Crypts & Things (which is based on Swords & Wizardry, which in turn is based on D&D) does this VERY well though!I think we will have to realize any S&S game still based on D&D (...) cannot come close to the true tropes of S&S magic.
First off, sorcery is not just a tool you can rely on and use uncontroversially. It's a fearsome dark power you never use lightly.
S&S sorcery corrupts and degenerates...
What you want of a S&S system is warlocks sacrificing their mental and physical health for untold powers and wickedness.
Not familiar with C&T, but absolutely - of course you can bend D&D into a S&S shape.Crypts & Things (which is based on Swords & Wizardry, which in turn is based on D&D) does this VERY well though!
Great post Capn. I agree completely.I think we will have to realize any S&S game still based on D&D, and this game certainly only lightly skins 5E, cannot come close to the true tropes of S&S magic.
They’re not as iconic, though. It’s usually surprising when we see the spellcaster is also nearly as hale and hearty as the warriors coming to take him down.There are lots of physically powerful, albeit villainous, casters in S&S, so I'm not sure about this Real Men Don't Use Magic trope.
And when we do he'll either be on the weaker side magic wise or else marked by the powers he wields in some other noticeable way. Classic example is Pelias in The Scarlet Citadel scaring away Satha the Ur-Serpent just by the latter getting a look at his sorcerer's soul. About the only "hale and hearty" magic user with some real power I can think of off hand is Khemsa the Rakhsha from People of the Black Circle. The exception that proves the rule I guess.They’re not as iconic, though. It’s usually surprising when we see the spellcaster is also nearly as hale and hearty as the warriors coming to take him down.
The things that a D&D Bard can do, happens to be mythologically accurate for many reallife shamanic cultures.Not familiar with C&T, but absolutely - of course you can bend D&D into a S&S shape.
You just have to be ready to sacrifice lots of convenient things you get used to in D&D.
In this case, discussing which is best, Druid or Bard, strikes me as odd - since the answer is clearly "neither". My point is not to call out anyone's game as badwrongfun. Just to say if you can accept one, why not simply accept the other too, since at this point, you're playing a lightly-skinned game of D&D more than a game that truly represents S&S magic...
I think we will have to realize any S&S game still based on D&D, and this game certainly only lightly skins 5E, cannot come close to the true tropes of S&S magic.
Exactly. As the title of this thread indicates, this book is about using the D&D fifth edition rules to play games inspired by swords and sorcery fiction.Saying this as a reaction the recent discussion about spellcasting classes. From my vantage point, that discussion fusses over minor variations in a still fundamentally D&D-centric game. What needs to be done, if you're serious about discussing how to emulate S&S, is to shuck out the very core of D&D, and replace it with a core true to S&S.
If you're not prepared to do that (and believe me, I do understand the appeal to simply use D&D for your S&S), I really don't care about the small details. Bard or Druid, who cares? Both classes are inherently D&D, so both will do well for a lightly-skinned S&Sian game of D&D.
Don't get me wrong, 5E already is a good candidate for S&S reskinning (certainly more than d20).
You just need to do a bit more than argue whether Druid or Bard fits best...
And the Classes of Xoth chapter has this to say about the Warlock class:The Sorcery of Xoth chapter said:...the philosophy of this book is to change as little as possible of the actual magic rules. The sword and sorcery feel can be achieved in a campaign by restricting or changing a few key elements of the core rules which interfere with the low-magic paradigm, without totally abandoning the fantasy that players expect and enjoy.
Even though no actual rules are changed here, the GM can use the pact and the demands from the warlock's master to get across the message that "maybe I should have chosen a clean steel blade instead of this powerful, but soul-destroying arcana" to the warlock's player. If the warlock's acts don't cause friction with the other players during the course of play, the group has missed out on some great S&S roleplaying themes.The Classes of Xoth chapter said:Those who take this path are few indeed, for it means making a pact with an unknown entity, and the cost to life or sanity can be high.
Special Rules: A warlock of Xoth must choose the Great Old One as his otherwordly patron at 1st level, and the Pact of the Chain at 3rd level. To advance a level, the warlock must perform a sacrifice or service on behalf of his patron, as determined by the GM.
This just goes to show that 5E is a pretty good fit for S&S to begin with, which is obviously one of the main reasons I like the system.First, I would totally shuck out the existing options. Sorry! But in summary, 5E has already fixed everything you needed to houserule in d20!
Instead of creating a whitelist of allowed spells, my approach is to create a framework that explains what kind of magic fits the genre, and what does not. This is useful for players, who can then understand the reasoning behind certain things being left out, and useful for the GM, who then has a framework to evaluate spells from the PHB as well as other sources, and can make the final decision (another important principle of 5E).When it comes to magic, I would consider the benefits of telling players what they can do instead of what they can't. That is: to list the spells that you can cast instead of those you can't. The section is already so long it might be more user-friendly to just make a list. I would make this list as short as possible, and just say any other spell CAN be cast if you come across it (=GMs approval).
Fireball is not on the warlock spell list, so that is not a problem anyway! But the problem is not "spells dealing damage", it's spells dealing damage to a large number of creatures at once (area spells), what I call "artillery spells" in the Sorcery chapter. (Note: Magic missile and disintegrate are somewhat unfairly lumped in with those "artillery" spells, I would in fact allow those and I'm going to remove those from the text.)Here I would definitely not reflexively remove Fireball et al. After all offensive and damage is not a big balance problem (from the pov of the GM and adventure writer), and it IS supposed to be D&D after all. In other words: remove a casters ability to take his share of the spotlight and you could just as well prohibit the class entirely. No, I would keep most of the spells that "simply deal damage".
As mentioned above, it's not about taking away the ability to deal damage. It's about the ability to do stuff that doesn't fit the genre or that is way too powerful in a setting where many/most opponents are "normal" people who do NOT have access to magic.In the larger context, the story does not change just because the Raiders died to fire instead of steel. So I'd leave the classes' ability to inflict damage mostly intact, or I'd prohibit them entirely. Otherwise, you're just creating trap options (one class choice being more nerfed than another).
Personally I would be okay with that as a player, but I know many people who get a lot of enjoyment out of counting every single coin after looting fallen enemies, and spending said (exactly counted) coin on various stuff after the adventure. So I think each group (GM and players) has to come up with a solution that maximizes their fun.So instead of trying to shore up the weakness here, I suggest you simply double down on the 5E characteristic of gold being worthless by not even tracking it in any detail.
I feel the S&S genre does have examples of widespread poison gas attacks, and psychic damage attacks, at least in the hands of villains (the gas attacks often require a lengthy ritual though); so it's not AoE per se that is un-S&S. I think it's the Fireball and similar physical damage spells that are not a feature of either S&S or Tolkienesque fantasy; indeed I don't really think they featured in fantasy at all prior to D&D. And Gygax in Chainmail was creating fantasy analogues for WW2 artillery.Fireball is not on the warlock spell list, so that is not a problem anyway! But the problem is not "spells dealing damage", it's spells dealing damage to a large number of creatures at once (area spells), what I call "artillery spells" in the Sorcery chapter.