The problem with vancian spellcasting
On closer examination, the problem with vancian spellcasting is: the long rest.
It is necessary to remove long rest from the spellcasting requirements.
The solution to vancian spellcasting!
During the thread, a simple solution to the problem with vancian spellcasting emerged. It seems to work ok, and a number of forumers are interested in pursuing this direction.
Allow Wizards (and other vancian style classes) to prepare spells as many times as they need to during the day:
• Spend 1-hour rest to prepare ALL spells
• Spend a short rest to prepare ANY spell
The benefit is, when Wizards burn all their spells during an especially busy day, they can try find a safe place, recover their spells, and then press on along with the rest of the adventurers.
Recovering a spell during a short rest between encounters enters the same rhythm as classes that use a mana-point system who can use a short rest to recharge mana, and the same rhythm as classes that use an encounter power system. Likewise vancian becomes closer to and in more balance with classes that use an atwill-only system, like Fighters.
Moreover, by spending a short rest prepare a single spell, allows Wizards to swap in a utility spell for noncombat situations.
There is concern about the sheer number of spellslots that vancian Wizards have traditionally. But the designers plan to reduce the number of spellslots anyway - especially because the atwill cantrip represents the basic spell attacks. Personally, I think one spellslot per level is sufficient, so a level-14 Wizard has 14 spellslots from level-1 to level-14. However, about two spellslots per level is what the Wizard of previous editions have.
As long as the rules pull the vancian mechanic off of the 24-hour cycle, I might even like this kind of vancian spellcasting.
The problem with vancian spellcasting
The problem with Vancian casting - and with all daily powers - is: too many things can happen isn a single day.
If an encounter equates to roughly 5 minutes, then there are 288 encounters per day. Not one encounter per day. Not two. Not three. Not even four encounters per day, ... but 288 encounters per day.
A lot of things can happen in a single day. Many stories describe these kinds of a “busy day”. (Think of the series 24, where the entire season is about a single 24 hour period.) It is simply impossible to use D&D to tell one of these kinds of busy stories. Because of Vancian casting.
The idea that players who rely on daily powers must give up their gaming balance - while other players who dont use daily powers and persist at full strength for around 100 encounters in a row, is untenable. Daily powers are a joke.
So there are 288 encounters per day. Accounting for a 5-minute rest between each encounter, comes to about 144 encounters. Accounting for about a 7-hour sleep possibly including preparations of various kinds, yields about 102 encounters per day. So while any of 288 encounters per day can be interrupted by hostiles ...
There are roughly 100 encounters per day of full-on action.
(100. Not 4.)
The day is twenty-five times too big, than what is necessary to maintain gaming balance.
It is simply broken to make gaming balance depend on a 24-hour cycle.
It is simply absurd to force the DM to make every story “fit” 4 encounters per day, when in fact there are 288 encounters per day.
This Question and Answer bothered me about where D&D Next is heading.
Question: What are you guys doing to end the 5 minute adventuring day that has pretty much plagued every edition of DnD.
Answer: I really want to address this with DM advice. I think that trying to make the rules do this just messes things up.
No. The DM has nothing to do with the problem of a 5-minute work day. The problem exists because Vancian casting and daily powers are a bad idea in every way.
The ONLY way to fix this problem is to decouple power resources from the 24-hour cycle.
A potential 100 fully active encounters per day are simply too many to use a “day” for a limited resource that the gaming balance requires.