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

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
With the right character, what is stopping you?
That I would need some kind of complex multiclass build to do it? With all not being proficient with simple weapons anymore, so much pressure put to be a blaster that casts twinned and quickened forebolts every round, and not having real utility spells to? Sickles are way worse than they used to be in 3.5 and all quirky melee stuff is inside the battlemaster. Before all I needed was a couple of feats here and there.

(And well, the wizard has never been ever remotely attractive as a class to me, their approach to magic is very specific and all that refluffing and ignoring is very distracting. That is why I prefer the sorcerer, I just find it more natural, that is until this edition made all sorcerers inhuman freaks)
 

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Tshiow

First Post
Spells have been nerfed in 5e. Saving throws are allowed everyone to break free of effects, damage does not scale automatically instead requiring using a higher level Spell slot, concentration mechanics make buffing a thing of the past - no more improved invisibility, improved blinking while flying mages, far fewer Spell slots further compounds this- no more fireballing every room before entering to clear riff raff, high level Spell effects are no longer earth shattering or reality altering.

I would say a 5e wizard, cleric are so much weaker compared to their 2e, 3e, 3.5e counter parts.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
I haven't finished reading through the 30+ pages here, but I guess I'm not seeing the problem. I am still wary of casting spells with my tempest cleric because of worry about running out. At level 7 I'm only just now getting comfortable with the idea of casting 1 spell per fight. So what if I have 1 or 2 weak spells I can cast for worse damage than if I go bang something with my warhammer? With a Dex save. That doesn't seem over-magical to me. It seems to me like allowing me to play the game I signed up to play, not sit on my dice and watch everyone else have fun because I didn't want to play a crossbowman.
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
But spellcasting is just a mechanism to deliver meaningful abilities.

Let's say you make a new class. To be able to say, "the class has several abilities. You can use any combination of these abilities up to X times a day. As you level up, you can use your abiliities more often" is a great mechanic. It gives the player flexibility, gives them a variety of abilities, and allows you to give them more options later while not excessively overpowering them.

But that's the spellcasting mechanic. The spellcasting mechanic even allows you to group abilities of different power levels together and balance them separately from others.

Now maybe WotC should have cloned spellcasting and called the new mechanic an "ability pool" or some such. They could have specified that abilities in the ability pool are non-magical. But that seems excessive when you could just use the spellcasting mechanic directly.

It's the part where you choose which abilities to take with you each day that makes them feel like tools rather than part of who you are.
 

Azurewraith

Explorer
Exactly! Do you want a Ranger that isn't magical or cast spells? Go through the Ranger spell list... choose those spells are are *barely* magical or a typical Ranger special outdoorsy ability, like Longstrider, Beast Sense etc... and just not call them magic. They're the very special connection the Ranger has to nature and animals, and he gets several Ranger features he can use *per day* that just "coincidentally" matches up to the spell pyramid.

It's the same exact thing I've always said to the Warlord contingent. If you want a non-magical Warlord... just use a Bard or a Cleric and only choose those "spells" who mechanics can easily be rendered as non-magical. That Bless that increases your ally's ability to attack? It's you speaking to them and egging them on. That Command? You have just such a battlefield presence that you can cowtow your enemies to do what you want.

So long as you just purposely avoid the most supernatural spells in the respective lists... you can create feature lists for "non-magical" classes that just use the same formatting of spell slots merely for ease-of-use. But the reason why people don't do that is because they then have to justify to their fellow players why they aren't selecting the "powerful" spells and playing towards theme... which we all see in threads like this that not many people are willing to do.
This is fine untill you have to remind the for the 20th time that your boy casting or you hit a anti magic zone.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Exactly! Do you want a Ranger that isn't magical or cast spells? Go through the Ranger spell list... choose those spells are are *barely* magical or a typical Ranger special outdoorsy ability, like Longstrider, Beast Sense etc... and just not call them magic. They're the very special connection the Ranger has to nature and animals, and he gets several Ranger features he can use *per day* that just "coincidentally" matches up to the spell pyramid.

It's the same exact thing I've always said to the Warlord contingent. If you want a non-magical Warlord... just use a Bard or a Cleric and only choose those "spells" who mechanics can easily be rendered as non-magical. That Bless that increases your ally's ability to attack? It's you speaking to them and egging them on. That Command? You have just such a battlefield presence that you can cowtow your enemies to do what you want.

So long as you just purposely avoid the most supernatural spells in the respective lists... you can create feature lists for "non-magical" classes that just use the same formatting of spell slots merely for ease-of-use. But the reason why people don't do that is because they then have to justify to their fellow players why they aren't selecting the "powerful" spells and playing towards theme... which we all see in threads like this that not many people are willing to do.
Why do you pretend you aren't perfectly aware that the big complaint is "I want a ranger WITHOUT magic"?

That is, for your suggestion to work, WotC needs to go through the trouble of designing a new class/subclass that gets zero spell slots, but does get those abilities (that you've selected) as class features.

And then the issue, and the real crux, becomes: if I can only do that twice a day, say, rather than every single round for hour after hour...

Why am I limited? My abilities aren't spells!

THAT is the answer you gotta answer before you can act like the problem has a simple solution.

Regards
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Why do you pretend you aren't perfectly aware that the big complaint is "I want a ranger WITHOUT magic"?

Because the answer is "You refluff."

I know all of you don't want to HAVE to refluff... but at some point you have to make the decision of what's more important... NOT refluffing and spending the next half-dozen years upset because you aren't playing what you wish for... or biting the bullet and refluffing spells as a series of daily class features which-- to answer [MENTION=6798581]Azurewraith[/MENTION] 's question above-- the DM allows for NOT being broken on damage or still works in an anti-magic field because the player is VOLUNTARILY condensing and restricting their spell list down to a very small subset of abilities that can easily be considered non-magical.

At some point, making what you want with the tools the game gives you and straight out tells you to do HAS to be preferable than playing for five or more years in a constant state of agita because you aren't getting what you hope for, isn't it? Or even when worst comes to worse... just using what WotC themselves have given you to do what you want with regards to a non-magical Ranger.

Unless you all just prefer having something to be constantly annoyed about?
 

Azurewraith

Explorer
[MENTION=6798581]Azurewraith[/MENTION] 's question above-- the DM allows for NOT being broken on damage or still works in an anti-magic field because the player is VOLUNTARILY condensing and restricting their spell list down to a very small subset of abilities that can easily be considered non-magical.

I never even would of thought of that I feel all these sleepless nights catching up with me.
 

Mon

Explorer
And for those of us who deeply dispute your fundamental premise--that there is no such thing as patience in our culture, even though things like Homestuck exist and have been compared to difficult and esoteric works like Finnegan's Wake--yet agree that a cultural shift has occurred?

Because I'm getting reaaaaal sick of the "the modern world has poisoned our ability to exhibit basic virtues" argument. It's existed since Plato, you know. Books are destroying our ability to think! And it was as bunk then as it is now.

"There is no such thing as patience" wasn't his premise at all. At least, not the way I read it.

The cultural shift you mention was my takeaway from the post.
 

pemerton

Legend
Because the answer is "You refluff."

I know all of you don't want to HAVE to refluff... but at some point you have to make the decision of what's more important... NOT refluffing and spending the next half-dozen years upset because you aren't playing what you wish for... or biting the bullet and refluffing spells as a series of daily class feature

<snip>

At some point, making what you want with the tools the game gives you and straight out tells you to do HAS to be preferable than playing for five or more years in a constant state of agita because you aren't getting what you hope for, isn't it?
I think you have to be careful in projecting comments on what is, by design, a forum for discussion and debate into psychological states like "constant agitation".

So let's turn from mental well-being to game design.

5e makes a big deal of having different resource suites for different classes, and different mechanics as well. This is not an accident. As has been stated by the designers, and as in any event obvious, it is about evoking "feel" - especially the classic D&D feel. In this respect it is an obvious departure from 4e, which used highly symmetrical resource suites for all classes based around uniform mechanics.

In 4e, differences in the fiction are only rarely expressed in the actual mechanical resolution method: in combat this tends to be "spend a power, roll a d20 to attack" and out of combat this tends to be "pile up any available bonuses, roll a d20 to determine movement within a skill challenge". The differences in the fiction are driven by outcomes: in combat, this is often about keywords and grid positioning; in a skill challenge this is typically about narration and fictional positioning.

In 5e, though, difference in the fiction are very often expressed in the actual mechanical resolution method: there is a difference between making a weapon attack and casting a spell (eg anti-magic rules, attacks vs saves); there are different resource management rules (eg spell memorisation, rules for spell components, etc).

To be a bit more concrete: in 4e you can't tell the difference between using a fighter close burst and a MU casting an AoE about him-/herself except by attending to the keywords (Arcane vs Martial; damage types; etc) and narrating the fiction on the basis of that; whereas in 5e the fighter's multi-attacks are mechanically based around the extra attack, action surge etc features (which treat each attack as a granular action declaration and then build baroque manipulations of the action economy on tope of that), while the MU's AoE will be resolved by the rules for spell areas in the magic chapter, via saving throws for enemies, etc.

In this context, simply taking a suite of daily abilities and saying "they're not spells" is pushing hard against 5e's design paradigm. It requires pretending that those details of mechanical processes of resolution have no implications for the fiction; whereas the whole tenor of 5e (in contrast to 4e) is that those details do have implications for the fiction.
 


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