D&D 5E Casters vs Martials: Part 2 - The Mundane Limit

Or maybe there's mundane techniques in-universe that detect magic without spells or magic items.

Turns out magic has a special vibration that someone trained to listen for it can 'feel out'. Or a scent like ozone that varies based on type and magnitude.

Anything besides magic is a special thing out of context for the world and not actually a part of the fantasy world.
Honestly? That would be fine in a different RPG. But that's super setting specific sounding, and D&D isn't really a great fit for that as it stands. As a class or ability specific to a setting where that was the default premise, I could see it, but I don't really see WotC publishing that book. They seem too much to want everything to be for everything.

Interacting with magic as it interacts with the world, I can see a mundane explanation for. Using magical tools to detect and disrupt magical effects, I can see a mundane explanation for. Detecting, not merely the invisible, but the outright insubstantial and abstract and then interacting with it in unintended ways, all without any explanation for it other than their own senses and abilities? I'd need worldbuilding to support that, and the existing worlds of D&D don't have it. As I said in an earlier post, it pushes the line of credulity beyond the breaking point. At least with the current fiction.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Or maybe there's mundane techniques in-universe that detect magic without spells or magic items.

Turns out magic has a special vibration that someone trained to listen for it can 'feel out'. Or a scent like ozone that varies based on type and magnitude.

Anything besides magic is a special thing out of context for the world and not actually a part of the fantasy world.
The issue is D&D is really restrictive. Magic auras aren't visible normally.

Now if a warrior were to get present detect magic or be able to cast it, I could see a warrior using a nonmagical action to disrupt magic with enough practice of what to recognize.

But that's kinda the problem with mundane to magic interaction in D&D for decades. If magic isn't recreating a natural effect, it is often specifically written so that only magic effects it. So you'd need some sort of magic to bridge it physically, perceptually, or mentally And the biggest offenders of magic and mundane interaction is when magic does create a purely unnatural effect or isn't just recreating a better version of internal "reality".
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think it would be an easy footnote for such abilities:

*Some DMs may feel that these abilities border on the supernatural, and may wish to allow them only with magic weapons.
Sure.

Well... The problem is very niche and rare. D&D is designed that by the time you get to super hero levels, you should have a magic weapon of your PC's "general prefference". It would be very infrequent for even a mid level martial PC to be dealing with magical constructs, curses, and major buff but not have their magic weapon available.

If your DM isn't providing magic weapons or routinely taking them away,they are really only causing their own headache for not houseruling much earlier.
 

TheSword

Legend
The problem I see is that if you’re going to give a martial the ability to detect magic, or turn invisible or charm people then just give them the spell like ability. There are multitudes of subclasses and feats that do just that.

There is no virtue in avoiding this essential fact, or playing off the assumption that it’s somehow better for the magical effect to be generated via some convoluted means.

These suggestions are a solution looking for a problem.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The problem I see is that if you’re going to give a martial the ability to detect magic, or turn invisible or charm people then just give them the spell like ability. There are multitudes of subclasses and feats that do just that.

There is no virtue in avoiding this essential fact, or playing off the assumption that it’s somehow better for the magical effect to be generated via some convoluted means.

These suggestions are a solution looking for a problem.
Most of the abilities noted so far are not a direct recreation of magic. They are designed to provide effects that have traditionally only existed in magic, but with mechanics and flavor that allows them to work with a mundane (hehe are we calling them muggle now?) character.

We also have to respect that giving a character a "spell" has certain baggage, such as vulnerability to counterspell, dispel magic, and anti-magic field.
 

TheSword

Legend
Most of the abilities noted so far are not a direct recreation of magic. They are designed to provide effects that have traditionally only existed in magic, but with mechanics and flavor that allows them to work with a mundane (hehe are we calling them muggle now?) character.
Perfect Lie - Modify Memory spell.
Beyond the Limit - Haste spell.
Disintegrating Strike- Disintegrate spell.
Dispelling Blow - Dispel Magic.
Guardian Surge - Bless
Cry of Indominance - Aid
Network of Spies - Divination.
Seismic Slam - thunderwave
Cult of Personality - dominate person
The Dance of Daggers - Animate Objects spell.

🙈Most of them have the spell they are recreating in the description of the power!
We also have to respect that giving a character a "spell" has certain baggage, such as vulnerability to counterspell, dispel magic, and anti-magic field.
Ahhh. So you want the benefits of magic, without the restrictions… I see. So it’s a power play. Now it all makes sense.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
But that's kinda the problem with mundane to magic interaction in D&D for decades. If magic isn't recreating a natural effect, it is often specifically written so that only magic effects it. So you'd need some sort of magic to bridge it physically, perceptually, or mentally And the biggest offenders of magic and mundane interaction is when magic does create a purely unnatural effect or isn't just recreating a better version of internal "reality".
Bad implementation of the fiction is how we got here in the first place. We can't just abandon all improvements based on that bad fiction.

It's just providing more buy-in to structures specifically designed to maintain spellcasters as inherently better because, again, magic can do anything and nothing but magic can deal with that. At this point, why even have non-magic classes aside from punishing newbies for not getting into the hobby earlier with 'simple' classes?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Bad implementation of the fiction is how we got here in the first place. We can't just abandon all improvements based on that bad fiction.

It's just providing more buy-in to structures specifically designed to maintain spellcasters as inherently better because, again, magic can do anything and nothing but magic can deal with that. At this point, why even have non-magic classes aside from punishing newbies for not getting into the hobby earlier with 'simple' classes?

That's my point. There are only 3 options to fix this if for those of us who think there is a problem with magic-mundane interaction.

1) Rewrite the spells and magic effects so that effects can affect them within the level bounds of the game. (AKA Force constructs have HP values)
OR
2) Add or rewrite martial class features to specifically beat invalidating magic at level deemed appropriate somewhere within the inner logic of the game. (AKA a level 10 fighter can dispel an enhancement spell off a target with a hit wielding a +2 sword)
OR
3) Rewrite the game lore and rules so that added martial class features can force interactions between magic and mundane (AKA magicauras are barely visible. A successful INT (Arcana) or WIS (Perception) check can let a character see a magical tether and break it using any magical or silvered item)
 


Martial characters really need epic destinies. I think it's that simple. Casters don't really need them because being a level 20 wizard or cleric already is one.

But I really think the simplest thing would be a tier system. The game just needs to decide at which point a Fighter goes beyond say Conan, and give a fictional explanation of this. It could really be anything, it could be they are on the path to becoming a demigod and so no longer age, are immune to disease, and explicitly and fictionally can break the laws of physics in certain domains. As always people will insist that this is unnecessary, but I just don't see any way forward without this concession. As long the vagueness remains the arguments will continue.

Ultimately however, it is impossible to resolve anything without doing something with the implied setting of the game. That's why I think putting characters on the path to godhood is probably the simplest solution since the idea of mortals rising to gods is already a long standing background element of D&D.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
As always people will insist that this is unnecessary, but I just don't see any way forward without this concession. As long the vagueness remains the arguments will continue.
(bold added)

The problem is: some people want really epic, some people want Street Fighter level power, some people want superheroic, some people want this, some people want that, and so on...

You say "Martial characters really need epic destinies," but at just what level that is achieved is completely subjective. Personally, I would like Street Fighter level (mentioned above, I realized this is basically my limit, personally :) ), so what do we do? You want want thing, I want another, someone else wants something else...

Sadly, you are completely CORRECT that until a consensus is reached (whatever that is), this will go no where.

I've tried. 🤷‍♂️
 


(bold added)

The problem is: some people want really epic, some people want Street Fighter level power, some people want superheroic, some people want this, some people want that, and so on...

You say "Martial characters really need epic destinies," but at just what level that is achieved is completely subjective. Personally, I would like Street Fighter level (mentioned above, I realized this is basically my limit, personally :) ), so what do we do? You want want thing, I want another, someone else wants something else...

Sadly, you are completely CORRECT that until a consensus is reached (whatever that is), this will go no where.

I've tried. 🤷‍♂️
Given that a lot of people don't seem to want to play beyond level 12, then I would think that would probably be a good break point. Take an epic destiny at level 13. There's lots of ways to make Fighters better before that point without needing to give them things that are supernatural (and limitations can be applied to magic).

But I don't think a consensus can be reached. Some people just need to be unhappy. They'll live. At some stage the the sheer conservativism of 5e and the need to try and keep everyone happy will need to break. It can't last forever.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Martial characters really need epic destinies. I think it's that simple. Casters don't really need them because being a level 20 wizard or cleric already is one.

But I really think the simplest thing would be a tier system. The game just needs to decide at which point a Fighter goes beyond say Conan, and give a fictional explanation of this. It could really be anything, it could be they are on the path to becoming a demigod and so no longer age, are immune to disease, and explicitly and fictionally can break the laws of physics in certain domains. As always people will insist that this is unnecessary, but I just don't see any way forward without this concession. As long the vagueness remains the arguments will continue.

Ultimately however, it is impossible to resolve anything without doing something with the implied setting of the game. That's why I think putting characters on the path to godhood is probably the simplest solution since the idea of mortals rising to gods is already a long standing background element of D&D.
(bold added)

The problem is: some people want really epic, some people want Street Fighter level power, some people want superheroic, some people want this, some people want that, and so on...

You say "Martial characters really need epic destinies," but at just what level that is achieved is completely subjective. Personally, I would like Street Fighter level (mentioned above, I realized this is basically my limit, personally :) ), so what do we do? You want want thing, I want another, someone else wants something else...

Sadly, you are completely CORRECT that until a consensus is reached (whatever that is), this will go no where.

I've tried. 🤷‍♂️

Maybe the solution for that is Variant options for a Epic Destiny Feature.

Give each martial class a default Epic Destiny that doesn't break mythic expectations too much. Then offer variant Epic Destinies that the DM can allow to bend reality a bit. Sorta like a second subclass.

The default Epic Destiny for the Fighter could be a Legendary Weaponmaster. Then the DM could allow the Demigod of Strength, Destined Hero, or Mythic Sovereign.
 

Perfect Lie - Modify Memory spell.
Beyond the Limit - Haste spell.
Disintegrating Strike- Disintegrate spell.
Dispelling Blow - Dispel Magic.
Guardian Surge - Bless
Cry of Indominance - Aid
Network of Spies - Divination.
Seismic Slam - thunderwave
Cult of Personality - dominate person
The Dance of Daggers - Animate Objects spell.

🙈Most of them have the spell they are recreating in the description of the power!

Ahhh. So you want the benefits of magic, without the restrictions… I see. So it’s a power play. Now it all makes sense.
Also climbing..spider climb
Swimming..water walk
Ranged attack..eldritch blast
Using thieves' tools..knock.

The nerve...
 

Scribe

Hero
Perfect Lie - Modify Memory spell.
Beyond the Limit - Haste spell.
Disintegrating Strike- Disintegrate spell.
Dispelling Blow - Dispel Magic.
Guardian Surge - Bless
Cry of Indominance - Aid
Network of Spies - Divination.
Seismic Slam - thunderwave
Cult of Personality - dominate person
The Dance of Daggers - Animate Objects spell.
This is the part I have issue with. I'm 100% fine with Feats/Manuvers/Abilities, but if we are just filing off the names of Spells and handing those over, whats the point? Thats just 'everyone gets powers' but if they are all the same? Why?
 

TheSword

Legend
Also climbing..spider climb
Swimming..water walk
Ranged attack..eldritch blast
Using thieves' tools..knock.

The nerve...
Well I was responding to the claim that these abilities weren’t about replicating spells. When all but three of the abilities specifically mentioned spells to reference for the effects.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
But I don't think a consensus can be reached. Some people just need to be unhappy. They'll live. At some stage the the sheer conservativism of 5e and the need to try and keep everyone happy will need to break. It can't last forever.
Probably. Unfortunately...
Given that a lot of people don't seem to want to play beyond level 12, then I would think that would probably be a good break point. Take an epic destiny at level 13. There's lots of ways to make Fighters better before that point without needing to give them things that are supernatural (and limitations can be applied to magic).
You know, that makes me think about prestige classes.

What if at level 13 you had prestige classes (epic destinies, whatever) that you would have to qualify for that would let people who wanted more powerful martials in tier 3 and 4 obtain them?

IIRC only a few really seemed to want "superheroic/epic/paragon" type things at lower levels? I would like to see more heroic abilities, so that PCs could actually meet or beat records IRL, etc.

EDIT: something along these lines, too:
Maybe the solution for that is Variant options for a Epic Destiny Feature.

Give each martial class a default Epic Destiny that doesn't break mythic expectations too much. Then offer variant Epic Destinies that the DM can allow to bend reality a bit. Sorta like a second subclass.

The default Epic Destiny for the Fighter could be a Legendary Weaponmaster. Then the DM could allow the Demigod of Strength, Destined Hero, or Mythic Sovereign.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Suggesting mythic and narrative based martial abilities is the easiest way to out spell caster supremacist who are trying to pretend they are not.

Mod Note:
If you (or anyone else) are not interested in keeping it polite and respectful, you will find yourself removed from the discussion.
 

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