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Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 04:50 PM #81
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I like this article because it breaks out play-style from character type. A choice of spell system is really one of play style. Folks who want to play Vancian casters want to do so because it adds an interesting strategic challenge in being able to anticipate the spell needs for the day and to expend limited daily resources where they are most effective. Folks who hate Vancian magic either don't want to deal with these strategic issues or just don't want it in their game altogether because it isn't consistent their aesthetic sense of how magic "should work." These are play style issues.
On the other hand, lots of folks -- regardless of their preference in play style -- want to play a bookish wizard character because that's an archtype of the game. The clever part of this design is that the wizard (and presumably cleric) class serves the correct range of character type without locking a player or campaign into a specific play style.
The article notably didn't say how warlocks and sorcerers would work under this new system, but it's actually not that important. These secondary classes are supposed to cover a narrower range of character types. If the mechanics that work with that story are flexible enough that DMs can swap out the spellcasting mechanics, then that is a useful lever to provide. But if the mechanics are more closely tied to a specific structure (like the current version of the warlock), then a few non-modular spellcasting classes won't ruin the advantage of this system.
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Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 05:10 PM #82
Defender (Lvl 8)
First, I agree fighters don't need CS. I'm in the camp that dislikes that option, same with rogue's skill mastery. I think there are certainly lines that should be explored about giving both of these classes more options and power but I don't feel the playtest has gotten anywhere near what I'd like to see for either of these classes or either of their abilities.By this standard fighters don't need CS, rogues don't need skill mastery or sneak attack, etc. Of course you can unify mechanics - there are plenty of RPGs that do just that. But D&D isn't one of them. Each class has its own quirks. By stipulating that all spell casters MUST be malleable in their mechanics you prevent a lot of cool, specific mechanics from being implemented. Just for example, as I've already mentioned, when does a Vancian draconic sorcerer start to grow scales and claws?
Second, I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "each class has its own quirks". I assume you mean that fighters have CS, rogues have sneak attack; therefore wizards, sorcerers and warlocks should be completely different combat styles? If so I disagree, they haven't ALWAYS been this way. In fact this relates closely to the 4e bits I'll bring up later.
Third, in my examples before I have said vancian. When I did I meant it in the way of vancian = spellslots, not necessarily vancian = memorization. I completely agree that certain classes would be ruined by forced memorization. With my way not even all wizards would require that, but I think that the magic systems and WotC material are far from making this second part a reality.
Fourth, I would certainly say, regardless of how they cast their spells, if you want sorcerers to gain claws and scales that is perfectly feasible. For me sorcerers are all about inner magic and spontaneous casting. So, I would be all for inner magic and spontaneous casting... with some extra material to make their grandpappy be a dragon so they now have scales, a breath weapon and claws. How they cast their spells (AEDU, spell-slots, w/e) have nothing to do with that.
I think they need to nail what a class is without their abilities to figure out what their abilities should be. It is entirely possible I'd be more in favour of a warlord type fighter than the CS fighter we have now, if they came at it from the proper vantage. Again, I don't see that happening with their goal of 'feel of each edition' but it is what I would like to see.
I just wanted to add that its more like telling people that they have to choose the colours for their sports team, while giving them three choices and ensuring them the players, playstyles and maneuvers are going to remain the same. I could care less if my team (normally green and gold) came out parading in pink and lilac as long as they kept bashing skulls on the field.
Of course, it does. That should be the idea. If you had the same everything but a different way of casting regardless of magic system then something went wrong (imo). A different spellstyle should give you just that. If I have vancian (again, spell slots not necessarily memorization) and you have AEDU then they should play differently. They should have different skills and certainly different benefits and pitfalls.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.
Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 05:18 PM #83
Defender (Lvl 8)
If you mean 'Role' as in they can use any spell mechanics and still be a controller/striker then OMG I disagree.
Which leads me to...
He, I think, was talking about the problem that all strikers feel like strikers, all tanks feel like tanks. Due to all strikers getting extra damage and all tanks having to mark.
For 5e, not all wizards should be controllers, or strikers. They should all be wizards. Similarly, not all sorcerers should fall into those classic 'Roles' and especially shouldn't fall into the role of wizard. Sorcerers should play differently from wizards, no matter if they use spell slots, spell points, at will + encounter powers, or if they know 2 spells, a breath weapon and carry a greatsword.
WeWotC needs to define the casting classes by more than just HOW they cast. I'm glad they've realized it and are looking to solve that problem.
Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 05:52 PM #84
Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)
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Additionally, if the main differences between the classes are found in the fiddly bits of various easily swappable power cards, then this reinforces their similarity, to me -- you don't have enough differences built into the class itself, if the major difference between a ranger and a fighter is one has twin strike and one has brash strike.
It's kind of how I don't think a new spell list makes for a new class. If you had a class in 3e that was identical to the cleric, but it could cast wizard spells instead of cleric spells, and maybe it had a striker dice instead of a familiar, that wouldn't be different enough for me, either. The class would be too similar. Each 2e specialty priest (with its different spheres and different granted powers) iisn't enough of a change to make an entirely separate class in my mind.
If fluff can be changed without changing the mechanics, the fence is there. 4e is often (rather rightly, IMO) credited with being one of the editions in which the re-skinning is the easiest, BECAUSE of the tenuous connection between fluff and mechanics. So it pretty clearly has the fence as a general rule. I'm sure there's some specific exceptions.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.
If fluff cannot be changed without changing the mechanics, the fence is gone. It does make it a little harder to reskin, but certainly not impossible, especially if you forgo microbalance or encourage expedient construction.
I've known plenty of scholars who are also know-it-all dilletantes with some innate talent and intuition, and vice-versa, so I'm not sure I share this particular threshold, but more relevantly, I'm also not sure what it has to do with the particular magical mechanics.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.
If I have a spell-point wizard and she still memorizes her spells, she's choosing a specific group of spells to be her "spell list" for the day. She determines how many spell points to devote to which spells and later in the day, she can spend the spell points and unleash them. But (hypoethetically) part of playing the wizard as a scholar and an academic is the idea that they are the most effective when they can prepare for the trouble they're going to get into, when they have knowledge before they act, so keeping the memorization mechanic helps wizards to remain a character class that benefits from studying the situation in advance and determining which spells to best apply.
And then I have a spell-point sorcerer and he only gets one spell list, so he spends his spell points on whatever he wants whenever he wants to, and he probably has MORE than the wizard, since part of what a sorcerer has is frequent, innate magic. Spontaneity and creative spell use become more key for such a character.
And the mechanics here can inform fiction. If, in the same game, I also have a slot wizard and a slot sorcerer, the two Colleges of Magic can huff at each other, Slots accusing points of being mathematical and too in the numbers and points accusing slots of being too regimented and not accessing the pool of magical power in general. Or you can use one magic system for the "whole world," (like 3e's slots) and still retain a distinction between the classes.
I wouldn't be so sure about that. People are very imprecise when they throw around the term "Vancian." It might mean memorization, it might mean slots, it might mean Daily abilities, it might mean spells-as-inventions...it might mean ALL of those things, or any one of those things, or potentially even none of those things.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.
Those things aren't necessarily a package. You can have one without another. In my mind, memorization (and thus preparation) is a key part of playing a wizard, but in my mind it's ALSO a key part of playing a wizard that they can "run out of magic" at some point (ie: is Daily-based), and clearly the designers don't agree with THAT. So I'm certainly not saying my idea is The Way It Is. It's a possible option.
It's also a possible option that, like others have said, they ditch the idea of unique magical classes entirely and bring back "Magic User" and let individuals decide between Scholarly Magic and Pact Magic and Heritage Magic and maybe even Divine Magic and do things that way.
It's also possible that none of those happen.
That's part of the thing with this update. It's got a lot of potential as an idea, but it's VERY vague as to what it exactly means.
Last edited by I'm A Banana; Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 06:29 PM #85
Guide (Lvl 11)
I think the core mechanic of using a spell book and preparing some spells should be retained by the Wizard regardless of power distribution mechanisms. The spells a Wizard prepares at the beginning of the day are the spells he casts. Whether he has to prepare each individual casting on a slotted basis or just prepares a smaller suite of spells for the day that he can rattle off spontaneously by slots or mana points is based on the magic system.
Book it; prepare it; cast it (however). <- That's the core of what makes a Wizard what he is as opposed to another type of Arcane caster.
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Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 06:45 PM #86
Defender (Lvl 8)
Total, excellent post, 4th Ed might as well have 4 classes/roles (Controller, Defender, Leader and striker) and after that you choose what features you want, and what powers suit those features.
4th Ed is the closest to class-less D&D (which is fine, as a D&D variant, just not for me).
Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 09:05 PM #87
Magsman (Lvl 14)
Personally, I would be one of the DMs that selects a magic system that doesn't involve spell preparation. I don't enjoy devoting game time for wizard (or other spellcasting) PCs to select spells, and the whole "memorization" fiction doesn't fit my aesthetic sense of "how magic should work." But at the same time, I still want wizard characters with access to the wizard spell list and the ability to choose specializations (or arcane traditions).
If I had to identify the difference between a wizard and a sorcerer, I would say that a wizard had access to a wider range of magical abilities while a sorcerer is focused on a narrower selection of thematically coherent (at least in theory) spells.
Tuesday, 2nd October, 2012, 10:20 PM #88
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Second, having five or seven levels of spells wouldn't actually change the basic conceits of wizard-style spells: spells must have a static power level tied to their level. In 5e, the Fireball spell does the same damage whether you cast it at level 5 or at level 20. By forcing every spellcasting class to fit this mold (in the name of "modularity"), you're actually closing off the very common archetype of a spellcaster who uses a limited number of spells but gets more powerful with them as he/she progresses. The warlock works this way in the playtest and in 3.5e: you're casting Eldritch Blast at level 1 and at level 20, but it gets much more powerful.
IMHO that mode fo thinking leads to the PHB as a Rules Compendium: here is a list of cool mechanics we thought up, mix and match them to make your preferred character. Now we "advanced" players tend to enjoy stuff like that - I personally love homebrewing - but there's a lot to be said for having The Pros design classes all the way through and make them as seamless and elegant as possible.First, I agree fighters don't need CS. I'm in the camp that dislikes that option, same with rogue's skill mastery. I think there are certainly lines that should be explored about giving both of these classes more options and power but I don't feel the playtest has gotten anywhere near what I'd like to see for either of these classes or either of their abilities.
Sorcerers and warlocks only came into existence as 3.x alternates to prepared Vancian spellcasting.Second, I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "each class has its own quirks". I assume you mean that fighters have CS, rogues have sneak attack; therefore wizards, sorcerers and warlocks should be completely different combat styles? If so I disagree, they haven't ALWAYS been this way. In fact this relates closely to the 4e bits I'll bring up later.
I'm sorry - do you mean here that memorization should or shouldn't be required for the wizard class? My assumption from the L&L article was that non-preparation would be an option as well.Third, in my examples before I have said vancian. When I did I meant it in the way of vancian = spellslots, not necessarily vancian = memorization. I completely agree that certain classes would be ruined by forced memorization. With my way not even all wizards would require that, but I think that the magic systems and WotC material are far from making this second part a reality.
To be clearer, in the current playtest the sorcerer automatically grows scales and gains an elemental resistance when he has used 10 willpower (spell points). This specific effect - automatically transform the sorcerer when he's used a chunk of his magical power for the day - would be tough to translate to a spontaneous Vancian system. (Does it trigger when he casts his first level 3 spell of the day? When he casts all his level 2 spells?)Fourth, I would certainly say, regardless of how they cast their spells, if you want sorcerers to gain claws and scales that is perfectly feasible. For me sorcerers are all about inner magic and spontaneous casting. So, I would be all for inner magic and spontaneous casting... with some extra material to make their grandpappy be a dragon so they now have scales, a breath weapon and claws. How they cast their spells (AEDU, spell-slots, w/e) have nothing to do with that.
They already tried this in the abstract a while back with L&L columns on class concepts. We got lots of stuff like "the fighter is good at fighting" and "the paladin hates evii," which IMHO doesn't get you very far WITHOUT some specific mechanics to tie it to. That's the thing: the mechanical execution is closely tied to the feel of the class.I think they need to nail what a class is without their abilities to figure out what their abilities should be. It is entirely possible I'd be more in favour of a warlord type fighter than the CS fighter we have now, if they came at it from the proper vantage. Again, I don't see that happening with their goal of 'feel of each edition' but it is what I would like to see.
To take a 4e example: if I asked you what the fighter is, you wouldn't say, "He's a guy who marks his enemies so he gets free attacks on them if they attack someone else." But in thinking through the martial defender concept and how it would play out, they came up with marking mechanics - which I believe are actually quite good at making the player "feel" like a defender.
Spellcasting mechanics seem the same to me. Want the wizard to be a nerdy guy who gets incredible power through careful study and preparation? Make preparation a key part of playing the class effectively. Want the warlock to be a guy who makes a deal to borrow magical power but at a deep personal cost? Well, he's not going to need to study like the wizard, and he's not going to drain all his energy in casting - after all, the whole point is that his magic is supposed to come "easy!" Give him encounter powers instead but make him stay in close magical contact with his patron. The mechanics reinforce the archetype and spur the player to approach situations like his character would.
Wednesday, 3rd October, 2012, 12:12 AM #89
Guide (Lvl 11)
I like it. Keep the variant systems out of the PHB
Personally, what I really like about Vancian magic is the "gotta catch 'em all" aspect of discrete spells-as-treasure. I hope that's considered a core aspect of the Wizard class.
Wednesday, 3rd October, 2012, 02:16 AM #90
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
But it is possible to define wizard as "guy who gets a magic system" and then have his class features be essentially "turns magic system up to 11 through superior bookish practices that come with their own limits". Consider spell memorization (preparation) versus swapping spells each day. Those can be set up to more or less cancel out in a base system. Then the wizard, instead of casting in armor or whatever class features other classes might have, may have a wider range of spells to swap.
It's possible that some such class features might not be equally useful for every possible magic system, but I don't think that's necessarily a problem. We aren't going to have perfect symmetry between N classes and M magic systems in any combination. So if the wizard's class features steer him towards a subset, but still decent variety, of possible magic systems, with other magic systems working ok but not quite as well, that's about the best we can hope for anyway.