D&D General Bizuids and Clercerocks


Dusty Dragon
I have to say, I really do enjoy creating these kinds of systems.

The Yoon Suin setting is very cool is that it has neat elements but not everything is explained. For example, a few clues:

  • there are hundreds of gods
  • the gods demand sacrifice
  • some of the gods are very minor
  • the river is known as "the God River"

So I decided that the river had this diffuse divine "essence" in it. The gods are spirits that use the essence of the water, and the energy from the sacrifices to "power" themselves. Powerful followers ensure that the sacrifices keep coming to fuel their god/patron so that their own magic is fueled.

So there is this weird... economy of energy, power, going on. The gods are dependent on their followers for sacrifices and maintaining the temple/shrine, and are dependent on the energies of the river. The followers need their god to "transform" the energy of the sacrifices and of the river into "usable" energy (spells, blessings etc).

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The Wizard shapes reality through the force of their own willpower. They desire the world to be different, and make it different using magic. Their power comes from themselves, and their Intelligence helps them to use it to affect the world.
It's funny, intelligence is the mental stat with the least to do with willpower, mechanically. The class you're describing sounds more like a charisma caster, or a wisdom caster.

I figure all magic has gatekeepers. Sure, anyone can become a wizard or bard IF you can find someone who can teach you how to do it and IF the family farm can afford to lose you (and whatever tuition costs) on the POSSIBILITY that someday you might become a 1st-level spellcaster. Forget intelligence, to be a wizard (or charisma for a bard), you need wealth or connections (or a government that tests ever kid for wizard/bard potential, and if so, guess who you are working for?).

I feel like druids and clerics get connected to their power via some kind of ritual. So, you still have the gatekeeper in that someone (or something) must perform the initial ritual (whether a god, a nature spirit, a servant of the god/nature spirit, or a cleric [or druid]).

You ever notice that warlocks and paladins often don't have super great wisdom or intelligence scores? I would guess that most of them don't really know who or what their patron is (or who or what took their oath). In my campaign world, devils (almost always pretending to be demons or yugoloths) only make warlock deals with people who are going to cause problems, so the government will crack down on them (and whatever group they represent), and respectable people will think "those people deserve what happens to them." [You can tell if your patron is really a demon if they are only really interested in you summoning demons or a demon lord if they really want you to arrange for a bunch of people to be changed into a different type of being; and you know it is Yeenoghu, if by "people" you mean "beasts"]. To clarify, you don't get warlock/paladin powers because you deserve them, you get them because you are really MOTIVATED and going to do something (and probably won't figure out why that something benefits whoever gave you those powers until it is too late).

Sorcerer gatekeepers are obviously who (or what)ever put the magic inside you.
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It's a fascinating question, and I'm not sure there's a right answer. D&D puts letting everyone fulfill their favorite archetype over being philosophically consistent, which is IMHO the right call for a game or any form of entertainment. There's hard sf, which focuses on technical plausibility, but that's a niche and a declining one, and less relevant to fantasy where you can make up anything you want.

IMHO it seems pretty believable warlocks might exist even in the presence of wizards and sorcerers; after all, sorcerers are inborn, so if you're not born with it you're SOL, and wizardry is likely expensive to train in and intellectually difficult; it's not often said, but not everyone can learn to be a chemical engineer if they put their mind to it, just like not everyone can learn to write good poetry. (Perhaps, as in most rich nations outside the US, states wishing to be powerful invest in state-sponsored magical training to have enough wizards.) I would probably treat the bard in the same way as the wizard, except relying on their charisma to compose art so powerful it has magical effects. And that makes sense. Just as with two ambitious friends, the smarter one might do tech while the charming one might go into business, so people in the fantasy world have some sense of their abilities and go "well, I'm not smart or charming enough to do wizardry or bardry, let me see which of the gods will have me."

Why go warlock when you can go cleric? Well, the gods probably have ideologies and behavior requirements ("so as a priest of the God of War, you must never back down from a fight..."), whereas the warlock patron just wants you to do favors for them now and then. (Which may be dangerous or cost your soul, of course...)

I'm genuinely not sure where druids fit in. I've seen them put as worshippers of nature (thus the Wisdom link), but I could see a pretty good argument for an Intelligence druid who learns the ways of the wild.
In this analogy, I would note that Seminaries are colleges and just as hard to pass as engineering colleges, although they require different skills. Closer to therapist in a lot of ways.

A druid is somewhere between a forester and a rabbi (who's both a counselor and a lawyer, while being a preacher on the side.)


So, here's my scorching hot D&D take: Bards, wizards, and druids indicate one thing about the way magic works; clerics, sorcerers, and warlocks indicate another thing. And they aren't fully compatible.
I don't disagree, but I always thought that was a feature rather than a bug.

the Jester

I don't think the assumption that anyone can be a wizard (et al) is necessarily true. In some settings, some people are born with the potential to wield magic and some people aren't.

I don't think the assumption that anyone can be a wizard (et al) is necessarily true. In some settings, some people are born with the potential to wield magic and some people aren't.
Even if you assume that wizardry is basically just learned, it doesn't necessarily mean that anyone can learn it, at least not in a reasonable amount of time. Like quantum physics is just a thing that is learned, but I'm not sure it really is accurate to say that anyone can learn it.

I'm A Banana

It's funny, intelligence is the mental stat with the least to do with willpower, mechanically. The class you're describing sounds more like a charisma caster, or a wisdom caster.
Ability scores are all sorts of blurry at the edges, so there's no description that maps 1 to 1 onto mechanics there. But when I speak of will, I'm not talking about, like, concentration. I'm talking about it more in the philosophical sense - a desire to do something. The wizard has a desire to make fire, and has studied enough lore about how fire is made to know how to get the universe to produce fire under circumstances she can control. Knowledge is the power, the "will" is just the desire, here.


Thank you to everyone who's responding to this silly idea I got in my head. I'm starting to think that my ideal D&D would have three full-casting classes: one for intelligence, one for wisdom, and one for charisma. The question of where the magic actually came from would be left to subclasses and individual settings.


I haven't read the rest of the thread yet, but I wanted to go ahead and tackle these two questions.
Why would a warlock sell his soul for power that he could just as easily learn to harness on his own?

So, there is an element I think you are missing to the question here. Sure, it is possible for the warlock to plan their approach to gaining their pact like someone planning for a career in medicine, but most warlocks I would say don't sell their souls for ONLY power. There is an element of desperation to them that makes them make sense. Sure, you could study for a few years, maybe figure out bardic magic slowly and safely... but your child is dying NOW, they don't have time for you to take the slow and steady route.

I think many warlocks fall into two camps. "I need power NOW to solve my problem" or "I don't believe I can or cannot achieve the same results on my own". I see the same thing with clerics. Why study magic if you can just worship a god and get magic? Because the gods don't always give you what you need. Why worship a god when you can just study magic then and reliably get what you need? Because sometimes you need it NOW not after a decade of study.

Wouldn't people with an innate gift for magic (sorcerers) be the people most likely to study it?

Yes, but there is a snag here. I've got a bit of a talent for writing and I'm pretty good at math, but many times when I was acting as a tutor or as a teacher... I couldn't explain what I was doing to other people. Think of sorcerers like people with Synesthesia, a sorcerer might be an excellent chef with a great plating aesthetic, but even if they study they can't really explain to people why the blue plate sings a C sharp and that means it pairs really well with the steak that smells like the number 54392. Those things don't make sense to other people. So even when sorcerers do study magic, their experience of magic is so vastly different from what a Wizard experiences, that it doesn't translate. A Wizard will never understand that you have to make the magic angry and shift it to the shade of goldenrod to make it work, they don't interact with magic in that way.

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