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D&D (2024) Martial vs Caster: Removing the "Magical Dependencies" of high level.

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Hussar

Legend
It's somewhat worse than this in D&D right now. Not only is it magic but most of the time it's spellcasting.

If you are ok with fantantic stuff existing outside of spellcasting you open up a lot of possibilities.

But there’s the trick. The fandom strongly resists any attempt to do this. Look at all the negative verbiage regarding changing monsters away from casting spells.

It’s so ingrained that even suggesting that the dm not follow class rules is met with immediate and very loud condemnation.

The fandom has spoken. You must make everything a spell and spell casters shall be as unrestricted as possible.

It’s been that way since the Next play test.
 

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But there’s the trick. The fandom strongly resists any attempt to do this. Look at all the negative verbiage regarding changing monsters away from casting spells.
personally, my problem with moving monsters away from casting spells isn't just making them not casting spells - it's then replacing those spells with actions that are basically just spells (which seems to have especially been a problem with NPC caster types), except because they're technically not spells they can't be counterspelled or dispelled, effectively making those spells useless.

or, in other words, it's because the monsters themselves just cheat now.
 


Pedantic

Legend
I want to steal spells as a rogue. Not like a spell thief, but like, sleight of hand to Counterspell, and gain a spell slot based on the level of the spell.

And then be able to use spell slots to recharge items, add force damage to attacks, or give them to an ally.
So... Like a spell thief?

I could see an argument that sort of thing should just be a rogue ability in a high magic world, instead of like a specific archetype.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Do what they do in superhero stories. Give everyone something to do. The reason the group is together is because no one of them could tackle the problem on their own.

If you make a simple encounter with only a magical solution, casters feel awesome and martials feel lame.

If you make a simple encounter with only a martial solution, martials feel awesome and casters feel lame.

So make a slightly more complex encounter that requires both martial and caster solutions, so they both feel awesome.
This.
Huh. I guess I've used that so long I forgot it's a house rule. Not sure about the regeneration though. It would just draw things out needlessly, cause frustration, and result in the party reaching for a magical solution.
What do you use? Damage threshold, HP, strength check?
Targeting wings and/or treat flying like a spell, i.e. you can break concentration and cause the target to fall. A lot of this comes down to the group focusing on melee rather than having martial ranged characters or melee-focused martials having no ranged options. That's mostly an own goal.
This.
Sure. Or make it a password, verbal component thing. If you know the word, you can use the circle. This is something I loved about 4E and miss a lot. Anyone could perform rituals.
Absolutely.
I definitely prefer open portals to bamf versions of these spells. But then I prefer everything to have a cost or risk attached.
I love the fiction of the heavies having to hold the line at the portal to keep hell from coming through behind them, because that thing ain’t gonna close the moment everyone is through.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
One big problem is actually pretty highlighted by my first thought reading #3 from the OP, the one about teleportation circles. It was "well, then anyone could do that."

And, really, this is a tremendous problem in the discussion that is just really hard to fix without specific abilities. Because anyone can input a code into a teleportation circle. Anyone can use special items or poisons to ground flying creatures. Anyone could deal a large amount of damage to a force construct (Ballista bolt?) The only one I'm not sure about is using skills to tear back open portals, but even then the same issue is there.

See, if I have a dead person, at a certain level a cleric can speak to that dead person. And at a certain, higher level, they can bring that dead person back to life, as long as the body is mostly intact. And at a certain even higher level, they don't care about the state of the body. If asked to bring back a pile organs as a person, a mid-level cleric has to say "that is impossible for me". Same thing with other abilities. At a certain level, scrying goes from impossible to possible. Creating clones of yourself goes from impossible to possible. Controlling the weather or reshaping the earth, impossible to possible.

But that doesn't happen for martials. In the current set-up it mostly CAN'T happen for martials. Martials can do about three things. They can use skills. They can make attacks. They can take damage. That's it.

Need to kill a powerful monster? That could be something for a martial, but also any Lord can spend the money to equip peasants with crossbows and Purple Worm Poison and now you have the ability to deal something like 50 damage per turn for three turns. It's expensive, maybe prohibitively so. But it also demonstrates that "deal a lot of damage" isn't impossible for low level fighters. There is no point where "kill this thing" or "do X amount of damage over time" goes from impossible to possible.

Skills? Sure, maybe you can make something like tearing back open a rift a DC 20 check... but that's imminently doable by a 6th level character with a +7 mod. They almost have a 50/50 shot at it. Even if you increase the DC to 25, they still COULD do it, it is just incredibly unlikely.

Taking damage is about the only thing that becomes actually impossible. Surviving a certain amount of damage is just impossible for lower level characters. But.... isn't that the most absolutely boring thing? Isn't "I can survive getting hit" usually just boring? After all, unless you can survive everything (effectively being invulnerable) if you can't respond to the damage effectively, you are just sandbagging until you eventually die.


And this becomes a big problem when trying to discuss high level martials, because there is never anything they are allowed to do, or even really discussed doing usually, that isn't just a bigger number on something they could do before. They don't get to break out and do something that was once actually impossible for them to do.
 

Yaarel

Hurra for syttende mai!
And this becomes a big problem when trying to discuss high level martials, because there is never anything they are allowed to do, or even really discussed doing usually, that isn't just a bigger number on something they could do before. They don't get to break out and do something that was once actually impossible for them to do.
Martials only advance quantitatively, almost never qualitatively.

I agree, this is a problem. I hear some Martial fans complain about this.

But its seems like many (most?) Martial fans ... like it this way. These strongly resist the idea of a Martial feeling "magical" at the highest levels.

The only suggestion that these Martial fans seemed ok with is:

• Martial characters can use magic items. Because tradition.

• Martial character can keep up with casters by getting magic items.

Therefore:

• High tier Martials can have class design space to CHOOSE a magic item.

It is a bit iffy to explain HOW nonmagical characters can guarantee a magic item. Maybe call it "fate"? Maybe the magic item somehow finds them, for some guaranteed reason? The explanations needs work to sound plausible for a nonmagical character.

But in principle, it is ok for a Martial to do powerful magic, by means of a magic item.


I also think this is why, making "spells" and "rituals" two different design spaces, and allowing Martials to try perform rituals solves many qualitative differences between Martials and full casters.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Part of it in my estimation is that anime has become self-referential in a way that cartoons (at least American ones to go by what Im familiar with) haven't in decades.

Like, the Hanna Barbera era of cartoons all have a very distinctive aesthetic, crossing all kinds of genres from superheros, to sword and sorcery, to mundane mysteries and family comedies, and from the slapstick to the near realistically violent.
Let's just look completely randomly at my DVD shelf:

Trigun - Sci-Fi Space Western
Slayers - Literally a D&D campaign comedy.
Record of Loddoss War - Literally a D&D Drama
Legend of Escaflowne - Magic Fantasy Mecha
A Certain Kind of Magical Index - Contemporary Sci-Fi
My Hero Academia - Superhero. Legit, the best Superhero work of the past decade which remembers the point of superheroes more than the Big Two have since 1993. This coming from someone who has made superheroes their career
Tomo-Chan is a Girl - A High School Slice of Life light Romance
Komi Can't Communicate - High school slice of life centered around a character study on social anxiety.
Spy X Family - a found family spy thriller.

These are not them same.

And I have a limited pallet. I don't like horror or high drama so those aren't even represented.

This is why we can't just accept 'useful shorthand'. Because that helps spread and reinforce the wrong idea.

BTW, when pray tell did Hanna Barbera do realistic violence? My best guess is Johnny Quest and maybe the Inhumanoids, but... cutting away and not showing anything is not realistic.
 

But its seems like many (most?) Martial fans ... like it this way. These strongly resist the idea of a Martial feeling "magical" at the highest levels.
I think there is a distinction to be made here. My sense is more that martial fans often do not want their characters to feel like spellcasters than not to feel "magical".

But even if we assume that you're correct. I suspect that almost all martial players and fans would prefer to get new, relevant, and powerful abilities at higher levels.

I see no reason why such capabilities require magical flavor, and so see no reason why this component of the fan base cannot be addressed.
 

Let's just look completely randomly at my DVD shelf:

Trigun - Sci-Fi Space Western
Slayers - Literally a D&D campaign comedy.
Record of Loddoss War - Literally a D&D Drama
Legend of Escaflowne - Magic Fantasy Mecha
A Certain Kind of Magical Index - Contemporary Sci-Fi
My Hero Academia - Superhero. Legit, the best Superhero work of the past decade which remembers the point of superheroes more than the Big Two have since 1993. This coming from someone who has made superheroes their career
Tomo-Chan is a Girl - A High School Slice of Life light Romance
Komi Can't Communicate - High school slice of life centered around a character study on social anxiety.
Spy X Family - a found family spy thriller.

These are not them same.

And I have a limited pallet. I don't like horror or high drama so those aren't even represented.

This is why we can't just accept 'useful shorthand'. Because that helps spread and reinforce the wrong idea.

BTW, when pray tell did Hanna Barbera do realistic violence? My best guess is Johnny Quest and maybe the Inhumanoids, but... cutting away and not showing anything is not realistic.

I don't believe Hanna Barbera ever did, but I distinctly recall cartoons that looked like HB toons that did. Though perhaps Im just misrembering as I can't place whatever it is Im thinking of.
 

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