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D&D 5E Why are non-caster Ranger themes so popular?

Greg K

Hero
Okay, you replied to me previously very strongly refusing to entertain any sort of magic in the base class, without any clarification, so I came to the conclusions I came to.

This, I can work with.

You never replied to my suggestion of a point or dice pool that power abilities the ranger chooses as they level, some of which can be wholly mundane, some preternatural as @Charlaquin prefers, or more overtly magical, with enough choices at each choice point that you can build to your preference or mine.
My apologies for not replying. I am dealing with some vision issues and, from post-covid, concentration and other issues. So, sometimes replying gets to be too much and I forget to come back to reply or I am not as clear in my organization and writing.
 

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Greg K

Hero
I'm fine with all of those ideas. I prefer the simplicity of using the existing structure of spell slots simply because it's already there and spell levels are very easy to balance for, but if the presence of spell slots is a problem, I'm fine with switching to a point system that has more neutral flavor.

The main thing I am not okay with is adding things like poultices and traps and poisons, and saying "if you want spells you can't have these".
Depending upon how one goes about it, the non-spellcaster gets more points or the spellcaster gains less uses by choosing spells with his points instead of other abillities.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Trolls can be killed with fire. Displacer beasts just need good aim. Fey have few or no physical resistances and while they are magical, they can be tricked with just wits.
Did you just not read the rest of what you quoted, here, or are you just ignoring it?
Why wouldn't they? Because you think that every combat should last for less than a minute?
Ah yes. There is only a minute, and most of a day. Definitely nothing in between.
It literally makes more sense for a ranger--especially one who's working alone or in a small group--to inflict a bit of damage and then hide until they can get another good shot at the target. This is only a bad plan if the creature can fly/teleport away or heal itself.
Anything that is very dangerous needs to be taken down quickly, or at least hobbled so it can't follow you easily. Choosing not to learn how to do so would be blatant stupidity.
Do you also think that every ranger is going to only fight CR-appropriate creatures?
Feel free to explain what on earth led you to this conclusion. Or better yet, why most of your post is just you asking rhetorical questions that attribute to me things I never said?
If they are working alone (as you say)
did I say that? Nope.
, then it would be suicide for them to go against a too-powerful creature in a 1v1 battle.
Okay?
But if the ranger has sworn to protect an area or to fight all monsters of a particular type, then they're less likely to just shrug and say "not my level." They'll either get help or use clever tactics. And 1v1 is not clever tactics.
Magic is full of tools to use in clever tactics, though, and is available to them to learn. They aren't going to hunt boars with knives just because it sounds cooler or they prefer fighting with knives over spears, either.
OK then: who (or what) would they learn magic from?
Druids, other rangers, dryads, hags who owe them a favor, wizards in exchange for keeping the area near their tower free of distactions and dangers, nature priests, bards in exchange for allowing them to join a pair of rangers while traversing a wilderness, etc. Like, if rangers are magical, then they learn their magic the same way as every other spellcaster. There are traditions of rangers, and their training includes magic. It's very simple.
If rangers are so solitary, then there's no reason why there would be ranger organizations.
I have never said they're especially solitary, outside of when they are patrolling the wilds, and even then I've explicitly described them being solo or in very small groups, and have repeatedly mentioned ranger orders.
I'm not saying there can't be ranger organizations, but they don't need to be the default either. So do rangers spontaneously develop magical skills, like they're sorcerers? Then why is their magic all nature/hunting related instead of mostly blaster magic? Does the earth give them magic, like druids? If so, then why does it give the magic to "bounty hunter"-style rangers as well as wilderness protector rangers? Do they learn magical tricks from from each other? But then there's that thing about ranger organizations.
There is no reason for them not to have organizations. This is a thing you're inventing of whole cloth and then acting like I said it.
This is why I prefer ranger magic as a subclass thing, as a warlock-style invocations thing, or as magical traits rather than as being half-casters as default.
None of that works, because it only allows your preference. It does not allow everyone who prefers a spellcasting ranger to actually play that without making it their whole damn archetype. There are better solutions, several of which I've suggested in this thread.
Out of curiosity, have you seen the Level Up ranger? Sadly, the playtest was removed now that the book's in kickstarter, but it's nonmagical yet still has lots of traits--some of which are pseudomagical--that make it worthy. An innate nonmagical hunter's mark (instead of relying on the spell), the ability to increase accuracy and damage with attacks, a nonmagical self-only pass without trace that defies nonmagical tracking, and more.
I don't especially like Level Up, from what I've read so far. Why should they be limited to defying nonmagical tracking? The wilds have spellcasting monsters in them. Why would the ranger never learn how to counter them?
Things like that are great, and nonmagical to boot. All it should really require is proficiency in the Herbalism kit or the Poisoner's kit. (Or knowing someone who has those proficiencies.)
Okay. I didn't say they couldn't be? They make more sense being somewhat magical with some being overtly magical, but you can stretch the idea pretty far if you squint. Nothing that is a core ranger competency conceptually should ever rely on knowing someone with a proficiency, though. If they get banes, they need to be making them themselves.
So basically all PC rangers aren't really rangers, because they're relying on help?
What. This is pretty blatantly a mischaracterization of what I said,seemingly desinged to try to win internet points rather than have a discussion.
And if a ranger is going to learn druid skills... that makes them multiclassed. Or means they took the Magic Initiate feat and grabbed druid skills that way.
If rangers tend to learn those skills, then they're part of ranger training.
I'd disagree. Or rather, I'd say that it can be seen as magical, or it can be seen as being highly, but mundanely, skilled. A ranger can be just that good at bypassing difficult terrain that magical terrain isn't that much worse, and a monk can be well-trained at the meditations needed to break mind control.
Oh? And the other examples I gave?
I think one of the reasons why many people want the ranger to be primarily nonmagical is because magic is so omnipresent in D&D as to be kind of boring. Making the ranger be able to be able to do things because of their own training and talents makes them cooler, IMO.
I have no sympathy for the "magic is too common amongst PCs and so it's boring" mindset, when discussing game design. DnD has magic. There are options to playdnd without a lot of magic. If the scout rogue doesn't scratch the wilderness explorer itch for someone, I'm all for variant features that let them ditch thespellcasting trait and reflavor the magical class features beyond that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My apologies for not replying. I am dealing with some vision issues and, from post-covid, concentration and other issues. So, sometimes replying gets to be too much and I forget to come back to reply or I am not as clear in my organization and writing.
No worries, I pointed it out more to ask what you think of it, but I worded it poorly to get that across. My bad.
Depending upon how one goes about it, the non-spellcaster gets more points or the spellcaster gains less uses by choosing spells with his points instead of other abillities.
Wouldn't it be easier to just have spells cost more points where appropriate? Like, if you've monk numbers of points, and spells cost 1 point per spell level, and most of the non spell abilities cost 1 point, you'll burn points faster casting spells, but have increased "nova" potential from it.

Another benefit of taking rangers off the "half caster" track and making it be class features that let them spend points on spells, if that you can skip spell levels to give a level 15 Ranger a single use of a level 7 spell that feels right for a ranger, without having to actually make them spellcasters of that power. I'm pretty sure the Monk isn't limited to half caster progression on it's special ki features that cast or mimic spells at high levels.

meanwhile, you can scale nonmagical ranger abilities using more targets and longer durations. So, hide in plain sight bumps to more targets hidden, or lasts longer, etc.
 

Kinematics

Explorer
Well, they want a non-caster ranger because they don't see it as part of the concept, but it (or at least overt magic) is for those of us who prefer a casting ranger.
My perspective is that rangers are very good tool users. Those tools would include traps, wilderness crafting (herbalism, alchemy, etc), animal companions, and spellcasting.

I would also see their subclasses as them specializing in one particular form of tool. So, Trapmaster, Beastmaster, Warden (magic, wards, etc), and so forth.

So I'm not saying that ranger shouldn't get magic at all. I'm just saying that magic, in and of itself, is not part of the ranger's core identity (unlike, say, clerics or wizards). It's just one of the things that could be put in the ranger's toolbag.

Basically, “what are the biggest magical effects that getting hit by while alone is a total loss condition?” Followed by “how can Rangers be more resilient against those effects?”
Definitely a good question.

Xanathar's has rules for making your own antitoxins and such using Alchemist's supplies, and a vaguer implication when using the Herbalist's kit. Of course the problem is that ranger doesn't get any tool proficiencies (which seems stupid even on the face of it), and that you likely will need to customize your background to get them. Though I'd just start with giving ranger the Herbalist kit tool proficiency.

At that point, it's then easy to imagine a variety of pills, poultices, and potions that could reasonably be crafted and used to counter many problematic status conditions. Maybe they even come with drawbacks (eg: a berserk potion to counter fear which basically just reverses all the fear effects could be just as dangerous in its own way).

But once you have the idea, it's not hard to implement. And at this stage doesn't really even need to change how the current class works.


Magical effects could be explained as the ranger findiing naturally occurring magical plants and stones in the wild. The ranger isn't casting lightning arrow, they made an arrow with a fey touched tree branch that was stuck by lightning.

Maybe even favored terrain would give a free known infusion when in that terrain. Having Favored Terrain Swamp means you can always fine black dragon's teeth to make Acid Arrows.
I like these ideas.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My perspective is that rangers are very good tool users. Those tools would include traps, wilderness crafting (herbalism, alchemy, etc), animal companions, and spellcasting.
This makes sense, absolutely.
I would also see their subclasses as them specializing in one particular form of tool. So, Trapmaster, Beastmaster, Warden (magic, wards, etc), and so forth.
This too.
So I'm not saying that ranger shouldn't get magic at all. I'm just saying that magic, in and of itself, is not part of the ranger's core identity (unlike, say, clerics or wizards). It's just one of the things that could be put in the ranger's toolbag.
Yeah for me it's in the core concept just like being good with animals and knowing about dangerous wilderness threats, but the bigger reason for it to be default is mechanics modeling the fiction, for me. I can't really make my Ranger if I have to choose between a companion and spells, for instance.
Definitely a good question.

Xanathar's has rules for making your own antitoxins and such using Alchemist's supplies, and a vaguer implication when using the Herbalist's kit. Of course the problem is that ranger doesn't get any tool proficiencies (which seems stupid even on the face of it), and that you likely will need to customize your background to get them. Though I'd just start with giving ranger the Herbalist kit tool proficiency.
Oof. Yeah. I'd go one step past that, and say Herbalism and one other tool of their choice.
At that point, it's then easy to imagine a variety of pills, poultices, and potions that could reasonably be crafted and used to counter many problematic status conditions. Maybe they even come with drawbacks (eg: a berserk potion to counter fear which basically just reverses all the fear effects could be just as dangerous in its own way).
Could do, sure. In some ways, the Witcher is a better Ranger than a lot of DnD Rangers.
But once you have the idea, it's not hard to implement. And at this stage doesn't really even need to change how the current class works.
That's fair.

It just occurred to me that I'd actually be fine with Rangers mostly having ritual magic and magical class features like better saves against charm and effects that restrain or paralyze, or against fear, etc, maybe tuned to types of creatures in theme. You take Dragons as a favored enemy and gain a bonus to saves against fear and breath weapons, and/or the ability to move half your speed when subjected to such an effect and you save. Add those to the features already mentioned, and I think I'd enjoy that class.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Disclaimer: Haven't read any of the thread , just the OP.

Whenever a class is presented using the spells per level per day structure, even though their choices might be different at the end of the day they feel fairly similar. For example, most of the work done by a wizard and a sorcerer is fine through it's spells, so to me they feel like siblings while the warlock is a distant cousin because of it's very different structure.

I want my base classes to feel as different from each other as possible so if the ranger feels like a half fighter half druid then it DOESNT feel like a ranger.

I realize that to get to my perfect concept there might only be half as many base classes as there are in the PHB and the game would be very different....but to me a druid, a ranger, and a cleric of a nature god should feel very different in how they let a party "Pass Without Trace" in the narrative....which should be represented differently in the mechanics.

Obvious example: A ranger does so by policing the actions of their party, a druid communes with the plants and the plants respond , or the clerics god uses it's power to deus ex machina the trail. One of the three would work in an antimagic zone.
 

Minigiant

Legend
OK then: who (or what) would they learn magic from? If rangers are so solitary, then there's no reason why there would be ranger organizations. I'm not saying there can't be ranger organizations, but they don't need to be the default either. So do rangers spontaneously develop magical skills, like they're sorcerers? Then why is their magic all nature/hunting related instead of mostly blaster magic? Does the earth give them magic, like druids? If so, then why does it give the magic to "bounty hunter"-style rangers as well as wilderness protector rangers? Do they learn magical tricks from from each other? But then there's that thing about ranger organizations

In 0e, rangers got both mage and priest spells. This was to represent 2 things

1) to replicate Aragon's skill at healing (priest) and "divination" (mage)

2) to display that rangers were men. They were men of civilization using the tools of nature. But by default they were not people of nature.

This is a part people and even WOTC/TSR often forget. The D&D ranger learned from druids and wizards. Locate Object. Locate Create Fire Arrow Lightning arrow Nondetection. The high level ranger was part fighting man, part sneak, part priest and part mage. The ranger being a fighter/druid was kinda wrong and an over simplification. A whole party in one capable of handling most threats by themselves. And the 0e and 1e ranger was very good at taking out their favored enemies with they had many of at level 1.

So rangers might have been aliens with a religious group as well as more arcane types like hermetic wizards, wild witches, fey nobles, and magical monsters. The concept ran with an idea that rangers were either parts of cells within a larger organization or that rangers had a ton of wilderness and civilized contacts and some one or group would teach them stuff or another ranger who pass down knowledge from other folk.

And that goes back to OP's question. The D&D ranger started out as a weird exception and was deviated from fictional and real rangers from the beginning.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Did you just not read the rest of what you quoted, here, or are you just ignoring it?
The rest of what? You claimed those monsters need magic to kill. But they don't. It's not like in earlier editions where you had to have magical weapons in order to even harm many monsters.

Ah yes. There is only a minute, and most of a day. Definitely nothing in between.
You're the one who said "all day" ("Okay come on, really? They're gonna...what, spend the entire day fighting to take a dangerous monstrosity down?") In reality, the combat would likely be spaced over a hour or so of guerilla attacks and tracking the creature as it moved around.

Anything that is very dangerous needs to be taken down quickly, or at least hobbled so it can't follow you easily. Choosing not to learn how to do so would be blatant stupidity.
Sure. So how is a single ranger--even one with spells--going to be able to take out a ravening monster super-quickly? Especially if the creature is more powerful than it?

Feel free to explain what on earth led you to this conclusion. Or better yet, why most of your post is just you asking rhetorical questions that attribute to me things I never said?
You said: "A ranger of appropraite level compared to CR should be able to survive a hostile encounter with a hag, and win if they're smart about it, with minimal or no help."

So clearly you expect rangers to be encountering level-appropriate challenges and win with "minimal or no help." I have no idea what you expect to happen if you have a ranger that sees a monster that's a lot more powerful than it. Because...

did I say that? Nope.
You said: "If they have to call upon outside help for fairly normal threats, they aren't a ranger." and "Many creatures in the wild require magic to effectively combat. Especially on a reliable basis, and especially without access to a whole squad to other combatants to help you."

So yes, on multiple occasions you have said that you expect rangers to work mostly alone or in a "small group" and not to rely on others.

Druids, other rangers, dryads, hags who owe them a favor, wizards in exchange for keeping the area near their tower free of distactions and dangers, nature priests, bards in exchange for allowing them to join a pair of rangers while traversing a wilderness, etc. Like, if rangers are magical, then they learn their magic the same way as every other spellcaster. There are traditions of rangers, and their training includes magic. It's very simple.
That sounds like a reason to multiclass to druid, bard, or archfey warlock.

And why do you assume that every ranger tradition must include magic?

I have never said they're especially solitary, outside of when they are patrolling the wilds, and even then I've explicitly described them being solo or in very small groups, and have repeatedly mentioned ranger orders.
So the vast majority of time, rangers are solitary, because patrolling the wilds takes up a lot of time. And do you think that they only will encounter and fight monsters when they're in small groups, never while patrolling the wilds solo?

I don't especially like Level Up, from what I've read so far. Why should they be limited to defying nonmagical tracking? The wilds have spellcasting monsters in them. Why would the ranger never learn how to counter them?
They're not "limited" to that. I simply didn't list every one of their abilities. Also, spellcasting rangers don't get dispel magic, dispel evil and good, or counterspell, so I have no idea how you expect them to "counter" spellcasting monsters.

Okay. I didn't say they couldn't be? They make more sense being somewhat magical with some being overtly magical, but you can stretch the idea pretty far if you squint. Nothing that is a core ranger competency conceptually should ever rely on knowing someone with a proficiency, though. If they get banes, they need to be making them themselves.
So... this means that only rangers can use the banes, right?

Since they're not artificers, I'd say that making a bane should require at least a rest to accomplish, if not be an entire downtime activity. If they need one in a hurry, then I see no reason why they can't buy one. I mean, you probably don't force assassins to only ever make their own poison, or fighters to forge their own weapons.

What. This is pretty blatantly a mischaracterization of what I said,seemingly desinged to try to win internet points rather than have a discussion.
So what did you mean, when you said that a ranger who relies on outside help isn't a ranger?

Oh? And the other examples I gave?
What other examples? All I saw were some "if they had this ability, it'd be magical."

I have no sympathy for the "magic is too common amongst PCs and so it's boring" mindset, when discussing game design. DnD has magic. There are options to playdnd without a lot of magic.
Four out of ten fighter archetypes, five out of nine rogue archetypes (six if you count the mastermind), and two out of eight barbarian archetypes are nonmagical. And three out of nine monk archetypes are "nonmagical," but since ki is magical, according to the PH, it doesn't count. Every other archetype and all of the other classes are magical.

So, not as much choice as you might think.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The rest of what? You claimed those monsters need magic to kill. But they don't. It's not like in earlier editions where you had to have magical weapons in order to even harm many monsters.


You're the one who said "all day" ("Okay come on, really? They're gonna...what, spend the entire day fighting to take a dangerous monstrosity down?") In reality, the combat would likely be spaced over a hour or so of guerilla attacks and tracking the creature as it moved around.


Sure. So how is a single ranger--even one with spells--going to be able to take out a ravening monster super-quickly? Especially if the creature is more powerful than it?


You said: "A ranger of appropraite level compared to CR should be able to survive a hostile encounter with a hag, and win if they're smart about it, with minimal or no help."

So clearly you expect rangers to be encountering level-appropriate challenges and win with "minimal or no help." I have no idea what you expect to happen if you have a ranger that sees a monster that's a lot more powerful than it. Because...


You said: "If they have to call upon outside help for fairly normal threats, they aren't a ranger." and "Many creatures in the wild require magic to effectively combat. Especially on a reliable basis, and especially without access to a whole squad to other combatants to help you."

So yes, on multiple occasions you have said that you expect rangers to work mostly alone or in a "small group" and not to rely on others.


That sounds like a reason to multiclass to druid, bard, or archfey warlock.

And why do you assume that every ranger tradition must include magic?


So the vast majority of time, rangers are solitary, because patrolling the wilds takes up a lot of time. And do you think that they only will encounter and fight monsters when they're in small groups, never while patrolling the wilds solo?


They're not "limited" to that. I simply didn't list every one of their abilities. Also, spellcasting rangers don't get dispel magic, dispel evil and good, or counterspell, so I have no idea how you expect them to "counter" spellcasting monsters.


So... this means that only rangers can use the banes, right?

Since they're not artificers, I'd say that making a bane should require at least a rest to accomplish, if not be an entire downtime activity. If they need one in a hurry, then I see no reason why they can't buy one. I mean, you probably don't force assassins to only ever make their own poison, or fighters to forge their own weapons.


So what did you mean, when you said that a ranger who relies on outside help isn't a ranger?


What other examples? All I saw were some "if they had this ability, it'd be magical."


Four out of ten fighter archetypes, five out of nine rogue archetypes (six if you count the mastermind), and two out of eight barbarian archetypes are nonmagical. And three out of nine monk archetypes are "nonmagical," but since ki is magical, according to the PH, it doesn't count. Every other archetype and all of the other classes are magical.

So, not as much choice as you might think.
Yeah I don't play the "aggressively misscharacterising other people's statements game". You and I aren't going to interact for a while.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:
Hey, @Faolyn and @doctorbadwolf - Do either of you think your exchange is going to get you anywhere useful? Because at the moment you look like two people dug in deeply, with no intention of moving, but unwilling to let the other have the last word.

I recommend you either change the nature of your exchange, or drop it, before someone has to end it for you, which I don't expect you'll like at all.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Mod Note:
Hey, @Faolyn and @doctorbadwolf - Do either of you think your exchange is going to get you anywhere useful? Because at the moment you look like two people dug in deeply, with no intention of moving, but unwilling to let the other have the last word.

I recommend you either change the nature of your exchange, or drop it, before someone has to end it for you, which I don't expect you'll like at all.
Apologies.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
The concept ran with an idea that rangers were either parts of cells within a larger organization or that rangers had a ton of wilderness and civilized contacts and some one or group would teach them stuff or another ranger who pass down knowledge from other folk.
I am not sure I buy this. If I remember correctly there was a limit on how many 1E Rangers were allowed to work together.
 


Paladin are "holy warriors," but in DnD "holy" is a kind of magic, so paladins are obviously
"Holy" absolutely does not need to be a kind of magic, for exactly the same reason that Wilderness is not inherently magical but Druids tap into the magic of nature. It's literally identical.

"Supernatural" is bigger than just "magic." "Magic" is a very specific structure and approach. It has slots and levels and specific types of components (somatic, verbal, and material), and there's a whole bunch of rules for all of those things. Channel Divinity, by comparison, is not "magic"--and thus certainly not spellcasting--but still clearly supernatural. Warlock Invocations are another example where many of them are NOT magic, but ARE clearly supernatural.

I want Paladins (and Rangers) that can do useful, powerful, and (potentially) supernatural things. I do not want those things to be spells. It is an ongoing flaw of D&D design logic that, if something is a supernatural power, it must be a spell. 5e has examples where it deviates from this, but they're rare. I would very much rather they were common.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I am not sure I buy this. If I remember correctly there was a limit on how many 1E Rangers were allowed to work together.
From the horse's mouth (second part): TSR - Q&A with Gary Gygax
I said cells. I was thinking 1-3 rangers. A ranger veteran and his 2 apprentices or vice versa. If they aren't mentoring, they are alone in the wilds.

Also the ranger PC is one who is not stationed anywhere nor attached to a force. This further emphasizes that the Ranger class is anomaly in society. Some weird dude in the wilds who defends towns he doesn't live in, has connections to cultures and groups he doesn't belong to, just get to hunt their enemies and ocassionally take inayouth to pass down his skills.
 

niklinna

Looking for group
"Holy" absolutely does not need to be a kind of magic, for exactly the same reason that Wilderness is not inherently magical but Druids tap into the magic of nature. It's literally identical.

"Supernatural" is bigger than just "magic." "Magic" is a very specific structure and approach. It has slots and levels and specific types of components (somatic, verbal, and material), and there's a whole bunch of rules for all of those things. Channel Divinity, by comparison, is not "magic"--and thus certainly not spellcasting--but still clearly supernatural. Warlock Invocations are another example where many of them are NOT magic, but ARE clearly supernatural.

I want Paladins (and Rangers) that can do useful, powerful, and (potentially) supernatural things. I do not want those things to be spells. It is an ongoing flaw of D&D design logic that, if something is a supernatural power, it must be a spell. 5e has examples where it deviates from this, but they're rare. I would very much rather they were common.
Hm! I've always defined this differently. Supernatural stuff wouldn't be affected by dispel magic, for example. Magic effects—even if not spells—would be. And spells are what have components and cast times and levels and (usually) slots, and can be counterspelled.
 

Hm! I've always defined this differently. Supernatural stuff wouldn't be affected by dispel magic, for example. Magic effects—even if not spells—would be. And spells are what have components and cast times and levels and (usually) slots, and can be counterspelled.
Sure, that's basically the 3e way, but being fast and loose with the line between (Su) and (Sp). But you're still bringing in a ton of spell baggage here: things subject to the spell dispel magic, or to the spell antimagic field, etc.

I'm using the term "supernatural" in its ordinary sense: that which is beyond the limits of the natural. I include in this category things I call "transmundane": stuff that isn't magic or spells or any of that faffery, stuff that theoretically arises from superlative mundane skill, but which exceeds the limits of what "ordinary" things should be able to achieve.

The transmundane and non-magic supernatural power are horrifically neglected in 5e as it currently stands. I mean, for God's sake, it is an outright spell, a third-level spell, to be able to shoot lots of arrows at once (conjure barrage, or its FIFTH-level counterpart, conjure volley). I want a world where a blacksmith does not also need to graduate from a magic academy or have a dragon (and/or deity) in the family tree in order to make weapons with supernatural properties. I want a world where encouraging words, if spoken persuasively enough, truly can draw out the inner reserves a person never knew they had. Where a rogue whose skill grows from excellent to world-renowned to legendary can start doing things that shouldn't be physically possible, but somehow, still happen, like stealing the color of a maiden's eyes or a memory of an important event. Where the unyielding faith, stalwart and true, of a single person can be more than just a metaphorical light in the darkness, but actually turn back the night.

Because a world where those things happen is one that still feels "magical," even though none of those actions is Magic, the official D&D game mechanic by that name.
 


Wait yes it is. It isn’t Spellcasting, but magic =\= Spellcasting. The Swarmkeeper Ranger’s abilities are magic. The Paladin’s Lay on Hands is magic.

Magic isn’t just spells.
Except that 99% of the time, when people say "magic," they mean spells-and-only-spells. Even if CD is explicitly "magic" (and I'd need to see the rules reference that says it is), my fundamental point still stands. Whatever words you want to call it, D&D is addicted to making ALMOST EVERYTHING out-of-the-ordinary into explicitly and specifically a spell. And then most D&D fans use the term "magic" for that thing. E.g., they don't speak of "psionics" as a form of "magic," they explicitly use terms like "psionic/magic transparency," NOT "psionic/spellcasting transparency."

As people actually use the words, D&D reduces almost all of the supernatural to magic and treats "magic" as synonymous with the spellcasting mechanic unless explicitly specified otherwise. This is a serious problem.
 

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