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D&D 4E What Should 4e magic be like?

Draxo

First Post
Unlike many people here, i love the sorcerer. I want it to stay and get some attention, they have been neglected for a long time with a blank class table with nothing given on level up. Its immature to not like something and want it gone, think on others who like it for a change. I hate wizards and wizard casting, thats not how i like my magic. I like innate magic, not scrolls and beards and pointy hats. Getting rid of the sorcerer would kill D&D for me, and ive played since 2e, Sorcerers were like a breath of air tat actually made me want to play an arcane magic using class..! Before this i just played Druids.

That being said, i would like to move to an MP system, one that serves its intended purpose. If i remember correctly, one i saw, i think on the SRD gave wizards almost as much as sorcerers, which was very wrong and silly. Wizards are already over the top, with free feats and more skill points. I would like to see an MP system that works well.
 
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HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Draxo said:
Unlike many people here, i love the sorcerer. I want it to stay and get some attention, they have been neglected for a long time with a blank class table with nothing given on level up. Its immature to not like something and want it gone, think on others who like it for a change. I hate wizards and wizard casting, thats not how i like my magic. I like innate magic, not scrolls and beards and pointy hats. Getting rid of the sorcerer would kill D&D for me, and ive played since 2e, Sorcerers were like a breath of air tat actually made me want to play an arcane magic using class..! Before this i just played Druids.

That being said, i would like to move to an MP system, one that serves its intended purpose. If i remember correctly, one i saw, i think on the SRD gave wizards almost as much as sorcerers, which was very wrong and silly. Wizards are already over the top, with free feats and more skill points. I would like to see an MP system that works well.

Actually I think the two classes should be merged back into a true Arcanist like 2e Netheril. That's what a caster should be. The books, scrolls, wands, staves, are just tools. The caster should be able to learn spells like a wizard and cast spontaneously with no penalty for losing a spellbook.
 

ehren37

Explorer
DungeonMaester said:
Awful maybe as compared to Paladuim fantasy but not as compared to 3.5
---Rusty

No, by far, Gary Gygax is the most overrated designer of any game I've actually played. Hell, its my understanding that even HE doesnt play AD&D anymore. When the creator has forsaken the system, perhaps its time to consider other options than slavish devotion? If you're going to innovate, innovate. Dont regress to whats already been done. Theres plenty of older edition rules (that you admit you dont even use) for those who want no progress over 30+ years.
 

ehren37

Explorer
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.

You could do it when casting a spell that exceeds your spell level. Wilders have a similar ability/potential mishap when they overload themselves. If you want to play it safe, you can. If you're feeling gutsy, you can push yourself beyond your limit. Thats when potential mishaps come in (which would be the equivalent of an apprentice accidentally turning themself intoa toad).
 
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ehren37

Explorer
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."

Evil Archmage: "Son of a-"

Willing target, problem solved.
 

Ahrimon

Bourbon and Dice
I would like to see wizards use more of an AU system. Where they spontaneously cast a number of spells per day from a limited list of spells prepared per day. So for example, (number made up) a wizard could cast 4 1st level spells from the 3 he was prepared from the 15 he knows.

For sorcerers I would like to see bonus feats in the form of reserve feats. Expand the list out and make some nifty new reserve feats. You could reduce the number of spells per day and give them a lot more reserve feats. This would essentially give them the equivilant of a bunch of spell like abilities usable as long as they don't throw their big spells for the day.

This makes the wizard more flexible while retaining the large number of known spells and gives the sorcerer more all day every day type feel.
 

Kae'Yoss

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

I don't mind too much if paladins only get some magic, but I can totally see things like that being moved to the realm of multiclassing or feats. A ranger would take a couple of druid levels. Or there's feats to get some spellcasting (Midnight works like that, and the Book of 9 Swords allows you to get some manoeuvres via feats)

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

I don't see it: Chances are that the restrictions are part of the balancing (after all, arbitrary restrictions in a ruleset rather than a campaign setting are bad design), so you'll have to change other things if you take away restrictions like that.

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... :\

I did. Had no problems with it. Not that I want many restrictions. I think they're bad. They're crutches for those who don't want to think about their campaign's cultures and taboos. Choices are better. Choices - and consequences. Instead of saying "dwarves cannot be wizards because the rules say so", I say "dwarves aren't very fond of arcane magic, and those who practise the Art are often ostracised, or at least never chosen for more prestidious or influential positions.

On the other hand, I had anal DMs who would insist on the restrictions imposed by the game even if they made no sense, they couldn't explain why they are in their world, and the whole thing would mess up the character concept I had in mind.

So AD&D can keep its stuck-up DMs and restrictions.

ruleslawyer said:
I don't know about that. In the interests of making magic *different*, I can see having a system in which one has to take serious risks to get astounding results.

Why make magic different? For differece's sake? What applies to magic, with great results for great risks, can work for everything else, too. Monks can try to walk on hot embers even though they haven't practised long enough to make it safely, fighters can use difficult weapons and fighting styles they only saw, rogues can try to do a stunt that should be beyond them....

One of the things about game design is. If you want to do something differently, ask yourself why you want to do that. If the anwser is just "because", ditch the idea.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not against the idea of risky magic. I'm just agains the idea that only magic can be risky.

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.

It's not easy to do it, unless you base the whole game around magic.

And I don't know about creepy. It's okay for some worlds, but not for all.

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

Not in D&D. D&D has to work for many, many worlds. So the components should be fairly standard. Vanilla. Things like that would have to be done in campaign settings.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
Merge the sorcerer and the warlock into one class, called the sorcerer. The new sorcerer uses most of the mechanics of the warlock, but most of their spells/invocations are similar or identical to lower level wizard spells in form and flavour, except of course that the sorcerer can use them unlimited times a day. Their non-spell abilities would be completely different from the warlock, no damage reduction or healing, and no fooling magic items.

Of course, if you wanted to take that a step further, allow them to use spell books (individual spells inside would each have their own caster level) to use different spells than their own, albeit more limited than their own. So, if you want to use the " explosion " spell, maybe it has a caster level of 10, while your own is 15, so when reading out of the spellbook (also a 1 round action), you only do damage as a 10th level sorcerer instead of 15th.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
Draxo said:
Unlike many people here, i love the sorcerer. I want it to stay and get some attention, they have been neglected for a long time with a blank class table with nothing given on level up.

That's its problem: It's basically just a variant wizard. A beta version. They can keep the concept of spontaneous caster that has some supernatural ancestry, but the mechanical concept - wizard who casts spontaneously with cha, loses the bonus feats and has a different spell list (and knows a couple of extra weapons) - should just be forgotten.

They had a good idea, but the execution sucked. Fortunately, we have better incarnations even now:

The Warlock evolves around a fiendish pact or supernatural ancestry, and you woulnd't confuse him with a wizard even on a murky day.

The Warmage does a better job of the spontaneous casting, and it also got some very useful class abilities.

The Beguiler is another variation on the theme, and also is more than just a wizard with one or two things changed.

The third variant is the Dread Necromancer.

Its immature to not like something and want it gone, think on others who like it for a change.

You misunderstand me: I love the sorcerer. I don't want it (the concept) gone. I (like you it seems) just want to forget this wizard variant (or must make it a sidebar for the wizard class, "you can use this also as a "ancestral wizard" - you get *these* spells known and spells per day, and use cha instead of Int for your magic.

Like you, I want the sorcerer's concept to be a real class. I don't care too much whether it will be called sorcerer, warlock, or be turned into a number of different classes (warmage, beguiler, thaumaturge, dread necromancer)
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
Kae'Yoss said:
Why make magic different? For differece's sake? What applies to magic, with great results for great risks, can work for everything else, too. Monks can try to walk on hot embers even though they haven't practised long enough to make it safely, fighters can use difficult weapons and fighting styles they only saw, rogues can try to do a stunt that should be beyond them....

One of the things about game design is. If you want to do something differently, ask yourself why you want to do that. If the anwser is just "because", ditch the idea.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not against the idea of risky magic. I'm just agains the idea that only magic can be risky.
Simple reason: Because why else have magic instead of just limiting characters to swinging swords and using skills?

IMHO, there is no point to having a distinct set of mechanics (in this case, magic) unless it is *different* from other game mechanics. I fully understand that it's easy enough to balance spellcasting with melee combat or skill uses simply by making its mechanics identical, but then why bother having magic at all?

So, one way to make magic different from other mechanics if you don't want to differentiate it using the current route (big booms limited times per day) is to give it a unique feel of unpredictability and danger (big booms with potentially hazardous consequences). This has the side advantage of feeding potential game flavor (making magic creepy and dangerous to be around) and of allowing designers to give mages decent combat abilities/survivability without worrying that it'll unbalance them, since they may *need* a reliable attack/defense mechanic to fall back on.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
ruleslawyer said:
Simple reason: Because why else have magic instead of just limiting characters to swinging swords and using skills?

Because I want to blow up enemies with fireballs instead of sticking bits of metal into them or sneaking past them.

IMHO, there is no point to having a distinct set of mechanics (in this case, magic) unless it is *different* from other game mechanics.

It already is, isn't it. We have spell slots, we can achieve magical effects like enslaving another's mind or frying whole groups of people at once, and so on.

Those are differences that make sense. Not just differences for differences' sake. Plus, it makes sense that fighting can be dangerous to you, too. If you don't believe me, pick up nunchucks, or a scythe, or something like that and play around with them a bit. Or bolas. Or try some somersaults if you think tumble shouldn't have any chance to mess things up.

I fully understand that it's easy enough to balance spellcasting with melee combat or skill uses simply by making its mechanics identical, but then why bother having magic at all?

Who says we should make them identical? I just say that concepts that apply to all of them shouldn't be exclusive for one type of mechanic.

So, one way to make magic different from other mechanics if you don't want to differentiate it using the current route (big booms limited times per day) is to give it a unique feel of unpredictability and danger (big booms with potentially hazardous consequences).

So if the guy who wants to be a spell slinger doesn't like unpredictable stuff, that's too bad for him?

No. Dangerous effects with risks involved might be fun for some people, but others don't like it. And the choice of character concept should not be influenced by things like this.

So make risky manoeuvres an optional rule. And do it for everyone so once again, the guy who actually likes it doesn't have to play a wimpy magic-hurler if he wants to play a manly barbarian. That's as bad as forcing the guy who wants to play a smart spellcaster to play a brainless stickswinger to avoid risky business.

This has the side advantage of feeding potential game flavor (making magic creepy and dangerous to be around)

It's actually a disadvantage if you don't want your magic to be creepy and dangerous. Bad flavour can be worse than no flavour, because with no flavour, you can add your own, but it gets harder if you first have to get rid of bad flavour.

and of allowing designers to give mages decent combat abilities/survivability without worrying that it'll unbalance them, since they may *need* a reliable attack/defense mechanic to fall back on.

Another thing I don't like about it: I don't want to have burly battle mages. At least not all the time. Sometimes, I want to play that weakling who couldn't survive without his magic.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
ruleslawyer said:
So, one way to make magic different from other mechanics if you don't want to differentiate it using the current route (big booms limited times per day) is to give it a unique feel of unpredictability and danger (big booms with potentially hazardous consequences). This has the side advantage of feeding potential game flavor (making magic creepy and dangerous to be around)

Bleh.
 

Geoffrey

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 weird.

I agree. It would be a big step in the right direction to replace the current magic system with something similiar to that of the d20 version of Call of Cthulhu.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I agree with the sentiment that it should be spells per encounter, not spells per day.

The iconic wizard in my opinion doesn't ever run out of spells. They might run out of energy to power their spells, but they don't suddenly no longer have the ability to cast any spells until they sleep and refresh their "spell slots", or have to "memorize" their spells every day. :mad:

Warlocks seem closer to my iconic wizard than the current wizards do.
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
Kae'Yoss said:
Because I want to blow up enemies with fireballs instead of sticking bits of metal into them or sneaking past them.
Right. I happen to think that there can be a tier for that, as I noted earlier. Reliable blast magic is just fine in my book.
It already is, isn't it. We have spell slots, we can achieve magical effects like enslaving another's mind or frying whole groups of people at once, and so on.

Those are differences that make sense. Not just differences for differences' sake.
I fail to see how spell slots "make [any more] sense" than risk of spellcasting failure.
Plus, it makes sense that fighting can be dangerous to you, too. If you don't believe me, pick up nunchucks, or a scythe, or something like that and play around with them a bit. Or bolas. Or try some somersaults if you think tumble shouldn't have any chance to mess things up.
Sure.
Who says we should make them identical? I just say that concepts that apply to all of them shouldn't be exclusive for one type of mechanic.
Fair enough. I have no problem with adding in risks to skill checks and attacks if that floats your boat. Note that I suggested earlier that this should be an optional rule.
Me said:
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?
So if the guy who wants to be a spell slinger doesn't like unpredictable stuff, that's too bad for him?
See above.
No. Dangerous effects with risks involved might be fun for some people, but others don't like it. And the choice of character concept should not be influenced by things like this.
See above again.
So make risky manoeuvres an optional rule. And do it for everyone so once again, the guy who actually likes it doesn't have to play a wimpy magic-hurler if he wants to play a manly barbarian. That's as bad as forcing the guy who wants to play a smart spellcaster to play a brainless stickswinger to avoid risky business.
Sure.
It's actually a disadvantage if you don't want your magic to be creepy and dangerous. Bad flavour can be worse than no flavour, because with no flavour, you can add your own, but it gets harder if you first have to get rid of bad flavour.
See above AGAIN.

I was responding to the folks who want "creepy, dangerous" magic. I think one can go with anything in between. My own issue with magic is that I hate the spell-slot system. Thus, I'd like to see something that includes three magical ability sets (as I noted earlier): (1) Always-on buffs and always-usable attacks; (2) per-encounter spells; and (3) limited-use BIG effects. I think the latter are essential to differentiating magic from the mundane; clearly, you disagree. However, I happen to think that traveling half the world in an eyeblink, raising the dead, and seeing through space and time are things that need some kind of balancing mechanic, and I happen to dislike using spell slots for that. YMMV.
 
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HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Geoffrey said:
I agree. It would be a big step in the right direction to replace the current magic system with something similiar to that of the d20 version of Call of Cthulhu.

If you want to use that magic system you can always port it into 4e. I for one do not want to stick those kind of restrictions on a game with fundamentally different assumptions as a base system. As a modular variant rule to drop in & replace the core magic system for those who want it yes, but using it as part of the balance assumptions of the core system would make implementing regular D&D style magic troublesome.

EDIT: I'm on Hong's side?... There's something very disturbing about that.
 

hong

WotC's bitch
Mistwell said:
I agree with the sentiment that it should be spells per encounter, not spells per day.

The iconic wizard in my opinion doesn't ever run out of spells. They might run out of energy to power their spells, but they don't suddenly no longer have the ability to cast any spells until they sleep and refresh their "spell slots", or have to "memorize" their spells every day. :mad:

Warlocks seem closer to my iconic wizard than the current wizards do.

Heathen! Nothing is more iconic wizard than bat guano!
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Ruleslawyer IMO the single most problematic part of what you are favoring is the game balance issues it creates. The core game system creates the overall balance of feature and progression. If the basic assumptions used to create that balance are essentially a low-powered niche of the entire system's spectrum it will introduce errors in balance for most players and DMs who will use a higher-powered variant. It's much easier to set the baseline high and adjust for restrictions than to set the baseline low and scale it up.
 

Vrecknidj

Explorer
Change the way spell levels work, so that a 1st level wizard casts a 1st level wizard spell, and a 15th level wizard can cast a 15th level wizard spell. Remove the 0 to 9 restriction, and scale everything to the level.

So, the current 3rd level spells, for instance, would become either 5th or 6th level spells, based on a re-writing of the PHB. This will require a little work on things like minimum ability score requirements and save DCs, but that's all tweakable.

Dave
 

ruleslawyer

Registered User
HeavenShallBurn said:
Ruleslawyer IMO the single most problematic part of what you are favoring is the game balance issues it creates. The core game system creates the overall balance of feature and progression. If the basic assumptions used to create that balance are essentially a low-powered niche of the entire system's spectrum it will introduce errors in balance for most players and DMs who will use a higher-powered variant. It's much easier to set the baseline high and adjust for restrictions than to set the baseline low and scale it up.
?

Why are you assuming that this is a low-powered magic variant? I never mentioned anything about spellcasting power levels. My point is merely the following:

1) It would be nice to ditch the spell slot mechanic. Reserve feats and similar mechanics get you part of the way there; a mechanic for spinning up and using tokens or something else to generate spells each encounter gets you further. For the big booms, there are umpteen ways to base it around a success roll, so why not use that instead of slots? Sure, it's less reliable; so are attacks and skill uses.

2) For those who want dangerous magic (am I going to need to put in this disclaimer each and every post I make in this thread?), a spellcasting skill check (as in EoM:ME or True Sorcery) would allow you to add that feature by enabling the use of a mishap or the like.
 

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