• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D General What Edition to Use? 1!

What Edition best portrays 'Dark Magic'?

  • Zero Edition (Red Box, White Box, etc)

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • 1st Edition

    Votes: 2 10.0%
  • 2nd Edition

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • 3rd Edition (including 3.5 and Pathfinder)

    Votes: 1 5.0%
  • 4nd Edition (plus Essentinals)

    Votes: 5 25.0%
  • 5th Edition (including 2024?)

    Votes: 4 20.0%


Mod Squad
Staff member
D&D magic is such a pastiche of elements that it is hard to cast strongly flavored metaphysics on it. Too many of the spells and mechanics we have won't fit particular paradigms.

Shadowrun, if you consider the confrontation is what Drain is is as close as I can figure.

That, or Mage: the Ascension.

Confronting your Anima is, in Mage terms, the interaction with your Avatar on Arete quests and/or Paradox. The aspects of Darkness expressed above can be recast in Paradox, Qlippothic magic and the Nephandi, and/or the approach of Marauders.

log in or register to remove this ad

5 had a whole Shadowcaster class. I'm not familiar enough with all the splat for AD&D to comment, so 3e gets my vote.

There's shades of the Shadowcaster in the Hexblade Warlock, though I doubt that would scratch your itch. I think it might be homebrew time.


Since it encompasses all things, it sounds like a generalist wizard. Originally I was going to say the shadow mage from 2e but that doesn't quite fit with what you've noted down for dark magic.

2e might be a good fit with some sort of specialist wizard. At certain levels where they perform a ritual and encounter their shadow they can come away with knowledge of a single priest sphere, expanding upon their magic. In this case, the priest spheres are the light that are created by the darkness of the wizard magic.


Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
I responded "Red Box," because it's always my response to all questions that begin with "What edition to use..."

I admit, I stopped reading after that point.



Clone and Shadow Magic.

I voted for 1e.

Defeat your Clone or die...your clone must kill you or go insane.

Then there is Shadow Magic. It comes from shadow, it goes to shadow but only increasingly is real depending on the spell level. Eventually, the Shadow comes to kill you, but will you survive?

I think this may have also been in 2e, but I don't think 3e quite had the same power of the older editions in these things, and 4e and 5e definitely don't.

If we go by what Tradiationally was Chaos vs. Law...then the vote would be clear...Zero edition or one of the BX/BECMI/RC ones. It is all about Law vs. Chaos...there is No Good, there is No Evil...only whether one is Lawful, Chaotic...or refuses to pick a side only to be subsumed by whoever wins in the end.

Looks like I found something D&D can't do well. Next time someone says D&D can do everything, I'm gonna link to this topic!
One of DnD's more annoying limits is that it has it's own spell system, that's only loosely based on a single fantasy novel that's only well-known in very nerdy circles. If you want to do something different with magic, you have to create a whole new magic system from scratch, which is only slightly less work that creating a whole new game from scratch.

OP"s concept is un-realizable without a whole new base class at least, regardless of edition.

Remove ads