PDA

View Full Version : Spell School Rankings in a blank setting



Kyutaru
2019-05-13, 12:47 PM
The world as we know it has been destroyed. Possibly by Kefka, possibly a giant termite, possibly by the Meteor spell, whatever the case it's all over for the majority of life.

But life rebuilds. Life is resilient and mankind flourishes once again after thousands of years. The ancient magics are mostly unknown to the denizens of this new world but priests keep records of powerful incantations safeguarded in their temples while fledgling mages dedicate themselves to particular schools of thought to once again climb the levels of magic.

You are the hero, tasked with saving the world. Doing so will have your adventure lead you across the world through all manner of terrain and danger. Luckily, you were born near one such academic academy striving to master the higher arts. You were inducted as a prodigy and given the secrets of the universe as they can be seen through one particular lens.

Which school do you master? Which town do you venture to in order to learn the next? And the next?

How would you rank the spell schools in terms of an RPG scaling, knowing full well that you would only gain access to the next school every 2 levels? Which schools should be reserved for late game as the most potent and campaign-changing magic? Should every wizard begin with basic elemental damage as an Evocation specialist or is destruction magic one of the upper echelons of power that you must face terrifying dungeons and dragons to achieve?

Thoughts.

Eldan
2019-05-13, 01:05 PM
I mean, most of my wizards never learn direct energy damage magic. Killing enemies yourself is an inefficient use of magic. Most of the time, killing at all is inefficient.

Man_Over_Game
2019-05-13, 01:28 PM
By "Spell School", I think you're referring to 5e's depiction of how the schools are laid out?

If so, I'd probably go in this order:

Abjuration (You need to survive to get the rest, nobody does that better than an Abjurer)
Evocation (Things will try to stop you. You need to stop them from doing that).
Divination (Time to start seeing things before they see you).
Conjuration (Some conjured allies and walls will help, as would some reliable transportation, now that your name is getting out there).
Transmutation (Time to start making some money and a base of operations)
Enchantment (Time to start making some "friends")
Illusion (Now that you've made some enemies, time to start being good at hiding)
Necromancy (People will be coming for you. Time to use the darkest magic for the greater good).

Mark Hall
2019-05-13, 01:37 PM
Since I'm an old fart...

Alteration. It has, like, 50% of the spells, and they can generally do everything. :smallbiggrin:

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-13, 02:18 PM
Well if you want to learn the Dark Arts, Durmstrang might be for you, but all the protagonists seem to go to Hogwarts...

Seriously. Which schools? The D&D ones? They aren't even consistent between editions and this is the general RPG section. Plus you started with a Final Fantasy reference. Final Fantasy spell schools are... what? White, Black, Red and Blue?

If it's a blank setting, you might as well make a new taxonomy of spells to fit it.

Spore
2019-05-13, 02:32 PM
If we are talking 5e's school, i go like this:

Abjuration and Evocation can mostly be reproduced by mundane means. Killing and not being killed, without any specific spells to talk about seem like something you can achieve otherwise.

Divination is extremely useful as knowledge literally is (political) power. As I assume Conjuration carries the usual stigmas and (real) dangers like backlash of power, or unwilling servants. Transmutation is something extremely powerful but this again can be largely reproduced by mundane means. Enchantment is powerful as well, Illusion is just trickery imho. Necromancy is simultaneously hideous and useful.

So I would probably go Divination, Enchantment and then Necromancy (if everyone loves you they might ignore you raising their dead grandma).

Kyutaru
2019-05-13, 02:41 PM
Man Over Game's list is similar to what I was thinking with some twists.

Conjuration - 1st Circle - The jack of all trades first spell school that offers Mage Armor, summons, and Grease along with making your first cantrip Acid Splash. It progresses quite well with new summons at every level, new direct damage attacks, and new crowd control tools.

Abjuration - 2nd Circle - The essential defensive buffs of a mage and ways to avoid spell damage like Resist Energy, Protection from Arrows, Protection from Alignment, Shield, and Alarm for camping while granting you the new Resistance cantrip. Very quickly it turns into Dispel Magic and party buffs.

Evocation - 3rd Circle - Comes when Fireball and Lightning Bolt become staple mage affairs and brings with it Magic Missile and Ray of Frost along with ways to control darkness and light. The mage steadily becomes more and more destructive in order to lend a hand with finishing off enemies.

Transmutation - 4th Circle - Controlling size and shape comes into play for essential party buffs and debuffs, along with Mass Enlarge/Reduce, Haste/Slow, and all the attribute buffs. Incidentally gains access to Magic Weapon creation and the ability to Fly/Levitate/Knock/Feather Fall your way past obstacles opening up the freedom of movement. This will shortly include passing through solid walls at the same time that Conjuration can create them as well as obtains Teleport.

Enchantment - 5th Circle - While the early spells are weak at this point, you finally gain command of enemies through Dominate, Hold, and Confusion spells which open up a previously unseen level of crowd control options in that enemies may be directly singled out. Feeblemind welcomes you for caster problems while Charm/Suggestion spells improve your reputation and relations with the locals.

Divination - 6th Circle - Finally, having dealt with the trickery of enemy illusions for long enough, True Seeing becomes your own. Perhaps the clear path has run its course and now its time to consult the gods for direction and hints. Locating powerful gear or key items you have missed is no longer an issue and every treasure chest is known to you. Hidden things are no longer an issue for your power has grown to be able to Detect Magic itself and analyze its nature.

Illusion - 7th Circle - Invisibility, Blur, Mirror Image, Displacement, illusionary terrain, projected villains, these enemy powers have plagued you until acquiring True Seeing. But now these tools of trickery belong to you. Use the very deceptions of your enemy to enhance your team and mislead their forces, penetrating deeply into the stronghold of your adversary.

Necromancy - 8th Circle - You have mass death spells. Slaughter your way through the ranks of your foes with Horrid Wilting, Circle of Death, Symbol of Death, Finger of Death, or drain their very souls. You have become Death, create and command the undead or destroy them outright.

Universal - 9th Circle - All the might of the cosmos rests in your hands. I grant you the Wish spell and the penultimate forms of every school's magic. Lay waste to your enemies and save the world.



Anyone see any possible gaps that might hurt the campaign and party?


Well if you want to learn the Dark Arts, Durmstrang might be for you, but all the protagonists seem to go to Hogwarts...

Seriously. Which schools? The D&D ones? They aren't even consistent between editions and this is the general RPG section. Plus you started with a Final Fantasy reference. Final Fantasy spell schools are... what? White, Black, Red and Blue?

If it's a blank setting, you might as well make a new taxonomy of spells to fit it.
Open ended questions are meant to be answered open endedly. The Left brain is the biggest enemy of the Right brain. Limitations do not exist here, feel free to come up with your own schools and separations if you want to. Any edition of D&D or some other RPG is welcome so long as your choices are supported. Heck, I'll take a full list of Harry Potter classes. But imagine you're designing a progressive campaign that doesn't give blank access to all magic from the get go. How would you slowly introduce new types of magic to yours?

Fable Wright
2019-05-14, 04:58 PM
Conjuration is at the top of my list for two reasons.

1. Teleportation.
2. Minions.

Minions can gather information, fight for me, act as a distraction, and teleport effects get me out of harm's way better than Abjuration. The only perfect defense is being out of range. Second best us a giant wall between you and the enemy.

Following this, Necromancy, for information gathering, the best single target damage, moar minions, and various defensive perks. Then the more specialized schools, Abjuration, Divination, Evocation, Illusion, Enchantment, Transmutation

If I'm picking one school every level, and they're capped at D&D spells of similar level...

1. Conjuration, SOLELY for Find Familiar, the best scout and general survivability and utility tool there is. Otherwise Illusion for the key showstopper of Silent Image, and in coming levels Phantasmal Force and Hypnotic Pattern.
2. Transmutation. Enhance Ability, Enlarge/Reduce, Dragon's Breath if familiar is available... this is a utility powerhouse and the best damage over time school at the level.
3. Necromancy. Animate Dead and Speak With Dead for huge info gathering capacity and general offense and defense, along with HP buffs with Vampiric Touch, False Life, and debuffs like Blindness.
4. The other of Illusion or Conjuration. Putting Dimension Door and Conjure Minor Elementals or Greater Invisibility and Hallucinatory Terrain on the table is finally worth it.
5. Evocation. You get Wall of Force, Cone of Cold, and soon Contingency. But mostly Wall of Force.
6. Divination. Legend Lore covers everything you want, Arcane Eye or in 3.5e Prying Eyes to be able to plan your dungeon assault early... beautiful.
7. Abjuration, I guess? Mind Blank isn't for another level, but tools to defend your simulacrum are nice.
8. Enchantment. Because forcing people to listen is going to cause more problems than it solves. Every time. I'd probably take this as a banned school.

Frozen_Feet
2019-05-15, 04:43 PM
Open ended questions are meant to be answered open endedly. The Left brain is the biggest enemy of the Right brain. Limitations do not exist here, feel free to come up with your own schools and separations if you want to. Any edition of D&D or some other RPG is welcome so long as your choices are supported. Heck, I'll take a full list of Harry Potter classes. But imagine you're designing a progressive campaign that doesn't give blank access to all magic from the get go. How would you slowly introduce new types of magic to yours?

I'd do away with the entire concept of "spell schools" as arbitrary groupings of spells based on effect. Instead, "schools of magic" would be different traditions with different vocabulary of magical symbols. Gatekeeping of new spells would be achieved by limiting access to material components.

The basic types of spells would be the same between all schools: banishment, invocation, evocation, binding, imprisonment and torment. Differences between schools are based on which kinds of entities these are used on. Ideally you should always learn banishment first, because it is bad form to raise up that which you can't put down. However, it's rarely usefull to know only one type of spell per entity. For example, evocation is near-useless (and dangerous) if you can't also bind what you evoke to your will and banish it when you're done. A full ritual usually consist of at least three parts.

To define these six further:

Banishment dispells energies and drives away entities. It is used to clear space for magical activity or to end magical activity already in motion.

Invocation calls energies and entities into the magic-user. It is used to gain insight and to assume traits of magical entities.

Evocation gives energies and entities an external shape.

Binding makes energies and entities do the magic-user's bidding.

Imprisonment is used to seal away energies and entities, preventing them from effecting the world.

Torment brings suffering and destruction upon energies and entities.

So which school do you go to and in what order? Entirely goal dependant. If your wish is to resurrect a loved one, you go to church like a good boy, become a knight and go questing for the Holy Chalice, giving zero damns about all those other schools, because they don't matter to you.

Furthermore, since magical traditions tend towards exclusive and secretive, trying to jump ships regularly just gets you blacklisted. A single school would have enough to learn for a lifetime, so fully mastering all of them isn't really even on the table. Best you can do is find specific teachers who know specific spells you want, and are willing to co-operate. Then you go questing for the material components.

Mendicant
2019-05-15, 05:41 PM
If I'm starting as a zero, I'd rather have enchantment, illusion and divination up front. Those are the ones you build your power base with. Conjuration can come on line once you're out of the build stage and moving into the attack stage and your real enemies
A: realize you're their enemy and
B: start sending problems your way that can't be easily solved by a large friend hitting them until they're not a problem any morea

Faily
2019-05-15, 07:00 PM
Why not do it like Ars Magica, where magic is composed of two different "elements"?

Every magic spell consists of at least one Technique and one Form (though can have components of others, called requisite, making the magic more complex and difficult).


The Techniques are:
Creo ("I create") brings objects and substances into existence from nothing, or makes an already-existing target a "more perfect" version of itself (e.g. healing magic, as healed bodies are nearer perfection than wounded bodies).
Intellego ("I perceive") detects or reveals, enhances a target's natural senses or conveys supernatural ones.
Muto ("I transform") alters the nature of a being, object or substance, adding unnatural traits and/or removing natural ones.
Perdo ("I destroy") decays, disintegrates or otherwise diminishes the target, making something a worse example of its kind (i.e. the opposite of Creo).
Rego ("I control") involves manipulation of the target in any way that does not alter its nature, e.g. direct a target's movement, put a creature to sleep, or force a tree to bear fruit out of season. This is the main Technique used in spells of protection or 'warding'.

The Forms are:
Animal affects "all natural living things that are not plants or humans, doing to animals what Mentem and Corpus spells do to people" as well as "things made with animal products" such as leather, wool, cheese, silk, etc.
Auram affects lightning, wind and gaseous substances; other weather effects typically require an Aquam requisite (see below).
Aquam is used for any liquid, with the exception of blood (which requires Animal or Corpus magic to affect); non-liquid forms of water will involve requisites (see below).
Corpus applies to the human body, making it crucial to longevity formulas.
Herbam primarily involves plants, but applies equally to any organic matter, living or dead, that is not of animal origin.
Ignem involves light and heat.
Imaginem deals with images, sounds, and other sensory stimuli (thus is involved in most illusionary effects).
Mentem deals with emotions, memories, thoughts and spirits.
Terram involves earth and minerals: mere soil is the simplest target, while stone, metal and gems require progressively greater investment of spell levels to achieve the same effect.
Vim ("power") involves magic itself, as well as demons.


So to cast something like D&D's Fireball, that would be Creo Ignem (I create fire). Something like Disintigrate would be Perdo Corpus or Perdo Animal, depending on what you're targeting. Nondetection and similar things would be Rego Mentem (most likely with a Vim requisite).

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 01:23 AM
Why not do it like Ars Magica, where magic is composed of two different "elements"?
Mainly because this isn't really a thread looking for an alternate spellcasting system but rather a way to progressively add new spell groupings to the party along with the order in which they should be presented.

Like some games start you off with Fire spells, then Ice spells, then Lightning spells, then Dark spells, and finally Holy spells. Each gets progressively more powerful or useful for that stage of the game while expanding your book of options.

I'm not at all sure how to rank or develop your spell system as it seems entirely arbitrary with no clear progression of power or utility.

noob
2019-05-16, 05:23 AM
Or you can go all m&m 6 and have water, body and spirit be the schools that contains the most useful spells then light(light combines the cool stuff of body and spirit in one spell but that spell was not exactly spamable) and shadow then air have some convenient spells then all the other scools are probably unneeded.

gkathellar
2019-05-16, 05:52 AM
Like some games start you off with Fire spells, then Ice spells, then Lightning spells, then Dark spells, and finally Holy spells. Each gets progressively more powerful or useful for that stage of the game while expanding your book of options.

So are you looking for that, but with the common D&D schools? Or are you just looking for suggestions of something like that without any particular pre-existing set of schools?

Personally, if I had to choose a D&D school, I'd join the Transmutation crowd. If I had to choose a broad conceptual sweep of magic, I'd ... still choose the ability to turn one thing into another thing, because that sounds awesome. If I had to choose, like, an element? Fire. Otherwise I'd be a disappointment to Jaya Ballard, Task Mage.


I'm not at all sure how to rank or develop your spell system as it seems entirely arbitrary with no clear progression of power or utility.

It's point-based. More skill in Creo, for instance, and you can manage more powerful creation effects. Once you have a sense for it the whole thing is very intuitive, but it depends on already-established magical traditions in which characters are improving and making discoveries. Maybe not quite what you're looking for.

noob
2019-05-16, 06:41 AM
So are you looking for that, but with the common D&D schools? Or are you just looking for suggestions of something like that without any particular pre-existing set of schools?

Personally, if I had to choose a D&D school, I'd join the Transmutation crowd. If I had to choose a broad conceptual sweep of magic, I'd ... still choose the ability to turn one thing into another thing, because that sounds awesome. If I had to choose, like, an element? Fire. Otherwise I'd be a disappointment to Jaya Ballard, Task Mage.



It's point-based. More skill in Creo, for instance, and you can manage more powerful creation effects. Once you have a sense for it the whole thing is very intuitive, but it depends on already-established magical traditions in which characters are improving and making discoveries. Maybe not quite what you're looking for.

so I need more creo to make smaller cute animals or less creo?

Mark Hall
2019-05-16, 08:59 AM
so I need more creo to make smaller cute animals or less creo?

Larger things require more Creo (or more Animal; the important part is the aggregate).

Someone with Creo 9 Animal 1 can cast the same CrAn spell someone with Cr 1 An 9, or Cr 5 An 5, given the same intelligence or stamina. However, the person with the higher Creo score can also cast Creo Aquam spells, Creo Ignem spells, etc., while someone with a higher Animal score will be better at Intellego, Muto, Perdo, and Rego Animal spells. There's a degree of diminishing returns for increasing scores (1 pt is 1 XP, 2 pt is 3 XP total, 3 is 6 total, etc.), so a dedicated "Animal Magus" finds it useful to improve his Techniques (Cr, In, Mu, Pe, Re) in addition to his Form (Animal), and being a well-rounded magus means giving a bit of time to all your Techniques and Forms. Some spells also have Requisites... if I want to turn Earth into Air, it's going to be MuTe, but with an Aurum requisite (since it's becoming Air, I must understand Auram as well as I understand Terram).

noob
2019-05-16, 10:38 AM
Larger things require more Creo (or more Animal; the important part is the aggregate).

Someone with Creo 9 Animal 1 can cast the same CrAn spell someone with Cr 1 An 9, or Cr 5 An 5, given the same intelligence or stamina. However, the person with the higher Creo score can also cast Creo Aquam spells, Creo Ignem spells, etc., while someone with a higher Animal score will be better at Intellego, Muto, Perdo, and Rego Animal spells. There's a degree of diminishing returns for increasing scores (1 pt is 1 XP, 2 pt is 3 XP total, 3 is 6 total, etc.), so a dedicated "Animal Magus" finds it useful to improve his Techniques (Cr, In, Mu, Pe, Re) in addition to his Form (Animal), and being a well-rounded magus means giving a bit of time to all your Techniques and Forms. Some spells also have Requisites... if I want to turn Earth into Air, it's going to be MuTe, but with an Aurum requisite (since it's becoming Air, I must understand Auram as well as I understand Terram).

So for making a one inch tall puppy I would need which skills?

Kyutaru
2019-05-16, 10:41 AM
So are you looking for that, but with the common D&D schools? Or are you just looking for suggestions of something like that without any particular pre-existing set of schools?

Either or. See post number 3, 7, and 8 for examples. Like how in RPGs gaining access to Resurrection is fairly significant, yes? Well what if you're roaming the world unlocking entire spheres of magic? What order would you want the players to unlock them and why? Typically games reserve Shadow magic for end game because it carries all the death spells. Harry Potter learns the Unforgivable Curses at a fairly late stage because they're just that powerful. But similarly, he doesn't learn how to Apparate until a similar stage of progression because Hogwarts deems it far too dangerous to teach to newbies. Similarly, advanced spells like shapeshifting and Dark Arts defenses are reserved for higher year learners.

Just as D&D starts you off with Cantrips and progresses through the Nine Spell Levels, I'm aiming to formulate a starting school of magic and then progress through all other schools at periodic intervals. This limits the early versatility of wizards and forces them to specialize in areas I choose until I deem it time to award them the privilege of access to new forms of magic. These can be the standard D&D ones or they can be a customized set of schools from any RPG.

The goal is merely to discuss and contemplate on how much power wizards should have early on and what reality-changing effects they should gain access to as they grow stronger.