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D&D 4E What Should 4e magic be like?

Kae'Yoss

First Post
DungeonMaester said:
Awful maybe as compared to Paladuim fantasy but not as compared to 3.5

It seems clear that you don't like the new D&D, and we don't like the old D&D. So we'll simply keep playing the new D&D, you keep playing the old.

But the trend goes away from restrictions, and it's extremely unlikely that they'll do a U-turn and return to the Old Times where the rules made campaign decisions. After all, if people (or campaign settings) want restrictions, they can always put them into place. Like Midnight where good characters can't be legates (simply because the only god available is the Foe) and in Rokugan, Samurai/Shugenja combinations are unheard-of.
 

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Kae'Yoss

First Post
ehren37 said:
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.

Personally, I don't like that sort of thing. It could work as an optional rule - but not as a rule about magic, but a general rule. If you can mess up magic, there should be a chance to mess up attacks and skill checks, too. Apprentices turn themselves into toads, fighters turn themselves into cripples, and a tumbler tumbles down the stairs.

In essence kill the "D&D day"

After seeing a warlock and two swordsages in action (in addition to all those rogues, fighters, and other characters who don't have to track their powers), I like that idea more and more.
 

Arkhandus

First Post
Baaah. I disagree that spell slots and Vancian-esque casting is complicated for newbies. It involves less/smaller math too. I've never known a single new D&Der, not even myself, to have had any problem understanding the concept of spell slots for casters. I also don't see the reason for peoples' hate of the arcane/divine divide; I don't know where it's ever been a problem area or made no sense; the gods work in mysterious ways! Hermetic mages do not!

MP systems may be what console and computer games use for simplicity's sake, but that doesn't mean they're better than D&D's style of slot-based magic. I'd prefer D&D magic be made a bit more Vancian rather than less, if we had to choose. I don't want the Indistinguishable 25th Generic Video Game To Tabletop RPG, I want D&D.

Really all you might need for cutting down on the gads of spell slots a high-level caster has, would be to change how many are received. Instead of X 0-level slots, Y 1st-level slots, Z 2nd-level slots, etc., you'd have A primary slots, B secondary slots, C tertiary slots, and maybe D auxillery slots, or whatever. Your caster level in any given class would dictate your number of slots with that class, and how they're divided up. So a wizard of anywhere from 10th to 20th level would probably have the same number of slots and in the same configuration; 4 primary, 4 secondary, 4 tertiary, and 4 auxillery (or not). They'd prepare 16 (or 12) spells per day; 4 of their highest available level, 4 of their next-highest, and 4 lower-level spells (or 4 of the next-next-highest and 4 lower-level). At low levels they'd only have primary and secondary slots (for 1st and 0-level spells); once they gain access to 2nd or 3rd-level spells, they'd get tertiary slots; then once they gain access to some other levels, either 3rd, 4th, or 5th, they'd gain some auxillery slots perhaps.


......of course, I still want Psionics to be in the 4th edition core rules, as a distinctly different system from the magic system. But then, I want it to more closely resemble 2nd Edition psionics with better balance and more refined rules (probably 3-4 tiers of psionic power rather than just devotions and sciences); and made to work easily enough with various flavors of psionic description, be they Eberronic dreamscape-related powers, pseudo-Eastern philosophic manifestations, or psuedo-scientific powers derived from the mind and body alone. I want the book to include two or three different names for each power and discipline, to represent the breadth of philosophies that can give rise to psionics among different cultures, so people don't get misled by thinking it's purely a psuedo-science thing and doesn't belong in their fantasy game.

(.....Of course, I'd like to see magic spells get a similar treatment name-wise, getting at least second set of names representing a more Eastern style of magic, to support Oriental Adventures material being released later and without the bull**** from folks about "OA isn't core! OA sucks! I don't want your ninjas and monks and cr** in my D&D! You suck for liking OA in D&D, and should feel bad!")

And I want power points to be called Psionic Strength Points again. We already have a term that uses PP as its short-hand, platinum pieces, and I'd rather not abbreviate something as 'pp' anyway. And I want psionic powers to require maintenance costs again darnit, just cuz I do and they make sense (since psi isn't magic and wouldn't operate on magic's funky laws that make spells last so long at no extra cost from the caster).

I vastly dislike 3.5's changes to psionics that make it just a wierd and stupid variant magic, with absurd crystal fetishes and powers-that-duplicate-magic-spells-that-really-shouldn't-ever-be-doable-with-psionics. Crystals only fit with psionics as a convenient storage/focusing medium! They should not be the basis of manifestations themselves! Psionics should not be warping reality on any level comparable to Wishes and Miracles! Psionics do not resurrect the dead! Etc. Psychoportation, Clairsentience, and Metapsionics/Metacreativity of the sorts used in 2nd Edition and 3.0E are not much of a stretch, and thus acceptable, believeable as a function of some psionic abilities. 3.5 psionic drek is not.

I'm still on the fence about 'psionic focus' but definitely don't think it appropriate that so many psionic feats and metapsionic abilities now rely exclusively on it. Just stupid.

*shuffles away while grumbling and raving like an angry old codger four times his own age*
 

Imp

First Post
I've thought for a while that a pretty neat mage could be built out of the warlock and UA's incantation rules. Incantations are neat – but, I don't use them, because it involves me having to make up spells! Hard. Headache-making.

There should be a cap on active buffs. Like, three at a time. The only thing is, this can lead to silliness:

Evil Archmage: "Once I enchant my bruiser minion he will be UNSTOPPABLE! I cast bull's strength on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #1: "I cast fox's cunning on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #2: "I cast eagle's splendor on the bruiser."

Evil Archmage: "Son of a-"
 

Kunimatyu

First Post
Arkhandus said:
MP systems may be what console and computer games use for simplicity's sake, but that doesn't mean they're better than D&D's style of slot-based magic.

I'm not making a value judgement on which is better. I'm just saying that MP is simpler and more widely understood - therefore, using MP instead of slots provides the lowest barrier to entry, and gets new people into the hobby. New people means D&D remains profitable and doesn't disappear.

It's really as simple as that. You can even replicate a "Vancian" caster with MP, you just force them to spend all of their MP at the beginning of the day preparing spells, and give them a few more bonus feats/skills to compensate for the loss in flexibility.
 

DungeonMaester

First Post
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.

With what WotC has put out so far...I'd say we are a five foot step away.

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 don't remember monk being able to swing rapiers or monks having Psionics as a class abilities. When did Wizards say all classes can do everything? :D


Restrictions are bad.

Next D&D book from WotC: Complete Gestalt, now with no dead levels.

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".

one of my favorite characters in AD&D was a monk, but was mot a shaolin martial art monk, rather a Fryer Tuck type of monk. I took the martial Art Monk class, but played it as Fryer tuck. It was a City which was ruled by the Church and he was picked to be a sort of 'secret Police' which is why he was trained in unarmed combat.

Funny thing is, if I where to bring him into 3.5 he would have to be a Monk/Paladin/Cleric to do some of the things he did in AD&D.


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.

Ever take the time to play Core Classes 20 levels through? Even if its one level up a session, its a wonderful thing.

---Rusty
 

JohnSnow

Adventurer
Imp said:
I've thought for a while that a pretty neat mage could be built out of the warlock and UA's incantation rules. Incantations are neat – but, I don't use them, because it involves me having to make up spells! Hard. Headache-making.

I agree. Monte Cook drew a distinction in an article not long ago between disciplines (things the caster could do all the time) and spells (things that should only be usable infrequently). Obviously, one way to to do that is to use at-will abilities and then to have some abilities that are difficult to trigger, limited use, or both.

I've been designing a magic system for use with Iron Heroes with this as my guiding principle.

Imp said:
There should be a cap on active buffs. Like, three at a time. The only thing is, this can lead to silliness:

Evil Archmage: "Once I enchant my bruiser minion he will be UNSTOPPABLE! I cast bull's strength on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #1: "I cast fox's cunning on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #2: "I cast eagle's splendor on the bruiser."

Evil Archmage: "Son of a-"

That's easily fixed, by adjusting two lines in the description of enhancement spells.

Target: One willing creature
Saving Throw: N/A

That way, any character subject to an enhancement spell may choose to ignore those effects in exchange for keeping a pre-existing one. So the bruiser just chooses not to receive the "benefit" of the spell.
 


ruleslawyer

Registered User
Kae'Yoss said:
Personally, I don't like that sort of thing. It could work as an optional rule - but not as a rule about magic, but a general rule. If you can mess up magic, there should be a chance to mess up attacks and skill checks, too. Apprentices turn themselves into toads, fighters turn themselves into cripples, and a tumbler tumbles down the stairs.
There is a chance to mess up a skill check or attack. It's called rolling low.

Now I do agree that spellcasting fumbles are a bit annoying as a core rule, but why not just reduce everything to a spellcasting check? This is one of the things that could really *differentiate* D&D from a CRPG; the thrill of rolling for your spellcasting result is not easily duplicable in a computer-game spellcasting medium.

Personally, I'd love to see something like Elements of Magic: Mythic Earth be the system for 4e, but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
Imp said:
I've thought for a while that a pretty neat mage could be built out of the warlock and UA's incantation rules. Incantations are neat – but, I don't use them, because it involves me having to make up spells! Hard. Headache-making.

There should be a cap on active buffs. Like, three at a time. The only thing is, this can lead to silliness:

Evil Archmage: "Once I enchant my bruiser minion he will be UNSTOPPABLE! I cast bull's strength on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #1: "I cast fox's cunning on the bruiser."

Good guy's 3rd-level cohort #2: "I cast eagle's splendor on the bruiser."

Bruiser: "I dismiss fox's cunning and eagle's splendour."

Evil Archmage: "I cast Fist of Fury"

Bruiser: "Bring me my Long Rubber Glove :]"
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
ruleslawyer said:
There is a chance to mess up a skill check or attack. It's called rolling low.

That's not the same. You could also say that there's a chance to mess up spells: You miss your touch attack/ the enemy makes his save. And attacks: You don't hit.

But we're talking about mishaps here. The spell doesn't just not transform the enemy into a toad - it turns you into a toad. The attack doesn't just fail to hit the enemy - it cuts your own leg instead. You just don't fail to tumble past the enemy - you fall prone and make it easier for the enemy to pick on you.

I know, some skills have something like that right now (fail to disarm a trap by 5 or more and you set it off), but if we use a system such as this, it should be for everything, not just some instances. Like luck rolls in WoD.

Now I do agree that spellcasting fumbles are a bit annoying as a core rule, but why not just reduce everything to a spellcasting check? This is one of the things that could really *differentiate* D&D from a CRPG; the thrill of rolling for your spellcasting result is not easily duplicable in a computer-game spellcasting medium.

I already said that a spellcasting "attack roll" would be nice. This could be done with or without fumbles (without fumble: If you don't meed the enemy's "spell ac", the spell fails. with fumble: If you roll too low on that spell roll, like less than 15 + spell level or something like that, roll on the spell fumble table)

DungeonMaester said:
With what WotC has put out so far...I'd say we are a five foot step away.

I'd say it's still several non-coterminous planes to hop in order to get there - and without teleportation magic. It might be the same multiverse, but that's it.

Rogues can't mow down armies. swordsages can't rain down arcane destruction upon their enemies, obliterating them wholesale. Fighters can't do magic at all. monks can't bring back the dead or even heal others. And so on.

As I said: While it isn't as strict as it used to be, you still don't have classes who can all do everything equally well.

Yes, there's a core class that combines martial prowess with arcane ability - the Duskblade. Great class. But they can't do high-level magics. A wizard, sorcerer, or warmage (especially a warmage) will outcast the duskblade by lengths. Striking down the enemy by the dozen, by the score. That's just one example.

Tell me where there's actually classes that can do everything equally well.

I don't remember monk being able to swing rapiers or monks having Psionics as a class abilities. When did Wizards say all classes can do everything? :D

They didn't.

[/QUOTE]
one of my favorite characters in AD&D was a monk, but was mot a shaolin martial art monk, rather a Fryer Tuck type of monk. I took the martial Art Monk class, but played it as Fryer tuck. It was a City which was ruled by the Church and he was picked to be a sort of 'secret Police' which is why he was trained in unarmed combat.

Funny thing is, if I where to bring him into 3.5 he would have to be a Monk/Paladin/Cleric to do some of the things he did in AD&D.[/QUOTE]

Such as?

Ever take the time to play Core Classes 20 levels through? Even if its one level up a session, its a wonderful thing.

What's that got to do with restrictions? The fun part about a game without restrictions is that no one forces you to use all options (that would be a restriction). You don't like the concept of a dwarf with arcane magic? Don't play one. You want to stick to a class for your entire career? Do so!
 

phoenixgod2000

First Post
I just wish magic was creepier and more atmospheric. All too often, magic is just too video game-y. I think it has become that way to help new people get into the game but I think magic loses something when it becomes a numbers game.

I wish magic had the same feel it does in the stories of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Howard and HP Lovecraft. Magic should be mysterious and wierd. Half the time people shouldn't know if you are using a spell or just a blowgun with a poison made from frog guts. Wizards should be figures of fear even at lower levels, but they should also be half bluster. they should have few true spells but lots of quasi mystical skills. Thinks like the poison mastery skill from Iron Heros, hynotism, and strange alchemies.

But when push comes to shove they can crack the world with a word.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever get my wish.
 

Kunimatyu

First Post
phoenixgod2000 said:
I just wish magic was creepier and more atmospheric. All too often, magic is just too video game-y. I think it has become that way to help new people get into the game but I think magic loses something when it becomes a numbers game.

I wish magic had the same feel it does in the stories of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Howard and HP Lovecraft. Magic should be mysterious and wierd. Half the time people shouldn't know if you are using a spell or just a blowgun with a poison made from frog guts. Wizards should be figures of fear even at lower levels, but they should also be half bluster. they should have few true spells but lots of quasi mystical skills. Thinks like the poison mastery skill from Iron Heros, hynotism, and strange alchemies.

But when push comes to shove they can crack the world with a word.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever get my wish.

I agree with you, on both the type of magic you want and that you'll never get your wish, at least not in bog-standard D&D.
 

DungeonMaester

First Post
phoenixgod2000 said:
I just wish magic was creepier and more atmospheric. All too often, magic is just too video game-y. I think it has become that way to help new people get into the game but I think magic loses something when it becomes a numbers game.

I wish magic had the same feel it does in the stories of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Howard and HP Lovecraft. Magic should be mysterious and wierd. Half the time people shouldn't know if you are using a spell or just a blowgun with a poison made from frog guts. Wizards should be figures of fear even at lower levels, but they should also be half bluster. they should have few true spells but lots of quasi mystical skills. Thinks like the poison mastery skill from Iron Heros, hynotism, and strange alchemies.

But when push comes to shove they can crack the world with a word.

Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever get my wish.

Which is why I would like to see magic done up like a Clerics Domain.

---Rusty
 


ashockney

First Post
What are some of the things that challenge us with 3.5:

The universal magic user in 3.5 wizard is too much of a generalist
The wizard is typically the "same" optimized character
The sorcerer doesn't work well, but was a fun flavor option
Warlock was a step in the right direction
The spell choices are way, way too complex
There are clear balance issues with the spells
The threshold for access to radical game-changing effects is too low
Power points, templates, and meta-magic are all sweet and beloved
Counterspell's not really intuitive
Although the new simpler save mechanics (Fort/Ref/Will) is a huge improvement, we've still not really achieved the balance required to do well here

So, I translate these things to imply some of my own thoughts:
Classes with access to far fewer spells - perhaps 7 - 10 at one time, but a handful of abilities that are usable over and over without limit.
Specializaiton among a group of casting classes that allows for a drastic difference between a warlock, a wizard, and a beguiler.
Layer on top a magic system that allows for spell points, templates and/or meta-magic
Retool the balance on the spells and magic abilities and make game-changing effects much harder to acquire, with the truly game shifting effects being one-shot (ie, teleport)
Allow room for a studious book-delving, cat familiar, stave wielding wizard to exist
 

Imp said:
There should be a cap on active buffs. Like, three at a time. The only thing is, this can lead to silliness:
I certainly agree there, well it's certainly fun to have a character with the effects of Vigor, Bless, Prayer, Haste, Offensive Precognition, Stone Skin, Enlarge, Biofeedback, and more active at the same time, it just gets ridiculous. Some game systems already implement a cap on the number of active buffs or active spells, it could probably be something based on spellcasting stat or level or perhaps chakras/body slots, which could mean you might have to choose between gaining the benefit of a buff or a persistent effect magic item in that chakra.

Arkhandus said:
......of course, I still want Psionics to be in the 4th edition core rules, as a distinctly different system from the magic system.
That's something I disagree with, making psionics have a system quite different from magic caused it to be marginalized in every edition of D&D, something I don't want to see anymore. I rather it use the standard magic system with some slight variances.

phoenixgod2000 said:
I just wish magic was creepier and more atmospheric. All too often, magic is just too video game-y. I think it has become that way to help new people get into the game but I think magic loses something when it becomes a numbers game.
Not easy the way the D&D system is, with there being standardized effects, damage dice and the like. It would require effort on the DM and Player's parts to have a distinct atmosphere to their magic.
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
Kae'Yoss said:
That's not the same. You could also say that there's a chance to mess up spells: You miss your touch attack/ the enemy makes his save. And attacks: You don't hit.

But we're talking about mishaps here. The spell doesn't just not transform the enemy into a toad - it turns you into a toad. The attack doesn't just fail to hit the enemy - it cuts your own leg instead. You just don't fail to tumble past the enemy - you fall prone and make it easier for the enemy to pick on you.

I know, some skills have something like that right now (fail to disarm a trap by 5 or more and you set it off), but if we use a system such as this, it should be for everything, not just some instances. Like luck rolls in WoD.
I don't know about that. In the interests of making magic *different* (and again, I'm assuming a tiered system in which there are a range of "safe" uses for magic, meaning that the subset I'm talking about is stretching it), I can see having a system in which one has to take serious risks to get astounding results. This also might have a positive follow-on effect on campaign design, since there's now an in-game explanation as to why lots of the wacky stuff like raise dead and teleport hasn't permeated the entire lifestyle.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Someone mentioned about not wanting more restrictions, and that it's easy to put restrictions back: I disagree.

It's far easier on all concerned to *remove* restrictions in a given game than it is to impose them. Just ask any DM who's tried... :\

So, the core rules need maximum restrictions as written, with sidebars indicating options to remove them, along with possible consequences. (this applies to much more than just magic...)

Lanefan
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Whatever happens, I'd like the magic system to be completely orthogonal. e.g. all spellcasting classes work from levels 0 to 9.
 

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