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Yora
2014-07-07, 03:46 AM
Well. "D&D always did it" is a very good explaination. Even before there were thieves, there was a wizard class and a cleric class and a distinction between arcane and divine magic. But you don't have to have priests and wizards as separate classes. There are plenty of RPGs which don't have such a distinction. In Conan d20, everyone can learn magic and most sorcerers and spellcasting priests are simply of the scholar class because that's the fastest way to get more spells. In Dragon Age (both videogame and RPG), all spellcasters are mages, both wizards and heathen shamans (the main church condemns magic as demon craft). And in Star Wars the destinction doesn't even exist in any way, and force users in the RPG adaptations all have access to the same powers.

Personally, I quite like the idea of magic simply being magic, with the differences between spellcasters being in how they use it. They can be religious leaders and servants of their gods or not, it does not affect their spells.
The only thing that doesn't feel quite right with that is low-level wizards freely casting healing spells, but that's really mostly tradition than based on any hard reasons.

What do you consider to be good reasons for a game to make a difference between wizards and priests as character classes, or to treat them interchangeably?

Jammyamerica
2014-07-07, 05:36 AM
Personally, I quite like the idea of magic simply being magic, with the differences between spellcasters being in how they use it. They can be religious leaders and servants of their gods or not, it does not affect their spells.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 05:56 AM
Personally, I quite like the idea of there being a distinction. But not how D&D does it. It's supposed to be that the wizard casts the magic, while the priest asks his god to do it for him, right? Then why are the mechancis almost exactly the same? I'd prefer if there was some sort of difference.

Like, say, here's how I'd see it:

The wizard needs concentration, focus, books, formulae, complicated gestures and al lthose things. Attacking the wizard probably interrupts him.

The priest needs faith primarily. Perhaps he has a list of taboos of his faith to keep to. Perhaps he needs to perform a certain ritual every day and feast on certain days of the week. Or he can't touch dead bodies, or wield weapons or ride a horse. Perhaps he even needs a little ritual to call down the lightning, sure. But the magic is fundamentally not in the priest, but at best through the priest. Killing the priest won't stop his cause, but, at best, delay it.

prufock
2014-07-07, 06:11 AM
The wizard needs concentration, focus, books, formulae, complicated gestures and al lthose things. Attacking the wizard probably interrupts him.

The priest needs faith primarily. Perhaps he has a list of taboos of his faith to keep to. Perhaps he needs to perform a certain ritual every day and feast on certain days of the week. Or he can't touch dead bodies, or wield weapons or ride a horse. Perhaps he even needs a little ritual to call down the lightning, sure. But the magic is fundamentally not in the priest, but at best through the priest. Killing the priest won't stop his cause, but, at best, delay it.

I do see the OP's point though, as these things seem more like roleplaying choices than mechanical differences. Psionics and magic are mechanically different; arcane and divine not so much, especially with so many spells crossing that gap.

Thrudd
2014-07-07, 06:13 AM
Well. "D&D always did it" is a very good explaination. Even before there were thieves, there was a wizard class and a cleric class and a distinction between arcane and divine magic. But you don't have to have priests and wizards as separate classes. There are plenty of RPGs which don't have such a distinction. In Conan d20, everyone can learn magic and most sorcerers and spellcasting priests are simply of the scholar class because that's the fastest way to get more spells. In Dragon Age (both videogame and RPG), all spellcasters are mages, both wizards and heathen shamans (the main church condemns magic as demon craft). And in Star Wars the destinction doesn't even exist in any way, and force users in the RPG adaptations all have access to the same powers.

Personally, I quite like the idea of magic simply being magic, with the differences between spellcasters being in how they use it. They can be religious leaders and servants of their gods or not, it does not affect their spells.
The only thing that doesn't feel quite right with that is low-level wizards freely casting healing spells, but that's really mostly tradition than based on any hard reasons.

What do you consider to be good reasons for a game to make a difference between wizards and priests as character classes, or to treat them interchangeably?

It is a matter of training and social structure in the game world. The class describes your job and training, which are dependent on the setting, not something inherent in the character mentally or biologically. The distinction between arcane and divine describes differences in how two different orders have codified their magic and teach it to disciples.

Priests/clerics are trained by a religious order and given access to the spells and magic held in the tradition of that order. Their spells and the means to use them have been guarded jealously from others (maybe their gods really are granting them the spells, maybe not, but they definitely draw from some type of communal pool of spells that are made available to all of their order).
Wizards are trained in master/apprentice relationships. The spells they are able to access are the remnants of an ancient scholarly tradition which also has jealously guarded its methods. Notice some spells are used by both wizards and clerics...this is because they are using the same "force" to perform magic, and some effects were known or discovered by both traditions. Perhaps at one time in the distant past, there was no difference between the two, until some event or gradual social change resulted in separate and perhaps rival factions practicing their magic in isolation.

Perhaps it is not impossible for a wizard to learn/translate a cleric spell and vice versa. It would require a high level character with access to the time and resources to research and reverse engineer the spell.

Lord Raziere
2014-07-07, 06:18 AM
given that I am more of a fan of Mage: The Awakening than DnD Wizards, I consider the distinction a little moot myself. but I have no problem playing a cleric or wizard as separate classes either. there are merits to both approaches. heck, you can imagine them both as very advanced users of nanotechnology if you want.

Edit: now I have an idea for a nation where wizards are the religious spellcasters, worshipping a god of destruction and wrath and such, while the clerics are the knowledge spellcasters at a College of Healers learning how to wield the positive/negative forces of the universe to benefit everyone around them.

Vitruviansquid
2014-07-07, 06:28 AM
There are many good reasons to make different types of magic mutually exclusive.

You could have a more powerful set of spells useable by less powerful "chassis," like classes that can wear less armor, have fewer hit points, or whatever.

You could have classes with different specializations that have to work together, and so get different spell sets.

You could have classes balanced by their spell sets rather than having individual spells balanced against each other.

You could create spell sets with themes to make your classes... uhh... themed.

Yora
2014-07-07, 06:37 AM
I do see the OP's point though, as these things seem more like roleplaying choices than mechanical differences. Psionics and magic are mechanically different; arcane and divine not so much, especially with so many spells crossing that gap.
But even those are different only if you are looking at the numbers. To an outside observer, the difference would be completely invisible except that one waves his hands while magic is happening. But the magic of magical creatures in 3rd edition D&D doesn't even do that, it's completely identical to the psionic abilities of psionic creatures.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 06:41 AM
I do see the OP's point though, as these things seem more like roleplaying choices than mechanical differences. Psionics and magic are mechanically different; arcane and divine not so much, especially with so many spells crossing that gap.

That's my argument, though. They should be thematically different. Sure, D&D did it strikes again, but there's no reason they should be the same.

Another_Poet
2014-07-07, 07:40 AM
If I was going to come up with my own ruleset, there'd be a big difference but it wouldn't be the difference D&D uses.

I think that in a pseduo-medieval world, priests shouldn't do "magic" at all. They should have the ability to petition for occasional big-level miracles, and the way those miracles come to pass should be out of the priests' hands. Wizards would be capable of predictable, controllable spells whereas clerics would only be able to invoke a much greater force that may or may not respond the way they want.

Averis Vol
2014-07-07, 08:08 AM
In games like DnD I don't see a point in the distinction, because if either class wants a spell from the other school, there are plenty of easy ways to get them that are completely rules legal. Thematically, I agree that priests "Spells" should be all kind of vague and not distinctly up to them, but they should have a small pool of available abilities to heal and buff their allies.

Equally, I don't even think wizard should be a class. Everywhere else throughout history, what dnd describes as a wizard has actually been an alchemist mixing up molotov cocktails and anti venoms. Things that were considered witches and warlock which were purported to doing magic would be considered sorcerers. It wasn't until Vance and his books that that sort of "Magic' came to be, and I feel it was a poor decision to instill that kind of magic system to the game rather than a more historically founded one.* This ties again into the OP, being that throughout history the distinction between magiks has been relatively little, only changing in definition because it was called a miracle if used for good and witchcraft if it was used for anything else.



*All opinions are the posters opinions, and none of them are meant to be as confrontational as his sleep deprived ass probably has them coming off as. apologies in advance.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 08:35 AM
One advantage of the vancian system, with neatly defined spells, is that it's really easy to put into precise terms for a rules-heavy system like D&D. So, I don't think it's a bad decision.

Averis Vol
2014-07-07, 08:53 AM
One advantage of the vancian system, with neatly defined spells, is that it's really easy to put into precise terms for a rules-heavy system like D&D. So, I don't think it's a bad decision.

Ach, fair enough, I've never liked the system though. It seems like sort of a cheap mockery of more classic magic that actually took a toll on the body, and was less restricted in what you could cast because of what you prepared, and more "How long can you cast until your body fails on you?"

Though, with all the ways dnd has to make casters effectively immortal. thats probably a poor idea for a magic system.

Yora
2014-07-07, 09:05 AM
I always convert all spellcasters to XPH spell points in my campaigs.
Retains all the advantages of D&D magic without suffering from slots.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 09:10 AM
Question of taste, I guess. I find "magic points" terribly unimaginative and boring. It's just so empty, fluff-wise. Or at least, I could never come up with interestzing fluff for it myself, whereas vancian just seems to write itself.

GoatToucher
2014-07-07, 10:26 AM
The idea of one flat spell casting class, will complete homogeneity of magic, is of complete disinterest to me. I like classes. I like the fluff that goes with them. Classless, point buy systems invariably end up having a go to build for maximum effectiveness (or at least go to elements common to most players). The distinction between the sources of magic (arcane and divine) is interesting thematically.

As others have said, I do with that there was more mechanical distinction, both in more diversity in the spell lists for different spell casting classes, and in the mechanics of spell casting (something more than "I cast X." "Okay.") I like the idea of making skill based rolls adjusted by different environmental factors, but that's just me.

I find Vancian casting ponderous in the extreme. Jack Vance had his idea for casting, and the notion has pretty much been ignored by the genre on all fronts, save DnD systems. Let it go, says I. Point buy is much more interesting, and allows much more dynamic play for casters. That said, the notion that some casters can learn an infinite number of spells is overpowered, even with the Vancian system. The problem would be compounded with point buy. Casters should have a limited amount of spells known per level (though greater than the current sorcerer's list by a lot), adjusted by attribute bonuses and magic items. Keep the spellbook, mechanic, though. I think the notion of discovering forgotten lore to be one of the more interesting factors of the current system.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 11:01 AM
I still haven't seen a system that says "intelligence" as much as the Vancian anywhere. By its very nature, the system means that the wizard has to think strategically. Predict challenges, analyse situations and prepare themselves. It's just so much more interesting, mechanically than "Oh, there's fire. I cast resistance, because I have 178 points left."

Mark Hall
2014-07-07, 11:07 AM
I have more mechanical arguments with the idea of two separate classes; while I don't have as much of a problem with there being different kinds of magic that are somewhat exclusive, the problem is that clerics, from 1e on, tend to be simply too much. They tend toward vague roleplaying restrictions backing up a full caster with plenty of non-spell options. If you consolidate spellcasting into a single class more like the wizard (limited armor and weapons, lots of spell options), you can turn the cleric into more of the armored knight it was somewhat envisioned as, but with some limited capacity for miracles (i.e. spells).

In 3.x terms, a Cleric or Druid, with a Bard spells-per-day list, would still be a formidable class. A priest, using wizard stats but a cleric or druid spell list, would also be a formidable class. It's the aggregate that produces CoDzilla (or, 2e's version, the FR specialty priest).

Eldan
2014-07-07, 11:37 AM
Oh, totally. If I did the classes, I'd probably mix the cleric, bard and paladin and then redivide them as one class that does inspiring oration (either a priest/preacher or a musical bard), one class that kicks the asses of evil in heavy armour and an unarmed miracle worker focused on magic over combat.

Lord Raziere
2014-07-07, 11:46 AM
Question of taste, I guess. I find "magic points" terribly unimaginative and boring. It's just so empty, fluff-wise. Or at least, I could never come up with interestzing fluff for it myself, whereas vancian just seems to write itself.

.....

Vancian:
um....they load up spells into a gun and fire them?

Magic points:
they draw power from the essence of life draining it from the land around them

they the draw in the latent magic in the air through breathing and meditation, storing it all in their lung ands breathing out the magic in their spells.

the wizard through a ritual, draws in power from the sun and stars to use as energy for his spells.

a dwarf wizard uses the power latent in alcohol and converts it to magic energy so that he doesn't get drunk.

the warforged takes out his current arcane crystal and replaces it, recharging himself.

the wizard draws power from the passage of time itself, through a thaumaturgic connection to pocket watch and when it rings at dawn his arcane energy returns.

through a barbaric ritual he draws power from a powerful spirit of nature, on the promise that he will always respect nature in return like a druid but casting arcane spells.

the wizard keeps a little plant that grows a new fruit everyday, and he eats it and it gives him all the arcane energy he can use.

The wizard has multiple ways of regaining energy- one day he is setting up something during a storm to draw in the power of lightning to regain his arcane energy, the next he is using a ritual to regain some from a waterfall, and the day after that, he is gathering it from the volcano you have ventured into...

the staff he carries around is alive, and as long he carries it around, it feeds his arcane power, and he is careful not to draw too much from the staff lest it die.

the wizard is covered in pearl necklaces. as he casts spells, the pearl turns black from their usual white luster, until they run out and he has to chant for an hour for arcane energy to drawn back in and make them glow white again.

his own magical energy is like a big loyal boomerang or dog- no matter how far he throws it, it will regather itself after 24 hours and jump back into him in one rush.

the wizard wears a magic ring that he casts spells through, and he recharges it through this magic lantern he carries around with him.

the wizard finds some rocks, he puts his hands on them, they glow- and then disappear, being converted into magical energy into his body.

the pendant of fire hanging around his neck is thaumaturgically tied to a phenomenon that occurs every 24 hours on the Plane of Fire, known as The Flare, where there is a sudden surge of a near unlimited amount of energy for a few moments, during which the pendant draws in a lot of energy and stores it into the wizard. it is theorized this is the Plane of Fire's equivalent to sunrise, or some reflection of it.

all of his arcane energy is actually contained in the wizard's hat. thats why they wear the silly things. they must constantly wear it or the energy will spill out everywhere, and only through go through the wizards head so that spells can be cast.

and so on. now before you come up with your own list or say that those can be used for vancian system with some twisting, I don't care about those two things you might potentially say. I'm just showing you how some one can hold the opposite view: that vancian is about as interesting as cardboard and that magic points is much more flexible and open to creative flavoring in my view. these are all just stuff I came up with right now.

GoatToucher
2014-07-07, 12:17 PM
Flexibility does not imply a lack of intelligence, particularly if spell points are a limited resource (as opposed to the "178 points" you describe). Vancian memorization is a limiter that means that you put all your eggs in the basket and hope for the best.

As for a scholarly divine caster that avoids CoDzilla, Adamant Entertainment put together the Priest class that does a pretty good job with good flavor to boot. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/3rd-party-classes/adamant-entertainment/priest I am playing one in our current campaign, and we are normally hesitant to include 3rd pp.

Mark Hall
2014-07-07, 01:38 PM
.....

Vancian:
um....they load up spells into a gun and fire them?


Vancian spells are secrets of the universe... mathematical and scientific equations that are so powerful that once they are complete, they completely wipe themselves from the mind.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 01:44 PM
I could link to some fluff I've written earlier, but Vancian boils down to this:

Casting spells is way, way too complicated to do it quickly on the battlefield. Instead, spells are cast ahead of time, during preparation, when the wizard has time to do an hour of calculations, rituals, meditations and materials. But the spell is not released. It's held back in the caster's head until the time is right.

So no. The wizard doesn't load a gun. They light a fuse and then, by sheer willpower, keep the explosive from going off until they need it to.

And that can be combined with all the things you mentioned above. Those are just ways the wizard can use to gain the energy he puts into his spells. But he can draw that energy from the environment, then store it in pre-cast spells (slots) or just sort of keep it hanging around until it runs out. The first needs preparation, insight, tactical planning. The second just sounds lazy. I know which I prefer to portray a man of scholarly wisdom and universal insight.

But I see no reason why those should boil down to "I know I can only cast 33.56 fireballs today before I'm too tired."

Arbane
2014-07-07, 02:28 PM
Flexibility does not imply a lack of intelligence, particularly if spell points are a limited resource (as opposed to the "178 points" you describe). Vancian memorization is a limiter that means that you put all your eggs in the basket and hope for the best.


Or, in 3.5 at least, you carry a satchel full of wands and scrolls to be prepared for every possibility.

I've seen some systems that made a strong distinction between godly powers and wizardly powers - TORG had spellcasting as one thing and miracles as another, with completely different rules. RuneQuest (at least in older editions) has Sorcery (Flexible but hard-to-do magic, mostly long-term buffs and such), Divine Magic (really powerful, but you have to permanently sacrifice points from the magic stat to get it, and unless you're a priest, it's one-use only), and Spirit Magic (relatively minor, but just about anyone can get it, and in a typical RQ game, every adventurer has a few spells).

Vitruviansquid
2014-07-07, 02:53 PM
I find Vancian magic systems to be too much bookkeeping and too predictable and vanilla "magic points" to be too predictable. There's tension in an unpredictable system that can make for dramatic moments during gameplay.

A magic system that might work better is to give casters a low number of "magic points" and have them roll a die whenever they cast a spell. The spell costs "magic points" based on a static number determined by how strong the spell is (magic missiles might be 1 and fireball might be 4) multiplied by a die, the size of which is determined by the casting class (a "purer" caster class might have a d6 while a "hybrid" caster class might have a d12). Spells a caster attempts but turns out not to have enough "magic points" for can either cause some kind of bad stuff to happen to the caster or just fizzle out.

Lord Raziere
2014-07-07, 03:20 PM
Vancian spells are secrets of the universe... mathematical and scientific equations that are so powerful that once they are complete, they completely wipe themselves from the mind.

which doesn't make any sense to me.

sure you can go on about "equations you forget easily" and "arcane sentences that you finish when you cast the spell" but none of that sounds like fluff I like. I prefer "My enforce my will upon the world, as long as I can draw upon energy" I don't like the concept of being able to only blast four fireballs a day. thats too inflexible. I prefer casting any number of fireballs I want or need. If I need five fireballs, I'm out of luck in the Vancian system. If I need to cast fly or any other useful spell more than I prepared it for, I'm out of luck, you may like planning, but I know that the best plans of mice and men always go wrong. no plan survives contact with the enemy. I prefer to improvise and come up with clever stuff on the fly.

that and if I really want memorize information why would I pick information that automatically disappears when I use it? I learn information so that I may always use it, not so that it can be used up like a bullet and I have to remember it all again! that is a waste of time. inefficient. the only way it really makes sense to me is if you refluff it as someone enchanting a bunch of items so that they're recharged. I prefer the sorcerer over the wizard, the Psion over both and the Wilder over the Psion. my will, made reality, useable however I can according to my creativity. that is the magic I prefer, not this fire-and-forget nonsense.

yes I am a barbarian of magic, not all of us wish to use a complicated counter-intuitive system of slots and preparation.

Spore
2014-07-07, 03:20 PM
If anyone knows the computer game "Gothic", it is pretty much what I see when I talk about priest mages and balanced magic. Spells are kept in runes that have to be written on runestones (basically fist sized oval stones). Like a normal spell book you can get ALL spells you want. But singular spells are rather expensive. We're talking about 200 Gold for a singular finished runestone of the first of 6 circles; in a game where you have to pay 1000 gold tuition and escort a sheep (additional 200 gold or side quest) tuition to even get into mage college. So having a large spell selection basically dictactes most of your character wealth.

Secondly Wizards have NO protection spells. Concentration always breaks with melee attacks. Ice Spells slow enemies, there are summons, fire spells are quicker and more deadly. Healing is channeled and for out of combat and there are control spells. Yet all magic is "courtesy" of gods or demons but without the mage being forced to be pious.

Yora
2014-07-07, 03:33 PM
Is there even a theoretical difference between mages and priests in that game? I think the two are the same thing. The fire mages sure seem like a monastic order.

Slipperychicken
2014-07-07, 04:22 PM
Why bother with magician classes at all? You could make magic a thing anyone could attempt. The idea being that any poor dope could study witchcraft and the occult for a few months, bungle the incantations, and risk draining his sanity or getting himself eaten by a shoggoth. However, getting beyond novice levels could allow one to bend reality in a more reliable fashion, although risks and complications would still exist.

Mark Hall
2014-07-07, 04:31 PM
yes I am a barbarian of magic, not all of us wish to use a complicated counter-intuitive system of slots and preparation.

Eh, so you don't like the system. That's fine. I don't find the system terribly counter intuitive, but I've also been using it for 20-odd years, and a lot of things can become commonplace in that time. My main concern is when people misidentify what Vance did with his magic system... there is an element of a "bullet in a gun", as you're fond of putting it, but in it's D&D application (especially AD&D), its very much a matter of making sure your gun has the right bullet when you come time to fire.


Why bother with magician classes at all? You could make magic a thing anyone could attempt. The idea being that any poor dope could study witchcraft and the occult for a few months, bungle the incantations, and risk draining his sanity or getting himself eaten by a shoggoth. However, getting beyond novice levels could allow one to bend reality in a more reliable fashion, although risks and complications would still exist.

In a non-class-based system, that works fine; you can make magic a thing that anyone can learn, and folks will pick it up as they please (though, IME, TTRPGs tend to require you to at least have some sort of talent to learn magic). In a class-based system, though, your non-casters are only going to pick up incidental magic (similar to 3.x's various "several cantrips 1/day" feats), and your casting classes are those who chose to specialize in it.

Eldan
2014-07-07, 05:15 PM
Why bother with magician classes at all? You could make magic a thing anyone could attempt. The idea being that any poor dope could study witchcraft and the occult for a few months, bungle the incantations, and risk draining his sanity or getting himself eaten by a shoggoth. However, getting beyond novice levels could allow one to bend reality in a more reliable fashion, although risks and complications would still exist.

At that point, you run into the question of "why classes at all"?`Anyone can try to pick a pocket, stab someone in the back, execute some kind of sword technique, pray to a god or really like trees.

In the end, I think I just don't like magic points because they feel too easy. I like my magic byzantine and complicated, with seemingly arbitrary limits. Because mythology and fairy tales are full of them.

Spore
2014-07-07, 05:23 PM
Is there even a theoretical difference between mages and priests in that game? I think the two are the same thing. The fire mages sure seem like a monastic order.

Not all mages are priests, and not all preachers are mages. Still there is a certain part of spiritualism taught to every fire mage. But you do not cast with prayers and not due to communing with the land. The spells are some form of simple arcane magic. Remember Milten who is kind of a renegade supporter and friendly NPC to the hero.

Slipperychicken
2014-07-07, 06:35 PM
In the end, I think I just don't like magic points because they feel too easy. I like my magic byzantine and complicated, with seemingly arbitrary limits. Because mythology and fairy tales are full of them.

I personally don't like giving magic hard usage limits like that (i.e. per-day, per encounter, costs X mana, etc). I prefer to make it so you can try to work your magic all day long (or even try to "nova" for a short period of time), but it's going to take a serious toll on your health and/or sanity. Kind of like taking drugs: you can do a little bit (or even a lot of the light stuff) and be only subtly changed or hurt, but going too far overboard or taking "hard" magic can kill you, or leave you blacked-out in a gutter, wearing nothing but a blood-stained cultists' robe, with the mark of the beast on your forehead under the words "Yog Sothoth was here".

TheCountAlucard
2014-07-08, 08:12 AM
Vancian spells are secrets of the universe... mathematical and scientific equations that are so powerful that once they are complete, they completely wipe themselves from the mind.Raziere is notable for not being able to stand reading the source material on most of these RPGs, and thus not understanding why things are the way they are. We've likewise had problems getting Raziere to jibe with Exalted by dint of Raziere not wanting to read so much as a stitch of mythological-related material, so the fact that Raziere hasn't and won't read any of Jack Vance's work should come as no surprise.

Yora
2014-07-08, 08:29 AM
I consider that a questionable way to view things. The rules of D&D need to stand on their own without readers having to consult the works of other authors. It doesn't matter what sources inspired the creator of a rules sub-system. If we are suppsed to accept it as internally consistent, it needs to be part of the rules.

Mark Hall
2014-07-08, 10:37 AM
I consider that a questionable way to view things. The rules of D&D need to stand on their own without readers having to consult the works of other authors. It doesn't matter what sources inspired the creator of a rules sub-system. If we are suppsed to accept it as internally consistent, it needs to be part of the rules.

I agree, but some of this also comes down to differences in edition; some of the things that were well explained in earlier editions are not so well explained later, or were altered for what was viewed as playability. For example, this excerpt from the 2e PH



Ultimately, it is the memorization that is important. To draw on magical energy, the wizard must shape specific mental patterns in his mind. He uses his spell books to force his mind through mental exercises, preparing it to hold the final, twisted patterns. These patterns are very complicated and alien to normal thought, so they don't register in the mind as normal learning. To shape these patterns, the wizard must spend time memorizing the spell, twisting his thoughts and recasting the energy patterns each time to account for subtle changes--planetary motions, seasons, time of day, and more.
Once a wizard memorizes a spell, it remains in his memory (as potential energy) until he uses the prescribed components to trigger the release of the energy patterns. The mental patterns apparently release the energy while the components shape and guide it. Upon casting, the energy of the spell is spent, wiped clean from the wizard's mind. The mental patterns are lost until the wizard studies and memorizes that spell again

It goes into a lot more detail about WHY memorization works the way it does, and while the result is "you've loaded your brain with a bullet named 'Web'", the justifications for it are very much there, in the rules. You don't have to like those justifications or think they're good, but they're laid out. In 3.5? That's absent, just a note (page 177) that they prepare spells, not the in-world mechanics of that preparation, or what it means.

GoatToucher
2014-07-08, 10:47 AM
Clearly we're talking a matter of taste. You can create interesting fluff for Vancian or skill point casting. the question is in the mechanics. Do you enjoy the notion of having to plan out your day, and having a handy haversack full of scrolls and wands to compensate for when things don't go your way, or do you like the flexibility of having access to any spell in your repertoire, which some people consider Care Bear or Small Brain game play?

:shrug:

JusticeZero
2014-07-08, 10:50 AM
that and if I really want memorize information why would I pick information that automatically disappears when I use it? I learn information so that I may always use it, not so that it can be used up like a bullet and I have to remember it all again! that is a waste of time. inefficient.Which, by the way, is exactly why Vance used that system, since the setting that it came from was marked by everything being wasteful and Sysyphean. It's a conscious design decision of that setting.
Personally, I tossed the wizard and cleric in the circle file and use the psionics rules for everything instead. Wizard, cleric, druid, and bard all weld a lot of assumptions firmly into the setting that i'm not happy with.

Mark Hall
2014-07-08, 11:07 AM
Clearly we're talking a matter of taste. You can create interesting fluff for Vancian or skill point casting. the question is in the mechanics. Do you enjoy the notion of having to plan out your day, and having a handy haversack full of scrolls and wands to compensate for when things don't go your way, or do you like the flexibility of having access to any spell in your repertoire, which some people consider Care Bear or Small Brain game play?

:shrug:

But, again, we come down to editions. The AD&D version likely did NOT have a haversack (Hewards Handy or not) full of scrolls and wands... the strength of your party partially depended on the strategic skill of your casters... picking the right spells for the day, and being able to use them at the right times. In such an environment, the sorcerer, with an extremely limited spells known but more flexibility, was a viable alternative design.

For all my defense of the Vancian system, it's not my preference; I just understand what it is and what it's doing. It creates a different environment, though, and a still different environment is created when preparing is quick, and the prepared casters can easily overcome the strategic deficit of poorly picking prayers and prestidigitations.

JusticeZero
2014-07-08, 11:21 AM
There's also the way that it appears that 5E is going with from the rules posted - prepare a small subset of augmentable spells each day, then cast them spontaneously. Seemed like an interesting idea, if I still cared about wizards and clerics.. which I don't.
I might also recommend looking into the Generic Spellcaster class for 3.x. That basically just says "Start with a Sorcerer chassis. Pick your spells known from all of the T1 lists however you think fits." Swap that for all your spellcasters and you now have one "magic user" class with a lot of variety, since everyone is packing a limited but idiosyncratic personal list.
Also, reserve feats are nice things.

SiuiS
2014-07-08, 11:47 AM
Well. "D&D always did it" is a very good explaination. Even before there were thieves, there was a wizard class and a cleric class and a distinction between arcane and divine magic. But you don't have to have priests and wizards as separate classes. There are plenty of RPGs which don't have such a distinction. In Conan d20, everyone can learn magic and most sorcerers and spellcasting priests are simply of the scholar class because that's the fastest way to get more spells. In Dragon Age (both videogame and RPG), all spellcasters are mages, both wizards and heathen shamans (the main church condemns magic as demon craft). And in Star Wars the destinction doesn't even exist in any way, and force users in the RPG adaptations all have access to the same powers.

Personally, I quite like the idea of magic simply being magic, with the differences between spellcasters being in how they use it. They can be religious leaders and servants of their gods or not, it does not affect their spells.
The only thing that doesn't feel quite right with that is low-level wizards freely casting healing spells, but that's really mostly tradition than based on any hard reasons.

What do you consider to be good reasons for a game to make a difference between wizards and priests as character classes, or to treat them interchangeably?

I find them viable as separate classes. While the idea that it's all scholarly is fine, the expression of different kinda of magic is what shapes the differences and is worth differentiating by class. The reverent priest who travels in circles of the learned and society, finding and stamping out iniquities with miracles and services wrought as just punishment for their sinful natures. The sorcerer who lies and wheedles, learns hidden, forbidden even, rites to travel with entities best left unknown who wish to gnaw at human morality and tear down the chosen of the gods or who are simply too driven by their energetic natures to have even a vaguely human moral compass, becoming one of them in thought and deed by slow perversions, making deals with the devil and trading away humanity for power.

Yes. Both just vague scholars who have different vague thrusts of specialty. But that's actually, demonstratably bad for most games. That's the actual literal problem with the D&D wizard. They decided the difference between Solomon the scholar who binds fiends and spirits for pure purpose, and the vampish artist who spins clever fabrications out of social skill and legerdemain was 'eh, just choose some different spells'. I would rather have several related classes representing archetypes than a generic class that can be so many things, too many things, to be fun doing half of them.

Yora
2014-07-08, 12:27 PM
Such things greatly depend on how much detail is actually hardwired into character classes within a given system.

In AD&D, a wizard is basically his spellbook and nothing else. 3rd Edition added feats to modify how the spells are cast, but it's still the spells that define the character. Skills don't seem to really make much of a difference.
Clerics don't have a lot more either. They have the ability to turn undead, which in lots of campaigns ends up mostly irrelevant, and can also use armor and hit better with weapons. But it's still primarily the spell list that sets them apart from wizards.
But then we also have psions, which supposedly are completely different, yet still are defined entirely by their power list. Which mostly does the same things as the wizard spell list.

In the Conan RPG, having priests being ordinary sorcerers with theolofical education makes a lot of sense. In that world gods are very distant, if they even exist at all. A few minor gods are known to exist with certainty, but those might also be called demons. Priests seem to be either charlatans, or well intentioned but possibly deluded about their gods. Using a single character class and having access to the same spells is a very obvious choice.
Dragon Age is an interesting case, as there are two types of priests that are shown. The human chanters and the elven keepers. The chanters follow the tradition of a prophet who led a great crusade against a nation ruled by evil wizards, and they consider all magic to be evil. They don't have any magic powers at all and are just ordinary people with no special abilities. The elven keepers are more like shamans and witch doctors who believe into a pantheon of gods, but don't claim to have any personal connection to them. Their power comes directly from the world of spirits. Their role as spiritual leaders and keepers of ancient lore exist in addition to their magical abilities. They only overlapp insofar, that they can consult spirits on complicated questions and they are keepers not only of history and philosophy, but also magical knowledge. They know magic as part of their ancient cultural heiritage. Again, it seems quite appropriate that they are in fact mages who only assume a social role similar to priests, while not actually being weilders of divine power.

SiuiS
2014-07-08, 01:28 PM
Vancian spells are secrets of the universe... mathematical and scientific equations that are so powerful that once they are complete, they completely wipe themselves from the mind.

I personally like the enworld idea that went floating around for a bit. I never found the details, but each spell level is a valence; wizards learn to tie mystic powers to the free-floating shells that allow elements to combine. It struck me as elegant.


I agree, but some of this also comes down to differences in edition; some of the things that were well explained in earlier editions are not so well explained later, or were altered for what was viewed as playability. For example, this excerpt from the 2e PH

It goes into a lot more detail about WHY memorization works the way it does, and while the result is "you've loaded your brain with a bullet named 'Web'", the justifications for it are very much there, in the rules. You don't have to like those justifications or think they're good, but they're laid out. In 3.5? That's absent, just a note (page 177) that they prepare spells, not the in-world mechanics of that preparation, or what it means.

Aye. For the purposes of the rules, this information wasn't necessary. That's something many people miss; third edition makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to be a setting. It's a ruleset, like GURPS, that leaves the background beyond minimum necessary to each campaign. We were all just so used to the implied setting from prior editions, we assumed that was how things would be. Viewed in the right light, later editions can be forgiven a lot, because it was never their job to do the things people hold against them.


Which, by the way, is exactly why Vance used that system, since the setting that it came from was marked by everything being wasteful and Sysyphean. It's a conscious design decision of that setting.
Personally, I tossed the wizard and cleric in the circle file and use the psionics rules for everything instead. Wizard, cleric, druid, and bard all weld a lot of assumptions firmly into the setting that i'm not happy with.

Interesting. Do you have any info for stuff like this? I can't find anything on Vance's books at the meta level.


Such things greatly depend on how much detail is actually hardwired into character classes within a given system.

In AD&D, a wizard is basically his spellbook and nothing else. 3rd Edition added feats to modify how the spells are cast, but it's still the spells that define the character. Skills don't seem to really make much of a difference.

I disagree with this synopsis. This was true of basic, but once we get to advanced dungeons and dragons it's just flat wrong.

The thing is, you had no build options, but that doesn't mean no character depth. The system clearly set up what being a wizard is and means, and how they fit into life and society. Choosing a wizard means you picked that up and were expected to follow through; you were a scholar and an experimenter, a field engineer, a technician and expert. You were part of a secretive tradition much like the tropes behind the Freemasons, with pass codes and expectations, a pseudo society of trading in corpses and secrets, political espionage to learn without paying, finding and training an apprentice and being held accountable for your dynasty, blamed for your mentor's failings and your apprentice's hot headedness at the same time. You had depth. You had a place.

Wizards were not just spell books, any more than a thief guild master wasn't just a set of lock picks. It just happened that those picks (or that book) are what you were hired for on this expedition, but what you got out of it was field testing, components for spells and experimentation, funding, social advancement, a good CV.

Mark Hall
2014-07-08, 02:26 PM
Aye. For the purposes of the rules, this information wasn't necessary. That's something many people miss; third edition makes absolutely no attempt whatsoever to be a setting. It's a ruleset, like GURPS, that leaves the background beyond minimum necessary to each campaign. We were all just so used to the implied setting from prior editions, we assumed that was how things would be. Viewed in the right light, later editions can be forgiven a lot, because it was never their job to do the things people hold against them.


See, I disagree. I think 3e did far more to make a setting, simply by having the ton of racial information and explicit names of deities and their various attributes. A BTB elf has an assumed culture, assumed deity, and even assumed alignment. The favored class mechanic, wonky as it was, also served as a cultural identifier. While 3.x may have been more vague on the whys for rules, it was a lot more specific on setting.

Talya
2014-07-08, 03:08 PM
With prepared Vancian arcane spellcasting, I've always assumed (and other people have stated as much here, but i'm away from books and i can't find support for this), that part of preparing a full set of spells for the day is that one is actually partially casting them. The actual spells take far longer to cast by ritual, and that when you are preparing them, you're not just memorizing a spell, you're casting every part of the spell except for the trigger that releases the magical energy to accomplish your task.

Mechanically, prepared vancian divine spellcasting may be very similar, but fluffwise, it's worlds apart. A divine spellcaster preparing spells is actually petitioning and receiving the magical spells he is asking for in advance. Again, this magical energy is already present and inert in the caster's soul as distinct and separate spells, and when he casts a spell, he is triggering it, calling forth and releasing that energy upon its target.

Yora
2014-07-08, 03:27 PM
The thing is, you had no build options, but that doesn't mean no character depth. The system clearly set up what being a wizard is and means, and how they fit into life and society. Choosing a wizard means you picked that up and were expected to follow through; you were a scholar and an experimenter, a field engineer, a technician and expert. You were part of a secretive tradition much like the tropes behind the Freemasons, with pass codes and expectations, a pseudo society of trading in corpses and secrets, political espionage to learn without paying, finding and training an apprentice and being held accountable for your dynasty, blamed for your mentor's failings and your apprentice's hot headedness at the same time. You had depth. You had a place.

Wizards were not just spell books, any more than a thief guild master wasn't just a set of lock picks. It just happened that those picks (or that book) are what you were hired for on this expedition, but what you got out of it was field testing, components for spells and experimentation, funding, social advancement, a good CV.
Of course. But I think when looking only on the purely mechanical differences between wizards and clerics, it still stands. Of course you can greatly expand the background of the character to represent all kinds of quite different people. But my point is that this is something that exist separate from the mechanical differences of wizards and clerics. You don't need two separate classes to represent two different types of spellcasting characters. This could be done entirely in spell selection and backstory.
Apart from spells, the difference between wizards and clerics are weapons, armor, and turn undead. If you compare a cleric to a fighter/wizard, it's really just the spells.

Eldan
2014-07-08, 03:40 PM
Personally, I always took the fluff in the books as a suggestion. One that was pretty much always either modified or even discarded entirely from time to time.

So, what do we end up with, then? Different spellcasting attributes, better proficiencies on one class and different spell lists. That could mean anything, in the fluff.

SiuiS
2014-07-08, 03:53 PM
See, I disagree. I think 3e did far more to make a setting, simply by having the ton of racial information and explicit names of deities and their various attributes. A BTB elf has an assumed culture, assumed deity, and even assumed alignment. The favored class mechanic, wonky as it was, also served as a cultural identifier. While 3.x may have been more vague on the whys for rules, it was a lot more specific on setting.

AD&D has all that too, but instead of "this is the god that made elves" we had "this is the god all elves explicitly worship in this specific way because that's what elves do" in this world".

All around though, implicit setting is something that infects D&D specifically. I'm hoping they'll move away from implicit in the future.


Personally, I always took the fluff in the books as a suggestion. One that was pretty much always either modified or even discarded entirely from time to time.

So, what do we end up with, then? Different spellcasting attributes, better proficiencies on one class and different spell lists. That could mean anything, in the fluff.

That's the thing though; the fluff/crunch divide is a relatively recent invention. There was no discountable fluff. If it was in the book it was a rule.

Yora
2014-07-08, 04:03 PM
And I am pretty sure the books also said to ignore and change any aspect that doesn't work for a group. From the very beginning it has been "more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

Slipperychicken
2014-07-08, 09:35 PM
All around though, implicit setting is something that infects D&D specifically. I'm hoping they'll move away from implicit in the future.

Thing is, the devs know that users often use the rules as a chassis and template to generate content such as homebrew settings, cultures, organizations, classes, spells, and so on. They want to allow that to happen, because it not only helps maintain interest, but it can also give them some good ideas. One prominent example is Eberron (lest we forget that the ever-popular setting and its much-loved Warforged race used to be homebrew). Enforcing only one setting or interpretation as the official one could restrict this creativity.

Also, that's what they have the setting books for. That way, if you want to follow a single explicitly-canon setting, you can just pick your favorite one and say to your group "This game is set in the world of Eberron" or "We're playing in Forgotten Realms", rather than being stuck with a setting you might not like as much. This also gives GMs a tool to restrict content to that which follows the setting's fluff and assumptions (i.e. "The only setting-specific content content allowed is stuff from Eberron") when desired, without automatically restricting every group in this way.

Sartharina
2014-07-09, 02:42 AM
My favorite part about the Vancian magic system is that it keeps the ritual aspect of magic intact through the preparation phase. No, magic is NOT something "Within" someone that merely requires force of will to use like some sort of superpower. It's a power greater than you that must be appeased and invoked. It's part of the world, not the caster. Unfortunately, D&D glosses over all the interesting parts of magic by relegating it to a simple one-hour prep phase and spell component pouch. There's no mystique or ritual to magic. I'd have prefered "A spell takes X amount of time to prepare, and Y sympathetic ingredients, and an envrionment of Z", with the ability to either hold onto the spell Vancian-style (With spell-slots restricting the number of spells you can prepare), possibly risking losing some of its potency, or letting the spell go off immediately as a ritual. No "Must rest 8 hours to clear mind" of "Cannot regain a slot used in the last 8 hours" garbage. Each spell would have its own preparation system. Some would be short and quick (Good for blasts), others might have extensive preparation times.

Well, the above is for Wizard casting. Wizards and Druids are the redundant class (And the same source material nature shows in D&D!) not Wizards and Priests.

Priests are different, because they have a powerful patron (Such as a God, Demon Prince, Dragon, or Sorcerer) that can channel their power through them instead. The more powerful the priest, the stronger the bond between the two.

So(u)rcerers are essentially living gods, being a living font/battery of power specific to the sourcerer. A powerful sourcerer could gain priests, fit to become a God-King as its own power grows and expands.

Warlocks/binders are like anti-priests, kind of, and are usually Wizards or Sourcerers as well (Or badass warriors). They have a little bit of power from their sourcery or wizardry/druidism (Or even badassery), that use the power they have to harness lesser occult spirits into serving them, and becoming more powerful through that - think like Belkar using the Eye of Fear and Flame: Belkar alone cannot shoot fireballs or cause creatures to run in irrational terror from him (Though most run in rational terror because of his skill at slaughter), but he's able to dominate the skull into serving him. Imagine if he had an even more forceful personality, and found other skulls/intelligent objects/spirits with different SLAs at their disposal - he would be able to essentially become a tyrant caster through using his ability to scare the skulls individually into serving him, and collectively using them to keep each other in check to avoid his wrath. A wizard could instead use rituals and deals of binding as old as the earth and spirits themselves to gain the loyalty of these spirits/skulls/magic items, and a sorcerer could bind with his power)

As for the balance between them - A wizard with the right know-how and a strong enough mind and stomach for the rituals has the entire multiverse at its beck and call by pulling on the powers that draw upon them. A priest is limited in terms of the power of its patron and its connection - but the height of the connection is "We walk as one", and there's always a bigger patron (And, it's possible to assist the patron in becoming more powerful). A sourcerer's power is limited by the development of his powers - a low-level sourcerer can do a few weak things on its own. A low-level wizard knows only a few rituals that achieve minor tasks on the world. A low-level priest can use only a fraction of it's patron's power. A low-level warlock can only bind a few spirits to its bidding.

Erik Vale
2014-07-09, 04:36 AM
*Reads some, skips to end*

Priests and Mages tend to be differentiated because of the different stereotypes attached.

And you're wrong[ish] about Dragon Age. There is no divine magic, the only priests that can do magic are Tervinters, and they're just religious mages, and only because of how they screw around with the established human religion to have their own status quo. As such, there is no 'Priest Class'. There are however Templars, which are paladins fitted to the world if you screw your viewpoint some, and to my knowledge their powers are very restricted and caused by lyrium consumption, so it's instead being due to them ingesting drugs that give them magic than any divine power being invested in them.
Edit: On further reading I will say that I don't consider Keepers to be priests, Just wizards. They guide their clans because they know a lot, which happens to include religious knowledge because it's a major part of their culture, not because they are religious leaders. This is particularly important because they take slightly more note about knowing history, to my knowledge.

Frozen_Feet
2014-07-09, 09:40 AM
I see a lot of "D&D did it", but very little proper analysis of why D&D did it. It had nothing to do with Vancian magic, as one should guess from the fact that Magic-Users and Clerics both use the same system.

Instead, the divide existed along two lines: white magic versus black magic, and faith versus science.

The first should be obvious. In earlier editions, Cleric magic focused around healing, protecting and supporting others. Magic-User Magic focused around destruction, curses and helping yourself. It's also obvious when you look at summoning spells of the respective classes - Clerics summoned animals, spirits and angels, while Magic-Users summoned undead, demons and lovecraftian horrors.

The second is related to why Clerics use Wisdom and Magic-Users use intelligence. I examined this in-depth in this post. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=16774875&postcount=231) The Clerical stereotype comes from Knight Templars and western monks, to which servitude to a higher cause and moral righteousness were defining features. Moral righteousness, especially, has been associated with wisdom in... pretty much every culture, and is often contrasted with "cold logic" or some such. In short, Clerics are spellcasters who follow their good heart over their brain. If you want evidence, just go over the original Cleric spell list and count how many are directly inspired and even named after biblical miracles.

Magic-users, on the other hand, draw their inspirations from witches of folklore, of alchemists of middle-age and renessaince, and Renessaince men like Leonardo Da Vinci who could do a bit of everything and pioneered many inventions and scientific concepts. They are defined, somewhat, by their inviduality and opposition to established worldview, like the Church. They are the ones who go where no man has before, and reveal secrets no man was meant to know. In contrast to Clerics, they represent dominion over natural forces, rather than servitude to them. They follow their brain instead of their heart. This reflects in their spell lists, which are full of scientific and pseudo-scientific jargon and in-jokes.

Later editions have screwed up blurred these distinctions, however, through absorbing influence from more and more different mythologies where these distinctions were never made. MU dominance over black magic vanished quite rapidly through introduction of the Anti-Cleric and reversed spells. Then the scientific outlook of MUs took a hit when many setting introduced a God of Magic. The 3rd edition addition, the Sorcerer, is basically a step back towards folkloric wizards and witches, who communed with spirits and bend them to their will through force of personality, rather than analytical thinking. Pathfinder took this further by making the Witch one of the baseclasses. 4th edition in turn made an effort to make a class for each and every different way to look at magic, with mixed results.

Non-D&D RPGs are all over the place when it comes to this issue. Many only buy into one of the above-mentioned dividing lines, but not the other. In many settings, all magic is mystical and beyond scientific inquiry, but different classes still exists for black magic and white magic.

Yora
2014-07-09, 11:19 AM
One interesting thing about BECMI and AD&D is that they do have options to pick races other than humans and classes like bards, druids, and paladins, but the rules are always trying their very best to keep players from playing anything but the most stereotypical characters. Human fighter, human cleric, human thief, and human wizard. If you want to play nonhuman characters, you're level capped at 4th or 6th level (2nd edition was significantly more permissive about that) and to play nonstandard classes you need to roll amazingly high stats. And you can't do both.

It's still a mystery why D&D tried so very hard to make sure that everyone plays the most stereotype characters possible, but it would fit together very well with the spell lists making sure that clerics and wizards are being played according to type with no stepping out of place.

Frozen_Feet
2014-07-09, 12:20 PM
It's not a mystery at all.

1st Ed AD&D DMG details exhaustively the reasons why D&D is antropocentric. Put shortly: because we, the players, are humans, and hence we are best at playing humans.

As for why the original classes were stereotypical to the point of being archetypical? It was the advent of roleplaying games, hey. It's like asking "why do roles of the first play feel so cliche?" Everything else built on it, subverted it, played with it. The classes in OD&D and early AD&D are as much roles unto themselves. They're for people who didn't really have a concept of creating and playing their own roles.

SiuiS
2014-07-09, 02:47 PM
And I am pretty sure the books also said to ignore and change any aspect that doesn't work for a group. From the very beginning it has been "more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

Yes. But dividing them between The Omnipotent Rule and the on-the-side flavor that is, I'm, if you want to, you don't have to, it's okay is faulty.


Thing is, the devs know that users often use the rules as a chassis and template to generate content such as homebrew settings, cultures, organizations, classes, spells, and so on. They want to allow that to happen, because it not only helps maintain interest, but it can also give them some good ideas. One prominent example is Eberron (lest we forget that the ever-popular setting and its much-loved Warforged race used to be homebrew). Enforcing only one setting or interpretation as the official one could restrict this creativity.

See, this is written as if you are correcting me. But why would you correct me, and then say the exact same thing I did? I said D&D has a tradition of having implied setting and that I want that to stop. You say you don't want D&D to continue being straight jacketed into a specific setting. We agree.

Am I missing something?


My favorite part about the Vancian magic system is that it keeps the ritual aspect of magic intact through the preparation phase. No, magic is NOT something "Within" someone that merely requires force of will to use like some sort of superpower. It's a power greater than you that must be appeased and invoked. It's part of the world, not the caster. Unfortunately, D&D glosses over all the interesting parts of magic by relegating it to a simple one-hour prep phase and spell component pouch. There's no mystique or ritual to magic. I'd have prefered "A spell takes X amount of time to prepare, and Y sympathetic ingredients, and an envrionment of Z", with the ability to either hold onto the spell Vancian-style (With spell-slots restricting the number of spells you can prepare), possibly risking losing some of its potency, or letting the spell go off immediately as a ritual. No "Must rest 8 hours to clear mind" of "Cannot regain a slot used in the last 8 hours" garbage. Each spell would have its own preparation system. Some would be short and quick (Good for blasts), others might have extensive preparation times.

Aye. D&D reduces the Roleplaying fun aspects of magic to a background detail. I like to liken it to overland travel. There are stories where it's interesting to watch the foibles of man and beast slogging through muck in the swamp, assailed by thirst and surrounded by toxic water and parasites, exhausted, sweaty, possibly sick. It's exciting to see how they deal with this, gritty, real. And some stories, "the adventurers brave the swamp of Jiles, losing a few days to privation before making their way out". Magic is much the same. For some games it's important. For others, not so much. The trick is finding people who agree it's important in this particular game.

D&D just trains you to think of prep as an afterthought. Although if you look for Arneson's old magic rules, they are much closer to your liking.


I see a lot of "D&D did it", but very little proper analysis of why D&D did it. It had nothing to do with Vancian magic, as one should guess from the fact that Magic-Users and Clerics both use the same system.

I dunno, mine was entirely about why D&D did it. :smalltongue:

Thanks though. You're more articulate at these sorts of things.

veti
2014-07-09, 07:17 PM
It's still a mystery why D&D tried so very hard to make sure that everyone plays the most stereotype characters possible, but it would fit together very well with the spell lists making sure that clerics and wizards are being played according to type with no stepping out of place.

To some extent, that's inherent in any class-based system. The classes are themselves based on existing stereotypes, so that's what they try to emulate. And D&D's version of the class system is really very restrictive - your class determines pretty much everything, including available skill set, spell list, hit points, combat proficiency, even saving throws.

Slipperychicken
2014-07-09, 07:30 PM
See, this is written as if you are correcting me. But why would you correct me, and then say the exact same thing I did? I said D&D has a tradition of having implied setting and that I want that to stop. You say you don't want D&D to continue being straight jacketed into a specific setting. We agree.

Am I missing something?


I figured that by "move away from implicit", you meant that you wanted them to just pick a setting and run with it as the sole, official canon setting. So I was trying to illustrate reasons why that may not happen.