D&D General It's all Jack Vance's fault

pemerton

Legend
The issue with (most) spell point casters is that they get spamtastic - either dropping as many of their points as possible into high level high burst spells to finish combats ASAP or dropping them into low level spammable spells like Shield. Whichever way it works it gets spamtastic compared to spell slots.
I GMed Rolemaster for many years. This wasn't a problem.
 

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Thomas Shey

Legend
It is how some Runequest magic works – specifically, divine magic (that's what it was called in 3rd edition, I think it was rune magic in other editions). It's been a while since I played, but as I recall divine magic consists of sacrificing permanent Power to a deity in exchange for a spell (which was usually significantly more powerful than the regular Spirit Magic (or Battle Magic)). For an initiate (most PCs), this was a single-use spell, but an ordained priest (or maybe a Rune Lord) would be able to regain it by spending time praying and working in a proper temple.

At one time. Modern versions of the game have just a higher version of spell points that are more difficult to recharge. But even as far back as RQ3 there were a bunch of variant approaches in Gods of Glorantha.
 

pemerton

Legend
I find the magic of Runequest, and later HeroWars and Burning Wheel - and in fact other systems which don't turn every last heroic, mythical or magical thing into a spell - to be more satisfying and evocative
Burning Wheel is an interesting take on "limited use" magic.

For those who don't know it, there is a check required to cast a spell - mechanically similar to RM in that respect, but often with higher failure rates. A miscast can have various adverse consequences, but because these are resolved consistently with BW's overall "intent and task" approach, it plays out quite differently from RM.

There is also a check for "tax", which in D&D terms would be a CON check to avoid temporary CON loss. When tax reduces the relevant state (Forte in BW) to zero, the PC falls unconscious; tax below zero can inflict wounds.

Spells themselves are discrete and individually known, a bit like a bard or sorcerer in modern D&D. Their effects are broadly comparable to 1st to 3rd level D&D spells.

The result, in my experience, is that spells are an important part of a sorcerer's repertoire, but are not the only or necessarily even the main thing that they do.

Which brings me back to @niklinna's OP! This passage, from Gygax's AD&D PHB (p 18), seems relevant to this thread:

Character class refers to the profession of the player character. The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class . . . Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game.​

On p 106, in elaborating on the proposition that "characters [who] gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims" will be "entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM", Gygax notes that "magic-users aim to cast spells".

In his DMG (p 86), Gygax reinforces the above two passages by describing what would count as "POOR" performance by a player, having regard to "the character of his or her class". For the player of a magic-user, this would be "seek[ing] to engage in melee or ignor[ing] magic items they could employ in crucial situations".

This all gives a clear picture of how Gygax envisaged "Vancian magic" figuring into game play: it provides the "flavour text" for a particular sort of approach to game play, namely, solving the problems the game presents by deploying limited-use, high-effectiveness capabilities (flavoured as spells or as magic item charges).

This is evident also in Gygax's discussion of "Successful Adventures" on p 107 of his PHB:

Each character has a selection of equipment which he or she will carry on the adventure. . .. In like manner, spells must be selected in co-operation with other spell-users in general, so that attack, defense, and assistance modes will be balanced properly and compliment the strengths and weakness of the party as a whole. . . . Does the group have sufficient equipment of the elementary sort to meet both expected an unexpected challenges (ropes, spikes, poles, torches, oil, etc.)? . . . Do we have as broad a spectrum of spells as possible so as to be able to have a good chance against the unexpected, considering the objective [of the adventure] and what it requires i spells? Is there some magic item which one of the party members possesses that will be of special help, or general assurance of survival, in this adventure? All this should be done before play begins, for it is time consuming, and the readying of a party can require several hours if there are more than six characters involved.​

This all makes clear that the rationale for "Vancian magic" has nothing to do with evoking a certain fantasy feel, or with "playability" in any general sense. (Those may or may not be happy by-products, depending on the game participant.) It's purpose is to create a particular sort of space for game play. Like equipment, it's part of the "load out" aspect of play. (As is well known, it also breaks down at upper levels where load outs become so extensive that the resource management aspect is diluted or near-absent.)

As soon as one looks at RPGs that are not particularly aspiring to reproduce this particular sort of RPG experience - RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, etc - it's no surprise that different sorts of magic systems are adopted.

And given that relatively little contemporary D&D play seems designed to replicate the particular sort of experience Gygax was interested in - of hidden gameboard problem-solving based on the deployment of a resource load-out that is established before play begins, and is not easily changed during play - Gygax's vision of Vancian magic seems to have no particular logical role to play any more. Hence why it is watered down by making the modern load-out quite generous (a first level wizard starts with 6 spells in their book and can probably memorise three or four of them) and by allowing slots to be used on any of those prepared spells. The form of Vancian magic (spell books, memorisation/preparation, slots) remains, but the substance is vestigial.

EDITed to add a further thought:

Torchbearer 2e has a Vancian magic system that maintains a tight constraint on number of memorised spells, and does not allow using the slot of one spell to cast another. It also keeps a very tight rein on the total number of memorised spells. But as a result, it is not a system in which magicians "aim to cast spells" and "use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game". Like sorcerers in Burning Wheel, TB2e magicians contribute primarily through their other skills, like drawing maps and solving riddles and reading runes. They can even become reasonably adept in hand-to-hand combat.

The fact that a system intended to emulate classic D&D dungeoneering play nevertheless has to depart from Gygax's design specs for magic-users shows the demandingness of those specs. It's hard to create a game piece that will be fun to play, and whose play is almost entirely the deployment of limited-use problem-solving abilities, but whose access to those abilities won't break the game. Much of the history of D&D design and play approaches - LFQW, class "spotlight" balancing, 4e's distinctive approach to PC building, 5e's "Neo-Vancian" casting, etc - are responses to this design challenge.
 
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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
I like the way GLOG does magic. In GLOG, you can have up to four templates in a magic-using class ("template" is basically the same as a class level, but each template for each class carries specific abilities with it, so if you take the A template of a fighter class and the A template of a magic-user class, you can be a fighter-magic-user, for example). For each magic-using template, you generally get one Magic Die (a d6), so a maximum of four.

When you want to cast a spell you know, you can roll as many of them as you like -- this represents how much of your personal power you're putting into the spell. So, for instance, you might put all 4d6 into a fireball, to take out a tough monster (things usually have a lot fewer hit points in GLOG). You roll the dice, and that's how much damage you do.

BUT... For each 1-3 you rolled, you put that die back in your pool after the spell is cast. For each 4-6 you roll, that die is discarded; you have burnt out a portion of your power, and it won't be back until you've rested and recovered.

ALSO BUT... If you roll triples on your Magic Dice, you trigger a Doom. (Obviously, if you're being careful with your powers and never use more than 2 dice, you'll be fine! But also weak!) The exact nature of the Dooms vary from wizard school to wizard school, but the first and second are generally survivable but unpleasant. The third, though... The third Doom, the Greeks write plays about..
 

niklinna

Legend
Burning Wheel is an interesting take on "limited use" magic.

For those who don't know it, there is a check required to cast a spell - mechanically similar to RM in that respect, but often with higher failure rates. A miscast can have various adverse consequences, but because these are resolved consistently with BW's overall "intent and task" approach, it plays out quite differently from RM.

There is also a check for "tax", which in D&D terms would be a CON check to avoid temporary CON loss. When tax reduces the relevant state (Forte in BW) to zero, the PC falls unconscious; tax below zero can inflict wounds.

Spells themselves are discrete and individually known, a bit like a bard or sorcerer in modern D&D. Their effects are broadly comparable to 1st to 3rd level D&D spells.

The result, in my experience, is that spells are an important part of a sorcerer's repertoire, but are not the only or necessarily even the main thing that they do.

Which brings me back to @niklinna's OP! This passage, from Gygax's AD&D PHB (p 18), seems relevant to this thread:

Character class refers to the profession of the player character. The approach you wish to take to the game, how you believe you can most successfully meet the challenges which it poses, and which role you desire to play are dictated by character class . . . Magic-users cannot expect to do well in hand-to-hand combat, but they have a great number of magic spells of offensive, defensive, and informational nature. They use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game.​

On p 106, in elaborating on the proposition that "characters [who] gain treasure by pursuit of their major aims" will be "entitled to a full share of earned experience points awarded by the DM", Gygax notes that "magic-users aim to cast spells".

In his DMG (p 86), Gygax reinforces the above two passages by describing what would count as "POOR" performance by a player, having regard to "the character of his or her class". For the player of a magic-user, this would be "seek[ing] to engage in melee or ignor[ing] magic items they could employ in crucial situations".

This all gives a clear picture of how Gygax envisaged "Vancian magic" figuring into game play: it provides the "flavour text" for a particular sort of approach to game play, namely, solving the problems the game presents by deploying limited-use, high-effectiveness capabilities (flavoured as spells or as magic item charges).

This is evident also in Gygax's discussion of "Successful Adventures" on p 107 of his PHB:

Each character has a selection of equipment which he or she will carry on the adventure. . .. In like manner, spells must be selected in co-operation with other spell-users in general, so that attack, defense, and assistance modes will be balanced properly and compliment the strengths and weakness of the party as a whole. . . . Does the group have sufficient equipment of the elementary sort to meet both expected an unexpected challenges (ropes, spikes, poles, torches, oil, etc.)? . . . Do we have as broad a spectrum of spells as possible so as to be able to have a good chance against the unexpected, considering the objective [of the adventure] and what it requires i spells? Is there some magic item which one of the party members possesses that will be of special help, or general assurance of survival, in this adventure? All this should be done before play begins, for it is time consuming, and the readying of a party can require several hours if there are more than six characters involved.​

This all makes clear that the rationale for "Vancian magic" has nothing to do with evoking a certain fantasy feel, or with "playability" in any general sense. (Those may or may not be happy by-products, depending on the game participant.) It's purpose is to create a particular sort of space for game play. Like equipment, it's part of the "load out" aspect of play. (As is well known, it also breaks down at upper levels where load outs become so extensive that the resource management aspect is diluted or near-absent.)

As soon as one looks at RPGs that are not particularly aspiring to reproduce this particular sort of RPG experience - RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, etc - it's no surprise that different sorts of magic systems are adopted.

And given that relatively little contemporary D&D play seems designed to replicate the particular sort of experience Gygax was interested in - of hidden gameboard problem-solving based on the deployment of a resource load-out that is established before play begins, and is not easily changed during play - Gygax's vision of Vancian magic seems to have no particular logical role to play any more. Hence why it is watered down by making the modern load-out quite generous (a first level wizard starts with 6 spells in their book and can probably memorise three or four of them) and by allowing slots to be used on any of those prepared spells. The form of Vancian magic (spell books, memorisation/preparation, slots) remains, but the substance is vestigial.

EDITed to add a further thought:

Torchbearer 2e has a Vancian magic system that maintains a tight constraint on number of memorised spells, and does not allow using the slot of one spell to cast another. It also keeps a very tight rein on the total number of memorised spells. But as a result, it is not a system in which magicians "aim to cast spells" and "use magic almost exclusively to solve problems posed by the game". Like sorcerers in Burning Wheel, TB2e magicians contribute primarily through their other skills, like drawing maps and solving riddles and reading runes. They can even become reasonably adept in hand-to-hand combat.

The fact that a system intended to emulate classic D&D dungeoneering play nevertheless has to depart from Gygax's design specs for magic-users shows the demandingness of those specs. It's hard to create a game piece that will be fun to play, and whose play is almost entirely the deployment of limited-use problem-solving abilities, but whose access to those abilities won't break the game. Much of the history of D&D design and play approaches - LFQW, class "spotlight" balancing, 4e's distinctive approach to PC building, 5e's "Neo-Vancian" casting, etc - are responses to this design challenge.
Great post, lots of good thinking and ideas to chew on. It's also got me reflecting in new ways on my Whisper character in Blades in the Dark, which has tight resource management, but a very nebulous magic "system" indeed, and yet somehow it works. I recently compelled a loose feral spirit back into his animated dead body and turned him into my personal minion (like a Hound's pet). There's no spell for that, I negotiated all that with @Manbearcat through play. Said minion has proven incredibly useful, even though he stretches the already-loose rules quite a bit! But I'm definitely not lobbing fireballs around (there is a special ability you can get to hurl lightning, but that isn't my character's style). Even though I have the latitude to come up with more magical effects using the base Attune action, I find I'm doing more of that TB2 thing of using a wide variety of skills, and magic just happens to be part of it.

I've got a new character planned for Torg Eternity, who will have 3 alchemical potions (which are a constrained resource) and 3 spells (which are spammable in Torg but require a successful activation roll): open lock, mage dark, and shadow constriction. You can probably figure out what the first two do; shadow constriction basically animates nearby shadows to grapple a target as they envelop it in darkness. One of his potions grants darkvision (the other two are debuff/knockout bombs). I think you can see where that build is going! But that's going to be his schtick and it won't change much for a while, if ever, due to Torg's goofball intersections of the base magic system with perks (very roughly similar D&D feats) and cosm/genre mashup and such. Torg Eternity is just a bizarre roleplaying game in a lot of ways, though.

When I was playing a magician in Torchbearer 2, I rarely cast spells and relied on skills a lot, and was quite effective doing so, even in melee combat (but only for defense). Spellcasting in that game is pretty onerous—very true to Vancian casting, as you described—so I was glad the game doesn't have the expectations of D&D in that regard. Torchbearer wasn't quite my cuppa, but I definitely appreciated the system design, and learning it through play was a lot of fun. That is not a game you can just read and figure out what's going to work really well, ahead of time.
 

niklinna

Legend
I like the way GLOG does magic. In GLOG, you can have up to four templates in a magic-using class ("template" is basically the same as a class level, but each template for each class carries specific abilities with it, so if you take the A template of a fighter class and the A template of a magic-user class, you can be a fighter-magic-user, for example). For each magic-using template, you generally get one Magic Die (a d6), so a maximum of four.

When you want to cast a spell you know, you can roll as many of them as you like -- this represents how much of your personal power you're putting into the spell. So, for instance, you might put all 4d6 into a fireball, to take out a tough monster (things usually have a lot fewer hit points in GLOG). You roll the dice, and that's how much damage you do.

BUT... For each 1-3 you rolled, you put that die back in your pool after the spell is cast. For each 4-6 you roll, that die is discarded; you have burnt out a portion of your power, and it won't be back until you've rested and recovered.

ALSO BUT... If you roll triples on your Magic Dice, you trigger a Doom. (Obviously, if you're being careful with your powers and never use more than 2 dice, you'll be fine! But also weak!) The exact nature of the Dooms vary from wizard school to wizard school, but the first and second are generally survivable but unpleasant. The third, though... The third Doom, the Greeks write plays about..
Dang that sounds cool! Is this it? Or is there a newer version?

Edit: Oh it looks like they just toss out little chunks over time on their blog. Will have to see if I can find all the bits.

Edit edit: He has a convenient link to all the PDFs in one folder. There are many.
 
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fuindordm

Explorer
In his DMG (p 86), Gygax reinforces the above two passages by describing what would count as "POOR" performance by a player, having regard to "the character of his or her class". For the player of a magic-user, this would be "seek[ing] to engage in melee or ignor[ing] magic items they could employ in crucial situations".

This all gives a clear picture of how Gygax envisaged "Vancian magic" figuring into game play: it provides the "flavour text" for a particular sort of approach to game play, namely, solving the problems the game presents by deploying limited-use, high-effectiveness capabilities (flavoured as spells or as magic item charges).

Very interesting. I agree with your very good post, that the essence of AD&D was to give the players options for interacting with the adventure and setting in different ways, and that the magic-user's approach was supposed to be reliant on magic and magic items.

To bounce off this idea a little:

In Vance's literature, almost all magicians use magic items more than they use spells. They have a variety of permanent, single-use, and charged items and generally are not stingy about using them (at least when using them for themselves; they hoard them mercilessly with respect to other characters).

In AD&D I think this is also part of the assumed play style: that wizards WILL HAVE magic items to fall back on in addition to their small number of memorized spells. In early levels, scrolls and potions; but wands as well.

So a wizard is acting in-character if they mainly rely on magic, including but not limited to their memorized spells; and there is an implicit assumption that their magical resource pool going into an adventure is more than just spells.

It's not much help to the 1st-level wizard, but I think it holds for the rest of the campaign.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Dang that sounds cool! Is this it? Or is there a newer version?

Edit: Oh it looks like they just toss out little chunks over time on their blog. Will have to see if I can find all the bits.

Edit edit: He has a convenient link to all the PDFs in one folder. There are many.
Dude, you make it sound like there's a "planned release schedule." GLOG is a bespoke, artisanal gaming product! Somebody in that corner of the OSR comes up with an idea for a class or mechanic or whatnot, and posts about it on their blog, or a forum, or a Discord. Then, the Goblin sees it, maybe decides he likes it, and reblogs it/reposts it/whatever and other people see it and put it in their GLOG versions.

Every "GLOG book" is a binder of random sheets of computer printout (possibly dot-matrix)/convention cocktail napkins containing scrawled notes/ancient tablets with modern ink marker writings expanding upon and editing sections/etc.

Artisanal! Bespoke! Pure homebrew!

EDIT: I will say, all of that means GLOG has tons of cool ideas designed to achieve whatever level of play the GM and players want, tons of little tools and mechanics to speed up and streamline gameplay, or achieve an effect (like wizards being wary with their powers).
 

niklinna

Legend
Dude, you make it sound like there's a "planned release schedule." GLOG is a bespoke, artisanal gaming product! Somebody in that corner of the OSR comes up with an idea for a class or mechanic or whatnot, and posts about it on their blog, or a forum, or a Discord. Then, the Goblin sees it, maybe decides he likes it, and reblogs it/reposts it/whatever and other people see it and put it in their GLOG versions.

Every "GLOG book" is a binder of random sheets of computer printout (possibly dot-matrix)/convention cocktail napkins containing scrawled notes/ancient tablets with modern ink marker writings expanding upon and editing sections/etc.

Artisanal! Bespoke! Pure homebrew!

EDIT: I will say, all of that means GLOG has tons of cool ideas designed to achieve whatever level of play the GM and players want, tons of little tools and mechanics to speed up and streamline gameplay, or achieve an effect (like wizards being wary with their powers).
I knew nothing about it when I started looking! Now I've had a look, yes it's clear all what you say. There's a lot of fun tidbits in there.
 

Okay, I have reread a few Dying Earth stories, looked up Gygax's references to spellcasting in the early days, and checked out some of the alternate systems people have referenced. Here are some thoughts --
Regarding Vance's writing -- one thing thing that struck me solidly is that Vance's spells did seem like an arsenal (or as mentioned upthread, Q's Bond gadgets/a Chekov gun, since they always ended up being the perfect solution for a problem which came up). Mostly in that a wizard almost never got to re-charge or change out their allotment in a plot-timely manner. This emulates the supposed original Gygax intent of the spell allotment being per any single adventure (each one usually being a night's worth of gaming), and the framework fuindordm mentions about him thinking highly-powerful/limited use spells would be the most fun. I think that's probably one of the biggest challenges D&D has had to deal with ever since -- stopping players from making the tactically reasonable decision to rest and recharge at every opportunity. Sure there are doom clocks (or environments where resting is as perilous as pressing on with some spells burned), but then you need your adventures to look like that. Excluding 4e/13A, the standard way D&D and D&D-alikes have handled this has been to simply state a standard of expected encounters (6-8 in 5e, 4/day in 3e) and note that if you deviate from this, it will effect the inter-class balance. Certainly a way to deal with it, but also unsatisfying to a significant subset of gamers.

Regarding other systems -- mana points vs. con-damage vs. weaker-but-at-wills and so on seem like... not minutia, but specifics where the other nuances of the game rules may well overcome them in terms of the impact of magic. What strikes me as a near-universal theme is that other systems rarely have the 'usually takes a single combat-frame and always works' quality that D&D has. Sometimes it is a skill test, other times charge up time, or major constraints on when you can readily do so (Tekumel and the 'metal makes you blow up' quality being a pure example there). AD&D specifically had a taste of this in spell disruption (in theory 3e did as well, but getting around it was entirely too easy), but there is so much variability in how much of a hindrance that is (notably whether your caster was behind a retinue of hirelings in 10' corridors or not, but also the incredible variation in whether people actually used the AD&D initiative rules -and correctly. Also then it has no meaning for spells cast away from a fight). Fundamentally I think if utility spells were just another test you made like a skill check there might be less frustration with magic being able to do what a skill-expert does.

Another thing I noticed while reading spell lists (and yeah, massively many other games also use discrete lists of spells with very solidly defined effect parameters): very few games have spells (especially ones without lasting costs or consequences that you can cast day after day) that scale as high as D&D spells do (relative the system as a whole). Nor in many are you usually expected to cast spells as often as even TSR-era D&D casters. There are lots of systems where a TSR-era Charm Person would be considered hugely powerful, or where a Magic Jar-like effect would be something you spent days recovering your power pool from casting (or like Symbaroum --where all magic is risky--has a baleful polymorph-like effect, but it's considered 'the broken spell'). Very few games have magic that is so fire-and-forget, so convenient, and so disruptive. OTOH, this is also true of many D&D magic items, and this leads me back to another thing I realize about AD&D -- getting new spells was hard. They were often found as treasure and became the magic users' part of the loot, very much like magic items. The loss of the uncertainty of having the spells you want is a major change in how the game has progressed, similar to the removal of spell disruption. Still, at the same time, I think each individual change to how inconvenient spellcasting used to be is very very reasonable, since 'this is powerful, but a pain in the rear' isn't necessarily a great balancing mechanism (but then the effects should have been scaled down or the like).

Regarding Gygax:--

This all makes clear that the rationale for "Vancian magic" has nothing to do with evoking a certain fantasy feel, or with "playability" in any general sense. (Those may or may not be happy by-products, depending on the game participant.) It's purpose is to create a particular sort of space for game play. Like equipment, it's part of the "load out" aspect of play. (As is well known, it also breaks down at upper levels where load outs become so extensive that the resource management aspect is diluted or near-absent.)
...
The fact that a system intended to emulate classic D&D dungeoneering play nevertheless has to depart from Gygax's design specs for magic-users shows the demandingness of those specs. It's hard to create a game piece that will be fun to play, and whose play is almost entirely the deployment of limited-use problem-solving abilities, but whose access to those abilities won't break the game. Much of the history of D&D design and play approaches - LFQW, class "spotlight" balancing, 4e's distinctive approach to PC building, 5e's "Neo-Vancian" casting, etc - are responses to this design challenge.
I think this is spot on. While people argue which of Appendix N is most represented in D&D, I think the EGG always just wanted more Conan/Grey Mouser/Cugel than Tolkien set dressing, but his real main focus was a preparation/logistics/weighing-of-options problem-solving game .
 

theCourier

Adventurer
Wonder how DDC Dying Earth is going to go about doing things. Sounds like the Patron system from that game could be put into good use regarding the daihaks and sandestins and such.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
Very interesting. I agree with your very good post, that the essence of AD&D was to give the players options for interacting with the adventure and setting in different ways, and that the magic-user's approach was supposed to be reliant on magic and magic items.

To bounce off this idea a little:

In Vance's literature, almost all magicians use magic items more than they use spells. They have a variety of permanent, single-use, and charged items and generally are not stingy about using them (at least when using them for themselves; they hoard them mercilessly with respect to other characters).

In AD&D I think this is also part of the assumed play style: that wizards WILL HAVE magic items to fall back on in addition to their small number of memorized spells. In early levels, scrolls and potions; but wands as well.

So a wizard is acting in-character if they mainly rely on magic, including but not limited to their memorized spells; and there is an implicit assumption that their magical resource pool going into an adventure is more than just spells.

It's not much help to the 1st-level wizard, but I think it holds for the rest of the campaign.
Right, wizards used to rely on "magic" more heavily than other classes, but other classes also had character or class defining or enhancing magic items, and wizards had the most: rods, staves, wands, potions, scrolls of spells, etc. Wizards in 5e, due to the "magic items are not necessary for balance purposes" and the attunement limit, means that wizards now need to 1) get all of their ability/power from their innate spells, and 2) have to be able to keep pace/be on-par damage wise with all the other classes (which was not really a consideration in many "older" systems. So to sum up your second to last paragraph in 5e, for wizards "their magical resource pool going into adventures IS JUST SPELLS.

@Willie the Duck I agree with your read on Vance/GG, particularly with "Another thing..." and spell lists. I think that Ad&d/2e weren't really an attempt to "balance" things, or to make sure everyone would be effective in the game. We always found that everyone was effective in "some part" of the game, but not all of them, even wizards. Between finding spells, components, disruption, low HP, every time you stepped into a fight, you were sweating it out, even at higher levels. And you never had all the spells, or necessarily the right spells, so you had to get creative. My 5e F2/W14 has some 102 or so HP (going from memory), and several pages of spells, spell like abilities, innate abilities, elven abilities, feats, etc. My Ad&d 11th level wizard has 44 HP, a page of spells, and no appreciable other abilities other than some NWPs/background skills, and his magic items. They're wildly different in play. The first I'm front and second lining (when the Barbarian isn't mulching everything in the front), while I'm terrified of fights with the latter.

@Ruin Explorer I'm not Oofta, but I'm always searching out spell systems, alternatives, looking for ideas. I'd totally hop on a thread or discussion about other games, alternate systems, pros and cons, etc.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
I knew nothing about it when I started looking! Now I've had a look, yes it's clear all what you say. There's a lot of fun tidbits in there.
The GLOGosphere is one of the most creative parts of the OSR corner of the Internet. I love how easy it is to steer a campaign just by limiting what classes you make available to players. Many campaigns limit it so each class has only one player; so the Fighter is truly unique, as no other player can take it once one has chose. They also usually make other classes available only once the PCs have encountered such a creature on their adventures. Once you tangle with Lizard Men, suddenly a Lizard Man class becomes available to new players. It's a nice, dynamic system to keep the campaign fresh.
 

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