D&D 5E Casters should go back to being interruptable like they used to be.

I don't think it is equivalent. I think swinging something like a Maul or shooting a bow, or drawing an arrow, picking a lock., grappling someone or drinking a potion exposes someone MORE than spell casting does.

Ok, lets look to what spells and somatic components are. According to the PHB "A spell is a discrete magical effect, a single shaping of the magical energies that suffuse the multiverse into a specific, limited expression."

Further the section on somatic components states: "Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures." - That sounds pretty darn simple to me compared to attacking someone with a weapon, and those few spells that explain the actual somatics reinforce that perception. For that reason it is safe to conclude that casting a spell exposes you less than most actions you can take in combat.

I think stabbing with a dagger or other light weapon is roughly "equivalent" to spell casting in terms of how it exposes you I think, based on both the description of a spell and the description of a somatic component.

Note: I am talking about spells with a casting time of 1 action. Spells cast as a bonus action would expose you less and spells that take longer than one action to cast would obviously expose you more (and there are rules for losing those spells in the PHB).
I mean, clearly we are simply in disagreement.

Because to me, executing the somatic components of a spell sounds a bit like trying to properly do the hand jive, chicken dance, and/or macarena.

And if you expect me to believe that you are protecting yourself better while hand-jiving all up in an enemies grill, than you are threatening to hit them with an oversized hammer, then I suspect there is little common ground between us.

Moreover, if these components matter at all, it's bizarre to me that nothing can impact the quality of their execution. Hell, even the D&D movie itself featured a spellcaster whose spells went awry.

For the people who think this is the way it should be, what are your fantasy reference points, because I'm struggling to think of something where magic is so predictable, reliable, and available.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I don't see why we have to justify D&D magic with other fantasy sources- at this point, D&D is it's own source. However, let's look at a few examples (not every example has all the same factors of D&D magic- ie, ease of use, success rate, and availability):

Harry Potter. While young Wizards can occasionally get a spell wrong (especially if using a busted wand), by the time they're in their last couple years of Wizard school, they can perform quite a few spells by rote, often in succession, and nobody seems to think "hey, if I carried a stick or a sword I could stop them from casting!".

Star Wars. Jedi are "some kind of space wizards", after all. While their powers sometimes involve some strain, you see simple force pushes, mind control, and other feats regularly performed, often with accompanying hand gestures, and these are rarely interrupted, despite the fact that laser swords exist.

Marvel Comics/MCU- Dr. Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Loki are "magic users". Again, spells are quick, reliable, rarely interrupted, and don't often screw up once you become experienced.

Constantine the tv series- more of the same.

Tolkien- Gandalf doesn't cast a lot of spells, and usually prefers using a sword (and/or his staff in the movies), but there's no section where he goes "oh man, I went to cast a spell and it flubbed".

The House With a Clock in it's Walls (book)- John Bellairs is one of the cited examples of D&D magic in the 1e DMG (for The Face in the Frost). Not only do the wizards in this book cast spells with gestures and mystic words ("Aroint Ye!"), but nobody thinks to carry a sword or a gun to interrupt them. Uncle Johnathan isn't great at "on tap" magic, preferring to use ritual magic, but even Lewis, a young boy, can manage to put together a magic ritual that works...somehow. Mrs. Zimmerman, a more experienced wizard (and the villain, Mrs. Izard), are not so limited.

Video game spellcasters are noteworthy as well- even the early, ultra difficult games like Wizardry only have spells fizzle under specific circumstances, and anyone of any race can be a spellcaster. Death is a far more common occurrence. Final Fantasy I is heavily inspired by D&D with it's magic system, Phantasy Star and Chrono Cross have cultures where magic use is common (and playable characters without magic are limited to full warriors or robots) to the point that it has an organized system of easily acquired spells called "techniques" or "elements".

Final Fantasy 7 lets you buy Materia in shops that can teach you magic that works as long as you can spam MP and doesn't risk being interrupted or failing.

If anything, most of these examples show that experienced casters have less to fear from miscasting their magic or having it interrupted. So if applied to D&D, you'd have low level Wizards (who aren't problematic at all) hindered, but higher level Wizards would be just fine, at a point where their spells are problematic (this is basically the approach of 3e, with it's Concentration skill).
 

I don't see why we have to justify D&D magic with other fantasy sources- at this point, D&D is it's own source. However, let's look at a few examples (not every example has all the same factors of D&D magic- ie, ease of use, success rate, and availability):

Harry Potter. While young Wizards can occasionally get a spell wrong (especially if using a busted wand), by the time they're in their last couple years of Wizard school, they can perform quite a few spells by rote, often in succession, and nobody seems to think "hey, if I carried a stick or a sword I could stop them from casting!".

Star Wars. Jedi are "some kind of space wizards", after all. While their powers sometimes involve some strain, you see simple force pushes, mind control, and other feats regularly performed, often with accompanying hand gestures, and these are rarely interrupted, despite the fact that laser swords exist.

Marvel Comics/MCU- Dr. Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Loki are "magic users". Again, spells are quick, reliable, rarely interrupted, and don't often screw up once you become experienced.

Constantine the tv series- more of the same.

Tolkien- Gandalf doesn't cast a lot of spells, and usually prefers using a sword (and/or his staff in the movies), but there's no section where he goes "oh man, I went to cast a spell and it flubbed".

The House With a Clock in it's Walls (book)- John Bellairs is one of the cited examples of D&D magic in the 1e DMG (for The Face in the Frost). Not only do the wizards in this book cast spells with gestures and mystic words ("Aroint Ye!"), but nobody thinks to carry a sword or a gun to interrupt them. Uncle Johnathan isn't great at "on tap" magic, preferring to use ritual magic, but even Lewis, a young boy, can manage to put together a magic ritual that works...somehow. Mrs. Zimmerman, a more experienced wizard (and the villain, Mrs. Izard), are not so limited.

Video game spellcasters are noteworthy as well- even the early, ultra difficult games like Wizardry only have spells fizzle under specific circumstances, and anyone of any race can be a spellcaster. Death is a far more common occurrence. Final Fantasy I is heavily inspired by D&D with it's magic system, Phantasy Star and Chrono Cross have cultures where magic use is common (and playable characters without magic are limited to full warriors or robots) to the point that it has an organized system of easily acquired spells called "techniques" or "elements".

Final Fantasy 7 lets you buy Materia in shops that can teach you magic that works as long as you can spam MP and doesn't risk being interrupted or failing.

If anything, most of these examples show that experienced casters have less to fear from miscasting their magic or having it interrupted. So if applied to D&D, you'd have low level Wizards (who aren't problematic at all) hindered, but higher level Wizards would be just fine, at a point where their spells are problematic (this is basically the approach of 3e, with it's Concentration skill).
Was genuine curiosity as there clearly is some difference in experience. Perhaps it's a difference in focus.

What I see in Harry Potter is kids learning and often messing up spells, with varying effects. Similarly with Dr. Strange and Scarlet Witch where significant story arcs are about spells going wrong, like the whole of the last Spiderman movie. (EDIT: And again, the D&D movie from this year featured a spellcaster who often failed execute his spells, or messed them up) Also, at least in the movies, Dr Strange is often physically prevented from casting spells, for example while grappled by some monster or another. Constantine more of the same. Loki isn't casting while he's being ragdolled by the Hulk. Etc.

For each of these that I've seen, magic is performed as a matter of skill, which is sensitive to personal circumstance, and it frequently carries with it a risk of failure.

But perhaps that is just a matter of perspective.

I guess to make it a bit more specific with respect to my particular point of view, I think spellcasting should be more significantly impacted by circumstance, whether it is through interruptions from opportunity attacks, altered effectiveness based on status effects, or something else.

I find it strange that the most blatantly supernatural, mysterious act a character (PC or otherwise) can do in D&D is so damn easy to accomplish with so little variation in effect.
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I don't think this is a fair criticism of 3.X.

Spellcasting is routinely interrupted by AoOs and readied actions, casting defensively is not guaranteed, and casting a spell in combat from anything other than a secure position - i.e. protected by martials - is ill advised: when multiple enemies turn their attention on a wizard, it doesn't go well IME. And if they see them cast a spell, why wouldn't they?
Entering this discussion late, but I have yet to see a 3e caster who didn't max out or nearly max out concentration. Add to that the con bonus that they usually had because casters needed con AND the combat casting feat that they usually took, and you're looking at a +16 to concentration to cast defensively with a meager 14 con.

To cast a 4th level spell defensively, that 7th level caster needed to roll a 3 or higher. A 2 or higher for 1st to 3rd level spells, because I believe a 1 always failed. So while what you say is true that it was not guaranteed, not many spells were lost to defensive casting. And it only got easier as the caster went up in level. He gained +2 to his skill for every 1 point of DC increase due to spell level increases.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If I were a <=3.5e caster, I would still have at least 4 spell slots from 3-5th and would have 3x6th, 2x 7th and 1x 8th. Mwahahahah! However.....would I have been able to successfully cast any of those spells outside of the surprise rounds when every dart, dagger, javelin and arrow was sent my way? How many slots would I have expended as a defense?
Yes you would have been able to successfully cast spells. High concentration is key. Further, you would have access to far better spells than you have in 5e, so even if you're using slots on defense, the offense is more effective. Also, as a specialist you would have even more slots available, AND at 15th level you'd likely have pearls of power and rings of wizardry for extra slots. Plus your DC would be higher since stat raises were far easier to get and you could and did go above 20.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Entering this discussion late, but I have yet to see a 3e caster who didn't max out or nearly max out concentration. Add to that the con bonus that they usually had because casters needed con AND the combat casting feat that they usually took, and you're looking at a +16 to concentration to cast defensively with a meager 14 con.

To cast a 4th level spell defensively, that 7th level caster needed to roll a 3 or higher. A 2 or higher for 1st to 3rd level spells, because I believe a 1 always failed. So while what you say is true that it was not guaranteed, not many spells were lost to defensive casting. And it only got easier as the caster went up in level. He gained +2 to his skill for every 1 point of DC increase due to spell level increases.
In addition to this, by late 3.5, I vaguely recall a Feat that let you take 10 on Concentration checks.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
The real thing casters needed to worry about in 3.5 was ongoing damage. A humble Acid Arrow was a far greater threat than opportunity attacks or spell resistance.
 

ezo

Adventurer
Because a Maul is a stick with a very heavy head on it.

That is why IRL when you are are going to hit someone with a baseball bat you typically grab it from one-third of the way up so you can swing it a lot faster.
You're assuming you have to swing it. Thrusting such a heavy weapon forward is effective as well, especially with weapons wielded by both hands.

A Greatsword is a lot better than a Maul (which is why I chose a maul in the example), but I can put my thumbs together and fan my fingers much, much easier than anyone alive can swing a claymore and with far less impairmant on my ability to dodge an attack..
You chose Maul, but specified HEAVY WEAPON, which allows me to choose any heavy weapon, several of which are thrusting weapons.

I highly doubt this. Have you ever seen how quickly the end of a claymore moves when swung? The motion is often just in the wrists and forearms. You aren't winding up like some brute all the time; such moves are extremely telegraphed and easily avoided.

Finally, while performing a somatic component can you dodge an attack? Wouldn't such a movement disrupt the somatic component? I would say yes, but there is no "rule" as far as 5E is concerned.

I can see an argument for making different rules for different weapons, and 1E did this, but I can't see an argument for spell somatics causing an AOO when swinging a Maul or shooting a Bow or even swinging a Greatsword don't.
Sigh... because you don't know most of the time what somatic components entail. Few spells actually describe what they are. Meanwhile, we do know that weapons were used effectively for thousands of years without leaving the attacker open most of the time. True, weapon speeds do matter, which is why I brought it up. The spell level could be used as a basis of comparison if someone wanted that level of complexity as well.

So then why do you judge that it is more exposure than swinging a Greatsword ... or even a Longsword?
Based on the rules Somatic components vary from "forceful gesticulation" to "an intricate set of gestures."
LOL, I don't. I said (repeatedly) that it is certainly possible.

Certainly "forceful gesticulation" is less exposure than most attacks. An intricate set of gestures is ambiguous, however some spells do describe the Somatic components (Burning Hands, Fireball, Ice Knife, Steel Wind Strike ...) and the description of those would indicate it is a lot less than many attacks.
I disagree. Most weapons when the attack actually comes are blindingly fast. And as we agree, most of the time we don't know what somatics are involved in those sets of gestures. shrug.

Not really. There are rules saying what a spell is, there are rules stating what somatic components are, there are rules regarding interupting spells. If you are not playing by those rules it is Homebrew, not a judgement call.
Yes, really. Have you realized this thread is about house-rules??? WotC has judged it one way for simplicity and ease of play. They removed a lot of rules and complexity from prior editions to achieve this goal.

It is fine that you want to use the rules as they are and support WotC's rulings, but many players and DMs don't.

Frankly, I'm fine with not using spell interruption for the same goal of simplicity. But I can see why others might want it or might not. If someone did want it, I would add that War Caster should prevent AOO on spellcasting. :)
 

Entering this discussion late, but I have yet to see a 3e caster who didn't max out or nearly max out concentration. Add to that the con bonus that they usually had because casters needed con AND the combat casting feat that they usually took, and you're looking at a +16 to concentration to cast defensively with a meager 14 con.

To cast a 4th level spell defensively, that 7th level caster needed to roll a 3 or higher. A 2 or higher for 1st to 3rd level spells, because I believe a 1 always failed. So while what you say is true that it was not guaranteed, not many spells were lost to defensive casting. And it only got easier as the caster went up in level. He gained +2 to his skill for every 1 point of DC increase due to spell level increases.
True, that defensive casting becomes relatively trivial past 6th level given the right feats and skills, although Combat Casting doesn’t mitigate against damage sustained from a readied attack (Skill Focus: Concentration is arguably better overall).

I’d still question the wisdom of a 7th level wizard being within the threat zone of a level appropriate challenge ( e.g hill giant) and I think that the general advice of getting behind the meat shield still applies.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Thinking about this, it occurs to me that maybe disrupting spellcasting should be a readied action. Though I fully understand why someone wouldn't want to do it- it's the main reason you rarely see readied actions used now. You have to basically be psychic in most cases, because if the trigger never happens, you basically did nothing on your turn.

Like how you used to be able to set a pole weapon to receive a charge for more damage in older editions, but it rarely worked out as being worth it. Especially if you can make multiple attacks.

As a house rule, using an opportunity attack seems a bit too good. Opportunity attacks are, in general, not very powerful in 5e without a Feat or subclass feature (see Sentinel, Warcaster, et. al.). They're meant to be a deterrent from moving about with impunity. They aren't especially threatening at higher levels because nobody wants to go back to everyone standing still and never moving...despite the fact that players still pretty much do that because not only do you not want to open yourself up to unnecessary damage, but also, while your Fighter might only make an opportunity attack for 1d8+5, monsters are not so limited, and can dish out way more damage (even a Gladiator gets an extra die on all his attacks for...uh...reasons).

The fact that monsters can and do have stronger opportunity attacks than players should be taken into account when adding something that opens up new opportunities- while this could be a neat tool in a Fighter's bag, it's way better for the DM than any player. Usually.

Those characters who can dish out extra pain or effects with opportunity attacks have to be taken into account as well. Battlemaster Maneuvers, Smites, Moon Druids in beast form, Sneak Attack- these are already very powerful with opportunity attacks, so opening up extra opportunities to use them makes them also more powerful (which is why Mage Slayer has a very high cost).
 

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