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D&D 5E 5e fireballs

JRRNeiklot

First Post
Hmmm... I wonder how many players share your outlook? (That's not rhetorical btw, I think I'll set up a poll.)

This is tricky. I'm having a hard time imagining a solution that would satisfy both your preference and other play styles.

Most people I knew house-ruled their way around at least some of those restrictions, because they didn't like them, which obviously tended to create balance issues. As such, my experience is with those who like powerful wizards, but don't want to deal with all of the balancing restrictions. Clearly, that doesn't apply to you.

Going back to this style without giving players a means to opt-out (other than simply not playing a wizard) would probably alienate a lot of people, which is rather antithetical for the "unifying edition". Of course, abandoning it entirely sounds like it will alienate anyone who shares your views.

Those houserules, as you say, created all source of balance issues, and by becoming core in 3e created all kind of problems, among them the 15 minute day and the power discrepancy between the wizard and fighter.

Let me address each of them briefly.

-Wizards had the highest xp requirements of any class.

Being a wizard is HARD. Otherwise, there'd be a ton of wizards, and the entire milieu changes. It changes from a psuedo-medieval world to the world of Harry Potter.

-Wizard saving throws, most notably against death magic, sucked.

Yes, but most death magic is from a spell, so they have the best in the game at those. Death magic also falls under the same heading as poison and paralyzation, wizards, being frail and not very athletic are not very good at overcoming poison and lack the strength to fight off paralyzation. Their saves represent a wizard being studied in the arts, they know just how to react against magic, but not so much against physical stuff. So, why can't I play an athletic wizard? Because AD&D is about archetypes. Conan the librarian is not an archetype.

-Their "Thac0" was only 13 at level 20. (Their ability to hit sucked.)

Rightly so, they are magic users, not fighters. If they learn how to fight very well, their study of magic will suffer. There's only so much time in the day, after all. Note that at 1st level, they are every bit as good at hitting things as a fighter. That's why the exp requirement is so high at lower levels, then gradually gets easier.

-Any damage would automatically waste the spell. Since actions were declared before initiative was rolled, and initiative was rolled every round, you never knew how many attacks you might take before finishing your spell.
Removing this mechanic was 3es biggest mistake. It made wizards into gods. There's no easy way to interrupt a spell, it requires readying a partial action. You only have one shot, and that's your round. Inefficient and more importantly, boring. Spells must have some sort of casting time.

-Wizards had a measly average of 34.5 hp at level 20. Note that this means he could be killed by an average 20d6 fireball, regardless of whether he makes the saving throw or not. He can kill himself quite easily.

Yes. As noted above, if you study 16 hours a day, you will never be a professional wrestler. It keeps the wizard within his archetype. He doesn't wade into battle unless there's no other alternative. And why should he? He's not a fighter.

-They had quite severe limits on the number of spells they could learn (from 6 to 18 spells, barring a 19 Int), and had only a percentage chance that they could ever learn a given spell (from 35% to 85%, barring a 19 Int). Since stats were rolled in those days, it wasn't unusual to see a 16 Int Wizard (can only learn 11 spells per spell level, and only has a 65% chance to learn that given spell, and can never cast 9th level spells). If you failed your check to learn the spell, you could never learn that spell (barring not meeting you minimum number of spells limit). Envision yourself as a fire mage but rolled a 89 for fireball? Sucks to be you; you'll never be able to cast fireball.

Without the chance to learn spell mechanic, most wizard will have the exact same spell list. Yeah, you might have a couple different spells for flavor, but seriously, what wizard doesn't know magic missile? It provides for variance among wizards, yet doesn't make you useless if you fail the roll. For example, here's the list of spells my 5th level mu CAN"T cast: Identify, Wizard Eye, Web, Melf's Acid Arrow, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter, Invisibility, Hold Person, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Fly, Melf's Minute Meteors. Would you call him useless? You'd be mistaken. He has sleep, magic missile, charm person, mirror image, stinking cloud, phantasmal force, dispel magic, monster summoning I, Invisibility 10' radius, and several utility spells. He gets along just fine.

-They couldn't wear armor at all.
Nor should they. Armor is for lesser mortals who can't warp the fabric of reality. It doesn't fit the archetype.

-They couldn't circumvent vocal, somatic, or material component requirements by any means (no Still Spell, etc.).

Again, this is both thematic and a balancing factor. Tie a wizard up and he can't fry you in your sleep.

Many spells had significant drawbacks. Some had expensive material components (5,000 gp to cast shapechange), while other spells had serious drawbacks, such as polymorph other requiring a system shock roll just to survive it and another roll for the mind to remain intact (useful against enemies, but potentially disasterous if cast upon a party member).

These are more of the balancing factors of magic. Magic is a resource to be hoarded, used when necessary, not thrown at every simple problem in your path. When magic becomes spammable, at will, it is no longer special and no longer magic. Polymorph becomes a high risk/high reward spell, not a standard procedure.

-Spell resistance was a flat percentage, unlike 3e. Many high level creatures were practically impervious to magical attack. And let's not forget that you were completely boned in an anti-magic field.

Not all tools work on all jobs. Sometimes you have to improvise. Besides, isn't that the point of an anti-magic field?


All of these factors both make playing a magic user challenging and fun, and keep him from overshadowing the rest of the party. Now, I'm not saying it should be ported whole cloth into 5e, after all, then it would just be a clone of 1e. I am saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Keep the thematic elements of 1e magic, keep the strangeness of magic, keep drawbacks. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more spells per day at lower levels, but from about 5th level on, 1e is just about perfect. Enough to do the job, but not enough that you just spam the left mouse button.
 
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Fanaelialae

Legend
Those houserules, as you say, created all source of balance issues, and by becoming core in 3e created all kind of problems, among them the 15 minute day and the power discrepancy between the wizard and fighter.

Let me address each of them briefly.



Being a wizard is HARD. Otherwise, there'd be a ton of wizards, and the entire milieu changes. It changes from a psuedo-medieval world to the world of Harry Potter.



Yes, but most death magic is from a spell, so they have the best in the game at those. Death magic also falls under the same heading as poison and paralyzation, wizards, being frail and not very athletic are not very good at overcoming poison and lack the strength to fight off paralyzation. Their saves represent a wizard being studied in the arts, they know just how to react against magic, but not so much against physical stuff. So, why can't I play an athletic wizard? Because AD&D is about archetypes. Conan the librarian is not an archetype.



Rightly so, they are magic users, not fighters. If they learn how to fight very well, their study of magic will suffer. There's only so much time in the day, after all. Note that at 1st level, they are every bit as good at hitting things as a fighter. That's why the exp requirement is so high at lower levels, then gradually gets easier.


Removing this mechanic was 3es biggest mistake. It made wizards into gods. There's no easy way to interrupt a spell, it requires readying a partial action. You only have one shot, and that's your round. Inefficient and more importantly, boring. Spells must have some sort of casting time.



Yes. As noted above, if you study 16 hours a day, you will never be a professional wrestler. It keeps the wizard within his archetype. He doesn't wade into battle unless there's no other alternative. And why should he? He's not a fighter.



Without the chance to learn spell mechanic, most wizard will have the exact same spell list. Yeah, you might have a couple different spells for flavor, but seriously, what wizard doesn't know magic missile? It provides for variance among wizards, yet doesn't make you useless if you fail the roll. For example, here's the list of spells my 5th level mu CAN"T cast: Identify, Wizard Eye, Web, Melf's Acid Arrow, Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter, Invisibility, Hold Person, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Fly, Melf's Minute Meteors. Would you call him useless? You'd be mistaken. He has sleep, magic missile, charm person, mirror image, stinking cloud, phantasmal force, dispel magic, monster summoning I, Invisibility 10' radius, and several utility spells. He gets along just fine.


Nor should they. Armor is for lesser mortals who can't warp the fabric of reality. It doesn't fit the archetype.



Again, this is both thematic and a balancing factor. Tie a wizard up and he can't fry you in your sleep.

Many spells had significant drawbacks. Some had expensive material components (5,000 gp to cast shapechange), while other spells had serious drawbacks, such as polymorph other requiring a system shock roll just to survive it and another roll for the mind to remain intact (useful against enemies, but potentially disasterous if cast upon a party member).

These are more of the balancing factors of magic. Magic is a resource to be hoarded, used when necessary, not thrown at every simple problem in your path. When magic becomes spammable, at will, it is no longer special and no longer magic. Polymorph becomes a high risk/high reward spell, not a standard procedure.



Not all tools work on all jobs. Sometimes you have to improvise. Besides, isn't that the point of an anti-magic field?


All of these factors both make playing a magic user challenging and fun, and keep him from overshadowing the rest of the party. Now, I'm not saying it should be ported whole cloth into 5e, after all, then it would just be a clone of 1e. I am saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it. Keep the thematic elements of 1e magic, keep the strangeness of magic, keep drawbacks. I wouldn't mind seeing a few more spells per day at lower levels, but from about 5th level on, 1e is just about perfect. Enough to do the job, but not enough that you just spam the left mouse button.

Perfect for a certain play style. If it was truly perfect, there wouldn't have been tons of folks trying to improve upon it with house rules. Therein lies the problem.

Not everyone likes that play style. You can say that it's traditional, but that only carries you so far when everyone and their brother knows someone who tinkered with those 1e rules.

I don't think you could just slightly tweak the 1e wizard, and still call 5e the edition that will unify. Even though I recognize that it had balancing factors, and that they were well considered for what they were, I don't agree with all of them. For example, I don't agree that a less difficult wizard (standardized xp requirements and higher starting hp) equates to more wizards in the campaign world. From my perspective, XP is a gamist element and it makes sense that most wizards would advance through arduous years of study rather than adventuring. The adventuring wizard is the exception, rather than the rule, and therefore you can't base the campaign world upon him (it'd be like basing a world on the idea that every politician is Theodore Roosevelt). Don't get me wrong; I understand where you're coming from, I just don't agree with it.

Whether you like it or not, D&D has expanded beyond the 1e wizard. We've seen armored mages, wizards who don't need somatic components, and casters who don't automatically lose their spell when damaged. The genie is out of the bottle so to speak, and to put him back would alienate many.

Now, it certainly wouldn't be impossible to create an alternate magic system based around the 1e wizard, but it would require considerable effort (I suspect). Would it be worth it? I can't say one way or the other. The poll I posted is an attempt to get a feel for that (though hardly a conclusive one). I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, but as I've said before, I wouldn't want it to be the default.
 

JRRNeiklot

First Post
Perfect for a certain play style. If it was truly perfect, there wouldn't have been tons of folks trying to improve upon it with house rules. Therein lies the problem.

Not everyone likes that play style. You can say that it's traditional, but that only carries you so far when everyone and their brother knows someone who tinkered with those 1e rules.

Sure, play how you like, but this is supposed to be the all inclusive edition. Not the, 33-4e hybrid edition with a flavor bone thrown toward 1e. If they want the old school crowd back, they are going to have to support their play style too.
 

Banshee16

First Post
I see your point, but I didn't mean to restrict casters 4e style. I'm fine with a free choice of spells that can do all kinds of things, but the number of spells known and spells per day gets out of control at high levels. These could easily be restricted.

I'm also referring to limits such as placing higher casting times or ritualizing powerful spells, adding more costly or damaging components, or otherwise making it more difficult to learn or cast spells. None of these things takes the magic out of magic.

I was thinking you were thinking 4E style. What I'd like to avoid is a situation where mages are restricted to only having combat spells, and all the interesting utility or more "role playing" oriented spells are restricted to rituals.

To me rituals are something crazy that a spellcaster can't do on his own....like a circle of 5 mages cooperatively casting a spell beyond their individual talents, and dragging a dragon shrieking out of the sky and binding it to earth, where groundbound fighters can kill it.

Or sacrificing a virgin to grant immortality to an evil king, severing a cleric from the power of his god, or raising a castle out of the ground. Really epic cool stuff that's beyond the bounds of what a wizard (or any other spellcaster) would do in the course of an ordinary day.

I don't see a ritual as being the new way of casting a knock spell, since only combat oriented spells are available as "ordinary" spells.

Banshee
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
I was thinking you were thinking 4E style.
If you thought that you obviously haven't read many of my other posts. ;)

What I'd like to avoid is a situation where mages are restricted to only having combat spells, and all the interesting utility or more "role playing" oriented spells are restricted to rituals.

To me rituals are something crazy that a spellcaster can't do on his own....like a circle of 5 mages cooperatively casting a spell beyond their individual talents, and dragging a dragon shrieking out of the sky and binding it to earth, where groundbound fighters can kill it.

Or sacrificing a virgin to grant immortality to an evil king, severing a cleric from the power of his god, or raising a castle out of the ground. Really epic cool stuff that's beyond the bounds of what a wizard (or any other spellcaster) would do in the course of an ordinary day.

I don't see a ritual as being the new way of casting a knock spell, since only combat oriented spells are available as "ordinary" spells.
I would also like to avoid mages exclusively focused on combat (unless of course the player wants). I think the role for rituals can be significant and can include everyday spells, but I certainly don't want to see all noncombat or open-ended spells moved there, not by a long shot. A lot of the game-breakers could be (resurrection, scrying, etc.) but only if the ritual style casting makes sense.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Sure, play how you like, but this is supposed to be the all inclusive edition. Not the, 33-4e hybrid edition with a flavor bone thrown toward 1e. If they want the old school crowd back, they are going to have to support their play style too.

IMO, they can support the 1e play style without copying the exact mechanics.

If the default wizard has potent abilities, but is quite fragile and needs to be both played intelligently and protected in order to succeed, they'll have succeeded in supporting that aspect of the 1e play style (IMO). From what little we've heard, it sounds like they're on the right track to me.

My favorite edition is 4e, but I'm not expecting D&DN to be 4e. There have been plenty of examples (like vancian spell casting) to clearly indicate that D&DN won't be 4e. IMO, there's nothing wrong with that; if I prefer and want to play 4e, I'll still have 4e.

The new edition may be intentionally inclusive, but I think it's important to remember that it is a new edition. That means it isn't any of the old editions, though we may notice aspects of each therein. It won't be 1e, or 2e, or 3e, or 4e though. If we're not open to the possibility of achieving similar ends through differing means, I don't think we'll find D&DN to our liking.
 

Banshee16

First Post
Okay, but my earlier point still stands. If fireball is a killer spell, then a single target spell of equal level has to be a more killer spell. If fireball is a killer spell, what role does the rest of the party play (they're preferably not just there to be cheerleaders for the mage)? Are they only there for encounters where the wizard chooses not to cast fireball? Is there not perhaps some middle ground for others to contribute as well?


Additionally, mages had a lot of weaknesses in 1e. If you want spells like a 1e fireball, you should be willing to accept the 1e drawbacks that balanced them. These include:

-Wizards had the highest xp requirements of any class.

-Wizard saving throws, most notably against death magic, sucked.

-Their "Thac0" was only 13 at level 20. (Their ability to hit sucked.)

-Any damage would automatically waste the spell. Since actions were declared before initiative was rolled, and initiative was rolled every round, you never knew how many attacks you might take before finishing your spell.

-Wizards had a measly average of 34.5 hp at level 20. Note that this means he could be killed by an average 20d6 fireball, regardless of whether he makes the saving throw or not. He can kill himself quite easily.

-They had quite severe limits on the number of spells they could learn (from 6 to 18 spells, barring a 19 Int), and had only a percentage chance that they could ever learn a given spell (from 35% to 85%, barring a 19 Int). Since stats were rolled in those days, it wasn't unusual to see a 16 Int Wizard (can only learn 11 spells per spell level, and only has a 65% chance to learn that given spell, and can never cast 9th level spells). If you failed your check to learn the spell, you could never learn that spell (barring not meeting you minimum number of spells limit). Envision yourself as a fire mage but rolled a 89 for fireball? Sucks to be you; you'll never be able to cast fireball.

-They couldn't wear armor at all.

-They couldn't circumvent vocal, somatic, or material component requirements by any means (no Still Spell, etc.).

-Many spells had significant drawbacks. Some had expensive material components (5,000 gp to cast shapechange), while other spells had serious drawbacks, such as polymorph other requiring a system shock roll just to survive it and another roll for the mind to remain intact (useful against enemies, but potentially disasterous if cast upon a party member).

-Spell resistance was a flat percentage, unlike 3e. Many high level creatures were practically impervious to magical attack. And let's not forget that you were completely boned in an anti-magic field.


Personally, I much prefer a toned down version of fireball and a mage with a few less restrictions. I like the idea that a mage can choose spells that conform to his concept. I like that some mages might learn to cast spells without somatic components (useful if you're bound). I like a wizard who can't be one-shot by his own fireball, regardless of whether he makes his save. I think an armored mage could be interesting. I don't think that mages should automatically waste their spell if they get hit (they ought to at least get a save or something). I don't think anti-magic fields should exist any more than anti-sword-swinging fields should exist. That's just me though.

I'm in favour of restoring some of those restrictions from 1E and 2E...fireballs filling a space, lightning bolts bouncing, having to roll to learn spells (maybe), system shock rolls, and making it a little more difficult for wizards to cast while being damaged.

That having been said, I'm *not* in favour of restoring fireballs to being able to do 20d6 damage. I did feel that 10d6 was a good amount, that was only really problematic when you had characters gaining full HD and CON bonuses for their entire careers.

As to spell resistance..yes, there were many spell resistant creatures in earlier editions....but those weren't flat percentages. Effective spell resistance vs. a caster went up or down based on a caster's level. I believe spell resistance went up by 5% for every lvl below 11 that a spellcaster was, and it went down by 5% for every level over 11 that they were. 3E used a simplified means of calculating that, by having a pure level based addition to a d20 roll, which was consistent with the mechanism for resolving other actions.

As to roles that other party members would have.....as I mention above, I'm not advocating fireball going back to 20d6 maximum. There are higher level spells for that.. I'm just questioning the statement that fireball is for clearing out vermin which is, IMO, more of a 4E idea.

I like the idea of combat maneouvers. These were introduced back in 1st Ed. in Dragon Magazine.....I don't remember the issue#, but the article had a picture of a fighter facing off against a marilith demon. I used those maneouvers through 2nd Ed. in my campaigns (I had older 1st Ed Dragon magazines from an older kid on my street who got rid of his stash.....but I only got into the game a few months to a year before 2nd Ed was released).

As such, in 5E, I don't want to see spellcasters pigeonholed to a small stack of combat related spells, or see their spells too restricted....but I *do* like the idea of martial classes (barbarian, fighter, rogue, ranger, paladin, assassin) having a series of martial maneouvers which give them a much more flexible/powerful set of options than stock characters of those types had in the first 3 editions of the game.

I like the idea of parry rules, ripostes etc. and would love a form of granularity (even if it was some of these options they talk about) that would allow for these things to be included in the game. I never had problems with spellcasters dominating in my games.......but even back in 2nd Ed when I used those combat maneouvers they gave *alot* of flexibility and flair and power to fighters. I think those are worth additions to the game.

Does that make any sense?

Banshee
 

You know, I'm thinking the love for things like spell learning chances is based around a mind-set not seen in D&D in some time.

Namely, that getting a PC to a high level (subjectively speaking) was an accomplishment. That to get where you are today, you had to scrimp and save and scrape by, and eke out every last exp you could lay your hands on against a hostile universe.

I don't think the last two editions have had that mindset. 3rd ed. introduced the wealth-by-level guidelines, and made it really easy to lay hands on whatever gear you thought you needed. 4th came right out and said (or at least strongly implied) that PCs should be given whatever magic items they thought they would like.

Before 3rd ed, you didn't have ANY official rules for building characters higher that 1st level. Even allowing the concept was up to your DM. 3rd ed made it easy, and expected.

I'm not saying that either play style was wrong. I love 3.5/pathfinder, but sometimes think a cold-blooded "earn your happy ending" game would be fun. But I think that WotC shifted the mind-set of the game to "play what you think would be fun", instead of the Gygaxian "play what you rolled and, if you're lucky, maybe you'll get to name level" thinking.
 

Banshee16

First Post
If you thought that you obviously haven't read many of my other posts. ;)

I would also like to avoid mages exclusively focused on combat (unless of course the player wants). I think the role for rituals can be significant and can include everyday spells, but I certainly don't want to see all noncombat or open-ended spells moved there, not by a long shot. A lot of the game-breakers could be (resurrection, scrying, etc.) but only if the ritual style casting makes sense.

Ok, I can agree in principle. I don't mind things like resurrection being rituals etc.


I just hate the idea of the entire class being shoehorned into a narrow focus, or the idea that the game is only about combat. It *is* for some groups, but the rules also need to support a style of play that is more roleplaying/exploration based.

Banshee
 

Hussar

Legend
See, the problem with including non-combat and combat spells together is that you have a limited number of spell slots. Which means that the narrow focus non-combat spells will virtually never be memorized unless you know that you're going to need them.

So, take something like Comprehend Languages. It's a pretty rare player that would take Comprehend Languages before, say, Sleep. And, because most of the situations where you would need Comprehend Languages (such as reading something) can typically wait until the next day, you probably have the spell in your book and then use it as is convenient.

I'd much prefer a system where your daily resources aren't being taken up by stuff that is so narrowly focused. Make something like Knock, or Comprehend Languages a ritual, have it cost something (not necessarily money - time is fine) and leave the daily resources for stuff that is going to make the game more exciting.
 

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