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

reelo

Hero
The game does not go far enough to make PCs of those highest levels feel like they are on the edge of Godhood.

Yawn
PCs-as-almost-gods sounds utterly boring.
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
No. In a fictional book, sure. In a game? No. Any such game would consist of one thing action; magic user casts 'I win'. Game over. No fun.

Wizard: So we have to rescue the prince from a dragon who's allied with a fiend? Piece of cake my friend, I cast "I win!". Tada, I trust the Queen is impressed
DM: Peter, for the last time, we are using Vancian magic!
Wizard(peter): alright, I spend a 4rth level slot to cast "rescue royalty". Satisfied?
DM: rubbing forehead - you can't just make spells up on the spot!
Wizard(Peter): Fine, Fine.... adversarial DMs always ruining my fun
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
No. In a fictional book, sure.
Even then...

Gandalf: the ring must be destroyed!
Sauron: Oh yeah? I cast "I control everything"
Gandalf: oh naughty word!

Hero: Elminster, Elminster, the world is ending!
Elminster: oh bother - has my "everything in the Realms is peaceful and safe and everyone is happy" spell expired already? I suppose I better cast it again!
Hero: I did it, I saved the world!

etc etc
 

Scribe

Legend
Call me crazy, but how magic was described in Dragonlance before (since its the topic of the day) with Raistlin being weak, vulnerable, but also potentially vastly powerful with enough preparation, is pretty much how I'll always view Wizards.

Today's flexibility for casters is...offensive.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Call me crazy, but how magic was described in Dragonlance before (since its the topic of the day) with Raistlin being weak, vulnerable, but also potentially vastly powerful with enough preparation, is pretty much how I'll always view Wizards.

Today's flexibility for casters is...offensive.
You aren't crazy. Both the flexibility & durability are reprehensible in the way that they prevent me as a gm from making cool stuff my caster players might care about. The ability to just shrug & on a whim choose which N level spell or simply upcast that same spell if they run out of level N slots pushes me as a GM to be more restrictive & almost adversarial in my planning.

Back in the day it didn't matter much if a caster blew a particular spell to crank an encounter or part of one down to speedbump levels because it meant they were either not very flexible from doubling up(or more) on that spell or they were out of that tool . Either way they were still squishy AF enough to be sop scared scared of that skeleton pinking from the distance that everyone knew the ranged mooks were prime targets even if all those other baddies were hindered by the spell. Now those mooks are just a pointless waste of time & bookkeeping for the GM since they probably can't hit & probably won't matter so everyone ignores them.
 

There are plenty of RPG magic systems that allow for greater flexibility than D&D. But even those have still have structure and rules. Mage: The Ascension springs to mind immediately. PCs to come up with what their magic does, as long as they have the Spheres and levels of power within them to accomplish it, additionally balanced by the danger of Paradox.

M:tA is also predicated on the idea that everybody is playing a mage. Most games are predicated on a sense of fairness and fun - and it is absolutely no fun for those playing non-casters if wizards can do anything.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I miss the backlash/danger of using magic. I understand that for a player a spell that can blow up in your face can be a turn-off, but overall I think its a great game balancing factor and narrative trope.

I know DCC has incorporated a sort of magical corruption into its system, and if it didn't use a bunch of non-standard dice, I'd consider using it for D&D (assuming I could get player buy it - which would be the real trick).
Whereas I have found such "power at a price" systems provide extreme incentives to breaking both the spirit and the intended play experience in order to minimize the "price" and maximize the "power." Further, because a dead character is usually a speed bump in such systems (because all characters die easily and frequently, most of the time), the "price" is merely a delay, a waiting until you get lucky. Getting a royal flush in a single draw is rare and special. Getting a royal flush when you discard all the cards, shuffle, and start drawing again the instant you get a card that breaks the flush is neither rare nor special: it guarantees you will get one eventually. And winning for long enough to reach the "phenomenal cosmic power" stage of a Wizard is quite a bit easier than repeatedly shuffling and drawing until you get a royal flush. (That is, the probability that you won't ever get a royal flush no matter how many times you try is 0, and it converges to 0 much faster than it would if you were just counting the chance of drawing one outright.)

This is not to say that it is impossible to create a magic system which enforces some degree of risk. Just that, if you do, you must be absolutely certain that there is no way to subvert the price, nor to win the prize without paying. As the game grows more rich in detail, the player's ability to do this grows in combinatoric explosion.
 

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