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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    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.

    <snip>

    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.

    <snip>

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by FireLance View Post
    this raises another interesting point with respect to what makes a class distinct in terms of play experience: is it the power structure or the powers/spells/abilities themselves?
    FireLance's question is a good one.

    KM, the first sentence in the quote above is amibguous. Are you saying that, if I build a 4e ranger, then the play experience is very similar whether I label my PC "fighter" or "ranger"? If that is what you are saying, it strike me as obviously true: the play of the PC, in 4e, is a function of mechanical build - and if you want to give your ranger a more "fighter-y" feel you multi-class fighter and then take a fighter-specific PP or ED.

    But if, in that first sentence, you are saying that a 4e ranger and a 4e fighter, each built according to the rules for its class, provide similar play experiences because they have a common build structure, than I strongly disagree. A fighter is one of the most controller-y of the non-magic-user builds, whereas a PHB ranger is about as non-controller-y as you can get in 4e: the focus is on mobility and almost exclusively upon damage dealing.

    In classic D&D, for example, a wizard and a cleric use the same structure for spell memorisation and casting, but they deliver pretty different play experiences: so much so that heaps of people liked playing MUs, but not many liked playing clerics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    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.

    <snip>

    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
    Quote Originally Posted by The Shadow View Post
    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?
    I'm with The Shadow here. And, I think, with FireLance. What does it mean to "define a spellcaster by what s/he is in the story", other than to attach a certain flavour text? Hence FireLance's comparison to 4e, and sticking "fighter" at the top of a ranger character sheet.

    If a wizard's bookishness is more than just flavour text, then it seems that it must place some constraint on how s/he learns spellls: for example, there must be some memorisation component to the wizard. At which point not all of the magic mechanics are purely modular.

    Quote Originally Posted by mlund View Post
    Yet even with these wide varieties in spell quantification the core of the Wizard is right there: his casting progression, his spell book, etc.
    I don't think the casting progression will be there. As Mearls says,

    The only thing that changes is the table for the wizards spell progression.

    I don't think that a spell point wizard will have to memorise his/her spell point's worth of spells at the start of the day. When people complain about Vancian, they're not normally complaining about the rigidity of slots vs points. They're complaining about the rigidy of memorisation vs spontaneity.

 

  • #72
    I would prefer magic classes (artificer, binder, incarnate, psion, sorcerer, truenamer, warlock, etc) to have their own, distinctive styles, not several generic casting/magic methods that can be slapped on whatever magic class you're playing, waters it down, takes away class identity.

  • #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely_Dan View Post
    I would prefer magic classes (artificer, binder, incarnate, psion, sorcerer, truenamer, warlock, etc) to have their own, distinctive styles, not several generic casting/magic methods that can be slapped on whatever magic class you're playing, waters it down, takes away class identity.
    I preffer that too. But... there's a problem for that from a designer point of view, specially with 5e design goal. There are people who WANT to play wizards as Vancian only, and would hate to have any kind of encounter powers -see the reactions to signature spells in some people- while there are others who WANT to have an AEDU structure in wizards.

    With the current approach, the DM can give each class a specific casting method, from those presented (for example, he can require that Wizards are allways Vancian, while Sorcerers are always spell points). OTOH, some other DM might allow every magic system for every class (some wizards use vancian -the "Order of Hermes" mages- while some other wizards use spell points -the "mentalists", or whatever-). Some other groups can choose to make all the spellcasters vancian, and some others can make all the spellcasters AEDU, or Spell Points, or whatever.

    It works for me, it covers all the bases. The question is IF they can pull it off.

  • #74
    Quote Originally Posted by triqui View Post
    I preffer that too. But... there's a problem for that from a designer point of view, specially with 5e design goal. There are people who WANT to play wizards as Vancian only, and would hate to have any kind of encounter powers -see the reactions to signature spells in some people- while there are others who WANT to have an AEDU structure in wizards.

    With the current approach, the DM can give each class a specific casting method, from those presented (for example, he can require that Wizards are allways Vancian, while Sorcerers are always spell points). OTOH, some other DM might allow every magic system for every class (some wizards use vancian -the "Order of Hermes" mages- while some other wizards use spell points -the "mentalists", or whatever-). Some other groups can choose to make all the spellcasters vancian, and some others can make all the spellcasters AEDU, or Spell Points, or whatever.

    It works for me, it covers all the bases. The question is IF they can pull it off.


    Okay, I can kind of get on board with that, I just think the AEDU and spell point caster could be their own classes, but I am all for shared spell pools (many learned a lesson from 4th Ed's powers bloat), just no so much casting methods.

  • #75
    Quote Originally Posted by triqui View Post
    I preffer that too. But... there's a problem for that from a designer point of view, specially with 5e design goal. There are people who WANT to play wizards as Vancian only, and would hate to have any kind of encounter powers -see the reactions to signature spells in some people- while there are others who WANT to have an AEDU structure in wizards.

    With the current approach, the DM can give each class a specific casting method, from those presented (for example, he can require that Wizards are allways Vancian, while Sorcerers are always spell points). OTOH, some other DM might allow every magic system for every class (some wizards use vancian -the "Order of Hermes" mages- while some other wizards use spell points -the "mentalists", or whatever-). Some other groups can choose to make all the spellcasters vancian, and some others can make all the spellcasters AEDU, or Spell Points, or whatever.

    It works for me, it covers all the bases. The question is IF they can pull it off.
    I still have never heard anyone complain about sorcerers using spell points or warlocks using encounter powers, so I think it's safe to say this is a problem with wizards (and maybe clerics) and specifically with Vancian casting. I hope they leave those classes alone as they try once more to "fix" the wizard.

    I also think it's worth pointing out that moving from one system of allotting daily spells to another - from Vancian to spell points, say - is a completely different kettle of fish from introducing encounter powers. Allowing the blanket conversion of daily powers to encounter powers would greatly restrict the possibilities for daily powers - buffs and utility spells, for example, can be much more powerful if they're taking up daily resources.

  • #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    FireLance's question is a good one.

    KM, the first sentence in the quote above is amibguous. Are you saying that, if I build a 4e ranger, then the play experience is very similar whether I label my PC "fighter" or "ranger"? If that is what you are saying, it strike me as obviously true: the play of the PC, in 4e, is a function of mechanical build - and if you want to give your ranger a more "fighter-y" feel you multi-class fighter and then take a fighter-specific PP or ED.
    Largely. FireLance posited that changing a wizard to a spell point system was not much different than taking a 4e Fighter, crossing out the word Fighter, and putting Ranger in there instead.

    My position is that while I don't think he's entirely off base, I think there's more to it than that, since a 5e class ought to feel different from other 5e classes regardless of the chosen mechanics, while a 4e class is going to feel broadly similar to other 4e classes, regardless of which 4e class you choose. In other words, the differences between 5e classes should be greater than the differences between 4e classes, which will make the choice of class (independent of the choice of magic mechanic) still significant.

    I don't know if that'll come true or not, of course, it's just a hope.

    I think it's important to point out for context that I'm in the camp that sees 4e classes as "too similar." IMO, "I'm a Defender, so I mark!" and "I'm a Striker, so I have an extra damage dice!" isn't a strong enough distinction between the classes for me, and I hope that 5e has much more marked differences. I don't think those differences must hinge on a given "special abilities" structure. An ADEU Fighter and a Vancian fighter and an Expertise fighter should be more similar than an ADEU Fighter, an ADEU Wizard, and an ADEU Ranger in 5e.

    I'm with The Shadow here. And, I think, with FireLance. What does it mean to "define a spellcaster by what s/he is in the story", other than to attach a certain flavour text? Hence FireLance's comparison to 4e, and sticking "fighter" at the top of a ranger character sheet.
    If the wrought iron fence made of tigers between gameplay and story is well and truly torn down and lit on fire (which it should be, and it seems like the designers are interested in doing), "flavor text" and "rules text" are going to be closely linked. Rules text should then support and help define flavor text. If the flavor text says "X is like Y," the rules text should back it up.

    Defining them by story first allows the mechanics to flow from that. You can see that in the playtest sorcerer: the story of having an otherworldly heritage is supported by the rules for mutations. I bet the next iteration of the sorcerer is going to be similarly codified in the rules by what they are in the story.

    If a wizard's bookishness is more than just flavour text, then it seems that it must place some constraint on how s/he learns spellls: for example, there must be some memorisation component to the wizard. At which point not all of the magic mechanics are purely modular.
    I think this is part of the vagueness in Mearls's article today, in that it's not quite clear where a magic system ends and a class begins. I've got an idea about what it maybe will be like, but it could also not be anything like that.

    For me, when I look at spell points or spell slots or "reserve magic" or at-will powers or recharging magic or Expertise dice or ADEU or whatever, I see a method of resource accounting and nothing more or less. Memorization can be mapped to ANY of those systems, or not (3e's Wizard vs. 3e's Sorcerer, for spell slots, for an example). Sponateous magic can also be mapped to the same. You could theoretically have a spell-slot based campaign and still have entirely encounter-based magic. Or you could have a sort of Magical Expertise dice and still memorize your spells at the start of the day. These things are different gears, different silos, and you can combine them in different ways.

    I don't think that a spell point wizard will have to memorise his/her spell point's worth of spells at the start of the day. When people complain about Vancian, they're not normally complaining about the rigidity of slots vs points. They're complaining about the rigidy of memorisation vs spontaneity.
    It gets to the heart of something I think the message boards have been conflating for a long time, now.

    What, PRECISELY, is a magic system, and what, PRECISELY, is each spellcasting class doing to it?

    3e gives an example of a spell slot system (what I'd call Vancian) and a spell point system (psionics) governed in multiple ways, from memorization to spontaneous casting to recharge magic to even at-wills in the case of the 3e warlock.

    So I don't think memorization is necessarily linked to spell slots. You can memorize with spell points. You can memorize with at-wills. You can memorize with Expertise dice.

    The question then becomes: is a Wizard, in part, about memorizing spells?

    I'd say, yes, that's something that's defined wizards in EVERY edition. But certainly that's a topic of potential debate.
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  • #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    a 4e class is going to feel broadly similar to other 4e classes, regardless of which 4e class you choose

    <snip>

    I'm in the camp that sees 4e classes as "too similar." IMO, "I'm a Defender, so I mark!" and "I'm a Striker, so I have an extra damage dice!" isn't a strong enough distinction between the classes for me
    OK. This is so far from my own experience that I'll just have to take your word for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    when I look at spell points or spell slots or "reserve magic" or at-will powers or recharging magic or Expertise dice or ADEU or whatever, I see a method of resource accounting and nothing more or less.
    I agree with this. But I don't quite see how this fits with what I've quoted above. If these are just resource accounting, why does it make 4e classes too similar that they all have the same structure? The difference is the actual content of the powers, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    If the wrought iron fence made of tigers between gameplay and story is well and truly torn down and lit on fire (which it should be, and it seems like the designers are interested in doing), "flavor text" and "rules text" are going to be closely linked.
    This is also very foreign to my experience. I'm not familiar with any such fence in any RPG I play - given that fictional positioning interacting with mechanics is of the essence of an RPG, in my view.

    The question I'm interested in is whether the fiction is intended to be shared in the imagination of the particiants indendent of the mechanics - which is often the case in a certain style of illusionist play - or not. What I mean is, if the fiction says that a fall is likely to be fatal, but in fact the typical PC has enough hit points to take the fall and walk away still conscious, then I think there is a gap between fiction and mechanics that I'm not a big fan of. (2nd ed AD&D, in particular, has a tendency to produce this sort of mechanics-independent stipulated fiction). The result is that the players, rather than being able to engage the action resolution mechanics hard in order to shape the fiction, are expected to moderate their use of the action resolution mechanics in order to comply with the stipulated fiction. (Again, 2nd ed AD&D in particular has a lot of this sort of stuff associated with it - players "ought not to be munchkins", "ought not to metagame", etc.)

    If the fiction says that a wizard is scholarly, but nothing in the mechanics stops me from playing my wizard as a know-it-all dilletante with some innate talent and intuition, then the fiction is, for me, just spinning idle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    So I don't think memorization is necessarily linked to spell slots. You can memorize with spell points.
    Yes. That was something I pointed out in my post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamikaze Midget View Post
    The question then becomes: is a Wizard, in part, about memorizing spells?

    I'd say, yes, that's something that's defined wizards in EVERY edition. But certainly that's a topic of potential debate.
    I'm pretty sure that Mearls is canvassing that this may not be the case in D&Dnext. As I said in my post you quoted, when people complain about Vancian wizards, they are typically saying that they don't want to have to memorise. They're not just saying that they want to swap slots-based memorisation for points-based memorisation.

  • #78
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    The main difference between 4e classes and the classes of others editions is that it had "powers" and class features separate in mechanics and fluff. And it is very easy to mix and match "powers" and class features. The tempest fighter is basically the fighter class features with modified versions of ranger powers. The powers were more fighting and magic styles than class styles. All the role mechanics were in the class features. This is why feat multiclassing and hybrids were still so balanced.

    The Next casters are split into two as well. There are fluff class features and the Spellcasting system. Those fluff feature are irritating. You can't just cross out Sorcerer and write Wizard because sorcerers are CHA based, don't have a spell book, and doesn't have a heritage. You'd have to cross out a lot of stuff.

    This is why this new decision is great. No strike outs and massive house rules needed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    Why not go with 4 base classes and let folks customize everything with rules modules?

    Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Warrior, Barbarian - All Fighting men who take different maneuver /feat packages.

    Wizard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Witch - All Magic-Using men that use different spell sub-systems.

    Thief, Bard, Assassin, Scout, Protagonist - All Sneaky bastiches that use various skill types and feat subsystems.

    Cleric, Druid, Shaman - All holy men using different prayer subsystems.
    I'm already leery on mix-n-match spellcasting; this would seal the deal for me. I guess it would depend on how it was implemented, but I'm peery about "choose fighter, take X background, Y specialty, and Z combat package and now you're a ranger!" system of classes. If I have to burn all my customization points to get the feel of a certain class, you've failed already.

    As for casting/magic, we only have four systems available.

    Wizard/Classic Vancian.
    Cleric/Spontaneous Vancian.
    Sorcerer/Spell Points
    Warlock/At-Will magic + encounter powers

    I guess I can see a sorcerer using spontaneous or a Wizard using Spell Points, but anyone want to bother with the unholy nightmare a cleric with At-Will magic will be?
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    There's still a lot of room to explore different class styles aside from the number of spells a wizard gets, and the recharge rate of those spells.

    You can play around with selection of spells, ability augmentations, ranges, damage dice, +/- actual level, special abilities outside of the direct magic system, item abilities (magic book, focus object, etc).

    They've closed one door to specialization between caster classes, but there's still a lot there, and there's tons to be gained by opening them up.

    The trick is defining a role for each class, out side of mechanic we're discussing, and then making sure they're all (somewhat equally) able to complete that task with any of the three systems. Its not impossible, its just going to take a ton of play-testing to balance properly.
    Last edited by VinylTap; Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012 at 03:46 PM.

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