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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Notice how "mundane" or "non-magical" don't enter into it. Conflating "martial" with mundane is, as far as I can tell, conceit of specific people talking of a specific system and exists nowhere else.
    For somewhat related reasons, I tried using "mundane" in an earlier incarnation of this discussion... and kinda got my head bit off for it ("How dare you call martial characters 'mundane'?!?" and so on).

    E: and I think "martial vs caster" does come from the unspoken presumption of a D&D-like setup, but then many other setups don't have such a hard and drastic split between the those who wield weapons and those who cast spells.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2017-11-15 at 03:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    The corollary to this is that if you want to play a wizard who has combat-usable magic, own up to it and call your archetype a Warmage or Fighter-Wizard, 'cause that's what it is.
    Everything is combat usable. Based off my experiences Stone to Mud is the most OP combat spell in the game.

    EDIT: Right, my initial point that I was going to make is that they are not using the word incorrectly because it is how it was defined in D&D is several editions.
    Last edited by Tinkerer; 2017-11-15 at 03:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    This is a case where you (and these forums in general) plain don't use the words like the rest of the world do.

    Let's recap what "martial" means:



    Notice how "mundane" or "non-magical" don't enter into it. Conflating "martial" with mundane is, as far as I can tell, conceit of specific people talking of a specific system and exists nowhere else.
    Ultimately, whenever martial vs caster gets mentioned, what it means is Fighter vs Wizard. Fighters (with or without magic items), Wizards, and multiclass Fighter/Wizards (characters that blend the two).

    Some folks try to expand the point out by (for example) including agile Rogue-like characters in combat, but originally it all comes from Fighters vs Wizards.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    You don't have to have a spell for everything. But if the character you are pitching is a "magic user", their primary solution should be "use magic". Just like if your character is a "swordsman", they should solve their problems with a sword, and not by researching things. Are there characters that solve their problems by researching them? Sure. But those characters aren't "swordsmen". Are their problems swordsmen solve with research? Sure. But those shouldn't constitute the majority of their problems.[/I]
    I haven't taken the time to actually do this, but I am fairly certain if I rewatched the Lord of the Rings trilogy Gandalf the wandering wizard would solve less than 50% of his problems by casting spells. Likewise I if I watch Willow I am fairly certain Madmartigan, the greatest swordsman in the world, solves less than half of his problems with melee.

    Now, they probably use their respective class skills more than any other single approach, but almost certainly not more than all other approaches combined.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Strong enough magnetic field will rip everything out of anything.

    However, the iron in your blood is not ferromagnetic. You would need a magnetic field powerfull enough to cause paramagnetic effects, requiring orders of magnitude more power than, say, tearing a ferromagnetic object (such as a sword) out of your hand.
    I looked it up after posting, apparently magnetism isn't so much a property of the iron element as it is the chemical structures it typically finds itself in when in the state we think of as metallic iron.

    But yeah, technically almost everything we experience is some sort of interaction caused by the electromagnetic force, and this is a pretty good example of why specialist casters are better for the game then generalists. If Magneto were to go around poking at the edges of his power to influence things that were not traditionally ferro-magnetic (sp?) because they still use the electromagnetic force he stops being "The Master of Magnetism" and instead is just another telekinetic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    What you call downhill I call a feature. I'm glad spellcasters can go "pew pew" all day with a spell. It may be a glorified crossbow in effect, but the flavor text enhances the experience. You get to feel like a spellcaster by saying "I cast Firebolt". "I fire my crossbow" does not have the same vibe.
    Which is great if you are a blaster. I tried playing an abjurer in 5E and sat around bored (and pissing my party of for being useless) because there are very few cantrips in 5E that are not direct damage but are still frequently useful.

    If all you really want to do is cast fireball all day long while waiting for the right type to cast the big spells the best solution in my game would be to simply get a wand that allows you to do just that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Apparently, I wasn't clear, as most everyone missed the point on being magical. I wasn't talking about the magic, I was talking about the Wizard.

    For example, my Fighter is powerful. But he actually has to spend 80% of fights on the bench, just resting (while using his leadership/tactics skills to direct combat, giving his allies bonuses), because he gets winded super easy from walking around, let alone fighting. That really doesn't make him feel powerful.

    My mobster is rich. But I can't afford to buy bubble gum, otherwise, I might not have money later? No, he doesn't come across as rich anymore.

    It's the same thing with the Wizard for me. If the Wizard is constantly forced to employ mundane methods or risk not having magic, he no longer feels as magical.
    What do you think about an expert marksman who has a limited supply of ammunition and thus chooses his shots carefully rather than simply nonstop firing from the hip like an 80s action hero. Is he no longer a marksman because he has to take his ammo supply into consideration?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    The "guy at the gym" is not a fallacy because it limits characters to what's physically possible. It's a fallacy because it limits characters to what some person (usually the GM) thinks is physically possible, which is a different thing.

    The fallacious form of "guy at the gym" can afflict even games which have no supernatural elements at all. It happens when even a highly skilled character isn't allowed to do something which is possible in real world, because the person running the game doesn't consider that thing plausible. It literally means that person thinks some guy at the gym is the most a human being can achieve (also suggesting they must be attending a really boring gym).

    You can see it right there in d20 character class design, even. I mean, is there a good reason why Fighters, who are a broad archetype meant to cover people from Swashbucklers to Roman Legionaires to Knights, are missing Survival, Listen, Use Rope etc. vital warrior skills from their class skill list? No. It can only be explained by the desginers not really having a clue of what real life thing the Fighter class would model, by the designers believing a Fighter is just "guy a the gym" who's been handed a sword.
    "Guy at the gym," has come to mean several different things and argue several different points.

    Some people use it to argue in favor of the "badass normal" archetype and other's against it. Some people think it means limiting martials to what is physically possible, others think it means limiting heroes to what some random guy at the gym can do.

    Other people use a sort of hybrid argument; because so far the game limits people to doing what any guy at the gym can do it is therefore impossible to make a worthwhile character who is bounded by the constraints of physics," which is the argument that I spend most of my time crusading against.


    For example, in my campaign a max level martial character is going to function like a gestalt of Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow with the combat skills of Thor (and likely an artifact weapon on part with Mjolnir). They aren't doing anything that it isn't theoretically possible using RL physics*, but they are certainly not mundane in any way.


    *: Obviously there are a few moments when said characters do things that are blatantly impossible and inconsistent with their normal power set, but that's the superhero genre for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    1. Putting limits on some characters (mundanes), but not other characters (casters).
    2. Allowing people to continue accumulating abilities indefinitely.
    3. Game Balance.
    .
    I still don't know why you think games need to allow people to advance indefinitely or why they should be balanced around a point long after most games end.

    Most RPGs I know of have either a hard limit or an effective limit based on the rates of XP acquisition that limit how strong characters can get, and those that don't tend to offer only token support to the theoretical end-game. For example, D&D 3.X has just the one epic handbook, which was fairly bad imo, and was never updated to 3.5 or really integrated into any of the other material they published later, and I only played in one game that even attempted to make use of it.

    Insisting on balancing the game around some theoretical 430th level play session seems like a bit of a lost cause as the 1-20 actually can benefit from a bit of tinkering with CMD while the epic level game has way bigger things to worry about.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerer View Post
    Everything is combat usable.
    Said a warrior. If you're not a warrior nor playing such a character, you don't think like this.

    Just as well, a thief would consider Stone to Mud a great way to break into houses. But if you're not a thief nor playing such a character, you don't think like this.

    If you systematically approach magic from the angle of "how does this make me better in a fight?", you're a Wizard-Fighter.

    If you systematically approach magic from the angle of "how does this make me better at stealing stuff?", you're a Wizard-Thief.

    So on and so forth. If you can't wrap your head around a Wizard who doesn't do combat, don't say a word about "pure casters". They aren't, in your mind.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    For somewhat related reasons, I tried using "mundane" in an earlier incarnation of this discussion... and kinda got my head bit off for it ("How dare you call martial characters 'mundane'?!?" and so on).
    "Mundane" is a bad word, because:

    Quote Originally Posted by thefreedictionary.com
    mundane (ˈmʌndeɪn; mʌnˈdeɪn)
    adj
    1. everyday, ordinary, or banal
    2. relating to the world or worldly matters
    There are many, many non-magical things which are none of everyday, ordinary or banal. A highly trained martial artist, an olympic athlete, a world-class performer etc. might not be magic, but on their respective fields they are frequently anything but mundane.

    Hence, I increasingly favor "non-magical" and "non-supernatural". Because as I remarked earlier, there is quite a large room to be extraordinary, even superhuman, without being magic or supernatural.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Ultimately, whenever martial vs caster gets mentioned, what it means is Fighter vs Wizard. Fighters (with or without magic items), Wizards, and multiclass Fighter/Wizards (characters that blend the two).

    Some folks try to expand the point out by (for example) including agile Rogue-like characters in combat, but originally it all comes from Fighters vs Wizards.
    I know. What I'm trying to tell people is that this is not a smart way of discussing the subject.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal
    "Guy at the gym," has come to mean several different things and argue several different points.
    I know. I'm trying to cut through the conflation.
    Last edited by Frozen_Feet; 2017-11-15 at 03:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    If you want to have a real discussion, with the - slight, but real - possibility of any agreement, I'd suggest:

    1. Agree on what the discussion is, for instance: Wizard vs Fighter (for any given value of the two - but without all the alchemy in between)
    2. Try not to nitpick. Everyone knows what's meant by mundane, who cares if the textbook definition doesn't cover - we all know what mundane means in roleplaying context. It means 'does things without magic'.

    For my own part, I simply want warriors fighters (just forgot my own rule after 10 seconds) to be an even match for wizards. I've built some systems for this, but nothing solid enough for others to use. In order to have fighters be able to beat magic, I've allowed strength checks to break spells (hold person being the obvious example), rage to defeat mind affecting spells (reactively), and bonuses to saves that increase with loss of hit points.

    With the end result being that wizards cannot rely on save-or-suck or save-or-lose spells, meaning they actually have to win by removing hit points, meaning the fighters have a chance to fight back.

    Obviously it plays in to things that I've never played even a single game above level 16, I think. The overwhelming majority have ended around level 12. In D&D 3.5.

    Oh and on a side note, none of this is aimed at the guy who posted above. The mundane thing is just an example.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Said a warrior. If you're not a warrior nor playing such a character, you don't think like this.

    Just as well, a thief would consider Stone to Mud a great way to break into houses. But if you're not a thief nor playing such a character, you don't think like this.

    If you systematically approach magic from the angle of "how does this make me better in a fight?", you're a Wizard-Fighter.

    If you systematically approach magic from the angle of "how does this make me better at stealing stuff?", you're a Wizard-Thief.

    So on and so forth. If you can't wrap your head around a Wizard who doesn't do combat, don't say a word about "pure casters". They aren't, in your mind.
    What if a character isn't "A Thief" or "A Warrior", but still looks at magic from those angles?

    Personally I'm not a thief, but I still notice things that make buildings easier or harder to break into. I'm not an arsonist, but I still know that a can of gasoline and a book of matches makes lighting a building on fire a lot easier.

    This is part of what ends up with me being so vehemently negative about archetype-based character rules (D&D-like Classes being the extreme example).


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    "Mundane" is a bad word, because:

    There are many, many non-magical things which are none of everyday, ordinary or banal. A highly trained martial artist, an olympic athlete, a world-class performer etc. might not be magic, but on their respective fields they are frequently anything but mundane.

    Hence, I increasingly favor "non-magical" and "non-supernatural". Because as I remarked earlier, there is quite a large room to be extraordinary, even superhuman, without being magic or supernatural.
    For any particular setting, there's a line where a character who isn't casting spells still crosses from what's non-magically possible (in the broad sense of magic), into the realm of what's magic. In establishing that line, there's a tension between what you want to be possible without any magic at all, and the effects this is going to (or "should") have on the worldbuilding (if people are capable of carrying 500 lbs, running all day with that load, and leaping 20 foot gaps, you've probably put some donkeys and ferrymen and bridge-builders out of work).

    So there are really two distinctions here, I think -- not-magic vs magic, and not-caster vs caster.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And the only full caster is from a D&D setting. The whole "I'm a caster so all I do is cast spells" for protagonists seems to me to stem from D&D. Maybe even from Raistlin himself.
    I'd say emphatically NOT Raistlin. Especially early in the Chronicles, Raistlin was very limited in what spells he could do, reflecting the D&D game as it stood at the time... he could use some spells, and he used them well, but "Cast all day" simply wasn't a thing that he (or any wizard) could do.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I'd say emphatically NOT Raistlin. Especially early in the Chronicles, Raistlin was very limited in what spells he could do, reflecting the D&D game as it stood at the time... he could use some spells, and he used them well, but "Cast all day" simply wasn't a thing that he (or any wizard) could do.
    He is a good example of "all I do is magic and use my brain". He uses a dagger to stab someone, what, one time?

    Edit: But yeah, he's a pre-cantrip D&D wizard. From back when everyone understood that "Wizard" didn't mean "cast all day long" or "uses magic for everything", but rather "extremely powerful but highly use limited abilities" and "weak at everything else".

    Basically, they were the equivalent of Artillery in the fantasy wargaming that became D&D. Where-as Fighting Men were grunts.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-11-15 at 06:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    What if a character isn't "A Thief" or "A Warrior", but still looks at magic from those angles?
    Then they're emulating mindset of a warrior or a thief in a way that benefits their profession, such as a policeman trying to figure out what spells a Wizard-Thief could use for burglaring.

    But those are exceptions that prove the rule. For any application of a thing, there is a limited amount of incentives to think of such application. And only specific sorts of people who routinely deal with the thing will routinely have such incentives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy
    Personally I'm not a thief, but I still notice things that make buildings easier or harder to break into.
    In a systematic way? No you don't. Not unless, again, it relates to your routine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy
    I'm not an arsonist, but I still know that a can of gasoline and a book of matches makes lighting a building on fire a lot easier.
    Here you're confusing acknowledging an obvious fact with routinely looking for how and which buildings to set on fire.

    It's similar to an average person acknowledging that a kitchen knife can be used to kill someone: superficial. In truth, majority of people who use kitchen knives neither use nor think of them as lethal weapons, and their ability and will to use them as such approaches nill. Just like, I hope, your will and ability to use matches and gasoline to burn down houses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy
    This is part of what ends up with me being so vehemently negative about archetype-based character rules (D&D-like Classes being the extreme example).
    Except you're barking the wrong tree. I'm not arguing that people should play "pure" whatevers. I'm arguing that a characters who are not primarily defined by fighting, don't need to be able to fight. D&D is only relevant insofar as it's D&D that's seen to be "about combat" and hence "can fight" gets baked into every character type.

    The general point goes way beyond any D&D class or archetype. I can easily imagine a doctor who also practices martial arts, and can use their medical knowledge to enhance their martial abilities. But just as well I can imagine another doctor who has the same medical knowledge, but does not practice martial arts and hence has no ability to apply their knowledge in a martial way.

    Hence, if I say to someone, "your doctor does not need to have any ability to use martial arts", and someone starts smart-assing ways to use medical knowledge in a martial way, clearly they missed the point or they want to play the doctor who is also a martial artist.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy
    For any particular setting, there's a line where a character who isn't casting spells still crosses from what's non-magically possible (in the broad sense of magic), into the realm of what's magic. In establishing that line, there's a tension between what you want to be possible without any magic at all, and the effects this is going to have on the worldbuilding.

    So there are really two distinctions here, I think -- not-magic vs magic, and not-caster vs caster.
    It's funny you say "really two" when I already showed four: mundane versus extraordinary, human versus superhuman, non-magical versus magical and natural versus supernatural. (Your "caster versus non-caster" is my not-magic versus magic and your "not-magic versus magic" is my natural versus supernatural.)

    If the category of "extraordinary, superhuman thing which is natural and non-magical" really does not open to you, think hard sci-fi genetically enhanced hominid, or a robot, or (in more limited sense) animals which beat humans in some trait handily (such as chimpanzee's raw strength).
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    He is a good example of "all I do is magic and use my brain". He uses a dagger to stab someone, what, one time?
    And sleight of hand. Yeah, he's a magic-only character for the most part, but he was husbanding a rare and powerful resource. Later editions removed the rare but didn't make it less powerful... which, again, is kind of why I respected 4e. A mage there could cast spells all day long, but that wasn't terribly better than being able to swing swords all day long. The really powerful magics were Rituals, which anyone had access to.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    And sleight of hand. Yeah, he's a magic-only character for the most part, but he was husbanding a rare and powerful resource. Later editions removed the rare but didn't make it less powerful... which, again, is kind of why I respected 4e. A mage there could cast spells all day long, but that wasn't terribly better than being able to swing swords all day long. The really powerful magics were Rituals, which anyone had access to.
    Good call on the sleight of hand thing. Not only some bit-part skill use either, he was good enough to create a useful cover for the entire party for an extended journey.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post

    Which is great if you are a blaster. I tried playing an abjurer in 5E and sat around bored (and pissing my party of for being useless) because there are very few cantrips in 5E that are not direct damage but are still frequently useful.

    If all you really want to do is cast fireball all day long while waiting for the right type to cast the big spells the best solution in my game would be to simply get a wand that allows you to do just that.
    Campaign specific I'd measure. In my cleric game the wizard is an abjurer mainly for the temporary hit points. However, in that Yawning Portal adventure in the pyramid where there's a gas so you can't short rest her most valuable spell that game was Mage Hand. She used it liberally to set off traps and grab loot that would set off traps but we're not near it to be hurt. I figured out early in the adventure that most of the traps were "greed traps". You're safe as long as you don't go for the treasure. The toppling statue trap was nothing for example. We knew it was trapped without having to investigate because of the gem eyes. Mage Hand the gems, statue topples, we're richer without losing anything because no one needed to climb it. The gem in the wall within the head of a creature? Mage Hand the gem out, the mouth slams shut against nothing because no one needed to put their hand inside it.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Or the methods they use to do the impossible.

    I'm a fan of the "everybody who's anybody is magic, but that doesn't mean they cast spells" mindset.
    Actually I think both would be the ideas solution for both mechanical and narrative differentiation. I think 4e got into some trouble with changing just the "how" and not enough of the "what" (or at least that was the perception). And I used to do that magic thing... then I just realized I was sticking the word magic in there because it made me feel better. Once I realized that taking the word magic out and instead saying "the universe does not operate by the same rules" makes me feel better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Apparently, I wasn't clear, as most everyone missed the point on being magical. I wasn't talking about the magic, I was talking about the Wizard.
    What about my reply didn't address that? Well I guess the whole thing then. I actually understood what you were getting at. Let me be more direct:

    Its it too much to ask that a wizard be more than just one who casts spells? I feel it cheapens the concept in the same way calling a fighter one who uses swords does that. The wizards I grew up with were wise and or cunning and more often got by with that than pulling out a convenient spell. More than having magic, having the mind that has learned enough of the secrets of the universe seemed to be the deciding issue. Does a wizard stop being a wizard in an anti-magic zone? Does a fighter stop being a fighter without a weapon? I should hope not.

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "relevant in the same way."
    In short "as PCs". They can work together to solve problems with each playing a significant role in most of them. Also yes, is not an issue at lower power levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    This is a case where you (and these forums in general) plain don't use the words like the rest of the world do.
    By the dictionary definition you are entirely correct. By how the gaming community (and the forums in general, who are the people I'm talking to) martial tends to mean "non-caster" or "physically empowered character" as often as not. Mundane is technically more correct but it cares some really bad connotations with it (notably boring) so I avoid it. That leaves me in the awkward position of not really liking the word martial but not having a better option. If you have a suggestion, please tell me and maybe I'll start using that word instead.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Actually I think both would be the ideas solution for both mechanical and narrative differentiation. I think 4e got into some trouble with changing just the "how" and not enough of the "what" (or at least that was the perception). And I used to do that magic thing... then I just realized I was sticking the word magic in there because it made me feel better. Once I realized that taking the word magic out and instead saying "the universe does not operate by the same rules" makes me feel better.
    I like exploring universes that, on the surface, look the same as ours with some fantastic elements, but are really very different under the hood. Ones where the Four Element theory is true. Where there are no such things as atoms or molecules, where the planets stay in orbit because a legion of angels push them along fixed tracks. Where everything is made out of the dreams of living souls, including those living souls themselves.

    I'll admit, I started on the tabletop in 4e (after having played the 2e and 3e CRPG versions of D&D). I really liked the idea of the various power-sources and the fact that even a fighter (the quintessential non-magic class) becomes more-than-human through training. I just tend to define "magic" as "that thing that allows PCs (and monsters, and many NPCs) do things that regular earth humans can't do."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    Its it too much to ask that a wizard be more than just one who casts spells? I feel it cheapens the concept in the same way calling a fighter one who uses swords does that. The wizards I grew up with were wise and or cunning and more often got by with that than pulling out a convenient spell. More than having magic, having the mind that has learned enough of the secrets of the universe seemed to be the deciding issue. Does a wizard stop being a wizard in an anti-magic zone? Does a fighter stop being a fighter without a weapon? I should hope not.
    Bingo. Some of my favourite moments playing a wizard came when my spells ran out or they were otherwise restricted. If all you have left is your gear or a spell which is entirely unsuited to the situation and your party is in grave peril you have to get pretty damn creative to pull their asses out of the fire.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Then they're emulating mindset of a warrior or a thief in a way that benefits their profession, such as a policeman trying to figure out what spells a Wizard-Thief could use for burglaring.

    But those are exceptions that prove the rule. For any application of a thing, there is a limited amount of incentives to think of such application. And only specific sorts of people who routinely deal with the thing will routinely have such incentives.
    At least from my personal experience, how I think and what thoughts come to mind aren't at all about incentives, or emulating a mindset.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    In a systematic way? No you don't. Not unless, again, it relates to your routine.
    Maybe other people are different, but I regularly think about a lot of things that have nothing to do with my routine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Here you're confusing acknowledging an obvious fact with routinely looking for how and which buildings to set on fire.

    It's similar to an average person acknowledging that a kitchen knife can be used to kill someone: superficial. In truth, majority of people who use kitchen knives neither use nor think of them as lethal weapons, and their ability and will to use them as such approaches nill. Just like, I hope, your will and ability to use matches and gasoline to burn down houses.
    I think of kitchen knives, cars, gasoline, various sporting equipment, and lots of other things as potential weapons.

    Is this something other people don't do? Do people just filter the stuff around them into some sort of "not a weapon" mental category and not see that potential?


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Except you're barking the wrong tree. I'm not arguing that people should play "pure" whatevers. I'm arguing that a characters who are not primarily defined by fighting, don't need to be able to fight. D&D is only relevant insofar as it's D&D that's seen to be "about combat" and hence "can fight" gets baked into every character type.

    The general point goes way beyond any D&D class or archetype. I can easily imagine a doctor who also practices martial arts, and can use their medical knowledge to enhance their martial abilities. But just as well I can imagine another doctor who has the same medical knowledge, but does not practice martial arts and hence has no ability to apply their knowledge in a martial way.

    Hence, if I say to someone, "your doctor does not need to have any ability to use martial arts", and someone starts smart-assing ways to use medical knowledge in a martial way, clearly they missed the point or they want to play the doctor who is also a martial artist.
    I don't think I'm barking up the wrong tree -- it appears that you're still defining the character first as "a doctor" and/or "a martial artist", in the same way they might be defined first in D&D as "a fighter" or "a wizard".

    (E: That re-reads as a lot snarkier or smug than I intended it to be. My point is that I look at the character as a fictional person, let's call her Emily, who grew up somewhere, had X siblings, went to school somewhere, studied medicine, is currently between relationships, and practices JKD on the side for self-defense and fitness.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    It's funny you say "really two" when I already showed four: mundane versus extraordinary, human versus superhuman, non-magical versus magical and natural versus supernatural. (Your "caster versus non-caster" is my not-magic versus magic and your "not-magic versus magic" is my natural versus supernatural.)

    If the category of "extraordinary, superhuman thing which is natural and non-magical" really does not open to you, think hard sci-fi genetically enhanced hominid, or a robot, or (in more limited sense) animals which beat humans in some trait handily (such as chimpanzee's raw strength).
    With that last category, you've gone out into the realms of things that aren't human, and used them as examples of inhuman capability... but those capabilities are perfectly natural for those things. Even in the case of the genetically enhanced hominid, there's nothing "magical" about it so long as it stays within the realm of things that are conceived possible with genetic changes.

    And I didn't say "categories", I said "distinctions".
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Defeating wizards is easy. Stop giving them magic. Don't let them just walk into any major town and buy whatever spell they want. Give them random treasure and scrolls. I spent 5th and 6th level once with no 3rd level spells due to I couldn't afford the crappy ones they had available and no wizard would let me copy theirs.

    Design encounters to bleed spells from them. A fighter can always swing that sword but after X amount of spells the wizard is spent. Don't let them sleep. Attack encampments at night. Have tons of encounters with creatures they don't know the power level of so wizard wastes spells on scrubs. You can make life a living hell for the party wizards pretty easy. Sorcerers not so easy but same concept applies. Oh you got fireball well now damn only fire resistant creatures are attacking us.

    I think the main problem is most parties with DM's allowing it are too entitled with magic. The DM controls the world and you can control your parties power fairly easy. Bleed wealth from them. Most of my wizards and PC's wizards in my campaigns are never powerful. Kill PC's and make them use raise dead. 5k a pop drains funds and magic items real quick. Cant afford to buy spell components for super powerful spells if you are always carrying half the party back from the haunted castle in a bag of holding. Always role play selling the magic items as you make the PC loot his friends bodies to pay for several raise dead spells. The point is you can limit magic and the amount it hurts your game by just limiting their wealth. Here is an evil one. Steal their spell book or destroy it in vat of acid trap. I cant count the number of times a breath weapon or fireball destroyed my spell book. So do I cast this spell as we retreat back to the city or do I try and save it so I can scribe it into my new spell book. This method alone is priceless fun for getting rid of destructive spells. Oh you want the same spells you had before. Sorry I don't carry most of those spells at this shop. I heard capital city might have some of them. Are you a member of the guild? No well then I think you might be screwed.

    Stop letting your PC's become extremely powerful. If you gain xp attacking monsters that are just as powerful or more powerful as you then just random chance the party should have a bad day at the dice. TPK should most likely take care of all but the extremely lucky parties by upper mid level.

    Remember if the PC's are doing it then that big bad with an even higher int score has already thought of it and has more resources to do it better. Eventually PC's get the hint and learn to play together with balance in the party or they are going to get jumped by several high level wizards a lot doing the same stuff their wizard has been doing. Its all part of the balance.
    Last edited by Dublinmarley; 2017-11-15 at 10:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Fighters run out of HP before wizards run out of spell slots.

    And having to design specific elaborate and contrived circumstances so that wizards aren't super effective is the opposite of easy. What this actually does is make wizard players super paranoid, and they start swallowing their spellbooks and giving them adamantine cases and ****. Or just storing them in other dimensions.
    Last edited by Zanos; 2017-11-15 at 10:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
    Fighters run out of HP before wizards run out of spell slots.

    And having to design specific elaborate and contrived circumstances so that wizards aren't super effective is the opposite of easy. What this actually does is make wizard players super paranoid, and they start swallowing their spellbooks and giving them adamantine cases and ****. Or just storing them in other dimensions.
    Its super easy. Have many encounters. How does the wizard know the charging 30 goblins are either 1HD scrubs or 6th level fighters who are the elite guard of the goblin king? And why does the wizard even have worthwhile spells in the first place? Its because the DM screwed up and let him become too powerful. There is no rule in the game where you just get to grab whatever spell you want from the local shop. Hell the easiest thing to do is you know what spells he has memorized. If you cant imagine ways to screw him then the wizard deserves to be that powerful. I find stopping druids, clerics and several other caster types much harder than stopping someone you can stop from acquiring spells that are game changing.

    Fairly easy. They don't have spells they can store it in another dimension nor do they have wealth to pay for special storage containers. The point is that controlling characters and their actions is easy by controlling wealth. Oh you don't have eschew materials. Sorry sir but the guy who looked vaguely similar to the wanted posters bought all of those spell components you wanted yesterday. Yep only store for 50 miles around. Easy to control.
    Last edited by Dublinmarley; 2017-11-15 at 11:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Balancing spellcasters by not letting them cast spells by whatever means is not balancing them. It's screwing over the player. Yes, I will say it. Spellcasters are entitled to cast spells. That's the whole point of playing one.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Balancing spellcasters by not letting them cast spells by whatever means is not balancing them. It's screwing over the player. Yes, I will say it. Spellcasters are entitled to cast spells. That's the whole point of playing one.
    I agree. A spellcaster should be entitled to cast spells. A martial should be entitled to do great deeds of legend. Simple to me.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    Balancing spellcasters by not letting them cast spells by whatever means is not balancing them. It's screwing over the player. Yes, I will say it. Spellcasters are entitled to cast spells. That's the whole point of playing one.
    But not all spells. They can cast spells that they have found and learned. You control that and it is that simple. Its much harder to control classes like a priest or druid etc who can just pick what spells they want. And remember the enemy can also do the same thing. Fighting evil parties or good parties if evil is an easy way to completely level the playing field.

    The problem which I have found playing in games all over the states due to I move a lot is people almost always allow caster types to get insanely powerful by giving them access to anything that is in any sourcebook. Just because its written doesn't mean Sembia or Chelix merchants wizards will sell it to you or they even have it themselves. You can create real reasons and give them just enough hope to get powerful while still limiting there wealth. I remember a game where getting magic missile was one of the happier character moments due to I had tons of spells like false life mirror image etc that didn't insanely change game play. I got that spell at fifth level. You just have to change the dynamics of what your players expect. Trust me your warriors and rogues will love you for it.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    There are actually rules that detail spell avaliablity and cost in 3rd edition and its offshoots. A wizard can get pretty reliable access. Wizards can also take any spells for their level up spells. Also "the wizard has decent spells because the DM screwed up", just what?

    I'm not really sure how not knowing if goblins are 6th or 1st level is more important to a wizard than the fighter standing in front. Running a bunch of encounters with level 1 mobs against high level parties seems like a huge waste of OOC time just to troll wizarda. I guess at worst the wizards hold their action for one round?

    And magic missile completely changes gameplay but mirror image doesn't? Have you been smoking hobbit lwaf?
    Last edited by Zanos; 2017-11-16 at 12:32 AM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanos View Post
    I'm not really sure how not knowing if goblins are 6th or 1st level is more important to a wizard than the fighter standing in front. Running a bunch of encounters with level 1 mobs against high level parties seems like a huge waste of OOC time just to troll wizarda. I guess at worst the wizards hold their action for one round?
    My biggest annoyance in 4e was the DM refusing to tell me what was a minnion and what wasnt and so I would constantly waste daily / encounter powers on 1hp mooks.

    I could imagine a wizard having similar problems if you dont tell them what level the monsters are and wasting their high level spells when a cantrip would do(or vice versa), while a fighter doesnt really have that problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Regarding the so-called "guy at the gym fallacy": titling it a fallacy is ridiculous and exists only to poison the well against it. There's nothing fallacious about saying that a person whose abilities do not rely on defying the laws of physics (i.e., they don't use magic of one form or another) has to do things in keeping with the laws of physics.
    It turns into a fallacy when you also have, in the same setting, ostenably non-magical creatures that blatantly break the same laws of physics (giant insects), or 'non-spellcasting' classes with supernatural abilities (monks), that fighters can't have because Fighters are supposed to suck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Magic, as it exists in D&D, largely IS a technology. Get a hundred 9 Intelligence kids, teach them all to cast Cantrip, and they'll all cast Cantrip. They can memorize from the same spellbook. They'll make near-identical modifications in casting for the circumstances. There's not much difference between Cantrip and a smart phone at that point... if we all have the same cellphone and want to play the same game, we'll all go through very similar actions to reach its icon, summon the game, and begin to play.
    Leading to one of the game's many problems: D&D magic is approximately as 'mystical' as the act of ordering an Extra Value Meal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    It doesn't matter what the limits on Fighters nominally are. They can be "things you can personally do", "things you believe someone could do", "things someone has actually done", "things that could in theory be done", or even "things an action hero can plausibly do". But as long as there is some point where you say "that is clearly impossible" when a Fighter tries to do something, and don't have a point like that for Wizards, you have the exact same problem.
    Pretty much, yeah. The whole "Magic Can Do ANYTHING" doesn't help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    The "guy at the gym" is not a fallacy because it limits characters to what's physically possible. It's a fallacy because it limits characters to what some person (usually the GM) thinks is physically possible, which is a different thing.

    The fallacious form of "guy at the gym" can afflict even games which have no supernatural elements at all. It happens when even a highly skilled character isn't allowed to do something which is possible in real world, because the person running the game doesn't consider that thing plausible. It literally means that person thinks some guy at the gym is the most a human being can achieve (also suggesting they must be attending a really boring gym).

    You can see it right there in d20 character class design, even. I mean, is there a good reason why Fighters, who are a broad archetype meant to cover people from Swashbucklers to Roman Legionaires to Knights, are missing Survival, Listen, Use Rope etc. vital warrior skills from their class skill list? No. It can only be explained by the desginers not really having a clue of what real life thing the Fighter class would model, by the designers believing a Fighter is just "guy a the gym" who's been handed a sword.
    Very much this. I've often groused that there's real-world people you can't possibly make as a D&D character below level 12, never mind anyone from legends. (Fun fact: Gygax tried to write up Conan the Barbarian as a AD&D character - Conan ended up as a level 20+ fighter/rogue with always-on psychic powers and a bunch of unique special abilities, because D&D COULD NOT HANDLE Conan being simultaneously awesome and a fighter who didn't have a panopoly of magic items.)
    Last edited by Arbane; 2017-11-16 at 01:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    It turns into a fallacy when you also have, in the same setting, ostenably non-magical creatures that blatantly break the same laws of physics (giant insects), or 'non-spellcasting' classes with supernatural abilities (monks), that fighters can't have because Fightered are supposed to suck.
    Yup. Why we have giant crabs, giant rats, giant spiders, and yet still think that fighter should be bound by normal limits is just insane and stupid. its not just a fallacy, its a blind romanticism, much like how some WH40k players romanticize the Imperial Guard as being "badasses" and "having balls of steel" for trying to fight all the threats of that universe with nothing but a lasgun and some imperial flak armor. when really, they're just red shirts that die unceremoniously.
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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    I feel if you ever consider what's 'physically possible' in a magical universe, you're doing it wrong. Maybe with the exception of random commoner npc's in the street. It's like Punisher or Batman: They're both just ordinary guys. Nothing of what they do is possible in the real world. Or, I suppose they walk and eat and stuff, but nothing of what makes them Punisher or Batman is possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerer View Post
    Everything is combat usable. Based off my experiences Stone to Mud is the most OP combat spell in the game.
    Taking a D&D battlefield controll spell as example to show how everything is combat usable completely misses the point.

    Let me show you some of the really favorite (= many players pick them and invest a lot of character build power to get them) spells of my most often played RPG :

    - A spell that turns yourself into a tree for months. You can't change back earlier and you only have tree senses. But your presence might slowly drive other lingering supernatural effects from the area.

    - A spell that allows you to form living wood. Has a casting time of hour to days, but results in the best treehouses ever.

    - A spell makes your collected herbs more potent, but only if you use them raw.

    - A spell that can turn salty water into drinkable water

    - A spell that turns rotten food back into an edable state

    - A ward (lasting up to a yers, taking hours to cast and roughly a week of magic power) that turns away all rodents and vermin from a field

    - A ward that makes crops in a field more resistent to bad weather and improves fertility

    - A ward that prevents a well from drying up

    - A spell that protects a newborn child from being abducted by fey

    - A spell that can cure a drug addiction

    Actually i could go on several pages. But in essence that is the stuff magic is mostly about in that system and the stuff PC magic users can do with their magic. Yes, there is some combat magic but due to very limited spells per caster many can't do any magic that is even remotely useful in a combat situation. Monst magic users are noncombattants.

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    Default Re: Changing the "Caster beats Mundane" paradigm

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Taking a D&D battlefield controll spell as example to show how everything is combat usable completely misses the point.

    Let me show you some of the really favorite (= many players pick them and invest a lot of character build power to get them) spells of my most often played RPG :

    - A spell that turns yourself into a tree for months. You can't change back earlier and you only have tree senses. But your presence might slowly drive other lingering supernatural effects from the area.

    - A spell that allows you to form living wood. Has a casting time of hour to days, but results in the best treehouses ever.

    - A spell makes your collected herbs more potent, but only if you use them raw.

    - A spell that can turn salty water into drinkable water

    - A spell that turns rotten food back into an edable state

    - A ward (lasting up to a yers, taking hours to cast and roughly a week of magic power) that turns away all rodents and vermin from a field

    - A ward that makes crops in a field more resistent to bad weather and improves fertility

    - A ward that prevents a well from drying up

    - A spell that protects a newborn child from being abducted by fey

    - A spell that can cure a drug addiction

    Actually i could go on several pages. But in essence that is the stuff magic is mostly about in that system and the stuff PC magic users can do with their magic. Yes, there is some combat magic but due to very limited spells per caster many can't do any magic that is even remotely useful in a combat situation. Monst magic users are noncombattants.
    you've pretty much described why followers of erastil are so well appreciated in my dm's campaign setting (druids, clerics, etc...). hell, we've been undercover as worshippers of erastil rather than cayden caillean and it worked wonders, even if it meant killing people using a sack of potatoes.

    likewise, i feel that dnd tries to address the issue of "casters can't fight" by the bab attribution. at level 4, in the party we know who's gonna reliably do fisticuffs, and it ain't the cleric. now, i play an unoptimized inquisitor, so a half-caster. i pretty much play as cantrip-only, since i chose 1st level spells that are extremely situational. even then, i rarely use spells because there's no need for me to. it's possible and it's a solution, but i instinctively avoid it.

    re: the language thing, in my group we use "arcane vs mundane": one uses physics, the other breaks physics. arcane is split up further into "divine vs profane", but that's only to get specific when necessary. not saying all the monk class features don't break physics, but hey, it's an easy shorthand.
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