D&D General When to know a rule?

bloodtide

Legend
It's not (strictly) because I see it as player-facing. It's because I put such a strong emphasis on making informed choices. Making informed choices is the heart and soul of gameplay of any kind.
So in your playstlye all the players are given all the mechanical game details of everything as soon as it is encountered? NPCs, foes, monsters, spells, and everything else. So the players know everything the DM knows. And only then, knowing everything, can you play the game?





Cool. Would you be coy about saying anything at all other than--and this is very important--exclusively saying that other spells exist, without ANY details whatsoever? E.g., "Ah, comprehend languages. You've heard there's a Glantrian version and an Alphatian version, and also a related higher-level spell. But I won't tell you anything else about them at all. You have to learn that for yourself."

Because if you're willing to share even the minimal details you've just shared with me, then that's plenty. Heck, even adding the details about confuse languages and comprehendere linguam is unnecessary in my book--just knowing that there are two regional variants which each modify one part of the spell's mechanics is fully sufficient.
Why? This sounds like "throw me a bone and I will be happy". Why waste the time? Can the DM just say the spells are better? Is that enough?
I am saying that if you mention to the players that there are alternate versions, and then simply refuse to tell the players anything at all about what makes them different from any other comprehend languages spell, unless and until they specifically travel to those lands and do an extensive multi-week study to learn the differences, I would be extremely annoyed and would consider that being kind of a dick about it. I don't need granular details--already said that upthread and in this post--but I'd expect to at least know, well, what you just posted above, that the Glantrian version is no longer self-only and the Alphatian version lasts longer. Don't even need to know how much longer. Could be two hours, could be 1d4 hours, could be 8 hours, could be all day--I can find that out later when I seek out the nitty-gritty. Just telling me that it has longer duration is enough to make a meaningful, informed decision, even if it isn't a diamond-perfect absolutely-the-best-possible-EVAR decision.
How does knowing one vague random bit about a spell make the game better?
It really is quite frustrating how often people turn "I want to make informed decisions" into "OH SO I'M NEVER ALLOWED TO DO ANYTHING, YOUR MAJESTY?" Perfection is not required, and immediately invoking it as a reason why one's opponent must be wrong is strawmanning. I just want the basics; more than the absolute bare bones "Yep, there's an X, it's a thing that exists" without having to necessarily be an exhaustive accounting of every possible factoid. Enough for me to at least make an educated guess.
I just don't get how you are making the jump? 3,000 miles away from your PC, is a gnome town that has a Gnome Knocker illusion spell. Your PC is on an adventure in the Dark Woods fighting some werewolves. So,in your homebrew rules...when your character is fighting a werewolf can you say "gnomes have a spell called Gnome Knocker" and get like a +100 to hit?
 

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Hussar

Legend
I gotta admit, this is a totally new one to me. The idea that spells are somehow part of world building? Okay, sure. Doesn't explain why my divine characters don't have access. Also, since the only caster that actually writes anything down is a Wizard, I guess all your new spells are wizard only?

Otherwise, they would be easily accessible by any other caster. After all, no other class actually does spell creation. They just get new spells automatically when they level up. So, if you have a Gnome Knocker spell, which if it is a +100 to hit, I would presume that you've vetted for your game, since your spells, @bloodtide are all perfectly vetted for balance in the game, then why couldn't my warlock or sorcerer have that spell? It exists. Therefore it's part of the game world. Therefore I, as a non-wizard arcane caster, should be able to take it.

But funny how your perfectly written, perfectly balanced spells default to +100 examples. 🤷
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
I gotta admit, this is a totally new one to me. The idea that spells are somehow part of world building? Okay, sure. Doesn't explain why my divine characters don't have access. Also, since the only caster that actually writes anything down is a Wizard, I guess all your new spells are wizard only?

Otherwise, they would be easily accessible by any other caster. After all, no other class actually does spell creation. They just get new spells automatically when they level up. So, if you have a Gnome Knocker spell, which if it is a +100 to hit, I would presume that you've vetted for your game, since your spells, @bloodtide are all perfectly vetted for balance in the game, then why couldn't my warlock or sorcerer have that spell? It exists. Therefore it's part of the game world. Therefore I, as a non-wizard arcane caster, should be able to take it.

But funny how your perfectly written, perfectly balanced spells default to +100 examples. 🤷
I wonder how you'd react to the rules in my homebrew games: Players can choose spells freely from the PHB and Xanathar's; spells from elsewhere may show up as treasures--either scrolls or spellbooks. Spells in spellbooks are there for wizards, there are rules in the PHB for handling those. Spells on scrolls ... If you're a spells-prepared class, you end up using up the scroll the first time you prepare it--but you can prepare it freely thereafter (except wizards, who use up the scroll copying it to their spellbooks); if you're a spells-known class, you end up using up the scroll when you learn the spell (though if you swap the spell out, as allowed in the rules, you can swap it back in freely at another such point).

This isn't so much about houseruling as sanity, clarity, and housekeeping. More spells available means more clutter when it comes time to choose spells.

I presume if I were going to create spells attached to cultures, I'd have information about those spells available, but you'd have to find someone with the spell so you could acquire it in a form that would allow you to learn or prepare it.
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I gotta admit, this is a totally new one to me. The idea that spells are somehow part of world building? Okay, sure. Doesn't explain why my divine characters don't have access. Also, since the only caster that actually writes anything down is a Wizard, I guess all your new spells are wizard only?

Otherwise, they would be easily accessible by any other caster. After all, no other class actually does spell creation. They just get new spells automatically when they level up. So, if you have a Gnome Knocker spell, which if it is a +100 to hit, I would presume that you've vetted for your game, since your spells, @bloodtide are all perfectly vetted for balance in the game, then why couldn't my warlock or sorcerer have that spell? It exists. Therefore it's part of the game world. Therefore I, as a non-wizard arcane caster, should be able to take it.

But funny how your perfectly written, perfectly balanced spells default to +100 examples. 🤷
I covered examples as to why. Nobody ever thought to ask the God to perform "task x" before, the God decided not to hand out those spells, spell requests (prayers) must be carefully worded, those spells were forbidden at some point and so aren't mentioned in the holy texts, they were developed by a splinter sect you didn't have contact with before- there's any number of reasons.

I mean, let's say there's 5000 Cleric spells. Given that Intelligence is largely a dump stat for the class, what Cleric is going to be able to memorize all of those? I'm sure there's going to be gaps in any Cleric's knowledge.
 

Hussar

Legend
I wonder how you'd react to the rules in my homebrew games: Players can choose spells freely from the PHB and Xanathar's; spells from elsewhere may show up as treasures--either scrolls or spellbooks. Spells in spellbooks are there for wizards, there are rules in the PHB for handling those. Spells on scrolls ... If you're a spells-prepared class, you end up using up the scroll the first time you prepare it--but you can prepare it freely thereafter (except wizards, who use up the scroll copying it to their spellbooks); if you're a spells-known class, you end up using up the scroll when you learn the spell (though if you swap the spell out, as allowed in the rules, you can swap it back in freely at another such point).

This isn't so much about houseruling as sanity, clarity, and housekeeping. More spells available means more clutter when it comes time to choose spells.

I presume if I were going to create spells attached to cultures, I'd have information about those spells available, but you'd have to find someone with the spell so you could acquire it in a form that would allow you to learn or prepare it.

Again, this is fine. I’m certainly don’t want people to think I’m hardline about RAW. I’m not. I use all sorts of non-standard stuff. No problem.

But let me turn it around. Player asks you to see your spells. Even if he can’t use them, he just wants to see them. Maybe to draw inspiration. Maybe to check the math. Doesn’t matter.

Would you hold that no, the player absolutely may not look at your list of homebrew spells? How would you feel about a dm that flat out refuses?

As I said earlier, this just raises so many red flags.
 

Hussar

Legend
I covered examples as to why. Nobody ever thought to ask the God to perform "task x" before, the God decided not to hand out those spells, spell requests (prayers) must be carefully worded, those spells were forbidden at some point and so aren't mentioned in the holy texts, they were developed by a splinter sect you didn't have contact with before- there's any number of reasons.

I mean, let's say there's 5000 Cleric spells. Given that Intelligence is largely a dump stat for the class, what Cleric is going to be able to memorize all of those? I'm sure there's going to be gaps in any Cleric's knowledge.

Again, none of that is true in 5e DnD though. I’m not talking about my, your or anyone else’s game. I’m talking about what the game says.

And the game precludes clerics from researching spells. In fact, afaik, no edition of the game had rules for cleric spell research. Wizard? Yup. 2e had some pretty cool spell research rules.

But in 5e, there aren’t spells like that. If a spell is divine, any cleric can have it.
 

I gotta admit, this is a totally new one to me. The idea that spells are somehow part of world building?
In arguably the best or 2nd best Mystaran gazetteer, The Principalities of Glantri, the secret of the Radiance as well as the Seven Secret Crafts (think specialist arcane schools) exist and are not known by the common man (or the player at character creation)
In the gazetteer, Minrothad Guilds, the Merchant Princes who are at the pinnacle of the caste system within that land, are masters of the sea and sail have their very own spell list (players would not have access to this spell list as the primary goal of that setting is rising through the ranks of the caste and guilds and attaining that title of Merchant Prince)

I could go on....

@EzekielRaiden and @Hussar - to address your questions to me as to how I would deploy/inform my players re alternate magic:
If the chraracters say where to start off in Karameikos, a knightly kingdom, and they were wizards they would know
  • That the PHB spells are the commonly traded spells (at least the low level ones), magical formulas and rituals that have been revealed;
  • Of the magocracies of Glantri and the Empire of Alphatia and of the powerful Merchant Princes that exist in the Minrothad Guilds and may have heard of the powerful druidic powers of the elves of the Alfheim forest...etc;
  • That the wizards of those magocracies are have alternate spells or variation of certain spells due to their specialisation of that craft within the land;
  • That generally wizards everywhere do not share their spell variations easily and if they do its likely at a premium;
  • That all of this magic is available to the characters through the fiction; AND
  • That the DM may have all the spells or may create more spells during the campaign as the story and location dictate.
Spell creation rules exist within the world of Mystara for players, with collaborative discussion with the DM.

If all of these secret arcane schools/spells happen within a published line of D&D, why is it so foreign for a DM to do this for their own table. Why the pushback?

Okay, sure. Doesn't explain why my divine characters don't have access.
Different Immortals, different Spheres (domains).
The priests of the Atruaghin Clans may have different powers than clerics within Karameikos.
 
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Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
If for no other reason than to have a couple more sets of eyes to test whether the spells I designed were actually written well. If I had a tome of five THOUSAND spells, I'd be singing it to the moon. Hell, I'd be selling that puppy.

But, then, apparently I don't have a mastery of English. 🤷
Me too, and I was paid for a million and a half words that made it into print. I know that people make mistakes of all kinds no matter how experienced they are and how carefully they scrutinize their own work. Editors and proofreaders are absolutely necessary for the lowest error rates. Period. Nobody produces as reliably correct text on their own.
 

GrimCo

Adventurer
I gotta admit, this is a totally new one to me. The idea that spells are somehow part of world building? Okay, sure. Doesn't explain why my divine characters don't have access. Also, since the only caster that actually writes anything down is a Wizard, I guess all your new spells are wizard

Spells as part of world building isn't that new. Ravenloft did that back in 2ed. Cause of in setting reasons, some spells didn't work, some were altered.

Btw this is dnd general thread. Not 5e. And you know as well as anyone who played dnd for some time that every table plays the game little bit different.

When it comes to spell beggars ( clerics and warlocks), they get what is on their lists. But maybe there is in setting reasons why they don't get some homebrew stuff. Maybe their magic giving suggar daddy didn't find them worthy.

Personal interpretation is - wizards are engineers. They create blueprints. Sorcerers and bards are technicians, they make stuff from blueprints. Spell beggars get what their boss gives them.

If we go strictly be 5e, they left up to dm to come up with how and why things are. Older editions were more explicit with connecting mechanics to story elements.
 

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