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%


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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
Why? If a certain (sub-)class specializes in a type of spell (e.g. illusions, or necromancy, or healing) then spells of that type should logically be available to that class sooner than they would be to a generalist.
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.
How so? Regardless of a spell's initial level, casting that spell one slot higher than its norm should give the same benefits. More generally, the number of "extra" slot levels you put into a spell should determine the benefits gained, not the actual level of the slot used.

p.s. variable advancement tables by class have always worked just fine for me; never saw any problem with the idea.
 

ichabod

Legned
Or you could just provide your rules digitally and then each user could sort by level, class, source, alphabetically or even perform a key word search.
I did note that I will be making a json file, maybe even a spreadsheet. But the main rules will be a static file with some sort of order.
 

niklinna

satisfied?
I did note that I will be making a json file, maybe even a spreadsheet. But the main rules will be a static file with some sort of order.
I made a google spreadsheet of spells &c. in Torg Eternity and some folks complained they didn't know how to use spreadsheets. :confused:

But then another person made https://torg-codex.com/ which has different issues.

(Torg Eternity is such a heartbreaker.)
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Spells should be organized first by Class, then Level, then alphabetically.

As it was in the time of the beginning.... j/k
Yes, I admit it, I started with 1e and that was how they were organized. Ima Grognard. But, in this instance, I believe I am right in spite of that.

Seriously, when you are playing a character, and that character gets spells, the most convenient, easy to understand, least distracting way to figure out what you can do is to turn to a list of spells that you can use for your class and level, you have only had to read what you needed to play your character.
An alphabetical list mixing together spells of all classes is the worst, you need to flip back and forth from your list of class spells, then look each spell up separately, every time you do, a cool/catch spell might catch you eye that you may never be able to cast.

Now, admittedly, 5e recycles the same spells into more lists than back in the day. There might have been a couple few spells/level that would have to have a notation "except as noted, the same as the Cleric spell of the same name" (because the 1e PH did that, referenced back to spells already printed, and they started with Cleric.) Trying to do that with 5e would be a nightmare, since almost all the spells are shared. The Sorcerer's spell list would be nothing but references to other casters' lists!
But, maybe your improvement of 5e improves that by having fewer classes or/and more spells for less sharing?
 
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There is a version of D&D that came pretty close to this in its layout of character abilities . . .
It worked there because there were almost no cross-class spells, and npcs who weren’t part of a class didn’t get class spells. Monsters got abilities with the rules in the stat block and flavor (if any) in the writeup.

So long as more than one class can cast “protection from evil” that system doesn’t work out well.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Spells should be organized first by Class, then Level, then alphabetically.

As it was in the time of the beginning.... j/k
Yes, I admit it, I started with 1e and that was how they were organized. Ima Grognard. But, in this instance, I believe I am right in spite of that.

Seriously, when you are playing a character, and that character gets spells, the most convenient, easy to understand, least distracting way to figure out what you can do is to turn to a list of spells that you can use for your class and level, you have only had to read what you needed to play your character.
An alphabetical list mixing together spells of all classes is the worst, you need to flip back and forth from your list of class spells, then look each spell up separately, every time you do, a cool/catch spell might catch you eye that you may never be able to cast.

Now, admittedly, 5e recycles the same spells into more lists than back in the day. There might have been a couple few spells/level that would have to have a notation "except as noted, the same as the Cleric spell of the same name" (because the 1e PH did that, referenced back to spells already printed, and they started with Cleric.) Trying to do that with 5e would be a nightmare, since almost all the spells are shared. The Sorcerer's spell list would be nothing but references to other casters' lists!
This would be ideal if no spells were repeated between classes. But 5e has a ton of crossover between class spell lists, so this would lead to a ton of spell being repeated multiple times. As it stands, I think by level, then alphabetically, with all classes that can learn the spell clearly listed would be the most efficient.
 


ichabod

Legned
This would be ideal if no spells were repeated between classes. But 5e has a ton of crossover between class spell lists, so this would lead to a ton of spell being repeated multiple times. As it stands, I think by level, then alphabetically, with all classes that can learn the spell clearly listed would be the most efficient.
I think you have a fair point about 5e, but keep in mind that I'm rewriting 5e. My lists are going to be different, and they are not really going to be class based. Furthermore, I'm not publishing a paper book. Anything I put out will be electronic. So redundancy wouldn't cause the same problems in terms of printing costs. I've already written a fair bit of redundancy to ease looking things up during game play (and, yes, I'm well aware that will cause some trouble when I do updates). So class/level/alphabetic might work out. I haven't done the spell lists yet, so I will have to analyze them when I have.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I think you have a fair point about 5e, but keep in mind that I'm rewriting 5e. My lists are going to be different, and they are not really going to be class based. Furthermore, I'm not publishing a paper book. Anything I put out will be electronic. So redundancy wouldn't cause the same problems in terms of printing costs. I've already written a fair bit of redundancy to ease looking things up during game play (and, yes, I'm well aware that will cause some trouble when I do updates). So class/level/alphabetic might work out. I haven't done the spell lists yet, so I will have to analyze them when I have.
Ah, ok. In that case, I think the optimal organization scheme is going to depend on how the spell lists themselves are broken down. Like, for example, if PCs get access to spell schools rather than class lists, then it makes much more sense for school to be one of the layers of organization. I voted for Level, then alphabetical, with no third layer. But if (unlike in 5e), spell school is actually relevant to how players access spells, maybe level, then school, then alpha would make more sense.

And of course, if it’s all-digital anyway, you might not need to pick just one method. Depending on the specific medium, you might be able to make it sortable by the enduser.
 

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