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D&D 4E What Should 4e magic be like?

Jedi_Solo

First Post
I vote for basing it on the Warlock mechanic. They get a basic attack (the Magic Missile if you will) like they do now that starts at 1d6 and increases every other level. They then get abilities to modify the spell as the Warlocks do; extra range, radius burst, acid based attack, etc.

You want to cast "Fireball"? It's a radius burst with fire damage. Lightning Bolt? A Line attack with electricity damage.

Clerics can work the same way. They heal an amount that increases every other level. Mass heals get the radius burst template. They can then add Divine Fire damage for the attack spells.

And what about the non-combat spells such as Teleport and Scrying? Same as the Warlock abilities. Just as the Warlock can simply fly or see in darkness the wizard can teleport and scrye.

Sure, some spells (Enlarge Person) may need a little work ("so you're a medium sized humanoid who is large twenty-four hours a day?") but I think they have a very solid base to start with and that scales well with level. A little tweak here and a little polish there and I think they have a full blown magic system that would work for any class.
 

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hong

WotC's bitch
Geoff Watson said:
A divide between "encounter" and "non-encounter" spells.

An "encounter" spell can be used once per encounter (most combat spells would go here).

"Non-combat" spells (teleport, divinations, etc) still have the daily limit.

Casters would prepare spells in the morning as normal, but "encounter" spells are repreparable quickly (a few minutes).

Geoff.
I find your thoughts interesting and would like to play in your campaign.

Wait a minute.
 

EvilDwarf

First Post
Just off the top my head without thinking it through...

Geoff Watson said:
A divide between "encounter" and "non-encounter" spells.

An "encounter" spell can be used once per encounter (most combat spells would go here).

"Non-combat" spells (teleport, divinations, etc) still have the daily limit.

Casters would prepare spells in the morning as normal, but "encounter" spells are repreparable quickly (a few minutes).

Would it be possible to have a mechanic like this that would include some Cantrip-like spells (what 3E calls 0-level spells), but for each level? You could then have a number of, say, 4th level cantrips that you could cast more times per day/encounter, but the more beefy 4th level spells would still keep the spell slot system.

BTW, while I really dislike the prepare-ahead-of-time aspect of Vancian, but I love the simpicity of spell slots and not having the math/bookkeeping of MP, etc. The spontaneous casters are the way to go, but what that iconic wizard?? Hummmm.....

Maybe I should change my avatar to "CrazyDwarf."
 
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Mercule

Adventurer
I'd like to see wizards (at least) made more psi-like, with points and extra effects for spending more points. There are probably other good changes that I would like.

Two things I most certainly do not want:

* Sorcerer as the standard arcanist. The idea of a spell book and a potentially unlimited list of spells is absolutely, positively required, IMO.

* Encounter-based magic. Don't get me wrong, I loathe slots and x/day mechanics, but I like them no more as x/encounter. In fact, I like them even less.

I would like to see the warlock class made core, though. That's a nice addition to the list of classes. Things like the beguiler, warmage, dread necromancer are also much more interesting as specialists than the current way of doing specialists. Hopefully, they can come up with some unified mechanic for those classes rather than a total of 15 pages.
 

Wombat

First Post
Colour me "odd", but I'd like to see a magic system where it is possible for the magic to fail on the caster's end (e.g. he didn't do the spell correctly) rather than strictly on the target's end (e.g. failed saving throw).
 

I like the "Recharge" mechanic used in some places like the Pact Magic 5 rounds, or the 1d4 round Dragon breath.

I don't know about MP and slots existing together in the new system, like they do now. Some problems that come up with MP are 'the mana potion dependence' I see in many video games, or the psionic problem of "going nova" with spending all your MP really, really fast (yes I'm aware wizards and sorcerers can go nova too, but it's easier with a psion). If they do exist together, power points usually gets left behind. But I wouldn't mind if psions used some combination of 'slots' and warlock abilities, and they just called in psionics in name. But I do hope psionics still exists as a style, which later there's going to be others like shadow, elemental, fey and so on. I guess much like templates from arcana evolved or whatever.

If there's another model I hate about current D&D as is, it's monsters and spell-like abilities per day. I really wish they got something like "paths" or "influences" and can use spells based on those with a certain power level in mind.

I sort of do wish there's free-form magic, much like Ar Magica (I don't know that system, but I know Mage really well) like someone mentioned, but I know it wouldn't happen.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Mercule said:
Two things I most certainly do not want:

* Sorcerer as the standard arcanist. The idea of a spell book and a potentially unlimited list of spells is absolutely, positively required, IMO.
The first of these I agree with spellcasting needs to use the wizard mechanic of learning them with potentially unlimited list.

Mercule said:
* Encounter-based magic. Don't get me wrong, I loathe slots and x/day mechanics, but I like them no more as x/encounter. In fact, I like them even less.

That's a result of your own perceptions. Encounter based balancing doesn't necessarily involve X/per encounter mechanics, that's actually one of the worst ways to do it. There's a post on casting using a token system similar to Iron Heroes in House Rules. I think a variation of this could be the answer to many problems of the current system.

You convert to a magic point system. Then you derive your magic point pool by how much magic in total is roughly balanced in a single enounter. To account for the longest, toughest, and most desperate fights you use a fast-recharge mechanic that is slow enough not to overly impact most combats which are shorter. Now caster's are able to unload but won't entirely run out because of magic recharge.
 




lukelightning

First Post
One big change I would like to see is a restiction on cleric and druid spell lists. They should have a "known spell" limit so that they don't get access to a hundred new spells every time a new supplement comes out.

They should rework the known spells for wizards too, and remove the spellbook as an actual concrete ite; a "spellbook" would just be the repertoir a wizard can prepare, not an actual physical book/achilles heel. Increase the number of free spells a wizard gets per level and get rid of purchased spells.
 

Kunimatyu

First Post
Give casters MP instead of spell slots. Yeah, we're all used to Vancian magic, but we need to get the kids playing, and let's face it, anyone who has played a computer or console RPG knows how MP works.

My personal choice would be for True20-like powers, but MP is the standard across the vast majority of RPG, and D&D needs that ease of newbie understanding to survive. As it is, Vancian magic is a huge turn-off - we just need to come to terms with that, and fire up the grill for some hamburgers. :)
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
Word.

I'd like to see a three-tier system, really:

1) Constant buffs. Just get rid of the spells already; if everyone's using the same spells (mage armor, shield, blah blah blah), go with Monte Cook's suggestion and make these at-will or always-on abilities kind of like the AE magister's aspects of power. This would allow casters to always have some survivability and effectiveness regardless of resource management considerations.

2) Per-encounter spells. A refreshing MP pool or the like would do it for me.

3) Limited-use spells. Make teleport usable once per day, or x utility spell usable once per hour, etc. Something along the lines of what Geoff Watson suggested seems fine.

Also, I tend to prefer the idea of replacing attack spells with reserve feat-type blasts. Why, oh why, do we need fifty different ways to deal xd6 of energy damage? Just give the mage a once-per-round usable blast, allow some tweaking of that blast via feats or spells, and have done with.
 


ruleslawyer

Registered User
Wombat said:
Colour me "odd", but I'd like to see a magic system where it is possible for the magic to fail on the caster's end (e.g. he didn't do the spell correctly) rather than strictly on the target's end (e.g. failed saving throw).
Just use the SW Saga Ed rules for static saves, and then have the caster roll to beat the save. It's similar to how I'm going from now on (players roll all the dice).
 

DungeonMaester

First Post
Lanefan said:
I don't mind the slot idea and the per-day idea, provided you can be "wild-card" in what spells you can cast by level; i.e. each day you can cast x 1st-level spells, y 2nd-level spells, etc., but they can be anything in your book of the correct level. Simpler, easier, and the party doesn't get stuck nearly as often due to failure to prepare a particular spell.

What I would *not* want to see is a system where magic-users could cast all day without limit on total spells cast. The analogy of "a fighter can swing his sword all day thus a wizard should be able to cast her spells all day" is to me a complete straw-man; a wizard can also swing a weapon all day (though not nearly as well), *and* cast spells. And a Cleric is even better off. :)

Lanefan


Oh Noes! Logic!!! Cover your ears kids!! Don't listen to him!

Actually, I agree. D&D is starting to move in the direction of free form where any class do do anything all day long with no restriction. You don't need D&D to role play a character that can do everything all the time, just go to a free form chat room where one is a black dragon/angel/demon lord and can cast spell all day long.

I would like to see more restriction to make people think about there character rather then Gelstalt Fighter/Sorc with infinite spells a day to Power attack X4 a greatsword with True Strike.

In short..I want AD&D....

---Rusty
 

ehren37

Explorer
Something similar to warlock invocations for casters. Apply a fatigue or ability drain style mechanic to powerful effects to prevent them from being spammed. Rest goes from 8 hours at the end of the day to a few minutes to catch your breath.

I'd also like to see the potential for spells to fail or have mishaps. The wayward apprentice who attempts a spell outside his reach is a staple of fantasy. So is someone getting stuck in a polymorph spell, or what have you. Theres little chance of that happening outside of fiat in D&D.

Have a few daily limited abilities. However these have long casting times, and thus arent combat related.

BUffs are always on, and the number allowed in effect on a person is limited by level, spellcaraft ranks, or whatever. No more tracking durations. Let each effect be ended prematurely for a significant effect if desired. IE, you can ditch your cat's grace to be take a standard action as an immediate action, but cant get it back for 24 hours.

In essence kill the "D&D day", where you rush through your encounters then sit on your thumb in a rope trick until the cleric and mage are ready. That should have died with 1st edition. It also gets rid of the need to have "filler encounters", where their only purpose is to whittle down caster resources so they cant go supernova in the "real" encounter.
 
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Kae'Yoss

First Post
Wombat said:
Colour me "odd", but I'd like to see a magic system where it is possible for the magic to fail on the caster's end (e.g. he didn't do the spell correctly) rather than strictly on the target's end (e.g. failed saving throw).

My box of crayons doesn't have "Odd". I do have burnt umber. I could colour your burnt umber.

Anyway, I like your idea. Instead of saving throws, let there be "Spell ACs". I guess the name isn't ideal, so we'll have to turn it into something more unified: Armour Rating, Reflex Rating, Fortitude Rating, Willpower Rating. Something like this. Maybe the system could even change so that reflex saves were used not just against spells, but also to against attacks - If you hit someone, you'd have to beat his reflex rating (this would make sense for touch attacks especially). They might even turn the AC into something similar to DR (so you won't have to roll against both reflex and armour).

DungeonMaester said:
Actually, I agree. D&D is starting to move in the direction of free form where any class do do anything all day long with no restriction. You don't need D&D to role play a character that can do everything all the time, just go to a free form chat room where one is a black dragon/angel/demon lord and can cast spell all day long.

Well, going into a direction and actually being there are two very different things. Distance is as important as direction. I prefer choices over restrictions. You could hardly say that classes are purely cosmetical now.

The thing is: even if every class could do everything right now, it's not just about what you can do, but how good you're at it. So the wizard can only cast so many spells but the warlock can cast his stuff as often as he wants? Sure, but The wizard's stuff is so much more potent. If I have the choice between being blasted by some warlock guy with his 9d6 utterdark blast round after round (until I off him) or that wizard with his 32d6 meteor shower (followed by a quickened 20d6 cone of cold), I'll take (on) the warlock every day of the week.

I would like to see more restriction

Restrictions are bad.

to make people think about there character rather then Gelstalt Fighter/Sorc with infinite spells a day to Power attack X4 a greatsword with True Strike.

I'd rather say that with restrictions, you have to think about the character in the wrong ways. "I want do X, so I MUST play this class - only available for those races, so the cool dwarven spellhurler I thought of is right out".

Restrictions won't prevent people from powergaming. And a "gestalt fighter/sorcerer with infinite spells per day who power attacks x4 a greatsword with True Strike" wouldn't really a problem of to few restrictions, but of power level. You can have great characters in a restriction-free game, and completely broken ones in a game where you can only play a fighter/spellcaster combo if your character is an elf or female halfling or a guy named ted.

In short..I want AD&D....

And you know where to find it.
 

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