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D&D General anyone think that vancian magic is limited?

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Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
It’s very limited, by design. Gary Gygax was very concerned with gameplay balance (even if his method of balancing may seem a bit strange by today’s standards), and he created a spellcasting mechanic inspired by Jack Vance’s novels specifically in order to limit the potential versatility that magic could grant to a character. Sure, magic can do anything, but you need to know the right spell, to have the power to cast it, and to have the foresight to prepare it in advance, and you could only do this so many times per day. Otherwise, he reasoned, it would be impossible to challenge a magic-using character.
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World Traveller (She/Her)
I like Vancian magic as a gameplay mechanic. Its interesting to me personally and people often say restrictions breed creativity. So, yes, I suppose it is limited, but that's by design and I like it that way.

Plus, this is a game after all. There is a point to be made that magic in the narrative of a fantasy world should be limitless (although that poses its own problematic narrative implications), but in a game context you need rules and so you'll have to constrict your choices.


A suffusion of yellow
There needs to be ways to limit spell utility for game balance and while original style Vancian is a horrible mechanic, the updated version with its spell points, exchangable slots etc is better.

I prefer skill based magic which would allow a caster to do anything provided they can beat the DC


Victoria Rules
i think that magic in fantasy should be able to do anything. anyone agree with me?
No, unless one a) wants a game where playing a caster is the only way to have any fun and b) is ready for the DM to bust out the same trick on behalf of the opposition. PCs would have lifespans of fruit flies - and here I thought I was a letahl DM! :)


Yes, vancian magic is quite limited. That is why I am glad that D&D dropped it and no longer uses "Fire and Forget" spellcasting.
Having spell slots does not make the system Vancian, it is the memorise/prepare the spells you want and forget them each spell you cast. Want to cast a spell twice in a day, you have to prepare it twice. That's Vancian. 5e doesn't use this anymore.

Should fantasy magic be able to do anything? No!
Definitely not. If magic can do anything, then any problem can be overcome easily with magic. Need to dispose of an evil magic ring? No need to organise a fellowship to trek across a continent to a specific volcano, a wizard could just use magic to destroy the ring, since magic can do anything. Any fantasy story would be extremely boring if magic is unlimited and can just solve the plot.

This is even more important in a RPG game because there needs to be some sort of balance between magic users and non magic users. There have to be limits to the Wizard etc PCs so they don't solve everything all the time.

There could certainly be different ways of doing magic that didn't involve spell slots and allowed magic users to do at will magic with any effect within a limited power range. But defining those power limits gets trick when you are trying to keep them balance(ish) with martial fighters. There are already balance issues with the current system, so I wouldn't want a system that makes magic have less limits. At least for a D&D style game with a mix of PC types. If you are playing a system where everyone uses magic then that is a different kettle of apples and oranges.

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