3E/3.5 Jonathan Tweet: Third Edition and Per-Day Spells

On the Third Edition design team, we were tasked with rationalizing the game system, but there were some big elements of the system that we didn’t question. We inherited a system in which spellcasters get better in three ways at a time as they level up; they get more spells per day, higher-level spells, and more damage with spells of a given level. In retrospect, that problem is easy to see, and we didn’t fix it. We also inherited a system that balanced powerful class features, notably spells, by making them usable once per day. The problems with that system are less obvious, and we didn’t fix this system, either. But the 3E system laid bare its own inner workings, and so soon enough designers saw that there were issues with this system, and over the years several of us designers have tried to address it one way or another.

IMG_7349.JPG


In classic dungeon crawling, the default best strategy is to take each room one at a time and regain your hit points and spells after each one. That’s no fun, so people usually don’t play that way. For 3E, we spelled out that the game was balanced for four average battles between heal-ups, but actual practice varied. Whatever per-day powers are balanced at one rate of fights per day are necessarily unbalanced at faster or slower rates. Classes with lots of per-day power are too strong when there are one or two fights per day and too weak when there are five or more. Individual Dungeon Masters might be able to schedule the action in such a way that they maintain the sort of balance they’re looking for. If that works, it represents the DM’s efforts and not anything we on the design team could accomplish through system design. Many Dungeon Masters might find the per-day rules convenient precisely because they allow the DM to modulate the threat level up and down. DMs rule on how many encounters the party has in a day and whether they can suspend their mission long enough to reset their spells and other per-day powers. A dynamic I’ve seen over and over again, however, is that players with spellcasting characters are adept at talking the DM into letting the party rest. When the spellcaster is out of spells, they need a night’s rest a lot more than the other characters in the party need to press on. When a mission goes south and the encounters burn up more per-day resources than the DM figured they would, the party often simply camps out for the night and sets out the next day with spells reset to full.

Limiting spells by day also means that a spellcaster’s power level is different when they’re in a preliminary skirmish compared to when they’re in a climactic showdown. When it’s a high-priority battle or when the player knows that there’s a long rest afterwards, the spellcaster can use their best spells without worrying about holding back. This effect is something of a game-wrecker when the party arranges to jump the big bad guy after prepping up to full. With a well-placed teleport, the party’s spellcasters can unload all their best “per-day” spells for the one battle that matters that day (an “alpha strike”). Classes with at-will powers can’t “unload” the way spellcasters can.

IMG_5348.JPG


The per-day system also changes up balance for NPCs. Generally, when a party attacks an NPC boss of some sort, that NPC is in a fight for their life, and they cut loose with every per-day power they can manage. Fighter NPCs aren’t particularly dangerous because they have no such resources to unleash. In my campaign, I found the psionicist NPC the most dangerous because they could use the point system to cast at full capacity every round. As player-characters, psionicists have all the balance problems of the wizard and then some.

Seeing the issues with per-day powers, the designers started experimenting with per-encounter powers in supplemental material. The psychic warrior, for example, had a “focus” that they could expend once in the battle in order to have a special effect. At that point, designers were still in simulation mode, and encounters that were “per-encounter” by fiat seemed too artificial. The psychic warrior had a believable, in-world reason for their “per-encounter” abilities. Tome of Battle: Book of the Nine Swords (2006) introduced special, limited-use powers for martial classes. By 4E, the designers fully embraced per-encounter powers.

Fourth edition established balance among the classes by giving all of them per-day and per-encounter powers. That’s one way to solve the balance issue. 4E is so well-balanced that it’s hard to make bad choices in character design. This approach had the unfortunate effect of making the classes all feel sort of the same.

With 13th Age, Rob Heinsoo and I took a different approach. We turned 3E’s four-fights guideline into a hard rule. You get your spells and hit points back not just by resting but only if you have engaged in a minimum amount of fighting. After your fourth fight (or after four fights’ worth of fighting), the party gets to reset to full. Alternatively, the party can admit defeat and get a heal-up without “earning” it, but admitting defeat entails a “campaign loss,” as determined by the GM. This system creates a lovely rhythm, with characters feeling flush and confident in the first fight, feeling hard pressed in the last fight, and then feeling good again when they heal up. I play a cleric in a 13th Age campaign, and the last fight before a heal-up is tough going. The last fight is so tough that we player all know that the decisions and rolls we made in the earlier fights all mattered in terms of what we have left for the last one.
 
Jonathan Tweet

Comments

Dausuul

Legend
In the real word archeologists take months or years to explore ancient ruins.
Those ancient ruins are not full of monsters.

Realistically, D&D explorers will do the same.
It's fascinating how games teach us to think of things as "realistic" that make no sense whatsoever.

Realistically, monsters with any degree of intelligence ought to react to PCs conducting a series of raids over several days or weeks. Either a) they get together to lay a trap for the intruders, b) they organize a counterattack on the PCs' home base, or c) they haul up stakes and head elsewhere. They don't just sit there waiting to be massacred.

However, this requires a willingness to call the party's bluff and completely derail the adventure. In scenario a), the PCs will find themselves facing far more firepower than they can handle, potentially ending in TPK and certainly making it very hard for them to achieve their goals in the dungeon. Scenario b) is probably the most effective method, but it only works if the monsters can locate the PCs and pursue them off their (the monsters') home turf. Scenario c) means that all the work the DM put into designing the dungeon has now gone for naught.

It can be done, but it's a lot of extra work for the DM and can end very badly if mishandled. It also requires thinking about adventure design in a very different way from what video games and even the DMG encourage; you have to consider the entire dungeon as a whole, rather than designing each encounter as a stand-alone set piece.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
It also requires thinking about adventure design in a very different way from what video games and even the DMG encourage; you have to consider the entire dungeon as a whole, rather than designing each encounter as a stand-alone set piece.
I once had a conversation with someone about (an aspect of) this. I mentioned how the monsters and NPCs wouldn't just be sitting around passively waiting while their base/home/lair was under attack. They'd start taking proactive measures to fortify defenses and make things as difficult as possible for the intruders, including various "break glass in case of emergency" measures, ranging from drinking potions to cutting quick deals with summoned Outsiders and evil gods.

The other guy replied that in that case, the PCs should just run in, smash things in a room or two, and then leave for a day or so; by that point the bad guys' short-term measures (i.e. potions) would have worn off, and they'd be more vulnerable to a sudden strike than before. I promptly named this the "booga-booga" tactic, since it relies on scaring the enemies into using up their most limited resources.
 

slobster

Hero
Realistically, monsters with any degree of intelligence ought to react to PCs conducting a series of raids over several days or weeks. Either a) they get together to lay a trap for the intruders, b) they organize a counterattack on the PCs' home base, or c) they haul up stakes and head elsewhere. They don't just sit there waiting to be massacred.
FWIW, this is exactly how monsters in my dungeons react. However, if the drow outpost pulls up stakes and moves out after a couple days of assault by the PCs, after they did their best to ambush and fortify, their camp won't stay uninhabited forever. Mindless monsters will move in and pick over the scraps, other power groups might try to possess the area for the same reasons the drow were there orginally, or for their own purposes. And of course the best loot will probably be taken with the drow.

Now if the PCs were after something the Drow had specifically, now they have to track them through the underdark to achieve their objectives. So maybe pushing on instead of nova-ing then resting over and over would have been the less risky choice in this situation, after all! ;)
 

slobster

Hero
I once had a conversation with someone about (an aspect of) this. I mentioned how the monsters and NPCs wouldn't just be sitting around passively waiting while their base/home/lair was under attack. They'd start taking proactive measures to fortify defenses and make things as difficult as possible for the intruders, including various "break glass in case of emergency" measures, ranging from drinking potions to cutting quick deals with summoned Outsiders and evil gods.

The other guy replied that in that case, the PCs should just run in, smash things in a room or two, and then leave for a day or so; by that point the bad guys' short-term measures (i.e. potions) would have worn off, and they'd be more vulnerable to a sudden strike than before. I promptly named this the "booga-booga" tactic, since it relies on scaring the enemies into using up their most limited resources.
(Sorry for the double post, I'm still getting used to the forum code again)

Another possible reaction for the monsters in this case is one of my favorites, even though I've only ever done it once.

Think about it. A village is attacked every night by a troupe of powerful monsters. They come in, methodically going house by house and killing everything within it, taking anything of value, and then leave to parts unknown, presumably to rest until they return the next night. How would your average D&D village respond? Get adventurers of course!

So if that tribe of bullywugs just can't bring down the PCs after several days of "booga-booga!", maybe they pool all their remaining valuables (and sell some of the tribe into slavery on top) to hire an evil group of monster adventurers- a troll cleric, a mummy sorcerer, a werepig rogue, and a dwarven blackguard. When the PCs bash down the front gate of the bullywug temple expecting another easy fight, they get a great surprise of their own!

Like I said, I only did it once, and it was a fun take on the "evil mirror party" trope. Led to a great fight where both sides did their nova thing and the players triumphed, but bloodily. You know I just might do something like that again...
 

Larnievc

Explorer
On the Third Edition design team, we were tasked with rationalizing the game system, but there were some big elements of the system that we didn’t question. We inherited a system in which spellcasters get better in three ways at a time as they level up; they get more spells per day, higher-level spells, and more damage with spells of a given level. In retrospect, that problem is easy to see, and we didn’t fix it. We also inherited a system that balanced powerful class features, notably spells, by making them usable once per day. The problems with that system are less obvious, and we didn’t fix this system, either. But the 3E system laid bare its own inner workings, and so soon enough designers saw that there were issues with this system, and over the years several of us designers have tried to address it one way or another.

View attachment 118696

In classic dungeon crawling, the default best strategy is to take each room one at a time and regain your hit points and spells after each one. That’s no fun, so people usually don’t play that way. For 3E, we spelled out that the game was balanced for four average battles between heal-ups, but actual practice varied. Whatever per-day powers are balanced at one rate of fights per day are necessarily unbalanced at faster or slower rates. Classes with lots of per-day power are too strong when there are one or two fights per day and too weak when there are five or more. Individual Dungeon Masters might be able to schedule the action in such a way that they maintain the sort of balance they’re looking for. If that works, it represents the DM’s efforts and not anything we on the design team could accomplish through system design. Many Dungeon Masters might find the per-day rules convenient precisely because they allow the DM to modulate the threat level up and down. DMs rule on how many encounters the party has in a day and whether they can suspend their mission long enough to reset their spells and other per-day powers. A dynamic I’ve seen over and over again, however, is that players with spellcasting characters are adept at talking the DM into letting the party rest. When the spellcaster is out of spells, they need a night’s rest a lot more than the other characters in the party need to press on. When a mission goes south and the encounters burn up more per-day resources than the DM figured they would, the party often simply camps out for the night and sets out the next day with spells reset to full.

Limiting spells by day also means that a spellcaster’s power level is different when they’re in a preliminary skirmish compared to when they’re in a climactic showdown. When it’s a high-priority battle or when the player knows that there’s a long rest afterwards, the spellcaster can use their best spells without worrying about holding back. This effect is something of a game-wrecker when the party arranges to jump the big bad guy after prepping up to full. With a well-placed teleport, the party’s spellcasters can unload all their best “per-day” spells for the one battle that matters that day (an “alpha strike”). Classes with at-will powers can’t “unload” the way spellcasters can.

View attachment 118697

The per-day system also changes up balance for NPCs. Generally, when a party attacks an NPC boss of some sort, that NPC is in a fight for their life, and they cut loose with every per-day power they can manage. Fighter NPCs aren’t particularly dangerous because they have no such resources to unleash. In my campaign, I found the psionicist NPC the most dangerous because they could use the point system to cast at full capacity every round. As player-characters, psionicists have all the balance problems of the wizard and then some.

Seeing the issues with per-day powers, the designers started experimenting with per-encounter powers in supplemental material. The psychic warrior, for example, had a “focus” that they could expend once in the battle in order to have a special effect. At that point, designers were still in simulation mode, and encounters that were “per-encounter” by fiat seemed too artificial. The psychic warrior had a believable, in-world reason for their “per-encounter” abilities. Tome of Battle: Book of the Nine Swords (2006) introduced special, limited-use powers for martial classes. By 4E, the designers fully embraced per-encounter powers.

Fourth edition established balance among the classes by giving all of them per-day and per-encounter powers. That’s one way to solve the balance issue. 4E is so well-balanced that it’s hard to make bad choices in character design. This approach had the unfortunate effect of making the classes all feel sort of the same.

With 13th Age, Rob Heinsoo and I took a different approach. We turned 3E’s four-fights guideline into a hard rule. You get your spells and hit points back not just by resting but only if you have engaged in a minimum amount of fighting. After your fourth fight (or after four fights’ worth of fighting), the party gets to reset to full. Alternatively, the party can admit defeat and get a heal-up without “earning” it, but admitting defeat entails a “campaign loss,” as determined by the GM. This system creates a lovely rhythm, with characters feeling flush and confident in the first fight, feeling hard pressed in the last fight, and then feeling good again when they heal up. I play a cleric in a 13th Age campaign, and the last fight before a heal-up is tough going. The last fight is so tough that we player all know that the decisions and rolls we made in the earlier fights all mattered in terms of what we have left for the last one.
My group does a similar thing. They gain the benefit of a short rest after two encounters and a long rest after 6 encounters.

Sleep is a separate thing.
 
I don't the problem is limits and restriction on spells and magic being removed.

Ultimately I think the issue is rules that don't match the world setting they go in. Mostly because the rules are supposed to hit many settings or creating rules sperate from setting.

D&D 1-5e, PF 1-2e, 13A, and the rest create discinct and precise world systems with their rules. The issue is the rules of some game systems weren't made for the settings people wanted to play. To make a world that simulates deep dungeon delving sessions you need to design rules that encourage that.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
What if you have an encounter one day, two the next, and then nothing for a week?
My group ran into that problem. As the DM I let them gain the benefits of a long rest when I think it would be reasonable. That changes with the situation but it seems to work fine and no one has complained about get an out of synch long rest.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
There's another aspect to casters which is somewhat tangential to the specific issues brought up in this article, but which is an important aspect to their overall spike in power in Third Edition: making magic items became formulaic, which in turn made it player-facing.

Although the ability to make magic items was feat-restricted in 3E, rather than being baked into spellcasting classes the way it had been before, and the magic items themselves were in the DMG, everything else lowered the barrier for players making magic items. Whereas before the process had largely depended on unspecified rare materials, it now consisted purely of expenditures of gold and experience points. Now, those were still something of a cost restriction, but not in the way that rare materials had been. Worse, the entire process detracted from game-play rather than added to it.

<snip>

There was no "magic market" either, where you could just buy the magic items you couldn't make for yourself, but that tended to work in everyone's favor, even if spellcasters seemed to benefit more (in my experience) from being able to buy cheap scrolls of whatever spell they needed.
Tangential, but still pretty important. In previous editions, wands were useful in combat (can't disrupt the use of a wand like you can a spell) and for weird utilities. Expanding what could be put into a wand really wrecked the balancing act that the daily spell slots provided. There was little need for clerics to resort to spontaneously casting healing when wands of cure light wounds could be broken out after every combat. It was no longer a tough choice for a wizard to take a couple of utility spells like knock, spider climb, or invisibility to double-up on rogue duties because they could do it 50 times in a day if necessary.

Of all the things 3e did that changed D&D, I still think the most contentious and far-reaching was easing on-demand magic item acquisition - both through magic item creation within the party and the market.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
It can be done, but it's a lot of extra work for the DM and can end very badly if mishandled. It also requires thinking about adventure design in a very different way from what video games and even the DMG encourage; you have to consider the entire dungeon as a whole, rather than designing each encounter as a stand-alone set piece.
Such is the life of the GM. Both 2nd and 3rd editions had books to address this - the Complete Book of Villains and Dungeonscape, respectively.

A dynamic I’ve seen over and over again, however, is that players with spellcasting characters are adept at talking the DM into letting the party rest. When the spellcaster is out of spells, they need a night’s rest a lot more than the other characters in the party need to press on. When a mission goes south and the encounters burn up more per-day resources than the DM figured they would, the party often simply camps out for the night and sets out the next day with spells reset to full.
Negotiating with the DM in this way is super meta, but it also seems like it's part of the charm of the game. It's like an inadvertent, "hey, you heroes actually need to rest once in a while," system. It would be a little weird if the party cut through evil gnomes (sorry, had to cross-thread) for three days straight, no sleep, simply because their spells and hit points hadn't run low.

I seem to recall 3e's resting was harsh on warriors, and extra harsh on clerics, but great for wizards. Because in those days, a full night's sleep didn't restore all hit points (thanks, 5e). So the warriors didn't "reset to full," the clerics had to burn their precious spells first thing in the morning in order to reset the warriors to full, and the wizards had a cup of coffee because they got all of their spells back, and didn't have that many hit points to begin with.

Wizards. So OP 🤓

Reading JT's post, I thought, "isn't the obvious solution Stamina Points for the warriors?" But one solution/implementation of that is the Book of Nine Swords idea, and we just read about where that leads...
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
I'm afraid I prefer simulation of genre to nebulous ideas of "balance." Balance is basically a fantasy that is never consistent between groups or campaigns anyway. The most mechanically powerful character in a party can feel useless if the DM focuses on another PC.
 

GrahamWills

Adventurer
Realistically, monsters with any degree of intelligence ought to react to PCs conducting a series of raids over several days or weeks. Either a) they get together to lay a trap for the intruders, b) they organize a counterattack on the PCs' home base, or c) they haul up stakes and head elsewhere. They don't just sit there waiting to be massacred.
I think that most people with long-running campaigns do exactly this. Certainly in my current deadlands campaign, the main villain is actively laying traps and summoning assassins to kill off the players. In my Fate campaign, one faction tried to change the laws of the land to make the players declared a danger to society, and another started trailing them and setting spies on them so they'd know when the PCs were on the move.

I think the days of monsters sitting in dungeons or just "wandering" with no purpose are well dead. I haven't seen such a game out of a retro throwback for a long time. PbtA uses clocks, NBA uses the vampyramid and conspyramid, but regardless of how they are implemented, its game snow assume that intelligent opposition behaves as you describe -- intelligently.

Here's a link to a sample opposition pyramid from Night's Black Agents, for those unfamiliar with the system: Eclipse Phase Adversary Pyramid
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
I seem to recall 3e's resting was harsh on warriors, and extra harsh on clerics, but great for wizards. Because in those days, a full night's sleep didn't restore all hit points (thanks, 5e). So the warriors didn't "reset to full," the clerics had to burn their precious spells first thing in the morning in order to reset the warriors to full, and the wizards had a cup of coffee because they got all of their spells back, and didn't have that many hit points to begin with.

Wizards. So OP 🤓
The problem with the third edition was that cleric were on the same scale of the wizard on spell recovery. If you see my earlier post, you'll see that wizards in 1ed did not have it so easy. The 18th level cleric would recover his spells instantly as his spells were given to him by his deity (or its agents, depending on the level of the spells.) Only his level 1 and 2 spells would take time to recover. The 18th level wizard would take 34.75 hours of uninterrupted study or about 3 days. Any interruption in 1ed would ruin the process. And interrupting rest would ruin the ability to study and a 9th level spell would take 12h of it,

This means that the cleric would have had 3 days to put the fighter into shape while the wizard was studying. It was more or less the same in the 2ed. By removing this "restriction" they created this imbalanced that was favoring the Nova style of play. Since they had remove the God's restriction on the spell they could allow by their status (only greater gods could grant 7th level spells, Lessers were able to grant only 6th level spells and demi-god were stuck with 5th level spells maximum.) then they should've have included the clerics in the wizards' spell recovery rule of 1ed. This would have made 3.xed much more balanced.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I know that in AD&D that there were meant to have been restrictions to preparing spells in that they required a certain amount of time/level to prep so the more powerful the spell the longer it took, but how many people actually used those times? For me, coming from BECMI which required only an hour to prep spells, I just kept using that in 2e, I'm not even sure I knew about the 2e time limits when my friends and I first began playing.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
I know that in AD&D that there were meant to have been restrictions to preparing spells in that they required a certain amount of time/level to prep so the more powerful the spell the longer it took, but how many people actually used those times? For me, coming from BECMI which required only an hour to prep spells, I just kept using that in 2e, I'm not even sure I knew about the 2e time limits when my friends and I first began playing.
I was and so were a lot of the new DM I had trained. We even had imported it into 3.xed when we saw the novas and the 5MWD. Gygax was right to restrict the amount of spells a wizard could prepare on a short notice. I call this: "The Gygax Forsight".

We even used the rule of traveling spell book and incorporated druids and clerics (in fact, all casting classes) into the 1ed spell recovery rule. Strangely, the 5MWD disappeared almost instantly. Which led to interesting campaigns.

The other DM and I also used the random encounters on rest and the Seek and Destroy Squad against players trying to do 1 or 3 encounters then go to rest. Monsters (especially intelligent ones) were used in a dynamic way so that the challenge was always there. Yes some fights were damn easy. Others were quite hard. But with the 5MWD out of the way, it all boiled down to plain old fun for everyone as the fighters were now a force to reckon with and not only body blockers that were there to prevent enemies to get to the casters.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I was and so were a lot of the new DM I had trained. We even had imported it into 3.xed when we saw the novas and the 5MWD. Gygax was right to restrict the amount of spells a wizard could prepare on a short notice. I call this: "The Gygax Forsight".

We even used the rule of traveling spell book and incorporated druids and clerics (in fact, all casting classes) into the 1ed spell recovery rule. Strangely, the 5MWD disappeared almost instantly. Which led to interesting campaigns.

The other DM and I also used the random encounters on rest and the Seek and Destroy Squad against players trying to do 1 or 3 encounters then go to rest. Monsters (especially intelligent ones) were used in a dynamic way so that the challenge was always there. Yes some fights were damn easy. Others were quite hard. But with the 5MWD out of the way, it all boiled down to plain old fun for everyone as the fighters were now a force to reckon with and not only body blockers that were there to prevent enemies to get to the casters.
I'm wondering, though, if you and your group were an edge case and that other groups were moving away from requiring extensive rest times to prepare spells which led to the 3e developers going back to the BECMI 1 hour prep time.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
I'm wondering, though, if you and your group were an edge case and that other groups were moving away from requiring extensive rest times to prepare spells which led to the 3e developers going back to the BECMI 1 hour prep time.
Good question. That was about 30 DM in my area that were doing the same thing as I was. I knew of a few DMs in Montreal that were doing the same thing as we did. But I can't vouch that this was the majority. I've always been wary of new editions and new rules. So with every edition, I take time to evaluate the abuse potential that the edition brings. Then I remove or add things if needed. Strangely, 5ed is the first edition where the potential for abuse is relatively low if the DM follows the guide lines given in the DMG. I only wish that the guide lines had been a lot more clearer. The language is a bit too vague and not precise enough in many instances. But otherwise, I am pretty happy with 5ed.
 
I know that in AD&D that there were meant to have been restrictions to preparing spells in that they required a certain amount of time/level to prep so the more powerful the spell the longer it took, but how many people actually used those times? For me, coming from BECMI which required only an hour to prep spells, I just kept using that in 2e, I'm not even sure I knew about the 2e time limits when my friends and I first began playing.
They're not really long enough. See the other thread around here about increasing spell prep time. AD&D spell prep times are pretty trivial until quite high levels are reached. There's a reason most people handwaved them.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I know that in AD&D that there were meant to have been restrictions to preparing spells in that they required a certain amount of time/level to prep so the more powerful the spell the longer it took, but how many people actually used those times? For me, coming from BECMI which required only an hour to prep spells, I just kept using that in 2e, I'm not even sure I knew about the 2e time limits when my friends and I first began playing.
We've always used something like 10 minutes per spell-level* to a cap of 8 hours; both for Clerics (who spend that time praying) and Wizard-types (who spend that time studying). High-level Cleric-Mages can spend up to 16 hours getting rejuiced.

* - or spell point, this works just fine in a spell-point system as well.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
They're not really long enough. See the other thread around here about increasing spell prep time. AD&D spell prep times are pretty trivial until quite high levels are reached. There's a reason most people handwaved them.
Trivial???????
The 10th level wizard had to study for 11.5 hours with an 8 hours on uninterrupted rest. Rest is interrupted by an easy combat encounter (random at that)? Start over again. Your mind isn't clear enough. Mages were not supposed to nova and losing spells was a real thing. The 18th level mage would need 34.75 hours of study covering about 3 days. Chances were that the wizards would not be able to recover his full allotment of spells in adventure if he would go nova. So they had to rely on wands, scrolls and staves for most of their damage.

Many groups handwaved the spell recovery rules not because they were trivial, but because they were restrictive to the extreme. What they failed to see was that it was a balancing factor for the magic users. Handwaiving these only led to magic users being more powerful than they really were, leading to complaints about the vancian spell, leading to the belief that martial classes were underpowered leading to casters are too powerful leading to what we saw in 4ed where every classes were more or less the same but had the same power level.

5ed is a step back in the right direction but it could have gone way further in giving martial classes a way to nova a bit more often and a bit more power to the spell casters. But for the moment, the balance is just about right.
 

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