D&D 5E The Decrease in Desire for Magic in D&D

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Concentration is a massive check on magic in 5e. Many of the spells require it. It allows for disruption. I do miss the flavor and consequences of magic pre-3.5, but concentration does a really good job of balancing it in the game.
Concentration is not really a big deal IME. Most casters easily get by with a single concentration spell and it hardly ever gets broken due to the lowish DC (except on critical hits maybe). Also, IIRC less than half (about 45%) of the spells require concentration.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think that should be a base Fighter ability. They can just LOOK at a guy and say 'Yeah I can take him' or 'Oh snap we better not mess with that dude!'. An the number of things you can ask the DM should be equal to your Prof. bonus so you get better at it with time.
I wouldn't want the results to always be 100% accurate i.e. I'd like there to be the possibility of failure and-or outright error, but the underlying idea has merit.

The only thing I'd take out would be ability to judge class levels in any classes that don't primarily involve fighting. I'm a Fighter, I know fighting. I don't know Cleric-ing, or Thieving, thus I shouldn't be able to look at a Cleric or a Thief and tell what level they are. I should, however, be able to get an idea whether each is any good at combat; meaning I might be able to tell a Thief apart from an Assassin just by combat cues, but that's it.
 

5e absolutely supports low magic. The GM can approve any spell, feat, subclass or item used.
These two statements are orthogonal--or even opposed.

"X supports Y" implies you can use X to do Y without heavy lifting. "The GM can [ed: or, rather, has to] approve any spell, feat, subclass or item used" emphatically is not that. Instead, it's saying that the GM must do a comprehensive review of the entire game and filter out that stuff. That's...not support. If anything, it is closer to the opposite of support.

4e, meanwhile, perfectly supported games with no magic whatsoever. Your allowed classes are Fighter, Ranger (excluding Utility powers from the Essentials versions), Rogue, and Warlord--a perfectly cromulent four-person party. The Inherent Bonuses rules, originally published in Dark Sun but quite trivial to apply, make it so you never need magic items of any kind. The only feats I can think of that you'd need to forbid would be multiclass feats for forbidden classes and Ritual Caster.

And if you want to tweak it up from there, it's quite easy to do so. Everything from Dark Sun sword-and-sandal to Eberron universal-magic to "the ancient days of yore when Elven High Magic reshaped the world" and anything in-between.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Allowing simultaneous initiatives, or characters to delay such that their initiatives become simultaneous, is all it takes.
It may just be I want it more efficient. If you want to broadcast to your enemies by shouting out loud lets focus on the caster in the back row and telling them exactly your plans (maybe some times that will NOT make a difference) "and on the count of two go" ... are you discussing it? or have you developed a synchronicity between your characters learned by protracted team work or do you have telepathy ... But I think coordinating in a way that is hard for enemies to predict and react to themselves (no opportunity attacks from anywhere or reduced opportunity attacks to one -- in 5e its always only one) is a higher order effect and doing it efficiently and picking an opening in the action (ie without spending movement or other benefits) to do it within the chaos of melee, might take a specialist .
For 5e whether anyone is going on the same initiative or not you never trigger more than one from a single enemy... why bother?
 
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Voadam

Legend
Do you consider 3PP house rules?

Of course you can adjudicate almost anything with the rules and guidelines provided, but it relies on the DM more than what you are looking for I am guessing.

For example, the basilisk's Pertifying Gaze says: ... On a failure, the creature is petrified until freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.

IMO, as DM, it is within the rules and guidelines of the game to allow an arcana or nature check to allow the PCs to learn that washing a petrified victim with 2 pints of fresh basilisk blood within 24 hrs of petrification reverses the effect. From the DMG I would assign the following DCs*:
  • Blood reverses petrification: DC 10 arcana, DC 15 nature
  • 2 pints of blood are required: DC 15 arcana, DC 20 Nature
  • 24 hr limit of effectiveness: DC 15 arcana, DC 20 Nature
*These values might change based on the type of campaign I am running.

That is all without house rules IMO. It is just adjudicating actions.
Are you interpreting washing in fresh basilisk blood as "other magic"?

I would generally say that making up new stuff is within the DM's purview, but I would also generally say that changing something from requiring magic to not requiring magic is a house rule.

If you decide that basilisks blood is magical and when fresh can break petrification and a PC asks if they know of a remedy or are researching one, that seems just a RAW application of adjudicating their declared action under the knowledge skill rules of 5e.

Without that first step it seems a house rule however.
 

Belen

Explorer
4e, meanwhile, perfectly supported games with no magic whatsoever. Your allowed classes are Fighter, Ranger (excluding Utility powers from the Essentials versions), Rogue, and Warlord--a perfectly cromulent four-person party. The Inherent Bonuses rules, originally published in Dark Sun but quite trivial to apply, make it so you never need magic items of any kind. The only feats I can think of that you'd need to forbid would be multiclass feats for forbidden classes and Ritual Caster.
Everyone was a caster in 4e. The classes worked identically. They all had "powers." The system was designed to be uniform.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What qualifies as a "style of play"?
A great big wide variety of things. Ideally, a big-tent system like D&D should be able to seamlessly handle as much of this variety as possible.
AND how much DM work do you think is acceptable to achieve it?
As much as it takes.

That said, the work required can be mitigated by starting with a system that's already closer to your end goal. For some, 4e is closer to that end goal, while for others it isn't; and in any case you still either have to accept a system's RAW or be ready and willing to do the work to kitbash that system into what you want it to be.
There are a ton that I consider a style of play which I cannot do well in 5e without ummm hacking the game to pieces and rebuilding.

In comparison to 4e and 3e (according to 3e fans on here), Just achieving tactical play in 5e let alone strategic requires what feels like a ton of adjustments to the game starting with monster rewrites and many many rules tweaks. CR is extremely unreliable when compared to the 4e methodologies... so predictable encounter difficulties useful for both game oriented play and narrative does not seem well supported.

And even small elements like fully supported story driven number of encounters / short rests in your play fights against what passes for class balance of 5e. I do not see that as supporting narrative gaming.

I do not see 5e actually supporting a lot of styles its more of an advertisement than a reality. And the DM tools for adding in alternative rules are more of a head nod at it, lacking any sort of indicator about the implications of how the rules changes might interact.
3e, 4e, and 5e each pushed toward some styles of play and away from others. In ve-e-ery broad strokes:

3e pushed toward a rule-for-everything small-s simulationist style, and pushed away from fast-and-loose wing-it play
4e pushed toward a fast-paced small-g gamist style, and pushed away from granularity in play
5e pushed toward a lower-threat combat-as-sport style, and pushed away from gritty survivalist play.

And it's very debatable whether any of those three truly delivered on what they were trying to push for. The only thing 5e has going for it over the previous two is that, with careful use of options and a great big DM banhammer, it's a bit more malleable and easier to kitbash into what it's not trying to do. From what I've seen/heard of 5.5e so far, I'm not sure that degree of malleability will remain.
 


dave2008

Legend
dave, what is the point of this? I am saying I want WotC to support a diffrent style of play, one I have spelled out. are 3pp house rules, not but they also are not WotC
I guess I am trying to understand what you want. I honestly do not understand what you want or I missed where you spelled it out. You have given examples of what you don't what, but not what you want as far as I can tell.
 

Undrave

Hero
I wouldn't want the results to always be 100% accurate i.e. I'd like there to be the possibility of failure and-or outright error, but the underlying idea has merit.

The only thing I'd take out would be ability to judge class levels in any classes that don't primarily involve fighting. I'm a Fighter, I know fighting. I don't know Cleric-ing, or Thieving, thus I shouldn't be able to look at a Cleric or a Thief and tell what level they are. I should, however, be able to get an idea whether each is any good at combat; meaning I might be able to tell a Thief apart from an Assassin just by combat cues, but that's it.
Yeah I'd probably tweak the info you can get a little... I'd probably base it on a dice roll (Insight??) so as not to put that in the hands of the DM. Specifically calling for a HIDDEN dice roll because I wouldn't want the player to know they might be wrong if they roll low.

I'd put it fairly early too in the level progression compared to the 7th level of the Battlemaster, I feel it would help set FIGHTERS apart from random NPCs who 'happen to fight' like a city guard or militia footman.

if the Fighter is the Best at Fighting, I can totally see it warping the way they perceive the world. Always doing threat assessment and thinking on how to not be taken by surprise. They should probably get Alert later in levels too.
 

Everyone was a caster in 4e.
No, they weren't.

The classes worked identically.
No, they didn't.

They all had "powers."
All 5e classes have class features. Clearly perfectly identical!

The system was designed to be uniform.
The system was designed to have a common framework. Next thing, you'll be saying every poet who ever wrote in English is exactly the same because they used the same language! Or that every game ever written in Unity is "uniform" solely because they use the same programming language.

"Powers" are literally just...things you do. Claiming they're all spells is absolutely false. Claiming they're all "uniform" simply because they have a standard format is ludicrous.
 


dave2008

Legend
Yes making up and adding your own rules counts as making up rules ...house rules
because washing with blood isnt magic.... and only magic can undo magic is the 5e presented method.
The blood is magic.
In effect that kind of thing is part of having to remake the monster manual because it does not suit my narative.
That is the kind of thing TSR or WotC as never provided in any book. It is something I have always brought as a DM to any edition I've played.
Because in 5e land not using magic is supposed to make the game 10 times harder the players handbook says so.
I don't understand what you are trying to say here. 5e, IME works great with little to no magic.
 

Voadam

Legend
Concentration is not really a big deal IME. Most casters easily get by with a single concentration spell and it hardly ever gets broken due to the lowish DC (except on critical hits maybe). Also, IIRC less than half (about 45%) of the spells require concentration.
I felt concentration was a great check on a number of aspects of 3e style caster dominance.

It prevents stacking multiple buffs from one caster so CoDzilla is less of a thing.

It means generally having one big ongoing thing instead of one ongoing thing per round.

It means choice of spell in a round has immediate opportunity costs for that combat.

The PCs in my 6th level fantasy grounds game where the check is automated have lost their concentration spells due to damage plenty of times.

There are a few 5e ongoing spells without it that I think should have it though.

I like it as a rule enough I was considering trying to adopt it as a house rule when considering running a Pathfinder 1e game. (I have a ton more great d20/Pathfinder material but I like the 5e rules a bit better).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
These two statements are orthogonal--or even opposed.

"X supports Y" implies you can use X to do Y without heavy lifting. "The GM can [ed: or, rather, has to] approve any spell, feat, subclass or item used" emphatically is not that. Instead, it's saying that the GM must do a comprehensive review of the entire game and filter out that stuff.
IMO the DM should be doing such a review anyway, of the entire system top to bottom, as standard procedure before running any new edition or rules-set; and making changes and tweaks as and where required.

Think of it as debugging. Every RPG system worth its salt is going to have bugs and proud nails; better to find and fix them before play starts rather than on the fly during the game.
 

dave2008

Legend
Everyone was a caster in 4e.
Not even close.
The classes worked identically.
The original classes had a similar structure, but the essentials classes where much different.
They all had "powers." The system was designed to be uniform.
The original classes had a similar structure, but they worked and played very differently. If are familiar with roles then you now this well. A controlled did not play like a defender or a striker. Even then different strikers played differently as well.
 
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IMO the DM should be doing such a review anyway, of the entire system top to bottom, as standard procedure before running any new edition or rules-set; and making changes and tweaks as and where required.

Think of it as debugging. Every RPG system worth its salt is going to have bugs and proud nails; better to find and fix them before play starts rather than on the fly during the game.
All I can say is, my three favorite systems--4e, 13A, and Dungeon World--didn't need this. It's part of why they're my favorite systems.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
There are a few 5e ongoing spells without it that I think should have it though.
We went the other way, removing concentration from half the spells that really shouldn't have it.

Another aspect is spells with are concentration AND allow repeated saving throws (e.g. hold person). If a spell has both, if you concentrate saves cannot be remade; if you don't concentrate, repeated saves are allowed.
 

dave2008

Legend
Are you interpreting washing in fresh basilisk blood as "other magic"?
In this case yes. A basilisk is clearly a magical creature and therefor can be interpreted to have magical blood. This is nothing against the rules with this ruling. To be clear, this would be player driven in my game. It is not information I give out (just like the spell needed), it would be determined by what the characters do.
I would generally say that making up new stuff is within the DM's purview, but I would also generally say that changing something from requiring magic to not requiring magic is a house rule.
And I think I clearly did the former.
If you decide that basilisks blood is magical and when fresh can break petrification and a PC asks if they know of a remedy or are researching one, that seems just a RAW application of adjudicating their declared action under the knowledge skill rules of 5e.
I should have read your whole response before I started to answer! That is exactly what I do / would do. The idea would only come to be based on a player's declared action(s).
 

Voadam

Legend
We went the other way, removing concentration from half the spells that really shouldn't have it.

Another aspect is spells with are concentration AND allow repeated saving throws (e.g. hold person). If a spell has both, if you concentrate saves cannot be remade; if you don't concentrate, repeated saves are allowed.
Different tastes. :)
 

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