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


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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I see.

I would not extrapolate from applicable skills and rituals both being one success on a skill challenge to them being explicitly supposed to accomplish the same amount of story impact outside of a skill challenge context.
When resolving important (not physical) conflict ie in skill challenges they are definitely supposed to have the same story impact if you do not let them do it when it is less significant that seems odd to me. .... Note when the rituals are most useful to the story ie most impactful they are the same as skill value to me that says something about the power of skill use to resolve difficult situations.

Easy situations that arent story important hmmm is that really the measure you want to make?

There is a middle ground of things that skill challenges are not as applicable at as they might be for instance when they arent a team oriented activity for instance. I think if you under sell skills in such a context that is on you ... and does not follow the general pattern of skill being able to achieve things like magic elsewhere. (if you want allow them to use a Healing surge to buff it identically to how the guidelines do during a skill challenge or similarly give them the perfect result only on a crit)

Page 42 lets us use a slot from your normal powers to enable an improvised maneuver obviously involving acrobatics but it is generally a combat stunt (not clear why the same paradigm would not apply to non-combat stunts nor why you would not want it to?). That slot usage to enhance what might even be an unrelated activity is also in Skill challenges. Its another form of digging deep.

Note all skill checks might not even be "level appropriate" but a skill challenge analogous skill check needs to be... while I definitely think a skill check not in a skill challenge should be able to achieve a spell like potency or ritual like one that does not mean just any check (nor necessarily cost free see page 42 and SC)

Martial practices aren't skills alone are they?
They are much like specialized applications of skill you learn and generally seem like protracted use of skill and to achieve specialized results, sometimes based on different skill than normally might achieve a similar result and comparable to rituals in power but not method with a HS cost instead of components (which they actually added to some rituals too later.) Few skill checks are normal.
I thought they were a feat based system similar to how you could use a feat to pick up ritual magic which uses skill rolls to succeed at the magical effect.
They arent a magical effect and no it didnt "generally" use skill rolls but could they were a generally reliable effect costing HS but considered applied via an associated skill

It was a later 4e thing that I never saw much of.
It was in Martial power 2 (Feb 2010 is less than 2 years in, not particularly late in the game), but they weren't developed very far... I have speculations about why.

Skill powers are feats leveraging skills to do things that the skill descriptions alone don't say they do, right?
Not feats at least not in the D&D sense ... in a general sense feats are a good word, they are utility powers comparable to spells and other utility powers yes.

Just options available because you have a skill they demonstrate skill achieving things directly analogous in power to utility spells.

Or am I misremembering? Are they utility powers open to anyone with the trained skill and so designed to be roughly equal power to equal level utility powers, whether magical or not?
yes you were misremembering and yes they really just confirmed that skill could achieve what spells could.

If you want some of that in 5e allow spending the superiority dice like maneuvers (see commanding presence for precedent)

or perhaps spend a Hit Die to really buff a skill use effect up in some fashion.
or
Pick up Level up as it has some of it too where you spend exertions to achieve greater effects.

Note 5e made a lot of rituals just plain free... which were admittedly effectively free when you reached higher levels in 4e. So not sure how exactly a 5e Martial Practices analog would work or I would have made it already.

Allowing skill application to achieve spell/ritual etc power potency was a ubiquitous pattern really associated with balance.

The pattern seems to me solid enough I can make improvising a ritual based on 2 level appropriate skill checks probably hard (since the improvised ritual would presumably be a "perfect" ritual for the situation)... the effect of a failure I would also draw from things I do in Skill challenges (a healing surge loss might be a minimum), It would have ritual cost perhaps a bit higher than its norm since some of the ritual costs are a bit like flavor it feels justified in costing more... ok this is off topic

I did not necessarily tell people when they are in skill challenges (though in chases yeh). Some DMs always do perhaps so they have a clue about whether expending more resources is going to be useful?

Any way it looks like I massively rambled.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
because dart throwing or is it crossbows ... are such an iconic wizard trait... smh
Darts in 1e. Crossbows in 3e.

And I've never played an arcane caster who started out proficient in either of those. Dagger or staff for me, depending how I see the character turning out if it lasts.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Not really. In XGtE the Alchemist kit is used for Alchemist Fire and Acid. Healing potions are made via the Herbalism kit.

So, alchemy is not magical in any way given their uses in the game.
Not true.

DMG page 139: "Common items, such as a potion of healing, can be procured from an alchemist, herbalist, or spellcaster." ~ common magic items can be made via alchemy and oils are listed under potions.

PHB page 119: "Starting at 2nd level when you select this school, you can temporarily alter the physical properties of one nonmagical object, changing it from one substance into another. You perform a special alchemical procedure on one object composed entirely of wood, stone (but not a gemstone), iron, copper, or silver, transforming it into a different one of those materials." ~ school of transmutation(magical) ability.

Xan page 48: "You were made in a vat by an alchemist." ~ under arcane origins for where sorcerer's can get their magic.

Xan page 70: "A friendly alchemist gifted you with a potion of healing or a flask of acid, as you choose."

Potions can be herbs, but can also be created alchemically. To say that alchemy is not magical in any way given its uses in the game is objectively wrong.
 


Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
XGE P. 79:

Alchemical Crafting.
You can use this tool proficiency to create alchemical items. A character can spend money to collect raw materials, which weigh 1 pound for every 50 gp spent. The DM can allow a character to make a check using the indicated skill with advantage. As part of a long rest, you can use alchemist's supplies to make one dose of acid, alchemist's fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap. Subtract half the value of the created item from the total gp worth of raw materials you are carrying.

Alchemist's Supplies
ActivityDC
Create a puff of thick smoke10
Identify a poison10
Identify a substance15
Start a fire15
Neutralize acid20

I think it's fairer to say that while there are definitely magical abilities that are the exclusive domain of alchemy, that doesn't imply that all alchemical processes are exclusively magical. Whether 'processing' Basilisk Oil falls into the magical or non-magical side of it is going to be a decision at the individual table, but neither would be wrong in my eyes.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
None of what you just quoted says magical.

What do you get when you detect magic on an alchemist's kit? Nothing.
Indeed. But you do get a pull when casting Detect Magic on a potion of healing, so where does that magic come from? Alchemists can't imbue something with magic without using magic, can they? And most games don't have magical herbs or plants.

Which to me means alchemists are some form of non-adventuring caster.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Not true.

DMG page 139: "Common items, such as a potion of healing, can be procured from an alchemist, herbalist, or spellcaster." ~ common magic items can be made via alchemy and oils are listed under potions.

PHB page 119: "Starting at 2nd level when you select this school, you can temporarily alter the physical properties of one nonmagical object, changing it from one substance into another. You perform a special alchemical procedure on one object composed entirely of wood, stone (but not a gemstone), iron, copper, or silver, transforming it into a different one of those materials." ~ school of transmutation(magical) ability.

Xan page 48: "You were made in a vat by an alchemist." ~ under arcane origins for where sorcerer's can get their magic.

Xan page 70: "A friendly alchemist gifted you with a potion of healing or a flask of acid, as you choose."

Potions can be herbs, but can also be created alchemically.
Do you realize three of your three quotes are about an "Alchemist", not Alchemy?

I am sure an "Alchemist" is likely also proficient in the Herbalism kit, which is what is actually required for crafting a healing potion according to Xanathar's Guide. An "Alchemist" is also likely proficient in other tools and kits, and certainly might have some spellcasting features. I don't recall an Alchemist statblock... 🤷‍♂️

Anywho, your second quote is about a "special alchemical procedure" ability granted as a class feature, it is NOT normal alchemy. It is special and done by a magical class--that is what makes that magical. Not the alchemy.

You said:
Alchemy in the game is how you make healing potions, magical oils and such.
And alchemy is not used to make healing potions (Herbalism kits are used). Nor is alchemy used to make magical oils by the rules. In fact, like MOST of 5E, this point is really simply "up to the DM" as usual. The rules for crafting magical items (other than healing potions) simply state that proficiency in the required tools (or kit I would imagine?) is necessary. So, for example, how DO you craft Oil of Sharpness?? Do you need proficiency in the Alchemist kit, or Herbalist kit, or something else entirely? All the rules tell us is the CR for an appropriate creature and the costs...

To say that alchemy is not magical in any way given its uses in the game is objectively wrong.
You said it was used to "make healing potions, magical oils, and such." I refuted Alchemy isn't used for any of those things: according to what we have in the rules, it is used for making mundane items from the chapter on Equipment (one dose of acid, alchemist's fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap). So, for alchemy's uses in the game, that's it (as far as the written rules are concerned anyway...).

Now, clearly (from your quotes) an AlchemIST can do more, but from what we have about Alchemy, it is not due to alchemy, but must be through some other agency.

So, given Alchemy's actual uses in the game, it isn't magical. That is not objectively wrong as you seem to subjectively believe. The only thread which might give you some hope is about crafting other magical items... Is alchemy used for those magical oils, etc.? That, unfortunately, is up to the DM.

Honestly, I would rule from my own games Alchemy would be used in that context. But even that, IMO, does not make Alchemy itself "magical", it would be part of a process... and the entire process is required for "magic" to happen.

Indeed. But you do get a pull when casting Detect Magic on a potion of healing, so where does that magic come from? Alchemists can't imbue something with magic without using magic, can they? And most games don't have magical herbs or plants.
Again Alchemists can create healing potions, but would require proficiency in the Herbalism kit to do so, which they could easily have IMO.

(bold added) IME I can't think of a single D&D game (in any edition) where the DM didn't incorporate magical herbs or plants, or at least acknowledge their existence in their game.... but YMMV of course! I guess it could certainly be possible, but I would not feel personally that it would be "most games" by any stretch of the imagination.

Which to me means alchemists are some form of non-adventuring caster.
They very well might be. We don't have a statblock for an Alchemist that I know of... Given the new trend for statblocks, an Alchemist certainly might have some spellcasting capabilities. 🤷‍♂️
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
(bold added) IME I can't think of a single D&D game (in any edition) where the DM didn't incorporate magical herbs or plants, or at least acknowledge their existence in their game.... but YMMV of course! I guess it could certainly be possible, but I would not feel personally that it would be "most games" by any stretch of the imagination.
Magical plants or herbs have never been RAW in any edition that I know of. Closest they ever got was a Dragon article in the early-mid 80s, that introduced trhe concept.

Which means, if their inclusion by houserule is as common as you say it's surprising WotC haven't built them in; as part of their design strategy is to design the game toward what people are already playing.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Indeed. But you do get a pull when casting Detect Magic on a potion of healing, so where does that magic come from? Alchemists can't imbue something with magic without using magic, can they? And most games don't have magical herbs or plants.

Which to me means alchemists are some form of non-adventuring caster.
Who says there aren't magic plants?

Like, this is a game with a long history of shambling mounds, tendrilocues, blood thorns, all sorts of cheaty slimes, and based on the logic that seems to have a appeared in mid 2022, all of them HAVE to be magic because they don't exist on current Earth much like owlbears, griffins, lunar soil, triceratops or Napoleon.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Magical plants or herbs have never been RAW in any edition that I know of. Closest they ever got was a Dragon article in the early-mid 80s, that introduced trhe concept.
Or... the 3e SRD:

Darkwood​

This rare magic wood is as hard as normal wood but very light. Any wooden or mostly wooden item (such as a bow, an arrow, or a spear) made from darkwood is considered a masterwork item and weighs only half as much as a normal wooden item of that type. Items not normally made of wood or only partially of wood (such as a battleaxe or a mace) either cannot be made from darkwood or do not gain any special benefit from being made of darkwood. The armor check penalty of a darkwood shield is lessened by 2 compared to an ordinary shield of its type. To determine the price of a darkwood item, use the original weight but add 10 gp per pound to the price of a masterwork version of that item.

Darkwood has 10 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 5.

Plant Type​

This type comprises vegetable creatures. Note that regular plants, such as one finds growing in gardens and fields, lack Wisdom and Charisma scores (see Nonabilities) and are not creatures, but objects, even though they are alive.

Features​

A plant creature has the following features.

  • 8-sided Hit Dice.
  • Base attack bonus equal to ¾ total Hit Dice (as cleric).
  • Good Fortitude saves.
  • Skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die, with quadruple skill points for the first Hit Die, if the plant creature has an Intelligence score. However, some plant creatures are mindless and gain no skill points or feats.

Traits​

A plant creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).

 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Do you realize three of your three quotes are about an "Alchemist", not Alchemy?
And a scientist doesn't use science.
I am sure an "Alchemist" is likely also proficient in the Herbalism kit, which is what is actually required for crafting a healing potion according to Xanathar's Guide. An "Alchemist" is also likely proficient in other tools and kits, and certainly might have some spellcasting features. I don't recall an Alchemist statblock... 🤷‍♂️
No. You don't get to claim that if you learn alchemy, you automatically know herbalism so that those quotes fit your needs. There is no requirement for an alchemist to make a healing potion with herbalism.

The quote for making healing potions also says, "...alchemist, herbalist,..." The comma there in-between alchemist and herbalist says that you can go to either one. If an alchemist need to use herbalist kits, you'd be going to an herbalist when you went to him, not an alchemist. He makes it with alchemy, per RAW.

Per RAW(since there is nothing written that says he needs anything else), my PC with his alchemy tools can make a healing potion. I need no herbs or herbalist tool proficiency.
Anywho, your second quote is about a "special alchemical procedure" ability granted as a class feature, it is NOT normal alchemy. It is special and done by a magical class--that is what makes that magical. Not the alchemy.
It's alchemy, though. Whether it's typical alchemy at all isn't important. It shows that alchemy can be used for magical things and that class gets that specific ability with it.
And alchemy is not used to make healing potions (Herbalism kits are used).
By RAW it is. The rules I quoted explicitly say so. There is no mention of an alchemist needing to use herb kits or herbs, so your invention there doesn't apply.
Nor is alchemy used to make magical oils by the rules.
Actually, since alchemy can make potions and potions include oils, by RAW alchemy can make magical oils.
The rules for crafting magical items (other than healing potions) simply state that proficiency in the required tools (or kit I would imagine?) is necessary. So, for example, how DO you craft Oil of Sharpness?? Do you need proficiency in the Alchemist kit, or Herbalist kit, or something else entirely? All the rules tell us is the CR for an appropriate creature and the costs...
You need a whetstone. ;)

Yes, the DM decides the formula, but it could be some sort of chemicals and purely use alchemy, because clearly alchemy can make magic potions, and therefore can make oils.
You said it was used to "make healing potions, magical oils, and such." I refuted Alchemy isn't used for any of those things: according to what we have in the rules, it is used for making mundane items from the chapter on Equipment (one dose of acid, alchemist's fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap). So, for alchemy's uses in the game, that's it (as far as the written rules are concerned anyway...).

Now, clearly (from your quotes) an AlchemIST can do more, but from what we have about Alchemy, it is not due to alchemy, but must be through some other agency.
You didn't refute it, though. You made a baseless(as in not in RAW) claim that even though it said alchemist, that the alchemist had to also somehow know herbalism, which isn't said anywhere. RAW says you can go to an alchemist OR an herbalist. Both are capable of making a healing potion within their specialties alone.
Again Alchemists can create healing potions, but would require proficiency in the Herbalism kit to do so, which they could easily have IMO.
That is not RAW or stated anywhere. What is stated is that you can go to an alchemist, which can only be assumed to have alchemy and not herbalism, to get a potion of healing.
(bold added) IME I can't think of a single D&D game (in any edition) where the DM didn't incorporate magical herbs or plants, or at least acknowledge their existence in their game.... but YMMV of course! I guess it could certainly be possible, but I would not feel personally that it would be "most games" by any stretch of the imagination.
Sure, and maybe the alchemist needs some sort of magical stone in the process. We don't know, but we do know that a pure alchemist can make a potion of healing.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
None of what you just quoted says magical.

What do you get when you detect magic on an alchemist's kit? Nothing.

Because it's fantasy world chemistry.
What do you get when you cast detect magic on a potion of healing made via alchemy? A magical potion.

Because it's fantasy world chemistry, and therefore can create magic.
 


No_choices_left

First Post
Just gonna throw this out to those wanting a low magic game... I've been trying to build one for a bit on this premise:

A beholder-illithid (I think there's a template for that unholy breed in one of the 3.5E books) wizard has gone and with great effort created a minturized world (almost like a plane unto itself) where he deposited his favorite tasting species. Knowing that high power magic casters would endanger his eternal harvest ground, he has a cult that hunts down all casters who are pure caster classes (so anyone who gets 7th, 8th, or 9th level spells). The PCs can't be any of those caster classes that get those levels. Period. Oh, and its a desert planet following Sandstorm rules for survival in the non-polar regions, and Frostburn in the polar regions. The PCs goal starts as figuring out about strange disappearances (of say someone who was developing into a sorcerer) of people they know in their town. End goal, track the cult back to its master... escape the planet to confront the beholder-illithid wizard in the real world, not on his butcher's block world.

I think ANY of the D&D game versions would make this awesome and amazing, but I play 3.5 (since I own all the non-setting books), so I'm working it to that end. Players have to survive harsh environments without the conveniences of powerful caster classes? I mean, it makes playing the classes for the NPCs seem appealing if you want some of those higher level spells like restoration and resurrect. The hard part of the setting is ... every single item has to be recalculated based on what class could create it (yeah, not so much an issue for potions, but anything else, gets more expensive because now that belt of strength had to be cast by a much higher level bard or such). And then some items simply don't exist. There is a hard power cap, and then the players get to fight a creature that doesn't have that cap.

Sorry for the late comment, just joined the forum after seeing it for the first time today, and seeing this discussion...
 


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