D&D 5th Edition New Legend and Lore is up! Magic Systems as DM Modules - Page 4





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  1. #31
    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".
    The difference is that the Warlock and Sorcerer had a lot of unique features beyond how they cast spells. For instance, the Draconic Sorcerer gives you access to a bunch of weapon and armor proficiencies and assumes that you "hulk out" when you run. Those are mostly not things people are looking for in a spell-point Wizard.

    That's was the problem with the "scratch out" option in 4e as well. It only works if the class EXACTLY matches what you want, sans name. In reality, you were only getting 60% of what you wanted and 40% of what you didn't. (Or 80%/20% or whatever.)
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  • #32
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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.
    I imagine the Story of the class, the spells in their list, and whatever mechanic is used to represent how it casts its spells.

    Pretty much the same as it always has been, it seems to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZombieRoboNinja View Post
    I really really dislike this idea.

    My hope is that it's (a) restricted to wizards and maybe clerics, since warlocks and sorcerers are cool as they are and very tied into their respective spellcasting mechanics, and (b) something they stick in a sidebar, so a beginner can pick up the wizard class without arguing with the DM.
    Three thoughts:

    a) If they are still hanging on to the idea of a Basic/Default version of the game, it may be that those classes still get different systems by default.

    b) I don't think part of creating a caster will always be "argue with the DM for your casting method" I suspect that many/most DMs/campaigns will not care which one you pick. (So long as the methods are reasonably balanced with each other. I suppose.)

    c) I'm not particularly attached to these names-mechanics pairings, since they hardly seem consistent across D&D history or the genre. (In my head, "Sorcerer" is still partially attached to Al-Qadim elementalist casters, frex.) For me, its not like the word "Warlock" conjures up images of anything like the later edition striker-dude (unless I'm thinking specifically about D&D already.)
    Could you (or anyone else who feels the same way) explain or describe to me how they came to be so to your mind? Is it just playing within 3.x and 4e D&D or is it something more? What kinds of things are attached to "Sorcerer", "Warlock", "Wizard", etc. for you?

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    I have a side question- why isn't there a link to the article in the OP? I've noticed that this seems to be a burgeoning trend when talking about articles from the Wizards site, and I don't understand it.

    Forgive me if this was mentioned already, I've only read the first page of the thread so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the Jester View Post
    I have a side question- why isn't there a link to the article in the OP? I've noticed that this seems to be a burgeoning trend when talking about articles from the Wizards site, and I don't understand it.

    Forgive me if this was mentioned already, I've only read the first page of the thread so far.

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  • #36
    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.
    Well, the idea is for the core classes to be very customizable, so you can basically do that--make a Wizard that uses spell points, or casts spontaneously, or has encounter spells, and you don't have to use the flavor of another class. Then the other classes exist for the people who do want that flavor.

    So the difference between the Wizard and the Sorcerer is that one is a Wizard and the other is a Sorcerer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    I'm sure that WotC had its reasons for not officially proposing such an approach in 4e. What amuses me, however, is the difference in the reactions.

    The typical reaction to "scratch out 'ranger', write 'fighter' instead" was usually along the lines of: "But I want to play a fighter, not a renamed ranger."

    So far, the reaction to "scratch out 'sorcerer', write 'wizard' instead" seems to be quite positive. Words like "the best news to date", "interesting" and "groundbreaking" were used.

    I simply found the contrast to be amusing. I suppose the most likely explanation is that the vastly different opinions were expressed by vastly different people.
    Part of this is the "game design is 90% psychology" thing. Like with Combat Superiority basically being a series of "take -2 to damage, have this other effect" feats.

    But it's not all that.

    In 4e, a Fighter and a Ranger had the same ADEU + Role Mechanic structure, so the play experience was very similar no matter the label on your class. You can make a persuasive case that it doesn't matter what you call it, since it behaves basically the same. The names have no real meaning in and of themselves, they're just words for lumps of ADEU powers + a Role Mechanic.

    In 5e, a Wizard and a Sorcerer have a different play experience (or at least they SHOULD). Independent of whether you use spell points or spell slots, a Wizard's schtick is to prepare in advance the magic she will use from a vast library of potential tools, while a sorcerer's is to pick in the moment from a limited list that they can use repeatedly. Wizards pick the right tool for the right circumstance, while to a sorcerer, well, they have a hammer, and every problem is a potential nail.

    So in 5e, if you crossed out "Wizard" and wrote "Sorcerer," the experience wouldn't be interchangeable. You'd still be preparing magic from a vast list, not calling it spontaneously from a small pool. Regardless of spell points or spell slots, the behavior is different for each class.

    Class, Spell, and Magic Mechanics

    It's a little unclear how this possibly intersects with the class list, or the spell list. It's a little unclear how this is going to shake out. But there's a few ways it could.

    If you want to keep the classes, and the spell names (so that you still have "Sorcerers," "Wizards," "Magic Missile," and "Fireball"), you make the Magic Mechanic a purely mechanical expression of how the magic happens.

    So you have a Warlock. And via her class, she has pact magic and can access the Fireball spell (she's got a pact with some efreet lord in the City of Brass perhaps!). And her choice of Magic Mechanics only affects things like the recharge rate, power level, and preferred tracking mechanism of the spell. So maybe she is a Vancian warlock, where she spends Spell Slots to cast Fireball. The warlock also has some unique class mechanics, like Eldritch Strike, that are kind of just part of the warlock bag.

    And you have a Wizard. And via his class, he has scholarly magic and can access the Fireball spell (he found it in a dusty tome of some mad evoker). And his choice of Magic Mechanics means that maybe he is a Spell Point wizard, so he prepares his spells in the morning, and then spends Spell Points to cast magic from this custom list. And the wizard also has some unique class mechanics, like a Spellbook for learning and swapping out magic, that are just kind of part of the Wizard bag.

    And then you have a Sorcerer. Via his class, he has heritage magic, and can access the Fireball spell (red dragon ancestry y'know!). And his choice of Magic Mechanics means that maybe he's a Reserve spellcaster, so he can use a little version of Fireball at-will and then blow up with a big Fireball all at once (but then loose the little fireball). And the Sorcerer also has some unique class mechanics, like a Bloodline Bonus that lets them use that high Charisma to influence creatures related to their bloodline (our sorcerer can win staring contests with Dragons!) that are just kind of part of the Sorcerer bag.

    You've also got the Cleric. Via her class, she has divine magic, and can access the Fireball spell (it pays to worship Pele!). And her choice of Magic Mechanics means maybe she's a Wild Spellcaster, so she needs to make a d20 roll and can cast anything from a puff of flame to a raging torrent of fire. And the Cleric has some unique class mechanics, like Cure Wounds, that are just part of the Cleric bag.

    Which means that you don't have to define a class by (a) a list of powers/spells, (b) a method of casting them, or (c) a particular requisite magic mechanic. You can define them by what they are in the story, and then let the players pick out their own preferred mechanics.

    Conceivably, fighters and other martial classes could benefit from this as well. There's no conceptual reason why Expertise can't be a sort of universal potential martial mechanic, accessible by barbarians and rangers and rogues who want to have combat expertise, and why other things (like an Opportunist mechanic that lets a fighter use Dailies and Encounter powers or something) couldn't be rolled up in their place. Hypothetically, you could even cross streams and have a magical version of Expertise or a martial Vancian system.

    And then for the newbies, you'd have a default mode. Fighters get Expertise dice, Warlocks are Infinite Spellcasters, Wizards are Vancian, or whatever. But you're not tethered to that.

    And for us wonks, you could swap out the mechanics, independent of class.

    It's an interesting idea, to silo things like that. It might not be the way they're actually going, there's plenty of other options, but it's got me thinkin'...
    Last edited by Kamikaze Midget; Monday, 1st October, 2012 at 06:16 PM.
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  • #38
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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".
    Is this the exact same people saying one thing about 4e and then turning around and saying the other about Next? That's about the only way this statement is at all meaningful.

    If they are completely different people, then this statement of yours is utterly meaningless. Why should we expect people to be consistent with opinions they may never have had?
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  • #39
    This is an excellent response. The primary benefit is that it gets around the "Wizard as Sacred Cow" problem by divorcing the class and name from the casting mechanic choice. Putting the choice of including mechanics firmly into the hands of the DM is also a nice hedge against the shift in game balance or world-building fluff that might come from having spontaneous casting Wizards vs. power points vs. prepared spell slots.

    Yet even with these wide varieties in spell quantification the core of the Wizard is right there: his casting progression, his spell book, etc.

    It'll be interesting to see how the systems play out against the spell book. The limit on the Sorcerer was that his spell variety was extremely limited compared to the Wizard. A mana-point or spontaneous slot Wizard is going to be very unbalanced if he can pull anything out of his book that he wants at any time. In all likelihood even the point-based and spontaneous slotted Wizards are going to still need to prepared spells out of their book every day - probably a more limited number than a caster who individually locks in his spell slots for the day.

    If we used the play-test Wizard as a baseline for slots per level per day we'd probably see the Individual Prepared (1E Magic-User) variant getting the most slots (maybe +1 per level over baseline), the Spontaneous Slotted (3E Sorcerer) variant getting less spells than slots (-1 prepared spell per level under baseline, but full progression of spells per level, per day), and the Mana Point (3E Manifester) variant getting less slots and less spell levels per day (-1 prepared spell per level, -1 spell slot worth of points per level).

    So for example:

    Magic-User Style:
    Level 1 - 4
    Level 2 - 5
    Level 3 - 5/3
    Level 4 - 5/4
    Level 5 - 5/5/3

    Sorcerer Style:
    Level 1 - 3 (2 prepped to choose from)
    Level 2 - 4 (3 prepped)
    Level 3 - 4/2 (3/1 prepped)
    Level 4 - 4/3 (3/2 prepped)
    Level 5 - 4/4/2 (3/3/1 prepped)

    Manifester Style:
    Level 1 - 2 power points (2 prepped to choose from)
    Level 2 - 3 power points (3 prepped to choose from)
    Level 3 - 5 power points (3/1 prepped to choose from)
    Level 4 - 7 power points (3/2 prepped to choose from)
    Level 5 - 12 power points (3/3/1 prepped to choose from)

    The Point-based option is probably going to be the hardest to balance because that sort of Wizard can basically eschew low-level spells to cast more high-level spells per day. His power-progression might be out of whack. If so perhaps putting a hard cap on how many max-level spells you can cast a day (no more than 4 or 5?) would reign that in a bit.

    Whatever your Arcane Energy Management System as a Wizard, though, you uses your Intelligence to cast and you prepared all the spells you can cast each morning out of your spell book. You didn't steal them from an Archfiend. You didn't inherit them from having his sire cuckolded by a dragon. You got your magic the old fashioned way - study, experimentation, and a whole lot of practice.

    Hah! If arcane power comes from Blood, Sweat, and Tears then the Wizard gets his from the sweat of his brow pouring feverishly over tomes and lab tables. The sorcerer gets it from his blood, while the warlock's path surely ends in tears.

    - Marty Lund
    Last edited by mlund; Monday, 1st October, 2012 at 06:30 PM.

  • #40
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    What I'm trying to wrap my mind around is this:

    If a spellcasting class doesn't have a fixed casting system, or proficiencies, or even hit dice... What's left? What makes the class distinctive, other than fluff?

    The spell list, I guess. Sorcerer heritage powers? Warlock pact powers? Wizard... tradition powers, I suppose? (Would a Vancian sorcerer have to memorize his heritage powers, or what?)

    Now, the warlock still kind of stands apart, but the sorcerer spell list is a subset of the wizard list. To what extent do we still need separate classes for the wizard and sorcerer?

    And DEFCON 1: Dude. Enough with the shouting, okay? You'd think I kicked your dog or something.
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