D&D General When to know a rule?

For most spells, I don't think it matters if the players know about them in advance, but some spells can be build defining, and learning about a spell 3 levels after you made build choices that could have synergized with the new spell can be frustrating.

But seriously, 5000 spells?
 

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bloodtide

Legend
There is another point to think about here. You've created this tome of spells. Fair enough. Perhaps the players would like to double check your math? After all, it's not unreasonable to think that the DM may not have a great grasp on the math of the game. Look at all that Homebrewery and stuff on Reddit and you see lots of stuff that isn't exactly stellar when it comes to game design.

So, considering that the DM would instantly veto any player who tried to do the same thing - "I'm creating a new spell, but, you cannot see it because it will ruin the game for you", there might be a lack of trust for all this homebrew material.
Check the math? Hum, so if I gave the players a page of spells with everything redacted except the math for them yo check....somehow I don't think they would be happy.

I don't see everything the same like you do. A DM and a Player are different.
So let’s poke at this scenario a bit.

Your goblin casts Goblin Glue. My character wants to counter spell it. Do I get to know what level spell Goblin Glue is at least so I know if I’m burning the right spell slot to effectively counter it?
They would know the spell level that that single caster is using...but that might not be the spell level.

Just make sure that new spell mechanics and effects are easily understood by those affected by it.
Published 5E is "E for Everyone", my game is Unrated/Mature...so there will be complex spells.

Adding new conditions, or bizarre effects can be funny sometime or be lame.
To be fair, I'm one hundred percent that conditions are Game Rules. I've added a bunch to the 5E bare basic ones, and it's a player handout.
The « lexical curse spell« cast on a wizard that make him force to use only spell with name that begin by G,O,T,C,H,A may feel some a kind of bullying!

There is enough spells in the PHB and supplement to sustain all players need. It can be fun to access new spells you create but I don’t feel it’s mandatory.
Enough spells for you...maybe for some others....but not for me.
But seriously, 5000 spells?
Yes. Why not?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
So I'm going to be playing Tales of the Valiant (someday) and for now, I'm allowing a lot of Kobold Press content. Which includes Deep Magic (a big book of new magic stuff) and now a Deep Magic II has been released, so that's a lot of stuff.

I often keep my game interesting by having NPC's use new spells and having players find scrolls of new spells, both good and bad. And I have a lot of custom magic items that they can find.

Now if a player said to me "I want to know every spell that could exist so I could choose to have it" I'd laugh at them. Of course there are lost spells! You're in a tomb of a wizard who died a thousand years ago!

Or if the problem is "I don't know that spell, what does it do and how can I protect myself from it?" That I'm a little more generous with, because yeah, if you don't know a powerful acid spell is going to rain down on you, you might not have valued acid resistance highly. That sort of thing.

At the end of the day though, I'd say that D&D is a game about mysteries. There's no guide book to help you get the best ending or find all the secrets. I mean where do we draw the line? Do you want all the stat blocks for all my NPC's?

Complete shopping guides for every town you might go to? At some point you have to explore the game and find out what is out there, or it's just a big puzzle to be solved before you ever roll a die.
 

bloodtide

Legend
At the end of the day though, I'd say that D&D is a game about mysteries. There's no guide book to help you get the best ending or find all the secrets. I mean where do we draw the line? Do you want all the stat blocks for all my NPC's?

Complete shopping guides for every town you might go to? At some point you have to explore the game and find out what is out there, or it's just a big puzzle to be solved before you ever roll a die.
I agree. I use Kobold stuff too.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The « lexical curse spell« cast on a wizard that make him force to use only spell with name that begin by G,O,T,C,H,A ...
People really shouldn't give me ideas like this... :)

In a gonzo game where nothing matters anyway, a curse like the above would fit in perfectly!
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For most spells, I don't think it matters if the players know about them in advance, but some spells can be build defining, and learning about a spell 3 levels after you made build choices that could have synergized with the new spell can be frustrating.
Thing is, in-game the spell might not have even existed when the character was training up to be a wizard.

If for example I start out as a 1st-level wizard in year 1, then two years later someone in-setting develops this flashy new spell that in hindsight I could have built my career around, well tough for me.
But seriously, 5000 spells?
Does seem like a lot, doesn't it?
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Did we mention the Ring of Bureaucratic Wizardry yet? It doubles spell slots known, but...

Any time you want to cast a spell, you are given forms to fill out regarding the time, place, and reason for casting, that must be filled out in triplicate before the spell effect resolves!
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Sincerely: If you wish to have no game in your roleplaying game, why do you use any systems at all? Surely it would be better to just do freeform roleplay.
I've talked about this before, so I always assume people have heard my ramblings about it before already (and then just casually walk on past and pretend they didn't hear it, LOL.)

But in case not and you honestly don't know, there's a simple reason-- in freeform roleplay (aka performative improvisation), things succeeding or not succeeding is up to the people involved in the scene to decide. If I'm freeform roleplaying and I get into a swordfight with my scene partner, at barest minimum one of us has to decide to make the choice to lose-- to take the sword hit and then fall to the ground. Which is fine... that is completely a doable thing if we really wanted to decide who wins like that. And players making choices on their own like that happens all the time in standard RPGs without using any game mechanics-- the DM chooses to give out information they think the players already know, or players choose to follow one path through the forest rather than another (rather than deciding randomly.)

But to keep things surprising for all of us at the table, sometimes rather than making our own choices as to what we do or how we do it or what happens as a result... we let the game mechanics decide for us what happens. The mechanics tell us when we hit with our sword swing, when we weren't able to make that leap to the ledge, when we get stabbed in the chest and fall down unconscious. These are 100% all things that we could each decide for ourselves via improv if we so chose during "freeform roleplay" (and anyone who has ever played Fiasco can remember the time when yeah, based on how this heist has gone tits up... their character probably needs to get shot in the face, and they voluntarily let it happen.) But by letting mechanics and dice decide things for us, it surprises us at the table and gives us new and unexpected perspectives and events to then roleplay around. Scenarios we did not plan for, which make for more interesting and creative experiences coming out of it.

So that's why we use the game... to randomize our results. But we don't actually care about the mechanics that we use because we're not playing the mechanics for the sake of playing the mechanics. If we really cared about playing a competitive and tactical game using dice? We'd play sometime like King of Tokyo because that game is well designed and balanced and built from the ground up just for that experience (so it works really, really well). But for D&D... we care about what we come up with for ideas after the DM asks us "What do you do?" And then after we freeform improv our ideas, we will roll some dice to see what the results of the ideas were, and then freeform some more ideas out of them. But how the dice rolling itself actually works? That's the least important part of the D&D and for which we care the least.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Check the math? Hum, so if I gave the players a page of spells with everything redacted except the math for them yo check....somehow I don't think they would be happy.

I don't see everything the same like you do. A DM and a Player are different.

Fair enough. I tend not to put too much stock into the whole player/dm divide. We’re all playing the same game. Why wouldn’t we all have equal access to the rules of that game? Having DMs get creative with the rules in order to artificially inflate “challenge “ is far too common to be ignored.

Plus lots of DMs don’t have a firm grasp on the rules in the first place so expecting your players to automatically trust that you do might be a bridge too far for players who have been burned by this in the past.

I’ve never been a fan of the notion that players shouldn’t know the rules. I like the fact that player facing rules are in the open and in the phb. Since spells are player facing rules, and many casters can choose spells without research, I don’t see the purpose in keeping them secret.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I've talked about this before, so I always assume people have heard my ramblings about it before already (and then just casually walk on past and pretend they didn't hear it, LOL.)

But in case not and you honestly don't know, there's a simple reason-- in freeform roleplay (aka performative improvisation), things succeeding or not succeeding is up to the people involved in the scene to decide. If I'm freeform roleplaying and I get into a swordfight with my scene partner, at barest minimum one of us has to decide to make the choice to lose-- to take the sword hit and then fall to the ground. Which is fine... that is completely a doable thing if we really wanted to decide who wins like that. And players making choices on their own like that happens all the time in standard RPGs without using any game mechanics-- the DM chooses to give out information they think the players already know, or players choose to follow one path through the forest rather than another (rather than deciding randomly.)

But to keep things surprising for all of us at the table, sometimes rather than making our own choices as to what we do or how we do it or what happens as a result... we let the game mechanics decide for us what happens. The mechanics tell us when we hit with our sword swing, when we weren't able to make that leap to the ledge, when we get stabbed in the chest and fall down unconscious. These are 100% all things that we could each decide for ourselves via improv if we so chose during "freeform roleplay" (and anyone who has ever played Fiasco can remember the time when yeah, based on how this heist has gone tits up... their character probably needs to get shot in the face, and they voluntarily let it happen.) But by letting mechanics and dice decide things for us, it surprises us at the table and gives us new and unexpected perspectives and events to then roleplay around. Scenarios we did not plan for, which make for more interesting and creative experiences coming out of it.

So that's why we use the game... to randomize our results. But we don't actually care about the mechanics that we use because we're not playing the mechanics for the sake of playing the mechanics. If we really cared about playing a competitive and tactical game using dice? We'd play sometime like King of Tokyo because that game is well designed and balanced and built from the ground up just for that experience (so it works really, really well). But for D&D... we care about what we come up with for ideas after the DM asks us "What do you do?" And then after we freeform improv our ideas, we will roll some dice to see what the results of the ideas were, and then freeform some more ideas out of them. But how the dice rolling itself actually works? That's the least important part of the D&D and for which we care the least.
But you can do that without the insanely overwrought rules of D&D. Even the absolute simplest editions of D&D are orders of magnitude more complicated than what you describe as your need here.

You could get everything you want with a few sentences of rules. Not chapters, not pages. Literally something like:
  • There is a Dungeon Master, who will tell you when something you want to do requires rolling to see if it works.
  • When you roll, you roll an ordinary cube die (aka "d6.")
  • If you want to do something easy but still with a chance of failure, you fail on a 1.
  • If it's extremely risky, you only succeed on a 6.
  • Most of the time, unless common sense (or the DM) says there's a good reason not to, you should succeed on any roll 3 or higher.
  • The DM will tell you the consequences of failure if you don't roll high enough.
Frankly, you probably don't even need that much, but I like being specific. Six rules, done. No need for huge massive overcomplicating cruft like "hit points" and "AC" and "spell slots" and "saving throws" that are totally different from (but do exactly the same job as) "attack rolls" etc., etc. You literally don't need any of that.
 

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