What is wrong with vanican magic

Asked this on a full thread and got no real answer, so I figured to open its own thread.  I am not looking for snippy comments or another onfire thread, just clear actual problems with vanican.  If you use AEDU as an example please keep it simple.
Initial problem I had with it way back in ~1981: It doesn't resemble any spellcasting style in literature/myth/film except tangentially that of Vance in his writing.

For Clerics it never made sense: "Hey God, I'm going out to do your will today so I need to pre-load some miracles, kthnxbye."

Barring a certain number of encounter work day, it is unbalanceable with characters that do and don't have such a daily resource.
The "main" problem with Vancian is that it exists in a system where some people have daily-only powers and some people only have at-will powers.  Because Vancian spells are a limited resource per day, they've been balanced by being more powerful than the at-will abilities.  Often times, the degree to which a Vancian spell would over-power an at-will ability has been... quite large: an at-will ability would deal damage, or knock someone prone or something, and the Vancian daily-restricted ability would just kill the enemy outright, or they could un-do several rounds of the damage with a single heal spell, or they could bypass the whole problem with simple teleportation.  Moreover, given the number of spells a Vancian caster could use in a day, it was easy to get to a point where the Vancian caster would have so many spells that their limited use effectively stopped mattering.

That's "the" problem.  That's usually the problem that people are referring to.

There's also the case that needing to memorize spells ahead of time is going to leave you looking like a doofus if those spells are not the correct ones to deal with the situations that arise, which is totally not fun for the player.  That one is a bit more inherent to the Vancian aspect, such that it would be difficult to "fix" the system in a meaningful way without making it un-recognizable as Vancian.

The metagame is not the game.

I hope it is clear that I was trying to say all of what Saelorn said somewhat more concisely in my 3rd point.
A quiver full of arrows could be vacian too. 

It isn´t only daily powers but the munitions, the supplies. It isn´t only healer spells but healing potions, it isn´t only daily fireball ball but rods, staffs and wands.

The quanty of magic item is so important like vacian spell about balacing level of power.  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Nothing
Then there is the dread 5 minute workday problem. Although that particular problem can arise from other sources, I personally believe the vancian system taught people that problem. Most examples of that problem that I have seen always seem to point to resting so the vancian caster (who has used all his spells up) needs to spend a night resting to regain his/her spells, even if the rest of the party is still ready and able to go. Of course, personal experiences may vary. ;)
Ok thanks, but now you bring up a new question - firstly I have DM'd and designed my own adventures since 1978 where is this # of encounters day thing come from?  I plan an adventure using multiple encounters - some combat some not - but I never know how long or how many encounters the party will do during a play day.  Also - Why would you want to micromanage an adventure to that degree?  


OBTW-  I feel vanican is as balanced as the 4e system of AEDU.     
Vancian has always been here and I would say more so in 4th edition because every time you finished an encounter everyone was ready to take that rest so they could get back their encounter powers and then take that long rest to gain their dailies.

I know you were restricted with the long rests but those 5 minute ones were being taken left and right.
Here are my problems:

1) It doesn't match my mental image of an archetypical magic user. None of the magical characters with whom I'm familiar prepare spells and cast them each day. Its just not a thing I've ever seen. Spell points, AEDU, and really almost any other system feels more wizardly to me.

2) A class based entirely on per-day mechanics is inherently difficult to work with as a DM and as another player at the table. 5e hopes to change this with cantrips, and hopefully it will succeed. Even so, I overall prefer encounter mechanics to daily ones, and want most of a character's ability to be encounter-based instead of daily-based. One or two daily abilities are okay to me, but having it as the core resource of a class just is irritating to me.

3) Preparing spells each day is a hassle and I don't want to deal with it. As a DM, most people who I've seen play vancian classes forget to prepare their spells, and I forget to ask them what they prepare. They run into a situation then go "oh crap I... umm... prepared fireball... I guess." Those who do actually remember to pick their spells end up taking forever to do so, and drag out play for everyone at the table.

4) Personal preference, I like for everyone to use a similar resource mechanic. Obviously, vancian fighters make no sense at all. Hence, vancian to me is a non-starter. 
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
Aye, the AEDU system is essentially a tweaked vancian system (IMO). While I prefer the AEDU system in 4th, I definitely will not argue about players taking those five minute rests after every possible encounter. I guess to me that made more sense than having to camp out for at least 8 hours so two or three members could relearn spells. The reason for this is three fold.


1) A short five minute rest is what most people do after any long prolonged physical activity (at least when they can get it). This makes it more believable to me than bedding down for the night at 9 am. ;)


2) Usually the entire party is in near equal need and agreement for the short rest(versus the potential for only the casters really needing it). The same is true for the extended rest.


3) The power disparity was leveled out, not only between classes but within classes. By this I mean that the typical caster, even if he blows every encounter and daily in the first fight, can still get his encounters back after a short rest. This means that while later fights might be a bit rougher for him, he at least can contribute to them and not get stuck trying to crossbow enemies or hide. And he can still very effectively contribute.


Now with that in mind....I am hoping fifth does a better job with vancian than fourth did with AEDU. And that WoTC provides very robust options for alternative spell casting systems (AEDU, hp consumption, spell point/mana system, skill based (ie skill check) based, etc.).


edit: the long rests in AD&D through 3.5 were limited in various ways (including a limit to how much time you needed to wait between them) which made them more realistic, but not everyone followed those restrictions. And i always felt it truly stunk when a player could no longer contribute (especially at low level), which WoTC does seem to be trying to address if not addressing properly.
My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   
My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   




I agree with what you are saying here to a point..a lot of the problems stem from ignoring parts of the rules, but I could also say that is the issue with everyone that hates AEDU. Of course, you at least gave examples , whereas I am not going to. Differences in playstyles do exist, houserules ( intentional or not) do exist, and people all have their own personal experiences. Stating that the problem lies with the players, while not untrue, is rather simplistic and not of any real help. Although ,again, giving examples was a step in the right direction.
The problem with Vancian spellcasting is...

A full Vancian spellcaster only works for a small set of playstyles.

It is the same problem with 4th's strict 2/4/4/10 AEDU style.
Or a spell point system.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

The solution would be the encounters could be designed depending on true level of power (= class levels + equipment with load number like arrows&darts, throwing weapons like axes&daggers,and magic item).

It isn´t only PCs but humanoid enemies with staff. Let´s imagine the dungeons boss is a hobgoblin warlord with all skin covered by lots of healer magic tattos. Those extra helps should be considered like templates (extra XPs/challenge rating). For example a artificier steampunk goblin with six handgonnes and a squire who reload it. It is so dangerous like a monster with a template.  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   



I agree with this people ignore lots of rules

My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   



Oh yes the biggest issue.
It is way too easy to screw up when DMing/Playing/dealing with a Vancian caster because of the many factors involving.

There's not wrong with Vancian casting except with the learning curve to deal with it.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Nothing



+1

You could argue that some of the spells in 3rd ED need tuning but the actual system itself is just as believable as AEDU but provides way more flexibility.
My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....



You forgot using examples of spells in 3rd party books that only sold 4 copies and was only published in Yiddish combined with metamagics from equally obscure texts in ways that are clearly contrary to the rules or at least contrary to the intent of the rules as examples of why the whole Vancian paradigm is broken.

Nothing, fans of the last 4 years of an alternate fantasy RPG want to stuff a round peg into a square one.
Aye, the AEDU system is essentially a tweaked vancian system (IMO). While I prefer the AEDU system in 4th, I definitely will not argue about players taking those five minute rests after every possible encounter. I guess to me that made more sense than having to camp out for at least 8 hours so two or three members could relearn spells. The reason for this is three fold.


1) A short five minute rest is what most people do after any long prolonged physical activity (at least when they can get it). This makes it more believable to me than bedding down for the night at 9 am. ;)


2) Usually the entire party is in near equal need and agreement for the short rest(versus the potential for only the casters really needing it). The same is true for the extended rest.


3) The power disparity was leveled out, not only between classes but within classes. By this I mean that the typical caster, even if he blows every encounter and daily in the first fight, can still get his encounters back after a short rest. This means that while later fights might be a bit rougher for him, he at least can contribute to them and not get stuck trying to crossbow enemies or hide. And he can still very effectively contribute.


Now with that in mind....I am hoping fifth does a better job with vancian than fourth did with AEDU. And that WoTC provides very robust options for alternative spell casting systems (AEDU, hp consumption, spell point/mana system, skill based (ie skill check) based, etc.).


edit: the long rests in AD&D through 3.5 were limited in various ways (including a limit to how much time you needed to wait between them) which made them more realistic, but not everyone followed those restrictions. And i always felt it truly stunk when a player could no longer contribute (especially at low level), which WoTC does seem to be trying to address if not addressing properly.

There are several aspects that have been raised during discussions here on the forums:

1) Resource management issues:
- vancian spellcasters can nova much more than anybody else in pre 4e editions. In 4e actually anybody can nova, but as daily resources are just a part of your arsenal you may see a lower tendency to the 5 minute workday, meaning you nova and then rest.
a 4e high level ranger can nova and kill a very strong melee opponent outright, but even after using all his daily powers it is still quite a death machine.

I saw some tendency to the 5-minute workday in my games, but honestly not much in 3e and not at all in 4e. This is probably due to the fact that we are quite reckless... maybe another reason why we prefer 4e where PCs are more resilient.

The main problem (to me) in 3e is that the spellcasters were always getting the spotlight in crucial encounters. I played the wizard for quite a while and claimed most of the important kills. Our fighter was complaining often that he only got to mop-up the floor or crippled enemies or win the less interesting encounters.

2) Problematic spells

I think the main problem has always been in this field. In 3e I would not have any problem if the wizards cast four fireballs in an encounter. My main concerns have always been spells that change the way the game is played.
Some examples:

Spells with no saving throw (and sometimes no magic resistance): there is a basic idea in D&D that whenever somebody does something, its opponent has a chance to avoid the effect, either completely or partially. If you use a weapon you have to roll to beat your opponent's AC. If you cast a fireball, the opponent can save for half damage.
A spell like Forcecage trumps this assumption. Unless your opponent has some specific trump card, he's so crippled you can kill him any way you want.
I put in this category  also spells where you can push the saving throw value in the stratosphere ,so that your opponent cannot avoid it (a similar thing happened to orb-wizard stunlocking spells in 4e before orb of impositions had been errataed).

Movement spells: teleport is the main culprit here, but fly is another issue. Fly in combat with long duration makes melee opponents trivial. Teleport is one of the elements of the scry-teleport-nuke tactics in 3e. 4e made some good steps in this sense.

Divination spells: all the scrying spells and stuff like Find the Path just kill a good part of the exploration pillar. They should be limited in scope and power. I'm ok with a Superman-style X-ray vision that lets the wizard know what's behind a wall but he should not be able to know what's happening on the other side of the planet or of the multiverse (yes, Planescape is my favourite setting).

Super heavy control spells: think about wall of force. You opponent cannot get through it. Period. Sometimes it can be used a low level forcecage. If you use it in a clever way it can win battles alone.

Save-or-die spells: many people think that slain or be slain by a single die roll is not nice.
Being slain just pisses you off, and slaining BBEGs with a single save-or-die effect is often quite underwhelming. I think it's a matter of taste, unless you can push the saving throw to a level where they become "I Kill" red buttons. Also other classes had access to powers that could be turned into save or die (Feral Blow from the ToB, or the original Cascade of Blades in 4e) but casters always had a much wider access to them.

Shapechange/polymorph: every monster you meet makes you more powerful. Natural spellcasting turned the 3e druid into a machine of death.

Summoning: traps should be a danger. If you can summon endless numbers of monsters to trigger them you have just taken out a part of the game. By the way this is exactly the way Tenser used to get to the end of the original Tomb of Horrors, if I remember well.

3) Wide availability

3e spellcasters at high level had access to so many spells that they could go on casting powerful stuff around for many encounters. I'm not against spellcaster having some nukes but they cannot have an arsenal of nukes every day.

I think you can keep vancian casting but you have to carefully look at all elements you add to it. 4e kept it, it just reduced availability of daily spells and reduced the power of some categories (save or die, divination, fly, shapechange, ...) and mechanically it worked.

To many wizard and cleric users this was too much because they felt that their characters were not more the same.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

The problem with Vancian spellcasting is...

A full Vancian spellcaster only works for a small set of playstyles.

It is the same problem with 4th's strict 2/4/4/10 AEDU style.
Or a spell point system.

Orzel,
Please point me to the 2/4/4/10 section of the rules book (which ever one it is in). I have seen this referenced before, but couldn't find it in the PHB1 or any restriction on the CB. Thanks!

The problem with Vancian spellcasting is...

A full Vancian spellcaster only works for a small set of playstyles.

It is the same problem with 4th's strict 2/4/4/10 AEDU style.
Or a spell point system.

Orzel,
Please point me to the 2/4/4/10 section of the rules book (which ever one it is in). I have seen this referenced before, but couldn't find it in the PHB1 or any restriction on the CB. Thanks!




If I could jump in here...

A default 4E character will end the game with 2 at-will attack powers, 4 encounter attack powers, 4 daily attack powers, and 10 utility powers, IIRC.
My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   


+1 
The problem with Vancian spellcasting is...

A full Vancian spellcaster only works for a small set of playstyles.

It is the same problem with 4th's strict 2/4/4/10 AEDU style.
Or a spell point system.

Orzel,
Please point me to the 2/4/4/10 section of the rules book (which ever one it is in). I have seen this referenced before, but couldn't find it in the PHB1 or any restriction on the CB. Thanks!




If I could jump in here...

A default 4E character will end the game with 2 at-will attack powers, 4 encounter attack powers, 4 daily attack powers, and 10 utility powers, IIRC.


I created a 20th level wizard in the CB and he ended up with far more powers than that (3 Cantrips, 2 At-Wills, 10 Encounters, 10 Dailies, & 8 Utilities).
The problem with it is that it is based on unit which doesn't exist: the game day. And because it doesn't exist is not possible to balance gameplay upon it up front, since it can vary from 1 second to several sessions and its unfolding is not easily predicatable.

Still this can be addressed by DM intervention.

Also the balance problem appears to be resolved (or at least largely mitigated) in 4e and Essentials, which both employ Vancian systems at some extent. The likely reasons for that are:

1) All classes have effective at-wills powers/spells to fall back to when they don't employ or run out of dailies.
2) Daily powers/spells scope and effectivess are not so dramatically above those of other resources available to characters.

In conclusion, Vancian per se is a viable system (perhaps dated and a bit boring but that's a matter of preferences). The main problem is with the scope of the vancian spells/powers. So it is a matter of content rather than system.

To be clear: I don't like Vancian but that's not to say it's inherently broken or unplayble. 
@lawrencehoy
What gothikaiju said. Default 4E go with 2 at-will attack powers, 1 encounter attack powers, 1 daily attack power at start and follows a strict progression to 2 at-will attack powers, 4 encounter attack powers,4 daily attack powers,and 10 utility powers at closing.

There is nothing wrong with Vancian casting itself. The issue is using a resource system outside of the playstyle that works for it. It doesn't matter if it is Vancian, AEDU, At will, power points, or whatever. It takes skill to use an element out of its intended circumstances.

Vancian doesn't run smooth when done far outside the intended amount of encounters a day.

At-will only doesn't run smoothly with increased difficulty encounters if there isn't another resource backing it up.

Strict AEDU shifts encounter balance to other elements. (HP Healing surges)

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I would like to thank those you have answered honestly and without promoting either any editions,  for those that wish to continue making those editions promotions please write them in the other threads. 
 There is nothing wrong with Vancian casting itself. The issue is using a resource system outside of the playstyle that works for it. It doesn't matter if it is Vancian, AEDU, At will, power points, or whatever.



How dare you post a well-thought, non-incendiary response to a thread about Vancian magic!?

But seriously, I agree with you pretty much spot-on. Nice to see that others recognize the casting mechanic issue as a playstyle preference issue.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
My answers;

A) Nothing is wrong with this system in general*.

B) What's wrong with Vancian casting has little to do with the actual system, and ALOT with how those using it play the game - both PCs & DMs.
They do things like: Make characters who have no other options/value beyond their spells, don't limit access to spells in any fashion, assume that whatever spell is being discussed operates at max. capacity & always succeeds, assume that the caster is of extreme lv, ignore spell components, allow players to freely rest as they please, fail to realize that a wizard casting a spell is a helpfull thing to a party, fail to play non-casters in ways that make them valuable additions/parts of the story, fail to provide challenging enough encounters/adventures, and then presume to enlighten the rest of us how bad the system is because of their failures with it.....

*The only thing I've generally fond odd is that the divine casters have to select their spells at the beginning of the day.  Really?  The cleric can't pray to his patron for mirtacles as-needed?
Eh, whatever.  Not that big of a deal.   



+1

Its just another magic system.  And they are all pretty ridiculous.  I hope the modularity allows players to season their games to match their taste buds.


"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I don't like it, never have and never will.  I'm not the only one with this sentiment, so it should be enough for Wizards to provide an alternative - if not, I'll do it myself like I always had in the past.  For that matter, I like AEDU (or whatever that is, 4E magic) even less...
As a player I don't have any of these problems with vancian (and as a DM I've never experienced any of these problems.) 

My problem with vancian (and daily powers in general) are:

  1) Playing the entire game session feeling I chose the wrong spells. It may not happen to you. You may be perfectly prescient, but I seldom know what will happen in the adventuring day, even when I'm playing attention and know the big bad's weaknesses.  If I opt for flexibility, chosing interesting but situational spells, more than half will be useless. If I opt for fire power alone, will I let the team down when we encounter an obstacle that only magic will over come?  Its enough to make me not want to play the game, or to at least not play a wizard.

2) Never firing off a daily out of fear that I'll need it later.  I don't know what's coming next. Is this the big boss battle or just a bunch of mooks in a long line of mook battles?  Should I just stand around and mash my at will triangle button or commit myself to a daily that should have been saved for later?

Take aways are: I dislike daily powers and I especially dislike overly situational daily or encounter powers.

That doesn't mean I want an at-will only wizard.  Let me have a couple at wills and a couple big ones. Let me cast straight out of my spell book but at a casting time making it impractical to do during combat, unless I'm protected and the combat lasts a long time (minutes not hours), so when I do prepare my big spells I can just choose to memorize the general purpose combat spells that I need to get off quickly.  And let me regain those big spells on a quicker cadence than one eight hour study period each 24 hours.  Let me hole up and spend 30 minutes or an hour undisturbed to get back a big one.


  
The problems with Vancian are these:
It encourages metagamey play such as five minute work days. It is thought of as resource management even though a Vancian caster often has more spells per day than they could ever use. Because it has limited use resources they spells are designed to be too powerful. (60 nukes per day is better than a machine gun with infinite ammo).
Spells are the problem?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

my objections to vancian have been noted, so I wont go into them again.

one thing I would like to say is that the 5 min work day is NOT metagaming, metagaming requires you to use out of character knowlage or skills. the 5 min work day is your character decided (very reasonably) that you want to go into every fight at maxium fire power.

its a system problem steming from the fact that all spells are daily use, and spells are so powerfull, NOT from players and DMs
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
My main problem is not with the Vancian-style magic system per se, but with any class based heavily around a daily mechanic. In order to balance such a system against classes that are effectively at-will or have encounter powers, you need to have a certain number of encounters (be they combat or otherwise) per day. This is where the concept of the number of combat rounds per adventuring day that Mike Mearls has mentioned previously.

The balance is supposed to come into place when the mostly daily class (in our case a Vancian wizard) is using his daily spells spread over a period of 20 combat rounds (as an ideal example, the actual length would be specified in the 5e DMG) while the mostly at-will class (in our case, the Fighter) is using his at-will powers spread over the same period of 20 combat rounds. In any given day, you don't really need to have 20 combat rounds as long as the Wizard "thinks" there is going to be 20 combat rounds and acts accordingly.

My main problem with this is what if the Wizard doesn't cooperate and only plans for an adventuring day to consist of only 15 combat rounds. Suddenly, as long as there isn't actually more than 15 in any given day (say there is only 1 random encounter for that day), the Wizard is more powerful than he is supposed to be by the balances between the classes.

This effect is far more subtle than the 5-minute-work-day or the sudden Nova (whether the Wizard felt justified or not), but every time they wizard isn't wrong about the length of day not actually being 20 combat rounds, he ends up being more powerful than he is supposed to be.
Broken spells and wizard envy?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Broken spells and wizard envy?



Broken spells are certainly part of it, but as others have said, there is an intrinsic problem with Vancian casting.  Ultimately you have to make everyone Vancian (at least in part) [and this was 4e's solution] or no one Vancian.

Why?  Let's start with the notion that game balance should not force the DM to plan his adventures a specific way.  That is a game should be more or less balanced if the DM has 1-2 encounters in a day or 8-10 encounters in a day.  Now the latter is probably a more difficult game, but ideally it should be equally more difficult for everyone.  This also means that while characters may wish to reduce the length of the day for other reasons, it should not be in order to satisfy the needs of one or two characters.  Again 4e got this more or less right, but did so at the price of making ALL classes at least partially "Vancian" (in that they all had Daily power resources) but also gave all classes resources that could be used more frequently and of the approximinate same power and type (at-wills and encounters).

The problem with a Vanican character class is that his major class feature(s) [spells in the case of the wizard] have to be more far more powerful than other features because they are limited.  However, that means that this class has every incentive to simply dump all his abilities as fast as possible to "supercharge" the party and make success more likely especially if that character knows (or can guarantee) he or she can rest up afterwards.  This is the major incentive behind the 5MWD.  It is NOT metagaming.  It is a natural reaction to the resource management intrinsic to Vancian Casting and a major part of what's wrong with it.  OTOH, if the wizard does NOT know when the encounter day is going to end (only that it will be long), then the Wizard has strong incentive not to use any resources at all making him essentially a commoner in a fancy robe.  This might make the fighter (who does only at-will powers) feel important, but it weakens the overall party dynamic.  The same is true if you weaken the daily powers too much.  Weaken a daily power too much and it's not worth taking.

In short, there is a very small "sweet spot" both in Spell Power and "Game Day Length" where spells and at-will mudane abilities are actually balanced, and frankly DND hasn't gotten it right yet....and that should suprise no one since every DM has his or her own idiosyncracies about how long and what nature each adventuring day should be.

Basically Vancian Casting is bad because it warps the game design and DM descisions in very undesirably (and player unfriendly ways) and is almost never balanced anyway because the sweet spot is so small (and hard to determine).

-Polaris
For Clerics it never made sense: "Hey God, I'm going out to do your will today so I need to pre-load some miracles, kthnxbye."




Laughing lol 

I don't have a problem with the mechanics behind Vancian casting, I just don't like the fluff behind it. In many regards, Vancian is fairly similar mechanically to daily powers; that is, you can only use a certain amount of spells per day. I see nothing wrong with this principle.

I just like to think of it more like the caster has to rest or pray before they can draw upon those powers again, instead having to "relearn" them. In the case of clerics (or divine casters) having to pray to "reload" their spells, I see it as a way of preparation for the day's tasks (e.g., "Crom, today we clash steel with the enemy. Grant me the strength to smite my foes and to protect my allies.")
D&D Next - Basic and Expert Editions

I firmly believe that there should be two editions of the game; the core rules released as a "Basic" set and a more complicated expanded rules edition released as an "Expert" set. These two editions would provide separate entry points to the game; one for new players or players that want a more classic D&D game and another entry point for experienced gamers that want more options and all the other things they have come to expect from previous editions.

Also, they must release several rules modules covering the main elements of the game (i.e., classes, races, combat, magic, monsters, etc.) upon launch to further expand the game for those that still need more complexity in a particular element of the game.


Here's a mockup of the Basic Set I created.



(CLICK HERE TO VIEW LARGER IMAGE)
  

Basic Set

This boxed set contains a simple, "bare bones" edition of the game; the core rules. It's for those that want a rules-light edition of the game that is extremely modifiable or for new players that get intimidated easily by too many rules and/or options. The Basic Set contains everything needed to play with all the "classic" D&D races (i.e., Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling) and classes (i.e., Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard) all the way up to maximum level (i.e., 20th Level).

The Basic boxed set contains:

Quick Start Rules
A "choose your own way" adventure intended as an intro to RPGs and basic D&D terms.

Player's Handbook
(Softcover, 125 pages)
Features rules for playing the classic D&D races and classes all the way up to 20th level.

Dungeon Master's Guide

(Softcover, 125 pages)
Includes the basic rules for dungeon masters.

Monster Manual
(Softcover, 100 pages)
Includes all the classic iconic monsters from D&D. 

Introductory Adventure
(Keep on the Borderlands)
An introductory adventure for beginning players and DMs.

Also includes: 

Character Sheets
Reference Sheets
Set of Dice


Expert Set

A set of hardbound rules that contains the core rules plus expanded races and classes, more spells and a large selection of optional rules modules — that is, pretty much everything that experienced players have come to expect. Each expert edition manual may be purchased separately, or in a boxed set. The Expert set includes:

Expert PHB (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus 10 playable races, 10 character classes, expanded selection of spells and rules modules for players.)
Expert DMG (Hardcover, 250 pages. $35 Includes core rules plus expanded rules modules for DMs.)
Expert MM (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes an expanded list of monsters and creatures to challenge characters)


Expansions

These expansion rules modules can be used with both the Basic and Expert sets. Each expansion covers one specific aspect of the game, such as character creation, combat, spells, monsters, etc.) 

Hall of Heroes (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes a vast selection of playable character races and classes, new and old all in one book)
Combat and Tactics (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes dozens of new and old optional rules for combat all in one book)
Creature Compendium (Hardcover, 350 pages.$35 Includes hundreds of monsters, new and old all in one book)
The Grimoire (Hardcover, 225 pages. $35 Includes hundreds of new and old spells all in one book)





A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage

A Million Hit Points of Light: Shedding Light on Damage and Hit Points

In my personal campaigns, I use the following system for damage and dying. It's a slight modification of the long-standing principles etsablished by the D&D game, only with a new definition of what 0 or less hit points means. I've been using it for years because it works really well. However, I've made some adjustments to take advantage of the D&D Next rules. I've decided to present the first part in a Q&A format for better clarity. So let's begin...

What are hit points?
The premise is very simple, but often misunderstood; hit points are an abstraction that represent the character's ability to avoid serious damage, not necessarily their ability to take serious damage. This is a very important distinction. They represent a combination of skillful maneuvering, toughness, stamina and luck. Some targets have more hit points because they are physically tougher and are harder to injure...others have more because they are experienced combatants and have learned how to turn near fatal blows into mere scratches by skillful maneuvering...and then others are just plain lucky. Once a character runs out of hit points they become vulnerable to serious life-threatening injuries.

So what exactly does it mean to "hit" with a successful attack roll, then?
It means that through your own skill and ability you may have wounded your target if the target lacks the hit points to avoid the full brunt of the attack. That's an important thing to keep in mind; a successful "hit" does not necessarily mean you physically damaged your target. It just means that your attack was well placed and forced the target to exert themselves in such a way as to leave them vulnerable to further attacks. For example, instead of severing the target's arm, the attack merely grazes them leaving a minor cut.

But the attack did 25 points of damage! Why did it only "graze" the target?
Because the target has more than 25 hit points. Your attack forced them to exert a lot of energy to avoid the attack, but because of their combat skill, toughness, stamina and luck, they managed to avoid being seriously injured. However, because of this attack, they may not have the reserves to avoid your next attack. Perhaps you knocked them off balance or the attack left them so fatigued they lack the stamina to evade another attack. It's the DM's call on how they want to narrate the exact reason the blow didn't kill or wound the target.

Yeah, but what about "touch" attacks that rely on physical contact?
Making physical contact with a target is a lot different than striking them, so these types of attacks are the exception. If a touch attack succeeds, the attacker manages to make contact with their target.

If hit points and weapon damage don't always represent actual damage to the target, then what does it represent?
Think of the damage from an attack as more like a "threat level" rather than actual physical damage that transfers directly to the target's body. That is, the more damage an attack does, the harder it is to avoid serious injury. For example, an attack that causes 14 points of damage is more likely to wound the target than 3 points of damage (depending on how many hit points the target has left). The higher the damage, the greater the chance is that the target will become seriously injured. So, an attack that does 34 points of damage could be thought of as a "threat level of 34." If the target doesn't have the hit points to negate that threat, they become seriously injured.

Ok, but shouldn't armor reduce the amount of damage delivered from an attack?
It does reduce damage; by making it harder for an attack to cause serious injury. A successful hit against an armored target suggests that the attack may have circumvented the target's armor by striking in a vulnerable area.

What about poison and other types of non-combat damage?
Hit point loss from non-physical forms of damage represents the character spitting the poison out just in time before it takes full strength or perhaps the poison just wasn't strong enough to affect them drastically, but still weakens them. Again, it's the DMs call on how to narrate the reasons why the character avoids serious harm from the damage.

If hit points don't don't represent actual damage then how does that make sense with spells like Cure Serious Wounds and other forms of healing like healer kits with bandages?
Hit points do represent some physical damage, just not serious physical damage. Healing magic and other forms of healing still affect these minor wounds just as well as more serious wounds. For example, bandaging up minor cuts and abrasions helps the character rejuvenate and relieve the pain and/or fatigue of hit point loss. The key thing to remember is that it's an abstraction that allows the DM freedom to interpret and narrate it as they see fit.

What if my attack reduces the target to 0 or less hit points?
If a player is reduced to 0 or less hit points they are wounded. If a monster or NPC is reduce to 0 or less hit points they are killed.

Why are monsters killed immediately and not players?
Because unless the monsters are crucial to the story, it makes combat resolution much faster. It is assumed that players immediately execute a coup de grace on wounded monsters as a finishing move.

What if a character is wounded by poison or other types of non-physical damage?
If a character becomes wounded from non-combat damage they still receive the effects of being wounded, regardless if they show any physical signs of injury (i.e., internal injuries are still considered injuries).

Ok. I get it...but what happens once a character is wounded?
See below.
 

Damage and Dying

Once a character is reduced to 0 or less hit points, they start taking real damage. In other words, their reserves have run out and they can no longer avoid taking serious damage.

  1. Characters are fully operational as long as they have 1 hit point or more. They may have minor cuts, bruises, and superficial wounds, but they are are not impaired significantly. 
  2. Once they reach 0 or less hit points, they become Wounded (see below).That is, they have sustained a wound that impairs their ability to perform actions.
  3. If they reach a negative amount of hit points equal or greater than their Constitution score, they are Incapacitated. This means they are in critical condition and could possibly die.
  4. Characters will die if their hit points reach a negative amount greater than their Constitution score, plus their current level.

Unharmed: 1 hp or more
Wounded: 0 hp or less
Incapacitated: -(Constitution) to -(Constitution+Level)
Dead: Less than -(Constitution +Level)

Wounded
When the character reaches 0 or less hit points they become wounded. Wounded characters receive disadvantage on all attacks and saving throws until they heal back up to 1 hit point or more. This allows for a transitory stage between healthy and dying, without having to mess around with impairment rules while the character still has hit points left.

Incapacitated
Characters begin dying when they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution score. At which point, they must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw on each of their following turns (the disadvantage from being wounded does not apply for these saving throws).

If successful, the character remains dying, but their condition does not worsen.

If the saving throw fails, another DC 10 Constitution saving throw must be made. If that one fails, the character succumbs to their wounds and dies. If successful, the character stabilizes and is no longer dying.

Finally, if a dying character receives first aid or healing at any point, they immediately stabilize.

Dead
Characters will die if they reach a negative amount of hit points equal to their Constitution, plus their current level. Thus, if an 8th level character with a Constitution score of 12 is down to 4 hit points then takes 24 points of damage (reducing their hit points to -20) the attack kills them outright.

one thing I would like to say is that the 5 min work day is NOT metagaming, metagaming requires you to use out of character knowlage or skills. the 5 min work day is your character decided (very reasonably) that you want to go into every fight at maxium fire power.

So, 'metagaming' would be saving your daily resources until the fourth encounter after the last time you rested, because you know from past experience that your DM sticks to the four-encounter average like glue and always has the toughest fight be the last one?  I've seen this at Encounters, the module is divided up into chapters, and how many encounters are in each chapter gets out, so players handle their resources accordingly.

- Warlords! Join the 'Officer Country' Group! Join Grognards for 4e, the D&D that changed D&D.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

one thing I would like to say is that the 5 min work day is NOT metagaming, metagaming requires you to use out of character knowlage or skills. the 5 min work day is your character decided (very reasonably) that you want to go into every fight at maxium fire power.

So, 'metagaming' would be saving your daily resources until the fourth encounter after the last time you rested, because you know from past experience that your DM sticks to the four-encounter average like glue and always has the toughest fight be the last one?  I've seen this at Encounters, the module is divided up into chapters, and how many encounters are in each chapter gets out, so players handle their resources accordingly.




That particular example might be metagaming, but the wizard in 3E that pulls out a Rope-Trick and has the party rest in safety for an entire day after two encounters is not.  That wizard is using his resources to maximize the party power (as reflected by his spellcasting octane).  That isn't metagaming at all.  It's smart resource management.  The fault here lies with the rules (and spell), not the wizard (and player).

-Polaris
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