D&D General Fixing spellcasting components

Stormonu

Legend
I'm up for casting opens one up to melee Opportunity Attacks, might try that in the next game or two and see what sort of impact that has.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Tony Vargas

Legend
It's the removal of most of those "weaknesses" in 3e and the subsequent removal of the rest during 4e-5e that's directly led to most of the caster-martial balance issues we keep seeing today (at-will cantrips being the rest of the problem)
While I've often noted the trend of removing restrictions from casting & casters, there's also been the obvious adjustment on the other side of the equation, which has been less consistent:
3e made a lot of restrictions avoidable - like, optimize Concentration, take Still Spell to cast in armor, etc - but it didn't make spells a lot less powerful - it capped damage on lower level spells, but it also made some spells more powerful (3.0 Haste, for instance, let you cast 2 spells/round, which AD&D Haste did not do, we all know about Polymorph)... and also made spells a lot more powerful by scaling DCs with level.
4e tossed even those avoidable restrictions, leaving casting and, for comparison, missile weapons, no roughly the same ground - both provoked AoOs, for instance, though it took an action to 'sustain' some powers ... but, significantly cut down the power/versatility of spells, and added martial exploits, until they were roughly balanced.
5e, removed the AoO for spellcasting, made all casters spontaneous, replaced sustain actions with concentration, kept at-will spells but removed martial exploits almost completely, and powered up spells very substantially.

Now, to be fair, as obviously a bad idea as it may have been to scrub virtually all restrictions off spellcasting and remove weaknesses from casters - and, like, stop weighting random treasure determination to favor longsword-weilding fighters, and who knows what all else little tricks EGG had going on in the quixotic intricacies of early D&D - those restrictions didn't stop casters from dominating play by name level, back then, either. They made it sheer heck to play a Magic-User at 1st level, and overall, were arguably more or less workable relative to spell power from 3rd through most of the single digits. Or less or more.
Tho, really, the old-school D&D play esperience was what the DM made of it, much more than what was in the books. Just, what was in the books was no paragon of balance, even were a DM to stick to every restriction and weakness in there.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Spellbooks can be vulnerable things, though most halfway-wise casters keep them in an oilskin backpack.

It's the removal of most of those "weaknesses" in 3e and the subsequent removal of the rest during 4e-5e that's directly led to most of the caster-martial balance issues we keep seeing today (at-will cantrips being the rest of the problem)

Put those weaknesses and drawbacks back in. All of them. Then run it out and see what the caster-martial divide looks like. I very much suspect it would be greatly diminished.
Well, if my AD&D experience shows anything, you'd have a lot less casters entirely. Which would be fine if the game was designed around not having wonder workers to solve problems swords can't, lol.

But it seems to me that you could achieve the same result by simply banning casters as opposed to making them so annoying to play that it's basically a ultra hard mode challenge for the kind of masochists who want to beat a Dark Souls game wearing nothing but a loincloth.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
i might try to move away from components being the important part of restricting spellcasting to the spell focus/focii, material components are gone unless they have a cost in which case only need to be accesible on your person, all spells have verbal components unless explicitly mentioned to not have them and are explicitly loud but which only really matters if you're gagged or silenced, and all spells now have somantic components which have become the focii

each spell focus now only has a specific combination of spell schools and/or levels that it can cast for, you want high level divination pick up a crystal ball, higher necromancy requires a sigil focus, the rod covers all spells up to 4th level..., and they essentially function as the spellcaster's direct equivilant to weapons, using a versatile focus 2-handed will grant access to more spell schools/levels than using it 1-handed, you can use two focii at once but only if they both have the light property, a finesse equivilant trait that lets you use alternate casting stats, there'd be a generic focus that covers everything but at the cost of not adding proficiency/stat mod to your damage/spell saving throw, a blade focus is limited but can also be used to make weapon attacks.

so you stop all this 'does this require a material component or do i need to have a free hand' and go to 'am i using the apropriate focus' which covers accesibility in much more wider swathes
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
i might try to move away from components being the important part of restricting spellcasting to the spell focus/focii, material components are gone unless they have a cost in which case only need to be accesible on your person, all spells have verbal components unless explicitly mentioned to not have them and are explicitly loud but which only really matters if you're gagged or silenced, and all spells now have somantic components which have become the focii

each spell focus now only has a specific combination of spell schools and/or levels that it can cast for, you want high level divination pick up a crystal ball, higher necromancy requires a sigil focus, the rod covers all spells up to 4th level..., and they essentially function as the spellcaster's direct equivilant to weapons, using a versatile focus 2-handed will grant access to more spell schools/levels than using it 1-handed, you can use two focii at once but only if they both have the light property, a finesse equivilant trait that lets you use alternate casting stats, there'd be a generic focus that covers everything but at the cost of not adding proficiency/stat mod to your damage/spell saving throw, a blade focus is limited but can also be used to make weapon attacks.

so you stop all this 'does this require a material component or do i need to have a free hand' and go to 'am i using the apropriate focus' which covers accesibility in much more wider swathes
It's sort of like how 4e handled implements, which I really miss, in that they were "caster weapons" (even if only some were actually weapons) and each type of implement had it's own specialty. The original Wizard archetypes were organized around what implement you used, with Orbs being more accurate, Tomes offering spell swapping, Wands being good for blasting, etc.. Even enchanted versions of same had their own niche; I had a Bard/Wizard hybrid who used Orbs for increased damage on his psychic spells.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, if my AD&D experience shows anything, you'd have a lot less casters entirely. Which would be fine if the game was designed around not having wonder workers to solve problems swords can't, lol.
I see no problem with any of that. :)

Originally, mages were intended to be the least commonly played of the four class groups, with warriors the most common and clerics and thieves in between. Thus, in a big party you'd expect to see maybe four warriors, two or three thiefy-types, two or three clerics, and one mage.
But it seems to me that you could achieve the same result by simply banning casters as opposed to making them so annoying to play that it's basically a ultra hard mode challenge for the kind of masochists who want to beat a Dark Souls game wearing nothing but a loincloth.
My number-one character these days is a Magic User*; and I certainly don't see playing her as being "ultra hard mode" even though a lot of those restrictions are still in place. Quite the opposite, in fact: the restrictions that have been removed have, if anything, made her too easy to play - and thus a bit overpowered.

In the current adventure's site, however, a lot of non-damaging spells don't work; so blast-mage it is for a while. :)

* - which is bizarre in itself: she was rolled up as a throwaway for what was then a one-off adventure and yet 22 (non-continuous) years later she's still going...
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
i might try to move away from components being the important part of restricting spellcasting to the spell focus/focii, material components are gone unless they have a cost in which case only need to be accesible on your person, all spells have verbal components unless explicitly mentioned to not have them and are explicitly loud but which only really matters if you're gagged or silenced, and all spells now have somantic components which have become the focii

each spell focus now only has a specific combination of spell schools and/or levels that it can cast for, you want high level divination pick up a crystal ball, higher necromancy requires a sigil focus, the rod covers all spells up to 4th level..., and they essentially function as the spellcaster's direct equivilant to weapons, using a versatile focus 2-handed will grant access to more spell schools/levels than using it 1-handed, you can use two focii at once but only if they both have the light property, a finesse equivilant trait that lets you use alternate casting stats, there'd be a generic focus that covers everything but at the cost of not adding proficiency/stat mod to your damage/spell saving throw, a blade focus is limited but can also be used to make weapon attacks.

so you stop all this 'does this require a material component or do i need to have a free hand' and go to 'am i using the apropriate focus' which covers accesibility in much more wider swathes
The above isn't clear as to whether casting with a focus is more interruptable than casting with gestures, or less, or the same.

And what happens if a spell focus item is lost or destroyed? No more casting spells from that school until it's replaced?
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
The above isn't clear as to whether casting with a focus is more interruptable than casting with gestures, or less, or the same.
casting would be as interrupable as it ever has been in 5e, in this altered prioritisation of focii trying to cast without a focus is like trying to attack without a weapon: you have to rely on your weedy unarmed attack, which in this circumstance would be something like only cantrips with no proficiency bonus on your attack roll/save DC
And what happens if a spell focus item is lost or destroyed? No more casting spells from that school until it's replaced?
you'd be cut off from the higher levels of that spell school almost certainly but most focii wouldn't just be for a single school providing coverage of the other schools to a lesser spell level and with casters being more intended to carry around multiple focii you'd still have access to some of your list, although to reiterate from my previous post there would also be generic focii that allow casting without granting your PB to your spell attack roll/save DC,

like i said, focii are being treated as basically 'the wizard's weapon' and you should be able to obtain a new focus as easily as the fighter can get a new longsword,
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I see no problem with any of that. :)

Originally, mages were intended to be the least commonly played of the four class groups, with warriors the most common and clerics and thieves in between. Thus, in a big party you'd expect to see maybe four warriors, two or three thiefy-types, two or three clerics, and one mage.

My number-one character these days is a Magic User*; and I certainly don't see playing her as being "ultra hard mode" even though a lot of those restrictions are still in place. Quite the opposite, in fact: the restrictions that have been removed have, if anything, made her too easy to play - and thus a bit overpowered.

In the current adventure's site, however, a lot of non-damaging spells don't work; so blast-mage it is for a while. :)

* - which is bizarre in itself: she was rolled up as a throwaway for what was then a one-off adventure and yet 22 (non-continuous) years later she's still going...
I don't know, I mean, looking back at my AD&D group, I have the highest level Wizard (who is something like my 4th or 5th Wizard character) who managed to reach the venerable heights of level 9. Only two other players had Wizards, and of those, only one is still alive, a 7th level Conjurer.

In the same campaign, I have my longest-running character, made right around the time the original Spelljammer boxed set was in stores. Human Fighter 13 Dual-Classed Bard 17, who at most, will cast a single buff spell at the start of a fight or just before and melee things, so rarely encounters the downsides of spellcasting.

Come to think about it, we don't have a lot of Clerics either. I think I have the highest, with my Gnome Fighter 9/Cleric 9. More Thieves and Warrior classes than you can shake a stick at- I want to say the highest single-level character is a Fighter 19, followed by a Fighter 18, my Paladin 17, a Thief 15, and a grandfathered-in 1e Monk 13 (the oldest actual PC in the group) who is only level 13 by dearth of having faced and lost to the Master of Autumn 3 times now, plus assorted level drains, resurrections, and at least one reincarnation (which amusingly brought him back as a Fremlin (thanks to the expanded chart in the Complete Book of Humanoids).

So maybe we were doing something wrong, I don't know, but it certainly felt like ultra hard mode playing a Wizard-my Enchanter is largely still alive due to finding a Cloak of Elvenkind in an early adventure, lol. But I was bound and determined to keep trying even though I'd lost so many. If I had to do it again, I'd have probably played a Specialty Priest of Isis or Math Mathowny out of Legends and Lore, but I was slow to realize the power of Mythos Priests.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't know, I mean, looking back at my AD&D group, I have the highest level Wizard (who is something like my 4th or 5th Wizard character) who managed to reach the venerable heights of level 9. Only two other players had Wizards, and of those, only one is still alive, a 7th level Conjurer.
Mine's 11th, approaching 12th.

Highest level characters in this side of that campaign (it's dual-branched) are 13th; about the same number of xp as my MU, just in faster-advancing classes. Highest-level anywhere in the campaign just got to 14th, that being a War Cleric who's been in play intermittently since 1981.

Highest-level MUs I've ever DMed were 10th; in campaigns where the highest level anything got to was 12th.
Come to think about it, we don't have a lot of Clerics either. I think I have the highest, with my Gnome Fighter 9/Cleric 9. More Thieves and Warrior classes than you can shake a stick at- I want to say the highest single-level character is a Fighter 19, followed by a Fighter 18, my Paladin 17, a Thief 15, and a grandfathered-in 1e Monk 13 (the oldest actual PC in the group) who is only level 13 by dearth of having faced and lost to the Master of Autumn 3 times now, plus assorted level drains, resurrections, and at least one reincarnation (which amusingly brought him back as a Fremlin (thanks to the expanded chart in the Complete Book of Humanoids).

So maybe we were doing something wrong, I don't know, but it certainly felt like ultra hard mode playing a Wizard-my Enchanter is largely still alive due to finding a Cloak of Elvenkind in an early adventure, lol. But I was bound and determined to keep trying even though I'd lost so many. If I had to do it again, I'd have probably played a Specialty Priest of Isis or Math Mathowny out of Legends and Lore, but I was slow to realize the power of Mythos Priests.
Long-term over all the great many characters played in our games, it's been pretty close to 40-20-20-20 F-C-T-M, ignoring a very small smattering of Monks and Bards.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top