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D&D 6E Would 4 spell lists work in D&D (maybe 6e)?

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I have been half-heartedly following the Pathfinder 2 playtest announcements, and I saw something about it having 4 spell lists (Material, Mental, Spiritual, and Vital) and it looks like full casters would get access to 2 lists (and maybe half casters get 1?).

It is probably too late in 5e for anything like this, but, assuming it goes over well in Pathfinder, would you want something like this for 6e (assuming there is a 6e of course)?

And, if we assumed that the 5e classes would be the starting 6e classes, how would you want this divided up?
 

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I have been half-heartedly following the Pathfinder 2 playtest announcements, and I saw something about it having 4 spell lists (Material, Mental, Spiritual, and Vital)
I've been playing D&D too long: I have no problem with the traditional 8 schools, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around those 4. ;)

and it looks like full casters would get access to 2 lists (and maybe half casters get 1?).
It is probably too late in 5e for anything like this, but, assuming it goes over well in Pathfinder, would you want something like this for 6e (assuming there is a 6e of course)?
IDK. Like 5e, it seems to put all the emphasis on magic. It could, potentially, be a fairly powerful way of organizing things: you could have 6 kinds of full casters & 4 kinds of half casters, for a total of 10 relatively distinct classes, defined fairly simply from only 4 lists.

And, if we assumed that the 5e classes would be the starting 6e classes, how would you want this divided up?
Lessee, 5e has Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, for full casters, and Paladin, Ranger, EK & AT for half-casters, with Monks quasi-casters, so it'd very nearly fit, maybe:

Bard: Mental/Vital
Cleric: Spiritual/Vital
Druid: Material/Vital
Sorcerer: Material/Spiritual
Warlock: Mental/Spiritual
Wizard: Material/Mental

EK: Material
AT: Mental
Pally: Vital
Ranger: Spiritual

?
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
I've been playing D&D too long: I have no problem with the traditional 8 schools, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around those 4. ;)

IDK. Like 5e, it seems to put all the emphasis on magic. It could, potentially, be a fairly powerful way of organizing things: you could have 6 kinds of full casters & 4 kinds of half casters, for a total of 10 relatively distinct classes, defined fairly simply from only 4 lists.

Lessee, 5e has Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, for full casters, and Paladin, Ranger, EK & AT for half-casters, with Monks quasi-casters, so it'd very nearly fit, maybe:

Bard: Mental/Vital
Cleric: Spiritual/Vital
Druid: Material/Vital
Sorcerer: Material/Spiritual
Warlock: Mental/Spiritual
Wizard: Material/Mental

EK: Material
AT: Mental
Pally: Vital
Ranger: Spiritual

?

My thoughts are similar, the idea makes for a nice thought experiment (and a nice way to limit individual magic user's narrative power), but I am not sure I would be ready to use it. It does kind of make it seem like "martial" is equal to a spell list (1/2 full caster). Part of me wonders if that is truth in advertising or sad (or both).
 

mellored

Explorer
Meh. I prefer an open, flexible list. That way each class can come up with its own categories.

Invisibility because you are light wizard and can bend it around you.
Invisibility because you are an enchantment wizard and you blind others to your presence.
Invisibility because you are an air wizard, and turn yourself transparent like air.
Invisibility because you are a time wizard, and shift yourself into the future.
ect....


I mean, should healing be vitality or material? What if they took psychic damage?
Where would conjure disease fit?
 


mellored

Explorer
Don't see why that'd make a difference, damage reduces your overall vitality, no?
But it was mental damage. So shouldn't you need mental spells to recover from it?

Do you mean cure disease? Vitality. The reverse, too, presumably.
No, i mean conjure disease.
Conjuring is material, disease is vitality. So it has 2 categories.


What if a spell has all 4 catagories?
You pull the image of the enemies greatest fear from their mind, sacrificing your own vitality, and turn your spirit into a physical creature of that shape.
 

But it was mental damage. So shouldn't you need mental spells to recover from it?
Not any more than you'd need Material spells to recover from a being hit by a sword, because it's made of a material.

No, i mean conjure disease.
Conjuring is material, disease is vitality. So it has 2 categories.
Sounds like the hypothetical spell just doesn't need to be added.

What if a spell has all 4 catagories?
Then the designer arbitrarily puts it in the one he feels fits best, I suppose.
 


AmerginLiath

Adventurer
It sounds like someone broke out their 2nd Edition AD&D books and looked at the Spell Spheres (technically a “1.5e” system, as it appeared in an earlier form in the Dragonlance Adventures HC), just using different names since TSR stuff that didn’t carry over into 3e isn’t SRD/OGL. THey even seemingly have Major and Minor Access by another name.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It is probably too late in 5e for anything like this, but, assuming it goes over well in Pathfinder, would you want something like this for 6e (assuming there is a 6e of course)?

Not the way PF2E is doing it. I don't like this kind of rigid, functional classification for spells. It takes all the magic out of magic.

I much prefer the D&D approach of classifying spells on the basis of "What kind of forces are you wielding?" It allows for functional overlap while maintaining a distinct character for each power source. Wizards and clerics can both toss out blasts of fire; but fireball is two levels lower than flame strike and deals the same damage, while hitting a wider area. Flame strike, on the other hand, deals half its damage as radiant, which is near-impossible to resist and messes up undead something fierce. So throwing a blast of fire is the wizard's go-to combat option, while the cleric uses it as a specialized weapon against certain foes.

Right now, D&D classifies spells by a combination of class and school. I do like the idea of simplifying this. Merge the paladin list with the cleric list, the ranger list with the druid list, and the sorcerer list with the wizard list. Switch arcane tricksters to the bard list, it's a better fit anyway. Get rid of spell schools altogether; they only exist to support the wizard traditions, which could be redesigned.

So you'd end up with five spell lists:

  • Arcane Magic (eldritch knights, sorcerers, wizards)
  • Fey Magic (arcanefey tricksters, bards)
  • Divine Magic (clerics, paladins)
  • Pact Magic* (warlocks)
  • Primal Magic (druids, rangers)
Then there would be the subclass features, like cleric domains and warlock patrons, that can give you a few handpicked spells from other lists.

For the wizard traditions, I'd probably do them like cleric domains; each tradition has a list of 2 "tradition spells" per level. However, instead of giving you access to other spell lists, the tradition would give you bonuses when casting your tradition spells.

[SIZE=-2]*Much as I would like to put warlocks under Arcane and/or Fey, there are far too many spells that become ludicrously OP if you can cast them once per short rest. I can't see any way around giving warlocks their own list.[/SIZE]
 
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Nevvur

Explorer
I like the idea on the surface, what little has been said about it. As jgsugden said, kinda hard to make an informed opinion.

One thought that occurs immediately is that the system may benefit from moving some spells off the core-4 spell lists and directly onto classes. Like all warlocks get e-blast and hex, all rangers get hunter's mark. Basically, each magic using class has an expanded spell list exclusive to them, but it's only a small handful of spells, similar in scope to the existing Domain/Circle/Oath spells for archetypes.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Isnt the idea of discreet spell lists right out of the Rolemaster RPG? I have no idea whether that game still played these days but it was popular in 80s.

I like it as an idea but I would have see how it is implemented.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
"Categorizing spells" is one of those unsolvable RPG problems that people have been debating for decades.

Personally, I like the way Monte Cooke's Arcana Evolved did it. Instead of lists, the spells had keywords, and your class gave you access to all spells with certain keywords. A spell could have multiple keywords. For example, a cleric might have access to all [healing], [spirit], [blessing] and [curse] spells, and then if you pick the light domain you also get access to all [fire] and [radiant] spells. It made it slightly harder to select spells when you level-up (or when you prepare), but it was stupidly easy to understand and also very flexible.
 

Horwath

Hero
I would like to see only 1 spell list.

Then add bonus spells known/prepared depending on class/subclass and increased varios effects of spells depending on class/subclass.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
PF2 needs to proceed carefully.

It's always tempting to structure, rationalize and make orderly the chaos that is legacy D&D features.

That forgets that it is exactly the details, inconsistencies and exceptions that *make* D&D.

So many retroclones that get rid of the fighter, cleric, thief, mage classes (renaming or streamlining them) and don't get that throws the baby out with the bathwater.

I hope further playtesting reveals to them there is value in the quirky, the idiosyncratic.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I have been half-heartedly following the Pathfinder 2 playtest announcements, and I saw something about it having 4 spell lists (Material, Mental, Spiritual, and Vital) and it looks like full casters would get access to 2 lists (and maybe half casters get 1?).

It is probably too late in 5e for anything like this, but, assuming it goes over well in Pathfinder, would you want something like this for 6e (assuming there is a 6e of course)?

And, if we assumed that the 5e classes would be the starting 6e classes, how would you want this divided up?

Something like this would work mechanically in a RPG, but honestly I wouldn't like it in D&D, where I am quite fond of the traditional schools of magic with all their imperfections and overlapping. There is a certain set of iconic traditional features of D&D, which gets thinner at every edition (in 5e we lost "true" vancian spellcasting), so I'd rather not accelerate the process.
 

I wouldn't mind it if magic was divided into four lists, though I would prefer if those were arcane, divine, primal and psychic, instead of arcane/divine. Classes would get access only to one list, with the exception of bard that gets partial access to all lists and maybe sorcerer/warlock (list depends on the bloodline/patron). This way classes become more unique even before you factor in the mechanics.
 

Coroc

Hero
We got overlaps on the 5E spell lists and we had them in Prior Editions allthough back then sometimes the sorting was different, and there were minor and Major Access etc. They made at least so spells would not have different Levels for different classes like they used to do.

I cannot see any gain or better logic association by using 4 classes for the spells, you still would have the overlaps, so that would mean a lot of exceptions and maybe extra rules. And both is not the idea of 5th ed.
 

houser2112

Explorer
As I mentioned in the thread where this was announced, I think the idea is very elegant, and facilitates future extensibility very well. You can still keep the school associations if that's important to you, but decoupling spells from classes make it so every new spellcasting class that comes along doesn't need to know about every spell to build its spell list.
 

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