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

Hussar

Legend
Tony Vargas said:
Now, casting in melee is automatic, the wizard has more hps, and every primary caster has at-will cantrips. So everyone runs around casting every round, like none of them did in 1e, because they can, and they look a little more like they're adventuring spell casters instead of playing darts at a bar.

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...Road-of-Ubiquitous-Magic/page34#ixzz41VoHsqCY

I'd argue that they all look pretty much the same now. And they all look like wizards. Sure, one might be wearing different armor and maybe is a bit themed, but, at the end of the day, they're all acting very much the same - standing in the back and tossing spell after spell after spell. That's fine for wizards, AFAIC. That's what wizards (and sorcs and warlocks too) should be doing. Casting spells is their schtick. It's right there in the name after all. :D

But, again, why are bards, clerics and druids gaining spells that replace their combat skills? Part of the class is that they actually HAVE reasonably decent combat skills. But, that gets overshadowed by pew pew magic because it makes too much sense to rely on that. Why bother trying to use Shillelagh to make my melee attacks equal my regular cantrip blasts? OTOH, IMO, it would make a LOT more sense for a druid to not have Thorn Whip and Produce Flame (at least as a cantrip) and instead only have Shillelagh. Makes a druid actually look like a druid instead of a nature themed wizard. At then end of the day, Firebolt and Produce Flame aren't exactly very different. And both of them look a lot like Sacred Flame. ooo, attack roll vs Dex save. Yeah, those play out completely differently. :/

Actually, Vicious Mockery makes an excellent example. At d4 (or 2d4 for most of play levels) damage + disadvantage, it's not exactly overshadowing the bard's regular attacks. There's no reason a bard can't use a rapier or a longsword and deal more damage, although, he doesn't grant disadvantage on attacks obviously. But, that's the point. That's an actual interesting choice - deal more damage or deal less damage plus effect. Clerics and Druids don't really have that choice. Their at-wills are flat out better than their attacks.

Of course, all this kinda goes out the window because bards can choose at-wills from other spell lists. But, again, that's not until 6th level (for Lore Bards) and by that point, the character has enough options that choosing to echew straight up attacks might not be a great option. Again, it makes for interesting choices. Never minding the Valor bard standing over there who really doesn't need to use cantrips to attack at all. He's got the oomph to stand up in combat and be pretty effective.

The issue, for me, is that clerics and druids wind up looking too much like wizards because their at wills are as good if not better than any other option they could choose. At least bards aren't really being pushed in that direction.
 

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Hussar

Legend
Bards make an interesting case. In 1e bards were full fighters and thieves before they were bards. You didn't get any spells at all until about seventh level. Bards were Fighters/Skill Monkeys/casters.

2e shifts this. You get some spells earlier and compared to actual fighter classes you were pretty weak. But you still got most of the thief's skills. In 2e bards were Skill Monkeys/casters.

3e shifts thing again. Taking a bard into a fight was a bad idea. They were strongly a support class. Much broader spell list and sorcerer style casting plus the niche protection of rogue skills made bards Casters/skill monkeys.

Now we have 5e. Despite things like Valor Bards, a bard isn't really very good at stabbing things. No sneak attack, no secondary attacks, a 5e bard really isn't a fighter at all. Other than maybe a better AC, a bard isn't much of a step up from a wizard in fighting. Plus bards are now full casters with lots of options that are every bit as good as stabbing things.

We've gone from bards who cast a handful of times in a campaign to bards that cast every session to bards that cast every encounter to bards that cast every round.

Why? What about a bard says, "hey I should be able to cast just as often as a wizard?" There's a pretty much straight line increase in the casting abilities of a bard.
 


Hussar

Legend
I stand corrected.

So he goes from d6+2 to 2d6+4. Not exactly rocking the world and not even close to the effects his spells are having at that level.
 
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Tony Vargas

Legend
Bards make an interesting case. In 1e bards were full fighters and thieves before they were bards. You didn't get any spells at all until about seventh level. Bards were Fighters/Skill Monkeys/casters.
They were arguably the first PrC, that way.

2e shifts this. You get some spells earlier and compared to actual fighter classes you were pretty weak. But you still got most of the thief's skills. In 2e bards were Skill Monkeys/casters.

3e shifts thing again. Taking a bard into a fight was a bad idea. They were strongly a support class. Much broader spell list and sorcerer style casting plus the niche protection of rogue skills made bards Casters/skill monkeys.
And, in 4e, they were Arcane Leaders, with both implement and weapon powers, and in Essentials, 'Skalds' with more emphasis on melee, but still, arcane-leader spin on melee. And they did still have a nod to being JoT skill types.

Now we have 5e.
And he's a support-oriented full-caster with a greater variety of spells, just as many slots as the Wizard, and a skilled class with the Rogue's Expertise claim-to-fame, and has a 'Valor' Build that gets Extra attack.

Aside from benefiting from 5e's general expansion of full-caster abilities, it seems to be in line with the class's evolution.

What about a bard says, "hey I should be able to cast just as often as a wizard?" There's a pretty much straight line increase in the casting abilities of a bard.
Yep, all the casters have gotten a boost this time around, but the Bard has very clearly joined the Cleric, Druid and Wizard as a full-caster in every sense. 'Why?' IDK. Some classes get the full-caster treatment: the Vancian prepped casting that made CoDzilla & the Wizard Tier 1 combined with the Sorcerer's 'mere' Tier-2 spontaneous casting for unprecedented flexibility.

One thing to consider, though is that the Skald and 5e Bard were both created with Mike Mearls in the driver's seat, and the return to melee ability is the only thing otherwise bucking the trend towards full-caster. So maybe he just likes the Bard this way.

Really, several 5e classes resemble their Essentials incarnations. The Champion is very analogous to the Slayer, the BM to the Knight, the Thief to, well, the Thief. The Wizard(Mage) with it's school sub-sub-classes is very like the 5e Wizard with it's Arcane Traditions. Domains were defining to the Essentials Cleric(War Cleric) and to the 5e Cleric, and so forth. The Assassin bucks the trend in a big way, though. ;)
 


I stand corrected.

So he goes from d6+2 to 2d6+4. Not exactly rocking the world and not even close to the effects his spells are having at that level.
If the bard is primarily making weapon attacks rather than spell attacks, than it's going to put a high stat in Dex rather than... whatever their casting stat is these days. That brings their damage from two attacks up to 2d8+8 with a rapier, putting them roughly on par with a paladin.
 

NotActuallyTim

First Post
If the bard is primarily making weapon attacks rather than spell attacks, than it's going to put a high stat in Dex rather than... whatever their casting stat is these days. That brings their damage from two attacks up to 2d8+8 with a rapier, putting them roughly on par with a paladin.

It's Bardrisma. :D
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
How about these house rules for a (slightly) lower magic game:

* Paladins and Rangers select their spells permanently, like cantrips
* Replace the Druid cantrips Produce Flame and Thorn Whip with Dancing Lights and Blade Ward
* Replace the Cleric cantrip Sacred Flame with True Strike
 

TheLoneRanger1979

First Post
1. Aren't those dichotomies like complaining that both the Paladin and the Fighter can use swords?
Rangers and Druids tap the same power source to cast spells. Broadly speaking, Clerics and Paladins tap roughly similar ones as well. Its only natural that there are some shared spells, just as Fighters and Paladins share some weapon styles and proficiencies. Rangers can cast some spells that Druids can cast. They can also cast some spells that Druids can't cast, and Druids can access some spells that Rangers can't. Likewise Clerics and Paladins.
Access to similar class features such as having a spell list with some shared spells on doesn't 'blend' the classes any more than having a weapon style list with some shared styles on.


2. I would certainly consider Paladins as considerably more than half defined by their magical abilities. It is the Paladin's Lay on Hands, Divine Sense, Auras and Spells that distinguish it from a Fighter.
Then again Monks are also defined a lot by their magical abilities. More than half? Matter of opinion.

1. It would be, if the thread was about people complaining how mundane objects like swords and bows were feeling so mundane because all of a sudden anyone could just pickup and use them. Which i personally wouldn't find all that odd, but that's just me ;)

"Tapping" into power sources however, i do mind. But others have already gone into more detail on how this blending affects the classes, and the repercussions of hand-waving the casting as feature and skill based play, so i shall not linger on it.

2. I do not really consider "casting" and "magical" to be entirely the same thingy here, but i never the less agree. Both paladins and rangers and not just half magical (or more), they are half casters now. And some of us don't like it.
 

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