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D&D 5E Explain: Mordenkainen's Monsters of the Multiverse

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
In the Curse of Strahd game I played my Yuan-Ti in, eventually the DM admitted that a lot of the monster abilities I was asking about likely should be "magic", but he was ruling otherwise because then I'd have advantage on most saves.*

I shrugged and moved on, though I did raise a protest when we had to face a witch who could launch spells via magic candles... "that's a spell, goshdarnit!".

*Mostly because many monsters we faced inflicted us with the Poisoned condition, and it was driving him nuts that I was immune to it.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Are there any DMs out there that will see all these spell-ish abilities that they know are just spells written as monster features so that you don't have to spend time flipping through the PHB to find their info, and not just treat them as counterspellerable spells? Just because the monster block doesn't use the same spell name as the PHB and it doesn't list spell slots? That seems an odd methodology to take.
Sure, but WotC clearly wants you to stop thinking of them as spells.
 


renbot

Adventurer
I blame WotC's fixation on avoiding "game terms" in favor of "plain language." Magic is used both as a descriptive word and a game term with specific mechanics and properties which can lead to confusion.

On a related thread a few months ago, I introduced a short lived tangent/aside where I asked if anyone else missed the Spell/Spell Like Ability/Supernatural/Exceptional hierarchy to categorize game elements which would all be considered "magic" in the descriptive sense. Most people said no, but when we had those distinctions these issues didn't come up. A monk's 100+' of movement, a dragon's breath weapon, and a wizard's Magic Missile were clearly all "magic" from a real-world POV but no one had to struggle with which spells/abilities/rules applied to which. Now in the name of...clarity? simplification?... whatever their reasoning, these questions come up all the time. Search the Sage Advice archives for Magic Resistance if you don't believe me. Or the SA answer about "damage" being a game term which only refers to hit points when adjudicating Minor Conjuration.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
What should we call these fake spells? Witchcraft? Charms? Hoodoo? Shenanigans?

Whatever you want. Seems okay to me that counterspell can counter established spells (standard ways of manipulating "the Weave", or whatever "magical forces" your world has) that have, through generations of established methods, been defined. However, some "monsters" manipulate the stuff in unique, or non-intuitive ways. These don't work well with "counterspell" (the spell). Even Sorcerers "learn" their spells, presumably using methods establshed through practice and tradition. Or even if the "monster" did the same, they learned a trick to mask it, or make it hard to counter. Simple. You can't counter a cleric using "Channel Divinity" either, and that's obviously "magic".

I don't have a problem with it. Using those abilities in an Antimagic field would bother me, though.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I blame WotC's fixation on avoiding "game terms" in favor of "plain language." Magic is used both as a descriptive word and a game term with specific mechanics and properties which can lead to confusion.
They are pretty consistent and careful with their terminology, and the naturalklanguage makes the books much easier to read and memorize.
 

Except that they've been very deliberately rewording that trait to affect spells only. I feel they should rename it to "Spell Resistance" to make it clearer.
I just looked at a creature with Magic Resistance in Monsters of the Multiverse. It says it has "advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects."
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
So I just (on a whim thanks to this thread*) grabbed a copy of Fizban's and I noticed that the spellcasting monsters have "spell attack" actions. I can see how that might cause some confusion for counterspell. Is that the first place it showed up? Why not just call it a "magical ranged attack" and avoid the confusion? Maybe counterspell is an uncommon practice even among the designers so they didn't think of it. I assume this is the same as they are listed in Mordenkainen's?


*(it's really because I love dragons as main antagonists)
 

Even Sorcerers "learn" their spells, presumably using methods establshed through practice and tradition.
the funny part is in another thread I just got told no one learns magic like wizards, not sorcerers not warlocks, not artificers... when I said they all learn the same spells it set off an argument.
 

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