D&D General Vote Up A 5e-alike, Part 1: Tone -- Gritty/Low Magic

How do we want to do gritty/low magic?


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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think that the Warlock works better with the idea of Low Magic.
A Warlock who potentially needs to contend with their Patron is more limited than the unattached Wizard.
I think that greatly depends on how easy it is for Wizards to acquire new spells in the game/setting, and-or whether or not the player ever gets to choose what those spells are.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Make it so a slot can only be used to cast a spell of its own level, period. No up-casting, no down-casting, no combining slots. You're out of 2nd-level slots for the day? You ain't casting any more 2nd-level spells until tomorrow no matter what you do. (the biggest thing that this - very intentionally - impacts is Clerics spamming cures, but it limits Mages as well)

At the same time, however, bring back the idea of many spell effects - range, AoE, and most notably, damage - scaling with caster level.

Random is the point, at least the way I rationalize it: when you're trying to cast a spell, the first step is to gather up some magical energy. If you're interrupted during casting that energy is released in a manner unintended; and while it might just dissipate harmlessly it might also manifest as just about any effect you can dream up.

Yeah, that could work too, but it seems a bit limiting. Wild magic is perhaps the one place in the game where I don't want things to make sense; and having an interrupted illusion generate a cure (or cause!) serious wounds on some random bystander is fine with me. :)

The way I do it, and have since forever, is way simpler than that.

Everybody - including commoners etc. - starts out with a small number, usually between 2 and 5, of Body Points (BP); one's species determines the die size rolled for this and one's Con sets a floor but does not otherwise adjust the roll. Barring very rare circumstances such as outright loss of a limb, one's BP total never changes. The normal hit points you get for your class and levels are Fatigue Points (FP) and go on top of your BP to give your total hit points. Death is at -10.

When taking damage, once you've gone through all your FP you start taking BP damage - there's no specific Wound-causing system here - and BP are harder both to rest back and to cure up (BP cures roll smaller dice). If you go below 0 you can't be magically cured* above full BP at all for a length of time set by how far down you went, but can slowly rest back FP.

That's the short form of it. :)

* - except by a full Heal, which cures everything.
I miss caster level.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I think that the Warlock works better with the idea of Low Magic.
A Warlock who potentially needs to contend with their Patron is more limited than the unattached Wizard.
That's something we could adjust: make warlocks actually have to contend with their patrons (and clerics with their gods, and have paladin oaths actually mean something, etc.).
 

not-so-newguy

I'm the Straw Man in your argument
That's something we could adjust: make warlocks actually have to contend with their patrons (and clerics with their gods, and have paladin oaths actually mean something, etc.).
Having to roll in order to cast properly works well with this. Failure to cast a spell could be because you pissed off your patron/god. Maybe cuz you used too much Jazz Hands while casting. Powerful beings can be fickle that way.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
At the same time, however, bring back the idea of many spell effects - range, AoE, and most notably, damage - scaling with caster level.
I wouldn't mind going back to this, even though it sometimes made spells a bit more powerful in the long run; e.g. fireball maxing at 10d6 with a 3rd-level slot but needing a 5th-level slot to do the same damage in 5e.

Personally, I'd like to see spells just have different effects as you either go up in level or spend higher spell slots. 5e has 14 spells (including cantrips) that only inflict fire damage, for instance, and that number could be seriously reduced by combining some effect.

Random is the point, at least the way I rationalize it: when you're trying to cast a spell, the first step is to gather up some magical energy. If you're interrupted during casting that energy is released in a manner unintended; and while it might just dissipate harmlessly it might also manifest as just about any effect you can dream up.
Yeah, this is just a difference of taste, really. Neither idea is bad, just not what the other wants.

Yeah, that could work too, but it seems a bit limiting. Wild magic is perhaps the one place in the game where I don't want things to make sense; and having an interrupted illusion generate a cure (or cause!) serious wounds on some random bystander is fine with me. :)

The way I do it, and have since forever, is way simpler than that.
Honestly, a game could easily do both. Have one table per school and one generic table. The generic table could even have entries that say "roll on <school's> table, allowing for additional options.

Everybody - including commoners etc. - starts out with a small number, usually between 2 and 5, of Body Points (BP); one's species determines the die size rolled for this and one's Con sets a floor but does not otherwise adjust the roll. Barring very rare circumstances such as outright loss of a limb, one's BP total never changes. The normal hit points you get for your class and levels are Fatigue Points (FP) and go on top of your BP to give your total hit points. Death is at -10.
I like Micah's idea of Wounds based on your Con mod, whether straight, Con +1, or just minimum 1.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Keep all the casters but their only get their signature spells.
They can modify their signature spells a lot though.

Spell versatility is Treasure.

Like wizards have magic missile but it might be their only damage spell. But they can shoot 1 missile at will or have multiple missiles collide to make an explosion ortarget the hands for an automatic disarm.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Curious - why Warlock over conventional Wizard?
I'd say because it makes magic more corruptible in nature. You didn't just go to wizard college and learn magic like it was a trade; you had to barter your soul to learn it (or someone else's soul; there's lots of souls around).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
OK, so this poll is about to close. Thanks for participating! I have put the information in a google doc.

I have created two new polls. The first is a clarification of this poll. We probably won't have these clarification polls too often, so don't worry; I'm not going to flood you guys with them.

The second, entirely new poll, is on heritages.
 

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