D&D 5E New Spellcasting Blocks for Monsters --- Why?!

Erdric Dragin

Adventurer
I really really hate the new spellcasting blocks. Just...why? Why was this done?

How does this make it "easier" for DMs?
  1. I have no idea the caster level of the monster.
  2. I have no idea up to what spell levels they have access to because of that or how many spell slots they have.
What it looks like is all the "Spellcaster" blocks now look like what used to "Spell-Like Abilities" in older editions. I've noticed this in the "Beyond the Witchlight" book and the "Monsters of the Multiverse" book and it's horrible.

Take the latest Vecna stat block from D&D Beyond.



At will: animate dead (as an action), detect magic, dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt, mage hand, prestidigitation

2/day each: dimension door, invisibility, scrying (as an action)

1/day each: dominate monster, globe of invulnerability, plane shift (self only).



That's it. These are just "spell-like abilities." Where's his magic? This almighty lich has NO SPELLS? He definitely should be able to cast every spell from the Player's Handbook.

Can someone explain to me why the designers decided this? It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make my games "streamlined and easier" at all either.

Do they HAVE to do this? Can't they go back to the original spellcasting block? This is sadly, and angrily, getting ridiculous with their changes.
 

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DND_Reborn

Legend
Insulting other members
Do they HAVE to do this? Can't they go back to the original spellcasting block? This is sadly, and angrily, getting ridiculous with their changes.
Apparently some people thought this approach would be better because it is simpler...

Sadly, it is the way things are going, because people are either too lazy or not smart enough to handle spellcasting monsters. 🤷‍♂️ (When it should be the best thing about them IMO!!!)

Someday, we won't have spellcasting PCs either, just spell-like abilities. So many people already love the warlock. Very limited spell slots, spell-like abilities.... look familiar? :(
 


dave2008

Legend
Because it is more interesting and easier run than a list of spells. The Vecna you are referencing doesn't need to use the spell list at all if I don't want to. This is a "spellcaster" I would use, instead of many in the books. And for @DND_Reborn , please don't insult someone's intelligence because you don't like a monster design. I am smart enough (I can be explicit if you want), but I don't like the extra hassle of running a magic using monster that is just a list of spells.

I really really hate the new spellcasting blocks. Just...why? Why was this done?

How does this make it "easier" for DMs?
  1. I have no idea the caster level of the monster.
  2. I have no idea up to what spell levels they have access to because of that or how many spell slots they have.
What it looks like is all the "Spellcaster" blocks now look like what used to "Spell-Like Abilities" in older editions. I've noticed this in the "Beyond the Witchlight" book and the "Monsters of the Multiverse" book and it's horrible.

Take the latest Vecna stat block from D&D Beyond.



At will: animate dead (as an action), detect magic, dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt, mage hand, prestidigitation

2/day each: dimension door, invisibility, scrying (as an action)

1/day each: dominate monster, globe of invulnerability, plane shift (self only).



That's it. These are just "spell-like abilities." Where's his magic? This almighty lich has NO SPELLS? He definitely should be able to cast every spell from the Player's Handbook.

Can someone explain to me why the designers decided this? It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make my games "streamlined and easier" at all either.

Do they HAVE to do this? Can't they go back to the original spellcasting block? This is sadly, and angrily, getting ridiculous with their changes.

Apparently some people thought this approach would be better because it is simpler...

Sadly, it is the way things are going, because people are either too lazy or not smart enough to handle spellcasting monsters. 🤷‍♂️ (When it should be the best thing about them IMO!!!)

Someday, we won't have spellcasting PCs either, just spell-like abilities. So many people already love the warlock. Very limited spell slots, spell-like abilities.... look familiar? :(
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I really really hate the new spellcasting blocks. Just...why? Why was this done?

How does this make it "easier" for DMs?
  1. I have no idea the caster level of the monster.
  2. I have no idea up to what spell levels they have access to because of that or how many spell slots they have.
What it looks like is all the "Spellcaster" blocks now look like what used to "Spell-Like Abilities" in older editions. I've noticed this in the "Beyond the Witchlight" book and the "Monsters of the Multiverse" book and it's horrible.

Take the latest Vecna stat block from D&D Beyond.



At will: animate dead (as an action), detect magic, dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt, mage hand, prestidigitation

2/day each: dimension door, invisibility, scrying (as an action)

1/day each: dominate monster, globe of invulnerability, plane shift (self only).



That's it. These are just "spell-like abilities." Where's his magic? This almighty lich has NO SPELLS? He definitely should be able to cast every spell from the Player's Handbook.

Can someone explain to me why the designers decided this? It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make my games "streamlined and easier" at all either.

Do they HAVE to do this? Can't they go back to the original spellcasting block? This is sadly, and angrily, getting ridiculous with their changes.
Because Monsters and NPCs don't run by the same rules as PCs, and haven't all Edition. The stat block is not an exhaustive simulation of everything the character Vecna may be capable of outside of combat, it's a facade meant to simulate a 12-18 second fight with that character.
 




DND_Reborn

Legend
Because it is more interesting and easier run than a list of spells.
It isn't more interesting though, it is rather meh IMO. Frankly, if the PCs are finally going to face Vecna, the DM should take the time to prep the lich accordingly. I mean, come on, a frickin' lich without a single 8th or 9th-level spell???

please don't insult someone's intelligence because you don't like a monster design. I am smart enough (I can be explicit if you want), but I don't like the extra hassle of running a magic using monster that is just a list of spells.
Lazy was also an option in my post. ;) (j/k)

Look, they could have at least given Vecna abilities comparable with an archmage since it is a lich after all. 🤷‍♂️

Thank god we know Vecna can cast prestidigitation.
Important combat information. :)
Hmm... Vecna has Mage Hand and Prestidigitation... fewer cantrips than a 1st-level Wizard... Some powerful "Archlich" :ROFLMAO:
 

Voadam

Legend
I have not delved into my new MotM book yet, can Vecna upcast his at will lightning bolts the way he could have if he had spell slots?
 



dave2008

Legend
It isn't more interesting though, it is rather meh IMO.
It is more interesting IMO. I just don't find a list of spells I will not use interesting.
Frankly, if the PCs are finally going to face Vecna, the DM should take the time to prep the lich accordingly. I mean, come on, a frickin' lich without a single 8th or 9th-level spell???
He has all the spells I want him to have.
Lazy was also an option in my post. ;) (j/k)
I do lazy very well. I focus more on fun these days. I found putting in to much prep wasn't more fun for me or my players. The Vecna they posted would be more fun for us.
Look, they could have at least given Vecna abilities comparable with an archmage since it is a lich after all. 🤷‍♂️
It is that and more. Vecna is not limited to what is in its statblock. It is just starting point. If want to do the research and prep as you suggest, then he has the benefit of that research and prep. But I can run "Don't Say Vecna!" with almost no prep and have a great time. That is what is most important to me.
Hmm... Vecna has Mage Hand and Prestidigitation... fewer cantrips than a 1st-level Wizard... Some powerful "Archlich" :ROFLMAO:
He actually has all cantrips, those are just the only ones listed in the statblock ;)
 

Vecna literally has the Book of Vile Darkness, which says it can contain literally any spells the DM wants to put inside of it, and even weird non-spell magic things that would require human sacrifice or other dark rites. You literally have a magic item that says slap Venca with more naughty word because the players can take it. Come on guys. Come on.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It is more interesting IMO. I just don't find a list of spells I will not use interesting.

He has all the spells I want him to have.

I do lazy very well. I focus more on fun these days. I found putting in to much prep wasn't more fun for me or my players. The Vecna they posted would be more fun for us.

It is that and more. Vecna is not limited to what is in its statblock. It is just starting point. If want to do the research and prep as you suggest, then he has the benefit of that research and prep. But I can run "Don't Say Vecna!" with almost no prep and have a great time. That is what is most important to me.

He actually has all cantrips, those are just the only ones listed in the statblock ;)
Yeah, 5E Monster stat blocks do not have simulationist transparency with PC abilities like 3E Monsters did, and haven't for the entire Edition.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
A little OT - Unless I'm missing something in the stat block, Vecna can cast his "Rotten Fate" ability without limits. IMO, that is OP.

"Rotten Fate. Vecna causes necrotic magic to engulf one creature he can see within 120 feet of himself. The target must make a DC 22 Constitution saving throw, taking 96 (8d8 + 60) necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A Humanoid killed by this magic rises as a zombie (see the Monster Manual) at the start of Vecna’s next turn and acts immediately after Vecna in the initiative order. The zombie is under Vecna’s control."


Back on topic - I have no problem running a spell casting monster, and IMO, it makes sense for a very powerful arch mage to be able to cast just about any wizard spell (with the appropriate spell slot limitation for his level)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I really really hate the new spellcasting blocks. Just...why? Why was this done?

How does this make it "easier" for DMs?
  1. I have no idea the caster level of the monster.
  2. I have no idea up to what spell levels they have access to because of that or how many spell slots they have.
What it looks like is all the "Spellcaster" blocks now look like what used to "Spell-Like Abilities" in older editions. I've noticed this in the "Beyond the Witchlight" book and the "Monsters of the Multiverse" book and it's horrible.

Take the latest Vecna stat block from D&D Beyond.



At will: animate dead (as an action), detect magic, dispel magic, fly, lightning bolt, mage hand, prestidigitation

2/day each: dimension door, invisibility, scrying (as an action)

1/day each: dominate monster, globe of invulnerability, plane shift (self only).



That's it. These are just "spell-like abilities." Where's his magic? This almighty lich has NO SPELLS?
They’re right there. Those are literally all spells. Just because he’s limited by uses per day instead of spell slots doesn’t make them not spells.
He definitely should be able to cast every spell from the Player's Handbook.
Then have him cast them if you want. You’re (presumably) the DM, it’s your prerogative to change things if you want to.
Can someone explain to me why the designers decided this? It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make my games "streamlined and easier" at all either.
The spell slot system for PCs isn’t really necessary for monsters’ stat blocks. All you really need in the stat block is what he can do in combat. If you want him to do other stuff outside of combat… Just have him do it.
Do they HAVE to do this? Can't they go back to the original spellcasting block? This is sadly, and angrily, getting ridiculous with their changes.
Obviously they don’t have to do it, and they can go back to the original. But they want to do it and they probably aren’t planning to go back to the original.
 




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