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D&D 5E The 5E Magic User


I hate the whole wizard carrying a crossbow thing. I don't mind vancian spellcasting, but there needs to be magic that the wizard can always do. For me if you rolled rituals back into their spell lists the 4e model isnt a bad model.

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First Post
I like running Swords & Sorcery, not High Fantasy. In my 0e games, the magic user is tremendously powerful, but he must choose when to cast and mostly does not. It creates a different kind of world than my 4e game where the entire world is heavily infused with gonzo magic.

I don't know how 5e is going to bridge both those extremes.

When you have limited amount of magic, it creates a different play experience than when you have nigh-unlimited magic thanks to crafting.

Li Shenron

Ok, what should they do with Magic Users, Wizards, Mages, call them what you will in 5E? This is a pretty basic, and very divisive question.


My "vision" of a 5E magic user is someone who has limited power but can bring it to bear with awesome effect. Who makes a big difference when they cast their spells, but can't do that to solve every problem. Who has to make tough decisions about when to use their power. Whose magic is flexible and useful for many different kinds of things, provided they have the right spell prepared. Yes, I prefer Vancian magic.

Completely agree. That has been the concept of Wizard in D&D for more than 30 years, let's relegate the alternate concept of the past 3 years to a modular option, and we're fine. Keeping the current concept on the forefront will make it impossible to heal the fractured D&D gamers base.

BTW, I'm fine whether they want to call it Wizard, Mage or even just Spellcaster. But I hope they don't call it Magic-User, that always sounded very dorky to me.

I think 3E got it wrong in the following ways:

Too many spells in one wizard's hands at higher levels.
Too many spells that did what other classes could do, without any drawbacks or inherent limitations.
Spells which fundamentally changed the game (Teleport) without appropriate costing/casting time/limitations to prevent their "spamming".
Too much buffing (more the cleric's domain, but wizards could be guilty of the multibuff too).

These are implementation problems, they only require some patience to be fixed, while the system itself was solid*. The problem was that in 3ed they didn't have enough patience for everything...

Someone must have done a good brainstorming on Dramwij's Instant Summons and realized how could it be exploited, if it ended up such at an inexplicable high level. Clearly not enough attention was given to Harm or Haste.

*Eventually very-high-level spellcasters were often regarded as hard to handle by the DM, which may lead someone to think that the system was in fact not solid enough. Personally I believe that very-high-level play should be different, and I'm totally fine if it is hard both for the players AND the DMs. Problem is... it's not usually the best players and best DMs that want to play very-high-levels campaigns. ;)


First Post
I hate the whole wizard carrying a crossbow thing. I don't mind vancian spellcasting, but there needs to be magic that the wizard can always do. For me if you rolled rituals back into their spell lists the 4e model isnt a bad model.

I don't mind carrying a crossbow, but I didn't expect to be the one using it all the time - a lot of the time as a low-level wizard without spells, I was trying to find useful things to do while avoiding confrontation and realising that when it came to hitting things, I was pretty useless. Sometimes, I was running in terror and hiding from things that could kill me pretty quickly.

For me, this was a lot of fun! But not for everyone, obviously.

So, how do they reconcile the two sides? One side wants magic available constantly, one wants occasional bursts of big magic. Different classes? Possibly, but not necessarily.

The idea someone had above of passing off the "constant-magic" into an implement is a good one - it means I (or someone with my preferences) just don't have to buy my "wand of infinite missiles" and can instead spend that gold on some rare component or magic-enhancing device instead. Or a nice robe. With gold brocade. But someone who *wants* that constant supply of magic can then have it. Satisfies both those needs while leaving the default class fairly standard.

I don't think I want to go back to a wizard that doesn't have at-will spells. Unless the Wizard has enough "martial "abilities that he's actually decent with a staff or a sword.

I would also prefer to keep at-wills, encounters and dailies in general for Wizardry. But I could see re-envisioning them into something more... "Vancian".

You prepare a spell, say "Fireball". Having this spell prepared, gives you a set of spellcasting option.
1) As a Standard At-Will Action , you cast something like Scorching Burst. (Area Burst 1, 1d6+STAT fire damage)
2) As an Heroic Standard Action (= ENcounter Power), you can cast Flame Burst (Area Burst 1, 2d6+STAT fire damage, MIss Half Damage)
3) As a Decisive Standard Action (= Daily Power), you can cast Fireball itself. (Area Burst 3, 3d6+STAT fire damage, 5 ongoing damage (save ends), Miss Half Damage)


Completely agree. That has been the concept of Wizard in D&D for more than 30 years, let's relegate the alternate concept of the past 3 years to a modular option, and we're fine. Keeping the current concept on the forefront will make it impossible to heal the fractured D&D gamers base.
With occasional encounter and only a few daily powers, the "alternate concept of the past 3 years" remains fundamentally the same as what was described. At-will powers were practically weapon skills. There's no need to beat around the bush with trying to malign 4E though. ;)

I think that the major advantage of a Vancian magic system is familiarity and it is pretty much the simplest magic system out there.

I do think that Wizards (or whatever) need a handful of relatively minor spells that they can always cast - isn't this the idea for Cantrips? - but I do think the resource management aspect of playing a magic user actually provides a gaming experience that some people like.

What I don't want is Magic Users reduced to being blasters - I want some outlet for creativity and variation - both in terms of distinction from other spell casters (being able to develop your own style), and in term of being significantly different to other classes in play. I could see an argument for an entire shift of approach - creating a Mage: The Ascension style freeform system would be interesting to me. But then this may still be alienating to others.


First Post
not smart enough

I realized that I am not smart enough to answer this question. I don't know what I want. See;

I kind of like the 4th edition Magic-User, and
I kind of like the old (pre-3rd) Magic-User, and
I kind of like the 3rd edition Magic-User

But, I also kind of not like each of them too.

I think I agree with those that said 3rd was pretty good, but the scrolls/wand availability was too easy, and therefore they got out of control.

So maybe something like 3rd, with a ritual component, and less creation/purchase of items?


I suspect this will be one of the fault lines in the 5e development. Many people really like what 4e did with Wizards, and many other dislike it just as strongly.

I think it is possible to cover both bases, but not at once.

Consider this:

5e retains the At-Will, Encounter, Daily structure of 4e powers, and adds "Always On" and "Conditional" ("Always On" is obvious; "Conditional" powers are ones that you can trigger any time you meet the conditions. For instance "when you score a critical hit, you can...") You'll note that I've removed "Utility" from the list - each of these powers was actually already one of the other times, depending on how it was used... they may or may not be given on a different progression, but they're not really their own category.

Then, you create two classes, the Wizard and the Mage.

The Wizard works basically like the 4e Wizard - he has At-Will, Encounter and Daily powers, he has a limited ability to switch out his Dailies each day, and so on.

The Mage, on the other hand, works much more like the pre-4e Magic User/Mage/Wizard - he has no (or very few) At-Wills or Encounters, but can know as many Dailies as he wishes to add to his spellbook. Each day, he then prepares a subset of those Dailies for use (and can prepare the same spell several times if he wishes).

That covers both camps. (Unfortunately, I doubt the Core Rulebook could incorporate both. The Starter Set certainly can't. Given the need for a choice, I would advocate the Wizard get the nod, as it is the easier class to play.)

Rituals should remain, and should perhaps be expanded. The "Ritual Caster" feat should be eliminated - each ritual should have its own prerequisites, but anyone who can meet those prerequisites can learn and use the ritual. And rituals in general should be easier to use - rather than having an enormous cost for a minor trick, there should be a fairly modest cost. Though there should be some cost to stop the Wizard/Mage simply spamming Knock and rendering the Rogue obselete - perhaps it should cost a Healing Surge (or equivalent), to reflect that using the magic thus is exhausting?


Incidentally, I'm all for the addition of an Artifice power source (or equivalent) covering those characters whose 'thing' is the creation and use of magic items - the Eberron-style Artificer, the Alchemist, the steampunk-style Mad Scientist, or even characters like Jarlaxle or Iron Man (who may not create the items, but gain their power from using them).

This allows us to specify characters who primarily use items. It also allows us to have items that level with the character (Weapons of Legacy in 3e, or their equivalent), or 'signature items' (Anduril, Excalibur), or the equivalent, via the use of multi-classing.

Finally, it should mean we can remove the 'need' for items generally to be considered part of the character progression - most characters can be assumed to have a couple of (fairly minor) items, and indeed possibly to only have those items for a short while. It is only if they invest in the Artifice power source, to tie those items into their overall progression, that they consider those items as intrinsically 'theirs'.

(One other net effect of this is that the creation of magic items probably ceases to be the field of the Wizard, necessarily - although there should be nothing in particular stopping the Wizard from taking the appropriate cross-class powers if he wishes.)

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