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5E Are components (V,S,M) and schools in spell writeups really necessary for spells anymore?


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nevin

Explorer
I guess I'm in the "Not Broken/Don't Fix" camp. I don't have a problem with components and schools.

They are as "relevant" and "necessary" as your DM wants them to be, I guess. Folks that don't want them can ignore them easily enough...a lot easier than it would be for folks who do want them to add them back in, anyway.
The bug value for me is for spells like Wish. If my high level players want to do magic like that it cost them time and effort to do so. if they want a True old school 1e style wish that's even possible if they get the right components. Though I've only had two groups go through that long process.

honestly I don't track them forostspells but there are a few spells that I do.

But the key is whatever they can do there are potential enemies who can do it as well. And any enemy who can memorize and cast spells shouldn't be stupid.
 

nevin

Explorer
Yeah, I tend to find that "You need to have your arcane focus in your hand" is equally restrictive and removes some legacy text that otherwise we completely ignore. It doesn't hurt to have, but I won't weep if it vanishes either, because I prefer making up my own types of things.

Schools of magic though... I would want to keep them if they were more comprehensive. The only time they matter outside of the wizard is when using detect magic... and the issue is that few magic items have a clear school of magic, same with a lot of magical traps. So, the DM has to suddenly start making things up, and then for a lot of players hearing "You detect Abjuration magic" is about as helpful as hearing "The monster is a giant Crocuta."

So, I think we either need to lean more heavily into defining magic, or back out, but we are in a weird middle place which is putting an unnecessary pressure on the DM.
I generally just wing it and give my specialty "bad casters". appropriately powered spells. for example in my Orc necromancers cast spells like flay that do exactly the same damage as fireball but cause little bitss of skin or large bits of skin to be peeled off as if by a sharp knives. or bleed exactly same damage as magic missile but you start bleeding from eyes ears mouth etc. I used to try to make sure it was all unique but just changing the description of how the magazine c works and making it's effects similar to an existing spell. works pretty well for flavor and flexibility
 

nevin

Explorer
In general, not really. Resistances and vulnerabilities are more element-based or damage-type based; and while casters are free to focus on a particular type of magic e.g. summonings or blast-castings or divinations it's by their own (player's) choice for flavour or characterization and doesn't have much if any mechanical impact.

The only exception sometimes is illusions, but there's a whole class for those. :)

Never mind that some of the school designations don't mesh with how I view the fiction. Cure spells, for example, have always been part of the necromantic school; and though this is technically within the definition of necromancy, to me necromancy has always carried an evil side to it - which is the exact opposite of curing, I'd think. :)
I've played a little with good necromancers who heal and try to undo what their twisted brethren do but it just confused players and really what you have then is a cleric without a god. which is great for evil necromancers twisting up everything but it doesn't seem to work well the other way
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I've been considering implementing components by class:

Artificer = M + S
Wizards = M + V + S
Cleric = V + F (holy symbol [god radio])
Druid = V, S, + F (mistletoe or similar)
Sorcerer = V, S
Bard = V + F (instrument + music)
Warlock = S + V ( + F [pact boon])
Paladin = V + S
Ranger = M + S
Generally what I'm thinking of, though I'd need to consider the proposed Psion class into it all. Many would say the Psion would use no components: even though if using inspiration like comicbook superpowers or mysticism like yoga there's some physical actions involved even if it's touching ones forehead, staring at something like your constipated or forcing energy though actions.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Generally what I'm thinking of, though I'd need to consider the proposed Psion class into it all. Many would say the Psion would use no components: even though if using inspiration like comicbook superpowers or mysticism like yoga there's some physical actions involved even if it's touching ones forehead, staring at something like your constipated or forcing energy though actions.
One proposal I saw on the forums here had the psion gradually lose the need for various components as they gained levels. So they may have required some spell components at first, but then slowly learn to outgrow the need for them.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I've been considering implementing components by class:

Artificer = M + S
Wizards = M + V + S
Cleric = V + F (holy symbol [god radio])
Druid = V, S, + F (mistletoe or similar)
Sorcerer = V, S
Bard = V + F (instrument + music)
Warlock = S + V ( + F [pact boon])
Paladin = V + S
Ranger = M + S

this was how arcana evolved for 3e did it, and I thought that worked well
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Shadow of the Demon Lord does something similar, though it also breaks traditions up by the casting attribute the tradition uses.



Spell traditions are more like thematic cleric domains. Much as you say "this would give more fodder both for world design and character design." I like systems that do this (e.g., Fantasy AGE, True 20, etc.) because it gives you more distinct building blocks that allow you to homebrew in various ways. For example, you can say that the War Academy of Magic teaches Arcana, Battle, Fire, and Protection traditions.
My other idea of the traditional 8 schools being unnecessary sort of would be something like that. In many ways schools (and psionic disciplines) are a keyword, but keywords on spells in 5e aren't what they're like in previous editions or other games. I think schools should should be more specific in some cases, and some spells could belong to a few of these smaller schools.
 

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