells list in all of rpg history, and 4E scrapped like half of it. Bring them and the neutered magic items all back.

  2. #52
    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

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    I had a problem with the poll, I want a mix of styles

    I want 2e spells per day broken up into standard action and rituals (standard action ones need to be Preped) with a spell book.

    Mixed with at wills like 4e both cantrips and attacks

    I think I am ok with the feat part though.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Oni View Post
    Wouldn't record my vote on the AW/E/D system.

    Anyway, the one thing that I really like about the Vancian system, and the one thing that isn't really touched on in the poll, and the one thing that would really sway my opinion about any of the other styles is that the ability to expand laterally. That spells aren't just something that you learn when you level up, they're something you go out and find and can add to your repertoire. I enjoyed playing 3e style sorcerer on occasion, but the one thing that always disappointed me was finding new and interesting spells and just going meh, because they were useless. That one thing badly hurt the appeal of the class for me.
    I think that the spontaneous casters, or at least the sorcerer-like ones where the spontaneity is considered a form of innate magic, are much better ground than wizards for requiring an arcana check (or whatever) to learn a spell than a wizard. Basically, the sorcerer is trying to conform himself (his essence) to a particular thing, while a wizard's magic is usually considered more malleable. There are obviously balance issues if this sort of thing goes unhindered. Perhaps the difficulty to do so increases for each spell learned in this way. However, at some point it is worth asking why not just give the sorcerer a few more spell slots and be done with it.

    A better solution might be to let the sorcerer define a domain/bloodline/whatever of spells which can be learned without a roll, but permit them to learn any other spell with some sort of check (which could be repeated once per level perhaps). These would still count against the same pool of maximum known spells, however. Or if sorcerers use feats to build their spell lists, perhaps there is a feat that lets them learn a spell if they have a scroll. Either way, the total number of known spells would be tightly controlled, but it would give sorcerer's the feel of expanding their repertoire based on what they encounter in the world. The downside is that rules like bloodlines which restrict the spells that can be known means it is hard to build a sorcerer for which there is currently no coherent bloodline. In 3.5 part of the enjoyment I had with sorcerers was creating a coherent theme from the raw material of the entire Sor/Wiz spell list.

    Even so, it might be possible to find a middle ground between rigid bloodlines and somewhat malleable ones. For example, perhaps bloodlines restrict which spells can be taken automatically and grant these spells a special bonus, but do not otherwise restrict what spell can be learned (or do so more loosely). Then a character might be able to learn any kind of spell, but make a check when doing so to see if they can treat themselves as having an appropriate bloodline for that spell. For example, maybe a sorcerer has the fire bloodline and thus increases the die type by 1 for all damage die with fire spells. If that sorcerer learns Chain Lightning perhaps there is a check that can be made which would grant, for the purposes of using that spell alone, access to a Storm bloodline. Or learning Dimension Door, which is flavored as disappearing in a puff of smoke, one might be able to gain a silent benefit from some other bloodline to reflect its coherence with the primary bloodline. In other words, a method to "discover" fragments of other bloodlines and unexpected facets of existing ones without having to spend the probably significant character resources to simply grant oneself a whole new bloodline for the sake of a spell or two.


    With respect to feats granting at-will magical abilities, I think the idea can work well. To avoid making it feel like a feat tax the normal way of gaining spells and/or spell slots should also require spending feats. To avoid the problem of the 3.5 fighter (where many feats were quite underwhelming compared to proper class features) one simply needs to make sure they aren't underwhelming. This is a lot easier if feats are the primary resource of all classes rather than just one, and "class features" are limited to just those things learned early on or infrequently that permit the class to work as intended in the first place.

    For example, perhaps the wizard gains a spellcasting feat at every level. The feat that enables Vancian casting might be something like "gains 1+half level" spell "slots", where the half-level part always refers to the character's current level and not the level when it was taken. Then the character can divide up these slots as desired, but is required to have no more spells in each level than in the level below it. Assuming spells go up to 9th level, a spell requires a number of slots equal to its level, and a "full wizard" starts with 3 such feats at level 1, then the total number of spell slots for a full Vancian wizard (who has level+2 such feats) is (level+2)*(floor(level/2)+1), and the "optimal filling" maximizes the number of spells by prioritizing the high-level spells. (I'm assuming new spell access at the traditional odd levels.)
    Level Slots Optimal filling    Total spells
    1     3     3                  3
    2     8     8                  8
    3     10    4,3                7
    4     18    6,6                12
    5     21    4,4,3              11
    6     32    7,5,5              17
    7     36    4,4,4,3            15
    8     50    5,5,5,5            20
    9     55    4,4,4,4,3          19
    10    72    5,5,5,4,4          23
    11    78    4,4,4,4,4,3        23
    12    98    7,5,5,4,4,4        29
    13    105   4,4,4,4,4,4,3      27
    14    128   6,5,5,5,5,4,4      34
    15    136   3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3    24
    16    162   6,6,5,5,5,4,4,4    39
    17    171   4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,3  35
    18    200   7,6,5,5,5,4,4,4,4  44
    19    210   8,6,5,5,5,4,4,4,4  45
    20    242   8,6,6,6,6,5,5,5,5  52
    This is a very 3e-like progression, comparable to a specialist wizard with a large Int bonus. I'd also note that various ways of multiclassing will be much better than in 3.5, where grabbing just a level or two in wizard was almost worthless. For example, a 20th level character with 1 level of wizard (perhaps worth 1 feat of spellcasting rather than 3) would still have 11 slots, which could be worth {2,1,1,1} level spells if spell-access were determined by character level rather than wizard level. If the 20th level character had 5-levels of wizard (so 55 points) the list might look more like {2,2,2,2,1,1,1,1,1}, granting limited access to all 9 levels of spells. Whether this specific scheme works for game balance and ease-of-play isn't my point, just that it could recreate a very familiar type of Wizard by spending one feat per level, while allowing for other options.

    Thus, a more 4e-like wizard could choose to take the "at-will" feats instead of the feat above when it levels up. The balance would be very dependent on the rest of the spell system, of course, but as long as the at-will spells scale with level something like this is possible.

    And naturally, for many creatures a mix will be desirable. A 20th level wizard might take 15 Vancian feats plus 7 "signature spell" feats. Using the math above that would give it 165 levels worth of spells, about {6,4,4,4,4,4,4,3,3}, comparable to a full-Vancian caster at level 17 plus all the extra stuff from the 7 other feats. As noted earlier, a character with 5 Vancian feats would still be able to cast at least one spell of each level in a Vancian fashion, and would have 17 feats worth of at-will or related stuff to go around.

    Or consider a 6th level wizard. If that wizard chose 4 at-will feats and 4 Vancian feats the caster would have 16 spell levels to go around, probably {4,3,2} Vancian slots plus whatever the at-will effects do. Compare this to a full Vancian 6th-level wizard, with 32 spell levels giving Vancian slots like {7,5,5}. I don't think it's too hard to imagine 4 at-will effects (or upgrades) that might be worth that cost. For some people at-will effects would primarily be used to define the basic combat options and then keep a host of useful utility spells in the slots. For others, flexibility in combat may be more important but some utility at-wills are so handy in everyday life or other situations that they never want to allocate slots just to do everyday wizardy tasks.
    Last edited by Ainamacar; Monday, 27th February, 2012 at 07:59 PM.

  4. #54
    Lama (Lvl 13)

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    What ever they do with vanician system I hope they add random spell tables for leveling up and treasures, last thing I want is to have my players whine because they think that I'm choosing spells to gimp them on the one hand and OTOH having them choose spells that are utterly game breaking.

    Besides, random tables are cool.


  5. #55
    Superhero (Lvl 15)

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    I love everything about this article. I really love the notion of playing a feat based caster that has several at-will combat and utility abilities that they upgrade via feat chain into more powerful versions. How cool would an at-will Tenser's disk be as alluded to in the article!

    Basically, it sounds like the 3e Warlock, a class I really liked a lot. My only concern is the rate of feat acquisition. For such a feat heavy game, I want a feat pretty much every level.

    In fact, I'm positively giddy over the thought of magic being broken out into feat based at-will/utility abilities, Vancian style dailies for the big boom/game changing spells, plus a ritual system for all the potential plot/world breaking spells like Legend Lore, Teleport, Gate, and so on.

    Obviously, each class will focus on each style differently. I could see the Warlock being mostly feat/ritual based, the Sorcerer being half feat, half Vancian with no Rituals, the Wizard being focused on Vancian and Rituals with some feat based magic. Then you could have a Psion which is half feat based with perhaps a point based variant of the Vancian style.

    I approve.

  6. #56
    Guide (Lvl 11)

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    And... it seems I'm out. Deal-breaker detected.

    It seems to me Monte is saying that feats in a 3rd edition sense will be part of the core-sans-modules. It is a non-starter to me. The mistake I'm seeing is that they're trying to make everyone happy with the core-sans-modules, from the get-go, rather than the core+this-or-that-module.

    I hope I misunderstand Monte's post here.

    Feats should be part of a module. Non-Vancian magic should be part of a module. Skills should be part of a module. Etc. Only the core of the D&D game should be the core of the system sans modules.

    The core of the game needs to be just that: the core of the D&D experience. Feats are not part of the core D&D experience, as all the pre-3e editions of the game demonstrate. If these guys can't figure that out, all the rest will suck for me, and a lot of other gamers out there I'm sure. It is "the" component of the game they should not botch.

  7. #57
    Having read the L&L article I must say Mr Cook seems to be improving with his writing of these and I'm also liking the direction they seems to be going with it.

  8. #58
    Guide (Lvl 11)

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    Vancian magic also should be part of a module. It's just so niche that it really shouldn't be in the core rules.

  9. #59
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odhanan View Post
    Feats should be part of a module.
    I'm of two minds about feats. On the one hand, I think the feat system is a great idea in theory. On the other hand, I've come to detest it in practice, in both 3E and 4E incarnations. As I said in a different thread, feats always seem to devolve into bloated lists of "+1 to this" and "+2 to that" and "+5 to the other thing when you have combat advantage on a Thursday."

    If they can stick to using them for stuff like what Monte's describing here, 5E might be the edition that redeems feats for me. We'll see. Given WotC's track record, I think I'm going to join the call for feats to be optional.

  10. #60
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

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    Feats should definitely be optional. But that doesn't mean you can't have classes that grant you specific feats for free; even when feats are turned off.

    A class feature is a class feature, even if it's technically in the form of a feat; just list it's effects as a class feature and it's all good.

    Indeed, you could have every class be built up entirely of bonus feats, and still have feats be optional.

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