magic, rituals and surges

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The main balance in magic in rolepaying games is between "what can I do"and "how often can I do it".

Magic is cool, it's special, magical and spectacular. you can create fire, charm people, teleport, turn lead into gold, ake people fall in love with you. The kicker is the cost, there is always a cost or there is a limit.

in basic1st and 2nd edition D&D the balance and limit was the Vancian system, you leaned certain spell each day and you would forget them as soon as you cast them. 3.X edition was similar, although they changed the woding of learning and forgetting into preparing a spell andcompleting the spell as soon asyou need it. Also 3rd edition brought the sorcerer with a limited range of known spells vs the ability to choose to spontneouly cast any spell in your repetroire. 4ed brought spells you could do any round of the day, encounter spells, dilies and rituals.

I currently DM a 4ed campauf=gn and I like the magic system, it works. I do mis the idea of the spell list and I find that, although a great idea, the ritual system is under developed. The idea of dailies is basicli "vancian" in nature but seems off. The great loss of the 4ed agic system is the spellbook idea, the list of spells of which you could choose or hope to find o put in your spellbook.

My idea for 5ed would be that rituals and the AEDU system are merged again in a way that it also gives the good choices of the vancian/spellbook idea. As balancing factot I would like to propose the same resource that is limiting the fighter: healing surges

The first thing to do is to bring the amount f surges of the fighter and the mage at the same level, the fighet will still need them for hitpoints but for the spellcaster the surge works has double function: powering spellpowers.

The second thing is to make everything a "ritual", there are rituals (utility powers and 4ed rituals) that can be cast from your spell book, these spells cost time and/or resources maybe a surge if you have to cast it in a combat situation. At-wills ae also rituals, the only difference is that you choose them at the start of the day a cast them on your implemenets. Basicly you prep you wand with magic missile, your throwing dagger with acoud of daggers and/or your staff with your thunderwave. If you want to something more spectacular you might want to use some encounterequivalent powers but using thesemight cost surges or impose penalties like wekened, sloewd and dazed for a short time. Every feat of magic that goes beyond a cantrip should cost something; a fighter might need all the surges to heal his or her wounds, a wizard might spend some surges to prepep his wand so he will wield the power of  force and be able to cast magic misslies when needed.

If the main resourceof the fighter is surges to heal it's hitpints why not basethe mages resource on the same commodity. Getting bonus surges for Int if you are an arcane source user wouldn't be a bad idea too here.
I cant stand the 4e magic tech level, its everywhere, first level characters are flying and teleporting, using abilities that were 12th & 13th level very rare mages spells in older editions (sure they are weaker, lower level versions but they are still there).

In order for me to see magic as cool and special, not everybody on the planet should be flinging it around, and you shouldent be able to buy a magic sword for the cost of 10 regular swords at your local corner magic item emporium.

Surges are great at getting rid of the necessity of having a cleric around, of course I also think thats jacked because I think its better if every class had a role that made it too important for the party not to have one around. 

If everybody can do everything, then no character in the group is special or important.


why dont we just go back to fighters fight, magic users use magic, clerics help, heal, and turn, and theives open, steal, and sneak? Was that something that really needed to be fixed?            
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I cant stand the 4e magic tech level, its everywhere, first level characters are flying and teleporting, using abilities that were 12th & 13th level very rare mages spells in older editions (sure they are weaker, lower level versions but they are still there).

In order for me to see magic as cool and special, not everybody on the planet should be flinging it around, and you shouldent be able to buy a magic sword for the cost of 10 regular swords at your local corner magic item emporium.

Surges are great at getting rid of the necessity of having a cleric around, of course I also think thats jacked because I think its better if every class had a role that made it too important for the party not to have one around. 

If everybody can do everything, then no character in the group is special or important.


why dont we just go back to fighters fight, magic users use magic, clerics help, heal, and turn, and theives open, steal, and sneak? Was that something that really needed to be fixed?            



yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit. it becomes less of a game where you are benefitted by teamwork and more of a WoW raid, where if you're missing that one guy, your plans for the night are pooched.

as for the "if everyone is special/can do everything" then it leads that everyone is special. if everyone can do everything, it means they can participate at all times. this is a good thing.

while there is some truth to the fact that in 4th ed everyone can do almost everything with some degree of competance (which could be anything from "maybe if he's REALLY lucky" ot "well, yeah... it's his specialty"), the difference between it and previous editions is that while you're all capable, each player can effectively enable everyone else at the table to ascend beyond what they could alone.

4th ed gives you a very competant adventurer by himself. many classes could play a solo game if they wanted to. the difference is what happens when you start mixing two or more together. the durable fighter or paladin mixed with a cleric becomes a veritable wall. a rogue or ranger alongside a warlord becomes a well-oiled death machine. a wizard or sorceror with a fighter to protect him is better able to rain hell on his enemies with less need to run for cover.
why dont we just go back to fighters fight, magic users use magic, clerics help, heal, and turn, and theives open, steal, and sneak? Was that something that really needed to be fixed?            



Honestly, I belive it does. I feel there needs to be a certain amount of freedom with what your character can and can't do. Who's to say my fighter can't root out and disable traps? Is there some kind of rogue union that'll sneak attack his kneecaps if he does?

Obviously, one shouldn't be good at everything, but give people the choice what their character's good (and bad) at. 
Fighter.  Magic-user.  Cleric.  Rogue.  These are all very flexible terms... (thus why i chose to say rogue instead of thief :P)

fighters fight.  Yes, but how do they fight?  There are innumerous ways of fighting.  And fighting being your main focus doesn't preclude you from doing anything else...

Magic user... see above... exchange 'fight' for 'use magic' and 'fighting' for 'casting'

Cleric... loads of flexibility in what god/ideal they follow.  This can affect everything about them... but they should still have some flexibility to do things other than pray. 

Rogue... they may be thieves, poachers, assassins, con artists, politicians (did i say that twice?)... whatever.  Depending on your campaign some may be more useful than others but there is nothing but flexibility here. 

I don't think anything needed fixing from the concepts.  i believe that certain versions of these concepts were far too limited.  that is the fault of the execution, not the concept.  Nothing inherent in the concepts prevent them from being well rounded.

but moving back on track...

I actually like ritual, I don't dislike vancian magic (though I think it needs some limitations that many GMs don't feel the need to apply), I like the idea of wizards having at will spells.  I'd like a single unified magic system (possibly tied to a skill or some arcane point system).

I'm not keen on healing surges though.  Apart from that I like where this idea could go.

As for the point about solo games... there were solo adventures published for 2nd ed.  They were tailered for individual classes, but it just goes to show that the healer wasn't always needed.
you can tweak a lot of things, want a character that can do more than just his specialty, fine go multi-classed, but its going to cost ya... but in 4e its not multiclassed, its everyclassed, and nobody is paying an exorborant amount of xp to do it. 

Roles in life and gaming are important. Team building is about playing up key strengths, covering each other's weaknesses, letting everybody get to be the hero of the day in their specific area of ability.   

know your roll.     


otherwise its "oh hes a little bit of a better fighter than you, the cleric can heal a little bit better than the whatever." No character has big gaping weaknesses to cover, nobody is specialized, Nobody gets their day in the sun, everybody is competing against each other in every event.  


I think thats a big fail.  
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit.

I thought the cleric was one of the classes that "broke" the game. How is that being the "chump?"

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I cant stand the 4e magic tech level, its everywhere, first level characters are flying and teleporting, using abilities that were 12th & 13th level very rare mages spells in older editions (sure they are weaker, lower level versions but they are still there).

In order for me to see magic as cool and special, not everybody on the planet should be flinging it around, and you shouldent be able to buy a magic sword for the cost of 10 regular swords at your local corner magic item emporium.

Surges are great at getting rid of the necessity of having a cleric around, of course I also think thats jacked because I think its better if every class had a role that made it too important for the party not to have one around. 

If everybody can do everything, then no character in the group is special or important.


why dont we just go back to fighters fight, magic users use magic, clerics help, heal, and turn, and theives open, steal, and sneak? Was that something that really needed to be fixed?            



yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit. it becomes less of a game where you are benefitted by teamwork and more of a WoW raid, where if you're missing that one guy, your plans for the night are pooched.

as for the "if everyone is special/can do everything" then it leads that everyone is special. if everyone can do everything, it means they can participate at all times. this is a good thing.

while there is some truth to the fact that in 4th ed everyone can do almost everything with some degree of competance (which could be anything from "maybe if he's REALLY lucky" ot "well, yeah... it's his specialty"), the difference between it and previous editions is that while you're all capable, each player can effectively enable everyone else at the table to ascend beyond what they could alone.

4th ed gives you a very competant adventurer by himself. many classes could play a solo game if they wanted to. the difference is what happens when you start mixing two or more together. the durable fighter or paladin mixed with a cleric becomes a veritable wall. a rogue or ranger alongside a warlord becomes a well-oiled death machine. a wizard or sorceror with a fighter to protect him is better able to rain hell on his enemies with less need to run for cover.

Baalbamoth, perhaps we sould focus on the things we enjoy and would want to see in the system. Ranting about what we hate really just gets people up in arms. 
 
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yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit.

I thought the cleric was one of the classes that "broke" the game. How is that being the "chump?"



From what I've heard, as I haven't played anything pre-3e, in 1e and 2e the cleric was weak, but needed, in order to supply healing.

Oh, and awesomeness Vs. undead.


In 3e they decided that Clerics needed to be cooler, so people didn't feel like they were playing a healbot. Unfortunately, some of the powers they gave clerics in order to make them cooler overdid it a tad.


Although honestly, the real brokenness I've seen for clerics in 3.x often comes from the divine metamagic feats. Which when I do feel like some 3e I don't allow.
yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit.

I thought the cleric was one of the classes that "broke" the game. How is that being the "chump?"




In any event, the game needs to be structured in such a way that each player can play whatever he feels like playing.  A balanced party, regardless of how you choose to define that, shouldn't be a necessity.  If nobody wants to play a cleric (or any healer/leader), the game should still function smoothly.  Same for any other archetype/class/role/function.
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yes, it needed to be fixed.

the problem with the "we need a cleric" is that somebody is required to be the chump. someone needs to bite the bullet and play the medkit.

I thought the cleric was one of the classes that "broke" the game. How is that being the "chump?"




the chump in question is anyone "forced" by the system in a position they don't want to be in. 

in 3rd ed you generally had 2 ways of healing: consumables or spellslots. the smart groups would buy up a wand or two of cure light wounds in the mid-late game and take a few licks off it between combats, but early game, you were the medkit. once you get access to stuff like righteous might or divine power, it's a whole new ballgame, but until then you generally play the part of the tank that shoots out healing motars.

in pre-3rd, magic items were far harder to come across and were rationed out more then steak in a war zone. in addition you generally healed far less, with (i think) 7 HP in a full week's rest. without a dedicated healer your party could easily stay bedridden for weeks should things go sour.