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

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
While I get where you’re coming from, I think you are overselling 5e here. In a no-to-low magic 5e campaign, you are pretty much limited to 4 classes out of 13 (depending on how you feel about monks), and you have to spread them out pretty carefully to fulfill all roles.

If your preferred playstyle is low magic, I can definitely see getting tired of the lack of class choice after 2 or 3 characters.
There's a stark difference between low-magic and no magic. In low-magic you really aren't limited to just 4-5 classes IMO.

For low magic, as far as classes are concerned, remove sorcerer and warlock and all magical subclasses for non-casters. So, for me anyway, I could easily see all the other 10 classes.
 

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Yep, that type of production amazes me. I can't imagine it as a DM. The old player in me has wonder how you get to know your characters if you only have them for a year or so? IME it takes a lot of time to discover what makes a character tick and to build storylines. As a DM I can't imagine accomplish that with 4-6 PCs in a year. Of course I realize everyone plays differently, but it really is foreign to me!
I normally say it takes a good month and/or 2 levels to get to know who my character really is... but like our epic game that ran 3rd to 20+ 3 or 4 epic boons I knew that character after game 3... but she was NOTHING like what I thought she would be when I drew her up... (and that character did last over a year, more like 19 months)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
4e encouraged using skills broadly and action movie epically, particularly in skill challenges. It explicitly authorizes the arcana skill to be used to detect magic and in essentials to be used to affect some magical effects and possibly do some open ended minor magical things.
Arcana altering the effects of a ritual was in the DMG2 but really all skills were empowered and very open ended. There was a paradigm where skill effects could often accomplish similar if not necessarily identical things to magic mentioned explicitly in skill powers (utility powers) and martial practices (like rituals) but also looking at the "powers" built into skills (like the probably overpowered intimidation, acrobatics reduction of falling damage and so on.) AND yes skill challenges were indeed where the scale for skills was brought to the front very early on.

A biggy the ritual magic and a skill check were explicitly supposed to be capable of accomplishing the same amount of story impact. This was not something the DM had to guess, aye the detail of the implementation was a bit of judgement and imagination but the goal was well declared.

Whether using basilisk blood to unfreeze people stoned by a stone-eyed basilisk (as opposed to the other 4e MM basilisk, the venom-eye basilisk which has a poison gaze and no petrification ability at all) would be up to the DM, but there is no specific lore in the 4e MM to suggest such a solution. It would be the DM solely deciding whether that is something that can work or not.

4e does not specifically address whether fresh basilisk blood can be used to unstone people, whether it is limited to those stoned by basilisks, whether there needs to be alchemical transmutation for that to occur, or whether it has no effect whatsoever.
Regardless of the details specific for the basilisk.... Does anyone actually see any similar systems encouraging DMs to go with saying yes and empowering ability from skills as comparable to spells, in 5e though?
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It may be slightly tertiary to the fundamental concept being discussed here, but processed Basilisk blood is explicitly called out as a potential solution in its monster manual entry, with no mention of the blood as inherently magical, versus the supernatural power of its gaze.
I do not have my books handy right now, but thanks for that.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
There's a stark difference between low-magic and no magic. In low-magic you really aren't limited to just 4-5 classes IMO.
Unless you stay low level as in no fire balls and remove cantrips I am not sure you can call it low magic if you do have spell caster classes. (everyone seems to have their own idea of what "low magic is" )
 
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dave2008

Legend
Is PC death off the table in your games? That might be part of the reason.
No. My players are pretty careful so it doesn't happen often, but it happens. And since no one ever plays a cleric, and we play in a low magic setting, a death typical means the end of a character. Resurrection of any kind is very difficult in our setting.

That being said, I am not following your logic. Are you saying character death, or the lack thereof, would make one get to know their player better or worse?
 

dave2008

Legend
There's a stark difference between low-magic and no magic. In low-magic you really aren't limited to just 4-5 classes IMO.

For low magic, as far as classes are concerned, remove sorcerer and warlock and all magical subclasses for non-casters. So, for me anyway, I could easily see all the other 10 classes.
Yes, we play low magic and I don't feel the need to restrict* classes really at all. We hold to the belief that the PCs are special. So right now our 15th level wizard is the most powerful magic user in the whole world. Next most powerful is s 12th level cleric and then most magic users (and classes in general) top out in the 5th-8th lvl range and those are "elites" with most not getting past 3rd.

*I don't restrict classes, but some spells are off the table.
 

dave2008

Legend
I normally say it takes a good month and/or 2 levels to get to know who my character really is... but like our epic game that ran 3rd to 20+ 3 or 4 epic boons I knew that character after game 3... but she was NOTHING like what I thought she would be when I drew her up... (and that character did last over a year, more like 19 months)
Well it takes us about 4-6 months to get through a level, so...
 
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There's a stark difference between low-magic and no magic. In low-magic you really aren't limited to just 4-5 classes IMO.

For low magic, as far as classes are concerned, remove sorcerer and warlock and all magical subclasses for non-casters. So, for me anyway, I could easily see all the other 10 classes.
I think different people have different interpretations of low-magic. I would definitely not consider a party of a paladin, ranger, cleric and wizard as low magic!

For me, in a low magic campaign you would have maximum 1 half or full caster.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Unless you stay low level as in no fire balls and remove cantrips I am not sure you can call it low magic if you do have spell caster classes. (everyone seems to have their own idea of what "low magic is" )
It depends on if your definition of low-magic is:

1. Magic is low-power AND/OR
2. Magic is fairly rare

We can rank both aspects (Power, Frequency) on a scale of 0- 3: 0 = None, 1 = Low, 2 = Medium, 3 = High.

When I say low-magic, I mean Medium (2) Power (Teleport and Raise Dead would be there, but not until 15+ level) and Low (1) Frequency.

Yes, we play low magic and I don't feel the need to restrict* classes really at all. We hold to the belief that the PCs are special. So right now our 15th level wizard is the most powerful magic user in the whole world. Next most powerful is s 12th level cleric and then most magic users (and classes in general) top out in the 5th-8th lvl range and those are "elites" with most not getting past 3rd.

*I don't restrict classes, but some spells are off the table.
I restrict classes because I think there are too many full casters. We have 4 martials, 2 half-casters (3 if you include Artificer--which I don't ;) ), and 6 full casters!!! By removing Sorcerer and Warlock, I am restoring the balance to the class selection. Frankly, metamagic should not be a class thing, if even in the game at all (I like it better as feats so it is truly rare) and Warlock works well (in concept) as a subclass of Cleric.

Restricting the game to 6th level spells (and consequently slowing down spell progression) is a good measure as well to help create a low-magic feel.

PCs aren't inherently "special" in my games. They are special because of the things they DO, not because of who they are. I keep some NPCs as leveled-humanoids instead of creatures like 5E does. In general, the chance of progressing to the next level is about 1 in 3. So, the chance of getting above tier 1 is less than 5%.

I think different people have different interpretations of low-magic. I would definitely not consider a party of a paladin, ranger, cleric and wizard as low magic!

For me, in a low magic campaign you would have maximum 1 half or full caster.
Rangers and Paladins would be non-casters OR have there spell progression more like 1E (not until tier 2 to tier 3).

With making spells selected by slot as they were in AD&D as well, even having two full casters would feel less magical. Having the ability to cast a prepared spell with any available slot makes magic to adaptable and open. So, that is another issue.

Finally, low-magic is also a lot about the world the PCs are in, as well as what the party itself can do.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Finally, low-magic is also a lot about the world the PCs are in, as well as what the party itself can do.
Definitely but for me that relates directly to PCs are NOT a direct reflection of the world they are special cases (so I am less annoyed by their being so many classes being magic, except that it feels like less attention was paid on the non-casters abilities)
 

dave2008

Legend
I restrict classes because I think there are too many full casters.
I don't have to restrict classes because only one or two of my players ever picks a magic using class (thus we have a wizard, 3 fighters , and a rogue).
Restricting the game to 6th level spells (and consequently slowing down spell progression) is a good measure as well to help create a low-magic feel.
We may do something like that for our next game. But honestly the fact that the wizard can cast one 8th and one 7th lvl spell per day hasn't seemed to break anything yet. I have thought of making 7-9th lvl spells ritual only, but it has played fine with the base rules for now.
PCs aren't inherently "special" in my games. They are special because of the things they DO, not because of who they are. I keep some NPCs as leveled-humanoids instead of creatures like 5E does. In general, the chance of progressing to the next level is about 1 in 3. So, the chance of getting above tier 1 is less than 5%.
That is what I mean by special. They, the PCs, are one of the 5% that gets past tier 1 (typically, these are the deadliest levels). I mean we start at 0 level with no classes, just backgrounds and stats. So they really don't start special at all!
 

Belen

Explorer
Because if those classes are there to be chosen and other players at the table choose them, you end up stuck playing in a much more magic-first game and party even though you yourself chose to go with a non-magical character.

Same goes for if they multi-class; if magic-using classes are seen as (or worse, outright are) better and-or more optimal and the option to play them is there, players will naturally gravitate toward that option even with what would otherwise be a non-magical character, just to keep up. Meanwhile your own preference gets squashed.
The easy solution is to find a group that wants to play a low-magic campaign or run one yourself. I have run multiple campaigns where the most powerful NPC casters top out at 3rd level except for PCs and Villains. I have run games that restrict the players and use skill checks and crafting for healing. It is not that difficult.
 

I am sure that is some of it. For example, I have books I loved as a kid to young adult, but now I am middle aged (getting closer to grumpy old man LOL), a lot of those books don't appeal to me anymore. I have found memories of them, but when I've tried reading them over the last 10 years or so, I just can't get into them or enjoy them as much.
I completely understand this, although often times, equate it to good writing. To be sure, Name of the Wind, Lies of Loche Lamora, etc. is great writing that I have enjoyed later in life, but now all I read are science books.
Well we are still on our first characters from the start of 5e and were are only at lvl 15 (though on an extend Covid hiatus). So we haven't gotten tired of our fighters and rogues yet!

Honestly it amazes me how fast some people play. We had one set of characters for the full run of 4e and we are still on our first set for 5e. There is no fear of my group running out of classes to play (they almost always play fighters anyway) ;)
This is a great example of table playstyles. I like my campaigns done in four to six months.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This is a great example of table playstyles. I like my campaigns done in four to six months.
I know a group that seems that fast... and they are doing full 20 levels with many homebrew elements which seem ahem borrowed heavily from WoW which seem likely to slow things down with side ventures (everyone is a crafter of some sort), LOL.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
No. My players are pretty careful so it doesn't happen often, but it happens. And since no one ever plays a cleric, and we play in a low magic setting, a death typical means the end of a character. Resurrection of any kind is very difficult in our setting.

That being said, I am not following your logic. Are you saying character death, or the lack thereof, would make one get to know their player better or worse?
I was suggesting that characters that can't die, and are therefore contiguous, might lead to longer campaigns. You said you had the same PCs for the entire long campaign.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I don't have to restrict classes because only one or two of my players ever picks a magic using class (thus we have a wizard, 3 fighters , and a rogue).

We may do something like that for our next game. But honestly the fact that the wizard can cast one 8th and one 7th lvl spell per day hasn't seemed to break anything yet. I have thought of making 7-9th lvl spells ritual only, but it has played fine with the base rules for now.

That is what I mean by special. They, the PCs, are one of the 5% that gets past tier 1 (typically, these are the deadliest levels). I mean we start at 0 level with no classes, just backgrounds and stats. So they really don't start special at all!
And everyone survived to high level? They are special!
 

Voadam

Legend
A biggy the ritual magic and a skill check were explicitly supposed to be capable of accomplishing the same amount of story impact. This was not something the DM had to guess, aye the detail of the implementation was a bit of judgement and imagination but the goal was well declared.
I don't remember any explicit goals about the equivalence of the ritual magic system and the skill system. Do you have a reference?
 

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