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D&D 5E Too Much Spellcasting in Your D&D? Just Add a Little Lankhmar!

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
But that's not the trade, you're not getting anything extra.
Except the core rules give you that extra utility outside of combat for free, and don't require a trade-off.

I'm coming at this from the premise that it's obvious that casters are overall more useful and powerful than martials in core 5e. If you think they're actually balanced, than obviously this sort of project seems flawed. From my perspective, you could add 10 minutes to the casting time of every spell in the game and wizard would still be a useful class.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
And you handwave away criticism that this would break spellcasting classes to the point of uselessness.
Because that criticism isn't correct. That's why it gets handwaved. You can absolutely build a useful wizard or bard with no combat spells whatsoever and still be useful.
 

Greg K

Hero
You are not alone. I have been thinking that I want sever spells to take longer to cast.
I think those house rules would be effective at making it so no one at the table plays a spellcaster. I don't think anyone will want to cast Fireball when it takes 4 rounds.

I imagine in this scenario you would have everyone playing nonspellcasting classes, with someone occasionally picking up Ritual Caster for out of combat utility stuff. Could be fun, but it's not my cup of tea!
In my games, there is no fireball spell to cast :p
 

Apart from the sanitation spells, the medicine spells, education spells, wine spells, public order spells, irrigation spells, road spells, the spells that created a fresh water system, and the healing spells, what have the Roman Spellcasters ever done for us outside of combat?
But DnD is not a game to role play a doctor, an engineer or some public service spell caster.
Players are not fool, they will play martial and take ritual caster, healer or inspiring leader feat.
Dont hope to see a player accept to suffer under your low magic rules.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
But DnD is not a game to role play a doctor, an engineer or some public service spell caster.
Players are not fool, they will play martial and take ritual caster, healer or inspiring leader feat.
Dont hope to see a player accept to suffer under your low magic rules.
Actually, playing a dwarven engineer who uses ritual magic to shape tunnels could be a lot of fun.
Or a gnome doctor who uses rituals to create potions and stitch wounds closed would be awesome.
I don't see a lot of "suffering" here.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
That's basically my opinion too. Spending four rounds to miss with an Eldritch Blast wouldn't be a lot of fun OR make spellcasting seem mysterious.

On the other hand, what if you make all Action Spells 4 x as powerful?

So that Eldritch Blast takes 4 rounds, but if you are successful you deal 4d10 force damage.
4 rounds for a 32d6 fireball? Hmm. That could be very interesting.
 

Rabulias

Hero
The problem I see with this is that in an AD&D Lankhmar game, casters still got to use a combat spell once per round, matching the original action economy. Most spells intended for use in combat would have a casting time measured in segments, and thus would be a 1 round casting time with the Lankhmar rules. Your adaptation for 5e severely alters casters so their spells can only meaningfully contribute once every four rounds, but the spell's results are not more powerful in return.

AD&D had more save or die/suck spells so potential targets were motivated to interrupt a caster as much as they could. 5e spells are a little more forgiving; even if you fail a save, the effect won't be as bad, or you may have a chance to save again next round. Combatants have to decide how to best use their actions -- is it worth an Opportunity Attack to get to a caster and force a concentration check or is it better to take down melee opponents, who are striking every round?

If you want to introduce a chance for spellcasting to be interrupted, maybe change all casting times of "1 action" to "1 full round" instead?
 

Greg K

Hero
Unless my memory is wrong Gray Mouser is a half-caster (thief/wizard) and he does cast spells in combat. That is why you get the Arcane Trickster in the PHB. Other Wizards on Lankhmar are NPCs not meant to be player characters. They are scary powerful and half crazy. Completely outside the realm of normal mortals.
Which reminds me that, at least, one of Gygax's players mentioned that 7-9th level spells were never meant for PCs. They were included, because Gary was a completionist and intended them for NPCs.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think you're missing the point of this exercise. I was very clear-

To be clear- changing the casting time, extending the casting time, would have a massive and deleterious effect on spellcasting within combat. It would make martial characters much more important for combat, and make spellcasting more of a utility and out-of-combat experience, with only limited uses for combat.

The point of the exercise (just like it is in Lankhmar) is to make spellcasting in combat almost ... unusable. Not completely- there will still be occasions where it is possible (the hidden wizard who has time to cast a fireball at an advancing group, for example), but spellcasting will largely be for the utility and other spells, not for combat.
You're basically eliminating the pure casting classes as PC classes. Almost no one is going to want to essentially sit out every combat. You'll see the partial casting classes like Ranger and Paladin, since those classes can still fight and keep their magic for non-combat situations, but Wizards, Clerics, Bards, Warlocks, and Sorcerers will go away. Druid MIGHT see some play, because you can become a bear and fight stuff.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
The problem I see with this is that in an AD&D Lankhmar game, casters still got to use a combat spell once per round, matching the original action economy. Most spells intended for use in combat would have a casting time measured in segments, and thus would be a 1 round casting time with the Lankhmar rules. Your adaptation for 5e severely alters casters so their spells can only meaningfully contribute once every four rounds, but the spell's results are not more powerful in return.

Not sure if you read what I wrote, or are familiar with AD&D?

Here-
Casting times changed, so that any segment (1/10 of a round, 6 seconds) was treated as a round, any round (one minute, 1/10 of a turn) as a turn, any turn (10 minutes) as an hour, and each hour as a day.

...

if you are unfamiliar with the AD&D rules, you might not know just how much of a nerf Lankhmar was. Let's use two examples:

The fastest spells were "Power Word," which is why they were so high level (Power Word Stun was 7th level!). They took one segment, which means they now take one round to cast. And if you are hit during this time, the spell is ruined (no concentration check). You add the one round to the initiative ... in effect, there would be two rounds of attacks against you prior to getting the spell cast.

Fireball was also a fast spell- 3 segments. Now, of course, it's three rounds. Which translates into four rounds (see what I did there? ;) ) of attacks, any one of which, if successful, would cause the spell to be ruined.

Lankhmar's rules made it nearly impossible to cast during combat for 1e.


Yes, some spells would continue to have a full round casting requirement (power word spells, magic missile), but the full round in AD&D under the AD&D rules was a severe handicap in combat. Any combat spell that required more than 1 segment was that much harder.

The general rule in AD&D, by the way, was that offensive spells would take 1 segment per level to cast, which is why fear (4th level spell) took 4 segments to cast, and fireball (third level spell) took three segments to cast. Which would be four round and three rounds in Lankhmar, respectively.

Power Words were the major exception to this rule, and you sacrificed some "oomph" for the speed. If you played AD&D using the base rules (if you're hit while spellcasting, the spell is wasted), Lankhmar made casting even a first level spell in combat ... tricky.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
Except the core rules give you that extra utility outside of combat for free, and don't require a trade-off.

I'm coming at this from the premise that it's obvious that casters are overall more useful and powerful than martials in core 5e. If you think they're actually balanced, than obviously this sort of project seems flawed. From my perspective, you could add 10 minutes to the casting time of every spell in the game and wizard would still be a useful class.
It is not free, especially if it takes a 10 minutes to cast an action spell, or an hour to cast a ritual. "You guys wait around for 10 minutes while i cast knock on that chest."

Your premise is wrong IMO. Rogues are the most useful class in 5E and Rangers are a distant second (that includes their spells but I am not considering them casters for this discussion). These are also two of the weakest characters.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Naw, I don't want to ban spellcasting. Far from it!

That's trivially easy. But yes, I am looking at dramatically reducing the use of spells in combat, and I remembered Lankhmar. Back when we played it, we still had spellcasters, but they were a very considered choice. Spells became rare, spellcasting was rare, and that made the overall effect of spells (within the world) that much more interesting.

It's sort of a first sortie into a more complete idea. But yes, if you're the type of person who wants a spellcaster to be able to pew pew pew with spells the same as a martial character does with a sword in combat, this definitely wouldn't work for you. But, you know, that's the idea.
Back then, though, spells actually did powerful things, so it could be worth it to play a spellcaster under those circumstances.. In 5e they've been incredibly nerfed compared to prior editions. It's so bad that my first foray into playing a 5e Wizard might be my last. You'd need to bump up the power level of 5e spells to make it worth the cost of the delay.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
2. Is it possible that there are other tables and other modalities of play that do not agree that reducing the amount of magic in combat is the equivalent of making "certain classes basically useless." If it's possible that there are other tables and other modalities of play that do not agree with you, then maybe your best way to do something isn't the best way for every table to do something?
So would you play one of these characters?

When I read between the lines on what you have posted on this thread I get the idea that you want to play a martial and have casters nerfed to make your martial more powerful by comparison. I may be drawing an incorrect inference here.

If that is not the case, then just play a wizard or bard or other caster and just don't use/get any combat spells. If you don't like magic in combat you don't have to use it. Load up with knock, feather fall, comprehend languages, detect magic, identify, prestigiditation etc.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So would you play one of these characters?

When I read between the lines on what you have posted on this thread I get the idea that you want to play a martial and have casters nerfed to make your martial more powerful by comparison. I may be drawing an incorrect inference here.

You are drawing an incorrect inference, given I would kill to play. Unfortunately, given the dearth of DMs, that is not a luxury I have.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
When I read between the lines on what you have posted on this thread I get the idea that you want to play a martial and have casters nerfed to make your martial more powerful by comparison. I may be drawing an incorrect inference here.

If that is not the case, then just play a wizard or bard or other caster and just don't use/get any combat spells. If you don't like magic in combat you don't have to use it. Load up with knock, feather fall, comprehend languages, detect magic, identify, prestigiditation etc.

It is pretty funny that the OP essentially wrote "I don't like spellcasters, and prefer martial classes... here's my idea to make martial classes better by comparison."

I doubt the OP is thinking, "Ah, know that I've made spellcasters less useful, now I really want to play one!"
 

Rabulias

Hero
Not sure if you read what I wrote, or are familiar with AD&D?
Yes, I read what you wrote, and I played AD&D 1e and 2e for years back in the 80s and 90s, so I would say I am familiar with AD&D.

A well-defended caster in AD&D would often successfully cast multi-segment spells in combat. Even when they did not, they still had their chance to act once every round.

Your suggestion is a much harsher penalty to casters. AD&D Lankhmar rules gave a caster's opponents one round to interrupt most combat spells. Your proposal gives opponents 4 rounds to stop a caster. Admittedly, in AD&D all one had to do was deliver 1 point of damage to a caster to interrupt their casting, and the caster could not do anything about it. 5e has concentration checks so merely hitting a caster is not guaranteed to foil their spell.

I know you stated your goal was to reduce/eliminate casting in combat. If your players are onboard with that, great! Have fun! However, I don't think your average player would enjoy playing a caster in such a game. I was trying to offer an alternative that maintained the action balance of the AD&D Lankhmar rules that might make casters more appealing to play under your proposal.

EDIT: I see now that I did misread the Lankhmar rules. I thought any spell measured in segments was a full round. I see now upon re-reading that every segment of casting time became a round (so 3 segments becomes 3 rounds), which does alter the action economy differently.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Because that criticism isn't correct. That's why it gets handwaved. You can absolutely build a useful wizard or bard with no combat spells whatsoever and still be useful.
Not in combat, though. What I haven't seen proposed is blood magic, where hit points are used to fuel spells. You could combine a lesser slowdown of casting times with using hit points to fuel spells. That way if the caster wants to do something in combat badly enough, he can risk death to do it. You'd see far fewer spells cast, without totally removing Wizards from combat outside of arming themselves with crossbows again.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
So how many players do you have lined up to play this way. If you got 4 players I would say start it up and write back to us how much fun your players and having and how the adventures are progressing.
 

Mort

Legend
Because that criticism isn't correct. That's why it gets handwaved. You can absolutely build a useful wizard or bard with no combat spells whatsoever and still be useful.

Some issues:

This assumes that the campaign at issue isn't primarily combat driven - many are. If you nerf a class's combat effectiveness but have 90% combat, that class will seem subpar.

Assuming you have a good mix of the the 3 pillars, what you've essentially done is force the caster to shift to the other 2. The argument then becomes will a caster who devotes ALL their resources to exploration and social interaction then dominate too much in those realms - and if so, is that OK?

5e has actually done A LOT to reign in caster dominance in exploration and social interaction. From making the knock spell very inconvenient to use to making many charm spells very costly (by engendering a near automatic hostile attitude in the subject) to subtly nerfing spells like find the path. With that AND the combat nerf, is that too much - should some non-combat utility be given back?
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So how many players do you have lined up to play this way. If you got 4 players I would say start it up and write back to us how much fun your players and having and how the adventures are progressing.

I'm going to- hoping to see what I'm missing first (notably, issues involving half casters and specifically Paladins ... that's what I'm seeing).

I'd like to the rule to be simple and easy to implement - I liked the way @NotAYakk was thinking, but I prefer simplified rules, and that proposal was a little too finicky.
 

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