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


As others said, I agree that Vancian magic is limiting but what we have is neo-Vancian at best. Magic is no longer finite. Spellcasters don’t start their journey like a loaded gun with specific bullets. The only real vancian element left is that spells are packaged and that your fireball cannot be tuned down to light your cigarette.

As for magic should be able to do anything, I kind of agree but characters definitely shouldn’t.

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The current status of spells as essentially a toolbox of discrete options that always work a certain way doesn't quite hit what I would want from magic, either. I'd love if we could get some words of power mixing magic a la Ars Magica, so long as it could be handled in a way that wasn't overly complicated or fiddly.

I definitely wouldn't want any given wizard to just be able to do anything though.


5e does a good job handling casting/spells per day IMO. It's essentially a tiered spell point system that represents the expanding abilities of a disciplined mind (or spirit, or faith). As the individual gains more experience, the mind is able to store more spell power.

Now, the question as to whether the spells themselves should be more flexible/creative, is a worthwhile question.

i think that magic in fantasy should be able to do anything. anyone agree with me?

The Dark Sword RPG had a method for allowing magic to do anything. Can't really recall how well it worked.

My feeling is fantasy magic should vary by setting and by game. D&D has vancian which I think works for it. But I like having other RPGs with different approaches. How a game tackles magic seems like a pretty fundamental choice to the feel it achieves.


Whether it's Vancian or something else, I want rules for all magic systems in fantasy fiction. Just establish the rules for how things work and I'll accept just about anything you throw at me. So there's going to be some limits on magic as there should be.

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