D&D 5E [5E] To Vance or not to Vance - That is the Question


First Post
I think they should scrap both systems. I like the idea of having some basic attacks as at-wills, but more useful ones should have some type of recoverable mana system so that you can't blast away all day with them, but you can cast a good spell more than 1/day.

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I will say that I don't mind Vancian magic in the ritual context. If ritual magic is slow, I think it would be OK if certain classes had the ability to prepare (memorize) the ritual ahead of time, allowing that ritual to be cast in combat time.

Similarly, if other characters with the appropriate power source want to learn arcane attack spells/powers as slow casting rituals (perhaps as mass combat battlefield magic), that would all seem reasonable to me.



I want Vancian magic to be killed, beheaded, have a stake driven through its heart, and be buried at a crossroads! Is that going to happen? Of course not. So the best I can hope for is that the options will be something I can use right out of the box. And Rituals need to stay.


First Post
One thing I'd like to see in optional rules in some supplement is non-spell magic. Magic that isn't limited to a predefined effect and can be used to solve problems like skills can. Good rules for that kind of magic would enable many of my world ideas.



I put vancian magic on the same level as THAC0. It serves no good purpose, but acts as an ugly spot on the system.

I don't even like the 4E's vancian off-shoot elements.

So no, cheers.

I don't mind spellcasting having limits, but I don't like the Can to Can't structure. Perhaps something like a minus to hit with tricky spells, or .... anything other than vancian.

I see what you are saying about having the option, but can't imagine why anyone would actually want it.

I want 5E to draw upon all the good in all the editions. Vancian magic isn't one of them.


If the stated goal is to unify, then it must be possible (to a significant degree) for people who love Vancian to have it, and those who loathe it to avoid it. At the very, very least this means they'll try to make sure a person can play a character that matches their preference. For a great many people that will be enough. The next toughest crowd are those who won't play in a group where anyone, even monsters or other players, might possibly use the loathed rules. For this demographic, playing D&D then depends on finding a group that is willing to not use the loathed rule at all. This is certainly possible for many of the most polarizing rules, except in those areas where any gaming group is a rare find. Still, for the vast majority, it will probably be enough. Finally, there is the absolute toughest group of people who might in principle play D&D: those who won't play with a system that supports the loathed rule, even if it is actually avoided like the plague in some group. I have to believe there are very few people who would avoid a game table that forbids Vancian casting principally because the system allows Vancian casting. It'd be like me hating Incarnum so much that I wouldn't play at a 3.5 game where it will never be used. I won't say they don't exist, but as a marketable segment? No.

Personally, I think there is room for even building Vancian and non-Vancian casting into the same basic structure, without entirely separate systems (not that I'd object to that either). Start with a spell point system, for example, and let a character "memorize" spells that removes from the spell point pool, but adds bonus "effective" spell points that can only be used to cast the memorized spell. A caster can then spend all their spell points in this fashion every day, and totally emulate Vancian casting. For people who are bothered that their character could, in principle, not use this Vancian method, simply make a little feature they can take that says this caster must spend all its points every on memorization. Other people could remain totally spontaneous, as still others could find their own balance. That is how the Wizard in my homebrew system works, at least. (The other details of how spellcasting works in my game make sure that the Wizard doesn't end up with so many extra spell points they can spam with impunity.)

Personally, the improvement (IMHO, of course) I most hope for from spells in 5e is continuity. In all existing editions of D&D it bothers me that something like "Delayed blast fireball" is separate from "Fireball", and can even be learned without the latter. Metamagic in 3/3.5 eased my pain somewhat, but it was clunky for all but the most basic improvements. And the replacement of powers in 4e irked me even more. I would much rather that spells were base spells plus small trees of upgrades. It is scalable (the upgrades), avoids pointless repetition (a robust base spell list), and flexible (not every upgrade needs to be universal). And assuming learning new spells or upgrading existing ones comes from the same basic "pool" of character resources, whether a caster wants to master a very small set or dabble in lots of base spells could be their choice. Finally, if you want to emulate the old-style of spells (treating a base spell + given upgrades as a unique spell), it is a paragraph of rules at most. To me that meets what appears to be the relevant design goals of the 5e team.
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That "isn’t and can’t be" is a direct plea to shade answers in a particular direction.

If that isn't your intent, mea culpa...but in that case, you need to be more careful about how you phrase things.

For future reference, the phrase "I would posit" roughly translates to "the following is my own opinion, feel free to debate it."


First Post
I have no problem with going to a more V magic system, as long as casters are not gonna have to fall back on a dagger, staff or crossbow. I think those days are gone, and should be.


Staff member
For future reference, the phrase "I would posit" roughly translates to "the following is my own opinion, feel free to debate it."

"Posit" has many definitions- that one included.

IME, in law, that statement in the OP would draw an objection for leading, and in advertising/marketing research, that slanted phraseology would get tossed from a survey for suggesting the answer. It taints your data pool and resultant data.

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