Balanced and Unbalanced Spells

Just had this idea in a very long thread about other stuff.

I like having lots of weird, quirky, swingy spells with interesting side effects, risks, ramifications and very loose balance, with the DM monitoring to keep things in line. Others like having spells that are well balanced, and don't require any effort from the DM to just work out of the box. 

Why can't we have both? Designers come up with tons of spells, very loosely balanced. Playtest (or even theorycrafting on the web) shows which are well balanced and restricted in ramifications enough to require no DM input. Put an asterisk next to those spells, and DMs who want spells to work 'out of the box' without adjudication on their part simply tell their groups 'Only asterisk'd spells.' 

They could also, if they felt like it, come up with asterisk'd and non-asterisk'd versions of the most popular spells. Or just make the most common spells asterisk'd.

edit: I've been reminded by greatfrito (post 22) that WotC is contemplating using rarity systems. Could that work here? The well-balanced spells could be the common ones, the loosely balanced spells the rares - organized play uses only common, everyone else decides whether to use just common, or everything. 
Just had this idea in a very long thread about other stuff.

I like having lots of weird, quirky, swingy spells with interesting side effects, risks, ramifications and very loose balance, with the DM monitoring to keep things in line. Others like having spells that are well balanced, and don't require any effort from the DM to just work out of the box. 

Why can't we have both? Designers come up with tons of spells, very loosely balanced. Playtest (or even theorycrafting on the web) shows which are well balanced and restricted in ramifications enough to require no DM input. Put an asterisk next to those spells, and DMs who want spells to work 'out of the box' without adjudication on their part simply tell their groups 'Only asterisk'd spells.' 

They could also, if they felt like it, come up with asterisk'd and non-asterisk'd versions of the most popular spells. Or just make the most common spells asterisk'd. 



Would it satisfy you (and others with this view) if they made spells balanced but more open ended? For instance:

Charm Person in 3.5E basically in mechanical terms meant that the target wouldn't attack you and you could get it to do non-harmful things if you did an opposed charisma check. Any threatening action by you ends the effect.

Would this make it feel more open ended:

Charm Person:
You wave at the person and sprinkle dust in the air, the target now views you in the most positive light.
The Target of this spell cannot attack you until the end of the duration. With a minor action you may direct the target to take non-threatening actions with an opposed charisma check. Any threatening acton by the caster ends the effect.
Sustain Minor: The effects persist.
This spell may not be used to get a target to attack their allies, or to do anything that would damage the target. Though you may convince them to hold off an enemy for 'just a few seconds' so you can get away.

Would that make it feel more open ended?
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Just had this idea in a very long thread about other stuff.

I like having lots of weird, quirky, swingy spells with interesting side effects, risks, ramifications and very loose balance, with the DM monitoring to keep things in line. Others like having spells that are well balanced, and don't require any effort from the DM to just work out of the box. 

Why can't we have both? Designers come up with tons of spells, very loosely balanced. Playtest (or even theorycrafting on the web) shows which are well balanced and restricted in ramifications enough to require no DM input. Put an asterisk next to those spells, and DMs who want spells to work 'out of the box' without adjudication on their part simply tell their groups 'Only asterisk'd spells.' 

They could also, if they felt like it, come up with asterisk'd and non-asterisk'd versions of the most popular spells. Or just make the most common spells asterisk'd. 



Have the powerful spells differenciated from the balanced spells is a good idea. I don't really have a preference on keyword/asterisk/world color. Another alternative could be set of spell books shrink wrapping them togather. Like different tomes of magic with the unbalance plot changing spells being part of the set. This way we get them all on release of DDN and each book would have its special considerations and it could add to the flavor of the different books.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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@lokiare: Your second description is pretty open-ended, and would require significant DM input. With a minor action you may direct the target to take non-threatening actions with an opposed charisma check. That's a lot of things. Does threatening mean immediately threatening or potentially threatening? Could I make him smoke a pipe, even though he knows it's unhealthy and hates tobacco? It also doesn't specify what the target does when the spell wears off. I'd probably actually want this to be more locked down by the writer.

I don't really care about the format of the spells, as the format has little to do with whether the spell is quirky and unique.
Just had this idea in a very long thread about other stuff.

I like having lots of weird, quirky, swingy spells with interesting side effects, risks, ramifications and very loose balance, with the DM monitoring to keep things in line. Others like having spells that are well balanced, and don't require any effort from the DM to just work out of the box. 

Why can't we have both? Designers come up with tons of spells, very loosely balanced. Playtest (or even theorycrafting on the web) shows which are well balanced and restricted in ramifications enough to require no DM input. Put an asterisk next to those spells, and DMs who want spells to work 'out of the box' without adjudication on their part simply tell their groups 'Only asterisk'd spells.' 

They could also, if they felt like it, come up with asterisk'd and non-asterisk'd versions of the most popular spells. Or just make the most common spells asterisk'd. 


Even if I may have something to say about the aesthetic of the solution, that is one I'd really like.
I get the impression that people who are concerned about balancing spells are also generally okay with, if not desirous of, there being a significantly smaller absolute number of spells for wizards to pick from. Is this generally true? If it is, you could have the small number of well-balanced spells in the same book, or chapter, with the larger number of loosely-balanced spells.

You could have rituals as a rules module for quickly and easily converting a loosely-balanced spell into a ritual, with a monetary cost and check DC contingent on the spell's level.
Put an asterisk next to those spells, and DMs who want spells to work 'out of the box' without adjudication on their part simply tell their groups 'Only asterisk'd spells.'


Heh, when it becomes clear that certain spells require more work by the DM, I guarantee within a year most groups will have gone with the 'asterisk spells only' rule, with some creating a seperate list of 'acceptable swingy spells.'

Makes me think swingy spells should be the asterisk'd module here, especially if organized play is still around for the 5e era. Of course, I could be completely off-base and the majority of DMs enjoy working around such mechanics.
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 ****.
I figured people would be more worried that players would put pressure on DMs to actually put in more work. It wouldn't be a horrible thing if many groups decided to use 'asterisk only' spells. It lets you play with balanced spells, the way you like. Other groups, however, will be able to use spells the way they like. I won't try to guess how many will choose each path.

Asterisk'd spells would be the only ones available for organized play, in my imagined scenario. 
I figured people would be more worried that players would put pressure on DMs to actually put in more work. It wouldn't be a horrible thing if many groups decided to use 'asterisk only' spells. It lets you play with balanced spells, the way you like. Other groups, however, will be able to use spells the way they like. I won't try to guess how many will choose each path.

Asterisk'd spells would be the only ones available for organized play, in my imagined scenario. 



I think that might work...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I figured people would be more worried that players would put pressure on DMs to actually put in more work. It wouldn't be a horrible thing if many groups decided to use 'asterisk only' spells. It lets you play with balanced spells, the way you like. Other groups, however, will be able to use spells the way they like. I won't try to guess how many will choose each path.

Asterisk'd spells would be the only ones available for organized play, in my imagined scenario. 



I think that might work...



You could go so far as to call them 'quest' spells and have a special slot for them at each level. The description would talk about heavy DM judication and give examples of how the DM could get revenge...er... deal with players that abuse them...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I suggested asterisks for the well-balanced spells because I assume that it's harder to create a well-balanced spell than a loosely balanced one. Plus, there's just more conceptual space available to loosely-balanced spells than well-balanced ones - how do you balance a spell like Wish? Also, since well-balanced spells depend on all the other spells for their balance, they have to be balanced when used in conjunction with other well-balanced spells. All these considerations will likely keep the number of well-balanced spells smaller than the number of loosely-balanced spells. You generally want to mark the smaller group, but there's no reason you couldn't mark the larger.
You'd put advice for DMs using the loose-balanced spells in the spellcasting chapter. Things like: If you choose to use these spells, remember that you are the final arbiter of which spells are allowed in your campaign. Consider carefully the effects the spell might have. Consider its effects when used with other spells. If you are in doubt, don't allow the spell into your campaign. If a spell becomes a problem, have a mature discussion with the player and let them know things need to change. Yadda yadda, there's sections of this stuff in the TSR books the devs could crib.

You could also select specific loose-balanced spells for specialist spell lists. Perhaps there's a set of loose-balanced spells which, when the caster is restricted to only these spells, are balanced just fine. 
You'd put advice for DMs using the loose-balanced spells in the spellcasting chapter. Things like: If you choose to use these spells, remember that you are the final arbiter of which spells are allowed in your campaign. Consider carefully the effects the spell might have. Consider its effects when used with other spells. If you are in doubt, don't allow the spell into your campaign. If a spell becomes a problem, have a mature discussion with the player and let them know things need to change. Yadda yadda, there's sections of this stuff in the TSR books the devs could crib.

You could also select specific loose-balanced spells for specialist spell lists. Perhaps there's a set of loose-balanced spells which, when the caster is restricted to only these spells, are balanced just fine. 



One way to balance them would be to not allow game breaking spells to be used together. Say any spell with the 'POWERFUL' keyword could not be cast with each other, or the previous spells effect is negated. So when they cast improved invisibility, then cast fly, the improved invisibility automatically stops. Something like that would allow nice spells, but not allow broken combinations...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
As a note:

Not sure where I heard it but I'm fairly sure I heard that keywords would be less of a thing in 5e.  possibly not a thing at all.  Yet again not 100% on that but I remember hearing it.
I'd prefer they left that up to the DM - the point of having non-asterisk'd spells is that there's a lot of them, and the designers don't have to spend much time on worrying about how they'll work. Loose balance is good enough, worrying about interactions with other spells is more time than I'd like them to see spending. Just go to the 2e Spell Compendium, pick one of the thousands of spells in there, keep the description and convert the saves, etc. to whatever they're using for 5e.

Of course, all this effort would be moot if the spells were near-instantly convertible - as in, take one minute or two at the most to switch from a previous edition.
I'd prefer the other way around - a "core" of balanced options that anyone can use, without a lot of effort, and which are quick and easy to resolve, with some kind of additional option (preferably a module in and of itself) with lots and lots of "here DM, you deal with this" spells/abilities/feats/skills/attacks/magicitems/facialhairs/weapons/tools/items/boats/giraffes/monsters/animals/effects/traps/etc.

Which would not be to say that those things couldn't be in the main starting book thing - just not a "core" element of the rules, like tactical movement, or "complex" fighters, or whathaveyou.
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Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
That's basically what the asterisk'd spells would be. If you want to put them in a different section, that'd be fine too.
That's basically what the asterisk'd spells would be. If you want to put them in a different section, that'd be fine too.


That would really be enough to satisfy me.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
That's basically what the asterisk'd spells would be. If you want to put them in a different section, that'd be fine too.


That would really be enough to satisfy me.



Me too.  I like this idea.
I could live with this concept.
Having thought for a bit about this, I'm of the pessimistic opinion that it's not something they are really likely to do. They'll either try to provide only well-balanced spells, and force those who like weird spells to convert or create thousands of them on their own, or they'll provide an undifferentiated mix of weird and balanced, without an indicator, and force those who like balance to try to pick the well-balanced spells out of the mix, and deal with resistance to excluding 'core spells'.

What about it, designers? Will there be 'core spells' and 'non-core spells'? 
Well, 1.) I don't think the designers are reading your thread, nor that they will respond (though I don't think you expect that second bit at all); and 2.) That seems pessimistic beyond all reason, given how they've already admitted to differentiating Classes and Races based on complexity, or "acceptableness".  If they're willing to categorize things that don't really warrant categorization (and don't really benefit from it), I don't think it's a stretch to think that they'd be willing to categorize things that actually deserve categorization.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
WotC will sell spells in booster packs. The rarer the spell the more powerful. Casters will only be able to cast spells that they own. Mythic spells will be highly unbalanced and very rare. Then WotC will hold spellcasting tournaments where you bring your caster and try out your caster vs other casters. Non casters will of course not have any game breaking abilities because that would be unrealistic.

Snark aside, I think potentially broken or open ended spells should be put in a module that is relapsed with the core books. This spell compendium should outline that these spells can lead to abuse and the DM is the final arbiter on their approval.
Well, 1.) I don't think the designers are reading your thread,

Ah, but you are, and maybe I've inspired you to write a Rule of Three question.
nor that they will respond (though I don't think you expect that second bit at all);

A reasonable assumption. heh.
and 2.) That seems pessimistic beyond all reason, given how they've already admitted to differentiating Classes and Races based on complexity, or "acceptableness".  If they're willing to categorize things that don't really warrant categorization (and don't really benefit from it), I don't think it's a stretch to think that they'd be willing to categorize things that actually deserve categorization.


Hmmmm. Hadn't thought of it that way. Rarity works just as well as the asterisk, assuming they actually base it on 'balanced' and 'loose', and 2e spells in the Compendium actually had rarities - so there's precedent. I am no longer so pessimistic. Thanks.
WotC will sell spells in booster packs. The rarer the spell the more powerful. Casters will only be able to cast spells that they own. Mythic spells will be highly unbalanced and very rare. Then WotC will hold spellcasting tournaments where you bring your caster and try out your caster vs other casters. Non casters will of course not have any game breaking abilities because that would be unrealistic.



I think I both hate and love you.

That's basically what the asterisk'd spells would be. If you want to put them in a different section, that'd be fine too.


That would really be enough to satisfy me.



Me too.  I like this idea.


When I entered this thread I was expecting it to be filled with trolls and nerd rage, but I'm pleasantly supprised ;P.  The posters are all quite polite and I like the idea, I had to double check that I was still at the same WotC website ;P. 
I'd prefer they left that up to the DM - the point of having non-asterisk'd spells is that there's a lot of them, and the designers don't have to spend much time on worrying about how they'll work. Loose balance is good enough, worrying about interactions with other spells is more time than I'd like them to see spending. Just go to the 2e Spell Compendium, pick one of the thousands of spells in there, keep the description and convert the saves, etc. to whatever they're using for 5e.

Of course, all this effort would be moot if the spells were near-instantly convertible - as in, take one minute or two at the most to switch from a previous edition.



How about a line under the keyword description something like:

Keywords:
POWERFUL - These spells are strong and repeated use catches the eye of powerful beings, they also have side effects that the DM determines. Examples could be that other powerful spells cast by the same caster are instantly removed or negated, Powerful beings track down the users of such spells, the spells themselves have direct consequences (summoning a extraplanar creature may make a lifelong enemy).

I hope they retain keywords, they were one of the best improvements that 4E made. A single keyword that can be used over and over, it lessened the memorization aspect of the game...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

I don't have a problem with the idea. They did something similar in 4e, for example, with the playable monster races in the Monster Manual, specifically indicating that the player character race statblocks for those monsters were not as well balanced and playtested as the official playable races so DMs should be careful when allowing them. Having a separate section of otherwise flagging easily abusable spells could be a way to help for DMs who don't want to deal with them to avoid the hassle while still providing them as options for DMs who don't care as much about imbalance or "cheese", etc.

That's basically what the asterisk'd spells would be. If you want to put them in a different section, that'd be fine too.


That would really be enough to satisfy me.



Me too.  I like this idea.


When I entered this thread I was expecting it to be filled with trolls and nerd rage, but I'm pleasantly supprised ;P.  The posters are all quite polite and I like the idea, I had to double check that I was still at the same WotC website ;P. 



I'm a troll, but I'm down and regenerating right now...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
One thing that hasn't received attention is that loosely balanced spells work both ways - they can be both better, and worse, than well balanced spells. It's a reason I might not want to see the 'Powerful' keyword - because, one would assume, that the loosely balanced spells would actually form a bell curve, with the well-balanced spells distributed on a fuzzy line across the middle of the range.
One thing that hasn't received attention is that loosely balanced spells work both ways - they can be both better, and worse, than well balanced spells. It's a reason I might not want to see the 'Powerful' keyword - because, one would assume, that the loosely balanced spells would actually form a bell curve, with the well-balanced spells distributed on a fuzzy line across the middle of the range.



Well they can use whatever word they want 'DM Adjudicated' or whatever...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.

Hmmmm. Hadn't thought of it that way. Rarity works just as well as the asterisk, assuming they actually base it on 'balanced' and 'loose', and 2e spells in the Compendium actually had rarities - so there's precedent. I am no longer so pessimistic. Thanks.


Well rarity starts the whole keyword issue that some people don't seem to like. I think your idea of using footnotes typography might go over better.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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My DM would definitely go for the asterisk spells.  He might houserule a few if he felt they went too far but overall he doesn't mind doing his job.

 
By 'go for the asterisk spells' I assume you mean he'd like the asterisk/non-asterisk model, and he'd let you use anything you wanted, while using his input to maintain balance? Or do you mean he'd just use the asterisk'd, balanced spells?
Kaldric, you win. This is an excellent idea.
Thanks.

I was thinking someone would say making any loosely balanced spells at all is a waste of designer effort that should exclusively be spent expanding a larger and larger repertoire of well-balanced spells, and I'm pleasantly surprised no one has. 
I think that most people recognize that other people don't enjoy the same things they do, and when they are offered a way to get what they really want without infringing on others they will take it. 

Also, I submitted a question about the topic of this thread to rule of three.
I'd like the "open-ended spells as rituals" module, please.

I feel like that would be incredibly easy for the designers to implement. You could simply say that all spells without asterisks (or all rare spells, or whatever) had a casting time of 15 minutes (or whatever time seems suitable), and requires an amount of residuum (or whatever magical substance you like) based on level. Alternately, they could designate non-combat spells separately from loosely balanced spells (because there are probably combat spells that are loosely balanced, but it would be silly for those to be rituals).
Out of all the post of warriors moaning for casters to get nerfed this one is by far the best and I really like this idea. I think the biggest problem in any ed was a spell could be used cheaply and the DM would just say "Well it doesn't say you can't" and the powerful spells got so common where as other spells never got used to point you can look at 50 sorcerer or wizard char sheets and they had roughly same spell line up depending on the sitution.

But my question would be what would be classified as asterisk spells? What would be considered a powerful spell? Spells that do mega damage like distingrate, spells with no resistance or save like magic missile and ray of enfeeble, cheapo spells like fly, or game ruiners like dominate monster? Or just half the spells in the game?

Maybe have it so you can use one asterisk spell per spell level or per day as well or give it a high cost in gold or exp. Perhaps not allowed to pick them but only found as rewards in a treasure hoard at the DMs whim.
@Mouse - the idea is that the asterisk'd spells are the safe ones - the ones that are pretty much guaranteed not to mess up the game and are right in the butter zone for their level and work well with all the other asterisk'd spells - the DM doesn't have to put in extra work to balance the game as long as he sticks to the asterisk'd spells.

The spells that aren't safe are the loosely balanced ones, that depend on a watchful DM, or cooperative players, to keep them from messing things up. For these, I'd think they'd just say "Use at your own risk." And maybe have a few different modules for how to handle them, like random spell acquisition, or limited number learned, or whatever - you came up with a couple already.

@Dragonturtle, Shinquickman: Generally, I'd think if you were going to use rituals, you probably would just stick to the asterisk'd spells for your 'normal' spells, and take the 'rare' spells that seem appropriate (and perhaps there could be a list of these?) and run them through the converter to make rituals. Some of the 'rare' spells, like the really weird combat spells or save-or-dies or energy drains or stuff that depends on a specific rules module or whatever - they're not suitable for 'well-balanced' play. Turning 'Wish' into a ritual... that doesn't seem really productive. It's still a potential game-breaker. At least, that's how I see it.