Magic, first games and expectations

Undrave

Hero
This is true for any game, really; just yesterday, we realized that playing Marvel Code Names wasn't going to work because one of the players just wasn't that familiar with the Marvel product, and the game includes some surprisingly obscure stuff.
Obscure like that?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Oh, there's a bunch of reasons - my post laid several of them out. There are others. But, your declaration of this as a fact, rather than as in inquiry, strongly suggests your mind is alredy made up on the matter, and there is no value in taking on the Sysiphean task of changing it.
And his mind doesn't have to change, either, for the games his group plays and he runs.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Correct. However, the statement was phrased as a generalization, not as local for his own needs.
And you know he comes at the issue from that direction and doesn't change (or at least you should if you've been paying attention for the last several years), so exactly what does argument get you?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And you know he comes at the issue from that direction and doesn't change (or at least you should if you've been paying attention for the last several years), so exactly what does argument get you?
Ah, you think I'm spending the cognitive effort to keep track of how hundreds of posters talk over years of time? If they aren't bad actors, I prefer to keep my judgements in the context of individual discussions. I am less likely to make bad assumptions that way.

And, also... not really arguing at this point - kind of just noting so maybe others don't argue the point either.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
I'm opposed to the idea that playing D&D should absolutely require some amount of spell casting. That your party ABSOLUTELY should include a spell caster or two... or more really.

And then, when I first really played D&D, beyond one session, it was in 4e, the ONLY edition where you could build a full Martial Party and have a wide array of strategy available and would be fine adventuring until Epic... Provided you had inherent bonuses.

So, what do you guys think? That your first game influences how important you expect Magic to be?
Except all characters, including Martials, had quasi-magical powers...

I started in AD&D 2nd ed. I think those were supposed to be the over-powered casters? Save-or-die and all that. I'm fine if magic takes a backseat. Or doesn't show up to the party. With no casters in the party, putting a magical obstacle against the party becomes much more interesting. I can handle a magic-free game, too - might have a Game of Thrones feel to it - but I definitely like the occasional magic item to spice things up.

One's magic expectations probably come more from entertainment (movies, books, games) preferences than first RPG impressions.
 
I think that maybe one's first experience may color your perspective a bit, but preferences do change over time. I'm quite certain that the popularity of spellcasting classes surged during the popularity of Harry Potter. Add in the abusive power many players experienced with CoDzilla if they stared in 3E, and spellcasting classes would easily become the preferred classes for many. I personally do not like the prevalence of spellcasting in 5E, and would have preferred the bard, druid, and warlock as half-casters, paladin and ranger as 1/3rd casters, and the redundant sorcerer obliterated.

Another aspect is which game is being played, as there are a lot of other games where spellcasting isn't as important, if at all. In the AEG Legend of the Five Rings, there were only a few character "classes," and only one of them was a true spellcaster (monks later got some spell-like abilities), and to have a party without one was not unheard of. The Pinacle Deadlands had magical character choices, but they often came at such a cost that many chose not to play them. An old version of Shadowrun was the same way. One version of Exalted made magic so complicated that playing a spellcaster just wasn't a lot of fun. Finally, most sci-fi RPGs don't have any magic at all.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
And you know he comes at the issue from that direction and doesn't change (or at least you should if you've been paying attention for the last several years), so exactly what does argument get you?
Maybe a beer, if we were in the same town and it had any pubs open... :)
 

MGibster

Adventurer
So, if you've seen some of the D&D 5e arguments we've gotten into over the last few months you've probably seen my dislike for challenges that amount to, in my word, "You Must be This Magical to Contribute". I'm opposed to the idea that playing D&D should absolutely require some amount of spell casting. That your party ABSOLUTELY should include a spell caster or two... or more really.
When it comes to fantasy role playing games, I came to the conclusion more than thirty years ago that D&D was it's own particular animal. It was back in 2nd edition days when I tried to plan a campaign based off of a particular fantasy novel, I don't remember which, and I figured out that D&D as a whole was radically different from most fantasy fiction I was reading at the time. I don't say this to knock D&D rather to point out that I have expectations for that particular game that I might not for others.

I would be absolutely flabbergasted if I sat down at a D&D game and not a single other player had a spell caster. I feel as though the game was explicitly designed to include spell casters and published adventures assume there will be one in the party.

Plenty of players on these boards, however, have no problem with this idea. "I'm fine with problems needing magic to solve" basically. A lot of them mentioned, incidentally, having played the pre-3.X editions.
I'm fine with problems that need magic to solve. Just so long as the players actually have access to said magic to solve the problem.
 

Undrave

Hero
I would be absolutely flabbergasted if I sat down at a D&D game and not a single other player had a spell caster. I feel as though the game was explicitly designed to include spell casters and published adventures assume there will be one in the party.
The Stradh season of AL was particularly punishing on that last point. One time we only had three players show up (already a problem) and it was me with a fighter, a rogue and a ranger... We got into a fight with a werewolf while we had only one silver dagger between the three of us. It went for so long without going anywhere at one point the DM just gave up and had us win.
 

wingsandsword

Adventurer
So, if you've seen some of the D&D 5e arguments we've gotten into over the last few months you've probably seen my dislike for challenges that amount to, in my word, "You Must be This Magical to Contribute". I'm opposed to the idea that playing D&D should absolutely require some amount of spell casting. That your party ABSOLUTELY should include a spell caster or two... or more really.
For a normal, textbook, standard party, yeah, there should be magic.

However, I hate the idea that every character should have magical abilities. I think there aren't enough non-magical character options in D&D. I wish spellcasting for Rangers was an optional ability, instead of saying every archer/woodsman just develops Druid-like spellcasting on his own somehow early on in their career, or at least that a non-spellcasting Ranger was a core option. I wish there were more non-magical, non-supernatural character classes (the Noble class from the D&D 3.5 Dragonlance setting would be something I wish had become core).

D&D should be flexible enough to encompass a wide variety of settings and play styles. The standard, textbook, typical party might well be a rogue, fighter, wizard and cleric, in a setting where there are lots of spellcasting priests and mages and spells get cast every adventure. . .but it shouldn't HAVE to be that way.

One of my favorite things about AD&D 2e (really the ONLY thing about it I miss) was the idea that it should be able to replicate a historic or pseudo-historic setting. The "green book" Historic Reference series that TSR put out for using D&D to emulate various historic periods, going from ancient Greece and Rome, all the way up to the 1600's, with everything from historic realism with absolutely no PC magic and the little magic that existed was super-rare. . .to a low-magic D&D version of history where there were wizards and clerics and monsters, just not with magic quite as common as it might be in Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms.

I definitely agree that there should be room in D&D for non-magical characters, and for a spectrum of magical levels of campaigns, from very-low-magic historic roleplaying, all the way to high-magic settings like Eberron and Planescape.
 

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