OneDnD Make SPELL SCHOOLS Useful

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Make SPELL SCHOOLS Useful

This thread tweaks the traditional spell schools to make them more thematic. When these schools organize the spell lists more clearly, the schools help customize different character concepts.

Each school has its own spell list. In addition, it can subdivide it into "subschool" lists. For example, the Fireball spell belongs to the "Evocation" school in the "Fire" subschool.

Note. Among the schools, Abjuration is odd. Unlike the other schools, Abjuration describes a purpose, rather than a means. Abjuration is useful, but works better as a spell descriptor than a school. For example, Cure Wounds is a Transmutation spell that transmutes the body for the purpose of Abjuration.

Seven spell schools remain. These seven can organize every official spell in D&D. Most spells clearly belong to a specific school and subschool. A few spells are complex like several different spells packaging together, but even these tend to have a main theme that correlates a particular school.



SPELL SCHOOLS

The spell schools are thematic. Each school describes some thematic aspect of the world that a spell manipulates.

CONJURATION
= to conjure force

Conjuration spells produce effects by means of force. The conjurer can shape force into a "quasi-real" object, meaning the object is physical but lacks matter. Spells like Unseen Servant and Wall of Force are examples of force constructs.

Alternatively, the conjurer can utilize force to move an other object, such as Fly and Telekinesis, or even to deal force damage, such as Magic Missile. Force damage is like extreme gravity but it can be concentrated in a small area.

Like gravity, force is ethereal, namely physical but immaterial. Ultimately even the four elements of matter are made out of immaterial force (nuclear forces and electromagnetic force). Thus the force of the Disintegrate spell can undo the forces that hold matter together.

The Conjuration school comprises two subschools: Conjury and Telekinetics. Telekinetics is moving things around. Conjury refers to constructs made out of force and magical energy. Dweomer is a third subschool relating to magical energy itself, like Detect Magic and Dispel Magic.

Conjuration subschools
Conjury (force construct, temporary object)
Telekinetics (force damage, telekinesis, flight, gravity)
Dweomer (magical energy, altering spellcasting)



DIVINATION
= to divinate spacetime

Divination spells produce effects by means of space and time. Relating to the verb to "divine", the technical term to "divinate" disambiguates from an other technical term, namely the Divine power source for magic relating to the Astral Plane and dominions.

The Divination school comprises three subschools: Scry, Teleportation, and Planar. Scry sees across spacetime. Teleportation jumps thru spacetime, and even manipulates it to form demiplanes and distortions of time. Planar shifts into other planes of existence, such as becoming pure thought within the Astral Plane.

The term Scry relates to "dis-" and "cry", in the sense of a calling out a description while physically apart from it. A scry makes the unknown known.

While ones mind is elsewhere in space or time, one can even pull ones body there, thereby teleporting without distance between. Demiplanes are distortions of space, such as a box that is bigger inside than outside. Time travel and time distortions, such as Haste and Time Stop, are aspects of Teleportation as they manipulate the fabric of spacetime.

Planar spells transfigure into other planes of existence. For example, the Ethereal and Fey are immaterial spirit realms. The Astral is a realm of thoughts and symbols. The planars attune and shift across these levels of being.

Divination subschools
Scry (clairvoyance, prescience, luck, fate)
Teleportation (a relocating to elsewhere in space or time, distorting spacetime)
Planar (a shift into an other plane of existence)



ENCHANTMENT
= to enchant the mind

Enchantment spells play with a mind. The enchanter can help or harm a mind. Enchantments can charm, frighten, or dominate, but can also communicate telepathically, intimately discerning the deepest needs, boost memory, and heal and empower a mind. One can even awaken a new consciousness.



EVOCATION
= to evoke the four elements

Evocation spells produce effects by means of the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Each element is a physical state of matter − respectively, solid, liquid, gas, and plasma − and also a symbolic presence.

To "evoke" means to "call" something "out", or bring it forth, including magically. The technical jargon specifies to evoke specific properties that are inherent within each of the four elements. An element has a mentality. An elemental creature is a manifestation of it. The elements behave the way they do because they want to behave that way. Water likes to flow down. Fire likes to leap up. To evoke an element is a personal affinity with that element.

Each element is a subschool. There is also a Primordial subschool where all four elements are together in an unstable flux.

Evocation subschools
Air (lightning-thunder damages, wind, breath, vacuum, detonation, sound)
Earth (weapon damages, rock, soil, mud, metal, crystal)
Fire (fire and radiant damage, light and darkness, sun, stars)
Water (cold damage, ice, cloud, rain, drowning, fluidity)
Primordial (acid damage, blendings of elemental energies)



ILLUSION
= to illude reality

The true reality is the reality that a mind experiences. Illusion spells blur the boundary between subjective perception and objective fact.

The word to "illude" means to cause an illusion, and derives from the concept of being "playful" (ludic) "at" (in). An Illusion plays with reality itself, whether to create a fun experience or a tricky one. A rewarding reality for allies or a punishing reality for hostiles.

Some Illusions are phantasms that are strictly subjective mental events. But most illusions alter objective reality in some way, where many minds can encounter the phenomenon. Some illusions manifest a physical force, resembling a force construct but more feeling more psychologically compelling. A Wish spell wills reality fully into existence.



NECROMANCY
= to necromance the darkside

Necromancy spells explore the dreadful aspects of magic. They necromance deathliness and forbidden planar creatures such as Undead, Fiend, and Aberration. Some necromancies overlap the darksides of other schools in other ways, such as to enchant fear or insanity, to evoke darkness, to illude ghostly manifestations, or to transmute disease or necrosis.



TRANSMUTATION
= to transmute lifeforms

Transmutation attunes and shapes the myriad forms of life. Whereas Evocation evokes the inorganic matter of the elements, Transmutation transmutes the organic matter of life, including animals and plants, and the materials from them, like horn and leather, and wood and linen. Shapeshifting is Transmutation.

Transmutations include the subschools of Animal, Plant, and Healing. Animal extends from Beast to any living creature, especially Humanoid, while emphasizing the bodily aspects. Plant includes plantlike forms such as fungus and simpler forms of life such as Ooze. Plant also involves foods, and the crafting of plant products of wood, fabrics of linen or cotton, paper, resins, and crafting generally. Healing opens a safe space for life itself, growing, healing and restoring, while gently perfusing the lifegiving aspects of positive energy. To transmute is to shapeshift from one form of life to an other, especially to a lifeform that is hale and hearty.

Transmutation subschools
Animal (poison damage, Beast and the body of any living creature)
Healing (ideal lifeform, regenerating, enlivening, healing, resurrecting)
Plant (Plant, vegetation, plant products, crafting)



SPELL LISTS

The spells lists finetune which spells go to which school and subschool. Each list is thematically tight. Build a character concept by deciding which thematic lists are appropriate for it.

CONJURATION
CONJURY
0-Level Arcane Spells (Cantrips)
Mage Hand
Sword Burst

1st-Level Arcane Spells
Mage Armor
Shield
Tensers Floating Disc
Unseen Servant

2nd-Level Arcane Spells
Spiritual Weapon

3rd-Level Spells
Leomunds Tiny Hut

4th-Level Spells
Otilukes Resilient Sphere

5th-Level Spells
Bigbys Hand
Wall of Force

6th-Level Spells


7th-Level Spells
Forcecage
Mordenkainens Sword

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Blade of Disaster

TELEKINETICS
0-Level Arcane Spells (Cantrips)
Blade Ward
Eldritch Blast

1st-Level Arcane Spells
Magic Missile
Catapult
Feather Fall
Zephyr Strike

2nd-Level Arcane Spells
Arcane Lock
Knock
Levitate

3rd-Level Spells
Fly

4th-Level Spells


5th-Level Spells
Telekinesis

6th-Level Spells
Disintegrate

7th-Level Spells
Reverse Gravity

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells

DWEOMER
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Detect Magic
Identify

2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Counterspell
Dispel Magic
Glyph of Warding

4th-Level Spells


5th-Level Spells
Circle of Power

6th-Level Spells
Contingency
Globe of Invulnerability (Anti-Spell)

7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Antimagic Field

9th-Level Spells

DIVINATION
SCRY
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Guidance
Resistance
True Strike

1st-Level Spells
Alarm
Bane
Bless
Ceremony
Comprehend Languages
Hunters Mark
Shield of Faith

2nd-Level Spells
Augury
Find Traps
Locate Object
Magic Weapon
Nystuls Magic Aura
Warding Bond

3rd-Level Spells
Bestow Curse
Clairvoyance
Nondetection
Remove Curse
Tongues

4th-Level Spells
Arcane Eye
Locate Creature
Mordenkainens Private Sanctum

5th-Level Spells
Legend Lore
Scrying
Skill Empowerment

6th-Level Spells
Find the Path

7th-Level Spells
Sequester

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Astral Projection
Foresight

TELEPORTATION
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Expeditious Retreat

2nd-Level Spells
Misty Step
Rope Trick

3rd-Level Spells
Haste
Slow

4th-Level Spells
Dimension Door

5th-Level Spells
Steel and Wind Strike
Teleportation Circle

6th-Level Spells
Arcane Gate
Scatter
Word of Recall

7th-Level Spells
Mordenkainens Magnificent Mansion
Teleport

8th-Level Spells
Demiplane
Maze

9th-Level Spells
Imprisonment
Time Stop

PLANAR
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)


1st-Level Spells
Detect Evil / Good (Planar)
Protection from Evil / Good (Planar)

2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Blink
Magic Circle (Planar)
Summon Fey

4th-Level Spells
Banishment
Conjure Woodland Beings (Fey)
Divination

5th-Level Spells
Banishing Smite
Commune
Contact Other Plane
Dispel Evil / Good (Planar)
Hallow
Leomunds Secret Chest
Planar Binding
Summon Celestial

6th-Level Spells
Conjure Fey
Drawmijs Instant Summons
Forbiddance
Planar Ally
Tashas Otherworldly Guise

7th-Level Spells
Conjure Celestial
Dream of the Blue Veil
Etherealness
Plane Shift
Temple

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Gate

EVOCATION
AIR
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Booming Blade
Gust
Lightning Lure
Message
Shocking Grasp
Thaumaturgy
Thunderclap

1st-Level Spells
Fog Cloud
Guiding Bolt
Thunderous Smite
Thunderwave
Witch Bolt

2nd-Level Spells
Gust of Wind
Shatter
Silence
Skywrite

3rd-Level Spells
Call Lightning
Gaseous Form
Lightning Arrow
Lightning Bolt
Thunder Step
Wind Wall

4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Air)
Storm Sphere
Summon Elemental (Air)

5th-Level Spells
Conjure Elemental (Air)
Control Winds

6th-Level Spells
Chain Lightning
Investiture of Wind
Wind Walk

7th-Level Spells
Whirlwind

8th-Level Spells
Control Weather

9th-Level Spells
Storm of Vengeance

EARTH
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Magic Stone
Mending (Earth)
Mold Earth

1st-Level Spells
Earth Tremor

2nd-Level Spells
Cloud of Daggers
Dust Devil
Earthbind
Maximilians Earthen Grasp

3rd-Level Spells
Erupting Earth
Meld into Stone
Tiny Servant
Wall of Sand

4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Earth)
Fabrication (Earth)
Stone Shape
Stoneskin
Summon Construct
Summon Elemental (Earth)

5th-Level Spells
Animate Objects (Earth)
Commune with Nature
Conjure Elemental (Earth)
Passwall
Transmute Rock
Wall of Stone

6th-Level Spells
Blade Barrier
Bones of the Earth
Flesh to Stone
Investiture of Stone
Move Earth

7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Earthquake
Mighty Fortress

9th-Level Spells

FIRE
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Control Flames
Create Bonfire
Dancing Lights
Fire Bolt
Green Flame Blade
Light
Produce Flame
Sacred Flame
Word of Radiance

1st-Level Spells
Burning Hands
Color Spray
Divine Favor
Faerie Fire
Hellish Rebuke
Searing Smite

2nd-Level Spells
Aganazzars Scorcher
Branding Smite
Continual Flame
Darkness
Darkvision
Flame Blade
Flaming Sphere
Heat Metal
Moonbeam
Pyrotechnics
Scorching Ray

3rd-Level Spells
Blinding Smite
Daylight
Fireball
Melfs Minute Meteors

4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Fire)
Fire Shield (Fire)
Guardian of Faith
Sickening Radiance
Summon Elemental (Fire)
Wall of Fire

5th-Level Spells
Conjure Elemental (Fire)
Dawn
Flame Strike
Holy Weapon
Immolation
Wall of Light

6th-Level Spells
Investiture of Flame
Sunbeam

7th-Level Spells
Crown of Stars
Delayed Blast Fireball
Fire Storm

8th-Level Spells
Holy Aura
Incendiary Cloud
Sunburst

9th-Level Spells
Meteor Swarm

WATER
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Frostbite
Ray of Frost
Shape Water

1st-Level Spells
Armor of Agathys
Create or Destroy Water
Ice Knife

2nd-Level Spells
Snillocs Snowball Swarm

3rd-Level Spells
Sleet Storm
Tidal Wave
Wall of Water
Water Breathing
Water Walk

4th-Level Spells
Conjure Minor Elementals (Water)
Control Water
Fire Shield (Cold)
Ice Storm
Summon Elemental (Water)
Watery Sphere

5th-Level Spells
Cone of Cold
Conjure Elemental (Water)
Maelstrom

6th-Level Spells
Investiture of Ice
Otilukes Freezing Sphere
Wall of Ice

7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells
Tsunami

9th-Level Spells

PRIMORDIAL
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Acid Splash

1st-Level Spells
Absorb Elements
Chaos Bolt
Chromatic Orb
Tashas Caustic Brew

2nd-Level Spells
Dragons Breath
Melfs Acid Arrow

3rd-Level Spells
Elemental Weapon
Protection from Energy
Spirit Guardians

4th-Level Spells
Elemental Bane
Shadow of Moil
Vitriolic Sphere

5th-Level Spells
Destructive Wave

6th-Level Spells
Primordial Ward

7th-Level Spells
Prismatic Spray

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Prismatic Wall

ENCHANTMENT
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Friends
Mind Sliver
Vicious Mockery

1st-Level Spells
Cause Fear
Charm Person
Command
Compelled Duel
Dissonant Whispers
Heroism
Sanctuary
Sleep
Tashas Hideous Laughter
Wrathful Smite

2nd-Level Spells
Calm Emotions
Crown of Madness
Detect Thoughts
Enhance Ability (Mental Ability: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma)
Enthrall
Hold Person
Mind Spike
Suggestion
Tashas Mind Whip
Zone of Truth

3rd-Level Spells
Fear
Hypnotic Pattern
Intellect Fortress
Sending

4th-Level Spells
Charm Monster
Compulsion
Confusion
Staggering Smite

5th-Level Spells
Awaken
Dominate Person
Geas
Hold Monster
Modify Memory
Rarys Telepathic Bond
Synaptic Static

6th-Level Spells
Eyebite
Magic Jar
Mass Suggestion
Ottos Irresistable Dance

7th-Level Spells
Power Word Pain
Symbol (Mind-Affecting)

8th-Level Spells
Antipathy / Sympathy
Dominate Monster
Feeblemind
Glibness
Mind Blank
Telepathy

9th-Level Spells
Psychic Scream

ILLUSION
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Minor Illusion
Prestidigitation

1st-Level Spells
Disguise Self
Silent Image

2nd-Level Spells
Blur
Invisibility
Magic Mouth
Mirror Image
Phantasmal Force
See Invisibility
Shadow Blade

3rd-Level Spells
Major Image
Phantom Steed

4th-Level Spells
Greater Invisibility
Hallucinatory Terrain
Phantasmal Killer

5th-Level Spells
Creation
Dream
Mislead
Seeming

6th-Level Spells
Guards and Wards
Mental Prison
Programmed Illusion
True Seeing

7th-Level Spells
Mirage Arcane
Project Image
Simulacrum

8th-Level Spells
Illusory Dragon
Maddening Darkness

9th-Level Spells
Weird
Wish

NECROMANCY
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Chill Touch
Toll the Dead

1st-Level Spells
Arms of Hadar
False Life
Hex

2nd-Level Spells


3rd-Level Spells
Animate Dead
Feign Death
Hunger of Hadar
Life Transference
Speak with Dead
Spirit Shroud
Summon Lesser Demons
Summon Shadowspawn
Summon Undead
Vampiric Touch

4th-Level Spells
Blight
Summon Aberration

5th-Level Spells
Danse Macabre
Enervation
Infernal Calling
Negative Energy Flood
Raise Dead

6th-Level Spells
Circle of Death
Create Undead
Harm
Soul Cage
Summon Fiend

7th-Level Spells
Finger of Death

8th-Level Spells
Abi-Dalzims Horrid Wilting

9th-Level Spells
Power Word Kill

TRANSMUTATION
ANIMAL
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Infestation
Poison Spray
Primal Savagery

1st-Level Spells
Animal Friendship
Beast Bond
Detect Poison / Disease
Find Familiar
Longstrider
Ray of Sickness
Speak with Animals
Spider Climb

2nd-Level Spells
Alter Self
Animal Messenger
Beast Sense
Blindness / Deafness
Enhance Ability (Physical Ability: Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity)
Enlarge / Reduce
Find Steed
Protection from Poison
Summon Beast
Web

3rd-Level Spells
Conjure Animals
Stinking Cloud

4th-Level Spells
Aura of Purity
Dominate Beast
Edvards Black Tentacles
Find Greater Steed
Freedom of Movement
Giant Insect
Guardian of Nature
Mordenkainens Faithful Hound
Polymorph

5th-Level Spells
Cloudkill
Contagion
Insect Plague
Reincarnate

6th-Level Spells
Create Homunculus
Tensers Transformation

7th-Level Spells
Divine Word (Deaf, Blind, Stun, Kill)

8th-Level Spells
Animal Shapes
Clone
Power Word Stun

9th-Level Spells
Mass Polymorph
Shapechange
True Polymorph
True Resurrection (Create Body)

HEALING
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Spare the Dying

1st-Level Spells
Cure Wounds
Healing Word

2nd-Level Spells
Aid
Gentle Repose
Healing Spirit
Lesser Restoration
Prayer of Healing

3rd-Level Spells
Aura of Vitality
Beacon of Hope
Crusaders Mantle
Mass Healing Word
Revivify

4th-Level Spells
Aura of Life
Death Ward

5th-Level Spells
Antilife Shell
Greater Restoration
Mass Cure Wounds

6th-Level Spells
Heal
Heroes Feast

7th-Level Spells
Regenerate
Resurrection

8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
Invulnerability
Mass Heal
Power Word Heal

PLANT
0-Level Spells (Cantrips)
Druidcraft

Mending
Shillelagh
Thorn Whip

1st-Level Spells
Ensnaring Strike
Entangle
Goodberry
Grease
Hail of Thorns
Purify Food / Drink
Snare

2nd-Level Spells
Barkskin
Cordon of Arrows
Locate Animals / Plants
Pass Without Trace
Spike Growth

3rd-Level Spells
Conjure Barrage
Create Food / Water
Plant Growth
Speak with Plants


4th-Level Spells
Fabricate
Grasping Vine

5th-Level Spells
Animate Objects
Conjure Volley
Swift Quiver
Tree Stride
Wrath of Nature

6th-Level Spells
Druid Grove
Transport Via Plants
Wall of Thorns

7th-Level Spells


8th-Level Spells


9th-Level Spells
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Examples of usefulness.

One can easily create a spell list with the appropriate themes.

A primal spell list includes Divination, Evocation, and Transmutation.

An arcane spell list includes Conjuration, Evocation, Enchantment and Illusion.

A divine spell list includes Divination, Necromancy, and Transmutation

The Bard is Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, and Transmutation.

The Psion is Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, and Transmutation.

And so on.

Likewise it is easy to build a specific character concept with the readymade spell lists for each school and subschool.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
To make the schools organize the spells more helpfully, the following organizational principles take place.

Evocation already covers all of the elemental "energy" spells, like fire, lightning, and cold. This expands to include all elemental magic: air (lightning-thunder), fire (fire), water (cold), whence earth too. Thus a few earth spells that were transmutations are now evocations instead. The four elements are a central archetypal theme. Evocation is now the school for it. Any players who want elemental themes go to the Evocation spell lists to find their spells.

Divination handles all spacetime magic. Being remotely present elsewhere relates to teleporting elsewhere to be there physically. Conceptually, when scrying the mind is present elsewhere, and a powerful mind can pull their physical body to there. Thus Scry and Teleportation are both aspects of the Divination school. Mechanically, many divination spells are weak, being little more than "DM gives a hint", and completely dependent on the DM playstyle. Moreover, if the DM needs the party to know something, the DM will communicate it one way or an other, and if the DM needs the party to not know something, then no divination will reveal that information. If the DM doesnt care, the information is less likely to matter anyway. A scry itself is awkward to implement mechanically. By contrast, Teleportation is powerful but tends to be a monotonous one-trick-pony. The combination of Scry and Teleportation complements each other well, and forms a satisfying spell list with interesting things to do in the Divination school. Meanwhile, where divinations can be an innate psychic ability, some spells specifically invoke other planes for information. Thus Planar magic generally works as a salient theme for a spell list, and is part of the Divination school. Thus spells like Misty Step and Teleportation Circle are part of the Teleportation subschool, while spells like Planeshift and Contact Other Plane are part of the Planar subschool. But all of these themes are part of the Divination school.

Necromancy is darkside magic, focusing on death and demons, and the like. The term necromancy is often a synonym for demonology, whence the Fiend. Cthulu and the "Necronomicon" extends this necro to the Aberration too. Meanwhile necromancy properly means consulting with the dead for advice, whence the deathly, rotting, and Undead spells generally. Necromancy is the go-to school for the nasty stuff. Necromancy can include Good characters who need to understand the dangerous aspects of magic, whether to defend against it or harness it cautiously. Meanwhile Evil characters can invoke and collaborate with the darker impulses of the creature types in play.

Transmutation. With earth spells relocating to the elemental magic of the Evocation school, the only transmutations left are primal nature magic: beasts, plants, and healing. The beast includes shapechanging into animals, as well as the bodies of any living creatures generally. Healing is a special application of growing and regenerating the body back into a healthy shape − namely transmuting.

Thus "nature magic" easily organizes between the elements of nature − go to the Evocation spell lists − or else the lifeforms of nature − go to the Transmutation spell lists.
 



CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I like it! It makes for some interesting tie-ins with elemental wizards, cleric domains, warlocks of certain genies and fiends, magic staffs...

There's a lot here; it'll probably take me a few days to unpack all of the lists and categories, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
 

Lojaan

Adventurer
I actually would like to go the other way, with "spell schools" being something that wizards have made up to try and make order out of the inherently chaotic and creative nature of magic, and that (like grammar for English) it only kind of works.

I can see sorcerers and warlocks just rolling their eyes at them.

And the Fey, and anyone who knows "true magic" rolling around on the ground laughing.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
In the original post, I mention, Abjuration is a useful spell descriptor to tag various defense spells.

It is also worth creating a few other descriptors. Where Abjuration refers to defense spells, perhaps "Hex" can refer to offense spells. "Motility" spells move or impede. "Summoning" spells have the creature or effect do its take actions to functions like an additional member of the team.

One can think of these descriptors as combat roles: Abjuration, Hex, Motility, and Summoning.



With regard Abjuration, here is an example of what the format for the Cure Wounds spell can look like. In addition to its Transmutation school, the spell belongs to the Healing subschool, and the Abjuration combat role.



CURE WOUNDS
1st-slot transmutation (healing, abjuration)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

Your touch refreshes energy and regenerates wounds. The creature heals a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 2nd slot or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot above 1st.f
 

in older editions like ADnD 2nd certain spells had some advantages based on their school.

Acid arrow was a conjuration.
Creating a vaguely arrow shaped blob of acid that was flying toward your target.

But only conjuring the blob of acid moving at speed was magical, the blob of acid itself was not.
So if you stood outside a dead magic zone you could still launch acid arrows into the dead magic zone.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
in older editions like ADnD 2nd certain spells had some advantages based on their school.

Acid arrow was a conjuration.
Creating a vaguely arrow shaped blob of acid that was flying toward your target.

But only conjuring the blob of acid moving at speed was magical, the blob of acid itself was not.
So if you stood outside a dead magic zone you could still launch acid arrows into the dead magic zone.
There are magic spells that produce nonmagical effects. For example, the Create/Destroy Water spell produces water that is presumably nonmagical water.

But there are no clear definitions for what is magical or not. The test is Detect Magic can detect a magical effect. But the DM lacks clear guidelines for what is or isnt magic.

An example is Dragon firebreath. It is produced magically, but the fire itself isnt magic. But that ruling is confusing and debatable.

If I would to create a simple rule: if the spell is "Instantaneous", then the effect itself is nonmagical. But that would make most damage spells nonmagical, and weird situations like Counterspell and Create Undead being as if nonmagical. Maybe the rule could work with some tweaking of specific spells?

In any case, as aspects of elemental magic, both the Create Water and the Acid Arrow would be the Evocation school, rather than a transmutation or a conjuration.
 
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I haven't had a chance to really take a close look so forgive me if I missed something obvious. When I tried doing something similar, I was stuck with how some spells lists might make ideal combinations while others are underpowered. Did you run into this issue at all?

In previous editions, there was a 'Universal' list. So, Mage Armour was tagged as 'Abjuration (universal)'. Therefore, any wizard could take it but, for an abjurer it counts for any abilities the abjurer might get with specific abjuration spells. By doing this, someone who focuses on illusion magic might have a couple 'universal' spells to round out their selection.

Did you toy with having a very small 'Universal' list?
 

OK! I read through everything!

My previous questions are only mildly relevant now that I've realized you've recategorized everything.

I love it!

My one critique is that some 'schools' seem to have less spells than others. Notably, some schools get no spells at various levels. Divination is AMAZING now compared to before. Am I right, or are the spells actually fairly evenly spread? Did you try to keep them equal-ish?

How did you envision classes choose their lists?

If the schools aren't equally distributed, I could see you using a point-buy system where some schools are more expensive to buy than others.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
OK! I read through everything!

I love it!

My one critique is that some 'schools' seem to have less spells than others. Notably, some schools get no spells at various levels. Divination is AMAZING now compared to before. Am I right, or are the spells actually fairly evenly spread? Did you try to keep them equal-ish?
Ideally every school list and subschool list needs at least 3 good choices at each level.

Each school and subschool is a salient theme within the game, with a reasonable number of good spells relating to it.

A list that has any empty slot means the designers need to create new spells for these slots in order to make this theme more viable at other levels. For example, many Druids specialize in Plant spells. When one looks at the Transmutation Plant subschool list, there are great spells upto the 6th slot − but then it suddenly stops. There are no Plant spells at the 7th, 8th, or 9th slots. Designers need to create powerful Plant spells for these upper tier slots. The game itself is missing these important thematic spells.

When coping with a list that currently has a blank slot, the DM can allow the player to choose any spell that the player and the DM agree is appropriate for the character concept and the setting.

How did you envision classes choose their lists?

If the schools aren't equally distributed, I could see you using a point-buy system where some schools are more expensive to buy than others.
Each caster class comes with a default list.

But other options are possible. For example, the Wizard might choose an other list instead.

Specialists will have features to boost the corresponding list.

Some casters specialize in a specific element, like Pyromancers. So these can easily look at the Evocation Fire school and while ignoring the other Evocation spells.
 
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Yaarel

Mind Mage
Did you toy with having a very small 'Universal' list?
The "Universal" list is roughly equivalent to the Dweomer subschool. It is a meager and problematic list, so I tucked it into the Conjuration school, where the "magical energy" that a conjury is made out of relates thematically to the magical energy that Dweomer spells engage. Of course, the Dweomer list includes powerful spells, so it is worth taking in addition to other lists.
 

There are magic spells that produce nonmagical effects. For example, the Create/Destroy Water spell produces water that is presumably nonmagical water.

But there are no clear definitions for what is magical or not. The test is Detect Magic can detect a magical effect. But the DM lacks clear guidelines for what is or isnt magic.

An example is Dragon firebreath. It is produced magically, but the fire itself isnt magic. But that ruling is confusing and debatable.

If I would to create a simple rule: if the spell is "Instantaneous", then the effect itself is nonmagical. But that would make most damage spells nonmagical, and weird situations like Counterspell and Create Undead being as if nonmagical. Maybe the rule could work with some tweaking of specific spells?

In any case, as aspects of elemental magic, both the Create Water and the Acid Arrow would be the Evocation school, rather than a transmutation or a conjuration.
So in ADnD 2nd it came down to that instantaneous conjuration spells created objects and effects hat where not magical.
And acid arrow was a instantaneous conjurationspell.

Counter spell would still work because your preventing the spell from being successfully cast.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
So in ADnD 2nd it came down to that instantaneous conjuration spells created objects and effects hat where not magical.
And acid arrow was a instantaneous conjurationspell.

Counter spell would still work because your preventing the spell from being successfully cast.
A Cure Wounds spell heals magically, but the result is nonmagical health. It has something to do with the Duration. Maybe a new term: if the Duration is "Creation", then the effect itself is explicitly nonmagical. So the Cure Wounds spell creates nonmagical wellbeing, Create Water creates mundane water, Melfs Acid Arrow creates nonmagical stream of acid, Fabricate creates a finished product, etcetera.

In the original post, a "Conjuration" spell involves force/magical energy, and a Conjury is a construct made out of magical energy, namely a force construct. So a conjuration normally would be inherently magical − physical but immaterial − and often temporary.
 

I actually would like to go the other way, with "spell schools" being something that wizards have made up to try and make order out of the inherently chaotic and creative nature of magic, and that (like grammar for English) it only kind of works.

I can see sorcerers and warlocks just rolling their eyes at them.

And the Fey, and anyone who knows "true magic" rolling around on the ground laughing.
We, of course, have gotten our understanding of the spell system from an unreliable narrator. Those damned coastal Wizards!
 

Examples of usefulness.

One can easily create a spell list with the appropriate themes.

A primal spell list includes Divination, Evocation, and Transmutation.

An arcane spell list includes Conjuration, Evocation, Enchantment and Illusion.

A divine spell list includes Divination, Necromancy, and Transmutation

The Bard is Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, and Transmutation.

The Psion is Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, and Transmutation.

And so on.

Likewise it is easy to build a specific character concept with the readymade spell lists for each school and subschool.
I do not find that useful other than to save time at a point where time is cheap (the design phase). We're finding some pretty huge oversights in the OneD&D playtest, like no Heroism for the Bard (or for that matter forcing Compelled Duel onto the cleric list because we're homogenising the spell lists and the paladin needs Compelled Duel therefore the cleric gets it); you are always going to get things wrong.

Indeed, as illustrated above, I find that this approach actively undermines the usefulness of the class system, instead turning each class much more generic.

Spell schools have been useful in precisely two editions - 4e and 5e. That is because school specialisation lets you actively display more character because specialising lets you boost certain spells. Frankly I wouldn't be unhappy to see spell schools removed from the game entirely and just become a wizard subclass thing.
 


Andvari

Adventurer
I like the simplicity of no spell schools or components from spell descriptions. For me, it's enough to have the general rule of being able to speak clearly and move your hands freely to cast a spell, with any exceptions written into the spell or class.

But it can be problematic when you have a system built around those things existing. For example for schools, you could have a spell list in a specialist subclass to get around it, but then you have to change those lists each time you add new spells through new supplements. Perhaps doable in 6E if everything is online.
 

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