D&D 5th Edition New Legend and Lore is up! Magic Systems as DM Modules - Page 3





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  1. #21
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    Ignore Minigiant
    Why 4e "scratch out name write another" works is that powers and class features are easily swappable while keeping balance. 4e fighter was just Martial Defender + style and Weapon and Shield style. The 4e ranger is just Quarry striker + TWF and Archery. Having your ranger take the fighter's power doesn't break the game nor effect lore that much.

    But the Next sorcerer breaths fire for some reason. What do you swap out heritage for?

    This is why I love this idea. Wizard is Tradition + Casting system. Sorcerer is Heritage + Casting system.
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  • #22
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    Maybe this idea can be made to work for wizards. Maybe.

    But how on earth is it going to work for sorcerers and warlocks? Those classes are pretty heavily tied to how their magic works. Warlocks especially - I can't imagine what a Vancian warlock would even look like!

    And if all casting systems are modular, what's in the core? Does each class use a default system, which can then be swapped out, or what? I'm trying to picture some sort of ur-spellcasting system that is simpler than any of the different possibilities, and it just doesn't go.

    I was enjoying each class having a different mechanic. It made them feel distinct. It was modular in the sense that you could just exclude certain classes - don't like spell points? Don't use the sorcerer.

    Now I can envision DM's who just say, "Vancian for everything!" Which would be incredibly dull.

    EDIT: Reading the column again carefully, Mearls always says 'wizard'. And in the first part of the column, he's talking about the big four. I am tentatively guessing that swapping out spell systems applies only to the wizard and cleric?
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  • #23
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    Ignore Zaukrie
    I may be missing the nuance, but how does having the options in the hands of the dm really change anything for the player? You still have all the same systems and options?

  • #24
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    Here's the thing... I suspect that even if this change goes through and the main part of the game doesn't not assign specific mechanics to specific classes... there still will be "defaults" for each class.

    The difference being... rather than those mechanics appearing within the Class chapter, they will appear in whatever chapter or sidebar a "default" build of the game will be.

    There are two ways to look at the organization. You either have in the Class chapter each spellcasting class be presented with one or more mechanics that the class "defaults" to, and then in the Magic chapter or in the DMG the instructions on how to "modularize" it by stripping out the casting mechanic you don't want and putting in the one you do (probably taking it from one of the other classes that is "defaulted" to it...

    ...or you don't assign the mechanics in the Class chapter at all, all the different mechanics to choose from appear in the Magic chapter (and additional instruction for world building in the DMG), and then DM and players go through and "build" the methods for spellcasting for their game at the very beginning.

    Cause here's the thing...

    Having the spellcasting classes list a default mechanic within the Class description itself is the equivalent of having the list of base deities to choose from in the Cleric chapter. We all KNOW that that list is going to be stripped out and replaced with a whole new set of deities (and their abilities) once the DM chooses his campaign world. So that "default" list of deities is there purely as a matter of convenience for those games where the "default" gets selected.

    Which in previous editions made a little more sense, because the "default" game was probably going to be used by more players than I suspect any "default" D&DN game will be. Mainly because there are going to be SO MANY dials and knobs and buttons that the DMs will adjust, that you'd be hard-pressed to find a "default" game at all... just based upon the info that gets presented in each individual chapter.

    And that's why I truly think what will end up happening is that each chapter in the Player's Handbook ARE NOT going to list a single "default" mechanic for every chapter's rules and then all the alternate modules to that mechanic are going to be stored away in an Appendix in the book... but rather most (if not ALL) of the modules will get presented within each chapter, with expressed instruction that the players and the DM will decide which ones they will use for their particular game.

    And then in the Appendix? THAT'S where we'd see any and all "default" builds of the game, each one listing quite clearly the modules that are selected in order to play a "Basic D&D" type of game, or an AD&D type of game, or a 2E game, or a 3E game, or 4E game etc. etc.
    Last edited by DEFCON 1; Monday, 1st October, 2012 at 03:49 PM.

  • #25
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    Ignore DEFCON 1
    Quote Originally Posted by The Shadow View Post
    Maybe this idea can be made to work for wizards. Maybe.

    But how on earth is it going to work for sorcerers and warlocks? Those classes are pretty heavily tied to how their magic works. Warlocks especially - I can't imagine what a Vancian warlock would even look like!

    Now I can envision DM's who just say, "Vancian for everything!" Which would be incredibly dull.
    But that's the point. YOU won't have to play a game with Vancian warlocks if you (and/or your DM) don't want to. Or Vancian Sorcerers. Or Wizards with at-will spells. Or Clerics with encounter spells. Or whatever bizarre combo you can't get your head around.

    You get to choose exactly the way you want your game to be. So you can make your spellcasting classes have EXACTLY the same mechanics as they have now-- Vancian for Wizards, pseudo-Vancian for Clerics, encounter spells for Warlocks, spell (willpower) points for Sorcerers. The only difference is that rather than each of these mechanics appearing within the Class chapter in each of their respective classes... they all appear together back in (for example) the Magic chapter, and they each get assigned at the start of the campaign by the DM and players.

    But just because YOU think a Vancian Warlock would be dull... doesn't mean every other player agrees with you. Perhaps there WILL be someone who LOVES both the Vancian mechanic AND loves the Story of the Warlock. So why shouldn't it be as easy as possible to combine those two things for that particular DM?

    In the end... it comes down to what is easiest to do and to understand. Have each mechanic connected to each class in the Class chapter with instruction on how to swap the mechanics around? Or put all the mechanics together in one section with instruction on how to assign them to each of the classes you intend on having in the game?

    And for that... I expect is where the playtesting is going to come in. Which way is truly easier to work with and grok? We'll have to wait and see.

  • #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    Frankly, the only difference I see is that in one system, it is a (derided) "house rule" and in the other system, it is a ("groundbreaking") "module".
    I can see where you are coming from. Personally, I just took the "different systems in different classes" design as an opportunity to tinker and shape the system to my preference. Essentially, as a selection of modules for me to choose from. My group likes the Sorcerer casting system better than Vancian? Okay, all "Wizards" in my game use the Sorcerer mechanics, and there is no Vancian. But then, I'm a tinkerer. I see the Hit Dice mechanic, and even though the rules don't explicitly say, "You can roll Hit Dice randomly, or you can set the recovered hit points to 'full', 'half', or 'quarter', or even use 4e Healing Surges as is," that's exactly what I see.

    But, as I've lamented somewhat in other threads, that's not the paradigm these days. I think a significant plurality, if not a majority, of D&D consumers now want such options clearly spelled out. Mearls & Co. originally intended to make magic system part of the player's customization options -- choose Class A for Magic System B. But many folks wanted this customization to be on the campaign side.

    In the WotC design paradigm, which favors greater integration than the TSR one, there is a distinct difference from a design perspective. The way the options are integrated and balanced is different. Siloing the powers in different classes creates different flavor for each one. For some, this is a tenable work-around. For others, particularly for folks who want a concrete set of rules to work with, it is not so workable. It creates cognitive dissonance if they refer to "wizards" at their table, but must use "sorcerer" to interact with anyone outside that group.

    I think it very much behooves the design team to pay attention to issues of presentation in this way. If the guts of the system are not really that different (as you say, although I may not entirely agree), but the presentation makes it amenable to a larger audience, that's a win-win. We're dealing with people. "You're looking at it the wrong way," valid though it may be as a point of view, is simply not good marketing or presentation. As Twain said, "In matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane."

  • #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    I also really don't get the focus the article places on the DM. I mean, obviously the DM gets to approve classes and races and such, but should every wizard player really have to prepare a sales pitch for his preferred casting method?
    No. The default would be the DM says this is how this class (or all classes) casts spells in this campaign. No arguing and no sales pitch.
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  • #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iosue View Post
    "Scratch out 'sorcerer' and write 'wizard' instead" is the system in the last playtest: magic systems siloed via character classes. This is something fundamentally different.
    Yes. Which makes me wonder what exactly will be the difference between various "primary caster" classes? Spell lists? - doesn't sound like it.

    Personally, I don't think its a big deal to have a "Magic User" class and let the myriad specialization routes take care of the rest. Others disagree.

  • #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Zaukrie View Post
    I may be missing the nuance, but how does having the options in the hands of the dm really change anything for the player? You still have all the same systems and options?
    It streamlines the PHB.
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  • #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratskinner View Post
    Yes. Which makes me wonder what exactly will be the difference between various "primary caster" classes? Spell lists? - doesn't sound like it.

    Personally, I don't think its a big deal to have a "Magic User" class and let the myriad specialization routes take care of the rest. Others disagree.
    As someone who started with B/X, I would be very happy to see "Magic-user" return to its prominence as a class name. One thing I liked about that name in early D&D is it incorporated any number of archetypes: wizards, shamans, witches, wild mages, what have you. To have that conceptual freedom, plus selectable magic systems? Sweet, sweet design goodness.

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