D&D 5E Why Has D&D, and 5e in Particular, Gone Down the Road of Ubiquitous Magic?

RCanine

First Post
Of course, my experience of D&D players is that, when it comes to D&D, most don't actually want to have risk added to their spell casting (check the lack of popularity for the Wild Mage for evidence).

This is a bad example. The wild mage is an absurd design that takes marginal benefit for massive risk, when every other class has nothing similar.


And while you say there is no opportunity cost, I don't find that to be correct - to gain anything magical, something else is not being gained.

You missed my point. I didn't said gaining a magic item didn't have opportunity cost, I said using one didn't. There's a big difference.
 

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AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
This is a bad example. The wild mage is an absurd design that takes marginal benefit for massive risk, when every other class has nothing similar.
If my example is bad, it is because I must not have any idea to what you were actually referring originally - because I thought it was spot on for what you said.

You missed my point. I didn't said gaining a magic item didn't have opportunity cost, I said using one didn't. There's a big difference.
You should have kept reading my post to the point where I specifically mentioned that if you are using a particular magical weapon that you pay the opportunity cost of not using some other weapon that might be of use. To which I will add that if you are using any particular magic item, you are paying the opportunity cost of not doing something else with your action in that round.

If all you were saying is that there is never a mechanical reason to use a normal longsword if you also own a +3 longsword, then all I can says is this: Why should there be?
 

Sadras

Legend
OTOH, doing so has greatly reduced the number of classes available.
It would be nice if we could play D&D with the magic dialled back a bit, not all the way down to zero, but, again, back to about a 3 or a 4 without having to eject 3/4 of the PHB.

Another possible option for low-magic campaigns...

An Enworld poster (can't remember who) discussing low-magic campaigns in an old thread mentioned the house rule where one cannot take a spellcasting class in consecutive levels, so only every alternate level would one gain access to new or more spells. I always liked that idea.

It also, slightly, encourages players to spread ability points around instead of min-maxing.
 
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Hussar

Legend
The idea that a class should do it's schtick most of the time is pretty unevenly applied though. Sure, casters are going to be doing spells virtually every round. But the fighters are likely not using their goodies in even half the rounds the fight in. Not enough superiority dice and increased crit ranges likely only kick in about one round in four or five.
 

RCanine

First Post
If my example is bad, it is because I must not have any idea to what you were actually referring originally - because I thought it was spot on for what you said.

The problem with your example isn't that you didn't understand, it's that in context the wild mage is poorly designed. There are other spellcasting classes that get better benefits and don't risk dropping a fireball on your party. As a result, it doesn't create a high risk/high reward gameplay and therefore relative popularity is pretty irrelevant.

You should have kept reading my post

No need to be rude.

I specifically mentioned that if you are using a particular magical weapon that you pay the opportunity cost of not using some other weapon that might be of use. To which I will add that if you are using any particular magic item, you are paying the opportunity cost of not doing something else with your action in that round.

If all you were saying is that there is never a mechanical reason to use a normal longsword if you also own a +3 longsword, then all I can says is this: Why should there be?

If you want magic to feel special and magical, then I believe you do, which is the point of this thread. In order to make magic special, you have to create gameplay moments where players think, "now's the time to break out the big guns!". The only mechanic we have for that today is resting, and "will I have time for a nap before I meet something scarier?" doesn't fulfill that fantasy.

Now, in hindsight, maybe a +3 sword isn't the best example of that; a player's going to want to use his sword. But if the +3 part had some sort of cost or limitation it might feel more special when you used it.

The problem, of course, is when you pair these limited bonuses with always-on stuff, it becomes very hard to balance.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
The problem with your example isn't that you didn't understand, it's that in context the wild mage is poorly designed. There are other spellcasting classes that get better benefits and don't risk dropping a fireball on your party. As a result, it doesn't create a high risk/high reward gameplay and therefore relative popularity is pretty irrelevant.
Ah, I see. So without a universal system of risky casting, no example of risk being added on to a casting class and people not liking that option will be considered contextually valid.

No need to be rude.
Which is precisely why I wasn't.

If you want magic to feel special and magical...
I reject the premise that magic doesn't feel special as-is.
 

The idea that a class should do it's schtick most of the time is pretty unevenly applied though. Sure, casters are going to be doing spells virtually every round. But the fighters are likely not using their goodies in even half the rounds the fight in. Not enough superiority dice and increased crit ranges likely only kick in about one round in four or five.
The extra attack almost always happens every round. And in my experience combats are short enough that superiority dice last for more than half the rounds in the fight. But these quibbles are beside the point, because the fighter's schtick is simply fighting. To be analogous to the previous-edition wizard situation, fighters would have to spend most of their rounds doing the Morris dance or whatever and only get to make an attack roll with their sword once per day.
 

While I think there is truth to this, I think there are other ways of getting the feel of playing a powerful wizard than just using spells. Drawing upon your lore mastery in other ways is one of them.

One of the flashiest fictional mages around is Doctor Strange. But even he doesn't cast spells for everything; he draws upon his lore to help himself and his allies. D&D doesn't really have very much of this.
Agreed. There are potentially other ways to say "wizard" besides casting a spell every six seconds. Point is, crossbowmanship isn't one of them.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
The idea that a class should do it's schtick most of the time is pretty unevenly applied though. Sure, casters are going to be doing spells virtually every round. But the fighters are likely not using their goodies in even half the rounds the fight in. Not enough superiority dice and increased crit ranges likely only kick in about one round in four or five.

Ummm......

Cantrips roughly = weapon attacks, so a caster's goodie is "deal 1d10 fire damage" (firebolt) and the fighter's goodie is "deal 1d10 piercing damage." (longbow)

These are pretty much the same goodie.

Compare superiority dice and crit frequently to slot-using spells, not cantrips.
 

mellored

Legend
The idea that a class should do it's schtick most of the time is pretty unevenly applied though. Sure, casters are going to be doing spells virtually every round. But the fighters are likely not using their goodies in even half the rounds the fight in. Not enough superiority dice and increased crit ranges likely only kick in about one round in four or five.
I disagree.
Fighter's is the class, and their shtick is hitting things with weapons. They have no issue doing that every round.

Sub-class on the other hand, are not intended to be used every round. They are supplemental.
Clerics' channel divinity, tomelocks' rituals, divination's dice replacement, and assassins's free crits happen every once in a while. Either by being limited, or situation. Same with battlemaster, EK, and champion. You get dice/spells/crits every once in a while.
 

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