D&D General Vote Up a 5e-alike: The Current State Of Things (As of 10/27)

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Do you mean separate lists of the same spells? As in, some classes get Dispel Magic and some don't but the spell works exactly the same for each of those classes that get it?

Or do you mean spells bespoke to and-or tweaked for each class? As in, only Necromancers get Animate Dead as a 2nd-level spell where everyone else has to wait until at least 3rd; and-or the Cleric version of Dispel Magic works differently than does tha Wizard version; and-or Bless Blade is a hypothetical new spell bespoke to Sword-mages, and-or ???
that is a point, it might be interesting to diverge a little more from DnD and create a few more thematically focused spell lists separating them into more than just the three big ones, elemental is elemental, but arcane might be more intricate spells, necromancy of course, protection, nature might focus on plants and animal spells while primal is more varied and gets some spiritual stuff...
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
that is a point, it might be interesting to diverge a little more from DnD and create a few more thematically focused spell lists separating them into more than just the three big ones, elemental is elemental, but arcane might be more intricate spells, necromancy of course, protection, nature might focus on plants and animal spells while primal is more varied and gets some spiritual stuff...
Or for example each elemental type gets specific variants on spells relating to that type and to its opposite e.g. a Water Cleric gets big boosts to its water-affecting spells but is pathetic at casting fire-affecting spells (or can't cast them at all).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Or for example each elemental type gets specific variants on spells relating to that type and to its opposite e.g. a Water Cleric gets big boosts to its water-affecting spells but is pathetic at casting fire-affecting spells (or can't cast them at all).
This would definitely be a way to do it. Because as it is right now, the caster classes are so same-y--there's far too much cross-over when it comes to spell lists.

Just blue-skying here... we either don't have the Big Eight spell schools or we also go for "lesser schools" (like Level Up) or something more akin to 2e's cleric spheres (or even GURPS colleges), although hopefully each lesser school or sphere or whatever has a more even number of spells in it, so we don't get cases where something like transmutation or conjuration is clearly superior, in terms of sheer numbers, to illusion or divination. Anyway. You get to pick a certain number of schools to specialize in. Each school has one or more opposed schools. Then you can pick one of those schools you can't use at all and another you can use to a lesser degree, or the check you make to cast the spell (since we're doing that here) is made with disadvantage.

The other way to do it, of course, is to do the way a games like PF 2 and apparently D&DOne are doing, which is to divide spells up into groups like divine, arcane, primal, elemental, eldritch, whatever. And if a spell appears on more than one list, then perhaps provide abilities that can only be properly used by someone whose class grants a particular group. Like, if every group has dispel magic, then if your class gives you divine magic, then you can either only dispel divine spells, or its harder for you to dispel non-divine spells. If fiery blast is both an arcane and divine spell, then the arcane version might be normal fire (but it sets everything in its path on fire) while the divine version is either holy fire (radiant damage) that does extra damage to fiends but heals celestials (and it may have an hellfire version that inflicts necrotic damage, does extra damage to celestials and heals fiends), but it doesn't set anything on fire.

(This is one reason why I would kind of like to simply have a caster class rather than wizards and clerics and bards and sorcerers and warlocks--so much can be done simply by picking what group of spells your character can use, as long as those spell lists are sufficiently different from one another, and the rest can be done with in-class choices.)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This would definitely be a way to do it. Because as it is right now, the caster classes are so same-y--there's far too much cross-over when it comes to spell lists.

Just blue-skying here... we either don't have the Big Eight spell schools or we also go for "lesser schools" (like Level Up) or something more akin to 2e's cleric spheres (or even GURPS colleges), although hopefully each lesser school or sphere or whatever has a more even number of spells in it, so we don't get cases where something like transmutation or conjuration is clearly superior, in terms of sheer numbers, to illusion or divination. Anyway. You get to pick a certain number of schools to specialize in. Each school has one or more opposed schools. Then you can pick one of those schools you can't use at all and another you can use to a lesser degree, or the check you make to cast the spell (since we're doing that here) is made with disadvantage.
I'm not so worried about Wizard spells here, as at least in theory they're all copied from one book to another and thus there's a good in-fiction rationale for their consistency. Spells for spontaneous casters are a different issue, but if I get my way and there's only one spontaneous caster class then it doesn't matter: that class just gets its own completely-bespoke list and we have done with it.

For Clerics, I think the answer is deity-specific variants (DSVs) on each spell. It would serve to make a lot of spells fit better with a lot of deities...but would also, alas, make the spells chapter far longer than it is now as for each spelll you'd have the basic write-up followed by a sometimes-very-long long list of DSVs.

I've toyed with going this route for my own game, and have put in some very basic DSVs on a few spells, but to do it right would be more work than I've yet been willing to put into it.
(This is one reason why I would kind of like to simply have a caster class rather than wizards and clerics and bards and sorcerers and warlocks--so much can be done simply by picking what group of spells your character can use, as long as those spell lists are sufficiently different from one another, and the rest can be done with in-class choices.)
I'd want three at minimum, maybe four, as I put a lot of stock in the different background "fluff" mechanics around how the magic is accessed and I think those mechanics could or should dictate differences in how spells work. I'm talking about the difference between arcane (Wizards and subs), divine (Clerics and subs), sonic (Bards), and if such is included, psionic (Psions etc.).

Sonic spells, for example, should work differently than arcane spells even if it's the same spell: a Wizard's Detect Magic would make magic things glow a bit but only the caster can see it, while a Bard's Detect Magic should make magic things audibly resonate and anyone paying attention can hear it. That sort of thing.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I'm not so worried about Wizard spells here, as at least in theory they're all copied from one book to another and thus there's a good in-fiction rationale for their consistency.
Ah, but is this before or after standardized spelling? Because magic missile and magyck myffiles might just produce varied results. :p

For Clerics, I think the answer is deity-specific variants (DSVs) on each spell. It would serve to make a lot of spells fit better with a lot of deities...but would also, alas, make the spells chapter far longer than it is now as for each spelll you'd have the basic write-up followed by a sometimes-very-long long list of DSVs.
This is why I really, really like Trappings in SWADE. Here's the spell; you decide what it looks like and what form it takes and how, exactly, it's cast. Trying to heal someone? Maybe it's laying on glowing hands that cause the wounds to knit themselves, maybe you summon a spirit-doctor, maybe you're pulling out a potion, or a nano-bot-filled hypospray. Up to the player when they pick the power; it still heals the same amount. Want to cast bolt, your simplest attack spell? You decide if it looks like you're flinging firebolts, shards of ice, a beam of pure light, a swarm of angry bees, or whatever else. Still does the same damage and has the same range and attack roll, but it looks and feels very different.

For a D&Dish game, I think that this could be covered neatly by including a few lines about it in the gods' description about how the spells they grant manifest.

We do this in my games, where the players describe how their spells work. We had two druids in one game, both with ice knife, and their spells and the motions they went through for casting them looked very different.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Ah, but is this before or after standardized spelling? Because magic missile and magyck myffiles might just produce varied results. :p
I see arcane spells as a direct equivalent to scientific formulae: the underlying formula (and thus the result) is the same regardless of what language or character set it's written in.

That said, there can certainly be different versions of a formula that produce the same end result; which is why, say, in 1e an Illusionist can't learn the MU version of Phantasmal Force even though the spell's available to both classes (at different levels).
This is why I really, really like Trappings in SWADE. Here's the spell; you decide what it looks like and what form it takes and how, exactly, it's cast. Trying to heal someone? Maybe it's laying on glowing hands that cause the wounds to knit themselves, maybe you summon a spirit-doctor, maybe you're pulling out a potion, or a nano-bot-filled hypospray. Up to the player when they pick the power; it still heals the same amount. Want to cast bolt, your simplest attack spell? You decide if it looks like you're flinging firebolts, shards of ice, a beam of pure light, a swarm of angry bees, or whatever else. Still does the same damage and has the same range and attack roll, but it looks and feels very different.

For a D&Dish game, I think that this could be covered neatly by including a few lines about it in the gods' description about how the spells they grant manifest.

We do this in my games, where the players describe how their spells work. We had two druids in one game, both with ice knife, and their spells and the motions they went through for casting them looked very different.
For Clerics (and Druids), wouldn't it be the deity making that decision rather than the individual caster? If yes, you're right back to DSVs. :)
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
For Clerics (and Druids), wouldn't it be the deity making that decision rather than the individual caster? If yes, you're right back to DSVs. :)
The decision would be meta--the player is the one deciding, along with the DM, what the spell's appearance is. The character would then be casting the spell the way the deity intends it to look.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
magic archetypes i think would be
elemental: classic fire/cold/lightning focused spells as well as other stuff like tidal wave, gust, warding wind, earth tremor, some things like summon elemental and protection from elements
arcane: 'intricate' spells, stuff that was probably designed by someone for a purpose, typical utility stuff like knock, tiny hut, fly, comprehend languages, teleport, detect thoughts, magic missile, chromatic orb
shadow: illusions and stealth mostly, some abjuration, scrying and stuff like eyebite, crown of madness, alarm, shadow blade and some charm spells, poison too
primal: plants and animal spell focus mostly, but some healing and some crossover with earth/wind/water themed spells of elemental, a couple of illusions and summon fey, some more spirit focused necromancy like speak to dead?
necromancy: undead and necrotic stuff obviously, but also poison, numerous various debuffs, afflictions and hazards, some smattering of radiant and healing magics
mental: charm and psychic-y spells, scrying, telepathy, sending, geas
warding: abjuration primarily, some healing too, stuff like the wall of X spells and forcecage, expeditious retreat, dispel magic/counterspell, invisibility
divine: the big guns for radiant damage, healing and divination
battle: melee and combat focused magic, weapon enchantment, and buffs like haste, enlarge/reduce, polymorph, shield, mage armour, stoneskin, smites, limited healing

Do you think i missed any major themes? I was considering a transmutation one?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
magic archetypes i think would be
elemental: classic fire/cold/lightning focused spells as well as other stuff like tidal wave, gust, warding wind, earth tremor, some things like summon elemental and protection from elements
arcane: 'intricate' spells, stuff that was probably designed by someone for a purpose, typical utility stuff like knock, tiny hut, fly, comprehend languages, teleport, detect thoughts, magic missile, chromatic orb
shadow: illusions and stealth mostly, some abjuration, scrying and stuff like eyebite, crown of madness, alarm, shadow blade and some charm spells, poison too
primal: plants and animal spell focus mostly, but some healing and some crossover with earth/wind/water themed spells of elemental, a couple of illusions and summon fey, some more spirit focused necromancy like speak to dead?
necromancy: undead and necrotic stuff obviously, but also poison, numerous various debuffs, afflictions and hazards, some smattering of radiant and healing magics
mental: charm and psychic-y spells, scrying, telepathy, sending, geas
warding: abjuration primarily, some healing too, stuff like the wall of X spells and forcecage, expeditious retreat, dispel magic/counterspell, invisibility
divine: the big guns for radiant damage, healing and divination
battle: melee and combat focused magic, weapon enchantment, and buffs like haste, enlarge/reduce, polymorph, shield, mage armour, stoneskin, smites, limited healing

Do you think i missed any major themes? I was considering a transmutation one?
You wouldn't lose anything by simply combining mental and shadow here, as they already almost entirely overlap in the "mess with your mind" zone.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
You wouldn't lose anything by simply combining mental and shadow here, as they already almost entirely overlap in the "mess with your mind" zone.
They might both do that but their methods and strengths are very different, shadow is primarily about subtlety and stealth, indirect trickery and infiltration, just more rogue-y things, whereas mental is full on psychic powers and much more stronger and more direct, mindblasts, telekinesis, and mindreading+control, it’s better geared for battle whereas shadow intends to avoid direct confrontation.
 
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