D&D General Fixing spellcasting components

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
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.

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.
Giving this more thought, I think I know what happened. Some of the DM's our group has had over the years took all the wrong lessons from the 1e DMG and believe every fight should be a meatgrinder, magic users have to be kept down at all costs, and a worthy reward for an epic dungeon crawl is a dented copper piece and a potion of delusion (healing) (I'm only being somewhat hyperbolic).

So it's no wonder that warrior classes became popular, as they deal the most damage at low levels with the highest chance of survival, lol. No explanation for all the Thieves though; in my opinion, playing a single-classed Thief is almost as difficult as playing a Wizard. Only high stats and pure optimization can get you slightly better at a coin flip in most Thieving abilities at low levels, the penalty for failure is almost always certain doom, and most Thieving ability use typically suffers from the most painful reading of the rules, lol.
 

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Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
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.
Interesting idea. :unsure: Kinda like how if a fighter with a longsword encounters skeletons (and knows of their bludgeoning vulnerability) will have to switch to their warhammer to be more effective.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
At the moment be 5E Raw a Spell is considered to have no components, unless otherwise noted in the spell description. So the default is: spells don't need components, unless otherwise noted.

That means you always have to look up, if a spell has V, S, M. That takes mental capacity, time and energy. That is why it is often ignored and people go for the default (no components). Also looking up, if you have a negative thing for your spellnis also psychologically bad for a game. "Yeah, just let me see if I have a negative effect, that could stop me from casting this spell ..." is not ideal game design.
This starts with a table specific problem of everyone assumes there are no components. This is not a generic issue that everyone ignores part of the rules. If your table does and this works for you, great.
 

My own best solution: everyone needs a focus of some kind, which varies by class and/or flavor. The focus can be held (in your hand) to use, or worn - in which case you need a free hand to interact with it, but otherwise when not casting that hand is free.

A spell component pouch is mechanically just a worn focus containing little bits of various things to cast your spells.

(Other options: an artificer's tool belt or multi-tool, a bard's instrument, a cleric's or paladin's holy symbol either worn as jewelry or on their mace, a druid's staff, an eldritch knight's bonded weapon, a warlocks totem, a wizard's pouch or orb or wand. Or make something up for your character, so long as it fits one of the categories above.)

Expensive components works as written in the book - you need to have them in hand while casting but pulling them from a pouch is part of the action of casting the spell. I just assume they're stored in an accessible way because of course they are.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Expensive components works as written in the book - you need to have them in hand while casting but pulling them from a pouch is part of the action of casting the spell. I just assume they're stored in an accessible way because of course they are.
Most spells with expensive components (Identify, Raise Dead, etc.) aren't the ones you generally need to cast in a great hurry anyway.
 

Most spells with expensive components (Identify, Raise Dead, etc.) aren't the ones you generally need to cast in a great hurry anyway.
Indeed. Revivify is the only example I can think of offhand, but most players would drop a weapon if they needed to cast that despite the risk.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My main reason for wanting all casters to need a focus is so that they can be disarmed, so that throwing people in jail is still a viable thing for people to do, so long as you take away their stuff first.
Tying their fingers together (or putting tight unremovable mittens on their hands), a.k.a. "spell-tying", serves the same purpose IME unless a spell is V only.
 


delericho

Legend
What about bringing back the Silent Spell, Still Spell and Eschew Materials feats from 3e and converting them over to 5e?
The problem is that those were wasted feats 99%+ of the time, and then absolutely essential the remainder of the time. Worse, you just knew that the type of DM who would routinely put you in a position where you needed those feats would also be the type of DM who would routinely target whichever one(s) you don't have.
 

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