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5E On whether sorcerers and wizards should be merged or not, (they shouldn't)

The 5e Sorc, stole metamagic, from everyone.
Well, some metamagic. Everyone essentially has Heighten for free, for instance, not just in the sense of having it, in the sense of it not costing anything to use. And, up-casting is essentially metamagic for all, too.

Just like everyone has the 3e Sorcerer's Spontaneous Casting.

Again, if the ability to use bows and crossbows was taken from all classes and given to an Archer class, people would be outraged.
Meh. Whacked hyper-specialization in martial classes is not too unusual for D&D.

A Wizard’s spellbook is as much a bane then a boon. The book can be stolen, destroyed, scry’d upon etc.
… that really doesn't seem emphasized in 5e the way it was in older eds... also, it's not the money-pit it used to be, and one significant downside, that, while you can learn new spells, you got none automatically as you leveled, has been gone awhile, too.

A Wizard’s Ritual Magic is easily replicated by the Ritual Magic feat or a Warlock pact of the book.
Sorcerers aren't Warlocks. Feats are optional, and ASIs a high price to pay.

So is all the Sorcerer love more about ‘wanting to play an X-man’ or being more powerful with Metamagic?
Surely, fans of the 3.x Sorcerer are more interested in being Magical Marvel Mutants, with cool/powerful focused abilities that fit a theme of their choosing - the 3.x sorcerer delivered that, the 5e sorcerer only if your theme has a sub-class, and the spell-list supports it - or they'd've been fans of the Class-Tier-1 Wizard of 3.x, instead.

If WOTC announced the Sorcerer class was going to be retired, unless Metamagic was removed from the class, and replaced with say all the ‘toys’ the Wiz has, that you referenced earlier, and let us assume for the benefit of the thought experiment, that these replacement ‘toys’ are a perfect fit thematically for the Sorcerer, do you take the change?
A lot of the wizard's toys aren't such a great fit, thematically, but, sure, if the prepped casters went back to prepping into slots, so spontaneous meant something again, and the Sorcerer got better thematic support with greater player control & build flexibility, then metamagic going back to being feats or something'd be just fine.
 

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Yeah, it's just the wicked Sorcerer's fault, isn't it? Poor wizards, ever the victim of those nasty, power-gaming Sorcerers.

Poor class design, is still poor design, even if the ‘thing’ so designed is itself blameless for it’s faults.

I actually like the look of a 1971 Ford Pinto, but it has a design flaw. You can apply this to all Ford vehicles, because historically Ford vehicles have a tendency to catch fire.

The 5e Sorc class is fun in play. Yet to my mind, the class does not have the same level of singular identity that a Druid has vis a vis the Cleric class. I also don’t feel the Druid steps on the toes of the Cleric, ( or steals their stuff 🎯).
 

tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
@MoonSong It's possible to get lost in a concept & champion a munchkinized implementation without stepping back to look outside the tunnel of a concept, the everything a wizard does but just born with it concept is just that & it's good that you seem to have realized it.

You keep bringing up ritual magic like it's far more than it is. @Todd Roybark nicely pointed out the nonexclusive to wizard aspect with two of the actually improved versions. There's a critical point you are missing unaware of or just ignoring though & I brought it up earlier. Flatly there are not enough meaningful ritual spells to build a character or even a concept around & a wizard is still required to take the "right spells" or face the same useless feeling as a sorcerer who does not take them.
  • 1st: Comprehend Magic, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Floating Disk, Identify, Illusory Script.
  • 2nd: Gentle repose, Magic Mouth, Skywrite
  • 3rd: Feign Death, Tiny Hut, Phantom Steed, Water Breathing
  • 4th: Zero 4th level ritual spells on the Wizard list
  • 5th: Contact Other Plane, Telepathic Bond
  • 6th: Instant Summons
  • 7th Zero 7th level ritual spells on the Wizard list
  • 8th: Zero 8th level ritual spells on the Wizard list
  • 9th: Zero 9th level ritual spells on the Wizard list
Sure there are a couple sometimes useful spells there, but as a whole they are incomplete and far from sufficient to build anything around. Take out Tiny hut & detect magic the whole thing.

Multiple settings differentiate magic along lines of things like draconic/demonic/infernal/daelkyr/etc magic, but sorcerer stole & copied so much from wizard that it's difficult for wizard to have truly viscerally different archtypes because all that's left is a spellbook and sorcerer has archtypes that are already everything wizard plus most everything of this theme so any attempt to make a wizard archtype for them would amount to but copy $abilities from $sorcererArchtype.

@Aldarc funny you'd bring up mage armor given how dragon sorcerer & more than one sorcerer UA has base 13+dex ac without needing to cast mage armor. You say that you've read the overlap yet keep questioning if there is overlap and implying that wizard has massive amounts of wizard specific stuff so lets chase this rabbit hole you seem so desperate to dive into... What are these toys you were talking about when you said "The wizard gets more toys than the sorcerer" Be specific & try to limit yourself to the few core class things that wizard has but sorcerer does not.. if you say "ritual spells" be specific about which spells or how a wizard can build a distinct theme around them with more depth than "guy who casts tiny hut for the scorlock". The fact that sorcerer can choose nearly all of the skills wizards can choose plus some extra social skills and has a virtually identical spell list. Yes in 3.5 the two had the same spell list, but in 3.5 sorcerer had a casting mechanic that was different from every other spellcaster and Intelligence as a stat as well as int based skills were far more valuable making them play out differently at the table.
 
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Meh. Whacked hyper-specialization in martial classes is not too unusual for D&D.

As a Particular Character, yes, as a class, no. 4e tried this, every class was a super specialised particuliar...Ranger, Seeker, Slayer Fighters with no Ranged Weapons etc, there was no real good way to play a generalist.

5e seems to have more general base classes with more specific sub-classes.

If one started a thread asking opinions regarding consolidating all range attack ability into an Archer class, we can already envision how much dissent that would cause in the ‘Fighters are underpowered crowd’.

Since that ‘crowd’ tends to think all spellcasters are overpowered, we don’t see them in these type of threads.😎

Your arguments, Tony, in the post referenced seem to be predicated more off objection for objection sake, than presenting ideas, which strikes me as a bit unusual for you.
 

As a Particular Character, yes, as a class, no.
Sure as a class, lots of past editions went there, either officially or off in the boonies. There actually was an Archer class for 1e -"unofficial NPC class" in the pages of The Dragon - early attempts at modeling some sort of swashbuckler or duelist were classes, the Cavalier was a class, etc. It was only with 3e that we even started to get some build flexibility with martial characters, even then, we seemed to need, Knight and Scout classes.
4e tried this, every class was a super specialised particuliar...Ranger, Seeker, Slayer Fighters with no Ranged Weapons etc, there was no real good way to play a generalist.
Actually a Slayer could be lethal with a two-hander in melee, and a longbow at range. Rogues worked fairly seamlessly at melee & range, and while, as a V class, Rangers were a little fraught in doing so, they could combine the two, as well - and there was a build for just that. Even an MP2 Warlord build could do melee or ranged from round to round with little issue.

It was really the fighter that went from un-supported at many things to really good at it's traditional meatshield role - glorified, in 4e, as "Defender" - with the side effect of making it very melee-focused.

5e seems to have more general base classes with more specific sub-classes.
Not too consistently, no. Monk, Ranger, Druid (TBH, even though it's my favorite 5e class), Barbarian, Sorcerer, Warlock - all could as easily have been sub-classes.

If one started a thread asking opinions regarding consolidating all range attack ability into an Archer class
As it stands, if you use feats, anyone w/o Sharpshooter might as well not use a bow, at all, by comparison, so it wouldn't be that big a difference, functionally. So if you created an Archer that was as good with a bow as that, feats or no feats allowed, it wouldn't break the game. It'd just be untenably narrow.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
You all know the reason why wizards don't have metamagic is because the designers wanted to give wizards schools, right?

There is no way they could have specializations, domains, and circles with metamagic. Not again.
 

You all know the reason why wizards don't have metamagic is because the designers wanted to give wizards schools, right?
Did not know that. What do you mean?

There is no way they could have specializations, domains, and circles with metamagic. Not again.
What? Why not?
(I mean, it's not like specialization with no opposed schools is really specialization, anyway, but...?)
 

houser2112

Explorer
Well, some metamagic. Everyone essentially has Heighten for free, for instance, not just in the sense of having it, in the sense of it not costing anything to use. And, up-casting is essentially metamagic for all, too.

Just like everyone has the 3e Sorcerer's Spontaneous Casting.

5E's upcasting mechanic is more akin to the 3.5 psionic power augment mechanic, which is how psionic powers scaled instead of 3.x's spells auto-scaling with caster level. 5E's magic system doesn't have the equivalent of Heighten Spell, since 5E has a single DC for all of a caster's spells, regardless of spell level. All Heighten Spell did was increase the effective level of the spell, and thus the spell's save DC; it didn't affect the spell in any other way (range, duration, damage, etc).
 

Having int + spellbook makes wizard a poor fit for the "I was born with magic" background. The siloing started before sorcerer was a thing. Even if it wasn't the case...
I can't quite agree with this. As has often been observed, the irony of D&D's wizard/sorcerer split is that mages in most modern fantasy works are both: you have to be born with the "gift", but you also have to find some schooling to learn to control it. This is true of characters from Harry Potter to Yennifer of Vengerberg. In a 2E world, a backstory like "I was a seventh son born on the night of a Witch-Moon, which gave me the blessing and the curse of magic" might continue "Through long hours of practice, I learned to shape my magic into spells, and kept careful notes of my techniques."
 
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5E's magic system doesn't have the equivalent of Heighten Spell, since 5E has a single DC for all of a caster's spells, regardless of spell level. All Heighten Spell did was increase the effective level of the spell, and thus the spell's save DC; it didn't affect the spell in any other way (range, duration, damage, etc).
Exactly: relative to 3.x metamagic, that's Heighten for everyone, for free.
5E's upcasting mechanic is more akin to the 3.5 psionic power augment mechanic, which is how psionic powers scaled instead of 3.x's spells auto-scaling with caster level.
3e spells scaled with level, to a cap, that could be boosted with metamagic, consuming a higher slot, 5e spells tend to have fixed damage above where 3e would have started, but below that cap, then can be boosted with up-casting. So, yeah, up-casting is analogous to ubiquitous metamagic, just what sort of metamagic depends on the specific spell.
FWIW.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Did not know that. What do you mean?

What? Why not?
(I mean, it's not like specialization with no opposed schools is really specialization, anyway, but...?)

Because it would likely either be too powerful or too fiddly or too time consuming in classes with fully developed class features. Especially with feats being "officially" optional.

It would be a disaster to balance and require months of open playtest. And if the designers screwed it up, we would be saying the Batman wizards and CoDzilla players broke another edition.

i was surprised to see metamagic outside of carefully tuned subclasses at all in 5th.
 

It's not just a question of spells. If Sorcerers could somehow conjure raw magical energy and go freestyle with it, they would have something distinctive that Wizards don't have.

And this is ultimately the main problem. The perfect mechanics for sorcerers would be a completely freeform style of magic that DnD with its rigid system just cannot easily create. Thematically they should be able to conjure fire to create Fireball, Fire Wall, Flame Bolt, Flame Strike, Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Control Flames, Bonfire, Pyrotechnics, Aganazzer's Scorcher, Heat Metal Scorching Ray, Investiture of Flame, ect ect ect. And change the shape, duration, and size of all of those spells.

Because to the sorcerer they are doing one thing, and the rest is just a matter of how they need it to work this time.

But, this is far too powerful (one ability giving every fire spell and allowing you to alter every fire spell, yeah right) and too free form to work within the paradigm of DnD magic. So, we need to look at the best 2nd 3rd or even 4th set of rules and abilities to get closer to where they should be in a way that works with the game.

What does that have to do with anything I was saying? I don't give a rat's ass if the sorcerer is "popular" with other people.

Wow, immediately into the defensive mode. Okay, let's try and respond calmly.

The "rat's ass" was because you said
I think it says a lot that one of the reasons mutants were invented in comic books was so that the writers (IE Stan Lee) no longer had to think up reasons how/why someone gained super powers, the characters could be super-powered for no reason whatsoever. It was him saying "I don't want to create story, I just want it to happen.

Your point there seems to be "They were just too lazy to write a better story", but X-Men became wildly popular. Why?

Because of two reasons. 1) They inadvertently stumbled into a powerful story in the division between how people are born and the changes people can suddenly seem to go through that reshape their entire lives and 2) Because by avoiding the story of 'why does this person teleport' they instead focused on "what do they do with this power". It wasn't that they didn't want to create a story, it was that the story wasn't about the how's of the power, but how the power shaped the people.

For an example, I loved that 90's cartoon, and I remember the first episode where Jubilee is essentially disowned by her parents and hunted by giant monsters for (from her perspective) no reason. She hasn't done anything, why is she being punished.

But that story doesn't work if she needs to go out and find a teacher, or if she needs to devote years to research, because then she has dedication. She is seeking this power at the expense of other things. She made a choice, and while she may no like it, it was still a choice. But, as a mutant, she doesn't have a choice, she never decided to pursue power and gain all these enemies. And that is a story that the Sorcerer can have, and it is a powerful one. As shown by the fact that X-Men was built on these types of stories, and is wildly popular.

And thus you apparently missed my point entirely. I wonder if you even read or understood what I said?

My point was not to try and figure out "Hey, is The Hulk a wizard or a sorcerer if you made him as a D&D character?" That's a stupid question whose answer means nothing.

The point was about how someone GAINED their powers. In this case, Bruce Banner actually had a story as to how he gained the powers of The Hulk. The whole "scientist gets hit with gamma radiation" story that lead up to becoming The Hulk. Just like Clerics have a story about being devout members of the church and making a connection with their deity and the deity granting them the power to be their champion. Both the cleric and Bruce Banner had to actually DO something to gain their power.

Take a few deep breaths please, because you missed the point, and your anger is not helping me to explain it.

See, you are forgetting this line from the Sorcerer description in the PHB "Sorcerers carry a magical birthright conferred upon them by an exotic bloodline, some otherworldly influence, or exposure to unknown cosmic forces. "

What did Bruce Banner do to gain his powers? He got hit by a blast of cosmic forces and it fundamentally altered him.

He didn't beseech a powerful entity. He didn't study and train to master these powers. He didn't devote himself to a cause. He got blasted by a power he didn't fully understand and it changed him.

That is a sorcerer origin. I wasn't asking "Which class would you make this character with" I was talking about how they originate. The Hulk's origins are about an accident and an exposure to power. He didn't pray to the Gamma Gods to grant him strength, like a cleric would, he didn't unlock the fundamental nature of gamma radiation and use that knowledge to change himself. He got a face full of power, and it changed him in ways he didn't expect and doesn't fully understand.

Since we are talking about stories and which ones are interesting, seeing the parallels in stories that are considered classic is a good thing.

The sorcerer and the X-Men? They just have powers. No idea why, didn't have to do anything for them, they just have magic/superpowers without needing any explanation. Which as I said, I find less than compelling from a story perspective. I'm not saying the characters are BAD or that other people are BAD for liking them, nor even that they can't have interesting stories going forward. Of course they can. But just on the creation aspect of becoming a person with magic or superpowers... I think the story of how Peter Parker gained his abilities by having to be bitten by a radioactive spider and then undergoing a dramatic change on a cellular level and how/why a person made the choice to start studying how to become a wizard and then is able to accomplish incredible feats of magic are just more interesting.

So... is your problem just with handwaving? Is that what all this anger and frustration is coming from?

I mean you are comparing the Bruce Banner to a cleric who worships a God and a Spider-Man to a Wizard who chooses to study magic. But, they both are far more comparable to a sorcerous origin.

They didn't choose this, they didn't want this, but it happened anyways. A Storm Sorcerer could be struck by lightning during a magically signifgant event and undergo dramatic changes within their body and soul. How is that different than a radioactive spider bite?

I mean, I'm not understanding what you see that is so different unless you think all Sorcerer players just have "I dunno man, I'm just magical" written on their backstory. No sorcerer player I have ever seen has done that. Heck, most of them go with the magical accident story instead of the dragon blood parentage.


First of all.. "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" says nothing whatsoever about you gain power. The saying applies to anyone with great power, so saying its only for sorcerers and accidental warlocks is just not true.

Isn't it though?

Doctor Strange spends years studying the arts of magic, inheriting a title and burden of protecting the entire Earth. Do you think he needs to have that defining moment of realizing he needs to be responsible for his own power? Isn't the first lesson of almost all martial arts Know when to Fight and when to not?

The teeth in the saying comes from misusing that power and facing personal tragedy. Uncle Ben died because Spider-Man didn't act when he could have. If Spider-Man had sought out his powers from the Spider God Anasi for a higher purpose... none of his origin would have happened. He wouldn't have become a TV star to make money, he wouldn't have let the robber go when he was cheated, the entire premise of the origin hinges on the fact that Peter doesn't feel like he owes anyone anything, because this power was just thrust on him and he has no responsibility in how he uses it.

Until it personally bites him for not using it.

But if you are taught, if you seek power, then you seek power with a goal in mind. and if you are seeking your own goals, that is the story. The story can't be with how you deal with that power, you got what you wanted, Iron Man can't get upset that he is Iron Man, he chose to build the suit, chose to get in it, and chose to use it. Spider-Man didn't choose to gain his powers, and every time he tries to stop being spider-man, he has to use his powers to save his loved ones. Through no fault of his own, but through mere chance.


Oh, and by the way... Luke Skywalker wouldn't be a "sorcerer"... if we're going to play that game, he's be a cleric. He became a disciple of an ancient religion that he was told about and taught how to use. He didn't just realize he could use force powers back on the farm on his own... a higher-ranking religious instructor Obi-Wan Kenobi had to bring him into the fold, teach him about the Jedi religion, and then Luke had to work at it to actually start using it. Now yes, I'm sure you'll come back with "But there's no Jedi god, so he can't be a cleric!" ridiculousness... but that's why trying to make one-for-one comparisons to D&D classes is ultimately silly. But to think Luke just "became" a Jedi through some weird twist of fate and started walking around wearing robes and mind-controlling people without first going through all the instruction and training to do so is just wrong, in my opinion.

He doesn't realize he can use Force powers?

If he doesn't realize that means he physically could, he just didn't know how.

So, he was born with his powers.

So... Sorcerer.

I'm not saying their needs to be a "Force God", that's not the point of the cleric. The point of a cleric is power through dedication and faith. But, Jedi are born Force Sensitive and capable of utilizing it. You can't be a Jedi if you aren't born special.



Also @tetrasodium since I had it up I wanted to go ahead and post the Sorcerer's actual proficiency table. Could you please stop reposting the Warlock one? It might be because this new format has me rereading posts when they are new and I'm behind, but it looks like this was addressed a few times already and it does not lend to your point to be consistently wrong.


Proficiencies
Armor: None
Weapons: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Constitution, Charisma
Skills: Choose two from Arcana, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Religion
 

houser2112

Explorer
Exactly: relative to 3.x metamagic, that's Heighten for everyone, for free.

No, it isn't. As I stated before, 5E has no concept of a save DC dependent on spell level, so 5E upcasting is not comparable to Heighten. Since the vast majority of the upcasting options available to 5E spells are increases to dice of damage/healing, I'd say a closer comparison would be Empower. If there is a metamagic option that increases save DC I'm not aware of, that would be comparable to Heighten. Upcasting is how spells scale now, and every caster lost the free scaling of 3.x.
 

Undrave

Hero
Considering Feats let you nabs spells, rituals and maneuvers from classes, I'm not sure why there's no metamagic nabbing feats... But at the same time I don't think many people would pick them. Too few feats unless you play a human and a boost to your casting stat is too important.

there was no real good way to play a generalist.

In 4e you couldn't play a generalist fighter, in 5e you can't play a 'generalist Wizard' (Whatever THAT even means, because I feel like all 5e Wizards are pretty generalists )...

Why does everybody want to play generalists in DnD? DnD is like football, the best players should be specialists...Trying to have classes that do EVERYTHING because "lol magic" is how we ended up with CoDzilla.
 

Undrave

Hero
No, it isn't. As I stated before, 5E has no concept of a save DC dependent on spell level, so 5E upcasting is not comparable to Heighten. Since the vast majority of the upcasting options available to 5E spells are increases to dice of damage/healing, I'd say a closer comparison would be Empower. If there is a metamagic option that increases save DC I'm not aware of, that would be comparable to Heighten. Upcasting is how spells scale now, and every caster lost the free scaling of 3.x.

5E DC scale with proficiency bonus, so Heighten is 'baked in' to the basic progression. I think that's what Tony was saying.
 

houser2112

Explorer
Considering Feats let you nabs spells, rituals and maneuvers from classes, I'm not sure why there's no metamagic nabbing feats... But at the same time I don't think many people would pick them. Too few feats unless you play a human and a boost to your casting stat is too important.

Niche protection, probably. The only feat I've ever considered picking up as a spellcaster is Elemental Adept (I think that's what it's called, the one that lets you ignore resistance and reroll 1s for a particular element).
 


houser2112

Explorer
But somehow the Battlemaster's niche isn't worth protecting?
Hey, I wasn't defending the omission, merely speculating that was the reason for the omission. I agree with you; I don't really care for the design philosophy behind most of 5E. I much prefer the richer character building options of 3.x.
 

No, it isn't. As I stated before, 5E has no concept of a save DC dependent on spell level, so 5E upcasting is not comparable to Heighten.
Simply casting a save spell in 5e is comparable to casting it with Heighten for free, in 3e.
Upcasting is how spells scale now, and every caster lost the free scaling of 3.x.
I'd say a closer comparison would be Empower.
3e spells scaled with level, to a cap, that could be boosted with metamagic (like Empower or Maximize), consuming a higher slot, 5e spells tend to have fixed damage above where 3e would have started, but below that cap, then can be boosted with up-casting (FREX: 3e fireball, started at 5d6, scaled with level to 10d and capped, but could be Empowered to 15d with a higher level slot; in 5e, fireball starts at 8d6, doesn't scale with level, but can be up-cast up to 14d with higher level slots).
So, yeah, up-casting is analogous to ubiquitous metamagic, just what sort of metamagic depends on the specific spell.
FWIW.
 

And this is ultimately the main problem. The perfect mechanics for sorcerers would be a completely freeform style of magic that DnD with its rigid system just cannot easily create.
That depends. If sorcerers are akin to Marvel mutants, then the limited but sometimes eclectic repertoire of powers at their disposal could be right on the money.

Thematically they should be able to conjure fire to create Fireball, Fire Wall, Flame Bolt, Flame Strike, Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Control Flames, Bonfire, Pyrotechnics, Aganazzer's Scorcher, Heat Metal Scorching Ray, Investiture of Flame, ect ect ect. And change the shape, duration, and size of all of those spells.

Because to the sorcerer they are doing one thing, and the rest is just a matter of how they need it to work this time.

But, this is far too powerful (one ability giving every fire spell and allowing you to alter every fire spell, yeah right) and too free form to work within the paradigm of DnD magic. So, we need to look at the best 2nd 3rd or even 4th set of rules and abilities to get closer to where they should be in a way that works with the game.
Later 3E was doing this sort of thing with a number of classes like the warmage, dread necromancer, and beguiler. Just pick a theme, give the class every spell in that theme, and let them access their whole spell list spontaneously. It's balanced in principle by their total lack of access to off-theme magic, and they never got anywhere near the wizard or cleric on anybody's tier list. (Like seriously, I speak from experience: it's all fun and games with your warmage out-novaing any other class against almost any target, until the bad guys cast something that needs to be dispelled.)

Though you might see the design trouble already: each of these is a whole distinct class. At the very least, it'd be a whole distinct spell list. Printing a distinct spell list for every possible sorcerer theme would be quite demanding on the page-count front. And then you have to decide how expandable all these spell lists are with further releases. Maybe you could get around it by tagging spells with different keywords and telling sorcerers to pick a keyword, but that gets cumbersome too. I'm certainly not saying the problems are insurmountable here, of course. But the route WotC took instead with the sorcerer has the advantages of being simple and open-ended, allowing players to build their own themes and decide for themselves whether they want to be hyperspecialized or branch out a bit. Maybe they didn't get it perfect, but let's not lose sight of those virtues.
 

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