To those who did not like 4e casters, why?

What were you able to do in past editions that you could not do in 4e?
What made playing a caster fun in previous editions in general?
What made playing a caster boring in 4e?

Please realize these answers will be completely subjective so try to keep edition warring to a minimum. Also don't come in here only saying bad things about Vancian castig, there are enough threads about that.

My 5e Homebrew Material

The 5e Warblade

The Hero: A Modular 5e Class

Community guy voice - Let's try not to turn this into a bash your least favorite edition's casters thread.  Thanks.

My opinion, keeping in mind I do, in fact, play and enjoy all editions - One thing I can't do in 4E that I enjoy about wizards, specifically, in prior editions, is the ability to collect spells.  Even if I never cast half of them, I like to collect as many spells as possible in my character's spellbooks. 

All around helpful simian

Spells have very short durations.

Spells can only be cast once, so no casting a spell for multiple party members.

No open ended spells.

Line of sight requirement prevents things like teleporting into an adjacent room.
You didn't get fly until like mid paragon level and even then it was pretty nerfed.  My immediate houserule in 4e would be the wizard gets all of his utility spells every day.  No need to choose.  

I think the utility stuff in general was poor.  I think damage is the least interesting thing a wizard has ever done.  They are the utility belt man.  

Sidenote:
I did like the Rogue improvements in 4e.  All martial characters should be first class fighting types.  One houserule that comes all the way from 2e through 3e is that Rogues get the same BAB as fighters.  Believe it or not that does not over power the Rogue at all.   The armor and weapon restrictions and fewer feats (in 3e) more than make up for the extra skills.

@lawolf
Even though we often agree I really appreciate your reasoned approach.  The point of these boards is constructive discussion and idea generation.  I'm sure it makes the devs bored to have to sort through all the flak to find the jewels in the rough.


To me, it felt mechanically the same as every other class. There wasn't anything unique about the mechanics to seperate it from every other class with lists of powers. I have made that clear in other threads and that is my main beef. That and not having "spells" per se, as in collecting, memorizing discreet spells.

That being said, this thread is predicted to get out of hand.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
 
My opinion, keeping in mind I do, in fact, play and enjoy all editions - One thing I can't do in 4E that I enjoy about wizards, specifically, in prior editions, is the ability to collect spells.  Even if I never cast half of them, I like to collect as many spells as possible in my character's spellbooks. 



At level 6 my character could have using published materia alone - maybe 100 or so rituals shrug... (not sure the exact number 30 or so are level 6 and  some levels have maybe 12 or something like that ), I only have 14 but if collecting was the idea well - I would have tons.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

At level 6 my character could have... maybe 100 or so rituals shrug... (not sure the exact number 30 or so are level 6 and  some levels have maybe 12 or something like that ), I only have 14 but if collecting was the idea well - I would have tons.
 



What do you not like about casters in 4e that you enjoyed about casters in previous editions?
They're not brok-*shot*

ANywho, my only real problem with the Wizard in 4e was that rituals were a little too costly to use at lower levels, then practically at-will spells with a long cast time at higher levels once the gold cost was negligible. 
You didn't get fly until like mid paragon level and even then it was pretty nerfed.  My immediate houserule in 4e would be the wizard gets all of his utility spells every day.  No need to choose. 



Just a heads up: there are rituals that open up high-duration flight, one as early as level 4. Being fair, the latter didn't show for about 1 and a half years into the edition, and required access to familiars (which were introduced only half a year before that).

Which brings me to my complaint about 4E: Wizards were too afraid or too greedy to introduce the cool stuff early on. This mostly applies to spellcasters since, well, they were the ones that were in most need of awesome and powerful features to begin with (while, in an ironic reversal, Martial classes were solid from the start and were overcompensated with cool and powerful features as the edition rolled along).

You didn't get fly until like mid paragon level and even then it was pretty nerfed.  My immediate houserule in 4e would be the wizard gets all of his utility spells every day.  No need to choose. 



Just a heads up: there are rituals that open up high-duration flight, one as early as level 4. Being fair, the latter didn't show for about 1 and a half years into the edition, and required access to familiars (which were introduced only half a year before that). 



A level 4 or 5 flying mount can be reflavored as a broom and given to a level 1 harry potter if the DM really wants to ;p
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Too many spells with exactly one use.  Take the grease spell.  In 3.5, it could be used to knock people over, to help an ally escape a grapple, or to disarm someone holding a weapon.  All of these were turned into a single effect in 4e which did exactly one thing.  Kind of boring, really.

The division of rituals and spells is a good thing, and I don't mind it, but I would improve rituals two ways.  One, rituals should be short enough in duration that casting in combat should be possible.  Three rounds of casting to drop down a badass ritual should be possible, if ill advised, and allow a wizard or other ritual caster to desperately open a portal or similar while the party protects him.

Second, the costs are too high to use for flavor.  Give wizards X points of rituals to be used for free, and let them cast sending for free.  Some rituals, like fastidiousness are insane.  Who is going to spend 10 minutes and 10 gp (the cost of a cow!) to ward clothing against dirt for one day?  A spell which offers no mechanical advantage and is merely "neat" should have a duration measured in a year, or alternately have a cost measured in coppers.  Otherwise no player is going to cast it, compared to the infinitely more useful Tenser's Floating Disk.
Playing a 'caster' in 4e..just amounted to playing a non-caster..but all of your powers had their damage dice pre-written..instead of chosen by what you wielded.  And you targeted a different defence...which you needed to because non-caster were more likely to hit than you were.

Otherwise a caster was in no way possible actually different from a non-caster.


What could I do pre-4e?  I could take one spell..memorize it...and it could be useful for multiple situations in different ways.  I could cast what 4e call rituals..in the equivilent of a standard action..or for a standard/move/minor all spent at the same time.  As well as still having some spells that would take more time (some took a day or more to cast).  Due to this actually having such spells memorized was handy...

The characters would have a multitude of abilities..but all of them were daily.  And you had to choose which ones you could cast at the beginning of the day (unless spontanious casting)...however you could have the same spell chosen multiple times.  So if you wanted all your weakest level spells to be..oh...magic missile...then all your level 1 spells were magic missile.

On-top of that, if you had a feat, you could choose to have the spell take up a slot a higher level spell would take...and it could have something extra added on (such as making the 3.5 equiv of a burst or blast get its area increased).  You could even stack different effects, each one making it take up a higher and higher slot (so for making the missile much higher level it could always do maximum damage...as well as getting an extra 50% damage on top....just as an example.  And yes this prob would be a waste of time to do that :P..unless you were very specialized).


Honestly what I miss most is the wide berth of options a caster could have...I played with a group that agreed not to be cheesy beyond a certain level (though we were still pretty bad) I saw about 5 different ways of making a wizard class alone...and at least 30 more on paper (just never a chance to get around and try them).  Heck I surprised the group more than a few times..when I was their newest member, because I'd often pour over my choice of spells...and memorize ones that I knew could be useful but were specialized..just because there were so many spells people could still be caught off guard by one they never really looked at (the look of surprise on a DM's face when i revealed to him that no..his NPC that was going to sacrifice himself to save us..didn't have to do that...because I had a spell that would keep us hidden from the enemy chasing us..and once we got enough space between us where I could rest..I could prep more of it and get us out of there.  I think he had plans for if we managed to do it..but he really didn't expect us to be able to save ourselves and the NPC in question).

So yeah...just much more options to play around with..made it much more fun for me.  I also actually enjoy the casting system of spontanious and vatican.  I prefer it much over the power system..and the greatly decreased ability that the 4e wizard had in switching out powers.
I disliked encounter and at-will powers, which rendered caster resource management less important. That and operational planning, which I found much less engaging in the new game.
What were you able to do in past editions that you could not do in 4e?



It's more a question of how we could do it than what we could do. The main problem is not combat, it's out of combat.

You had fun spells much earlier in the game than in 4th edition.

You had more than 1 spells per "spell level" (2 or 3 with wizards).

You could cast the same spell more than once per day. Sometimes you just need more than one invisibility or fly spell to do whatever it is you are trying to do.
 
Bottom line, when figuring out how to solve whatever non combat puzzle the DM throws at you, you would think both in terms of skill and magic. You could afford to think in terms of magic because you actually had rituals spells that helped and you had them at the levels most people actually play (before level 11). If necessary, you could always sleep and change your spells (kind of like retraining). In short, what you can do with magic is always on your mind when playing a caster.
 
What made playing a caster fun in previous editions in general?



The puzzle solving with magic I just explained is the most important one.

In combat, casters had more dramatic effects and more of them. When you have 20 spell slots, that's 20 different ways to affect the battle (either attacks, zones, mobility, buffs, debuffs, etc...). In 4th edition, at level 11 (when you have 20 spell slots), you have 2 at-will, 3 encounter powers, 3 dailies and 3 utility powers; that's half as many ways to affect the battle. To make matters worse, your at-will attacks and encounter powers aren't nearly as dramatic as those spells. When a spell lasts "until the end of your next turn", by the end of your next turn, you forgot you ever used that spell. You also have Wall of Fire in 4th edition, but you're not getting two or three of these kinds of spells per encounter.

I also like tinkering. I don't like the idea that once you choose a spell, you're stuck with it until you get a chance to retrain. You can give every spell a try, even those that are obviously crap.

What made playing a caster boring in 4e?



It's not just casters for me, it's 4th edition in general. The short version is 30 levels.
   
My favorite classes before 4th edition were casters and the Tome of Battle classes. The other classes are fun too but they get old very quickly.

What I liked about the Tome of Battle classes is that their attacks were just plain cool. Every attack was a bit more interesting than multiple attacks that just deal damage. But most importantly, everytime you gained a level, you gained at least one new cool attack. These classes would have been even more fun if you had the opportunity to find masters (in game) to teach you new maneuvers the same way a wizard can learn new spells.

In 4th edition, you just don't get new attacks often enough. I'm not excited to gain a new level.

I'd like to point out that all classes were still fun to play outside of combat because most of my friends are team players. We would spend a lot of money on the party wizard's spellbook. Everybody in the group knew what skills the others had and what spells the wizard had. When you have that kind of attitude, it doesn't really matter who is casting the spell as long as someone in the party has them. I understand that not everybody is like that and that is why I really like 4th edition rituals.
       
Please realize these answers will be completely subjective so try to keep edition warring to a minimum. Also don't come in here only saying bad things about Vancian castig, there are enough threads about that.



Thank you for asking! This topic is really important. It's one of the main reasons every other RPG I played got old and I came back to playing D&D.
I forgot another huge difference!

Presentation of spells. If you take Web for instance. When you read the 3rd edition version, the spell description explains what it does and then the mechanical effects. In 4th edition, it explains what the spell does in italic (you know, the part you never read) and then in the spell description (the part you do read) "Immobilized (save ends)".

One version invites you to be creative, the other doesn't. You can use a 3rd edition web spell to create some kind of safety net when climbing with the 3rd edition version; you probably wouldn't even think about trying that with the 4th edition version.

There's a lot more fluffy text in 4th edition so you should be more creative. The only problem is that all this fluff is in a seperate don't-bother-reading box. It reminds me of my magic cards; I only read the fluff when I'm bored and I don't have anything else to do.
A level 4 or 5 flying mount can be reflavored as a broom and given to a level 1 harry potter if the DM really wants to ;p



Go fluff yourself is not an acceptable answer! How you do it is also important.
There's a lot more fluffy text in 4th edition so you should be more creative. The only problem is that all this fluff is in a seperate don't-bother-reading box.


Wow. These two sentences just thoroughly depressed me. I'm guessing it's better to hide/shuffle the rules text in with the flavor text to make sure people actually read the fluffy bits? Cry
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
A level 4 or 5 flying mount can be reflavored as a broom and given to a level 1 harry potter if the DM really wants to ;p



Go fluff yourself* is not an acceptable answer! How you do it is also important.



I also prefer the flying ointment ritual I made up generally speaking easy low level flight throws out a huge number of story lines... whereas making it higher level doesnt throw out flying stories just delays them or involves creating higher level characters (...which is not some hairy difficult thing - ok, character builder helps with that)

*Technically a very rude phrasing.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

 
There's a lot more fluffy text in 4th edition so you should be more creative. The only problem is that all this fluff is in a seperate don't-bother-reading box. It reminds me of my magic cards; I only read the fluff when I'm bored and I don't have anything else to do.



So flavor is bound up in mechanical chains, might as well put out do not touch signs and to hang with originality.. and that is damn boring.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I forgot another huge difference!

Presentation of spells. If you take Web for instance. When you read the 3rd edition version, the spell description explains what it does and then the mechanical effects. In 4th edition, it explains what the spell does in italic (you know, the part you never read) and then in the spell description (the part you do read) "Immobilized (save ends)"...



No offense but you've got it flipped around. In 4e what the spell mechanically does is the bulk of the spell and what's in italics is one possible suggestion for how the spell physically looks. So in 4e you can have your Web spell look like anything you want provided the basic, mechanical effect on enemies is the same. If you want your wizard to have a plant theme, for instance, you could have lots of sticky, sappy vines pop out and immobilize the enemies, or if you wanted to be kind of a time mage it could be a stasis field that slows and stops enemy movement, etc. 

Mind you, there's nothing preventing you from describing your Web spell to look exactly like the 3e version, and there's nothing specifically preventing a DM from allowing you to use a Web spell for something other than just immobilization if you can come up with some plausible reason why, for instance, the safety net thing might work.

So basically you say that by having the physical description included in the spell invites creative thinking, but in fact in most cases I've seen the exact opposite effect; the 4e players I'm with tend to come up with much more imaginative versions of their spells than the 3e players I'm with. 


Getting back to the original topic, though, the one thing I don't like as much in 4e is that rituals just don't seemed to have caught on in my 4e groups. I'm the only player who even really bothers learning rituals, and even then I've only used them a handful of times.

I think there's a couple of possible reasons for this. First is another gripe I have about 4e; combat takes too long on average. We spend probably 80% of our game sessions in combat compared to closer to 50% of our sessions in earlier editions. Because rituals can't be cast in combat, that means that the window of opportunity to use them during a given session is much more limited. So even if a ritual is cool the real-world time you spend using it is greatly diminished which pushes rituals into more of a secondary option compared to combat effects.

Secondly the cost of rituals is probably a bit too high in some cases. Why would something like Fastidiousness, which keeps your caster perpetually clean for a day, cost 10 gold per use? I think if rituals were cheap or free, but limited in how often you can use them (once per day per ritual, for instance) and it was slightly harder to learn rituals in the first place then you'd see casters with possibly fewer rituals in their library but using those rituals more frequently. So for instance make Tensers Floating Disk and Fastidiousness both free once-per-day but make them cost more to learn in the first place so that learning them is on par with, say, buying a magic item of the appropriate level.
No offense but you've got it flipped around. In 4e what the spell mechanically does is the bulk of the spell and what's in italics is one possible suggestion for how the spell physically looks. So in 4e you can have your Web spell look like anything you want provided the basic, mechanical effect on enemies is the same. If you want your wizard to have a plant theme, for instance, you could have lots of sticky, sappy vines pop out and immobilize the enemies, or if you wanted to be kind of a time mage it could be a stasis field that slows and stops enemy movement, etc. 

Mind you, there's nothing preventing you from describing your Web spell to look exactly like the 3e version, and there's nothing specifically preventing a DM from allowing you to use a Web spell for something other than just immobilization if you can come up with some plausible reason why, for instance, the safety net thing might work.

So basically you say that by having the physical description included in the spell invites creative thinking, but in fact in most cases I've seen the exact opposite effect; the 4e players I'm with tend to come up with much more imaginative versions of their spells than the 3e players I'm with. 



That's exactly my point! As you said, it's the mechanical part that is important, not the fluffy part. The spell does what the mechanics section says and nothing else. If you want to use web to create some kind of net over a pit, you can't. 
That's exactly my point! As you said, it's the mechanical part that is important, not the fluffy part. The spell does what the mechanics section says and nothing else. If you want to use web to create some kind of net over a pit, you can't. 



You always misinterpret how it is supposed to play out. I know, this is one playstyle and everything, but please, remember that 4E does not, in fact, work that way. Not for those it is thought for.

It's true, the important part is the mechanical one. However, if you want to use web to create some kind of net over a pit, you totally can.

When people who are not used to reflavoring talk about it, they always take it one step too far. You take a spell, change its flavor as needed because the important part is the mechanical aspect, and that to you means the part you changed has no effect in the actual gameplay. That much is false. Flavor always has an effect. What doesn't change is the mechanical resolution of the power / spell.

I guess it's difficult to understand, but here's a few examples.
If you reflavor the web spell to a time stasis zone, you can use it to help your party pass through a classic mechanical trap with bladed pendulums. It's a time stasis zone, the DM makes a call sure but it's very likely to work.
If you have the default flavor, you can totally use web to pass over a pit. Again, the DM makes a ruling, but so does he do in every other edition. There's no explicit rule that mentions using web to cross pits, it's just something many sane DMs would allow. And so would they allow it in 4E.
When we say that "the mechanics are what is important", what we mean is the following. If you reflavor web into a time stasis zone, you could argue that it slows blood in the veins and therefore increases the chances for a heart failure. You could then ask the DM to roll a percentile die every time you cast the spell to see if someone has a heart failure due to that (substitute this with any other kind of rules lawyering on the mechanical impact of the spell on the game). This doesn't work: the mechanics of the spell are the same as the Web spell.
Some say "but that way you don't reward ingenuity: what if I want to burn the web to gain an unfair advantage? That's not balanced!" and that's false yet again. It's page 42, it is incentivated by 4E. And you can't burn a time stasis zone for sure, so don't even try that argument. What you have is a different spell, which has the same implementation. The mechanics are used as a mean towards conflict resolution: the flavor is used and has an impact, but that impact is limited to what happens in the game world rather than how easy it is to overcome a challenge. And player ingenuity is still rewarded through improvised actions and DM judgement - as in every edition.
Are you interested in an online 4E game on Sunday? Contact me with a PM!
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Overall....I'd have to say it was that they had thier own subsystem. I generally support the idea of every class having its own subsystem to make it feel unique and that those are balanced off eachother. So wizards have thier vancian spell casting, sorcs might have a more "at-will from my ancestry" feel (something that I actually think 3.5 failed to capture well), while a fighter has some subsystem of either powerful class abilities/feats/BoNS style abilities. (I'm actually intrigued to see how they generalize that for everyone. Because I have a friend who has no interest in the BoNS, and prefered the concept of a completely regular fighter, but I love the BoNS and would much prefer play a class from it than the basic fighter. Someone being able to do either, and it being balanced, will be an interesting challenge.)

Anyway, back to my topic: 4e balanced all the classes by giving them the same subsystem. Sure the powers were different, but to my knowlege they were based on the same concept. I liked every class having a different concept. It made every class feel like you discovering something new. (That last sentence is so very subjective because it had 'feel' in it. I hate that word.)  

Also agreed with Kaldric and Gnarl made some good points so far.  I think most of this ends up being tied into eachother.
I think that the biggest flaw with spellcasting I found in the beginning was the real lack of a strong implementation of the ritual system. I found alot of people just skipped it over. In fact it wasn't till I played my Bard that I really began to use the ritual system to even a fraction of its potential.

I think that the ritual system needs to be reworked a bit to allow for a better flow.

Personally I also think that he Wizard should have a class ability that works with rituals to give him that sense of well being a wizard. I would rather get rid of the chose your daily ability and in return replace it with an ability to perform a ritual with in combat or to be able to perform x/day rituals with out the cost or part of the cost.

I think for me the Wizard in perticular should have been a class that emphasized the versatility of the original wizard. I think rituals are the way to do that but the boat was supposedly missed on that one.

I am fine with implementations of the sorceror and most othe casters. However, I do think that the wizard himself didn't capture the true versatility or essence of that class.

You always misinterpret how it is supposed to play out. I know, this is one playstyle and everything, but please, remember that 4E does not, in fact, work that way. Not for those it is thought for.

 

4th edition worked for you, it didn't work for me or any of the 20+ friends I regularly or occasional played RPGs with. Something went wrong for a lot of us in 4th edition, I'm just trying to explain what went wrong for me and my friends so that the game designers can get it right next time. And we're really talking about presentation here. There's something that made my brain go numb when I read 4th edition powers; I'm so bored that I don't pay attention to the fluff. I just want to get it over with and pick whatever power looks the most promising in combat.

Come to think of it, a list of powers with a very brief semi mechanical description of the powers would probably help more than mixing description and mechanics. That way, you can quickly read what options are available to you and you go read the ones that seem fun to you. I don't have the Internet when I'm in a car, a plane, the park, or on the beach so power listings on the Internet are not good enough.

I'm sorry if it feels like edition bashing. A few months ago, I accidently learned that there was going to be a new edition of D&D for 4th edition fans and AD&D fans alike. If that's really the goal, then the game designers need to hear what AD&D fans have to say about the current edition. If they don't really care, I'll let you guys have fun with a D&D Next for 4th edition fans.
   

It's true, the important part is the mechanical one. However, if you want to use web to create some kind of net over a pit, you totally can.


 
Of course I'm wrong when I say that you can't use Web in other ways than what the mechanics part says... I don't know why I used you can't instead of you don't feel like you can. Probably tired and/or lazy, sorry about that.
Ok thanks for the answers so far. Here are some suggestions for next.

1) People seem to not realize you can use your spells creatively in ways that are not in the spell description (ie a web to make a net over a pit or grease to make a ogre drop his club). I think putting page 42 in the PHB with many examples of both martial and magical tricks is the way to go.

2) wizards (but hopefully not sorcerers and warlocks) need to have spell books mean something. This includes the ability to collect more spells. Perhaps spells and rituals can be placed in spell books and wizards can learn them all. The number of spells they can cast would need to be kept at a reasonable level though. Move wizards away from AEDU to a pure Vancian or encounter based Vancian system. Perhaps wizard spells require reading from a spell book or tracing arcane sigils in mid air so their spells do not take effect until the start of their next turn (this could help separate and balance wizards with their versatility from sorcerers spontaneous casting).

3) rituals need some work. The costs need to be lowered and more focus needs to be given to them. People should want to use rituals to solve problems that were normally solved exclusively by wizards. At the same time, skills should allow you to compensate if you play a non magical party.

4) martial caster separation. I want to see separate mechanics for martial characters and casters. Hell, I want to see separate mechanics for clerics and wizards. I think Tome of Battle did very well with the war blade at making a non magical, non daily, exciting martial character. I also liked the stances provided by essential martial characters. I think some combination here would make for an interesting martial characters with distinct mechanics from the casters. I think balance both in and out of combat should be looked at thoroughly.

Note: I almost never played a caster in 3e because I found spell slots just never suited my tastes. It wasn't til 4e where I made a sorcerer barbarian hybrid that I played a caster for more than a few levels. It was a blast. At will ability to create blasts of flame and some really cool tricks I could pull off every fight made this character shine. I made the character follow a theme with all his spells and rages so almost every attack he made did fire damage. I hope that sorcerers at least continue to follow some of the trends started in 4e. I want to be able to play and feel ok that I took flame spiral and burning spray instead of sleep and charm person. I want the theme I have for my character to mean something and be achievable by the rules. I don't want to let the party down because my caster does not have a solution to every problem, in fact I don't want my party to expect that, ever. I very much support casters being toned down, but I want D&D next to work. Thanks everyone for participating in this tread.
Of course I'm wrong when I say that you can't use Web in other ways than what the mechanics part says... I don't know why I used you can't instead of you don't feel like you can. Probably tired and/or lazy, sorry about that.



No worries. It's just a sensitive spot for me (and people like me) because having that kind of stuff means a lot to us. I hope they find a way to present the game that feels better for you, while being the same for me.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
As mentioned by others the narrow spells were my main issue, I prefer powers with alot of applications. I undertsand what the Mormegil is getting at with the fact that you CAN use stuff like web creatively, but the way the rules are presented and written its very dm dependant what you can and cant do.

As a wizard in say 3.x I could pick web and have a pretty good idea what I can and cant do without even talking to the dm. In 4th edition I always felt like I had to prepare an essay with reasons why I could do X with a power to convince the dm.
Which is kindof funny in a way because when I played a martial class in 3.x I always tried to do crazy stuff other than the basic attack that required the dm to ok...

Another part as people mentioned was the ritual system had alot of potential but fell short for me. One house rule we played with that helped is in a low wealth darksun campaign (we were slaves) we said anyone with the ritua casting feat could subsitute a utility power for a once a day ritual (for free)
As mentioned by others the narrow spells were my main issue, I prefer powers with alot of applications. I undertsand what the Mormegil is getting at with the fact that you CAN use stuff like web creatively, but the way the rules are presented and written its very dm dependant what you can and cant do.


Heh, y'know, quite a few people talk about how previous editions felt like a game of "Mother May I?" or whatever that is. But I guess 4e had that aspect as well; the only difference is that in 4e damage, condition & movement effects became hard-coded while other effects were relegated to DM fiat status (with the mantra "Say Yes" & p.42 in the DMG in hopes that these latter effects wouldn't necessarily go away).

For as good as the DMGs were in 4e, I suppose they needed to be EVEN BETTER or much more up-front and clear about these things. Someone said p.42 probably needed to be in the PH1 is also correct, since players feel they are restricted to basic actions and powers.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
As mentioned by others the narrow spells were my main issue, I prefer powers with alot of applications. I undertsand what the Mormegil is getting at with the fact that you CAN use stuff like web creatively, but the way the rules are presented and written its very dm dependant what you can and cant do.


Heh, y'know, quite a few people talk about how previous editions felt like a game of "Mother May I?" or whatever that is. But I guess 4e had that aspect as well; the only difference is that in 4e damage, condition & movement effects became hard-coded while other effects were relegated to DM fiat status (with the mantra "Say Yes" & p.42 in the DMG in hopes that these latter effects wouldn't necessarily go away).

For as good as the DMGs were in 4e, I suppose they needed to be EVEN BETTER or much more up-front and clear about these things. Someone said p.42 probably needed to be in the PH1 is also correct, since players feel they are restricted to basic actions and powers.



As I said its only a feeling I got from 4th. I'm not claiming 3.x was any better (I even mentioned that I did the mother may I with martial classes alot in 3.x).

When I was playing 4th I always felt like well I could try and do X in combat by why bother I could just use this power and it will end up being better in the long run. Once again this is only my personal experience. I think its more with the presentation. When I see these swarms of printed out powers in front of me I'm more more likely to just pick one and move on, instead of thinking outside the box.

This ties in with the open ended powers, that maybe arent so mechanially grounded (3.x web vs 4th web). I feel like personally I need "inspired creativity" if I see a really cool spell like 3.x web I'll start coming up with cool ways to use it but if I see web (dont know exactly what the power is off the top of my head but say Int vs Reflex immobilized) I'll just do that, even though I could be thinking of ways ot use it exactly as the 3.x web works.

Actually after this little mini rant I think I've realized that its not 4th edition powers I dont like its the presentation im not on board with.
As mentioned by others the narrow spells were my main issue, I prefer powers with alot of applications. I undertsand what the Mormegil is getting at with the fact that you CAN use stuff like web creatively, but the way the rules are presented and written its very dm dependant what you can and cant do.


Heh, y'know, quite a few people talk about how previous editions felt like a game of "Mother May I?" or whatever that is. But I guess 4e had that aspect as well; the only difference is that in 4e damage, condition & movement effects became hard-coded while other effects were relegated to DM fiat status (with the mantra "Say Yes" & p.42 in the DMG in hopes that these latter effects wouldn't necessarily go away).

For as good as the DMGs were in 4e, I suppose they needed to be EVEN BETTER or much more up-front and clear about these things. Someone said p.42 probably needed to be in the PH1 is also correct, since players feel they are restricted to basic actions and powers.



As I said its only a feeling I got from 4th. I'm not claiming 3.x was any better (I even mentioned that I did the mother may I with martial classes alot in 3.x). 



Improvisation in 4e is not well enough presented.. I mentioned I thought there should be examples of page 42 use in the players handbook to make it obvious (whether the full details are in the phb or not).

IF you are using something situational improvisation is supposed to be encounter caliber atleast. Further there is no reason you couldnt base your actions on a power you have and do even better... In my sig I have links to some samples.. a twin strike that takes out 4 by taking out lined up enemies , instead of 2 is one example
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 



I'm sorry if it feels like edition bashing. A few months ago, I accidently learned that there was going to be a new edition of D&D for 4th edition fans and AD&D fans alike. If that's really the goal, then the game designers need to hear what AD&D fans have to say about the current edition. If they don't really care, I'll let you guys have fun with a D&D Next for 4th edition fans.



Actually, what has a lot of 4E fans worried is that 4E is going to be totally thrown under the bus. Every indication that we have been hearing so far is that D&DNext is going to cater heavily to fans of older editions.

It sounds like the only things that may be kept from 4E are 1) Rogues can Sneak Attack anything, 2) some sort of limiter on healing, but probably not healing surges as we have come to know them, and probably no more martial healing and 3) the Warlord is going to be around in some form.

That's it. It sounds like every other advancement that 4E has made to bring D&D into the 21st century is being ditched.


Actually after this little mini rant I think I've realized that its not 4th edition powers I dont like its the presentation im not on board with.




I actually realized this problem not to long ago.  Even though I have already started to improvise with spells: I use fridgid blade and a dagger to chill the ale my sword mage drinks.
@SleepsInTraffic. This has actually given me a bit of inspiration to play 4th again (we started "EDIT: Pathfinder" about a year ago and have been pretty heavily focusing on that).
What were you able to do in past editions that you could not do in 4e?



There are key or iconic spells that have been part of my personal spell selection in every edition of D&D.  When I picked up the 4E player's Hand book many of those spells were either dramatically changed (example Fireball all previous editions 1d6 per caster level, 4E original Players 3d6.) 

Nerfed into the point of near uselessness (example invisibility requires you to be within 5 squares of the target you make invisible.  So basically the same room).  Dimension Door teleport self only 10 squares, but some characters could almost run that far.)

Turned into rituals which were way too slow to cast AND cost money. 

So you used to be able to put on your coat and protect yourself from the cold whenever you felt like it and managed to think ahead and have your coat ready.  Now every time you put your new coat on it takes 10 minutes to an hour  to assemble and you have to pay for it.  Even if that new coat is just as good as the old one, what would convince you to spend up to an hour just putting it on and pay for it every time?

Or simply not present at all for the sake of class balance.  Charm Person, Finger of Death, Symbol of Insanity etc. etc. etc.

What made playing a caster fun in previous editions in general?



The spells, their variety of uses.  Collecting them and being excited about their description and potential; not only as a character, but in the real world out of Dragon Magazine, other Source books and Adventures.  Feeling like I had read a magical effect that got me excited about the game and considering how I would tell a story or scene around it.  Not compare it to how it was better in an earlier printing then dismiss it.

The core 4E turned me off immediately so it didn't matter to me or players I DM if any of my grievances were addressed in later print.  (Few were and the ones that were came far too little much too late or were such minor concessions as to be viewed as irrelevant to me.)

The point I need to stress there, is because the game changed so much and did not capture my interest I did not stay focused on it to see if it changed in some way I might find favorable.  And when another product that did came along that is where my money went.  I'm not alone in that sentiment and it is a mistake that can not be repeated.

What made playing a caster boring in 4e?



I play a lot of MMO's and love them.  Unfortunately I was able to draw too many similarities to MMO design with regards to the new magic system than I wanted in a table top RPG.

Linked Portal teleports you out of combat to a specific place in a specific major destination (WoW Portal Undercity, Everquest Portal Karana).  Teleport in all earlier versions of the game could be cast in combat and to any destination you could describe. 

There were only a hand full of powers accessible to my character at any given time and those powers are all geared towards a balanced combat encounter.  Rather than being able to change the world with my powers I was only able to "control" the battlefield.  This reality was in stark contrast to the flavor text of Wizards in the 4E handbook.  The War wizard delights in powers that deal damage - lots of damage to many foes at a time.  In what reality is 3d6 lots of damage?  A 29th level wizard does 8d6 damage?  I could play an 8th level caster in any prior version of the game and do that.

Playing a Wizard in Encounters at my FLG felt like and often brought up jokes and references to my (our) World of Warcraft Mages.  What items and talents / feats were best to optimize our combat effectiveness and squeeze that extra bit of DPS / DPR out of the character build.  Not about how my wizard was a WIZARD.  That kind of discussion came out of talks of earlier editions or other games altogether.  Whether it was fair to 4E or not the changes were so dramatic and illogical (for me) from editions Advanced, Second Ed, and 3.5 that I found myself comparing how things were better in those editions too much to find any enjoyment out of my iconic character class currently.

Many spell and ritual effects were reduced to be comparable to skills.  The glaring flaw in this design is if spell is only as good as skill, why would you ever bother to use magic instead of the skill?  I found that by becoming Trained in a skill often eliminated the need to use magic to solve exploration challenges.  And saved a lot of gold for better items which were required to optimize my character's attack powers.
The things that doesn't float my boat (Personal opinion):

* Wizards used to do all sorts of stuff with magic at all times, in and out of battle. In 4th wizards seems to be doing what eveyone else is doing, damage and battlefield control. It encrouches more on other characters now than ever before.

* Spell durations... spells used to have different durations which could alter the battlefield for a short time or through several encounters. Now nearly everything is save ends... No one can really alter the battlefield for more than a round or so at a time.

* Spell descriptions...
Old style gave me the feeling of:
"Read me... I'm a book...Be inspired".
New style gave me the feeling of:
"Opt me, I'm an excelsheet, filter my keywords...".

* Half of the spells were put into rituals which were no longer a wizards/clerics domain, but something every street peddler with the correct feats and a ouija board could pull off. Either the casting time was too long to be useful, or the rituals could be spammed with gold.


The Character Initiative


Every time you abuse the system you enforce limitations.
Every time the system is limited we lose options.
Breaking an RPG is like cheating in a computer game.
As a DM you are the punkbuster of your table.
Dare to say no to abusers.
Make players build characters, not characters out of builds.





Actually, what has a lot of 4E fans worried is that 4E is going to be totally thrown under the bus. Every indication that we have been hearing so far is that D&DNext is going to cater heavily to fans of older editions.

It sounds like the only things that may be kept from 4E are 1) Rogues can Sneak Attack anything, 2) some sort of limiter on healing, but probably not healing surges as we have come to know them, and probably no more martial healing and 3) the Warlord is going to be around in some form.

That's it. It sounds like every other advancement that 4E has made to bring D&D into the 21st century is being ditched.



You can add balance to the list of things they are going to keep from 4th edition. That's the vibe I get anyways. Old school D&D with mathematical modelling to actually get the math right this time(not like high level 3.X crap).
 
Rituals are also going to make it to D&D Next. Now that probably means that out of combat spells won't be on the list of spells vancian casters can select.

I wouldn't be surprised if D&D Next is somewhere in between 3.X and 4th edition when it comes to how simple the rules are. In 4th edition, they are oversimplified (square shaped fireball, really?), in 3rd edition complicated (fly maneuverablility, grapple, underwater combat, and so on...).
 
It's not going to be AEDU for sure and Fireball are going to be a ball this time. I hope there's more to 4th edition than just that.
First off I really like 4e and 4e magic. I like how it was non-vancian if you ignored the dailies (not a Jack Vance fan personally), and how the powers were locked-down.

However, the powers being locked down not only made 4e great but also made it suck. At the same time.

For example: Flaming Sphere.
Previously it had all these properties. I was spongy, it rolled around, you could kick it like a football or bounce off it to reach high places, roll it down hills, even pick it up and hurl it (assuming you didn't mind the fire damage from doing some of those things). In previous editions those cool properties allowed you to do interesting things but also led to mid-combat downtime, confusion, and arguments as DMs and players tried to come to an agreement on what the spell actually did and what was and was not possible. Does it float on water? How much illumination does it shed? Can it roll uphill? Does it make noises? What gasses does it produce? Can it ignite oil? How hot is it exactly? You could end up with a munchkin player who could talk his way into using the spell for the most outragous things, or a DM who nerfed the spell due to his or her understanding of what the spell can do.
In 4e flaming sphere occupied a square / did damage in 2 ways / moved if the caster moved it about. That was it.

4e sped things up, got down to the core of what a spell did, and balanced things out. However, creativity was restricted.
Magic in previous editions was very open to interpretation, and that could be good or bad.


I hope 5e implements tight magic descriptors like 4e but perhaps allows wizards once per encounter to spend a point to modify a spell in some way. Want to use Flaming Sphere to ignite the orc leader's throne? Spend the point.

These story points could be given to all classes. Fighters could spend them to disarm foes, rogues to get a free pass on acrobatics, clerics to get free divine guidance.

A story point is a way to say to the DM: "I want something cool to happen here" but limits the amount of disruption that might cause if used unchecked.
4e sped things up, got down to the core of what a spell did, and balanced things out. However, creativity was restricted.
Magic in previous editions was very open to interpretation, and that could be good or bad.

Sometimes there's a fine line between "creativity" and "cheating."   D&D was a weird, silly, but complicated and unforgiving.  Getting away with something "creative" when your character might die at anytime because he got bit by something with "XX poison" or touched the wrong cursed magic item or whatever, felt pretty good, because you didn't catch many breaks.   Now, you rarely roll up a new character because of one arbitrary zinger or random die roll, so there's less need to push that envelope when it comes to following the rules.

I hope 5e implements tight magic descriptors like 4e but perhaps allows wizards once per encounter to spend a point to modify a spell in some way. Want to use Flaming Sphere to ignite the orc leader's throne? Spend the point. These story points could be given to all classes.

What? You mean like a "Plot Coupon?"
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Actually, what has a lot of 4E fans worried is that 4E is going to be totally thrown under the bus. Every indication that we have been hearing so far is that D&DNext is going to cater heavily to fans of older editions.

It sounds like the only things that may be kept from 4E are 1) Rogues can Sneak Attack anything, 2) some sort of limiter on healing, but probably not healing surges as we have come to know them, and probably no more martial healing and 3) the Warlord is going to be around in some form.

That's it. It sounds like every other advancement that 4E has made to bring D&D into the 21st century is being ditched.




There's also a bunch of stuff on the DM-side that 4e brought to the table that will probably be brought over to 5e as well, such as monsters having unique abilities, relatively simple monster customization (compared to earlier editions) and relatively simple encounter and loot balancing (compared to earlier editions).

In fact there's only a few things from 4e that I can think of off-hand that might be ditched. One is AEDU class design for all classes. There may be some classes that use something similar to AEDU, but most classes probably won't. Another thing is skill challenges, which will probably be either ditched or undergo a major revamp. And it sounds like they may be moving away from the "attacker always rolls" philosophy of 4e and having the attacker sometimes roll an attack roll and the defender sometimes roll a defense roll (ie saving throw).

Other than those few things, though, the impression I've had so far is most of the rest of the ideas in 4e, especially the popular ones on the DM side, will likely be incorporated in DDNext. Of course it's way too early to know for sure but that's the feeling I'm getting anyway.
...
So basically you say that by having the physical description included in the spell invites creative thinking, but in fact in most cases I've seen the exact opposite effect; the 4e players I'm with tend to come up with much more imaginative versions of their spells than the 3e players I'm with. 



That's exactly my point! As you said, it's the mechanical part that is important, not the fluffy part. The spell does what the mechanics section says and nothing else. If you want to use web to create some kind of net over a pit, you can't. 



I thought about my earlier post while I was at work and realized I think the problem you're talking about with 4e spells isn't actually a matter of "reflavoring" as much it is a lack of variety of stated mechanical effects within the spells themselves. For example, aside from DM interpretation of some other possible use, 4e's Web mechanically just immobilizes people in the web and is treated as difficult terrain. By comparison the 3e version of Web basically immobilizes and slows (although the mechanical system used to do it is a bit overly complicated that's pretty much what it does) as well as provides cover or total cover (something not in the 4e version) and is flammable (not in the 4e version) and can be made Permanent.  There's also some minor restrictions on the 3e spell involving anchoring it to two points.

So I think a better way to look at the issue you're having with 4e spells is that, in terms of mechanics, they don't have enough variety. You're looking for Web, for instance, to include some additional mechanical effects that are truly unique to that particular spell on top of the major effect of immobilization and slow movement. And of course there are lots of other examples of 3e spells which have minor mechanical effects in their description which aren't reflected in the 4e version.  If I had to guess it's probably because WotC wanted to simplify the mechanics of the spells to make them easier to remember and understand, but that's just a guess. Whether someone likes spells to have more complicated side mechancical effects or to be relatively simple and straightforward is probably a matter of taste.

Finally note that the argument about Web being used as a safety net is a red herring since neither the 3e version nor the 4e version actually has anything to say about that in the spell description. In both systems you could possibly argue to your DM to use Web to help break a fall, for instance, with the rationalization being that it is "immobilizing" you in midfall. I could see DMs in either system maybe going along with that, there's no reason to think it's any more or less plausible in 4e than 3e.


Anyway my point is that I don't think it's the reflavoring that is the cause of contention here, it's whether or not spells should include extra mechanical "side benefits" that might be a bit complicated or situational but which are unique to that spell. I could see reasonable arguments on both sides of that question, with some people liking simplicity and others not minding added complexity if it feels like it spices things up.