D&D 5E How should spells be organized?

How should the spell descriptions be sorted (choose up to three)?

  • The top level sort should be alphabetical

    Votes: 16 53.3%
  • The top level sort should be by level

    Votes: 12 40.0%
  • The top level sort should be by school

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The second level sort should be alphabetical

    Votes: 9 30.0%
  • The second level sort should be by level

    Votes: 2 6.7%
  • The second level sort should be by school

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • There shouldn't be a second level sort

    Votes: 9 30.0%
  • The third level sort should be alphabetical

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • The third level sort should be by level

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The third level sort should be by school

    Votes: 1 3.3%
  • There shouldn't be a third level sort

    Votes: 17 56.7%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 16.7%

Alphabetical and then by level.
How can it be alphabetical and then by level? No two spells are going to have the same name, so if you have a top level sort by alphabetical, that's it. There is no second or third level sort. Unless you're just talking about adding a list of the spells by level at the end.

I personally prefer a top level sort by level and a second level alphabetical sort, as it fits more closely with how I'd actually use the book as a player. You know you get to pick X new spells on a level up and you just got access to spell level Y, so let's flip to the section of the book with Y level spells and read until we find the spells we want to add.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

For my books of magic spells on DMsGuild, I organize the spells like this:

1. A charted index of spell names, arranged by level then alphabetically.
2. 1-sentence summaries of the spells, arranged by level then alphabetically.
3. The actual spells themselves, arranged by level then alphabetically.

Together, these three pillars of organization generally cover the needs of browsing/referencing convenience for the most part, and customers have expressed their happiness for my logical approach to sane organizing.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
How can it be alphabetical and then by level? No two spells are going to have the same name, so if you have a top level sort by alphabetical, that's it. There is no second or third level sort. Unless you're just talking about adding a list of the spells by level at the end.

I personally prefer a top level sort by level and a second level alphabetical sort, as it fits more closely with how I'd actually use the book as a player. You know you get to pick X new spells on a level up and you just got access to spell level Y, so let's flip to the section of the book with Y level spells and read until we find the spells we want to add.
My problem is, particularly with spells that don't get used very often, half the time I don't remember what level they are; thus the 1e-2e sorting method is a right pain. 3e got it right.

Also, sorting them purely alphabetically reopens the design space (which 5e inexplicably closed off) of having some spells be different levels for different classes and yet still easy to find.

That said, there should also be a short list of spell names only, sorted by class and level so a player can see what's available.
 

ichabod

Legned
Of course I also believe strongly that modern ttrpgs should have good digital resources, including spell and feature lists that I can sort however I need in the moment.
I concur completely, and intend to provide such resources. I'm going to make them for myself anyway, since I'm a programmer.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Different sorts are most efficient for different activities.

If I'm planning the spells prepped by my character, since I'm approaching the list knowing my class and available spell levels, it would be more efficient to sort by class, then level, then alpha.

If I'm playing or DMing and I have to look up what a spell does, a single alpha sort is more efficient for the data lookup since I know the spell name.

And since, in my experience, the latter ends up being done more, I think a single alpha sort is the best general fit. Plus, it means you don't need to duplicate spell descriptions or make cross references in the Class/Level list for spells that are on more than one class's spell list.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Also, sorting them purely alphabetically reopens the design space (which 5e inexplicably closed off) of having some spells be different levels for different classes and yet still easy to find.
I'm glad they did close off having some spells be different levels for different classes. Having classes get spells at different levels (or even worse, different XP totals as in 1st editions variably-sized levels) never worked very well. If a spell has 3rd level slot power, it should have 3rd level slot power for everyone. It shouldn't have 3rd level slot power for one class but 4th level for another. That just confuses what a spell's level really is. It would play havoc with casting with higher level slots.
 

pemerton

Legend
My idea spell listing would be strictly alphabetical but with these additions:
  • Spell level prominently indicated for each spell (as well as classes/lists/schools) so you can scan through and find your new spells quickly. By "prominently" I mean in the margin, a special (heavier) font, and/or boxes like they use in Pathfinder 2.
  • Other highly-salient spell characteristics—Concentration, I'm lookin' at you, but also things like damage type—should also jump off the page so you don't have to hunt for such critical details.
  • General intended use of the spell—attack, defense, buff, debuff, movement, utility (and more!)—would also be very handy to have boldly indicated with each spell.
variety of criteria. Having a resource like that provided in addition to the game text would go a long way toward obviating many problems.
There is a version of D&D that came pretty close to this in its layout of character abilities . . .
 




Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top